2008 in the Talbott household managed to be busy without being too hectic, noisy without being overpowering. There was much maturing on all of our parts as we’re settling in to the routine of a six-person household, and the children are starting to get to the point of helping to clean up messes as well as make them. The highlight of our year was our summer trip to the North Carolina mountains. It was four wonderful weeks of a little work, lots of play, and just generally enjoying each other as a family. You can read all about it in the write-up Katie did a few months ago.
One of the amazing things this year has been watching the kids grow and learn. As their personalities develop and their minds start to understand the world, it’s great to get their unique perspectives on everyday things. Reuben (5) is the leader of our small pack. He’s the family’s living day-timer, keeping us informed on when it’s trash day, who’s turn it is to pray at the noon meal, and if Katie’s forgotten something he considers important. He’s begun doing some relaxed schooling this year, memorizing some Scripture and hymns, learning letter sounds and simple mathematics, and various other tidbits that he likes to tell us at the weirdest times. His greatest discoveries are not while bent over a book, though: after a nap one day he told Katie, “Circles are ’o’s. I figured it out while I was restin’ today.”
He’s also been picking up a lot of theology this year, and loves to share it with his siblings, often while in the car. A recent car conversation went something like this: “Did you know that baby Jesus came and grew up and then was crucified? But that’s okay because he was raised from the dead three days later and he is going to come back. I don’t know when though. I think it’s going to be a long time…”
Anne Marie (almost 4) is becoming quite the little mama to her younger siblings, hugging on them and telling us exactly what she thinks they need. She’s also started a bit of schooling alongside Reuben, and is learning to write her letters. She’s decided that “easy” letters like “T” are fun to write, but a “hard” one like “M” is enough to bring her to tears.
When Anne Marie’s not learning she’s often teaching us some new vocabulary: “I want to do diarrhea” was her recent way of telling Katie that she wanted to read a book about ballerina’s. Katie also heard her exclaim, “There’s a thing to blow your hair off!” upon seeing a hair dryer, and “Can we eat some pine cones?” when asking if we could have ice cream cones.
William (2) has so far been our quiet, content child. He discovered a love for Legos this year, and will often sit for an hour or more just putting them together and pushing them around on the floor. He’s still very difficult to understand when he tries to talk, but he’s obviously more interested in learning to talk in the last few months, and has been showing rapid improvement. And even if he has trouble getting out clear words, he can certainly communicate when he wants to – he’s got a lot of tenacity when it comes to being understood.
Elaine (1) is still “baby” to us in some ways, with a sweet personality and a precocious ability to apply it towards charming those around her. In a few years Nathaniel may have to buy a shotgun and use it to keep the boys away, and in the meantime he’s trying his best to not get too wrapped around her pinkie. Her communication abilities are not far behind William’s, and she picks up new “tricks” at an amazing rate. It’s probably a survival instinct: she figures she has to be quick or she’ll get run over!
Katie’s been learning a lot this year about managing a household with six people, and it’s been amazing to see the patterns settle down to a comfortable cadence. There’s of course always laundry to do, but in between loads she manages to get lots of deals off of Craigslist, participate in a local fresh produce co-op, make our home ever more appealing with her decorating skills, and spend lots of quality time with Nathaniel and the kids. She also cranked up her graphic design skills this winter and put together a calendar for the grandparents using an advanced photo editor called “The Gimp”. It was a lot of work, but the results were rewarding.
Nathaniel spent the year continuing to grow Terralien, his web application development consultancy, taking the lessons learned in 2006 & 2007 and applying them to get a more streamlined process and develop long-term happy clients. His side business Spreedly also hit some important milestones, and looks to grow even more next year. He spoke at two programming conferences this year (RubyConf and RailsConf), and also got the chance to preach a few times at church. And, of course, there was much time spent doing daddy things, like tickling kids and chasing them around the house – both of which he excels at!
It’s hard to smoosh a full year into one letter, but we’ve done our best! As always, you can reach us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, and follow our latest happenings (when we remember to post them) right here at http://blog.talbott.ws/. Now, ya’ll have a fantastic 2009, m’kay?