Dear friends and family: Christmas 2001

Greetings to all from the ever-growing Gruenbaum family. Despite the challenges of our nation and world in 2001, the Gruenbaums have developed a greater appreciation for the real meaning of Christmas. We are even more committed to counting our blessings and reminding others of theirs!

The year was full of excitement and the usual lack of sleep. This year’s culprit was our newborn little girl, Rachel Nicole. She was born at 11:54 PM on 9/21/01. Rachel has dug the apparently bottomless parental pit of love even deeper. She is a beautiful, blue-eyed strawberry-blonde that gives Jeffy his fair-skinned teammate against the very competitive Timmy-Abby team.

Andy had a year with plenty of growth opportunities. Last winter, he went on a mission trip to the Czech Republic with his church. Besides learning a few foreign words, it was great to be able to put your faith into action. The spring/summer opportunity was spending more time with the kids. Despite the 4 month layoff from his previous employer, the children and the “honey-do” list were not able to break him. The fall opportunity has been his new job at Checkfree Corp where he is a Business Analyst working with electronic billing.

Judy continues at Bank One which has gone through many changes this year. This year she took on additional responsibilities in the Compliance department and now covers both corporate trust and the retirement services area. She is returning from her 12-week maternity leave somewhat reluctantly, but is thankful for her employment and its convenience to the boys’ school. In her spare time, she still sings in the choir, and she and her mother have been working on scrapbooks for the children.

Timmy is 6 ½ years old. He enjoys first grade and has adjusted to life with no nap as well as completing homework assignments – spelling lists, bible verses, etc. He is an avid reader and a great help around the house caring for his sisters. He takes pride in thinking of himself as his daddy minus 30 years. As daddy looks at this “mini-me”, his respect for his parents’ patience has grown. 😉

Jeff continues to be a joy. His warm, tender-hearted smile makes mom and dad forget the mischief his brother and he plot on a regular basis. Jeffy also seems to feel compelled to make at least one paper airplane a day, and he isn’t afraid to experiment with new materials like cardboard and plastic grocery bags. And, as the boys embarked on their sports careers this summer, we are now officially soccer parents!

Abby is 18 months old and getting more used to her baby sister. Fortunately, her touch has grown more gentle, too. The day Rachel came home, Abby seemed to triple in size. She has a smile that certainly melts her parent’s hearts, and she has a curiosity level that makes only the remotest of hiding places safe. She has recently discovered stickers and crayons. Thus, a quiet Abby typically means another reason to paint a room or buy new furniture. And, of course, she is honing her mowing skills!

We vacationed at the Outerbanks in North Carolina in June. Otherwise, we stuck pretty close to home this year – we find it’s easier to sleep at home than put 4 kids and 2 tired parents together in a hotel room.

When Christmas decorations went up this year, Judy and I looked at the mantle and couldn’t believe the 6 stockings that dangled dangerously within the range of a curious toddler. May the mantles of your hearts all be blessed by the season and He who loved us enough to come over 2000 years ago.

May God bless your lives in the coming year!!

The Gruenbaums


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