Thursday, November 30, 2017

2017 Christmas Letter

Welcome back to this dusty old blog!  I am resurrecting this ol' writing space for the sake of a travel journal--and of course this year's Christmas letter (2017). 

It has been three years since we have sent out any updates on our life by way of pictures or Christmas cards.  This has not been for any lack of happenings, but on the contrary and Christmas card mailings  have sunk to the bottom of our priority list.  It is actually still there, but we did not feel it was fair to flee the country and not give any info on the happenings in our family over the past few years.

So I will start with France.  Yes.  We are moving to France for two years come January 24th.  The most oft question asked is:  Are you excited about it?  And the answer to that question is:  We have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off for so many months trying to prep for this move that we have not had a lot of time to process our "feelings".  No time for that.  I guess we will process when we get there and we sit around in our French home and have no one but ourselves to talk to.

The next question:  Do you know French?  No.  Refer to previous answer.  We do know that cheese is fromage and we plan to eat a lot of that.

We are moving to a small town of 5000 in SE France.  We will be dual-enrolling our children in the French school in the village.  They do not speak any English there-- except for the English teacher, which we have met and I have plans to become best friends with her.  We visited a wonderful little church that we loved and plan to attend.  A gentleman named John from England offered to sit behind us and translate the sermon.  He may have a full-time job doing so for the next few years! Hubby has been working for Federal Mogul in Burlington for the past six years and the French plant is instituting a new line of spark plugs for BMW and apparently Federal Mogul thought that moving our wild clan overseas was going to be the best way to do this.  Our nearest biggish city is Saint Etienne which is 30 minutes away, and the big cool city nearest us is Lyon which is about an hour away and approx the same size as Saint Louis.  We also will be living a little more than an hour away from a famed French Alps ski town called Grenoble.

We are keeping our home here in the Midwest and we have friends that are moving in to care-take for our home.

Okay.  Now that the France topic is settled, let's move on to our little Gremlins.  We have added two since our last official family news release.  Three years ago, we added B-man to our family.  He came to us through foster care and after parental rights were terminated, we welcomed him into our family.  Meet B-man

B-man was 20 months when he came to live with us but now is a whopping five years of age!  B-man's main interests are train videos, playing outside, driving his tractors around the house and chatting.  Oh, and I cannot forget bike-riding.  He loves that.  And whistling. He in fact is the only child in our home who knows how to whistle and he carries that banner high!  B-man has been in preschool the last two years.  B-man is unconcerned about our move to France and is very excited about riding the trains in Europe.  He is very verbal so we expect he will be fluent in French within three weeks of our arrival (give or take).

This past March we added another little one.  Meet Curly Girly!  Curly Girly was ten days old when she came to live in our home via foster care.  We got to adopt her in March at 14 months old.  She was a sweet, cheerful baby who has morphed into a joyful and ornery toddler who turned two this fall.   She is social as all get out and is in party mode at all times.  Curly Girly's siblings are the delight of her life.  She loves to sing and pretty much seeks to entertain us at all times!  Meet Curly Girly...

Next up is Strawberry.  Strawberry is nine years old and is known for her red hair with strawberry blonde highlights.  Strawberry just keeps getting longer and stretching out like a weed.  She is our soulful, deeply insightful child.  She would read books for 10 hours a day if we let her.  Her other minor hobbies are basketball, soccer, playing outside and creating imaginative play for the littles.  Strawberry is a gentle-hearted soul with plenty of spice on the side.  What a delightful combination she is. Strawberry is pretty gung-ho about moving.  Turns out she has a sense of adventure that was lurking beneath the surface.  

And now Sojo.  Sojo is in middle school (gulp).  Sojo loves being with his friends (the fun five) and reading and legos are his main interests.  Soccer, percussion and minecraft are among his favorites but he loves just "hanging out" and not being too busy.  He is definitely a quality time kind of guy!  He is an attentive older brother and tends to the "Littles" very unselfishly.  They bask in his attention.  Sojo is 12 and quite apprehensive about our move to France.  Leaving his friends and extended family behind is hard for him, but the pull of adventuring around Europe does offer him some consolation.  Both he and Strawberry are passionate about art and would have stayed for days touring the Louvre in Paris when we visited this summer.  

Me.  Um.. I am 41, and can't think of any interests or hobbies.  Well, I sure like it when I can catch an afternoon nap and all, but beyond that, I am pretty much in throws of full time mom-hood and I am thankful for this crazy little slice of life.   Oh wait.  I just thought of one.  My lattes are my hobby.  My beautiful creations of espresso and milk swirled together in a glass mug are  a passion of mine!  

Hubby works diligently at his job at Federal Mogul and pours himself into our family.   A few new grays hair sprout out every month and they are a badge of honor for him!  

Well that is a pretty good summary of our family for this Christmas letter!  We are grateful for the gift of salvation that came through Christ on the cross.  We are dependent on the grace He offers us, and we hope to grow in our love and understanding of His greatness in the coming year through all the changes ahead of us.  

We do plan on keeping up on this blog about our time in France.  No promises.  But at least at this point it sounds like a good idea!  Merry Christmas, friends.  Love to you all!

The Z-pack

*photography by Rose Schmidgall Photography


T and M said...

I haven't checked blogs for so long but was thrilled to read this post today when I logged in. I am procrastinating on paperwork and this was a fun diversion! I'm so excited for your move! I have always wanted to live somewhere else short term-and maybe 2 years does not feel short term to you right now-so I am excited to follow along and live vicariously through your adventure in France. love & hugs-Mandy

smw said...

Oh Tricia, this just made me miss you. I could just hear you saying it all.

I cried as I read this. Your life is so different than it was! It doesn’t seem that long ago that traveling was almost not an option due to the severe food allergies! And now 4 kiddos and off to France for two years! To eat cheese!!!! Seriously, would you have ever dreamed such a thing?! Praise God for the amazing things He does. Love you!!

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