We typically send out a Christmas card or letter and family photo. This year, however, I’m letting myself off the hook. No printing letters and photos and signing cards and addressing envelopes. It’s too stressful for me to accomplish at this wondrous time of year (and if I can save myself a trip to the ridiculously busy post office, even better!)… So, we’ll post our family photo and holiday greetings here instead:
Christmas is traditionally a time for looking backwards with thankfulness for another passing year, especially around the Gallagher Christmas tree, which has a family photo from each year hung as an ornament upon it. Hanging these special ornaments on our tree causes us to reflect over the pages of the story we have already written as a family and to imagine the pages we will write together in the years to come. Such precious memories with our beautiful children… Rather than try to recall all of the things that we did this year as a family, let’s just celebrate where we find ourselves now…
TATE is quickly becoming a little boy and his own person — baby days are officially behind us, which makes me want to shout “Hooray” and cry at the same time. Tate’s crib was transformed into a toddler bed this past week, and he is thrilled to be able to climb in and out of bed by himself (he’s doing a great job staying in it at bedtime, though) — he is such a big boy now. Tate loves to play with water — he’d prefer an hour or two at the kitchen sink or in the bathtub over a movie any day. He also can’t keep himself from dancing when he hears music of any kind. He has been typically crabby and clingy, but (fingers crossed), he seems to be doing much better with babysitters and kidcare time at church these days. He has two older brothers to look up to and who also do a wonderful job taking care of him when Mom and Dad aren’t around. When he’s not screaming or hitting (which is most of the time, truly), he loves to say lots of words, repeat his brothers, jump off the back of the couch onto the seat of it with Lincoln, and suck his “bop” (pacifier). We are excited to watch him learn and grow and to hear all the silly things he will say and do this next year.
LINCOLN was so excited to turn four this past October, and what a delightful four-year-old he is, too. Lincoln is my cuddly, hugs-and-kisses boy. It’s hard to resist the temptation to tickle him when he crawls up into my lap, because he has such a beautiful, heart-breaking giggle that sounds like bells ringing — and he is one ticklish little boy. Lincoln is at the perfect age to keep up with his big brother — they play tons of Pokemon together, looking at their cards or pretending to be any one of hundreds of Pokemon characters. He also does a fantastic job playing with his younger brother, who loves the special attention from Lincoln. Since Lincoln has an October birthday, he won’t start Kindergarten for another school year and a half, and I’m excited to see his friendship with Tate grow as they play together at home over that time. While Lincoln loves to color, draw, and paint, he is also a tech-geek. That kid would put most adults to shame by the way he can maneuver his way around a computer, iPad, iPhone or the internet. This year, Lincoln surprised us all by hiking on his own two feet through the deep snow in the woods on our annual Christmas Tree hunt.
SILAS will turn eight in January! It is amazing how quickly they grow… Silas is in second grade this year, and having a wonderful time at school. He played soccer again this Fall and had a great season improving his soccer skills and making friends on his team. After soccer, he participated in an acting workshop for kids ages 7-12 that culminated in a performance of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in which Silas got to play Ollivander, the wand shop owner, and some other smaller “extra” roles. He really enjoyed it! That boy is fearless — he is not afraid to get up in front of a large group of people and act or even speak (Phil had him come to a high school SCY night this past Spring and speak to the group of 30ish students). Silas loves to play video games, and he is one smart kiddo — he is a whiz at math and an excellent reader. We are most proud, however, that he is a good friend, he has a big heart, and, like his daddy, he is always thinking and wondering and asking questions.
PHIL has had a busy, but good year. He spent a lot of time this Spring/Summer looking for the right person to hire as an additional staff person for SCY (Summit County Youth — the non-profit youth organization we’ve been running for the past 9 years), to take over directing the high school program. He ended up finding a wonderful young man from Florida who moved out here in September to work with “SCY HI.” Phil has worked extremely hard this Fall training both him and the new hire for the middle school program and transitioning into his new official role as Director of the entire organization. It has been a lot of work, but we are hopeful that the next few months will be less hectic as Phil is able to focus his responsibilities to fundraising, supporting the staff and volunteers, administrative tasks, connecting with parents and families, etc. We are looking forward to more evenings out of the week that Daddy will be home to play and engage with us as well — we are grateful that he is such an energetic and exceptional father and husband! Phil continues to facilitate and speak at our church, BCM, on a regular basis and invests a lot of energy in that community of people as well.
(ANNE) Even though I still have three part-time jobs, I am enjoying more time at home with my boys this year. Phil and I still work together (as we have the past 9 years) to run the elementary program of SCY, which has been a lot of fun this Fall. I also take photos of clothing each week from a local retail shop to post on their internet store website, and I do some small administrative tasks for BCM. I am grateful for the chance to help out in Silas’ classroom each week, so I can continue to get to know his teacher and the other students and to see Silas in his “element.” I have enjoyed tackling some sewing and home improvement projects this year, like decorating our bedroom (painting, wallpapering, etc.) and re-finishing our kitchen table and benches (which is still a work in progress) — work that I find to be very fulfilling, along with taking photos of my precious sons. I feel like this year has been a year of challenge for me relationally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, and I’m proud to look back and see that I am learning and growing in all of these areas. In the meantime, we continue to enjoy living in our beautiful mountain community and deepening the friendships that we have here…
Wishing you a Christmas filled with wonder and awe, and a joyful, peaceful, hopeful New Year!
Anne, Phil, Silas, Lincoln & Tate