Monday, December 22, 2008

The "Christmas Letter"

Merry Christmas!
Now that you've gotten over the shock and awe of receiving our Christmas Card this year BEFORE Christmas (hopefully anyways) you may have mosied on over to your computer and checked out our blog (because the link was on the card - Thank you Lisa for the wonderful idea!)

I don't know how many years in a row now I have constructed the "Christmas Letter" (6 maybe?), but we have so much fun doing it and yet have so much trouble actually getting it out during the Christmas season. Well, you can imagine that with a new baby, postpartum blues and all the craziness of the year (for us - to elaborate: a move from 7 years in our condo, 2 dead computers, 2 months without internet, 2 dead digital cameras, finally a computer that works BUT intermittent DSL & isn't hooked up to a printer yet, etc. etc. bla - bla - bla -) and whatnot - your Christmas Letter probably wouldn't have arrived until June, at the earliest...perhaps not even until Christmas of 2009. So, in an effort to make things easier on me; to eliminate the guilt of seeing the stack sitting on the counter month after month, and to update family & friends in a timely and tree-saving manner, here is our 2008 Christmas Letter:

Dear Family & Friends,

What a year! In January, we had the privilege of attending a new church, a real life changing moment for us. During one of the services that month, we learned that the number "8" means New Beginnings. For some reason it resonated with us. It was going to be a year of New Beginnings - 2008. Looking back, boy did that turn out to be true! It was a year of hardship as well, but we keep our focus on a new beginning and look forward to what 2009 brings us.

SPENCER - We welcomed Spencer into our lives in November - on our 8 year (there's that number 8 again) anniversary - Nov. 25th. He was almost 3 weeks early, but a really healthy 8 lbs, 2 oz! We are slowly adapting to having 4 children, while feeling very outnumbered and yet increasingly blessed by God to have these beautiful gifts in our lives.

PRESTON - Still a very active little boy who keeps us on our toes. He is super funny and quite the BIG boy lately at 2 1/2 years old. Our little monkey was two in June and talking up a storm all year long though we are continually amazed at his increasing vocabulary.

HANNAH - She is very much the princess of the family. Testing us in her 4 1/2 year old way and very independent and full of spunk. She also had a birthday in June. She is currently in her 2nd year of preschool and loving every minute of it. In 2009 she will embark on a new journey into Kindergarten and is so excited about that.

NATHAN - A big 1st grader already, wow! He is a special 7 year old, and while we have our moments with him, he is really proving to us how inquisitive and bright 7 year olds can be. He loves to figure things out and ask questions, though he doesn't love homework. He loves his teacher, though he doesn't love obeying all the school rules. (we're working on that!) He is very much into Legos and Star Wars - put those two things together and you'll show him heaven early.

ROYCE & COURTNEY - We are parents of 4 little kids, what more is there to say??? We are busy, busy, busy. Royce is still working for Artisan Tile and still enjoying it, though things have slowed down a little bit in the business. Somehow God finds a way to provide for our family so when we start to get stressed and wonder how ends are going to meet, we continually ask ourselves, "Why did I allow doubt to creep in?" God's timing might not be our own, but it works and is perfect. Courtney is still involved with her Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group and even went to a MOPS Convention in Dallas in October that proved to be a very valuable experience.

As difficult a year as we had, we have somehow come out ahead and closer than ever and are very blessed and can only attribute our blessings to Jesus Christ's power in our lives. When we are weak, He is strong.

Enough about us, we want to hear from YOU. Please keep in touch and drop us a line anytime. Our email addresses will be listed below and did change this year, so make a note of it. We pray that you are all having a PEACEful and JOYful Christmas Season!

With Love,
The Phelps Family
Royce, Courtney, Nathan, Hannah, Preston & Spencer

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but this cocoa is so delightful...

Our annual Christmas Light Night with a Live Nativity play at Christ the King Lutheran church on Walnut & stroll down Dovewood Court was Sat. Dec. 20th (Preston turned 2 1/2) and especially cold! Good thing we brought our hot cocoa along with us. Spencer didn't get to enjoy the hot cocoa but he was bundled up and nursed through half of the play anyways! After Dovewood, we drove by one more Court, our friend Kevin from Choir has his house all decorated along with everyone no his court. It's almost just a beautiful as Dovewood without all the traffic. Anyways, I took a picture of a tree on his street that was decorated like Rudolph.

Stinky Baby

After waiting 3 weeks (for belly button to get regular) without a real bath, it was finally time when we went to snuggle Spencer and he was a bit sour. Here are a few pics of his first bath! I love the 2nd one because he is looking up at my face while I wash him. Don't you wonder what he's thinking??

Bumper Sticker: "I'd Rather Be Here:"

Okay, WE didn't go to Disneyland, but Grandma & Aunt's Em & Gracie went last weekend. Since my mom is so willing to share her digital camera with us, I was able to upload HER pictures to our computer and can't help but share a few with those who haven't seen D-land all decked out for the holidays. Enjoy - even though we weren't there, we still enjoy the sights!

7 Years Old, Nathan Turned

On Dec. 5th, Nathan turned 7! It is hard to believe he is really 7 years old already! We held a party in our home (we hadn't been able to do this at the condo) and went all out with Jedi Training, a gorgeous Darth Vader cake made by Grandma Cheryl, Light Sabre fighting in the backyard with cousins & friends. It made for a pretty crowded night, but Nathan had an absolute blast - we hope his Jedi friends did too. Here are some pictures of his Star Wars Birthday Bash.

Love, Definitely

When we thought about the prospect of bringing home another child, we couldn't fathom what it would be like and how the other kids would react and be with him. I don't know why we have those weird questions, because how could it be anything but wonderful, crazy, great and lovely? The kids absolutely adore Baby Spencer and it is just so fun to see how automatic and easy love can be. With our spouses we have to "fall into love" but with kids, it just happens and you can't explain it. To think that this is how our Heavenly Father feels for His children is mind-bending. We don't need to woo Him or please him - He just loves us because we're His creation. Enjoy a few photos of this special adoration between siblings below and some pictures of bringing Spencer home....