I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and has a wonderful New Year!!!
Merry Christmas! December 2009
We hope that this letter finds you and your family enjoying the holidays and celebrating a successful passing of 2009! Indeed we have enjoyed 2009, and are looking forward to a great 2010! The biggest thing that has happened to our little family in 2009....remains the biggest thing in our family! THE TATER-BUG!!! "And in the blue corner...weighing in at 9 lbs at his introduction on earth, March 4, 2009....Tate Speed Barben!!" (Middle name after his Grandpa who is nicknamed "Speed.") With a rough start in the NICU, our little champ fought hard and 9 months later has come back with a bang! Currently weighing in at 2 lbs and sporting 18 month clothes...yes...for those of you who did the math there, he is twice the size he should be and commonly receives comments such as "Good Heavens, he's a tank" or "What are you feeding this kid?" Perhaps its the weight he carries, perhaps his older sister steals his thunder, whatever the cause he is the easiest and happiest baby ever. Seriously, if we would have had him first we would be ruined for life! He is quick to smile and loves to snuggle. He loves his Jumparoo, which is great because he needs the workout...although in reality it's the Jumparoo getting the real workout! They don't make bungees that strong! He loves our chocolate lab Bree; it is a common thing to see the two of them snuggled up n the front room floor together while Tate plays with her hair. I think the feeling is mutual on both sides; our lab is so tender with him and fun to watch. Tate is sitting up now, jabbering like crazy, and of course with the most obvious...eating anything and everything that gets in front of him! That said, his favorite thing of all is playing with his older sister Abby....is is so fun to see them interact and giggle at each other, obviously this won't always be the case so we are enjoying it while it lasts!
Abby is now 3, potty trained, and becoming such a big girl! Honestly there are days that Allison and I are just amazed at her growth and personality development. It is truly an honor and privilege to be a witness to our children's lives. For those of you who know Abby personally, you know that "calm" isn't in her vocabulary. She has two speeds: 100 mph or asleep. Her mind works so quickly and she is full of questions about everything we do and see, she truly never stops going! We love her to death and hope that she continues to always have a desire to learn new things. She is without question the comedy in our home. I could finish this letter with one-liners and anecdotal stories about her easily, but you can find all of that on our blog or Facebook instead. She has developed a true love of music and it is common to hear her singing constantly throughout the day. She has also been taking dance lessons and loves it. Her favorite thing to do however is play dress up. She has several princess costumes that she must try on 3-4 times per day, and she never forgets to accessorize with earrings, necklaces and bracelets, followed with, "How do I look?" However, despite her "girly" nature, she also loves to go on rides with Dad on the Rhino and she is the first to greet Dad when he returns from hunting to say, "Whatcha get Dad?" She shares my love of the outdoors and the wildlife in it. We took several trips to the mountains this year together, seat-belted into her seat on the Rhino, it wasn't uncommon to do 100 miles in a day with her. She loved it, just as long as there was licorice, juice, and high speeds everything was peachy!
As for Allison and I , we have spent the year just enjoying the heck out of our kids. We did a lot of family things together this year including camp outs, boating, trips to southern Utah and California, long Rhino rides through Utah's mountains and more. It has been so much fun. Allison has really developed her talent for cooking this year and has experimented with several things, and I must say I have been very impressed with what she has come up with! She is a great cook, which is important because I love being the taste tester! She works from home in the evenings as a medical transcriptionist and has also been involved with daily activities with Abby and Tate. They have play dates and visit parks, libraries, museums, the zoo, and go swimming together while I am at work. Although I would love to join them, I am grateful for a wife that is determined to share experiences with our children. I know that it has its challenges, but it is important to her so she does it. I am still working for Marketstar, and grateful to have work at all. Today's economic situation has not been kind to some of our close friends so we count our blessings every day that we have work at all. This year has been one of travel for me personally. Work has taken me many places, and though it presents its challenges while I am away, it has also given me some perspective on the world and makes me grateful for what I have at home and the lifestyle I have chosen. When work isn't keeping me busy, the Young Men's program in our ward have. With Sunday morning meetings, Wednesday activities, fundraisers, camp outs, service projects, Court of Honors, and many other things, there is never a dull moment for me when I am not working. That said, I wouldn't trade it for the world. My Young Men have taught me far more than I could ever teach them.
May we all remember our Savior as we celebrate his birth and try to be more like him in this coming year. We love and think of you often! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!