Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Christmas 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

Something peculiar has happened over the years since I first started writing these annual missives ― something I’d long heard referenced by others but didn’t really understand. But today as I sit at my kitchen table composing my thoughts on the year gone by ― the exact same spot I sat just one year ago ― it doesn’t seem possible that twelve months have elapsed. Surely it was just a few weeks ago. Time, indeed, has begun to accelerate. I’m not quite sure yet how to embrace this time warp. I know it will only continue to speed up, but I suppose it makes savoring the moments of recent history even more important as they quickly begin to recede in the rearview mirror.

This year I begin with our middle child, Davis. He is now five and started full-day Kindergarten in September. By all accounts he has really blossomed at school. Per his taciturn nature, he was a bit tentative at first, but he has emerged from his shell well-liked by his teachers and peers. In fact, at his parent/teacher conference a few weeks ago, the obvious affection and fondness his teacher has for him truly warmed my heart. He is a bright and focused young man, who has fallen in love with drawing and Lego building this year. His mind is creative and out-of-the-box, skills which I know will take him far in life. He started t-ball in the spring and approached it with the same disciplined drive that he applies to all his interests, winning the praise of his coaches who were often faced with distracted outfielders and clueless baserunners. This autumn he started swimming lessons with his older brother and has gained confidence and skill in the water very quickly. His smile is still as charming as ever, his strong embrace is unmatched, and he never ceases to amuse us with his quirky and witty quips. He has also mastered the art of the hands-free headstand and can muster a couple of impressive one-handed push-ups.
Genevie, our spirited three year-old, keeps us all on our toes. Her verbal skills often confuse new people who meet her because she is so petite. Small in stature but larger than life, she is three going on thirty. An adorable blend of girliness and tomboyish toughness, she is as equally comfortable rocking her dolls as she is riding her bike. She figured out how to ride it long before her older brothers and is really ready for the training wheels to come off. She continues to attend the preschool at the church behind our house three days a week, and I like to joke with the director that she will be running the school by the time she graduates from their program in a year and a half. She is gregarious and talkative but also strong-willed and stubborn, requiring a firm hand. She loves nothing more than her daddy to read to her at night and this year has memorized the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed, and the Aaronic benediction. She is very tender-hearted and sweet, but fiercely competitive with her brothers. I love watching the relationship she has with them, and it eases my worries about rearing a girl in our society to know she has so many strong males looking out for her.
What a difference a year makes. Addison is now seven and his academic experience this year has been like night and day from last. He matured a great deal over the summer and now has a much easier time focusing, doing his homework independently, and following directions. This year in second grade he is excelling at math, science, and spelling, and this December he was honored as Citizen of the Month at school. He again played baseball in the spring. The level of competition had increased significantly from the year before, requiring him to step up his game and practice a lot more, but it ended up paying off. The team only lost one game the entire season and then won their championship game. Swimming instruction has been really good for Addison. It has pushed him far out of his comfort zone and forced him to face some of his fears and conquer them. He loves going every week and improves a little with each lesson. Addison has an infectious smile and an enthusiasm and curiosity for life that often amazes me. He is helpful around the house and very intuitive about what is going on with others. His tender heart for the Lord and strong moral compass warm me, and I am so proud of his responsible, caring attitude towards his siblings.
Trey has continued his research and writing, fitting it around the full days and busy schedules that make up our life. He has begun work on a second book but had to set it aside partway through the year to complete an essay he is contributing to a volume on Reformed Orthodoxy in Scotland. The list of other contributing scholars to this work is quite impressive, and it was a real honor to be included in the mix. Look for publication in 2013. In addition, Trey was asked to teach a Church History course at Westminster Theological Seminary during the fall term. Lecture preparations, grading essays, and preparing exams has taken up much of his time over the past few months, and so this holiday season comes as a welcome diversion. As an avid Clemson Tigers fan, Trey enjoyed their successful season, basking in the glow of our new high-definition TV. You haven’t watched football until you’ve watched it in hi-def. And while we’re on the technology front, Trey became the proud owner of his very first smart phone this year and has joined the texting world. Let it be known that this technology marketer is bound and determined to bring our resident historian into the current century.
My work in product marketing at Revitas, a software company in Philadelphia, continues to challenge and stimulate me. This year I traveled more than any other so far in my career, visiting many new cities for me, including Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston, and Austin. This year also saw another first for me ― publication. I was interviewed for an article in a pharmaceutical publication and also authored an original article in Contract Management Magazine. Trey likes to joke that now we have two published authors in the Holloway house! (I’m fairly certain they’re not on the same level.) Officially, I gave up book club this summer, but unofficially I continue to get together with a good friend on a regular basis to discuss the books we are reading. My other growing hobby is gardening, which of course right now is on hiatus for the winter. I have big plans for my front flowers beds come springtime and am still like a little kid at Christmas about the lush new front lawn we had landscapers put in this autumn.
This June we spent a glorious week in our beloved Cape May, which ― thank God ― was largely spared from the wrath of Superstorm Sandy this past October. It was a sun-soaked vacation full of lounging on the beach, playing in the waves, eating delicious seafood, taking long naps, and playing uproarious games of Uno and Battleship. Would it surprise you that we have a few competitors in the Holloway house? Then in July we spent a week in Atlanta with Trey’s family, which is always such a fun time for the kids. They love seeing Nina (Trey’s mom) and all the cousins. And now Trey and I have a delightful three-day, two-night getaway planned for the week between Christmas and New Year’s in New York City. One of my dear friends is going to watch the kids so that we can celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary, and we’re practically giddy planning out what we’ll do. High on the list is just enjoying the uninterrupted time together. God has been very good to us.
We wish each of you a beautiful Christmas season and a new year full of God’s good gifts and His love.

Much love,


(for all the Holloways)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cookies

This is more of a picture post. December has gotten away from me completely, and here we are mid-month and I've been silent until now. Between how busy I am at work with an unexpected trip to San Francisco and then preparations for the holidays this month has flown by. Thank goodness for Amazon where Trey and I were able to complete the children's Christmas shopping in a matter of 30 minutes with a few clicks of the mouse.

This past Saturday my mom and sister came over to make Christmas cookies with the children. It was really a wonderful, relaxing time together. The cut-outs were a little sticky at first due to the high humidity that day, but we remedied it with extra flour for dusting and quickly filled up many baking sheets with cut-outs of bells and stars and...

...Yoda of course. No Christmas is complete without Star Wars characters.

And at last, the finished product. Delicious and festive!