There’s never a boring moment in the Jeub home, and 2008 was no exception. There is a ton of information to share with you this year, so take a seat on your couch as we move through the Jeub events of 2008. Click on the link below for the letter and pictures.
Wendy and I started the year off in January with a Christmas present I gave to Wendy: a 5-day retreat up to Estes Park. (All the wives out there say, “Awww!”) Can you imagine? Not since our honeymoon have we been able to get away just the two of us (well, with nursing Priscilla, our easiest baby ever). It was more of a working vacation than a get-away, full of good work that we never find the time to get done in a home of 15. My mom flew in from Minnesota to take care of the home front while Wendy and I dedicated the time in the Rocky Mountains to meditate and pray over our year, our homeschool agenda, and family vision. We left refreshed and ready to take on 2008!
The first birthday celebration is Wendy’s, February 6, this being the big 4-0! The kids and I managed to arrange a surprise birthday party. (Another “Awww!” I’m raising the bar on you husbands out there, aren’t I!) Wendy typically goes into my office once a week to get work done. Little did she know that approximately 60 guests were flowing into the opposite side of the building. I called her on my cell phone, “I left the video camera down in the other room, can you go unplug it and get it back into the office?” Great line, wasn’t it? The camera actually filmed her walk right past a mob of people who yelled, “Surprise!”
The spring is usually our slow time of the year, but not in 2008. Wendy debuted her cookbook, Love in the Kitchen, at the Minnesota home school convention in Duluth. We packed the room of over 500 to give our seminar Cheaper by the Baker’s Dozen. This was a fast trip to Minnesota primarily because Cynthia and Lydia weren’t there; they qualified to the Regional Speech & Debate Tournament in Seattle! Cynthia performed a humorous speech and competed with her partner, Matthew, in team-policy debate. Lydia was the star performer with her expository speech on amateur filmmaking. Lydia qualified to Nationals in Birmingham in June…we were pumped to hear the great news!
When we returned home, we started to piece news events together. We were invited to a wedding in Warroad, talk of Wendy’s side of the family pulling a reunion together was brewing up, now Lydia qualified to Nationals…hmmmm. The plans morphed into a Midwest Tour! Stuffed into 28 days and 4000 miles of driving was the Larson reunion and Heppner wedding in Minnesota, fishing at my sister’s resort, visiting of friends in Wisconsin, Illinois and Tennessee, National competition, and a pleasant (but too short) visit with my aunt and uncle at their cabin outside of St. Louis. Wow, what a trip!
Somehow along the way, Wendy got pregnant. She shares this news with me every couple years or so. I ask her how it happens, but she refuses to tell me. (Stop laughing, this is serious stuff.) We announced the news of our 15th in front of over 100 guests at the Jeub Birthday Bash in September, just when Wendy was starting to show. We are looking forward to this extra blessing in March.
Now that we’re starting to become a semi-large family, I bought a really big 16×20 outfitter’s tent. Gas prices were over $4/gal. on our Midwest Tour, so we left the Jeub Bus at home and camped when we could in our tent. We can officially call ourselves a family of elk hunters now that Cynthia, Lydia and Isaiah all own Hunter’s Safety cards and big guns. This year was extra-special: I managed to talk my dad into mostly killing himself in the altitude of Colorado mountains. Lydia and I harvested two elk opening morning, our earliest harvests ever. My dad had to climb half a mountain to get to the excitement of gutting and quartering the beasts. He was so tired, he tried to talk me into quartering him so we would haul him out with the elk. Other than opening morning, no elk got in the way from kicking back in the tent, drinking cocoa, and playing some feisty games of Thirteen. The hunt was a blast and our freezers are full, true blessings. Dad says he’ll come back next year only if we stay in a hotel where there is running water and a toilet seat made of something other than brush oak.
Heading into the school year has been really something. As the children grow older, their personalities unfold and their interests bloom. Let me go through each child with a snapshot of their exciting lives in 2008.
Priscilla (1) celebrated her first year of life in November. She’s one of our fastest walkers, as well as one of our happiest babies. She loves smiling, yelling, eating and drooling. Joshua and Havilah (3) are still working on the potty training with mediocre success. We hope our 2009 Christmas letter will have the news that they are totally out of diapers. They dressed up as Pebbles and Bam Bam for the Birthday Bash this year, definitely the cutest twins at the party.
