Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas from Salem, Oregon!

This year has brought a lot of changes for the Williams family.  One year ago we had just begun our journey of being a long-distance family:  I (Jill) was living in an apartment in Salem, working in Mt Angel, and traveling home to Bend on the weekends.  Bryan and the kids were still in Bend, and we would alternate weekends traveling back and forth.  By the grace of God, this arrangement only lasted four months, and by March we were all living under one roof in our new house in Keizer (just north of Salem).  The kids started their new schools after Spring Break--it was an adjustment, particularly for Kaela in middle school--but they all made friends easily, have great teachers, and are all excelling at their appropriate levels!  We've had lots of family outings to explore our new location and what it's like living in the valley instead of the high desert.

Kaela is turning 13 this Christmas Day--a teenager ACK!  She is very excited and has been reminding us every day....for the last 25 days.  She is in 7th grade at Claggett Creek Middle School; she is a TAG student and is in 8th grade math and other advanced placement classes.  Her favorite class is Band where she plays the flute.  She also takes a cooking and sewing class.  She loves science and she wants to be doctor someday.  She was active in theater before we left Bend, and she plans to join a new group here in Keizer after the first of the new year.

Graeson is now double digits--10!--and he is a very active boy!  He is in 4th grade at Keizer Elementary and he was elected as a member of student council.  He too is very advanced, especially with numbers, and his teacher has a challenge keeping him busy.  In May, Graeson accomplished three years of hard work in taekwondo and he is now a black belt!  He was the youngest black belt in his group--we are so proud of him!  Bryan has now also decided to join taekwondo.....which means Graeson is higher rank (but not at home!)  Graeson played tackle football this year, and he had an unfortunate concussion at his first game.  But he healed fully and was back on the field for the second half of the season.

Maezie is 7 years old and growing fast!  She is in second grade at the same school as Graeson, and also on student council.  She loves school and likes that we live close enough to walk or ride bikes to school.  After the big move, Maezie decided to try jazz dance classes and she LOVES dancing!  She also likes to play board games, read books, do crafts, and wear dresses.  This winter she decided to try basketball--and she has a pink and white basketball of course!  Maezie's favorite trip this year was our annual vacation at the beach--swimming, sand castles, aquariums, shopping, and of course....the ocean!

Mom & Dad spend our time coordinating schedules, activities, school, and sports.  Bryan continues his stay-home-dad career and spends his time doing house projects, family meals, and now taekwondo.  Jill is still working on the details of getting the Mt Angel hospice going, and in the meantime I've been commuting to Portland working with their hospice branch.  We hope to be seeing our own patients this Spring!  Together we make coffee dates a priority for kid free time, and sometimes our "dates" are a trip to Costco by ourselves!  But after 17 years and 3 doesn't take a limousine to make meaningful time together.  We hope to keep in touch with all of you this next year--send us an email, write on our facebook, or give us a call!