Hanke Journal-Sentinel - 2013I decided to turn over a new leaf in this year’s Christmas letter. No, I don’t intend it to fit onto one side of the page (that’s only, like, 1000 words – are you nuts?). I’m going to scrap organizing this letter chronologically, since the first full year as a family of three (more on that later) really was defined less by events and more by day-to-day experiences. It’s OK, though, since I’ve found that parenthood definitely relaxed my engineer’s need for control and organization– like how when you have to pick up James’ crayons 3 times a day, you can no longer organize them by color EVERY time. Either that or I’m mellowing in my old age; after all, I am a thirty-something now.
|James at the beginning of 2013|
|James' 1st birthday.|
|James at a local waterpark for Labor Day.|
of snow shoveling today. It’s a good thing that James is a great napper – without the break, I think Mommy and Grandma would be on the 3:10 train to Crazytown by now.
To precisely no one’s surprise, James is also quite the little chatterbox. Sarah and I sat down one night around his 18-month birthday and wrote down all of the words that we knew he recognized and said. We gave up around 200 or so, and it seems like the list gets longer every day. Now, he’ll count to ten (though he sometimes skips four and goes right to five – too much Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the womb?), spell his name, identify pretty much all letters of the alphabet (we love how he usually just says “Double” for W), and pretty much talk about SOMETHING nonstop, often rather loudly. Just goes to show that not all traits breed true, right? We’re still working on the finer points of language, such as the fact that you can, in fact, answer a question like “Do you want to go upstairs and change your diaper?” with “Yes.” All these language skills should really come in handy for James when he grows up and starts working at his dream job – which, at this point, is probably garbage man (kid is OBSESSED!). All joking aside, and with the full disclaimer that he can oftentimes be exhausting and frustrating like any almost-two-y
ear old, Sarah and I are so blessed to see the exuberant, joyful
boy James is starting to become and witness him learning and growing every day.
|James at his first MLB game||.|
|We got on College Gameday for a hot second in September!|
|James is gonna be a big brother in 2014!|
|Gorgeous live oaks lining a street in Aiken, SC.|
|The dunes at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore near Traverse City.|
It has been a rewarding year for us professionally and personally as well. Sarah has continued to work part-time as a cook at Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, where she periodically supplies us with fantastic bread from their bakery and other goodies. She really enjoys the work and her co-workers, and they have been fantastically flexible about her hours and schedule, which has been a great help. I have settled into my position as an Application Engineer at CD-adapco in Northville this year. The first 6-8 months on the job were quite an adjustment, but as the year went on, I have grown much more comfortable. The work is challenging, stimulating, and diverse, as I have been involved with simulations as varied as dipping a car frame into corrosion-resistant paint, to flow down a waterslide, to the forces on an airplane wing coming in for landing. The amount of travel has been just about right, and I have gotten to visit clients in St. Louis, Moline, Indianapolis, Huntsville, Newport News, and Toronto. In addition to work, we have found a wonderful church home at Trinity Lutheran in Saline, MI, and have enjoyed singing in the talented choir.
So, with that, I will wrap up this year’s letter a little early for once (first time ever that the first draft didn’t come in at over 2 pages!). We have been so blessed this year with our growing son and soon-to-be-growing family, and we have truly cherished being closer to our families and many old friends over the past year. It really does feel like we have come “home.” Our prayer is that the Christmas season finds you and yours also reflecting on a joyous and rewarding year and spending the holiday season enjoying the company of those you love. Finally, may you be filled with the good news of a Savior this Christmas, for there is no greater love.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8