Tuesday, December 23, 2008
2008 In A Nutshell
I love waking to new snow. Everything is still and blanketed in peace. Watching the snow fall for ten hours yesterday reminded me of the paradox of snow. It falls in flurries and is full of movement, yet there is none of the noise that would normally accompany that amount of activity. Much unlike our house! Here is some of the busy-ness that is part of life Inside the Whites' House.
This year Mary practiced her hands-on skills. At home she began planting the landscape and led the charge in redoing a bathroom, which included replacing a toilet. She also took a CERT class where she practiced administering life-saving skills that will help in a disaster-type emergency. Her favorite work was on a trip to Baja Mexico with Kent, where she learned to frame a building, turn cement into a sidewalk, and taught girls at an orphanage to make dolls and beaded jewelry.
Kid #1 has learned that fifth grade is a lot of work. Somehow she manages to stay active in the student council and school service projects while keeping up with homework, piano lessons, and her tutoring job. During school breaks she organizes her friends in her "Girls' Club" and holds meetings and elections. (She got the idea from Calvin and Hobbes, but it helps to have political blood in her too.) This picture is from her performance in Provo's "Hope of America" program where she rocked out to patriotic songs.
Kid #3 loves school, "even more than Disneyland!" (That was about the best thing her teacher has ever heard from a student.) She is constantly in motion (except when it's time to wake up). She loves to dance, hula hoop, sing, play piano, and jump rope. For her birthday yesterday, she got the one thing she had asked for: a snorkel. We added a mask and fins so she can explore the far reaches of the city pool.
Kid #4 (on the left) is very concerned about time. She loves to repeat the week's itinerary in terms of tomorrow and the next day and the next day.... She retells stories from "when I was three" or "when I was four-and-a-half, and I still am". She also likes to spell words that she has seen and has started spelling words that she can sound out. Like her sister, #2, she is good at including younger children when she plays. #2 is an all-around loving person. She lets her little brother share her bed so he won't be scared of the moon, even though it often means she also takes him on midnight trips to the toilet. He affectionately calls her "Mally Mom", which title she has earned. She keeps busy in third grade, piano lessons, and serving on the student council and as a tutor to younger kids in the neighborhood.
I love this picture of #5. He loves to play dress-up with his sisters, but we don't have any capes or construction costumes. So he lets the girls put dresses on him...and then stomps around the house or plays in the dirt! I tell myself that the smashed spaghetti and permanent marker drawings on the walls are just an indication of his creative side. He is also very gentle and loving and makes sure to hug and cuddle with anyone who is sad.
Kent continues to work for A Child's Hope Foundation, though this year he has also built web pages and dabbled in bookkeeping for a few other businesses and organizations, including his own website, www.mormon conferences.org. I love this photo--even though he is barely even in it--because it demonstrates his role at the foundation really well. He is the support person who truly keeps everything running. Every few months he organizes a trip to orphanages in La Mision on the Baja. These trips allow volunteers to serve the Mexican children, but the volunteers always come away feeling more richly blessed. One of the foundation's goals is to enlighten the spirit within, and because of Kent's efforts, this comes about for everyone involved. We would LOVE to have any of you and your families join us for a future work project. Check out www.achf.org (another great website by Kent) for more information.
So that's our 2008 in a nutshell. We hope you feel the love of our Savior and His Redemption in your life. To borrow a phrase from my new sister-in-law, we love you (unless you're a stranger reading our blog - we don't love you)!