Saturday, January 4, 2014

Merry Christmas 2013 From the Stilp's

**We've had such a wonderful Christmas break that I completely forgot to post our annual Christmas letter on the blog. The upside to my forgetfulness is that now I can post the kids' school pictures because I finally took them this week.  And I'm adding all kinds of bonus pictures that the Christmas letter didn't originally have. **

The card we sent out
peace, love, joy, laughter ~ from our family to yours

December 2013

Hello dear friends and family.  We love hearing from you every year.  Here’s our family update.

Grant - 7th grade - almost 13 years old
Grant (7th grade, 12 years old) has become quite the drummer.  He mowed lawns all spring and summer to save enough money to buy his own drum kit that he practices 24-7.  Water polo, another of Grant’s passions, moves to the deep end of the pool in middle school.  By the time the season finished Grant was a mass of muscle and a great swimmer.  He gave me swim lessons and I taught him to cook bacon – a win/win for both of us.  Grant volunteers in the three-year-old classroom at church and his stories from his classroom adventures crack us up.  We love our Man Child.

Katie - 6th grade - 11.5 years
Our Katie Girl (6th grade, 11 years) has embraced middle school with gusto, shouldering the additional responsibilities of multiple teachers, switching classes, and getting up an hour earlier with ease.  This summer she camped for a week with a group of families and helped with the younger kiddos.  She liked it so much that she took an online babysitting course and is now officially certified by the American Red Cross to babysit.  Katie loves soccer and is a fierce and scrappy defender.  A natural and graceful runner, Katie hopes to run track this spring.

Alli - 4th grade - almost 10 years old
Alli (4th grade, 9 years) has mastered the art of making our Saturday Morning pancakes and is unstoppable when she is in Helper Mode.  She is really good at hair and fashion and frequently uses Paige as her model.  Alli found a sport she loves in soccer.  Fearless and aggressive, she is currently playing indoor soccer with a team of 6th graders and holding her own against girls twice her size.  Our favorite Alli-ism from this year is “pravana” – her version of prima donna.

Paige - 2nd grade - almost 8 years old
And then there’s Paige (2nd grade, 7 years) who keeps us laughing with her well-timed humor.  Her favorite activity is school and she takes it very seriously, often praying that Jesus will help her finish her monthly projects on time.  Paige’s current career aspiration is to be a “missionary in Hawaii.  If that pays too much, I’ll switch to veterinarian.”  She insisted on including The Big’s (our older, quasi-adopted kids) in her Family Tree report, writing paragraphs about all five of her “fake siblings.” 

the kids - how we love them!
Curt continues to work full-time as Clinical Coordinator at OHSU and part-time in the clinic at Hope Orthopedics. The Jeep he drove since we got married finally died on the side of the highway – may she rest in peace.  His brother Chad and family came to visit in July, and my brother Shane hogged Curt for a week of backpacking the Montana wilderness in August. 
Curt ran his first half marathon this year.  We forgot to include this fact in the Christmas letter.
Curt and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We also had a Bucket List experience when we hiked to the summit of the South Sister, Oregon’s third tallest peak.  The adrenaline rush lasted for days!
Cabo San Lucas - 15 years

at the summit of the South Sister

I (Jodi) fractured my foot training for a spring marathon, limiting my race experiences to an Olympic-distance triathlon.  The swim continues to terrorize me but I survived to try another tri next summer.  In February my big brother and I road tripped from Montana to northern Minnesota to celebrate our Grandpa George’s life and legacy.  We laughed and cried together, building lifelong memories.  After years of carrying a camera everywhere I finally took the plunge and launched Jodi Stilp Photography.  I spent the fall shooting portraits and am currently building my website.  Look for coming soon.  (PS - I know the website doesn't load just yet.  It will once I get my act together.)

We pray you find peace, love, joy and laughter this holiday season and in the new year. 

the above three photos courtesy of Sara Shearer Photography

With love,

Curt, Jodi, Grant, Katie, Alli and Paige Stilp

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