Greetings to all our dear friends and family during this most joyous season of the year!
It has been another eventful year for the Klopcic's with lots of ups and downs, noise and business. It's tough to decide where to start!
I suppose the thing which occupied most of our family time this year was sports - with a couple of new, fun sports making their way to the weekly calendar. In the Spring, the girls tried out t-ball for the first time and decided their coach was so divine they would play this wonderful sport forever! I'm not sure they learned a whole lot but they loved those uniforms and getting cheered on around the bases. John Michael also tried out t-ball and decided soccer is more his sport - he's definitely JT's boy. Benjamin played both Spring ball and Fall Ball and had a blast. The Fall ball league was short a few teams so just two teams got together each Saturday morning and played each other. Ben enjoyed playing his favorite sport in a very laid back atmosphere. Also in the Spring, JT introduced us to the world of lacrosse -what a wonderful sport! As a rookie, he excelled on the field and really impressed his coaches. The look on his face the first time they told him he wasn't hitting other people hard enough was priceless! I think we're going to fast become a lacrosse family and we're looking foward to our second season this Spring. Philip has taken up bastketball which runs year 'round with the Discovery League. He's really enjoying being one of the best players on the court and has some delusions of playing for the NBA someday.
Over the Summer JT enjoyed a week of soccer camp with the Baltimore Blast players which got him in shape for the Fall soccer season. Although he wasn't on the most competitive team, he did play out to be one of his team's top scorers. He's still aspiring to play professional soccer and his coaches seem to think he has what it takes with a healthy dose of practice and determination. The rest of the Big Six attended jumproping camp where Ben and Philip really excelled. The girls came out of it with much improved skills and all of the Big Six decided to continue on with weekly classes. Mairs particularly has enjoyed watching them learn the same tricks she learned in her years as a part of an exhibition team way back when! Ben and JT have moved up another level and Ben is well on his way to being a part of the team. Ben and his Dad also spent several months in training for the county cross country series. Many of the children ran in at least one race - Ben, JT, Philip and JM ran in two with Ben coming out of his first race with a bronze medal and his second with a silver! All the other children met their goals which ranged from just finishing (David, JM and Betsy) to running the whole way without a walk (Philip). Somehow Ben also managed to get hooked to Alpine Climbing after a session at the Y's climbing apparatus. Jumpropes are a bit cheaper than climbing equipment though...
In the riding arena, Philip and Miriam traveled to the special olympics for the first time in June. They both did extraordinarily well taking home a handfull of gold, silver and bronze medals. Not bad for their first time out! In the Fall show at our riding school, Betsy took home Grand Champion for her division, with JM taking home Reserve Grand Champion and the others also were awarded many ribbons of various colors.
In the medical dept we've done pretty well considering our family size. Philip had major bone graft surgery, taking a piece of bone from his hip and using it to repair the final area of his cleft palate. He also had a lip revision to smooth out the appearance of his lip under his nose and then a second surgery to remove some scar tissue on the inside of his lip. He did manage to remove all of those stitches and will require a re-do as soon as he can prove that he won't pull that trick again! Ruth experienced her first major sickle cell pain crisis this summer. She was a real trooper with a strong desire to stay out of the hospital and we were able to manage the pain at home. But it was a doozy, lasting almost two weeks.
At the beginning of the year we announced that whoever turns an even age will get a birthday party with their friends. That divided it up evenly - 5 this year and 4 for next year. Philip kicked off the party season with his 10th birthday celebration at the neighbor's pool with a piratey theme. The party featured Cap'n Daddy and his Talk Like a Pirate contest and a dual shipwrecked pirate cake. Ben and JT helped to organize John Michael's 4 year old Bob the Builder party. Ben made a wonderful poster of Bob and had the children pin on various parts of construction attire. Next came Betsy's 6 year Princess Tea Party - the theme speaks for itself - which was followed by Miriam's horse party hosted by our riding instructor at the newly renovated barn. Daddy took over the plans for ten year old Ben's Knightly Adventure party - a live action role play event held at a friend's farm complete with a kidnapped princess, vicious attack goblins and a turkey leg feast. Next year should be a whole new adventure of even-aged partiers!
Adora and Nehemiah are still with us and plan to be for some time. Nehemiah and Nathan are now known affectionaly as the "twins" and are being raised as such, even down to the matching outfits. Adora has now completed 2 1/2 semesters at the local community college and she got her driver's licence. Our 21 year old "daughter" is now a family taxi driver in her "new" Mercury Villager she managed to buy (yep, all paid up already - could we be any prouder?!) from some kindly neighbors, making us a three car household. She is a treasure we plan to hold on to for a long time to come.
October brought some unexpected excitement in the form of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The family who runs the therapeutic riding program we attend was awarded a new house, indoor riding ring and renovated barn by the ABC network program. Our family became part of the "meet the family's world" segments of the show. We are likely to appear in a number of scenes when the show airs, supposedly on January 20th. Our children grew a special attachment to Rib Hillis who spent an inordinate amount of time rough-housing on the ground with them.
Some new adventures were to be had in our homeschool as well. JT and Ben entered a national stock market competition and have now learned to navigate circles around their mother within the stock world. They also participate in a monthly lego club and JT hopes to be able to join the competitive lego engineering team by the Fall of next year while Ben is enjoying filming stop motion animated flicks featuring lego min-figs. All of the Big Six participate in the Homeschool Choir, most recently performing a wonderful Christmas concert. Ruth and Philip especially seem to have a particular ear for music and we look forward to hearing much more from them! Of course all of the usual subjects are being mastered as well.
Fr. Joel and Mairs have made some changes in their lives. Last month, Fr. Joel happily got moved to a new project group at his software engineering job with UPS. In the church realm, he moved from Associate Pastor to Priest in Residence in order to focus more on being the priest of this crazy family which, we hope, will include a traveling family variety show somewhere down the road. The highlight of Mairs' job is schooling the children and facilitating a support group for other moms who homechool children with special needs. In her spare time, she's busy blogging all the family activities (and breathing).
Of course the annual missive wouldn't be complete without announcing our newest family members. Two year old Noah joined our household in July and, presuming the overcoming of some tremendous obstacles, will eventually be officially adopted by us. Noah comes with a 4 year old brother who will probably also become part of the clan down the road. Their custodial grandmother has become an unofficial grandmother to the whole crew and a close family friend. One complication in the adoption process has been the announcement of our 6th pregnancy. Mairs is due in June with our 6th homemade blessing! In case you're trying to count it up, with Noah, his brother and the new baby that makes 12! Add in Adora, Nehemiah, Sydney the cockatiel, Pumpkin the guinea pig, BoPo the hamster and Pooka the geriatric dog and you have a very busy household indeed!
Of course, none of this is possible without the prayers of our friends and family lifting us up daily. You are all an integral part of our family life and we feel and appreciate every prayer spoken, every warm thought directed this way and especially all of your kindnesses and love towards our whole household. God has been so gracious to surround us with such a tremendous network of support and love through those of you who hold this letter in your hands. And what better time to express our love to all of you than in this season when we contemplate the incarnation of our God in the Infant Christ. So many of you have been the embodiment of Christ to us and we do love you!
May God bless you and yours richly in the coming year. Thank you for being a part of our lives!
Fr. Joel, Mary, Miriam, JT, Philip, Ben, Ruth, Betsy,
John Michael, David, Noah, Nathan, Adora and Nehemiah
Please keep in touch with us! Visit Mairs' blog at mairsmomilies.blogspot.com Leave a comment and let us know you visited with us!