Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Christmas/New Year Greeting from the Keislings (A Year in Review)

A Christmas Greeting from the Keislings
It is hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. This year, more than any in a while, has been a whirlwind at the Keisling house.

The whirlwind began last year at this time, when Margaret was called to be the Young Women’s President in our ward. This meant that she would be in charge of all the youth activities and teaching for all the girls in our congregation from ages 12-­‐18. She has been dedicated to her calling, and John has tried his best to support her by bathing the kids and putting them to bed by himself every Tuesday night for the last year.

The whirlwind continued into January, when John accepted a summer job as the Assistant Technical Director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, UT. (More about this in coming paragraphs.) In February,
we were surprised with the news that another family member would be joining us, and we began thinking of boy names again. =) (More on that later too.)
In March, John left for a weeklong conference in Milwaukee. While he enjoyed the conference, he was extremely cold the entire week. Margaret thought this was justice for leaving a pregnant woman all alone at home with 3 boys.
In April, John finished his 2nd year of graduate studies. We packed about half of our house in preparation for a summer trip to Utah. The company John was working for had agreed to provide an apartment for the entire family on top of his salary. We talked to Timothy’s school about the logistics of pulling him out early, and once we had that all worked out, we were ready to pull out to Utah on the 1st of May.
The original plan was to pull a trailer with our minivan so that we would have plenty of toys for the boys, and enough of our household items to make us comfortable for the 10 weeks we would be in Cedar City. After getting about two hours down the road, our van overheated. After quite the adventure getting our van towed, we turned around and brought the trailer back to Tallahassee. (The van was okay, but it wasn’t going to pull the trailer to Utah.) Thanks to some great friends, we were able to unpack the entire trailer, and re pack our van with the absolute necessities for our Utah trip. With a car top carrier on top, and the van packed as full as it would go, we returned the trailer and got down the road, only 10 hours behind schedule.

Thankfully, the rest of the trip to Utah was uneventful. It was long, but we amazingly still made it to Utah three days. Our family spent from the 2nd week of May through July 4 in Cedar City. John worked a lot of hours, and while he was gone, Margaret and the boys spent time exploring the local parks. When John was off, we did some hiking, some sightseeing, and saw some friends we haven’t seen in a while.

When John’s contract ended in July, we had some time on our hands, so we made a trek across the country and saw some long lost friends. We were blessed to be able to spend July 4th with Jen and Jeremiah Bruce. Jen was the teacher Margaret did her student teaching under. The next day we went to Salt Lake and visited Temple Square before continuing North to Idaho for an outdoor wedding reception for some “family” (unintentionally complete with a huge trampoline to the boy’s utter joy), then on to see Margaret’s roommate from college, Marnee, and her family. John was amazed by the amount of potato farms, but the boy’s favorite part was definitely seeing the goats down the street.

We left Idaho and headed south. After a quick stop to see our friends Ty and Cami one last time, we headed south to the Grand Canyon. We’ve included pictures, but anyone who has been to the Grand Canyon knows that the pictures don’t do it justice.

After Arizona we headed for Texas, where we spent about a week with Grammy (John’s mom.) After two weeks on the road, we finally made it back to Tallahassee, where in August, Timothy started 1st grade, Andrew started Pre-­‐K and John started his 3rd and final year of graduate school. (And Nathan tried to go along)


In September, John headed back to Texas to attend his grandfather’s funeral.
and in October our family was blessed with our newest member. Autumn Elizabeth joined us on the 12th of October. She is amazingly beautiful, and John has been wrapped around her finger since the day she was born. Lady (Margaret’s mom) came to help out for two weeks after the baby was born.
November brought us Thanksgiving where we once again hosted the graduate students who couldn’t make it home for the holiday, and now we’re into December.
Margaret is busy being a mother of four beautiful children and the Young Women’s President. When she has time, she relaxes by playing with yarn, but that time is rare these days. John is working on applying for jobs and doing his thesis project. He is the Technical Director for Spamalot. His favorite piece of scenery is definitely the 13 foot tall rabbit. John is also teaching the 16 and 17 year old Sunday school class at church.
Timothy has lost all four of his front teeth since June. We told him that he was going to make the tooth fairy go broke. He is becoming an avid reader, and can usually be found curled up with a book.
Andrew loves Pre-­‐K and may have his teacher wrapped around his little finger... He loves to sing to his little sister, although he steadfastly refuses to sing the second half of “Rock-­‐A-­‐ Bye-­‐Baby” because it might scare her.

Nathan is growing so fast, and loves to do anything his big brothers do. When they’re not around, he’s pretty sure he should be eating or drinking milk. All. Day. Long. He loves his baby sister so much, and he is learning how to be gentler in displaying his love. Autumn still spends a lot of her day sleeping. I have it on good authority that her favorite thing to do is to spit up all over her daddy.

If all goes as planned, John will be graduating this coming May, and the Keisling family will be moving on to our next adventure. However, as we celebrate our last Christmas season in Tallahassee, we are amazed at how blessed our family truly is. We hope that this Christmas season finds our family and friends with as much to be thankful for as we have in this past year.
God Bless you each and every one, and may he ever keep you in his care. John, Margaret, Timothy, Andrew, Nathan, and Autumn