Happy Holidays from Bloomington Indiana!
This year has brought many changes to our family, but with each one we've found bountiful blessings! We started off the year with Jeff working hard on his final defense and me 7 months pregnant! We carted the whole family off to a family wedding in Utah and enjoyed one last trip as a family of 5.
Jeff defended his thesis on March 1st and our little Beck was born March 5th. To keep up with a busy schedule we moved to Utah two weeks later to enjoy hanging out with family before starting a new job. Jeff started work with Crane Naval Base as a PhD Researcher in the Maritime Warfare Department May 18th. This meant another move back to the Midwest to Bloomington. While waiting to close on our home we stayed in a small apartment for three months…this was a challenge but nothing new. A few bumps and bruises later, we closed on our home July 27th. We were quickly assigned church callings, Jeff serves as the Ward Mission leader, whcih requires a lot of Sunday meetings and Ann serves as the Activity Days Leader and Ward Historian (Occasionally filing in elsewhere as temporarily needed). If yould like to hear more about the early missionary efforts in Indian email us, we've got a large file almost ready to share!
Jeff has had the opportunity to travel a bit to DC and Ohio, this January will bring on an "at sea" trip to San Diego and DC. We look forward to hearing about his week long adventure as a navy-wan-a-be. Sleeping in a berth, eating in a mess hall...and hopefully not walking the plank. He has become a valuable asset to his group, in the few months he has been here, he has acquired research funding for 3 1/2 Full time employees... but he still remains the only employee on them... hopefully he will get some extra help soon! One perk of a commuting job is that Jeff was able to get "BlacK" a reltivly new car which has made the commute quite bearable.... how can it not be when you get to listen to exciting books on tape for a full 1 1/2 hours each day!
Ann is teaching piano again and has two wonderful students, She is waiting to hear back about a part time job with the hospital, which would keep her connected to her "other life". She has been running a lot since the baby came and can successfully say that she has lost a bit of weight (over 60 lbs!) She is currently starting to train for a mini-marathon and hopes to run it at the end of April.
The children through all of this have been nothing less than spectacular. Ehre and Ben miss their friends from Purdue but are quickly making new ones. They both started school and love their teachers, both are doing great in their studies and added piano lessons with mom...though the time is quickly approaching that we will look for a new teacher for them, they need to be accountable to someone else. :) Ehre's teacher informed us that she can no longer accept the reward for taking 1st place in an art contest...she wins them all (and we have a impartial teacher as the judge!) So she accepts the title only and the rewards now go to 2nd place...she must have a bit of her Grandpa Mark in here!
Benjamin is making lots of friends and absolutely loves his teacher, he is learning how to read really well and really adds to the Family Scripture time each night! He loves to play outside and make new friends. He often can be found singing primary songs while he "works". He has such a tender nature about him and always has, he still will come and snuggle with us if asked, something we hope he never grows out of.
Elise and Beck are Ann's two tag-a-logs at home. Elise is quite the talker who loves doing whatever Ann is doing. She has acquired a bad habit of drawing on things, with anything, including her baby brother Beck...view our Facebook picture of her permanent marker impression she left on him. She is so sweet and talks alot, she is quick to give hugs and kisses and really makes staying at home fun!
Beck now crawling can figure out how to go anywhere in his rolled and tumble way. He still isn't much of an eater and loves milk...wait he does eat paper and anything on the floor does that count? He can pull himself up to stand next to furniture but will follow the pattern of his siblings, and most likely won't walk till his 1 year birthday. He is a wonderful addition to our family, and we aren't complete without him. Everyone loves to help out with him and play with him, even if he tries to chew on their fingers.
We have been so blessed this year, we are excited to explore southern Indiana more this year and try out new places where we can canoe, rock climb, hike and bike. We miss family dearly but we know this is where the Lord wants us right now. We love participating in the missionary work and have enjoyed the blessings that come with it. Jeff assisted with his first convert baptism this summer, and Ann made a best friend from it. It is amazing to see how the Lord works to put everything in place.
We hope that your year has been just as enjoyable, best wishes for 2013!
The Maas Family