Friday, December 14, 2012

The Year in Review

Holiday greetings to all of our friends and family~

            This year has been a busy and interesting year for our family, so we would like to share some highlights with you.  We hope this letter finds you thankful, contented, and blessed.

            Our family has much to be thankful for this Christmas.  We started out this year by taking a trip to Florida in February.  We celebrated Liliahna’s birthday with Winnie the Pooh and Friends on Feb. 4th.  We visited Disney World, Epcot, Sea World, Animal Kingdom, St. Augustine(oldest city in the US), and Kennedy space center.  The kids had a blast, Disney’s Magic Kingdom was their favorite, Epcot was our favorite.

            We added a few animals to our menagerie this year – and got rid of a few last year.  We no longer have any cows, but we did buy a couple goats to try milking next year(this will be Ondrea’s project).  We picked up a free miniature horse that Savannah is trying(unsuccessfully so far) to tame.  We participated in 4-H this year. 4-H created a very busy season running around the fair-grounds in August.  We had a great time seeing Chad’s brother Clyde and his family at Thanksgiving.  Their kids are sure cute!   We have continued homeschooling, and this has been our best year ever – the kids are doing quite well(most of the time)!  We have taken a few field trips with a homeschool co-op this fall, and a couple of our own.  We studied Idaho History this fall, so took a trip to the Coeur D’ Alene museum and a trip out to Wallace/Murray to learn some mining history.

Chad had a knee surgery this fall, and is recovering well.  He enjoys spending time with his family, writing in our blog(, and working around the mini-farm.

Ondrea had two shoulder surgeries this year, and is also recovering well.  Chad and Ondrea both had opportunities to serve and take care of one another during this season.  Even though recovery had its challenges, it was actually a wonderful time to slow down, be more relational, and learn how to delegate some responsibilities.  Ondrea is still homeschooling all of the children and loving it(even though it is challenging).  She really enjoys gardening.  We had a successful garden this year, in spite of the shoulder and even branched out to some more flower gardening.  We are still digging carrots and picking kale out of our garden as well as growing herbs and lettuce inside.
Silas (14) has continued to grow in responsibility, and is doing great in his homeschooling.  He is getting straight A’s so far this year(we are trying out a new grading system).  Silas raised 2 turkeys this year(we ate one for thanksgiving, it was great) and he and Savannah each raised a lamb(also very yummy).  He is continuing to excel at the piano and will be starting an internationally recognized program through Carnegy Hall next month.  He likes to garden, play guitar, take care of his goat(Jimmy), and is excitedly looking forward to “the Hobbit” movie this month.  Silas did archery in 4-H this year, and likes to golf when he can get time.  He and Savannah plan to raise a bottle-calf next year, and sell it the following year for some profit.  Silas also likes to cook – we have had many wonderful meals and desserts prepared by him this year.  Since he also likes to eat(a lot), this is a logical thing for him to do.  “Hmm… I’m hungry, Mom, can I make a batch of cookies this afternoon”? Silas will be taking Driver’s Ed this spring, and will do well I’m sure.  He has had a lot of practice driving the riding Lawn-mower around the farm.
Savannah (12) is becoming quite the young woman.  She loves working with animals, singing, listening to music, and photography.  She took riding lessons this year, and has become quite competent with a horse.  She got a Grand champion prize for her Pet Rabbit 4-H project this year at fair.  Savannah also has a very unique sense of humor.  Savannah is doing well in her music lessons, playing the piano and singing.  She has a beautiful voice, is quite talented and loves to perform.  She is also doing very well in her school this year and has beautiful handwriting (her favorite subject).  She is incredibly talented and creative.  She is also a big Lord of the Rings fan and looking forward to The Hobbit
Liliahna (9) loves to help and is quite the encourager and gift giver.  She enjoys doing crafts, sewing, cooking, and helping with the little ones.  She has a very sweet and caring spirit.  Liliahna did “Cake decorating” in 4-H this year, the rest of the family did a good job eating the cakes she made each month.  Liliahna has quite the imagination, and she comes up with some great little plays and skits that she and the other children act out for us.  She is also doing great in her music lessons and continuing to improve at the Piano.  Liliahna has a passion for China and dreams of adopting children from there someday.  She is excited to begin learning Chinese next year as well as study about it.  She also loves to garden too and talks about starting a plant nursery someday.
Elijah (7) – Is a very passionate and expressive young man.  His middle name is “David”, and we see a lot of similarities between him and David in the Bible.  He is a worshiper, and very emotional.  Elijah likes to play with Legos and likes to play with his “Lord of the Rings” action figures with his brothers and sisters.  He is quite acrobatic, so to keep him from bouncing off the walls too much, we put him in a gymnastics program for a few months this fall.  We also bought a trampoline this fall, and he has learned quite a few flips and bounces on it.  Elijah learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels this summer!
Evangelina (5) is a very interesting and imaginative person.  She can sit and play with her toys, read, or color for hours.  She loves to play with her ponies, dolls, read books with mom and dad, and also loves to play with her brothers and sisters. She participated in a princess ballet class this summer, and was adorable!  She loves to play dress-up, do anything involving imagination, and has quite the sense of humor.  She is doing wonderfully in school and would go through weeks of curriculum in a single sitting if she could.  She also has learned to read this year.
Peter (3) is very energetic and joyful, truly a “people” person.  He likes to interact with people and play with his siblings when he gets the chance.  He likes to play with Thomas the train and toy cars.  He got glasses at the beginning of the year since he is near-sighted and has one eye that wanders.  He called them “Blasses” at first, and the name stuck.  “Petesey, where’s your blasses?”.  We are patching one eye to attempt to correct the wandering eye now.  This doesn’t seem to slow him down much though!  Peter is also quite smart, and studies his toys intently to figure out how they work.  One morning, as Ondrea was getting him out of his crib, he announced quite passionately, “Mom, there’s a genius in my bed!” He also likes to say, “that’s Brilliant”.

Looking forward to 2013, we plan to do 4-H again.  Also, Ondrea got an idea to start a small business, which we are moving forward with a little at a time(Riverbend Spice Company).  We have some ideas to write some children’s books(with the children participating in the writing process), and a book about rethinking Church/Life/God from the perspective of God’s Love rather than the perspective of Rules/Religion/Tradition. We have no more surgeries planned(thank God), and we are looking forward to growing in our relationship with God, our family, and the other special people God is bringing into our life.  God is so good, he is everything to us, our healer, creator, helper, encourager, forgiver, loving Father, closest friend, Savior, and center of our world!

Love & Blessings,
Chad, Ondrea, Silas, Savannah, Liliahna, Elijah, Evangelina, and Peter Kidd