Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Today is the winter solstice and probably the latest I’ve ever sat down to write this annual letter. Rather than ushering in an arctic blast, the temperatures soared today to a balmy 68 degrees – incidentally less than two weeks after we received some 10 inches of snow. To say the weather has been unpredictable would be a gross understatement, but on this shortest day of the year I take great comfort in knowing that, starting tomorrow, the days will only be getting longer. Yes, I am a child of summer.

We have enjoyed some wonderful trips this year both as a couple and as a family. Since I last wrote, Trey and I traveled for our 13th wedding anniversary to New York City while a friend graciously watched the kids, allowing us several days together just the two of us. This has become a tradition over the past few years and we are planning to spend our 14th wedding anniversary in New York again this December 30th. This year we also drove to Atlanta in July, the first time we’ve ever done it as a family of five, and despite some torrential weather on the way home and more than a few “are we there yets”, the trip was full of happy memories. We learned that portable DVD players are indispensable and that hotel pools are a fabulous place to hang out with cousins. We also enjoyed some time down the shore on Long Beach Island, first in early July to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday and then again in September for a few more days at a friend’s beautiful oceanfront home. And then for Trey’s birthday, he and I went to College Park, MD overnight to watch the Tigers beat up on the Terrapins.

Speaking of Trey, he has had a busy year and not just from the perspective of following and attending Clemson games although he did get to go to two of them this year. Just days after getting back from the Maryland game, Trey purchased impromptu tickets to take the boys to the last relatively close game (at UVA) so that they could see their two favorite players (Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins) during their final season with the Tigers. It was an experience they will always remember and I’m so glad we were able to find the tickets and make it happen. In June Trey contributed a book review to Renaissance Quarterly, and throughout the year he continued working on an original translation of one of Melville’s Latin writings. Lately he has been working on preparing lectures for an upcoming Medieval Church History course that he will be teaching this spring at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is also the newly appointed head coach of Addison’s basketball team and practices are set to begin right after the first of the year. He traveled to Atlanta four times (including our July trip) to be with his family during what has been a difficult year health-wise for his mom, and he continues to look forward to the publication of the book Reformed Orthodoxy in Scotland to which he contributed a chapter and which, although somewhat delayed, should be coming out in November of next year. To top it off, this fall Trey and I began teaching the 2nd grade Sunday School class at our church, Tenth Presbyterian. It’s been a real pleasure and blessing for both of us.

 Addison, 8, has been excelling in 3rd grade. He has a male teacher this year, who he loves and has such a wonderful rapport with. It helps that his teacher is also a huge Star Wars enthusiast! Addison wrapped up swimming lessons in the winter and then started his third year of baseball in the spring. After taking the summer and fall off from sports, he has now signed up for basketball and is thrilled that Trey will be the head coach. He has completely fallen in love with football, and it warms my heart to see him put down the video games and other electronics to throw the pigskin with his brother out in the backyard. Last, but certainly not least, after waiting more than a full year, his one lone missing front teeth finally came in, which has given him a much older appearance. My baby is completely disappearing and is fast approaching the height of his mom. My prediction is that he surpasses me in about two years.

Davis, 6, is now a 1st grader. He also took swimming lessons with his brother throughout the winter and then began his second year of t-ball in the spring. Like his dad and brother, Davis is completely obsessed with football and regales us with stats and figures, which astonish me. He has an amazingly accurate arm and has informed us that he wants to be a running back in college. Trey has named him assistant coach for basketball (since he’s too young to be on the team officially), and he is majorly pumped about that responsibility. This past spring he was chosen as one of only a handful of Kindergartners to have a drawing exhibited in our township’s art show. We were so proud of him, and just as Addison finally got his front tooth, Davis lost both of his within a short period of time and sports the most adorable jack-o-lantern grin you’ve ever seen.

Genevie, 4, has been thriving in Pre-K at the church preschool behind our house. She can now write her own name and this year was as an angel in the Christmas pageant. She continues to love the outdoors and keeps pace with her brothers in playing ball while completely smoking them on her bike. After growing her hair down to her waist over many years, she finally agreed to take the plunge and cut it short to her shoulders this fall. She also started ballet at a local studio in September and is very excited about the two costumes she’ll be getting for the recital in the spring.

