Merry Christmas! 2014 has come and almost gone and so here we are with our annual this-is-what-we’re-up-to letter. I’m sure you’re sitting on the edge of your seats with excitement, so without further ado. . .
Ryenne is in the 9th grade and will be turning 15 in April. She surprised us all this year when she traded in her pointe shoes for volleyball shoes. (I know. I had a few “what the heck?” moments over that one too.) It actually turned out to be a great learning experience her and her parents. Ryenne has been working for her Aunt Kelsey- cleaning and making client phone calls. Besides having an awesome boss, she is learning the finer points of actually talking on the phone (rather than texting) which makes her dad and I happy. Speaking of phones, she has proven us wrong once again, and now has use of a cell phone (which we swore wouldn’t happen ‘til she was 16). We may or may not use it as a method of bribery for things such as monthly book reports to mom and dad (not much of a reader), personal progress (she once told us she’s “not really into goals”), and plain ‘ol being nice. Turns out technology isn’t such a bad thing after all J. We keep telling her how she’s gonna thank us one day. Along with her sudden interest in books, she has taken quite the liking to boys. (I noticed that our “We are thankful for. . .” list during November had *BOYS* on it and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her dad that added that one.) One night she was in and out of my room to check the mirror as she compiled the perfect outfit for the next day. After this had went on for far too long, I mentioned that she might have better luck at school if she spent less time on her outfit and more time on homework. She quickly reassured me that the reason she has such great luck at school is because she spends so much time on her outfit. It all depends on your perspective, I suppose.
Kate is in 7th grade, and turned twelve this past June, which means she attended girls camp for the first time this past summer (and loved it!) Kate is still playing soccer in the spring and fall is pretty happy about it. She is on the same team as many of her closest friends. Her team was nearly banned from playing in Utah ever again due to the contentious nature of the parents (you know Court and I) but that issue was resolved and thankfully we will not have to move to Idaho for Kate to continue her soccer career. This fall, Kate’s soccer coaches challenged the girls to run a 5k. She was not very excited but decided she was going to do it. She learned a lot about herself in the process and completed her first 5k! My favorite quote of Kate’s for 2014 was during Ryenne, Emmy, and Claire’s ballet performance this past spring. Someone asked Kate if she felt sad that she never did ballet. To which Kate responded with her usual frankness, “NO. Too pink, too frilly, too slow.” That describes Kate perfectly. In fact, we may have had a few tears over family pictures because I asked her to wear a shirt with lace (of all things!) What Kate lacks in frills, she makes up for in books. While we have to bribe Ryenne to read, the other day I punished Kate by taking her book away for a day. Now that I think about it, I think I made Kate wear lace AND forced her to not read all in the same month. There is no end to the torture methods we have in our parenting arsenal.
Emmy is “into fashion” and likes to wear as much lace as possible. In fact, while Kate was crying about having to wear lace for family pictures, Emmy was crying because “why does Kate get to wear the cute outfit?“ (Whilst Claire was crying because she had to wear tights and she “HATES THOSE TIGHTS!” and the girls were wondering why Sam has to wear that shirt because it doesn’t even match, and why do we have to stand on our front porch for pictures because that’s sooooo embarrassing, etc, etc, etc. . . . Ahhhhh, family pictures. You never know how many swear words are behind a good family picture, that’s what I always say.) So. Back to Emmy. She is in the fourth grade this year and turned ten in August. She loves her teacher this year. She is also turning into a reader and recently found mine and Aunt Jodi’s old Sweet Valley Twins book collection. Emmy gave up ballet for cheer class this year (her dream, not mine). She and her cousin/twin Halle are taking class together and are pretty much in happy cheerleader heaven. Emmy is an amazing babysitter. She still loves, loves, loves to teach and mother everyone and almost always has a school of some sort set up in the house or playhouse for Claire and Sam. It’s awesome because she takes care of everyone’s homework for me. Win/win.
