If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that it’s a tradition to write a Christmas letter to you our dear readers.
You also know that I’m not really that great at keeping traditions (especially in the case of decorating Christmas cookies!).
So while we accidentally missed writing a letter for 2016, I’m back and ready to share with you a few of the highlights of God’s blessings in 2017.
2016 In Review
If there is one word to describe 2016, it would be moving.
We first moved from California to Georgia at the very end of 2015. We chose a one-bedroom apartment for a variety of reasons, but our goal was to buy a house within the first 3 months of moving to the area.
That didn’t happen, so we found a house to rent and hung up our house-hunting hats until further notice.
As we settled in the rental house, Mr. Crumbs and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary by taking a cruise! We spent most summer days and evenings at the neighborhood pool and whenever possible, packed coolers with meals and snacks so we could enjoy being outside without melting in the humidity (they don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing!).
The kids started school in the fall and we started “dating” our kids. Mr. Crumbs and I each take a kid on a date once a month. We take turns with each of them and this gives each of us precious one-on-one time with each child and the opportunity to make special memories together.
Also that fall, we finally found a church in the area to call home AND our dream of buying a house with cash came true! I shared the full write up here, but long story short, we’ve loved every minute of being a debt-free homeowner. None of which would even be possible if it weren’t for being in tremendous debt years ago, and having to create a grocery budget to dig our way out!
2017 Crumbs Christmas Letter
It’s a running joke that we had MORE people visit us in the first year we lived in Georgia than in the entire 8 years we lived in California! This trend continued into 2017 with having company anywhere from 3-7 days for eight of the 12 months… One month we had THREE separate families come and visit!!
We consider it a huge blessing to have parents, grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and good friends gather around our kitchen, play ping pong in the basement and get lost in the woods out back. It’s been so wonderful to have a home and open it to those we love, and we look forward to doing more of it in 2018.
We experienced our first winter storm in February, complete with school closures, road closures and iced over driveways. Blow up mattresses became sleds and all the neighborhood kids (and adults!) took turns flying down the hill in front of our house. I took the safer option and watched from the front window with a cup of coffee.
Spring gave me the opportunity to garden again. This year I expanded my efforts to include 4 varieties of tomatoes (instead of just one) and 2 varieties of pepper plants (instead of just tomatoes!).
When the season was over I ended up harvesting about 7 gallons of tomatoes, on top of the fresh picking for tomato sauce, pizza sauce and tomato basil soup. My goal was to grow enough tomatoes to make pizza sauce for a year. I don’t think I’ll meet that goal, but I’ve already brainstormed on simple changes to make so that I can try again next year!
Summer came with more days at the pool, more company, a brief getaway with Mr. Crumbs and a blogging mastermind retreat in West Virginia. Getting to hang out with my blogging-turned-real-life-friends is always a lot of fun, but meeting their husbands and children too is icing on the cake. 8 adults and 18 kids in a cabin in the mountains of West Virginia made for a lot of memories that my family and I will never forget!
My kids started 3rd and 5th grade in the fall and with that came gymnastics for The Girl and basketball for The Boy. We’ve learned the delicate balance between extracurricular activities and family sanity for this season of life, but who knows what will happen with middle school next year (YIKES!). (Edited to add a NOTE TO FUTURE SELF: There are a lot more sports in your future. Get ready for it.)
The year is winding down but it’s just the start of cooler weather and we already experienced our first snow of the season! The skies opened and dumped 10+ inches of perfect packing snow in 24 hours. We brought out the air mattress again, built snowmen and pretty much had crock pot hot chocolate going 24/7. It was truly a winter wonderland!
This time of year is one of my favorites. The slowing down… the reflecting… the planning… the gratitude… for personal reasons, I’m seeing God’s incredible hand at work and I’m constantly in awe of His grace and mercy.
It also never ceases to amaze me that I have the privilege to help families who struggle in an area where God has gifted me. Truly, I am thankful every day for you, dear reader. Your stories, your encouragement, your comments, your emails… to serve you in an honor and a blessing.
This season, my family and I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas!
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”