Josiah (4) is our most animated 4-year-old we’ve ever had. His imagination is always going with vocal sounds of “boom!” “pshhhh!”, “zhroom!” and any sounds you can think of resembling trucks and bombs. He’s discovered his love to help dad in his projects around the house. Conversations with Josiah are always very lively! His best friend is his nephew, Isaak (also 4), our grandson. Isaak is the coolest kid when he comes to spend some time at his Grandparents’ house. We pour as much love a house of 15 can pour on a 4-year old whenever he comes over.
Hannah (6) did a duo at the Jr. Tournament: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. She played the part of the frustrated child who kept telling the Cat in the Hat to get out of the house. She played the part very well, and being that Micah was the Cat in the Hat, she enjoyed it immensely. Keilah (7) keeps her parents informed of the politics of the family. She performed Five Little Monkeys with Nothing to Do at the Jr. Tournament this year. She was the first Jeub to have the complete piece memorized. Her most exciting event of the year? She got to ride the big rides at Six Flags, her favorite being the Tower of Doom. Tabitha (8) was on the winning team at Field Day. It was her first time on the roller coasters, too, at Six Flags. She performed the duo “The Brownies” with her brother, Noah, at the Jr. Tournament.
Now for da boys. Noah (10) has a great gift in dexterity. He wowed everyone with double flips and the balance beam at the annual PE Plus Gymnastics. He is an avid reader and has even read to his older brothers adventure books at bedtime. Noah’s favorite discipline is gymnastics, and he will be entering the same class this spring. Micah (11) has a motto in the house: “Your junk is my treasure.” With the right string, electrical tape and imagination, he can make anything out of anything, a mix between an engineer and a sculptor. Micah has made a little business out of fencing swords made from property markers and foil tape. He’s the most popular kid at Park Day, and he even manages to pawn a few off to playmates. He’s currently working on commercializing the venture as “Micah-Can-Make-It Sword Kits” in 2009.
Isaiah (12) and Lydia participated in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Village Seven in Colorado Springs. Twelve is a big year in the Jeub family because (1) they launch their speaking and/or debating career, (2) they kick off their elk hunting years, and (3) they get their own paragraph in the yearly Christmas letter. Isaiah passed his hunter’s safety class and tried his darnedest to get an elk, but never had a shot. I took him out for a late-season hunt, but we didn’t see one animal in three days of hiking, eating Snicker bars, and enjoying one another’s company. He’s got the bug, though, but he’ll just have to wait till next year.
This has been Lydia’s (14) big year. Not only did she make her way to Nationals in the NCFCA, she has practiced what she preached with great success. See, her award-winning expository speech was on what she loves to do: video making. She launched several videos and has had thousands of online views. She works for Monument Publishing as video editor for many of its debate teaching materials. Cynthia (16) broke out in drama this year with her participation in Fiddler on the Roof. She filled our home for the past few months with the singing of the track of the broadway musical. She has a beautiful voice, someone in the play even asking if she has had voice lessons (she hasn’t). At our Birthday Bash, Cynthia dressed up as Sarah Palin, and boy did she look (and act) like her hero. Cynthia also started to drive, and if all goes well and everyone’s still alive in April, she’ll be getting her driver’s license. Personally, Wendy and I can’t wait to have another driver in the family.
Now, onto our adult children. Alissa (22) is setting the bar high on adventure, as she set out to spend a year (or two?) in Australia! I kid you not. She flew to Minnesota for the Larson Family Reunion and we merged it with a going-away party for her. From there she went “down-under” to the other side of the world. She has had a few different jobs while there and has gathered a group of close friends already. Her friends are from all over the world (only a few Aussies in the group), my guess people just as adventurous as Alissa. Alicia (25) has an excellent job in Denver as a dental office manager. She had some trouble at the beginning of the year trying to find the right job up there, but has now settled into a job she loves.
Other than that, nothin’ much else going on in the Jeub home! Walking with God has never been boring, with exciting ventures that bring gifts and growth. Merry Christmas from the Jeub family, and may God bless you greatly in the upcoming 2009!