Tuesday, January 1, 2013

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Now that it is officially 2013, it seems appropriate to drop any pretense that I will be sending out the rest of our Christmas cards.  Here is our Christmas letter for this year:

Poll:  How do you feel about family letters included with a Christmas card?
a.  They are obnoxious.  It's just one more way to brag about your family's miniscule accomplishments.
b.  Yawn.  They make me sleepy.  I read them on Christmas Eve when I can't get to sleep.
c.  I can take them or leave them. 
d.  I prefer pictures.
e.  I like the to hear the news from my friends and family.  Bring it on!

If your answer was "a": We apologize and suggest you toss this in the trash and move on with your life. We promise not to be offended.  

If your answer was "b": Just add this to the stack you are saving for your next bout of insomnia, especially if it doesn't arrive before Christmas Eve!

If your answer was "c": Hmmm, we have no advice.  Do as you wish.

If your answer was "d":  We are low on pictures at the moment.  Try to imagine what we looked like last year and add more hair (except for Michael) and wrinkles on everyone.  We'll do better next year. 

If your answer was "e":  Here's our news!
--> We are all older!  Michael hit the big 4-0, Jenn will reach there soon, Jarom hit 16, Ainsley is 14, Rebekah turned 12, and Holly will complete her first decade at the end of the month. 

--> For those who have not seen or heard, our church opened a temple in Kansas City this year.  This was definitely a memorable and important time for our family.  Before the dedication, we toured the temple with our kids.  Michael and I each had an opportunity to help as volunteers during the temple open house.  Even more thrilling, Jarom and Ainsley (and 3000 other teenagers from our area) were part of the Cultural Celebration at Municipal Auditorium in honor of the temple dedication.  It was an amazing show!  

-->This year, for the first and only time, our kids are all attending school in different buildings.  This has added a new kind of crazy to our lives! 
*Jarom attends Ruskin High School and survived his first year in the high school drumline.  We had no idea the kind of time commitment this required, but it was *so* much fun to watch him march with the band!  He plays  Bass Drum #3.  Now that concert band has resumed, he is back to spending his time mostly on the marimba.

*Ainsley attends Hickman Mills Junior High.  She is an excellent student and was recently accepted into   our district's gifted program.  She also continues to play violin in the orchestra and she was elected to the Student Council!  She has been a little disappointed that they have not had a meeting since the elections, but I am sure she will have them falling into line soon.

*Rebekah attends Smith Hale Middle School.  She is also an excellent student and she plays the cello in    the orchestra.  She is the first chair in the cello section for the whole sixth grade!   Since she turned 12 in September, she now gets to participate in the youth programs at church.  She is also becoming a social butterfly, being the first of our kids to burn up the phone lines & invite friends over!

*Holly is our last child still at Burke Elementary in fourth grade.  She recently starred as Goliath in a video production of "David and Goliath," performed by the Activity Day girls at church.  She gave a moving and dramatic performance.  She also participated in the Twelfth Night Feast for school (as an ox horn dancer) and, we are told, had her picture in the Kansas City Star.  She will be available for autographs during Christmas vacation.  You can check our family website for her schedule of appearances.

-->One other major event this year: Michael graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College with a B.A. in history.  We are *so* proud of his accomplishment!  He took a (very short) break and is now working on his master's degree in public administration. 
--> Jenn is still here, doing the same things, praying for a clone or a little more brain power to keep up with everyone else!

Enough of that!  From our family to yours, with *much* affection, we wish you a beautiful holiday season, celebrating with those you love most.

The Ort Family

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