I hope you’re doing well. This was originally intended to be our Christmas letter, (so Merry Christmas!) and then it turned in to our end-of-the-year letter (so Happy New Year). Now, well, it’s the beginning of the year so we’ll just call it a letter to our friends and family! I’ll just give you a recap of some of the things that have happened in our family in the last few months. We’d love to hear all about what’s going on with you, so write when you can.
Kids, sports and church seem to pretty much sum up our lives. If we’re not running to one event or another it’s not a normal day. So you’ll find that most of this letter involves some aspect of those three things!
Our family traveled to Nauvoo, Illinois this summer and watched the Nauvoo Pageant. It was amazing! We stayed right in town at a hotel owned by members of our church and it was so cool. When C.J. saw the pictures of the hotel on its website, he was surprised to see “Mormon stuff” in the gift shop, which of course cued him in that the hotel was owned by members. He said (real serious-like) “Oh, I’m going to be comfortable there. I don’t always feel comfortable at most hotels, but I’m going to be comfortable there.” It was really cute. He turned twelve on New Year’s Day. Can you believe little C.J. received the Aaronic Priesthood! He’s had a good couple of months (okay, he leads a charmed life all around!). He made the All-stars baseball team again this spring and played football and soccer this fall. He made lots of goals and threw two awesome touchdown passes. They only had a month of practices and one game because it was just sixth-grade flag football. Next year will be when the actual middle school football starts. Not bad, two touchdowns in just the one game! I look forward to seeing what he can do next year, but he’s not sure if he wants to run cross country or do football. I’m torn. I don’t like watching people run; it’s really boring and guys are always throwing up at the finish line (I can’t handle that, so I don’t go to any meets). But football is really dangerous and he’s just a little dude. He’s now started into basketball season and is doing really well. They haven’t had any games yet, but at scrimmages he makes about half the points for his team and they win almost every one. I see a good future in basketball (and probably track, baseball, soccer, football and (gulp) cross country.
Speaking of cross country, Virginia ran again this year and also track in the spring. She is not very fast, which means she PR’s a lot (do you know what that means? I didn’t. It means that you beat your own Personal Record—I have to learn all these new terms if I’m going to be a sports mom!) Virginia turned 18 a few days ago. I can’t believe my babies are all growing up. She got accepted to Western Michigan University! She’s auditioning for the Music Department and plans to double major in Psychology and Music Therapy. She’ll probably sing in the choir too. She’s been teaching piano lessons for the past couple of years and is now teaching an autistic boy piano. I think it’s awesome since that goes right along with her chosen profession of Music Therapy. She still maintains a 3.99 something grade point average and will probably be in the top ten in her class at graduation in the spring. Virginia sings the National Anthem at a lot of Shepherd games and also sang Oh Holy Night in Sacrament meeting for Christmas last month. It was incredible. Oh Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas hymns. Clayton and C.J. and I also sang in the church choir.
Clayton is still teaching 2nd grade (he probably will be for life!) and has a much better class this year. He’s had some challenging classes in the past. He had an awesome garden this summer and he also coached soccer and baseball. Last winter, Clayton and C.J. went to the Polar Bear campout in February with ten degree weather. Ugh, more power to them. A few months ago he got called to be a Stake High Councilman. Oh my gosh. When the Stake President says “I’d like to meet with you and your wife” you start to freak out. We were just so glad that he didn’t say the word “Bishop”! We both let our breaths out and calmed down when he said Stake High Council. We can handle that. It’s been a wonderful addition to our lives. He of course was ordained to the High Priest’s Quorum and has been assigned to the Midland First Ward, so he goes there a few times a month and travels to the other wards and branches in the Stake other Sundays of the month. It’s a big responsibility but he continues to rise to whatever challenge God throws our way.
My baby, Chelsea just turned ten and is quite a little sweetheart. She’s a creative girl who’s always making little craft projects, sewing or making doll clothes or other things out of interesting materials, like her recent experiments with lime-green duct tape! She takes more photographs with her digital camera than any child I’ve ever seen. Her favorite subject is…herself! I now have hundreds of pictures uploaded to my computer of her holding the camera at arms length. They’re really quite cute. She loves to dance and sing and write and dream. Do I brag about my kids too much? I’m sorry. They really do have their own little issues but I’m sure you don’t want to hear about every discipline problem we deal with. Overall, they’re really good kids and we do lead a very charmed life. We are so lucky and blessed. It is my hope and prayer that you are just as blessed in your life. It is my hope that we can bring these kinds of blessings to the world.
I haven’t really gone in to detail about myself because there really isn’t much to share. I continue to be a Mom (best job in the world). I worked a lot of hours for EduGuide this year but due to budget cuts, that ended as of the end of December. They are trying desperately to find money in another part of the budget to hire me back, but I’m not counting any chickens. Know anyone who needs a good editorial consultant? I’m on the hunt for a new job. I’m still a hopelessly obsessed Twilight nut and yes I did sit in the theater to watch all three movies back-to-back for the Midnight premier of Eclipse in June. I have tried to read other novels this year. I’ve read some of the works of the great Jane Austen and the entire Chronicles of Narnia. I will continue to seek out good books and have a few on my list. I’ve read some good children’s books this year as Chelsea and I have been reading together before bed every night. I am also still first councilor in the primary presidency for the Mt. Pleasant Ward. I love the kids and we have made some awesome plans for the new year in primary. I’m also hooked on politics and pay pretty close attention to what’s going on in Washington D.C. and Lansing. I love our country and want what’s best for her. I want to be part of the solutions that will be beneficial to our country and the rest of the world and I want to watch out for what is going on that will affect my children and my parents/grandparents. It’s important to me.
That's all for now! Love to one and all, Clayton and Julie Spencer, Virginia, C.J. and Chelsea.