Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

I decided to email our Christmas letter this year.
I am behing and this was one way to get it out and document our year before it's too late!
Of course I do not have current email addresses for everyone, so many came back to me.
Just in case some of you read my blog and did not get a letter via email, here it is!
It was 9:30 on Christmas night and the phone rang. I answered to a very excited, very WARM, Brigg, calling from the Sarasota airport. He had made it to Florida with Nana and Papa S. He told me all about the weather and the plans for the upcoming week. And I thought to myself, “Who is this child?” A year ago he would have never left his mommy and daddy for a week-long vacation with his grandparents. He would have teared up at the thought of it. And here he was, calling me from hundreds of miles away, on cloud nine. And I was tearing up at the thought of how big he was getting. Yes, so much changes over a 12 month period!

Brigg (7) has had quite the year. His big brother responsibilities have doubled and he has grown into this position beautifully. His start to 1st grade was a little rough. He was not ready for summer to be over, or for the hours spent outside to come to an end. He is a creature of habit and this completely messed up his routine. But after a few weeks, he informed me that he liked school again. He would just like to be home schooled ONE day a week! J His love of baseball, golf and the outdoors in general is apparent to all who know him. And he counts himself blessed to be traveling this holiday season with my parents to a far away place to watch his beloved Hawkeyes play in a New Year’s Day bowl game. And I won’t lie to you, Paul and I are a tad bit jealous of our 7 year old son!

Nalani (5) has easily taken on her role of big sister this year. She takes it very seriously. And sometimes I think her maternal instincts are a little too much for Ayla. I am beginning to think that Ayla will never have a reason to speak with Lani around. She just has to grunt until Lani figures out what it is that she wants. Lani is in her last year of preschool and loves it. Her teachers describe her as “quietly exploring, and following the rules. A sweet girl.” We’re hoping that sticks through the teenage years! She loves nature and animals, especially horses and cats. She still enjoys playing Barbies and princesses, but often does so with dirt under her fingernails. She has this biggest heart and wears it on her sleeve. She would love to spend all her days in her pajamas and robe, playing games and snuggling. I love this age.

Ayla (1) is definitely our little spitfire. We had no idea what a huge part of our family was missing until she arrived. She is completely different than Brigg and Nalani ever were. She is aggressive and determined. She doesn’t take “no” for an answer. She is walking and climbing and has taken to hitting when she gets overly tired. I suppose she does what she has to to make sure her “voice” is heard in this bunch. We continue to work on “gentle touches” with her, but so far have been fairly unsuccessful. And although she can be quite forceful herself, she cries hard if she thinks someone else is getting hurt. She is very protective of her siblings and if she catches Paul tickling them or wrestling them, she runs over to him crying and pushes him away. We are so anxious to see her personality develop in the years to come.

Paul started a new job this fall! He is now employed by Muscatine Power and Water as an Energy Services Specialist as well as doing home and radon inspections on the side and he loves it. For the first time in his life, he is truly working 40 hours a week instead of 50+. He is much more relaxed and able to enjoy so much more time with us at home. Not to mention he no longer has the half hour commute to and from Davenport each day. We have quickly adjusted to this way of life!

I continue to stay home with the kids and run them around to different activities. During this season of our lives I could not ask for a better “profession”. I wear the title of wife and mother very proudly and wouldn’t change it for the world!

As we approach the New Year, our hearts are filled with anticipation of what’s to come. This holiday season has brought with it new eyes for our family. Our part in the Water for Christmas campaign has changed us. We have spent the past few months working hard to fundraise to build fresh water wells for villages in Liberia. And giving away a small part of our Christmas to something greater than ourselves has proven to be the biggest blessing of all. We have focused on something so much bigger than what happens in our little part of the world and we have found new parts of our hearts ignited. We pray that these passions creep into our daily lives in the year ahead. It feels like our family is figuring out who we want to be and what we want to stand for. It has been exciting to see what we believe turn into action this holiday season. And what greater way to show our thankfulness to the father who sent his child during this season 2000 years ago than to be love and light to someone or something outside of ourselves?

May your holiday be filled with joy and thankfulness,
Cassie for all the Burback Family
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