And as for me, it has definitely been a year of significant change. In February Trey and I embarked on an eating challenge called The Whole 30. We did two of them back-to-back and it revolutionized our relationship to food in addition to helping me shed the final baby weight and take control of my seasonal allergies. We now eat Paleo and both of us focus our workouts on lifting heavy weights rather than chronic cardio. I even broke a 100 lb. bench press a few weeks ago and have finally done an unassisted pull-up. In March our dear friends from Aberdeen, Marjorie and Dominic Smart, came to visit us, and it was a wonderful time to reconnect and share our home as a small token of all the generosity they showered on us when we lived there. The most recent change in my life has been starting a new job with another software company up in Princeton. I am now the Director of Product Marketing for IntegriChain and absolutely love the new role and the people I get to work with. It necessitated the purchase of a second vehicle, a Chrysler 200, and we have enjoyed the freedom that having two cars now affords us. I continued to travel a good bit for work, visiting Orlando a couple of times, Tampa, Las Vegas, Washington DC, and Stamford, CT. And to put an exclamation point on all the change, I too cut my hair short! It’s been quite a year.

We wish you all a beautiful holiday and blessed new year!

Much love,

Becky

(for all the Holloways)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Football...Again


No sooner did we get home from the Clemson/Maryland game then Trey started talking about the Virginia game the following Saturday. He's been wanting to take the boys to their first football game for awhile. They are in full football obsession mode right now, and he knew this game was the closest the team would be to us geographically this year and it was the last year that their star quarterback and wide receiver would be with the team.


We were able to find three cheap, last minute tickets to the game, and so Trey surprised the boys with the news just two days before the game.


I held down the fort with Genevie (and we did fun lady things), so I can't really fill in all the details. However, the pictures speak for themselves. Another gorgeous fall day!







The brothers.


My favorite boys.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jack-o-Lantern


Look who lost his other front tooth right after Halloween. Now we have our very own, real life jack-o-lantern.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Star Wars Halloween...Again


And just like that it's Halloween again. Seriously, the years are going by faster and faster, which makes me a bit worried for the future. This year we had one Disney princess hybrid -- a cross between Rapunzel and Cinderella.


And for the third year in a row, the boys had Star Wars themed costumes -- this time Clone Troopers.


As cute as they looked, I must confess I'm a bit nostalgic for the days when I could convince them to do clever ensembles that I came up with, like the Man in the Yellow Hat and Curious George.


Yes, parenting is a constant exercise in learning to abdicate control. Scratch that. It's a constant exercise in recognizing you never had control to begin with -- a lesson not particularly easy for yours truly.


No Holloway photo shoot would be complete without a few silly faces.


The leaves have been so beautiful this year. I know I probably say that every year, but they have really hung around for awhile -- maybe due to our exceedingly wet summer or maybe due to a complete absence of any significant storms this fall.









We trick or treated farther than we ever have this year. Their stamina has definitely increased a lot. And you know what a longer route means...lots more candy.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pumpkin Picking


We recently got to go to a local farm for a hayride with Genevie's preschool and some pumpkin picking. We have had such a beautiful fall this year, and the day did not disappoint.


I remember doing this exact same field trip with Davis a few years back, and it was such a different experience for him, which I blogged about here. Genevie is a mini-me in her personality and so every aspect of the day thrilled and delighted her.


Before setting out on the hayride, she got to enjoy the hay bale maze.







It's a lot of fun to see her budding friendships at school. Boys and girls are so different in the ways they bond with one another, and I just loved this picture of her holding her friend's hand as we lined up for the hayride.


Mama and baby girl.




The fields full of pumpkins just waiting for little hands to snatch them up.




She picked the one she wanted pretty quickly. That's my girl!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Trey's Birthday


This year for Trey's birthday we got to do something really special. My brother, sister-in-law, and parents helped us out with the kids so that we could go down to College Park, MD and see the Clemson/Maryland game. Trey is a huge Clemson fan and they are having a fantastic season. The game against Maryland brought them as close to us in Philly as they will be this year, and since the game was 3 days before his actual birthday, it was a perfect outing for us.


The day couldn't have been more beautiful. Clear blue skies, cool but not cold fall temperatures, and the leaves were just before their peak.


It made the ride down such a treat.

 


There were a ton of fellow Clemson fans at the game.


We had great seats about 14 rows back from the field.



Since we got there so early, so were able to enjoy the Clemson marching band warming up.


The players take the field.



Clemson fans painting paws on each other's cheeks.




Quarterback #10 Tajh Boyd.


Do you see #13 catching the ball? I have no idea how I managed to capture it, but there it is.


For the win!


Coach Dabo Swinney in the orange sweatshirt being interviewed after a fantastic game.


Still in love after all these years.