It seems like the theme of the Talbottsâ€™ year was conferences – from California to Spain, and Toronto to Florida, Nathaniel attended 8 conferences and spoke at most of them, often with family tagging along. The Lordâ€™s blessing continued to be very evident in our household as well, not the least of which was safe travel over all the miles covered!
All of the conference-going was but one symptom of the growth of both of Nathanielâ€™s businesses. Terralien, which does custom software design and development, continues to pick up steam, and was able to bring in a full-time project manager in the second half of â€™09. With ongoing work with clients who first found Terralien as far back as 2005, and plenty of work helping new clients get their businesses off the ground, thereâ€™s plenty to manage!
Spreedly, a subscription management business that Nathaniel started with three co-founders a couple of years ago, really started to take off in 2009, and has 10 times as many businesses using it now as it did at the beginning of the year. Nathaniel often feels like he has two full-time jobs between Terralien and Spreedly, but heâ€™s loving (almost) every minute of it, and wouldnâ€™t trade it for anything. A lot of what he spoke about at conferences this year was entrepreneurship, either particular aspects of it or just generally encouraging folks to get motivated and start their own thing. If you ever need an entrepreneurial pep talk heâ€™s always up for giving one!
Katie spent most of the year pregnant, but we wonâ€™t bore you with those details. Her current days are filled with taking care of a house full of energetic kids, which she enjoys a good ninety-five percent of the time. The other five percent she spends dreaming of having older children who can blow their own noses and pick out matching clothes. She also spent a lot of time this year researching homeschooling, and is becoming ever more grateful for the time and effort her mother put into her own education.
When Nathaniel went and spoke at a conference in Madrid, Spain over Thanksgiving this year, Katie and the baby got to come along. Since this was the first trip sheâ€™d made overseas, it was a definite highlight to the year. She hopes to get to repeat the experience again in the future, all except the part where she got lost for two hours in the downtown of Europeâ€™s third largest city!
One of the biggest blessings of the year came in October as Etan Zeal Talbott was born two days after his due date. Although not the easiest Talbott baby, he has already captured our hearts with his smiles and coos of recognition and affection. At almost 3 months of age, Etan is living up to the meaning of his name – strong, firm one – as he is either crying with vigor, or smiling and joyfully wiggling with vigor. His motto in life seems to be “all or nothing.”
Elaine, now two years old, is still a bit of a baby to us all as she held that position longer than most of our other children. After 2 years, we are still mesmerized by her sweet smile, and even in the middle of the naughtiest situations she knows that a big grin will help diminish the punishment of her crime. The words most heard out of her mouth are, â€œMe! Me!â€ as she doesnâ€™t want to be left out of any fun.
William is now three and finally getting some visible hair – poor guy was bald for quite awhile! He is talking a mile a minute these days after being the kid that just last year we couldn’t even get to try, and he has a quick, little boy sense of humor that he likes to whip out at the funniest times. One of our sources of joint amusement and annoyance this year has been William’s need to have something in his hands at ALL times; we often uncurl his fingers to find a dime, a small twig, a piece of cloth, a ball bearing, or some similarly random item wrapped up inside. We wouldn’t mind so much, but at nap time we end up removing the oddest things from his hands, his bed and under his pillow, things he has collected when he’s supposed to be sleeping!
Anne Marie is four, soon to be five, and she has matured into a beautiful little girl – inside and out. She is learning how to help more around the house and her newest accomplishment is mixing up the orange juice (from concentrate) by herself. Being such a big girl meant she needed a bigger bed, and Aunt Claire moved out in August after living with us for three years, allowing Anne Marie to move into the grown up bed and start sharing a “girl’s room” with Elaine.
Katie regularly stops by Nathaniel’s upstairs office to tell him the latest funny thing the kids said, and it’s often Anne Marie that said it. The most recent one was when Anne Marie, in response to a question, told Katie that some clothes were hanging on the chiropractor, when what she meant was that they were on the treadmill. She has her parents convinced that someone can be extremely smart and extremely blonde all at the same time!
Reuben is six now, and his big accomplishment this year was learning to read; we now get regaled with a running commentary on the road and store signs as we drive around town. Reuben has a desire to know EVERYTHING, with “why?” and “what?” ranking as his favorite words. Much like his daddy, Legos are one of his favorite things, and he’s always showing off some new creation he has constructed, usually a vehicle of some sort. Unlike his daddy, he is fascinated by real car makes and models, and can name most of those he sees on the road. Of course, the one thing his daddy did teach him about cars is that Honda’s are the best!
The best part of writing a Christmas letter is just remembering what we did ourselves in 2009 – what a whirlwind! We hope you enjoy the peek into our family, and that if you’re ever in North Carolina you’ll look us up.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Talbott Family!