Dec
11
2009

Merry Christmas from the Jeubs

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The tree is up and the decorations unpacked, and the Christmas letter needs writing. We can’t wait to share the exciting things that the Jeubs did this last year. What a year it has been! As the oldest Jeub child at home, I (Cynthia) am penning this year’s letter. First, let me to give you an overview of our year.

In January, we began remodeling the kitchen. More specifically: we completely tore up our kitchen, dining room, and living room, floors, walls, counters and all. Dad focused on redesigning the kitchen to best fit our large family. The result has been incredible. We replaced the flooring, upgraded our stove, moved the front door, and built all new counters and cabinets (mostly the handy work of our friend, Mr. Adams). Our new layout opens up the entire upstairs, a very pleasant place to hang out.

It’s hard to believe we did anything else this year. Our trip to Minnesota in May, a TV show, speech and debate competition, one scouting and two hunting trips, debate camps, phy-ed, etc., etc. Exciting, and I’ll let all this news explain itself while explaining the family’s achievements of the year…

IMG_0436Beginning with our dog, Sharkey: we said goodbye to our dear old German Shepherd in the summer. Sharkey had been with us for nearly ten years. He was suffering from pressure points and just plain old age, so we had to put him down. A few months later, we welcomed Jasmine into our house. “Jazzy” is a gentle 7-year-old Australian Shepherd with one blue eye and one brown, and loves all the children. She has made a nice fit into our family.

Zechariah Ronald, who was born in March, is already weighing in at 24 pounds and wearing size 4 diapers. He lives to eat and grow and smile. When all the other children are engaged in activity, he is content to sit and be the center of attention. Just a few days ago he started to crawl, and is now all over the place.

We can’t believe that little Priscilla is already the second youngest, two years old, walking, and talking up a storm (though few of us can ever understand her). Her favorite word is “Oooooh!” and she is very good at singing along with all the other kids. Sometimes she will be found humming Queen’s “We will rock you” to herself. She loves peanut butter and trying on everyone else’s shoes.

Havilah and Joshua, the twins, have reached the old age of 4. Playing together is their thing. Taking turns being “bad guy” and “good guy” they will use everything from pop guns for hunting to flashlights for light-sabers. They do have their differences. Havilah’s favorite things of all are dresses fluffy enough to spin in. When we were featured by Reuters International in August, she was captured on the trampoline spinning happily in a purple dress. Joshua, on the other hand, would much prefer swords.

Josiah is now 5 and is a genius. “Do you know what X is?” is a common question he’ll ask people. Whatever your answer, he’ll quickly correct you: “No! X is a variable. Variables are magic, and can turn into anything.” (Lydia and I taught him this while studying our algebra, and I think he actually gets it.) Josiah is still all boy, his best friends his sword-fighting brothers, Superman, and his pet lizard, Lizzy (it is actually a stuffed toy, but he takes care of it like a live pet).

100_7358Hannah is now 7 years old whose talent is beginning to show in piano. She has composed her own songs on the piano only after a few short lessons. She’s an actor, too, performing with her sister, Tabitha, a great piece playing Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. We amazed at how well she memorizes her lines. At 8, Keilah is blossoming. She is the first to volunteer to help out with extra jobs around the house and loves music and dancing. The plans she has for her own future are to start a band and sing and dance in the performances, and none can deny that she has an exceptional voice.

This spring, Noah (11) and Tabitha (9) performed an extravagant gymnastics duo, sporting their skills in balance, cartwheels, and back flips. Tabitha is still the quietest child in the family, but is eager to help. She has taken to wearing bandannas around her neck in the way of the old west, and her best friend is Noah. For his part, Noah has also come out of his shell a bit with his speech achievements. At this year’s Junior Speech Tournament, he performed a Calvin and Hobbes duo with his friend, Michael. They won first place in the group of young competitors. Noah wasn’t yet old enough to go elk hunting, but Dad brought him to Nebraska (where the age minimum is 10) for a deer hunt. He didn’t manage to harvest any animals on that trip, but he came back grinning from ear to ear with amazing memories and stories.

Micah is the sculpturer of the family. He continues to make swords for friends, but also makes wallets out of camouflage duct tape, bookmarks out of copper wire, and jewelry crafted of rocks, wire, and sometimes yarn. Having reached the age of twelve, he has joined the ranks of “older kid” and is now competing with his brothers and sisters in speech and debate. Another opportunity comes about when age 12 is reached in the Jeub home: hunting! Micah accompanied the group of hunters this year to go after elk, where, once again, no animals were harvested. Micah is a talented storyteller, and for fun the other children give him a topic and watch him perform. We think that he will become either a comedian or a entrepreneur, most likely both.

At 13, Isaiah is growing and eating like crazy. He takes a special interest in weapons and warfare, and could go on for hours coming up with multiple weapon changes a stick could go through. Among his talents are juggling (he tried knives once, and found out the hard way that he was much better with bean bags), sword fighting (he is proud of announcing his championship over Micah in fencing), and exercising at the Y.

100_7006Lydia (15) is competitive to the core. She took first place in March with her original oratory on creativity in families, and later qualified to nationals with the same speech. She’ll challenge anyone–boys included–to an arm wrestle, and she has humbled everyone daring enough to take her challenge. Lydia has adjusted her personal style to match that of the cowboys on her favorite TV show, Bonanza (her YouTube favorite), and even talks me into wearing jeans and bandanas now and then. Cameras and editing continue to be a source of creativity for her, and this autumn she edited over 150 hours for Training Minds Ministry. She hopes to pursue movie directing in the future.

