Saturday, December 24, 2016

Beaty Family Christmas Letter 2016

Beaty Family Christmas Letter 2016

Dear Family & Friends,

I began writing this letter by reading previous years’ Christmas letters. It was fun to reminisce as I read my descriptions of each member of the family. And certainly, the past few years have been a non-stop whirlwind of change and growth! This year was calm by comparison. We continued to learn about life in the United States as we explored our surroundings in Tennessee. 

Jake’s most exciting moment of the year was seeing his book published! After a multi-year process, Winter’s Comin’ became available September 15, our one year anniversary of moving to the US. Hurry over to Amazon to get it! So far there are paper and kindle versions, with an audio version to be read by his parents in the works. Jake has enjoyed radio and TV interviews, homesteading events, and lot of interesting conversations with people as he promotes the book—his first of many, for sure!
It’s been a challenging year to provide for our family. During that process, Jake started his own business from home, Great Wave SEO (Search Engine Optimization). He has learned a lot about himself and about being in business, Number One being the constant effort to obtain enough clients! One of those is a nearby classic car gallery, where he has done a lot more than just marketing, such as helping show and sell the cars, develop processes for the business, and driving cool old cars for weddings! Another “trade” client allowed Jake and the three boys to attend boxing classes at our local UFC Gym, an activity they greatly enjoyed for a few months.  Speaking of, Joel and Michael are now learning how to build and design websites, a potential component of the business! 

As one could imagine, my life is full of caring for Jake and our six children. Much of what I do is normal for any homeschooling mom, while some is due to the special needs of our sons. Jake and I took an eight week class at the beginning of the year titled “Empowered to Connect” and we have a shelf full of very helpful parenting books that I read when I can. My other constant challenge is keeping up with the busiest, messiest, loudest pair of toddlers I have ever met!! Having Jake often home is my saving grace.

In late January, I decided to pursue birth doula training, as I love learning about pregnancy and birth and talking to other women about the experience. I expected to be serving pregnant clients by year’s end, but instead in March (on our 4 year anniversary of meeting each other) found out I was expecting…another baby! That news modified my timeline, although I continued on with DONA International’s outline of training and making contacts. It turned out to be a wonderful experience while pregnant, especially discovering local resources. 

Joel (13) continues to do well in school and has developed an enjoyment of reading. He is incredibly talented artistically. He puts together some amazing Lego creations. You name it, he can make it, with moving parts, motors, etc. In sports and games, he learns quickly and is quite competitive. He has just begun basketball practice with a local church team and we look forward to watching his first games next month!  

Michael turned 13 the month after Joel and is growing like crazy. A jumping party complete with lots of friends seemed to suit our most active, extroverted son! In school, he’s a math whiz kid! Reading and writing are a real challenge, but he plugs along and aims to do well. I’m extremely grateful for my Mom’s help grading and teaching him most of the year—a lot more tolerable for him than listening to ol’ mom! He has developed a passion for football, often playing outside with his brothers or neighbors, and waiting impatiently to watch every Seahawk game with Dad.

Samuel turned 12 on June 12…the same day his beloved kittens were born! We brought them home in July, on Joel’s birthday, and Samuel has been busy ever since caring and playing with “June and Julian”. He had a long hair phase for several months this year…we’re glad that’s over! We were blessed with a grant from The Homeschool Foundation which provided for several lessons with a private tutor experienced in dyslexia. He also qualified for English as a Second Language classes at the local school and began in November…right around the time he got new glasses! It’s been a busy year.

I’m occasionally asked if the boys miss Bolivia. If they do, they won’t admit to it. I guess it’s better than the alternative! They think everything here is better, want to forget everything Bolivian and Spanish, and I’m apparently the only one who would be on a plane ASAP for a visit if a thousand dollars fell in my lap. Around mid-year, Casa de Amor’s US and Bolivian administration changed hands, and is now called “The Sunshine House”. Look them up online to see and contribute to the work that continues!  

Sophia is as spunky and bossy as ever! She never ceases to amaze us with her verbal skills. Everything is more fun with Sophia around! A few of her favorite things are playing dress-up, sensory play of any sort (especially with water), telling little sister what to do (or not!), reading books, talking about letters and numbers, and doing “school”. I love watching her participate at library store time. Her curious mind keeps us on our toes! 

Lydia can best be described as a tornado of activity. Very sweet, very “physical”, loud, and absolutely fearless!! There’s no rest when she’s awake as she gives new meaning to “gets into everything”! I’m glad for all the sets of eyes to help me look out for her. She wasn’t shaken at all by the arrival of a new sibling, but since she’s such a busybody, she has spent lots of happy time getting extra attention at Nana’s, especially from Aunt Sarah who adores her.

All the kids thought #6 would be a boy. We decided to leave it a surprise, but the greater surprise than having a 3rd girl in a row was how she showed up! While we had planned for another home birth, the short labor caught us by surprise and Caledonia “Callie” Grace arrived into my arms on 11/20 at 2:43am, just a few minutes after Jake called the midwife! Perhaps all my doula studies and training this year of the birth process and how to make it a positive experience channeled into hers. Caledonia follows our naming theme for the girls (name ending) and was my maternal great grandmother’s name. Jake especially loves how unusual it is. For the first few days, one of the boys called her California and Sophia called her Sally, ha! They now have it figured out and we’re loving our sweet new baby who seems so tiny compared to her 30 pound sisters. 

 Callie got to "model" for a local photographer...and Mommy got free pictures, yeah!

Our Washington cabin trip in February (first time for the kids to be in so much snow - they loved it!)

 At the Thompson lake house in Texas for July 4th (first time for my relatives to meet my kids - they were loved!)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jacob, Jennifer, Joel (13), Michael (13), Samuel (12 ½), Sophia (3 years), Lydia (20 months), Caledonia (1 month)

A few links, if you'd like to explore beyond this letter...

Great Wave SEO 

Winter's Comin'

Sweet Memories Doula Birth Services 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Daddy's Quilt

It's become a fun tradition to pose our babies in this white basket, with Jake's baby quilt.

Caledonia, 10 days

Lydia, 9 1/2 days

Sophia, 9 1/2 days

I totally wouldn't have remembered the "9 1/2 days" part,
except for looking up my last blog post on this subject, when Lydia was born. :)

Other sweet pictures of Callie sleeping in the basket: