Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 Christmas Update

For anyone who didn't get a hard copy, this is what we sent out this year (with a bonus picture for my blog readers!):
Greetings from the McFarlands! We hope this letter finds you all well and ready for a long winter’s nap. We’ve had a full year of fun and adventures, visiting Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef over spring break, leading a study abroad to Berlin and Tübingen over the summer, and jaunting out to California to see Mary Ann’s brother John marry Clarissa Lyons over Labor Day. We’re happily settling in for the holidays here, with plans of sitting by the fire and not much else. Here is what we have been doing:

Maddie (13) is in her second year attending an accelerated program at the high school here. She says “Just because I’m a nerd doesn’t mean I have no social life!” She lives, eats, drinks and breathes ballroom dance. She has found her niche on the swim team, doing distance freestyle events and is close to making a state cut. She still loves Shakespeare, and got to see All’s Well That Ends Well with her papa at the Globe Theatre inLondon. Asked if she could sum it up, she said "Girl loves boy. Boy doesn't love her back. Oy gevalt!" Maddie has a new dream job. She wants to play Countess Anna at Burg Hohenzollern where she gets to dress up in a white wig and take children on the kids' tour of the castle.

Will (11) is in his second year in his aunt Betsy’s class at school. He loves having her as his teacher and is counting down the days until she returns from maternity leave. He just graduated from cub scouts to boy scouts and can’t wait to go camping. He tolerates school, denigrates swim team and funnels all of his spare resources to Legos, Wii games and Nerf wars. He mostly wanted to play Garage Band and Photo Booth this summer, but he found to his surprise that he actually enjoyed the DDR museum, the Lichtenstein castle filled with armor and weapons, and swimming in the Bodensee. He renamed our much-touted app for public restrooms all over the world the "iPee". Will was a BYU Quidditch player for Halloween -- yet another costume of his own invention.

Sebastian (7) is in his second year of a Mandarin immersion program. While it isn’t easy, he impresses the rest of us no end when we get to hear him speak it. If we try to read the pinyin, he just shakes his head. He is also Maddie’s tutor and secret weapon since she started taking Mandarin this year. Sebi switched over to the pianoand tries desperately to keep up with all of the books his siblings read. Right now he’s plowing through Percy Jackson. This summer Sebastian enjoyed making a custom chocolate bar at the Ritter Sport store, and gleaning blackberries by the S-bahn trains, but his favorite part was having his best friend Tomas come to Berlin to visit.

Joss (3) is still the McFarland dictator. He dictates the CD in the car, the volume of the house, mealtimes, naptimes and bedtimes. His taste in music has evolved from the “Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” to “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray. He calls mama “mudder” and papa “poppy”. We try not to let on how funny he is, but near his birthday, Rob set down his breakfast eggs and said “Now what do we say? . . .” Joss replied “Waateber. Where is the freakin’ keppitch?” He took his first swimming lessons this summer and is now enrolled at a local preschool, run by a woman he refers to as “Mister Kaffee”.

Mary Ann is happy to be nearly through 2011. She made several sweaters for babies of family and friends, and tried her hand at making a quilt this year. She has begun to jog with Rob in the mornings and so far has a pulled muscle and plantar fasciitis to show for it. She saw lots of marvelous things this summer and was most happy to introduce her kids to London, see the Green Vault in Dresden, and go to the Black Forest andHeidelberg.

Rob has had a hugely productive year, teaching five classes and writing an online course in the spring, recruiting for and directing a study abroad over the summer, and sending out his first manuscript to find a publisher this fall. Once again he boldly went where no one had gone before with a group of 32 students. He continues to garden and jog, write poetry and attend Sundance and keeps the primary presidency in stitches with his antics as the primary chorister.

We feel so fortunate to have had a year full of blessings and activities, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, security, peace and health. We wish a similar 2012 for all of you. We love you and you enrich our lives with your friendship and love.


Brenda said...

Loved your card! And you flatter me, calling our lives an "adventure" - ahahahaha

Sharon said...

Has Karen ever said she wants to be you when she grows up? Ditto.