Monday, June 18, 2007

About those kids' names, and our 2007 family newsletter

Okay, guys. I guess the privacy faction wins. I was seriously leaning toward using real names, but there's just this one little part of me that (a) feels more free to talk about my family and the struggles we face when I don't have to use real names (funny how that is); and (b) doesn't want to have regrets by revealing too much private information here on this blog.

The clincher was when I mentioned pseudonyms to the kids, they really got into "naming" themselves (a combination of favorite names, family names, and "we-almost-named-you-that" names, thanks to Granny). Who'da thought?

So, to celebrate the "pseudonyming" of our kids, I thought I'd post our 2007 family newsletter, the one that never got sent out at Christmas. It won't be news to any of you who've been reading my blog this past year, but at least you'll get a summary of the year and get to know the kids "names."


The 2007 Raising Five Family Newsletter

Thanks to all of you for your Christmas pictures, cards and letters. With three kids’ birthdays in December, I think we finally got smart. A New Years Easter summer letter makes so much more sense! Here's a bit of what's happened since we last wrote:

Allie, 13, is going into eighth grade. She’s been busy with sports this year - entering the world of competitive volleyball, and playing on her school’s basketball and track teams. Got to sing her first choir solo this year, dressed up 70's style and singing Thank You for the Music. Mostly, she enjoys hanging out with youth group friends, surprising us with no-bake cookies, drawing and writing in her journal, and making us all laugh. Thing Allie is best known for: Screaming for no apparent reason.

Neal, 12, is going into 7th grade. Music continues to be Neal's main passion. He also enjoyed choir, but he spends most of his time rocking out with his electric guitar. Made us really appreciate his new (mellow) acoustic guitar (Now we can repair his shattered bedroom window!). He’s been looking forward to summer because he finally gets to play with the youth group worship team. Joined the summer swim team, loves to take his board to the skate park, thinks he wants to play football next fall, and is our resident computer game guru. Greeting Neal is recognized by: "Sup?"

Elizabeth (Libby), 9, is going into 4th grade, our only child at elementary school last year. Loves math (where did she get that?) and is rarely without a book underway. Libby is the one who keeps us all organized around here, and I'm so thankful for her sticky note reminders on my mirror. Played basketball and also joined the summer swim team, but her main athletic interest is still softball. Loves to play first base, and this year she became a proud owner of her very own catcher’s glove. Both positions keep Dennis's arm in shape! Libby got a bass guitar for her birthday, and her goal is to join Neal in his band some day. Favorite 2006 memory: "Body surfing in Florida."

Annie, almost 6, has the unique role of being the big sister of the “little two.” This means that by day (when the big kids are at school or out doing their big-kid thing), she is totally in charge of the play agenda. Most days it’s coloring, but she can talk Ruthie into being her servant, doggie, or horsie, too. Annie’s starting to read, which is a testimony to the developmental miracle of childhood, not her mother’s teaching ability. Favorite 2006 memory: “Seeing the pigs at Uncle Jim‘s farm.”

Ruthie is 3. I can’t believe our baby is now in a big-girl bed (which she shares most of the time with Annie) and is potty trained. She’s the darling of the big kids’ friends, and gets passed around like a rag-doll when she cheers on her siblings at their activities. Ruthie is always game for a round of peek-a-boo, hide-and-seek, or itsy-bitsy spider, and is just the right size for scooping up into a big hug. I’m treasuring these moments of toddlerhood, which seem to be fleeting faster than I can keep up. Favorite 2006 memory: “When Annie kicked my toof out.”

Dennis keeps busy working in HR. At home, in addition to his usual tickling and coaching duties, his passion for writing gave him a couple of opportunities to talk about blogging at professional conventions this year. So I guess his obsession “hobby” is here to stay. Men’s ministry is his other passion, and, along with helping our couples' Sunday school class, he’s been excited to work with the Men's Fraternity program at our church.

