Photos clockwise from top left: The Rock of Cashel, Ireland; Tower Bridge, London, England; Gap of Dunole, Killarney, Ireland; Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Dear Friends and Family,
Merry Christmas! 2013 has been an exciting year for our family, full of many blessings and many adventures.
The biggest change in our family this year has been a new beginning–not a baby’s birth as in the previous two years, but a new life in Ireland. After many months of praying and waiting to see if this move would happen, we finally relocated to Cork, Ireland in July. We love our new home, our adoptive city, our welcoming church, and our wonderful friends here in Ireland. The time is flying by and I can already tell that our 2 years here will be over too soon.
One of the reasons we were so excited to move to Ireland was because would have to opportunity to explore new places. We have already traveled around Ireland quite a bit, spending time in Dublin and all of the southern counties. Ireland is an incredible country full of history and beauty. We even got to host our first visitors from home (!) when Allison’s parents flew out for two weeks in October.
We also went on a memorable family vacation to London and Paris in November. We brought along a family friend to help us with the boys (we are definitely going to have to bring helpers with us from now on–it was incredible!). While in London we visited Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, the Natural History Museum, the London Zoo, Big Ben and the London Eye. We loved, loved, loved London and will be returning again some day! Paris was beautiful and charming. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, toured the Louvre, played in grand parks, and managed to find our way through the spiderweb of subways underground. It was the trip of a lifetime, and we took lots of photos so the boys will know some day that we really did take them to cool places when they were little.
Speaking of the boys, they are our pride and joy. David is 3 (THREE!) and is enjoying his new surroundings here in Ireland. He goes to a Montessori preschool down the street from our house 2 mornings a week. David’s passions in life are: balls, Mimi (his stuffed monkey), Angry Birds, Daniel Tiger, and the color blue. Jacob is 17-months old this Christmas and he is our little snuggle bear. He’s the sweetest, cuddliest little guy and we can’t get enough of his grapple-hugs. Jacob enjoys snuggles, playing with his big brother, splashing in bubble baths, and getting into mischief (he’s a bit of a baby mastermind–we may have our hands full with that one!).
Allison continues to stay home and work as a full-time mommy. She loves spending her days trying to keep up with two sweet, energetic boys. You can read more about her adventures in mommy-hood on her blog here. Sadly, Allison’s grandfather (her dad’s dad) passed away on December 18th. She was blessed to already be home for Christmas and spend some final moments with him before he passed.
Jon has kept busy with his new job at Cypress Semiconductor’s Ireland office (the reason for our big move overseas!). He is officially an inventor, and his 5th U.S. Patent was awarded last month. In addition to exercising his mind, Jon has been enjoying twice-weekly sessions with a personal trainer that comes in to his office for small group workouts. Jon has been doing a bit of International travel for work this year and, fully embracing the “European lifestyle”, took multiple weeks of vacation time for the first time in his career (much to the joy of his stay-at-home wife!).
It has been a big year for us, and God has been faithful to lead us every step of this journey. May you experience the peace and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ this Christmas!
Jon, Allison, David, and Jacob