2013 Christmas Letter

3 Jan

Merry Christmas!  We write with joy and gladness as we celebrate the Christmas season and reflect on the wonderful year we’ve had.  Winter certainly comes fast here in the far reaches of northern Minnesota as we currently enjoy over a foot of snow and have already survived two weeks of sub-zero temperatures.  We love it!

Of course, winter also has the potential to linger far longer than we might prefer.  Such was the case last spring as we eagerly anticipated the arrival of our new baby.  The snow and cold carried us though April, and we even watched a snowstorm dive to our southeast, just beyond the commute of our midwife team as they hurried to our home in the wee hours of May 2, 2013 to assist in the birth of Hudson.  He has filled our home with smiles ever since, and is now about the business of crawling up the stairs, babbling incoherently, and squishing food into the bottom of his highchair.

 After the ice had melted and the waters warmed, Jared thought it would be a good idea to take the girls on a canoe camping trip – by himself – for Father’s Day.  They made it safely to their campsite before being fetched on a pontoon to a small, nearby resort to escape impending death in the path of furious winds.  The storm amounted to a few sprinkles and spinning leaves, but the resort put them up in a cabin for free that night and returned them to their campsite in the morning.  Aleah caught enough fish for shore lunch and Sophi fell asleep dragging her hand in the water beside the canoe as Jared paddled home.  It was a good trip.

We enjoyed participating in the Farmers’ Market throughout the summer.  Caitlyn sold a variety of crafts, gourmet popcorn, and ended the season selling out of caramel apples covered in what’s become a coveted caramel recipe.  The summer season was also highlighted by our first experience wild-blueberry picking in a remote, top secret, secluded blueberry utopia.  We’ve been happily munching our way through the several gallons we collected back in August.  You’d be a fool not to be jealous.  The summer fun was enhanced by our first experience with a greenhouse, and the addition of 13 chickens who’ve been providing us delicious eggs and plenty of entertainment.

The warm weather also meant frequent trips to the lake, and after a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s in late June, Aleah was swimming around without a life jacket.  Needless to say, she spent the rest of the summer gliding through the water, sparkling like a sunfish.  Sophia continued her fearless lifestyle, which included jumping off docks and demanding to be dragged to the bottom of the lake so she can float back to the surface.  We have a lot of fun together.

 We were blessed to celebrate two large family gatherings this year.  First, we enjoyed the annual family reunion with Cait’s family in Muskegon, MI at the Maranatha Conference Center.  The waters of Lake Michigan were unusually cold, so we spent a lot of time in the pool or building intricate tunnel dwellings in the sand before Sophi destroyed everything.  Then, in early September we gathered for the first McGuire Family Reunion of its kind at beautiful resort on Lake Vermilion.  The whole array of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents stayed in a massive lodge and enjoyed sailing and fishing by day, and a ruthless Whist tournament by night.

The autumn and winter have meant a return to routine, but a routine full of things we love.  Ministry at our church is filled with excitement and reward, and life in our community is increasingly rich and fulfilling.  Aleah is back at school two days a week; both girls practice in their own gymnastics classes; Caitlyn plays hockey on Sunday afternoons; and Jared skis the river whenever he gets the chance.  The tree sparkles in our living room while the moonlight illuminates the snow on these cold, dark mornings.  It’s Christmas, and we are blessed.

 Grace and Peace,

Jared, Caitlyn, Aleah, Sophia, and Hudson

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