Greetings to all my friends and family! Some of you may be getting a Christmas card, but unfortunately, not all of you. Please consider this Christmas letter a substitute for a photo card; one you can reference frequently through the coming year when you wish to feel closer to yours truly!
Tony started a new job this year and while that means he’s working at home less, he enjoys the work and pointing out to the kids that he “works in that new skyscraper!” every time we drive across the bridge from NJ to PA. While he has less time to work on his own games and apps, he has recently instilled in Fulton and Teddy a love of role playing dice games. Tony remains the leader of the Timber Wolf scouts at our parish, a position which has gained him the admoration of all the other parents for his seemingly endless amout of patience with a rowdy group of 8-11 year old boys.
I have continued blogging and decided to step into the world of paid writing by securing a book deal with Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. The manuscript is due in mid-2019 so I have several more months of hating everything I write and stressing out about deadlines. Homeschooling duties have lessened as Fulton and Teddy’s educations were outsourced, but amazingly enough, the house remains a disaster. New hobbies include leaving the room when the dice games come out, learning to mix cocktails, reading War and Peace for the foreseeable future, and passing out on the couch at 8 p.m with War and Peace.
Both Tony and I turned 40 this year, and celebrated 17 years of wedded bliss. We commemorated all these special occasions with an Italian restaurant themed party in August which I’d write more about if I remembered more of it. #blamethelemoncello
Addie remains a top student at Queen of Heaven Academy through her ability to work into the wee hours of the night fueled by adrenaline and K-Pop music. For her 16th birthday she got to attend a BTS concert in New York (which was louder and crazier than the Nine Inch Nails concert I attended at the same age). Addie is also improving at fencing and continues to compete, medal, and threaten everyone with her sword regularly. She continues in scouting as the leader of her Explorer troop and she is an expert manga consumer.
Byron remains the chief entertainer of his younger brothers and master at out growing clothes. He entered high school this past fall and rejoined the boys Explorers troop at our parish. Highlights of his past year were shooting off various guns at my uncle’s hunting cabin, as well as killing, butchering, and eating a chicken at summer camp. Tony and Byron also attended a Philadelphia Orchestra concert featuring John Williams in March. It made up for the disappointment both still felt after the release of ‘The Last Jedi’ in December 2017.
Edie continues to be the favored Mantoan by all the babies at church and she can often be found wearing a loudly printed skirt and holding a smiling toddler or baby in the hall after Mass. She took up fencing like her older sister, and it is her favorite activity second only to listening to Michael Jackson CDs on her portable CD player. For her 13th birthday, Edie attended a Janet Jackson concert at the new Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City. She was the youngest person in attendance to witness the R-rated dance moves and continuous gyrating. She also rejoined her sister at Explorer scouts this year and Addie is happy to have a shared activity with her sister that doesn’t involve swords.
Fulton hit double digits this year and continues to hold all his nurses, teachers, aides, and therapists in the palm of his hand. We saw big gains in strength thanks to the wonder drug Spinraza and Fulton became part bionic when he was given a titanium supported spinal fusion in September. MDA camp was a highlight of his summer, though he will never admit it, and regardless of the school he attends, he remains the big man on campus. A new powerchair in July means he’s traveling faster than ever and crashing even harder into Teddy’s chair.
Teddy made his First Holy Communion in May, and we celebrated with a Cinco de Mayo themed party, because nothing says “Sacrament celebration!” like fresh margaritas. Teddy became a master reader this year, his favorite books being the Dogman and Library of Doom series. He excels at school, though he persists in asking to be homeschooled again, which I always seriously consider until he’s home on a day off and completely derails everyone else’s day. Maybe next year Theodore! He loves singing along to Edie’s Michael Jackson CDs and together he and Fulton will be restaurant owning scientists when they grow up.
In February our entire family took a trip to Florida through the generosity of ‘Baking Memories 4 Kids’. We stayed at ‘Give Kids the World Village’ and spent time at Universal Studios, Disney World, Hollywood Studios, Legoland and SeaWorld. That ‘trip of a lifetime’ will forever ruin our children for any future budget vacations that rely on camping, cramped stays in a Motel 6, and coolers full of soggy sandwiches.
We wrap up 2018 with a new home on the horizon! A brick rancher located in a small town straight out of a Hallmark movie. Our closing is set for December 28th and while we need to make a few small renovations to the house before we can move in, we’re looking forward to celebrating all our 2019 milestones in a house that doesn’t require Tony and I to walk up and down a set of stairs 3,490,293 times in a night. The Lord continues to bless our family, and we pray He blesses yours as well in the months ahead.
How was your 2018? Write down the details then link them up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!