Merry Christmas from a very, blessed and relocated Gruenbaum family!  The southern “call” was answered this year.  Although August tested us a bit, for the most part, we are enjoying the weather.  We do miss family and friends in Ohio and were thankful to visit with so many during our long Thanksgiving break.

Before leaving for Texas, the kids enjoyed Ohio as much as they could.  When our house sold very quickly in February, we moved into temporary housing until the school year finished.  We found a house that was not perfect, but it gave us storage and plenty of room to live.  We continue to tell stories of how the gutters blew off the house, and grass that went unplanted for several many months.  After several months of “good-byeing”, we headed to the Lone Star state in June.

We found a nice house close to the school.  We have especially enjoyed our pool, and getting reacquainted with Andy’s old neighbors from Ohio – the Baileys.  Judy and Andy take frequent walks, and the kids are getting used to their new school, Ft Worth Christian.  It is true that everything is big in Texas – schools, churches, highways, the sky…

Abby is our resident comedian, although she competes with Jeff for that title.  She is adjusting to life in the 5th grade at her new school and enjoys gymnastics several times a week.  She loves everything to do with crafts.  She also has taken over every spare inch of the house with her things including claiming the guest room as her and Rachel’s second bedroom.

Rachel, a 4th grader, has also been a busy girl.  Her most recent activity, soccer, led to her present status of “cast-owner”.  She had to go through surgery to set her left arm.  She has learned to write with her right hand.  on the positive side, it is convenient at the dinner table, because we are no longer bumping elbows with everyone.  We will be glad for her when she gets her cast off soon.   Rachel, Abby, and Andy have formed their own polar bear club.  They plan to “swim” in our pool every month of the year.  It might be warmer down south, but it takes some intestinal fortitude to jump in the water during these winter months.  With her hopes of a winter basketball season dashed, Rachel is content reading every book on which she can lay her hands.  She is hoping she has the top reading points in her school this year.

Tim is a sophomore and adjusting to Ft. Worth Christian.  He is taking several AP and Pre-AP classes which are a challenge, but he has risen to it.  He continues to play his computer games more then he may need to.  However, since soccer is a winter sport in Texas, there is more of a balance.  He is starting to talk about driving and where he might get a part-time job.  Hard to believe he can be this old!

Jeff is in 9th grade and has adjusted pretty well.  He also plays soccer.  Since the family computer is often occupied, his favorite past-time involves the XBox, and often is “on-line” talking to friends in Ohio.  He learned a valuable lesson about what it means to be in the no homework club in Geometry and why you should continue to do your homework even if you don’t have to.

Andy’s sign business has been a little slower this year, but he has added several new websites.  He continues to use a couple of Indian consultants to help him with web projects.  He also continues playing chief transportation engineer for the family.  Thankfully, the route is only about 5 miles.  Even with the move, Andy still uses his part-time employee in Ohio.  Big growth in 2011 would be great!!

Judy has continued to be very busy in her 17th year at Chase.  Besides the normal hectic work schedule,  the move did give her a few extra challenges:  meeting her new introverted office mates; timing her morning commutes; finding her way around DFW airport (let’s just say that it is very important to know your terminal before leaving home); and trying to drag the rest of us to various social activities.

Our top 10 list of favorite things since moving to Texas (although they are not necessarily associated with Texas and not necessarily in any order):

  1. Guacamole
  2. TexMex cuisine
  3. Swimming pool
  4. Taking walks
  5. Scott and Pam Bailey and family
  6. Close to so many things
  7. Lots of sun
  8. Judy and Andy are a few pounds lighter
  9. Netflix on-line
  10. Texas day trips to Palo Duro Canyon, Dr. Pepper factory, and Dinosaur Valley State Park

Our top 10 least favorite things (well, we could only think of 9):

  1. It is a long drive back to Ohio with family and friends
  2. Longer commute for Judy
  3. New school for the kids
  4. Church hunting
  5. Miss our basement
  6. 8:00 ET meetings are at 7:00 Central time.  Ouch!
  7. Some neighbors not so nice
  8. We will never measure up to the holiday decorations of our neighbors!
  9. More piano lessons (Mom sees this as good, the boys do not)

The best thing, however, is knowing that we serve a never changing God.  He is the same today as yesterday and will be the same tomorrow and forevermore.  He is the same in Texas as in Ohio.  If you want to build your faith, then move 1100 miles to a place you don’t know and that doesn’t know you.  God is good and we thank him for maintaining us through our transition.  Rejoice, our Savior is born!  Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you.

P.S.  The Gruenbaum dude ranch is open for visitors – anytime.

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