Merry Christmas, everyone!
I hope this year finds you well-bundled, surrounded by cookie-scented candles, and humming Christmas tunes (preferably not the obnoxious ones, but we all know that’s wishful thinking.) It seems like each December I sit down to write our Christmas letter, only to find myself thumbing through my calendar and repeatedly exclaiming “That happened this year!?” It’s amazing how long ago last spring seems, let alone January and February. That being said, I am glad to get a chance to fill you in on some of the happenings in the Huether household in 2016:
Our year began with the best kind of home improvement (viz., the kind that gets done without you doing the work or spending the money. Win!) We received a grant from the city that covered the cost of abating the lead-based paint in our 1939 home (an important concern when you have a learns-by-eating-things aged child). We were very thankful to have come across and qualified for the grant, which allowed for a significant amount of work to be done (including our favorite update, all new windows).
In mid-February, my grandfather, CH, passed away at the age of 85. We celebrated his life at a funeral service here in Cedar Rapids, followed a month later by a second service in his hometown of Ballston Spa, NY. Being able to travel to Ballston Spa to visit family landmarks and hear stories of his life there was a very meaningful way for us to honor him at the end of his life.
We followed the sadness of CH’s passing with the joy of new birth. In March, we were thrilled to welcome two new nephews to our family: Ryker and Wesley.
On the 19th of April, we celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Matt surprised me with an overnight trip to the nearby small town of Edgewood, IA. We enjoyed a full day of off-road hiking. This was our first weekend away from (then 7-month-old) Charlotte, which was challenging for this mama’s heart, but refreshing at the same time.
The next week we traveled to St. Paul to meet little Wesley. Our plans were altered, however, when we hydroplaned on the highway, crashed into the concrete median, and spun off into the ditch. We are grateful to the Lord that the three of us walked away unharmed, albeit shaken. It has taken some time for us both to recover mentally from the terror of those brief seconds, and the reality of how much worse the results could have been. We replaced my totaled Elantra with a Prius, which I do like, even though it’s plain old white. (I miss that zesty blue.)
In May, Matt’s mother received a much-needed lung transplant. She had only been on the transplant list for a brief time, so we were amazed at and grateful for how quickly she got the call to head up to Mayo Clinic for surgery. Her recovery has not been “easy,” but it has gone incredibly well, and has significantly improved her energy level and capacity for activity. We have seen God working in many ways in the circumstances surrounding her transplant.
June came around and we were on the road again, but this time we headed west. My step-brother won a week at his company’s condo in Breckenridge, CO, and invited family to come along. We were happy to accept his invitation. While in Colorado, we climbed various mountains, ate some amazing crepes, went to a Colorado Rockies game, toured the Coors Brewery, slid down an alpine slide, and topped our own doughnuts. Among other things.
At the end of June we found out that we were expecting! Our second little girl is due February 24 (only two months away!) We can’t wait to add her to our family. She and Charlotte will be 17 months apart.
Summer was full of outdoor adventures, watching the Olympics, and extensive amounts of yard work (we dubbed this “the summer of the lawn.”) In August, we enjoyed our annual trip to the Iowa State Fair, which was no small feat considering our group included a three-year-old, two one-year-olds, and two pregnant mamas. (Next year there will be five kids under four!)
Before we knew it, September had arrived and we were celebrating Charlotte’s first birthday. She learned to walk soon after, and we’ve had to start calling her our “toddler” instead of our “baby.” (This is a major transition for a parent.) The evening of her birthday, we received a call that my uncle Tim had been killed in a one car accident. He will continue to be dearly missed. (A lot of other things happened in September. In fact, it was so eventful, that it has it’s very own post. If you’re interested.)
In October, I started working very (very) part-time for our church, we celebrated the recent marriage of my step-brother, Ben, to the wonderful Amy (she has been a great addition to the extended family), and we got really into the World Series (especially considering that neither of us have ever cared about baseball. It was fun tagging along for the ride.)
We happily welcomed another nibling to the family on November 14. Little Georgia is a sweetie and we can’t wait to see her personality start coming out. We love that both of our girls will have cousins that they are close to in age, and we hope they will be close friends as well.
And now we find ourselves here in the middle of December. Over the last couple weeks, we celebrated both our birthdays (Matt hit the big 3-0 this year), and are looking forward to celebrating the birth of Christ this coming Sunday.
All the best from our family to yours! We are excited to see what 2017 holds for all of us.