Claire is six-going-on-turning-mom-into-96. She is full of life and then some. One thing I love about Claire is that she isn’t afraid to talk to anyone. Or say anything. If I take her to the store I know it will take me twice as long because she will have a full conversation with everyone we pass. She has a heart of pure gold but is very honest. While entertaining, all of this does cause it’s share of embarrassing moments. Enough times that I’ve been told I should write a book someday. The Book of Claire. The only problem is I have to wait to write it ‘til all the people who’ve been offended are dead- so don’t hold your breath waiting on that publication. Claire is in kindergarten this year and is quite happy - although it took a while for her to warm up to it on account of her teacher being a little slow to institute recess. Now things have gotten into a groove and she is sufficiently recessed, she’s happy as a lark. Like her sisters, Claire decided to forgo ballet to try soccer. She loved soccer , but has since voiced remorse about quitting ballet, so we’ll see what next year brings. She’ll get to play soccer again in the spring. My favorite moment for soccer this year was when she played goalie for her first game. I was a little worried because they hadn’t even had a practice yet- but when the ball came her way she stopped it like a pro, then picked it up and ran it across the field nearly to the other goalie and tried to kick it in. Kindergarten soccer is the best.
Sam is three. Can you believe it? Because it kind of makes me want to cry. He is so much fun though, I suppose I’ll let him keep growing up. He was a little slow to start talking but is now quite the conversationalist. We love hearing his cute little voice. We have quite an array of photographs of him in princess dresses for future blackmail purposes, but this kid is ALL boy. People have asked from the start if it was a lot different having a boy, and it all the sudden seems very different! (Just last Sunday, after he was being especially rascal-ish during Sacrament meeting, our old bishop came over and asked us, “I’ve been watching you all meeting and was wondering. . .Now you’re a few years into this boy thing, how’s it going for you?”) Sam is 100% interested in anything with wheels and tools of any kind. The other day he was using a hammer to knock on my bedroom door (why use your hand if you’ve got a hammer?). He has been carrying the vacuum extension around and tells me it is his machine gun so he can kill goblins. Sam is completely infatuated with his dad and LOVES to wrestle with him. Each night when his dad gets home he asks, “How work was today?” He wants details about what equipment was used and for what. . .It makes his dad pretty happy! He was in heaven when he got to ride the tractor with Grandpa Lloyd a few times this summer and is always thrilled if he gets to help Grandpa Monty with lamb chores. This fall, since the girls have started school, he has started calling Grandpa Croney each morning. He’ll ask, “Where you are?” It’s a good day if he gets to ride along with Grandpa to get a trailer or any other errand. (Although he did tell me that when he goes to work he and Grandpa and Uncle Ronnie drink beer at the shop, so I’m a little worried about this new job of his! Grandpa insists that it‘s ROOTbeer!)
The older three girls showed lambs at the county and state fair this year. (Ryenne told us she was going to show a chicken next year but we vetoed that.) This summer we finally went out on a limb and bought a boat (I guess Courtney got tired of my beggingJ). Actually, we realized that Ryenne only has a few summers left at home, so we better start doing some of those fun things we’ve been talking about doing “one of these days”. We had so much fun! The night we brought it home, Court and I were in the house and came out to find all of the kids in the boat, dancing in the dark. And the first time we put it in the water, Ryenne started giggling out loud. You could say they are pretty happy boaters! The kids tell us that all we ever do is “slave work” them, so I guess we have to let ‘em have some time off every now and again.
Well, it looks like I have shared all the juicy tidbits that I can think of. As you can see, our lives are filled with glamour and intrigue. Court and I stay pretty busy, what with continually updating our “Meanest Parents of the Year” resumes and all. A week or so ago, we went up into the mountains on our annual Black Friday Christmas Tree shopping event. Usually most of the Croney cousins come along, but this year it was just our family and Grandma and Grandpa. As we were heading home, I announced that I thought it had been a really fun day. Ryenne replied with a tone of suprise, “Yeah, it was actually. And I thought it was going to super boring- I‘m not gonna lie.” So, perhaps we need to change our resume to “Meanest and Most Boring. ..”
We love this time of year and the excitement it brings. We love the letters to Santa, family traditions, beautiful lights, and of course, the chocolate! There is nothing better than experiencing Christmas through the eyes of small children. However, amidst all the sparkles and glitter, we are trying to remember that Christmas is more than “packages, boxes, and bags“. Christmas will come with or without all the ribbons and tags. While it is so easy to get caught up in the “have-to’s” of our Christmas list, we hope to remember that the only must-have this Christmas season is the Savior. We love and honor Him and are thankful for the gift that His life is. It is our hope that we can think about Him more, and try to be a little bit more like Jesus this Christmas season and throughout the next year. We love all of you and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2015.
Love The Wood Family
Courtney, Kelly, Ryenne, Kate, Emmy, Claire, and Samuel