Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016

 Merry Christmas 2016,

Okay, I know, I know, I waited until virtually the last minute to write the annual Staffenhagen Christmas letter. It’s just been ONE OF THOSE YEARS.  I feel like I just wrote last year’s letter a couple of months ago.  Thankfully, it’s been a pretty boring year.  So let’s get into it then.  What’s been happening with us, I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seats eager to hear all the news, well, here goes.

Every year I try to sum up the events in our lives by a song, words of wisdom, etc.  This year I decided to Google, CRAZY BUSY LIFE.  It’s amazing how many songs are written about this particular subject.  Haha.  That’s when I came across the song “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz. I’m a country music fan and I can honestly say, I’ve never heard of this artist.  But wow, beautiful voice and more than that, lyrics that 100% sum up this year. 

The following selection of lyrics are from “Breathe” ….. The Staffenhagens in a nutshell
Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel you say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest  at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
So let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

           The first part of the song is what a typical day for our family looks like. Monday to Friday just pass with a blur.  The remainder of the song are reminders for me.  That I need to take time to smell the roses and appreciate those around me.  The time has really sped up in the last few years.  I need to stop and enjoy the little things and not get so wrapped up in our CRAZY BUSY LIFE. 

This time of the year, it’s important to remember to just slow down and BREATHE.  Thanks Mr. Diaz for reminding ME (in particular) to take a break, be more patient, take a nap, and get ready for the crazy that’s sure to show up in 2017. 

So what’s going on with our kiddos????

Leigha Nicole – Our beautiful “Queen” is 22 years old.  How is that right?  I look at that number and I’m sure it’s a typo, but nope.  She’s a grown up now.  Our little girl is quite the young lady.  She lives her life on her terms!  She’s living in Bellingham and is just about done with college.  She has 2 quarters left and then she’ll probably be moving back down this way to look for a job.  She’s made quite a life for herself in Bellingham, but she’s ready for the next chapter.

Anthony Edward – Our oldest son turned 20 this year.  He’s still going to Everett Community College, he has 7 classes left and he will have earned a 2 year AA degree.  He doesn’t really know what he wants to do next, but I’m sure we’ll figure that out.  He still is a huge video game and Pok√©mon fan.  He spends time with his Aunt Kari helping in her home based bakery as well.  He was very interested in the election process this year, first time voting.  He took it very seriously and educated himself on all the candidates and legislation for our local government as well as on the national level.  I am so proud of how seriously he took it.  It was great to debate issues and candidates with him.  He has become very opinionated, I love that.  

Travis Chandler – Our #3 is a senior in High school.  He was just 12 like yesterday, right.  How is he 17 years old and graduating?  He took the SAT twice this year, scored well, I’m proud of him.  He applied to 4 colleges and got into 3 of them (the fourth school doesn’t make decisions until after the first of the year). He’s excited about the next steps in his young life.  He got a job a few months ago.  He has always been that kid that wants to EARN his way.  He makes us proud every day.  Not sure which college he will ultimately choose, but I’m thinking he’ll likely go over the mountains to, um, maybe Cougar Country?  (only time will tell)

Brady Thomas – 11 years old and in 6th grade. Probably the biggest change this year happened for Brady.  After 3 years of home school he went back to public school.  He has been begging us for about a year to let him go back to a traditional school setting.  He would say, “Can I please have real friends, not just computer ones?”  I know, how can you argue with that, right?  It’s been a definite adjustment (not all rainbows and unicorns), but I think it was the right move.  He’s creative and such a smart kid.  Middle school is a difficult time for any kid, but when there’s a will, there’s a way.  He wants to make this work.  He’s learned a lot, IN A VERY SCHORT TIME, THAT PEER INTERACTIONS CAN BE CHALLENGEING.  He has had to develop a thick skin, which has really been a learning process for him. 

Wyatt Andrew – I don’t even know where to begin.  This is one tough kid.  He is in 2nd grade now and has the biggest will to succeed of any kid I have ever seen.  School, let’s just be real, isn’t easy for him.  Nothing about school has ever been easy for him.  He has to work harder and be more persistent than any one I know.  I’m super proud of the person he is.  He is a walking calendar and can remember every date for every thing that has ever happened in his life.  He’s an amazing advocate for himself medically, and truly knows what is necessary to manage his Duchenne. For an 8 year old to speak up for himself and his needs, that’s all I could ever ask for.  I don’t know what 2017 will bring for Wyatt in regard to his condition, but I truly pray that he can continue to fight this disease the best he can.  He’s a brave warrior. 

Carter Bennett – Our sweet 5 year old has left the nest and gone off to full day Kindergarten.  He was so ready to go to school.  I’m so proud of the progress he has made so far.   Educationally he is thriving and socially he has made a couple great friends.   All the little girls “love” him.  He has grown up so much in the last year.  He is currently playing basketball.  He is super competitive, this boy doesn’t lose well at all, so we’re working on that.  I’ve been volunteering in his class, which has been a lot of fun.  I love seeing the changes in him, he’s an amazing kid.  The sky is the limit for this kid and I can’t wait to see what happens next for him.
Well I think that wraps it up.  Another year in the books, I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.  Dear friends, We wish you and your family health and happiness in the New Year.  Hug those you love a little tighter and slow down, TIME TRULY FLIES BY. 
God Bless you and Merry Christmas. 

Love the Staffenhagen Family:
Tom, Melissa, Leigha, Anthony, Travis, Brady, Wyatt and Carter