Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Dear Friends and Family,                                                                                              December 2012

The Christmas season is upon us once again and with it the flurry of Christmas related activity. We really enjoy celebrating advent with the kids as we count down the days ‘til Christmas. Each day of advent we read scripture, sing a carol, read a Christmas story, and put a symbol on the Waiting Tree. It really adds a sense of anticipation for the celebration of Christ’s birth.
The year 2012 has been a year full of busyness and activity in the Millard home. As always the year started with the celebration of Joshua’s birthday. This year he turned 12 (Yes that means he is going to be a teenager soon! Yikes!). He celebrated with a Star Wars party, which was tons of fun for him and 4 friends. In January we also enjoyed some snow days and a field trip to Missionsfest.
In February Caleb and I went on a field trip to the Symphony. We had a great time traveling there on the  
                                                                bus and skytrain.
In March Joshua was able to participate in a Rocketry Class which he really enjoyed. He built two rockets and our whole family was able to attend the launch day which was really cool! Also in March Joshua received Botox treatments to his calves to help him not walk on his tiptoes so much. This involved getting casts on both legs for a month. He was happy that they were walking casts and that he got to pick the colour (green).

In April we participated in our local Taekwondo Tournament and had a great time.  Christine came away with Bronze in Sparring and Bronze in Forms and I got Bronze in Sparring. May brought our usual flurry of birthday activity. First was Caleb’s 9th birthday with a Lego themed party. The kids had a great time making their own Lego cars and then racing them down a ramp. There was also Pin the Hat on the Lego Minifigure, building with candy Lego bricks, Lego Wii, and a sleepover. Next were Christine and Rebecca’s parties. They had their parties at the same time as one another in separate areas of the house. Christine had 6 guests and they made pizzas and played games and watched movies and slept over. Rebecca had her best friend Rebecca over and the two of them also made pizzas and they painted picture frames, painted their nails, decorated cupcakes watched a movie and had a sleepover.
May was also the month we held a very special Blessing Celebration for Christine. This was an afternoon where the women in Christine’s life were given the opportunity to speak blessings over her as she transitions from girlhood to womanhood. At the end of our time, Tim arrived to speak his blessing over her. It was a very meaningful afternoon.

In June all 8 of us (including Tim’s Parents) went on a 27 day family vacation. We drove down the coast to San Francisco and did the touristy things there. Then we continued to Los Angeles where we spent a week visiting family and going to Disneyland, California Adventure etc. Continuing down the coast we stayed in San Diego for 5 days and went to Legoland, SeaWorld, the Safari Park and more. Now that the California leg of our trip was done, it was time to head east to Arizona where we visited the Petrified Forest, Montezuma’s Castle, Walnut Canyon and the Grand Canyon. We drove eastward around the ‘end’ of the Grand Canyon crossing the Colorado River at the Glen Canyon Dam where we did a tour. Heading westward again we stayed in St.George, Utah where we visited Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon and Snow Canyon, all of which were breathtakingly beautiful! Driving North we stayed near Salt Lake City and then drove on to McCall, Idaho for our last night before heading home. We are so thankful to be able to go on such a fun and busy trip. We got to enjoy so much of God’s creation. We have created memories to last a lifetime.
After such an adventure, we spent the rest of the summer mostly close to home. The kids had their usual swimming lessons and we helped with Soccer Camp at church. We did take the August long weekend to drive up to my Aunt and Uncle’s cabin though, where we spent some quality time with my parents, sisters, nieces, aunt and uncle. We enjoyed swimming, boating, quading and time around the campfire. Tim also brought along the BB Gun and we did some target practice. Since the cabin is still a work in progress we spent time clearing brush and making the yard area look pretty too.

September brought the beginning of a new school year. This year Christine is doing Grade 9 work, Joshua is doing Grade 7, Rebecca Grade 6, and Caleb Grade 4. We are continuing to homeschool and are enjoying the adventure. We went sailing a couple of times in September and did some hiking too. We helped at another Taekwondo Tournament and Christine competed and took home a 2nd place in Forms and a 2nd place in sparring. Christine is really enjoying being involved in Taekwondo and she has been helping out in the lower rank classes getting some leadership experience too. 
The first weekend in October was an exciting one for Christine and me as I took her to see the Newsboys in concert. She was so thrilled when we bought the tickets! We took her friend along and had a really great time! The girls even went up to the front to join the group standing at the edge of the stage. They had the time of their lives.

On October 25th, Christine, Joshua and Caleb completed their Black Belt Test. After 3 years of training, they all passed and were inducted as Black Belts on November 15th. We are very proud of all the hard work it took them to reach this goal. Rebecca and I are on track to test for our Black Belts on December 18th, so we’ll have to update you all once that occurs.

This year I have again co-chaired the Women’s Retreat committee and on the first weekend of November the women of our church enjoyed a relaxing weekend away at the beautiful Cedar Springs Christian Retreat Center. Everyone enjoyed the weekend which was filled with music, games, a speaker, good food, free time, breakout sessions and lots of great Christian fellowship. It was a truly God honouring weekend and the bonus was I learned to knit!

The following weekend Rebecca and I were blessed to be able to attend Secret Keeper Girl Live! Along with some of Rebecca’s friends and their moms we had supper together and then drove to Bellingham for the event. It was a great evening that taught about the biblical truth of true beauty and modesty. It was also a special Mother/Daughter evening.

 And here we are at December and another year has gone by far too quickly. The kids are growing up so fast. I can’t believe that Christine is going to be 15 next year and my baby boy is already 9 1/2! We are so blessed to be surrounded by good friends and family with whom we can serve the LORD together.
As a family we continue to be very involved with our church family. This fall Tim started teaching the Grade 1-3 Sunday School, while I continue to teach the Grade 4-6 girls. Christine and I are helping with the kids club and Christine and Joshua are going to Youth Group and Sunday School. Rebecca and Caleb enjoy attending Kids Club, Kids Church, and Sunday School. Christine and I help in the nursery and the list goes on. We just love being involved and doing life together with our church family.
 As we look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth, we are also looking forward to enjoying our first Christmas with a new baby niece. Tim’s sister Karen and her husband Macky just had a beautiful little girl on December 7th. We are so excited to welcome Amihan into the family!
I hope this helps you feel more caught up with our lives, and we look forward to hearing from you to hear what’s going on in your lives. We wish you all health and happiness, this Christmas and in the coming year.

Timothy, Natasha,
     Christine, Joshua,
Rebecca, and Caleb