|Scrapbook made with Smilebox|
Blessings to you and Merry Christmas! This is our 12th annual Christmas letter, and once again we’ve included some of our favourite pictures – and one video! – from the past year.
2013 was a wonderful year for our family. We took a memorable family trip to Orlando in August. Gail and the kids continued on to a family reunion in North Carolina while Clay returned to Vancouver for work. But Clay had a trip earlier in the year that made up for it (more on that below).
For the last time, all 3 kids will be together at St. Paul School as Sean is now in grade 7 (Jacob is in grade 5 and Kayla is in grade 1). Gail is in her 14th year teaching there while Clay celebrated his 11th anniversary as the Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (OYYAM) for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Similar to last year, each family member has prepared his or her own paragraph. Here are some highlights of the year in our own words:
Kayla: I am in Grade 1. My teacher is Mrs. Kelly. I love to read and colour and my favourite thing to do in class is write in my journal. I like to play on the monkey bars at recess time. This year I’m in the Primary Choir and I liked singing in the Christmas concert because there was lots of music and I didn’t feel nervous. At home, I love to create sculptures with my playdoh. My favourite thing to make out of playdoh is food. I also enjoy doing arts and crafts. I still like dressing up like a princess and wearing my high heels. This year, I’m learning how to play piano from Grandma. I lost 5 teeth this year and I just had my 6th birthday on December 21. Happy birthday to me!
Jacob: I am 10 years old and love being in Grade 5. My favourite subjects are math, science, and religion. I enjoy learning about the different body systems, especially the digestive system! This year, I learned a new hobby: speed stacking! My best time for the cycle is 9.117 seconds. That’s really fast! I’m way faster than Sean and my Dad. I have 9 sets of stacking cups and 3 timers and mats. I have taught many people how to speed stack and I even hosted a tournament in our home back in November. I also won a gold medal in volleyball with my Grade 5 boys team. I’m one of the few boys who can overhand serve. I also loved going to Disney World! My favourite park in Disneyworld was Magic Kingdom park, and my favourite ride was Space Mountain.
Sean: I am 12 years old and in my final year at St. Paul School in Grade 7. Even though I am doing well in both academics and in sports, I prefer athletics over academics. I received a silver medal for mixed doubles badminton this past spring. I have also dedicated a lot of my time golfing as a junior member at Quilchena Golf and Country Club. I have a handicap of 16 and recently shot a +3 on the front 9. I am a much better golfer than my Dad but that’s not really saying much. I also enjoy playing volleyball as a setter and a hitter. I’m still a huge Disney fan and was thrilled to go to Disney World for the first time this past summer. Now I’m hoping to go on a Disney Cruise. Aside from sports, I enjoy playing and listening to music. For Christmas this year, I received an electronic drum kit from my parents and I enjoy banging away every day. I’m looking forward to receiving his Confirmation in the spring and to be going into high school.
Gail: This is my 14th year teaching with 13 of those years has been in Grade 2 at St. Paul School. Although I have been teaching the same grade for so long, I still feel fulfilled preparing the children for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. I enjoy taking all 3 kids to school with me in the morning and coming home together as well. This will all change next year when Sean moves into high school…yikes! At home, I enjoy relaxing in front of the TV watching my favourite shows: Survivor, Amazing Race, and Grey’s Anatomy. I also love to go on trips with the family because I get a break from cooking and cleaning. The highlight for this year was the trip to Orlando, Florida for 10 days when we went to Disney World Resort and Universal Studios. After Orlando, we attended a family reunion in Asheville, North Carolina with the Huang Clan. We stayed at “The Camp” for 7 glorious days with 54 extended family members to celebrate Tita Dot’s 50th birthday (my mom’s youngest sibling).
Clay: A lot has happened in the past year. In addition to my responsibilities as the Director of the OYYAM and the Director of the Parish Religious Education Program (PREP) at St. Paul’s, I continue to blog on my website about family, faith, and the Vancouver Canucks. Speaking of blogging, I’ve started to contribute to other websites as well. And speaking of the Canucks, I really enjoy writing songs and making music videos about the team. Without a doubt, the highlight of my year was travelling to Rome with the Canadian delegation accompanying the Governor General to attend the Inauguration Mass of Pope Francis in March. I’m so grateful to have been there for the start of Pope Francis’ papacy – he is doing such amazing things as he transcends different cultures, generations, and faiths. I spoke at conferences in Fort Worth (Texas), Regina, Kelowna, and Seattle and I ended my year with a one-day trip to Yellowknife to witness my good friend (and OYYAM predecessor) Father Mark Hagemoen be ordained as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Mackenzie – Forth Smith. Maybe there is hope for me yet – especially as I look ahead to my 40th birthday in June 2014.
Thanks for taking the time to read this Christmas letter. We’re looking forward to another great year in 2014. We want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year! We hope that 2014 brings you joy, happiness and good health! Our family will be praying for you. Pray for us too!
Love and God Bless,
Clay, Gail, Sean, Jacob and Kayla