Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” –Joshua 24:15
 Dear family and friends--                                                                                                                                                   
 Season’s greetings to all!  2011 has been a year of change for the Meyaard-Pfanschmidt family.  Our first and biggest change of the year came to fruition in April, when Ben left his job in corporate finance at Ingersoll-Rand to accept a brand-new position as the Director of Camper Support at Camp Tecumseh YMCA.  In this position, Ben is in charge of fundraising for camperships to enable kids of all different financial backgrounds to enjoy the Camp T experience, which focuses on personal growth, a love of the outdoors, and personal relationships with Jesus Christ. 

 With the change in jobs came a big move for our family, from the Indianapolis suburbs to the rural setting of Delphi, Indiana. We were incredibly blessed to have a wonderful crew of friends to help pack us up in Brownsburg, and we were greeted by the Tecumseh staff for unloading help in Delphi.  After years of living in suburban neighborhoods, our front yard/cornfield seemed HUGE, and the kids settled in to our “log house” and new adventures quickly!

our "log house"

the view from our front porch

forging a new path

Amy and the kids spent most of May traveling back and forth between Indy and Delphi, finishing up all of our activities, while Ben learned the ropes of his new job.  The girls finished up the year at St. Andrew’s Preschool (Bryn’s third there), performed in their dance recital, and got to have plenty of “last” trips to the Children’s Museum and the Indianapolis Zoo with friends.
 June brought summer camp and all of the craziness that goes with it!  Amy attended Camp Tecumseh as a camper and Ben and Amy both worked there as counselors, so we both knew what to expect, but our kids were blown away by the fun of it all!  They became best friends with all the counselors and spent the entire summer eating in the dining hall, singing at chapel, going on trailrides, playing at the lake, swimming in the pools, hiking in the woods, exploring camp’s playgrounds, and attending campfires.  We also managed to work in a trip to Peoria for a family wedding and a trip to Grand Rapids to see Ben’s parents’ new lake house and to meet our first niece, Elizabeth (daughter of Jill and Jim King).  Most importantly, the entire past year has given us daily lessons on trusting in God and knowing that His plan for us is infinitely better than our own.

our camp kids

fearless Shay

Liam explores Main Field

And now an update on each family member:
Bryn, age 6, started full-day kindergarten this fall at Camden Early Childhood Center, the local county kindergarten.  She loves every last bit of it: the bus ride, her teacher, her classmates, lunchtime, recess, and the academics, especially learning to read.  Her favorite stories are the Magic Treehouse series, which she especially likes to listen to on CD.  Bryn also had the opportunity to appear in her first two dramatic productions this year: as a squirrel in “Doo Wop Red Riding Hood” through the Delphi Public Library this summer, then as a young customer in Delphi High School’s “Parfumerie” this November.  She has also kept plenty busy with dance and gymnastics lessons.  The best week of her summer was when she got to be a camper at Tecumseh Day Camp!

Shaylee, age 4, is still full of energy and spunk (some might call it sass….).  She has enjoyed her classes at Sonshine Preschool in West Lafayette this fall, especially loving the crafts and music.  However, the 35-minute drive each way has gotten to be too much for us, so Shay will be learning at home with Mommy next semester, then enrolling in a local preschool next fall.  In the interim, Shay made her dramatic debut in Delphi High’s “Parfumerie” this fall, and she also enjoyed dance and gymnastics lessons.  Her favorite activity by far, though, is playing at camp—she loves taking every opportunity to eat in the dining hall, climb on Fort Discovery, and play with the animals in the mini-farm.

Liam, now 21 months, has developed into quite a friendly, energetic, active, talkative little man.  We think that growing up as “camp kid” is definitely going to make him fearless!  Already, he loves splashing around in the pool (and putting his face in, which neither of his big sisters will do!), monkeying around on the furniture, and achieving daring feats on the playground.  He’s also experiencing quite the language explosion, learning multiple new words every day, with his favorite tricks being animal noises, counting from 1 to 10 (though not always in the right order!), and repeating everything his big sisters say.  Liam has also developed some “favorites” of his own, including trains, Mickey Mouse, dinosaurs, cars, Diego, and animals—all welcome additions to our previously all-princess toy collection!   Liam eats non-stop and loves cuddling up with Mommy for a good board book.

Amy has just finished up her third semester in the IUPUI Masters of Library Science program.  She has loved taking advantage of this opportunity to read as much as possible!  She has also done a good bit of writing over the past year, and this fall, she published a book entitled God Can!, a collaboration with her dad and his pastor.  She occasionally works weekends at camp’s Leadership Center and has gotten active in the local community.  She co-directed Delphi High School’s production of “Parfumerie” this fall and will be coaching their Academic Superbowl team this spring.  Amy was also thrilled with the expansion of her extended family this year: her brother Brian married a lovely woman named Lakshmi this October, and her sister Kristin got engaged to a wonderful Brian of her own.

Ben continues to enjoy his new job and just got back from a YMCA fundraising conference in the Catskills.  He especially enjoys camp’s disc golf course and hiking trails, and has already converted several other camp staff to his love of complicated board games.  He loves living on camp grounds, with less than a three-mile trip from home to office every day, and has occasionally even been known to canoe to work.  His job will take him on the road a lot in the coming year, so don’t be surprised if you get an invite from him for coffee or lunch!

Our family’s next big change will come at the end of June 2012, when (drumroll, please!) we welcome MeyPfan Baby #4 into the world!  We couldn’t be more excited about adding to our sweet family, and we look forward to all of the adventures that the future holds!                                                                       

Blessings to you and yours—
Amy, Ben, Bryn, Shay, and Liam


Janet and Kevin said...

Wonderful! So happy to read about your year since we last saw you all.

We totally understand your statement that God knows infinitely more what is good for us than we do as we added a precious fourth child last August. Never, in a million years, would we have imagined receiving such blessings as we have the past three years in our Chinese children. God is good! Never would have imagined the faith walk we have taken.

Loved reading your walk of faith in your Christmas post. (and a big congrats on your future summer addition!!)

Love to you all from our home to yours,
the bourkes
janet, kevin, ted, sophia, philip, and elijah

Cathy said...