Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From Our Family To Yours

From Our Family To Yours,
We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Letter (sans typo):
Merry Christmas from our (growing) family to yours!  This year, we broke our record for all that we could accomplish in one year – AND did this while expecting our first baby!!! J  What a blessed year we have had.
While continuing with our same jobs (Chris 6th grade literacy, and me teaching students who are blind and visually impaired across 5 school districts), we both jumped back into the world of graduate school last January.  Chris began a two-year online Masters degree in Educational Technology from Boise State University, while I began a whirlwind Certification in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) from the University of Northern Colorado.  By tackling both of these programs, we knew our year was going to be different – more work and less play.
Chris has taken 2-3 online classes every term of 2013, loves all that he is learning, and enjoys incorporating his new skills in his classroom.  This Christmas marks his halfway point through the program.
In addition to Chris’ graduate school endeavors, we decided 2013 was the year I should earn my Orientation and Mobility (O&M) certification.  O&M is the component of teaching the blind that involves traveling with a white cane, learning how to safely travel around a school, in a neighborhood, crossing a street, getting to work, etc.  Chris and I knew that my earning this degree would involve commitment and sacrifice from both of us… but we did not know, when I began the degree, that we would be expecting a baby while I completed the requirements.  Luckily, our little Nugget is quite a trooper and I was able to successfully complete the certification program during my first two trimesters of pregnancy.
Among other things, the degree involved my spending a month in Greeley, CO, and three-weeks in each of Tucson, AZ, Kalamazoo, MI, and Austin, TX… all without Chris.  We were so blessed by friends and family in each location that generously provided housing, and community for me while away from Chris and in my early months of pregnancy.  What a celebration we had when all the travel and degree requirements had been completed, in November.
Amidst our hard work, we did manage to have a little fun this year with a few getaways.  We were in St. Louis, MO to welcome our first niece, Zivah Rodriguez, (daughter of Chris’ sister and brother-in-law) into the world on July 1; we stole romantic weekends in Nashville, TN, Northern Michigan, and Austin, TX; and each had a “Boys Getaway” and “Girls Getaway” this fall.  I celebrated completing my O&M degree by meeting my mom, aunt, and cousin in Nashville, TN to attend the CMA Country Music Awards. Meanwhile, Chris and the Miller Men had a very successful hunting trip in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the five hunters killed five elk to the tune of 750 pounds of meat!
All of this, of course, pales in comparison to the excitement, and change, that is on the horizon for us in 2014 – OUR FIRST CHILD!  Our little blessing is due February 2, 2014 (Superbowl Sunday), but we’ve been advised not to buy a birthstone yet, because, realizing what sports fans we are, our baby will probably want to already be here for the Superbowl party.  We have decided to be surprised by our baby’s sex, and have loved these months of guessing and predicting whether we’re having a boy or a girl.  We know we will hear The Christmas Story with new meaning this year as we hear the story of a young couple, expecting their first child, in a dangerous and uncertain world, but trusting in God’s goodness, faithfulness, and perfect timing.
Our love and prayers are with you this Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We hope the love of God is renewed in your daily life through the power of the Holy Spirit as you prepare for the blessings of another year.

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