Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The "New Year's Letter"

We didn't even write or send a christmas letter last year (not because we didn't like you all!) because last year was a really hard year for us and we just didn't feel like re-living it.

But at the beginning of 2009 things started turning around. We finally unloaded the Triplex and all the tenant issues and stress associated with all of that disappeared, and our previously "good marriage" suddenly became easy and great and just amazingly better without that added stress on our lives.

Lily turned 3 January 4th 2009 and has not only grown a lot taller this last year, but has been talking more and more and expressing complicated ideas. She loves princess things and the Nutcracker, reading stories, and especially playing games with Daddy and doing projects (art and scrapbooking) with Mommy. Lily is quite energetic and loves to jump and run and tackle, but wants to wear dresses as much as possible. She loves to play with her "girls" as she calls her friends and is quite close to her cousin Evelyn. She is almost always in a good mood, looking to make the other people around her happy, and taking care of her little sister.

Renna turned one year old March 6, 2009. She is our little drama queen who doesn't want to be comforted when she cries but be understood. Renna is proving to be a bit more of a challenge to discipline. I maintain that they have to eat a bite of something healthy before eating a bite of dessert or chip or something for instance and often our meal times are filled with the sounds of dramatic screams because she can't get what she wants. She is learning however and after she tries to throw herself on the floor or screams like she's being tortured she'll finally take a bite of the thing (THAT SHE LIKES) and then will get the special food that she wants. She will now pick up the food that she's thrown on the floor in anger, sometimes even without me reminding her to. As difficult as she is one minute though, she will completely surprise me the next minute with her sweet little kisses, smiles, and cuddles.

Lynne' has been beautifying our home, as always, making fabulous homemade meals and bread each week, running around the house with the girls, and enjoying the time hanging out with her mom and grandma. This year seems to have been a time of renewal and direction. After three months of intense writing she's come back to the idea of writing books for children and working to get them published. With several works of art sold, illustrating those books in a unique way is really important to her as well. She continues to scrapbook, knit, spin, play the piano and harp, and read, but her favorite thing to do is play with the girls and talk to Youssef.

Youssef has spent most of this year as a small town reporter learning to be content and yet not be stagnant. In the last year he's worked on learning a computer language so that he can complete the games that he's designed. He's done market research and is working towards completing his ideas so that he can bring in an extra income with it all. The main thing that keeps him from working on his own projects is how often he helps Lynne' around the house and takes care of the girls when he's home. Soon, Lynne' will have to tell him to stop being so helpful and go do his own thing! He would like to get a masters in English, but as with everything else it seems, the cost factors in the most to how possible this plan is.

We've had a wonderful year as a couple, always learning to communicate better and love the other more through our mistakes and arguments. As a family we are still learning how to do things together and make time for one another. Our recently established activity is to read outloud to the girls each night (books without pictures) while rubbing them with lotion. Lily loves this time of day and insists on not only "more story" but rubbing lotion on us as well! They are both our greatest joys in our life, and no matter what we have gone through in these last 5 1/2 years of marriage we always come back to the same simple conclusion - "I'm always glad that I married you."

*Youssef, Lynne', LilyAnne, and Renna Sleiman December 2009*


Audrey said...

Great to see you all and hear the updates! Beatiful family! (and I doubt anyone minds reading it on your blog rather than a Christmas letter - it was great fun and had pictures so we could see you all!)

Best to you in the next year and always!

Stevox said...

It's so wonderful hearing about your beautiful family! Thanks for the letter!

-Steve Myers

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing! :) I'm glad this year has been so great for your family, and I hope you continue to be showered with blessings in the coming year.