Thursday, December 29, 2016
Dear Family and Dear Friends who have a little time to read a lengthy update and who are as annoyed as I that this for whatever reason appears as one ginormous paragraph but will read on anyway... Each year I have high expectations to get my Christmas cards printed and mailed promptly two weeks before Christmas. Unfortunately, this has not happened, ever. So here you have the first ever Riedel New Year’s update. Maybe it will even arrive in the New Year’s time frame. (not likely). 2016 has been an incredibly busy, crazy year full of changes. First though, let me back up to recap some of the recent years and happenings that you may have missed. In 2011, 2013, and 2015 we had babies. Girl-Boy-Girl. Lauren-Carson-Harper. Hence, no updates. Although we feel incredibly blessed and graced by their presence in their lives we were/are completely unprepared for the changes they would bring including but not limited to: constant messes, essential lack of silence (or concern in the rare instance that this occurs), expense, busy schedules, inability to arrive anywhere on time or with shoes on, and destruction of property. In 2013 we spent the year in Arlington, VA while Craig fellowed at the Pentagon. Living in the DC metro area was a fabulous experience that is full of warm memories. Madison (18 yrs old) graduated from Duncan Fletcher High School in Jacksonville, FL in June. Craig
took the easy way out and flew while the kids and I drove down along with my mom. The drive was complicated by 2/3 of the kids having hand foot and mouth. (I refuse to capitalize this condition as a symbol of disrespect). We were able to stop and spend some good times with friends from Raleigh along the way and share the love of hfm with them. It was the longest drive ever and shall never be repeated. The graduation was nice and we enjoyed a week in the St. Augustine area along with my mom and Craig’s parents. Our whole family fell in love with the ocean. The kids had a great, great time running along the sand and into the waves and collecting seashells. It was so fun that when our plans to visit Disney for a day were disrupted by a tropical storm the kids cheered for another beach day. (by kids I guess I mean Craig, Lauren, my mom, and I.)
Madison has now finished her first semester at Kettering University in Flint, MI, formerly GM Institute. We are delighted to have her living closer to us although we still don’t see her as often as we’d like. Kettering seems to be a great fit for her as they rotate 3 months of academic studies with three months of co-op experience. Her first academic term went very well and she landed an amazing opportunity to co-op at Chrysler Headquarters where she is doing some automotive safety engineering. Her major is Mechanical Engineering with a Biomedical focus. Craig and I joined her for Parent’s Day this fall and really enjoyed seeing her in her element.
Lauren (5 yrs old) finished 4 year old preschool in the spring and started Kindergarten at Immanuel Lutheran School this fall. She loves her teachers and is learning to read. She is also involved in a weekly Math Club which Craig leads once per month. Lauren takes gymnastics with her best friend, Ella, and loves crafts, watching play doh videos (if you are unfamiliar imagine an annoying squeaky voice narrating the formation of various playsets that she will later beg us unsuccessfully to purchase), and most recently has been enjoying playing with her sister. Say what? Lauren is dramatic, creative, loves to help, talks incessantly, and loves to have people over. She recently came in from playing in the back yard and announced that she had invited our new neighbors over for dinner. “Don’t worry Mom, I told them that we’d probably have PB&J.” I sigh a lot and can’t disagree that she is my mini-me. Poor girl.
Carson. (3 yrs old) This one keeps us on our toes. He is a busy, busy little guy. If you could see all of the things in our home that are utilizing locks right now you would be impressed (or maybe not at all). He is clever and finds a way to get what he wants. We had a sitter one morning this fall and he lured her into the backyard before running back inside and locking her out. She said that he sat directly inside the patio door playing with his toys and laughing as she attempted to get him to unlock the door. That.is.Carson. We thought that once the terrible twos were over things would improve, but nope, we just marched right on into terrible threes. Carson is in afternoon preschool 5 days per week to focus on his speech development. He has unfortunately really struggled and fallen behind in this area. Along with school he sees an additional speech therapist, Miss Katie, twice per week. Let me tell you this boy is crazy about her. He smiles and giggles and is always on his best behavior for her, except for the time when he sneaked away from her and hid in the elevator. Thankfully, he couldn’t resist the alarm button that gave away his location. He is also sweet and cuddly, and loves Thomas the Train, water, baths, and playing with cars.
Harper (22 mos.) will be two in February which seems impossible. She put her babyhood behind her entirely too quickly. She loves Minnie Mouse, food, hats, books, and shoes. She is funny, lighthearted, content, has the cutest giggle you could ever hear, and gives “the look” when you annoy her in any way. This involves directing her face at you and rolling her eyes off to the side while pretending that you don’t exist. Harper is our third, so she is not currently in any activities except for serving as a taxi copilot. She and Carson are little buddies. She likes to be where he is and he likes it when she tags along.
Craig (30 something but barely) has had a lot of change to his work profile in the last few years. He recently was promoted to Deputy Product Manager of the Robot Logistics Support Center, which oversees all aspects of robots used in combat. His office is now back at Selfridge Air National Guard base and this shaves over an hour off of his commute every day. Craig really enjoys serving the Army in this capacity. He still travels occasionally, but not nearly like what he used to. Outside of work, Craig likes to do projects around the house, ride his bike, and work some more!
Missy, Melissa, Sweetheart-(age irrelevant)—whatever you call me keeps plenty busy on the home front. There is always something or someone around here that is needing attention or a clean up. I love being able to be home during this season of life to nurture our little ones and watch them grow. At the same time the struggle is real at times to find balance between being a mom, wife, and having my own identity. This spring I became a consultant for Norwex. I love the ease and efficiency of cleaning with these products, the no hazardous chemical clause, and being able to share them with others during an occasional party. (Yes, that is a slight sales pitch—let me know if you want to try it out!) We have play dates quite often that honestly are just as much for my sanity as they are for the kids socializing. Every now and then I get together with some other mom friends for a night out too, which has been refreshing!
As a family, we have done a lot of traveling. My Grandma Goemaat passed away in January and we were blessed to spend a few days around that time with family celebrating her life. We returned to Iowa in February during the kids’ spring break. In June we had the Florida trip followed by three weeks in Iowa and a gathering with 120 of our Favorite Nieuwsmas for a reunion. In October Craig and I took a 6 day Caribbean Cruise, while my mom and a family friend, Miss Marilyn, took care of our kids. We ported in Jamaica, Mexico, and Grand Cayman Island and loved every minute of it and can’t wait to go again! Craig even led an effort to bring home four trophies for various trivia competitions on board the ship. We became somewhat of celebrities hearing “Hey Detroit!” at times as we walked around the boat. After much prayer and consideration, we made Immanuel Lutheran our new church home. Although we still miss aspects of our previous church, we love it being much closer to home and being involved in a Home group again, which has been a tremendous blessing already.
Spending Christmas at home this year has given us more time to spend together as a family and reflect more on the great gift that God has given us through the birth of His Son. We hope that the Joy that Jesus brought into the world can be felt ever present in each of your lives in 2017.
With Much Love,
PS. The basement finishing project is well underway if anyone wants to paint, make a donation ( ;) ), or be an honorary guest in our new space.
Posted by ~M. Riedel