(Most recent family picture, taken in Hermiston at the 1A State Championship game)
Steve is on the left.
A tiny part of my garden! Love how it is filling out.
Jackie and I in Surrey, B.C.
My Miss Amanda!
Swinging in a hammock in Mexico!
Joshua and Marcus after a home game
Joshua turned 18 in September. He is a senior. Joshua continues to live with his grandparents about 7 minutes away from us. He is doing good there and they take wonderful care of him. He had a ranch hand job this summer and was able to upgrade from his little truck to a small car that actually goes the speed limit! We are proud of how hard he worked this summer and saved his money so he can pay for insurance, gas, and repairs. He is learning responsibility and he isn't afraid to work. Joshua played football this year (on the team who won the 1A State Football Championship) and is now currently playing basketball. He says he is going to play baseball in the spring. He has never played baseball, so that should prove interesting. He is on track to graduate in June. School has always been a struggle for Josh, and yet he has stuck with it and he never quit. He is looking into a career as a welder. We are proud of how hard he has worked to overcome his challenges.
Marcus watching the game (note knee brace)
Marcus turned 16 in September and is currently a Sophomore. Marcus worked for Papa last summer bucking hay and then went and worked in a vineyard for the second summer in a row. He earned enough money to buy our old car from us and to buy insurance and his own gas and repairs. He hurt his knee pretty badly in June right when school was ending and tore his ACL and his MCL. This caused huge problems in his knee and created too much play in it. He got through football season by some miracle (hurt it several different times but was able to push through) and now has had a major surgery on it a few days ago. While the doc was in there to give him a total ACL reconstruction, he found out Marcus had a significant tear to his meniscus. The doc went ahead and repaired it. Marcus has a long road to recovery but he is hoping to be back in action by August for football practice. He also looks forward to playing basketball and baseball next year since he missed out on it this year due to his surgery. Marcus loves video games and friends. He also likes the freedom of driving his car around now that he has his license. Marcus says his goal right now is to become a paramedic and firefighter like his father.
Jessica playing summer ball
Jessica is a typical 13 year-old girl. She loves make up, clothes, shoes, friends, social media, but most of all sports. Basketball seems to be her thing, but in addition, she plays volleyball, and does track. She was able to play summer basketball with the highschoolers this summer and had a lot of fun playing against girls that were much bigger than her. She is fearless! She loves camping and going on trips. She was able to go with Grandma Kricket and Larry Pop to Alvord Desert, and went with me to camp in the rain at Heppner. She is pretty adventurous and likes to ride four-wheelers. Right now she says she wants to become a forensic scientist. She is pretty quiet until you get her around her friends.
Andrew enjoying a bit of target practice at the ranch
Andrew is now 11 and is the atypical Brown kid. He is our builder and likes working with his hands. He isn't into sports but we have discovered what he really enjoys is going out to the ranch and working with Papa. We make sure he gets plenty of time out there. He has become Papa's little right-hand man and I think Papa really enjoys the company. I like knowing someone is out there with my dad in case something goes wrong and he falls. My dad broke his leg bad last year and is not as stable as he once was. Andrew is now in Junior High and has grown so much in the past year! He is a Junior Deacon and loves to help out at the church whenever he can. He is a servant and many people are blessed by how quickly he comes to their aid. Andrew has always been quieter than the rest of our kids and can fall through the cracks. So we have to be extra intentional to not let that happen. Andrew is really into guns, so I got my .22 out and we have been doing some grey-digger hunting and target practicing. He loves to be on his IPad, so it is always good when we can get him out of the house.
Jacob enjoyed helping me in concessions during baseball season.
Jacob is 9 and is in fourth grade. He is full of energy and loves music, dancing, friends, basketball, baseball, video games, and riding four-wheelers. He is a talker and likes having good conversations. He questions everything! Jacob loves the Lord and is not afraid to talk about Him at school. He knows the importance of prayer and asks to pray for people who are hurting. Sports have been good for him as he has had to learn to get along with others and take direction from coaches. He is very independent.
Lily caught her first fish up at Camp Baldwin. Here is Pastor Tim seeing if she wanted to hold it. The look on her face is priceless!
Lily got to ride Lancer this year. Hoping next year we will find more time to ride horses out at the ranch.
Lily is now seven and is in second grade! She is a bright little thing but struggles like her mom and dad in math. She loves to please her teacher and the only thing she really gets in trouble for is talking out of turn (she got that from me too). She is beyond excited that she gets to play sports now like her siblings. She played T-Ball last spring and gets to play basketball for the first time this winter! Lily is a mama's girl and hates when mom goes on trips and leaves her behind. She would be permanently attached to my hip if I allowed it. She has so many friends at school and is learning to stand up for herself instead of always trying to keep the peace. She has such a tender little heart for hurting people and prays a lot for them. She loves, music, movies, books, and sports. She is my most enthusiastic, bubbly child who expresses herself continually! She has lots of personality.
Whew! That's why I don't do Christmas letters much anymore. That is a lot to recall. But it is good for me to see the blessings and the struggles. Makes me grateful for my wild, crazy, imperfect life! I could have chosen something so different if we would have just had the two children we had planned but God had something different in mind. Now I pray for the energy to keep up with it all. I love having things to look forward to, like my Greece trip in May. God knows how and when to bless me with rest and rejuvenation. He is amazing!
May you remember Him and His coming to this earth this season. He came, He died on a cross and He rose again so we would have eternal life and we could be with Him forever in paradise. I cling to that promise!
Many blessings to you and yours,
Stacie, Steve, Joshua, Marcus, Jessica, Andrew, Jacob and Lily