Hello Family and Friends,
Wow, where did the year go? This is now a New Year’s letter! I got the kids’ pictures done over a month ago, wrote the first draft of this letter 3-4 weeks ago, got my stamps early last week, but as I am rewriting this I can’t find my stamps and all of our cards are still here! Can anyone relate? In case you couldn’t tell, our lives are a little crazy! I keep saying, “A body in motion stays in motion”! As busy as we are, we are trying to keep our faith and family as our priority and remain grateful for our many blessings. There are plenty of days when I feel I am hanging on by my fingernails trying to do this, but tomorrow is another day!
We started the year off with Kevin heading to Jamaica for his mission trip. It was one of his best yet. They were able to get so much accomplished including getting running water to a facility that had never had running water-oh the things we take for granted! Although the economy has been tough in other ways, people are seeking “moonlighters” to cut costs. So Kevin has been very busy with side jobs this year which we are very thankful for. His business has cut into his riding a bit but he and his friend did a 12-hour mountain bike race this year and finished 3rd! They were really pleased. As Kathleen said, “Wow, that’s great because don’t they usually come in like 100th place?” Nothing like kids to keep you humble!
We also had lots of good snow this year (good for Georgia anyway) which the kids loved-snowmen, sledding, and the lake in our neighborhood partially froze so throwing everything possible to break the ice was a very big event! Not long after the snow, we were in Florida at Grandma’s playing in the pool and yes, even in the ocean. Crazy kids! What a life!
Summer brought swim team again. The girls did well and Matthew can’t wait to join this coming summer. He is quite the fish and very competitive so it should be interesting to watch. In June, Kevin and I were able to get away together to celebrate 15 years of marriage! How can that be when we are so young (ha!)? We went to Portland, OR. It was a beautiful trip and so great to be just Jill and Kevin and not Mommy and Daddy for a few days. The end of summer brought the start of school (we are still homeschooling) and our annual family beach trip in Hilton Head. The weather was perfect and it was great to get away and just relax as a family with wonderful friends as well.
We kicked it into high gear once fall arrived. Allison is 10 and in 4th grade. She is doing gymnastics this year. She continues her love of animals, particularly dogs and horses. She was able to participate in a camp this summer at a private animal rescue shelter which she loved-even better she didn’t bring any animals home! She also continues to advance in art. She has far surpassed Kevin and I at this point-although that isn’t saying much! Kathleen is 7 ½ and in 2nd grade. She started ballet this year. It suits her very well. She really loves it and practices constantly. She is already planning ahead for next year when she can try out for The Nutcracker. Kathleen also travelled to New Jersey & New York with my parents just before Christmas. She got to see Mary Poppins on Broadway, skate in Rockefeller Center, and go to the top of the Empire State Building-just to name a few activities! She was NOT ready to come home. She is our adventure girl and she is sure to be a traveler in the future. Matthew will be 5 next month and is in PreK. He is a sponge and loves all things boy-trains, sports, dinosaurs, big machinery . . . He also has a knack for picking up sayings and then using them properly. Just this morning he said to me, “Time sure flies, doesn’t it?” WHAT? Or “I can make my teeth tap, wanna see? (that would be teeth chattering to us regular folk!) He started Tae Kwon Do this fall and already earned his 3rd belt. Also, Kevin coached Matthew’s soccer team which was made up entirely of 4 & 5 year old boys from our neighborhood. It was great to watch. Matthew got 2 goals in one game! So cool!
I have continued as director of the homeschool enrichment program at our church and I am teaching Kathleen’s religious education classes. She just had her 1st Reconciliation in November and will receive her 1st Communion in May. I have not done any triathlons or other events, but I hope to get back into it next year. I really have missed it. It has been a trying year overall juggling my responsibilities as wife, mother, teacher, friend, daughter, etc. but it has also been amazing to see how my faith has grown through all of this. Instead of trying to “handle it” all on my own, I am learning in order to have balance I have to put my faith first and trust it is all safely in His hands. This is no easy task-like I said, I am learning.
We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season and a Happy New Year complete with health, love, and lots of laughter. We hope to catch up with all of you in the New Year.
Love, The Gibbs