December 2011

Merry Christmas, y’all! Our first full year in Texas and we still call it pop (not Coke); we don’t insist on wearing cowboy boots to church, but we do like Chicken Express. Has Texas changed us? Not really! But, we are grateful for Facebook and other virtual ways to stay in touch with distant family and friends.

Rachel continues to be our sweetie pie. She enjoyed playing softball in both the spring and fall. Both her batting and fielded improved during the season. In the spring, she also played soccer. So, she was very busy. She started playing the clarinet in the 5th grade band. Rachel (and Abby) would both say the best part of their lives is their hamster, Snoopy.

While Rachel is holding the hamster, Abby is usually doing something crafty or dreaming of her next craft. (She is also cunning and sly but this is usually only when her brothers are around.) Over the past year, she has done a number of friendship bracelets, some crocheting, lots of drawings, and whatever other artistic thing she can think of. She was doing gymnastics, but it became too much of a time commitment. Both girls started attending a different school this Fall. This was a very difficult decision for their parents. Three months in, however, it seems it was the right move academically, and the girls are making friends.

Jeff is enjoying his sophomore year. He ended up winning a few freshmen awards at the end of last school year, and it seems that “everyone knows Jeff”. How could they not? He is a mere 6′ 2″ and has made it his personal responsibility to keep some of his classes from being boring. Jeff went on a mission trip in southern Texas with the church this summer. He also plays soccer and ran cross country for the first time. As much as the girls love Snoopy, Jeff loves his X-box.

As a junior, Tim is having a busy year. He played soccer in a rec league in the spring, and he is playing on the varsity team at school this winter. He is really enjoying his technology and psychology classes this year. Tim has been doing his student driving, but we will likely wait until January to get his license. The next few weeks will be busy with school, our trip to Ohio, and on the day after Christmas, Tim and Judy leave on a mission trip to Rwanda. It will be good bonding for mom and son, and, an eye opener for the great blessings we have in the U.S.

Judy is still at Chase. Even though all 18 years there have been an adventure, this year has been one in not such a good way. It is not expected to improve soon, but she is grateful to have a job. In order to escape her work life, she likes to plan vacations. This year she planned a big one! While the kids went to Ohio, Judy and Andy went to Paris and then a Mediterranean cruise around Italy to celebrate their 20th anniversary. We went on to visit Judy’s folks and sister in NC before coming home putting about 4,400 miles on the car and visiting 13 states.

Andy also had another busy year. When he wasn’tactively supervising or performing the house maintenance, he coached Rachel’s softball. For her age group, the coach pitches if the “real” pitcher pitches 4 balls before the 3 strikes. He did not pitch badly, but some girls still insisted on striking out. 😦 He continues his sign business and has added a wholesale website. He feels like he always has around 100 things on his “to do” list.

We are continuing to seek the path God wants for us individually and as a family. We pray that all of you seek God with all your heart in the coming year. If the Mayans are right, December 2012 will be the end. And, if the Tea Partiers are right, the end could come in November. If your feet are on the Rock, the predictions don’t matter—your future is secure! Be a blessing to others this year. Thank you for being a blessing to us! We are so thankful for you. Merry Christmas!

The Gruenbaums

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