09 December 2010

Family Christmas Letter, 2010

Well, I’m trying to get organized and get everything done for Christmas before the last minute – we’ll see how that goal turns out.  But at least I got the Christmas letter sent it.  Here it is:

For those of you who happen to notice these kinds of things, yes, the letter is shorter this year than it ever has been in the past. I usually add 2 or 3 photos to the letter, plus I think it’s fun to let all the kids sign it and I often make some kind of “stationary” on the computer, so my Christmas letters have usually been between 2 and 4 pages long. But I decided this year to keep the text to one page. It was hard, but I did it! I only had to cut out like half the letter. :)
I know most everyone is probably totally content with the one-page version, but for those of you who are just dieing for more details, here’s my original 2-page letter:

December 2010
Dear Family and Friends,
This year has treated our family well. Michael has been keeping busy as a second-year resident. He has learned a lot about dermatology so far and really enjoys performing surgical procedures. These years of residency are helping Michael learn what he wants to do (and not do) in his future practice. He is serving with the young men at church, and enjoys working with the boys. When he’s not studying, Michael has lots of fun playing freeze-tag with his boys, building legos with Kolby, playing fetch and wrestling with his dog, reading, and watching college football.
Stephanie decided to organize a monthly Ladies’ Night Out, which has been a nice night off. She also coordinated the playgroup over the summer, and she and the boys got to explore lots of new parks. She and the boys keep busy on car rides listening to numerous audio books from the library. She continues to arrange activities for the girls at church. And Stephanie was excited to be asked to be a family history consultant, helping patrons at the local family history library and teaching genealogy classes. Her most recent class has focused on writing a life history, which has motivated her to work on writing her own history too.
Kolby turned seven this year, and he absolutely loves first grade. He is constantly surprising his parents with his abilities in math, reading, and writing. Kolby is enjoying art and especially likes to paint. He continues to enjoy his piano lessons. And he also started to read the scriptures after his birthday: he is currently on the second book in the Book of Mormon, and going strong. Also, Kolby and Eli have recently taken up chess (Michael taught Kolby, and then Kolby taught Eli), and they play it every day.
Eli has recently decided that he wants to go by Lijah, and has informed his teachers and friends of this change. During his kindergarten screening, we found out that he is colorblind (he can usually identify his colors correctly, so this came as a surprise – apparently there are just certain shades of some colors that appear different to him). Elijah also started taking piano lessons when he turned five, and his piano teacher is always impressed at how quickly he picks up new songs. Lijah started afternoon kindergarten and he looks forward to school every day. And he recently asked to have his own room, so we allowed him to sleep in the study, which he has been quite excited about.
Camden is our big four-year-old, and he enjoys playing board games and reading books with his brothers. Camden is looking forward to starting preschool next year. He has been practicing writing his name, and he often asks us about simple math problems: “Mommy, does 1 and 3 make 4?” He has fun at weekly playgroups and picking out books at the library. Camden also gave his first talk in primary at church this month, speaking about service. He loves to color and sing, and is a good big brother.
Isaac turned three this year, and promptly informed us that he is a “big boy” now. Accordingly, he has started working on potty training more consistently. And he has also been very excited to be old enough to do some activities on his own, including weekly story time at the library and going to the play place at the grocery store with his big brothers while mommy shops for the food. His favorite color is green. And Isaac has become quite the little talker lately, volunteering to say the family prayer at every opportunity.
And our “little” Courtland is getting so big too. He will be two years old on February 5th, and he thinks he’s just as big as all of the rest of the boys. Friends have started to comment lately that he is growing out of the baby stage and looks more like a little boy now. Courtland’s favorite things are going to his nursery class at church, going to his ‘baby play time’ class at the library while his older brothers go to story time, and sitting in mommy’s lap every morning while she eats breakfast. Courtland likes to wear hats, and always has a warm fuzzy hat on now that the weather has started to get cold. He also made the transition to a toddler bed a few months ago, and shares a room with the big boys now. And Courtland is our little helper – he gets quite offended if we feed the dog or unload the dishwasher without his help.
In April we decided to adopt a dog from a local shelter. Brax is a 2-year-old yellow lab, and we have been pleased that he is easy to train and is good with the kids. He’s a cute dog who rarely barks, likes sleeping on his dog bed in Eli’s room at night, and loves fetching tennis balls more than anything in the world; and we’re glad to have him.
Although life is always busy and exciting with five active little boys, we have been blessed with good health, a happy home, a steady job, enjoying time together as a family, and a realization of the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. We wish the same blessings for you and your families this Christmas season and throughout the year.
Michael, Stephanie, Kolby, Lijah, Camden, Isaac, & Courtland Bradshaw

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