Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Open Christmas Letter 2013

Our family sent out Christmas cards this year but we didn't send a letter. You know, those big long letters that you write in a size 2 font just to fit everything in? I secretly love reading those. I really do! I'm always so curious to see what everyone's family has been up to and all the accomplishments and milestones their kids have met in the past year! So the below will serve as our Christmas Letter for 2013.

Dear friends and family,
I hope that this letter finds you healthy and happy this holiday season! We've had a whirlwind year but we couldn't be more blessed! We ended 2012 by celebrating Vesper's first birthday and began it by celebrating Ryan's 28th! This was my first year to be at home with our children, and change seemed to be the theme of the year!
In March we were overjoyed to bring our baby boy, Richard Grey Ahlgrim (known by "Grey") into the world. It's as though he was supposed to be here all along. He is the happiest baby we've ever known- always smiling and laughing- and has brought indescribable joy into our family!
In the summer, we began the process of looking for a house, and although we had quite a time, we found a fantastic fixer-upper in a wonderful neighborhood for an unbeatable price.
Fall was spent moving into our new place and I can confidently say that we are starting to feel settled. We will begin cosmetic renovations in the spring to include painting and installing new hardwood floors.
A few things to note about our family this year:

Vesper has excelled tremendously since my coming home from work last November. She knew her alphabet by 13 months, and could recognize all of her letters and colors on sight by 15 or 16. She can also count to 20 and has begun memorizing and "reading" books to herself already! We're currently working on naming her double-digit numbers on sight and the sounds that letters make (she already knows several of these!) and hope to continue to extend her daily "Learning Time" into homeschool as she reaches three and four years old. She loves animals of all kinds and her favorite game is "What animal makes that sound?!" She has loved being in the "News House"- as she calls it- with all of the extra space (and stairs!) to run around. She also enjoys the back yard to play in and park at the end of the street! She turned 2 on December first and we celebrated with a Menagerie-themed birthday party.

From the moment this baby bear entered the world he's done everything just like a boy: harder, louder, rougher, bigger! He has had a tough time with acid reflux, and although he is off of his medication and special diet, he still has issues from time to time. Learning to sleep through the night took a bit of convincing for Grey, but he improved once we took away his pacifier (go figure) and was completely sleep-trained by five months! Such a show-off! He learned to crawl by six months and sit up at just over seven months! He's currently 9 months old and crawling at the speed of light and pulling up to stand. He has six teeth, and is working on three others! He pretty much refuses puree food anymore and loves to partake in whatever we're having, but his favorite meal seems to be goulash. I've never seen a baby as happy and giggly as this little man and I can't wait to see how he continues to grow and develop over the coming months!

Ryan began a job at Crossland Construction near the fall of 2012 and was pleased to have just celebrated his one-year anniversary with them. He has been promoted from the title of Project Engineer to Project Manager and will be receiving a new car as part of recognition for his stellar performance. In his spare time, Ryan has been building beautiful farmhouse tables and furniture to sell and will soon begin work on our new dining room table (our old one is too small for our new space!) He is such a wonderful example of hard work and godliness for our children and we're blessed to have him!

As I mentioned, this was my first year as a stay-at-home mom and boy was it a challenge! I knew there would be a learning curve, but I didn't realize that curve was really more of a circle- the learning and adjustments just never end! Tossing another baby into the mix certainly kept things interesting! However, the joy that has come from my being at home far outweighs the monetary benefits that would come from working outside of our home. I am able to have learning time with Vesper and watch each of my children grow and reach their respective milestones. They keep me on my toes, but for me, there is nothing more satisfying then being their mother and Ryan's wife. I love making a home for our family! I have continued to do photography, and although at a much lower capacity, I have been quite busy with shoots on weekends (and week nights during the warmer months). As I do not take shoots in January or February, most of my thoughts these days are occupied by the upcoming renovations that will occur in our new house. I can't wait to get started and make this lovely 60s beauty look and feel a bit more like the Ahlgrims.

We are truly blessed by each and every one of you and you are always in our hearts and prayers. Though much has changed within our family this past year, we held fast to God's sovereignty and gave thanks for His many blessings. Thank you so much for being a part of our lives and making 2013 a fantastic year!

God bless,
Chelsea, Ryan, Vesper, and Grey Ahlgrim

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