I’m still controlling chaos around here. Sometimes it’s a losing battle, but I like to think there is something spiritual about having a hot meal and finding clean laundry in the drawer somewhat regularly! The good news is, I’ve gained several hours a week now that our 13-year stint with diapers is over! Helping out where I can with the women’s ministry at church and keeping up with the kids’ activities both serve to keep my juggling and chauffeuring skills expertly tuned. And, after much chocolate arm-wrestling, Dennis convinced me to do some writing, too, so I’ve joined him in the world of bloggers. That, and I quit drinking coffee and Diet Coke. Will wonders never cease?

Our life seems stretched to extremes even more this year, with preschool, elementary, and middle schoolers' activities, needs, and interests colliding in a whirlwind of activity. We are constantly revisiting the priority of our relationship with Christ and of our marriage, as the To-Do list for a big family can be a cruel taskmaster dictating away our precious time. We steal (literally!) occasional moments away to get coffee (or tea, as the case may be) and attempt to put a complete thought together. We look deeply into each other’s eyes, and mumble, "I just know there was something important I was supposed to tell you..."

We are more and more thankful for our friends as time goes by. You’ve encouraged us along the path, even though we don’t get to see most of you as often as we’d like. You know our door is open and we’d love to have you come see us.

As always, we pray you'll live the rest of 2007 knowing all we have comes from above.


Jenn @ Knee-Deep in Munchkin Land said...

LOVE the newsletter! I always look forward to Christmas because that's when we get to find out how everyone else's year went. =) Thanks for sharing!!

Unknown said...


I'm feeling a little dense as a follow up to your last post. So, did you decide to go with pseudonyms or use their real names??

Or I guess you could purposefully leave it a mystery--ha!

Gina Conroy said...

It's nice to get all that info in one quick post! And it's fun to get to know your kids a little better.

My boys are pretty musical, but it's more in the singing arena. I wish they'd get excited about an instrument, but they'd rather make up routines to songs from other bands and do karaoke style stuff.

Christi said...

Love the letter. Maybe you should just make the "summer" letter the annual letter instead of Christmas. Start your own trend!

Hope you're having a great day!

Beth Wright (P31 OBS Team Member) said...

Loved your letter. I've just recently started reading your blog so it was a nice introduction for me.

By the way- we have one December b-day here and boy it's tough with it being so close to Christmas! You could call your newsletter your 1/2 year newsletter (we call DS's b-day party his 1/2 party and do it in June or July instead of Dec.)

Susanne said...

Summer newsletter! Way to break out of the mold. Now you've got me thinking about the name thing.

Kelly said...

A friend of mine sent out an autumn letter instead of a Christmas letter one year. I immediately snatched her idea and ran with it. We have been doing autumn letters for four years now. It's so nice to sit back and read everyone else's holiday letters without worrying about getting mine prepped and mailed.

Thanks for sharing~

Monica Wilkinson said...

Hi Katherine! I found your link through Joy and just wanted to let you know I'm hosting a Blog-Style Baby Shower for her and her boys. Stop by my blog if you're interested in participating!
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

And what would your pseudynym be, if you had one?

Sounds like you could have a family garage band if you wanted to!

How cool that your husband blogs. What is his blog called?

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Hi Marian!

Who's to say mine isn't ALREADY a pseudonym?? I'll just leave you all in suspense!

Jeremy@Life of an Ant said...

From you news letter you are definitely the queen of controlling chaos. I enjoyed the summer letter/

Beck said...

I so agree with you that there IS something spiritual in a hot meal and clean laundry!
I loved this post, and I love your kids' pseudonyms. If I was going to nickname my kids on my blog, they'd be Tillie, Jasper and Clara, for the record.

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

Oh, I love it! You are such a good writer - how do you put your thoughts down so clearly? These days, I'm just a-muddle.
Loved reading about what else your sweet family is up to - thank you!