Sunday, December 30, 2012

Annual Christmas Letter

Here is the 2012 version of our Christmas letter. But first, a funny story about our Christmas card. I had a busy December. December is always busy, for everyone. But this one felt busier than usual. I ordered my Christmas cards online from Costco. I uploaded the photos and previewed the card, but for some reason I couldn't get my computer at home to write on the card. So I saved the card, and finished it up at work the next day. I looked at the card again, wrote what I wanted it to say, looked at the card again and hit checkout. It asks you to preview the card one final time, and I thought, "I've looked at it 4 times already. I'm in a hurry. I know it is fine." Two days later, I rush into Costco, pick up the cards and head home. And Michelle looks at them and shows me that half of Ella's head is cut off in one of the pictures. Fortunately, there is another picture of her that looks nice, but still. So I mailed out a bunch of Christmas cards with Ella's head cut off. I guess that is what happens when I get too busy. Oh well. As a friend said, at least it will be memorable.

Now our annual Christmas letter:

Dear friends and family,

2012 has been a great year for us! The girls and I were able to travel to Canada with my sister Suzy to visit our sister Rebecca and her family. We spent a week there, and we had a wonderful visit. Alfredo, the girls and I went to Denver, Colorado over the summer. We had a great time at the aquarium, Tiny Town, downtown and WaterWorld.

Alfredo continues to enjoy working at Utility Trailer. He has been taking Portuguese classes for the past year and is gaining more fluency with Portuguese. Alfredo and Jenny trained for and ran a half marathon together in June, and Alfredo was an amazing running partner. He was so patient and encouraging since Jenny was much slower than him.

Jenny is teaching second grade. She loves it! She also teaches the Sunbeams at church. Gabby is in her Sunbeam class. Before the year started, Gabby kept saying she didn't want Jenny to be her teacher. Finally, she said, "But I want you to be my Mommy still." Somehow she thought if Jenny were her teacher, she'd have a new Mom. Jenny adores her sweet Sunbeams and her sensational second graders. Most of all, she loves being a mom.

Michelle is in fourth grade now. She is taking piano lessons and violin lessons. She is becoming quite adept at reading in Spanish as well as English. She loves her fourth grade teacher and she enjoys participating in Achievement Days at church. In May, she ran a 5K with Girls on the Run. Michelle has a strong desire to do what is right and forgives those who hurt her quickly.

Ella is in second grade now. Her kindergarten Spanish teacher, Miss Hair, moved up to second grade and is teaching her again. She loves school and she loves to read. She is taking piano lessons. She is in girl scouts now as well, and she really enjoys it. Ella is very aware of others' feelings and tries hard to help people when they are sad or lonely.

Gabby is in preschool. She loves her teacher and she loves singing and dancing (but she prefers to sing and dance without people watching). She can be kind of shy, but with those she knows well she talks and talks and talks. She has her own unique sense of style and likes to pick out her own outfits each day. Gabby loves to pray and she is full of spunk.

We are so thankful for our many blessings: our home, our family, our friends, the freedoms we enjoy, and especially for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!
Love, The Panamenos