Thursday, January 8, 2015

End of 2014 Family Letter

2014 was full of ups and downs for us. Guess that's life! Here are a few highlights. (Sorry I don't have pictures!)

Kiah and Ashlee BOTH started driving. Talk about nerve wracking drives to church and Walmart! Actually it wasn't too bad after the first few times. It's funny though because Kiah had no interest in driving until Ashlee decided to get her permit. Competition can work miracles.

Kiah took the ACT and did well, but decided she wants to work instead of starting school before her mission. Nathan and I aren't super happy about that, but then again, after her mission she will have a better idea what to study at school.

Ashlee started taking piano lessons this fall. I'm SO happy!! She's always played around with it, but hasn't taken lessons since Charlotte. Now she sits and plays every day and she's learning so fast. It's lovely to hear. She's looking forward to getting her driver's license this summer so she can get a job to support her nail polish addiction.

Adam moved from trumpet to French horn in band. I love that he practices and learns how to play the songs he likes to listen to. On his own, he's learned the theme from Jurassic Park (and my mind went blank!) and several others. He was even invited to a neighbors house to play Happy Birthday for them at a special party. He's also started wearing his suit coat to school. Not sure why, but he says he likes to look nice. Hope it's not to impress girls! We really need to buy him a blazer. One with the patches on the elbows would be cool. :)

Cole is still Cole. He's such a good kid. Plays well with others, loves to share, but sometimes a little sensitive and impatient. What a combination. He's a super student at school. This fall he was baptized and started cub scouts. I can't believe how the time is flying. He says he wants to play percussion when he gets to middle school. This means I need to get him in piano lessons this fall. I know for a fact that's a requirement for percussion here.

The summer months saw the biggest change for our family. My mom moved in with us! It's been great having her in our home. The kids are even more spoiled and now I have someone to help clean up after dinner. The real trick is telling her NOT to clean because the kids need to do it. They are all guilty of taking advantage of Granny's need to clean. She found a job right away as an educational assistant. She just finished her Arkansas History class this week. This means she will be AR certified for teaching and can get a better paying job.

After 18 years of "Nathan, you need a hobby!" he finally found one. He's always loved finding a good deal on stuff. The last half of the year he got into buying run down furniture on Craigslist. He fixes it up and paints it to look good as new before selling them for a profit. It's really amazing how well he's done. The best part is that he gets to build and be creative. He's also made: 2 tables, hanging coat rack, tie rack, outdoor planter, a high heel shoe rack, and a wine rack (someone at work asked him to make it). Oh, and he made his work bench in the garage. He's had fun taking his earnings to Lowes to buy new toys. ;) I've almost convinced him to do a craft fair with me this May. He can sell his reclaimed wood projects and I'll sell books.

This year has been a good one for me in the writing department. I finished drafting the second book in Talia's series and am currently revising it. I also finished and revised my first Young Adult novel. After running a successful Kickstarter fundraising project for it, I've had it professionally edited, typeset, and purchased some amazing cover art. It will be available on Amazon by the end of January! The other big thing this year for me was the fact I gave in and started substitute teaching. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I love getting out and feeling useful. My favorite place to sub is the autism room at the middle school connected to Cole's school. Those are the only two places I take jobs so that Cole can ride to and from school with me. I also love that I can stay home if I need to without worrying about losing a job! It's really the perfect thing for me. :)

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