I can’t believe that I am 17, almost a legal adult. I pushed myself hard last year in speech and debate: extemporaneous speaking, impromptu, oratory and, of course, debate. My fifth year as a debater, I finally won a qualifying slot to Nationals and traveled to South Carolina with Lydia and my dad to attend in June. I have 1-1/2 years left of high school, so I’m focused on what I need to do to prepare for post-secondary education. I have my eye on a degree in journalism, as I love non-fiction writing and news reporting. I can’t decide if I will end up in politics or not, but I am quite motivated to change the world. First thing’s first: I help out at speech and debate class, and enjoy helping my siblings with their school work.

Alicia (25) and Alissa (23) are the grown-ups doing their own things. Still living on the other side of the world in Australia, Alissa has announced that she would love to continue to travel the world while she is still single. We don’t hear from her much, but when we do she says that she is growing and learning through her travels and struggles. Alicia has bought her own house and continues to work for a dentist in Denver. Her son, Isaak, is five and the center of attention for all of us.

My parents managed to plan and drive us to every one of the above events, and get to some of their own. Mom attended the “Women of Faith” conference in August. A sad event happened when Mom sprained her ankle, keeping her from entering a triathlon at the air Force Academy. Still, Mom released her diet book in May, and the second cookbook (of which I co-authored) came out in August. On top of writing, she was the star of the WE-TV channel’s “Secret Lives of Women” show and spoke at a few conferences across the country. Did I mention that she is usually at home mothering her children?

Dad accomplished growing the business in good ways this year. He published 15 curriculum-related books this year and flew all over the country hosting camps and training young minds for action. Closest to my dad’s heart are seeing my generation growing to think, speak, and persuade those around them for Christ wherever they are called to be. He continues to read to the children at breakfast before work every morning. He gets the older boys up a little earlier to read the bible. Isaiah has joined Lydia and me in the ranks of business allies with Dad in the office. My dad has a lot to teach all of his kids, and he’s doing a great job of it.

It has been an honor to write this letter to all of you. For the rest of the family, I offer you a Merry Christmas – that’s with a capital “C” for “Christ”. May God bless you and yours in the coming year of 2010 with joy and love for the times ahead.
– Cynthia Jeub

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  • Sarah M. in MI

    Blessed Christmas season Jeub family!
    I won’t post our letter, but I’ll tell you a bit about our family.
    We live in, now, snowy Michigan, in a smaller city/big town, and although I never thought I’d enjoy town…I love it! So convenient to be down the street from a grocery store AND the library and park.
    We homeschool our soon to be 8 children, and have since 2000.
    Dh, John, works in a factory as a manager producing parts for cars. The fact that he still has a job at the end of 2009 is a miracle in itself!
    I, Sarah, educate children and also work in transportation…to soccer, piano, and homeschool events. I really cut back this year…home is most important!!!
    We are expecting #8 the end of January, our fifth girl, and being pregnant at 41 has proven to be more complicated and difficult than I thought.
    We have battled the whole pregnancy with being able to have a VBA2C, even though my c-sections were over 13 years ago and I’ve had the last 5 by VBAC, including 2 ten pounders!
    I just recently was diagnosed with Gest. Diab.(for the first time) and feel like a cranky pincushion. Praying God works out the details of when and how this baby will be born to best benefit her health and mine.

    DD15 is a joy to both dh and I. She took driver’s training this year (though she dislikes driving) and is reading more complicated works (Jane Austen, Shakespeare) and has some very deep thoughts on them! She can run the entire household without me, which does my heart good!

    DS13 is #2 in command after dd. He also can run MOST of the house, though we sometimes question his decisions in laundry and matching outfits for the little girls. He enjoys books about history with a boy flair, and legos, legos, legos.

    DS10 has started to be able to carry a lot more responsibility around the house also, down to changing diapers. He loves soccer, and computer and Wii games, and the rough and tumble outdoor stuff.

    DS8 – Busy playing and learning. He had a brain injury in ’04, so has therapy 3 times a week. Is slightly delayed, but a miracle in the fact he isn’t severely diabled. He wants to be going somewhere or planning something all the time!

    DD6 – taught herself to read. We’re all amazed. Wants to be a big helper…just needs to be a little taller for some jobs.

    DD5 – Suddenly blossoming into one of the big kids. Loves her school books and playing (and fighting) with her sisters.

    DD3 – thinks she is doing school too. Tells us “I can’t find my math book” when looking for a coloring book (can you tell that’s a common refrain around here?) Working on potty training before the new baby comes!

    Well…that’s us in a nutshell. I wanted to tell you thanks for sharing your lives with us. Thanks for allowing camera crews in where most of us would shudder to let them go.
    Thanks for encouraging those of use who might not have as many children, but share your heart!

    Blessed Christmas!
    Sarah M. in MI

  • http://kjllovemylife.blogspot.com Kristin

    I think it’s great the Zec is already 24 pounds. LOL My baby girl will be a year mid-January and is about 18 pounds. “) I also never realized before how close in age my kids are with your youngest… 11.5, 10, 6 in two days, 4, 2.5, and 11mo. Anyway, thanks for sharing your year with all of us. Merry Christmas!

  • http://www.joyhomeliving2.blogspot.com Vicki

    Merry Christmas Juebs! And a Happy New Year!! May The Lord Bless you and keep you and cause his face to shine upon u and give you peace. :)

  • Tiffany

    Happy New Year Jeubs! Great job on the Christmas letter Cynthia, I really enjoyed reading it. You have a beautiful family and I pray you will have a healthy and joyus 2010!
    Tiffany Jenson