Christmas Eve

Dear Friends & Family~

It’s Christmas Eve and it’s been an interesting year in the Burkholder home. We’ve grown in a lot of ways, the most obvious of which is, of course, the fact that Zoë is 13 months old now and Dante is five (although we’re not sure if that’s his age or his grade level)!

Zoë’s adoption was finalized in May and was a huge celebration for all of us! She is not quite walking, but is pulling herself up and cruising around furniture and it won’t be long until we will be chasing after a tiny child on two legs. She’s beautiful, with adorable little brown curls developing (with occasional red highlights that make me smile) and bright blue eyes. She’s highly vocal and expressive and loves to entertain anyone around her. She’s starting to learn many words and I’m sure that the walking will be followed by conversation as well. She adores her daddy and gets VERY upset when he leaves the room without her. She’s also highly adventurous and takes risks like Dante never really did (either when he was her age, or … well, now, for that matter). I’m sure that our first trip to the ER with her will more likely be due to injury than illness, since she has no fear.

Dante is in Pre-K this year since his birthday didn’t fall early enough in the year for kindergarten. He is reading at a 2nd grade level already, though, and loves language. He delights in learning words and phrases in many languages including Spanish, French, Chinese, and American Sign Language. He holds entire conversations with adults regularly that shock them, because he usually knows what he’s talking about. He has also recently discovered jokes and riddles, his favorite being “knock-knock” jokes. They’re usually not funny, but he has the structure down (and it’s funny enough that he’s trying).

Jeff is still working for the phone company as the “stat man”, analyzing productivity and making recommendations to the company to improve performance. He’s also still employed at the church, but his job took a turn toward Technical Director (from Artistic Director) this summer, which puts him firmly in the technical “geek” category! (To be fair, he always was in that category; he just now can be considered a “professional geek”, since he gets paid for it!) He continues his online cartoon, Zoidland, and tried his hand (successfully) at a continuing theme and story line for the year.

Nean stepped down from her position at the church in July, and is now stay-at-home Neaner. She is frequently entertained and often frustrated by both her own two little ones, but also Micah, who is the child of a family friend that she watches. Along with playing with the kids all day, she also spends a lot of time online and writing. In October, she started her own blog (Laughing at the Moon); in November, she participated in National Novel Writing Month and finished a draft of a story to be expanded to novel length… hopefully in the new year; in December she rediscovered her inner poet.

One highlight from the past year was our very first family vacation. We’ve been camping several times and up to Nean’s aunt and uncle’s cabin, both for extended weekends, but this summer we went on our very first week-long-stay-in-a-hotel-go-site-seeing vacation. We had a blast and Dante’s favorite part was Sesame Place!

This year has been a year of change and grace as we learn to love one another through the changing family situations that sometimes shake the foundations of who we think we are. So, we wish you grace this holiday season… particularly with us when you don’t receive an actual card. I decided not to send them this year due to the “failing economy”, busy schedules, and (let’s face it) my own laziness. However, know that we think of our dear friends and family often (or at least every time we write your email address in the “to” box or look up your profile on Facebook) and we wish you the most grace-filled holiday and coming year possible.

Love from all four Burkholders!

P.S. from Jeff: We’d wish you love from Sabine, our cat, too. Except you all know that’s just…well, nevermind.