I am following the example of a fellow blogger and going green with my Christmas letter.
First and foremost MERRY CHRISTMAS. This is an awesome time of year to spend time with family and friends and to remember the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
We have had a very busy year. It all started in January with the birth of our second son Caleb. It has been so awesome to watch him grow this year. He is such a sweetie and cuddle bug. He is crawling, pulling up and cruising, babbling, has 6 teeth, hates baby food, and adores his big brother. Caleb was born with a club foot, but because it was caught early he has had outstanding progress in his rehabilitation and correction. His doctor's have been awesome. You would never know he was born with a "crooked foot" unless you see him wearing his brace. If Caleb sees Noah doing ANYTHING, well Caleb is going to give it a try too! Nothing can hold this kid down.
Kevin and I stayed busy the first couple of months of the year running kids to doctor's appointments and preparing for his upcoming deployment.
In March we got word that we were going to be moving, where we did not know yet. Soon we got the word that Anchorage, Alaska would be out new home. In April we made one last trip to Disney World. Caleb just hung out, Noah went crazy! We all love Disney! Our friends who joined us made the trip even more memorable. At the end of April lots happened. First we put our house on the market to sell and then we had to say goodbye to Kevin. He left for an overseas deployment to Al Udeid AFB in Qatar. 4 days after Kevin left the house sold! So, the kids and Mary moved in with some friends in June and made the most of the time away from Kevin. We took a trip back home to Alabama and Tennessee to see family in July. At the end of July we got the biggest surprise, Kevin came home early! We were so happy!
In August we spent most of the time trying to tie up loose ends before we left Charleston for good in September. This was a hard time for Noah because he had to undergo two surgeries on his left leg. He was born with a benign cyst on his leg and his pediatrician said it needed to go since it was growing in size. He did very well and now has a cool scar to brag about when he gets older.
In September we said goodbye to all of our friends in South Carolina. I think this was definitely one of the hardest parts of the year. We will always cherish Summerville and all the great relationships we were blessed with there. We made our way to Montgomery, AL so Kevin could attend SOS (Squadron Off icier School). We spent 5 weeks in AL and then began our trek across the US. From Oct. 12 to Oct 26 we visited Ardmore and Sulphur OK, Albuquerque NM, The Grand Canyon AZ, Las Vegas NV, Corona Del Mar, LA, Vandenburg AFB, and San Francisco CA, and finally Seattle WA. Along the way we saw the petrified forest, the painted desert, The Hoover Dam, Bellagio fountains, The Strip in Vegas, Drove the PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy), rush hour in LA, the Redwoods on the Avenue of Giants, The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, our fav In 'n Out Burger - have a double double Animal Style it's the best, Mt Rainier, and probably more.
We finally boarded the ferry in Bellingham WA on Oct. 26. We changed ferries in Juneau, AK. While in Juneau we saw the famous Red Dog Saloon. Upon the ferries we saw dolphins, orca, bald eagles, and the spray of a whale. Also gorgeous scenery everywhere your eyes could see. While in Alaska we have had about 22 cumulative inches of snow. We have seen 5 moose and have been warned of a pack of wolves in our housing subdivision. We have slid on roads and gotten stuck on a hill on a snowy road. We have found a church home and are still unpacking from moving into our home on the air force base. The kids have made their first snow angels, eaten their first snow flakes, and adapted to life in the arctic. We are excited to spend Caleb's first Christmas snow laden and to watch as Noah is truly beginning to see the real meaning of Christmas. He still knows that presents are coming from Santa too! We have been so very blessed to have these two sons. What a privilege we have been given to watch them grow and see the world through their eyes.
We are anxious and curious to see what this ever changing land has to offer now as well as when the snow melts and we begin to explore into the wild! Who knows what this next year has in store for us!
We wish all of our family and friends the best of the holiday season. May the new year hold more joy and love than the one we leave behind. May God bless you far beyond the desires of your hearts.
Kevin, Mary, Noah, and Caleb Jackson