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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Letter’

Merry Christmas everyone!

The Ivan and Rachel Andrus family finds itself back in Utah this year, and it’s been an exciting year. About this time last year, after much painful deliberation, Ivan took a job with Adobe. He started just in time to do orientation and then get a week and a half off for Christmas. He has impeccable timing, no? He had been contracting for Adobe from February of 2013, but now he works there “for real.”

The new job necessitated a move (Rachel was not amused), and since we were tired of moving (really not amused…) we decided to do a super fast house hunt. We searched and bought a house in about 6 weeks. It’s a newer house in Saratoga Springs, Utah, which is just west of Lehi. So far we like it. The kids are thrilled to have a yard and basement to play in. And neighborhood kids to play with in the yard and basement.

The former occupants of the house weren’t excited about moving out that quickly so we spent the first two weeks of March in a hotel. The kids loved the hotel and still ask to go back, because they got to watch cable TV all the time. Ivan and Rachel were much less enthused after the two weeks. We moved into our house March 18th, and began the frantic unpacking, arranging, buying of furniture and yard tools, etc., that comes with being first time home owners and going from a 2 bedroom apartment to a real house.

Avery was sad to leave her friends and school in Colorado, but adjusted quickly here. Evelyn had her fourth Birthday not too long after we moved in and (luckily) before Hazel was born. She was very excited because we made cupcake ice cream cones. They weren’t nearly as pretty as the picture online, but she was happy with them, so we’re not complaining.

Backtracking to Hazel… Hazel Ann Andrus was born April 27th. She was a big baby (8 lb. 13 oz), and while her weight is a little more normal range now, she’s still very long and so little arms and ankles are always sticking out of her clothes. She’s been a really happy baby, for which we’re grateful. She smiles all the time, and already crawls and pulls herself up on things. She also likes to try to eat EVERYTHING, so she keeps us pretty busy pulling things out of her mouth. We think she’s pretty great.

This Summer we went down to LA to visit Rachel’s grandpa and sister for the fourth of July. We went to the beach, and Avery was in heaven. She splashed and played in the sand and collected shells. We also got to see some of Rachel’s family that we don’t see too often and meet an aunt that we had never met before. That was a fun experience, and we’re happy to have Mei Linh as part of our family.

Avery started 1st grade this Fall, which put her in school all day again. (In Colorado she had all-day Kindergarten, but here Kindergarten is half-day.) Her class is ocean themed and she loves her teacher. They have a pet hermit crab that the class named Hermy. Avery gets to read sea life books and tells us all sorts of things about sea animals. She loves to play with her friends and is starting to get very good at reading. She’s even beginning to read for fun.

Evelyn started pre-school again this year. It’s a home-based pre-school, but we’re not using the joy school curriculum this year. There are usually 6 kids or so and she looks forward to it every week. She’s pretty good at her letters and numbers and excited to start Kindergarten next year. Evelyn is our little firecracker. She makes up all sorts of pretend games with her toys and is very, very friendly. She gives everyone hugs and her primary teachers tell us that she loves to give answers in class. Apparently most of her class is pretty shy.

This Fall we got to go camping a couple times, which was fun. The kids hadn’t ever been camping before and they loved it. We went to Arches National Park for Fall Break and camped and hiked around a bit. It was a beautiful place, even if the kids didn’t like the hiking.

We spent Thanksgiving with Ivan’s family up in Montana. It was a fun trip and a nice, quiet few days. Ivan’s whole family was there, so it was nice to spend time together. While we were there Ivan finished up a big project. He participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year and finished the required 50,000 words in the month of November. He is now officially a NaNoWriMo winner and we’re all pretty darn proud of him. It was a lot of work, and he stuck with it all month (despite negative effects on his sleep). His book is called The Implausible Adventures of Jacqueline and Lonnie, and is based on characters in the stories he tells the kids at bedtime. Unfortunately, none of us has read much of it, because he claims he has too much editing to do on it still it’s really bad.

That’s about it for our year. We feel very lucky to have been able to see family so much this year. We wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a blessed 2015.

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Christmas Letter

The various branches of Ivan’s family require a Christmas letter every year, signed in triplicate and with accompanying picture and blog address. I wrote ours a few days after Halloween this year after receiving the first mass email request. I decided to wait a few weeks to post it on the blog (Halloween seems a little early…) but I’m afraid if I wait too much longer I’ll forget, so here it is. I left off the picture and blog address since you seem to know the latter already and the picture was not actually part of the original letter.

I think Ivan’s graduate school has been about the only constant thing for our family this year. Ivan finished the first year of his Ph.D. program this April, thus completing most of the coursework part of his program and moving into the more research oriented part. School has definitely been challenging and in a lot of ways we’re still adjusting to it, even after a year.

And now for the ups and downs and round abouts. The year started with us all together in our little apartment in Budapest. Ivan went to school and Rachel adjusted to the strange new country that would be home for a few years. The day after Valentine’s Day Rachel flew back to Texas to her parents’ house where she would stay until after the baby was born, the plan being that Ivan would fly back to Texas in April after taking his qualifying exam, about two weeks before the baby was due. Alas, it was not to be. Rachel went into labor while Ivan was taking his exam and a mere 22 hours after Ivan took the exam our little Evelyn was born. Needless to say, Ivan didn’t quite make it, and on top of that his flight for three days later was cancelled due to the volcano in Iceland. In the end Evelyn was a week old before Ivan got to see her. We have definite negative feelings toward volcanoes now.

Evelyn was beautiful and healthy and had to spend one day in NICU due to a little glitch in her breathing, but still came home at the normal time. She’s got beautiful blue eyes like her Daddy and grows like a weed.

Avery has had a fabulous year. She LOVES her little sister and is just now beginning to be a little sore that she has to share her toys. In March Rachel and Avery went to LA to visit Avery’s Aunt Linden and Great Grandpa Virgil and Avery got to go to the beach. I’m not sure that there ever was a happier kid. She chased the waves out and then laughed and laughed as she ran away when they came back in.

In June we all took a trip to Utah to see friends and family before heading back to Budapest for a few years. We were lucky and got to see Avery and Evelyn’s first cousin, Kevin. He was born a couple days after we got there. We also got to see Grandma Andrus and lots of Aunts and Uncles. We had a good time, but both kids were pretty darn ready to be done with the car by the time we got home. Twenty five hours in a car does not a happy child make, and that was just one way.  Come to think of it, it doesn’t make parents all that happy either.

We came back to Budapest in the middle of July to beautiful weather and lost luggage. It took two days for them to get us our bags and in the meantime our landlord informed us that he needed our apartment back and we would have to move. We took our time finding an apartment and moved about two weeks later. We like our new apartment better in most ways anyway.

Since then things have calmed down a little.  School started again in the middle of September and Rachel and the kids are back into the playgroup and rhyme time schedule that lapsed a little during the Summer. It’s so nice to have English speaking friends here to talk to and to do kids’ activities with. We’ve been able to travel a little. We took a day trip to a little town a couple hours from Budapest called Eger. There’s a castle there and some museums and it’s really a delightful little place. We went to Vienna for the first time for Halloween.

So as you can see, we’ve had a downright boring year. We miss all our friends and family and hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season.

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