Christmas Letter 2011

Merry Christmas from the House of Hills!!!

The biggest news of 2011 was our move into our new home! Last Christmas, we were living in our temporary home (thanks F’s). This year we are celebrating in our little cottage and LOVING it. We’ve got a great neighborhood, excellent schools, and shorter commutes. It doesn’t get any better than that!

This is a picture of our courtyard before we moved in. We loved watching the build process and seeing it become our home. It’s a great house for entertaining (read that as it has an awesome kitchen) so come by any time!

Our Maggie is now a fourth grader. This is VERY hard for Mommy to take as that would be a grade she used teach, and those are “big kids.” The girl becomes more independent daily. (Unless of course she’s sick or tired and then can be found in Mommy’s lap.) Somehow I ended up being room mom this year, but it’s been fun and enjoyable to be back in the classroom some without all the paperwork.

This is the first day of school. She’s already gotten “older” than this. It’s crazy.

In addition to excelling at school, Maggie has become involved in musical theater. This summer she took a week long camp at Off Broadway Dance and played Thomas O’Malley in the “Aristocats.”

She decided she LOVED singing and dancing and being the villain, and was cast as Jasper in “101 Dalmatians.”

She auditioned for an made the company’s competition troupe and is now in rehearsals for “Mulan” in which she is mainly ensemble and has a few lines as a Hun. The troupe has performed several times this fall in preparation for the competition in February at Disney.

David and I continue to keep busy. David is still working at North Point Community Church as the North Point Store Operations Director (and, yes, I just had to ask what his title is). I am still the Editor-in-Chief of the First Look curriculum for Orange. I’m not sure what that title means, but I keep busy and curriculum gets loaded each month! We also started a new small group in March, and have so enjoyed the new relationships. We are both enjoying living closer to our church friends and have entertained quite a bit in our new home.

Here we are at my Christmas party. That man of mine… always making me laugh. We celebrated 13 years of marital bliss this December. So blessed.

We lost my best friend Katie this year. After years of fighting, the cancer finally won. I was with her until the end and honored to give the eulogy at her celebration service. (You can read it on the March 4th entry in her Caring Bridge Journal if you like.) While I (and MANY others) continue to struggle with missing her, we are learning to celebrate her time with us and figuring out how to live without her. We as a family are very involved with her kids and husband. I am so thankful that our move also brought us closer to their home. The silver lining in the pain are the amazing friendships that have formed in our mourning.

My Katie was an awesome lady whose ten years of friendship I will ALWAYS cherish.

We went to Disney TWICE this year! I was lucky enough to go to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in March. It was AMAZING! We surprised Maggie with that trip via a video David and I made. Watching her reaction was almost as fun as the trip. The March trip was so much fun and just what our family needed at that time. We felt so blessed to be able to go.

Then, I surprised both David and Maggie with a three day trip in November on our way to the beach for the Thanksgiving.

There is NOTHING more amazing than Disney decorated for the holidays. It’s so beautiful. We had a great time, and it was so cool to be able to surprise them both.

Throughout the year, we’ve enjoyed multiple gatherings with friends and family. Maggie’s cousins continue to play an important role in her life, and she enjoys getting together with them often.

These are the cousins from David’s side where Maggie is the youngest (by 8 weeks).

These are the cousins from my side (minus the youngest) where Maggie is the oldest (by 8 weeks). Maggie is especially close to E who is the only other girl in the gaggle of crazy on my side. They stick together on the annual Thanksgiving trip to the beach and at family gatherings at my mom’s.

That’s pretty much all that’s been going on in the House of Hills this year. If you’re stopping by because of our Christmas card, know that I post on this blog all year long. It’s the easiest way to keep up with us!

We wish for all our family and friends (and my amazing readers) a Christmas full of peace, joy, and love.

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