Merry Christmas 2008!!
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands
of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler
in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Another year is almost gone - remember when we could not wait to
grow up? Now we wish life would slow down! Welcome to our
online Christmas letter! The photos here are rather small, but you
can click on any of them to enlarge them in a new window.
We continue to homeschool
Sarah and Rachel this year, doing first grade work. We are having fun
learning to read, to add and subtract, studying the Bible and teaching
character traits. We do a story time each week with another homeschool
family, fun field trips, ballet, and the Saints Athletic program
for homeschoolers. The girls also sing in the children's choir at
church, and Barbara is one of the choir moms this year.
some fun trips - we spent a week with Don's family up at Disney.
Sarah and Rachel have passed 44 inches and love the roller coaster
height restriction breakthrough! They are riding Space Mountain
and Expedition Everest this year, and ask to ride them over and over!
It is so much fun to gradually unfold more and more of Disney each year.
You can see 59 more photos from this trip at our
online photo album DisneySep08.
We went when the lines were short - walked right on to Space Mountain
for example. We got to have lots of nice special treats, such
as riding in the cockpit of the monorail. We also ate in some of the
restaurants that we normally pass by.
We have always wanted to take the girls to places that they would be
studying in their homeschool. We took them on a historical vacation
this summer with a whirlwind 8 day tour of Philadelphia, Trenton,
Mt. Laurel, Washington DC, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Jamestown.
We toured Betsy Ross house, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
We also got to see some friends and family in the area that we rarely
get a chance to visit with.
Don gave Barbara a day to do some genealogy research while he took
the girls for a horse and buggy ride through Philadelphia. This was
the highlight of their trip - they even "named" the horse
Penny, after a horse in Felicity, one of their favorite movies.
We have another
online photo album from this trip with 30 more photos.
In April, Barbara went on a cruise with her good friend Diana Cox
to the Bahamas. This was a nice break for both of the moms, and
made for an "exciting" time for Don and Jeff as they stayed
behind to take care of the four children! We all had a great time.
Don and Jeff know how to keep the kids in line and get them to
do all the chores. ;-)
Barbara also celebrated her 50th in April! We are very blessed to have
so many good friends through church and love to get together with them.
We also enjoy having cousin Pam and brother Steve and his wife Marilou
nearby. We went out to dinner to
celebrate Barbara's two decade refinement of her 30th birthday.
Here are (top) Barbara, Pam Allen, Freddie Barber,
Trish and Hugh Knight, David Schwartz holding daughter AnnaClaire,
(middle) Romeo DeMarco, Steve (Barbara's brother) and Marilou Bradford,
Josiah Schwartz, Sarah, Don, Rachel, (front) Anton, Allison, and
In May, we had a big outdoor birthday party for both Sarah and Rachel.
We hired one of the coaches from their athletic program to come and
set up a bunch of fun games for the children. He had them doing
archery, sharks and minnows, a water relay race, tug of war, and a rather messy
whipped cream covered donut eating contest. We are so thankful for
the wonderful friends that our children are growing up with!
Sarah and Rachel love to dress up, just like most little girls do.
Each year for October 31, our church does quite a production called
Harvest Festival. Rachel went as as Ariel (the Little
Mermaid), and Sarah dressed up as a clown.
In November, we have a Thanksgiving repast for the homeschool
group at church. Sarah dressed up as Pocahontas, complete with
feather. Rachel wore a little colonial girl outfit that Barbara
wore when she was a child.
We got a big surprise
in November when Don woke up in pain and decided to go to a walk-in clinic
the next morning. The doctor told him that he had appendicitis and that
he would have surgery that day!
If you know how Don can't handle hospitals, then you can imagine what a shock
that was to him. He almost fainted in the office sitting down. In fact,
the doctor saw him going pale and had his glucose level checked.
The appendectomy was done with a lot of prayer and laproscopic
surgery and he had an easy recovery with very little pain. No
photos for this event. :-)
We are so pleased with the way Sarah and Rachel get along together, even
though they are as different from each other as night and day.
Rachel has a spring in her step and a song in her heart. This year
she started playing the piano by ear. Sarah is very mild-tempered
and seems to be able to remember just about everything. Whenever
the rest of us forget something, we just ask Sarah.
They have a great time at home with school. They work with Barbara on our
vegetable garden, where we continue to battle insects and nocturnal
animals for the produce. We have grown some nice lettuce, tomatoes,
beans, and cucumbers. We are yet to master corn, cantaloupe, and carrots.
We are going to Myrtle Beach the last week of the year to be with Don's
family. Call us crazy for driving 600 miles North to go to the beach!
But the resort has an indoor water park that we are looking forward to.
enjoy sharing our computerized musical light display with friends,
neighbors, and strangers. We have had a lot of visitors this year.
Many people drive by during the day and roll down the window to tell
us how much they enjoyed the lights. This year Don did a lot of work
on the radio broadcast portion of the show, so that people can hear
about the show while waiting for the next show to start.
You can see more info and a movie of it at
squirrels continue to be a challenge. They destroyed dozens of
strings of lights last year, but Don is on the offense this year.
We have "relocated" 15 squirrels to a wooded area far away from our
house. One night these artificial squirrels mysteriously showed
up in the middle of the light display waving a white flag of surrender!
We always enjoy reading your Christmas letters and commend you for
making it to the end of this one!
We hope you all have a blessed and thankful Christmas and a great 2009!
Barbara's e-mail address:
Don's e-mail address: