Christmas Greetings

Dear loved ones,

Greetings from snowy South Surrey! We pray that God has kept you warm and safe this holiday season. Our little family of 3 grew 33% to become a bouncy family of 4. Caelyn Olivia was born in April and our house has gone from fairly routine and organized to totally chaotic! Such is life with kids. But really, God has been our stable foundation and so we have been able to weather the storms (no pun intended!) of adjusting to life with 2 rambunctious girls.

Emma is still the skinny sprite that she was last year but has got attitude (and hair!) to make up for it. She is obsessed with the Backyardigans and Veggietales and can be found repeating songs and lines from their shows throughout the day. Her favourite things to do are “wash dishes” (play with water in the sink), “help you make supper” (stand at the counter with a butter knife), and anything that involves her Pooh bear, dishes, or Play-Doh. She had another fall a few months ago which required a visit to the walk-in where the doctor gave her some glue (instead of a stitch) in the back of her head. She adores her little sister and is often doing things just trying to make Caelyn laugh. Emma was enrolled in a pre-preschool program at the YMCA called Toddler Time and simply adores it. The teacher is fantastic and we will be putting her back in the program in the new year.

Caelyn came into the world a calm, quiet, sleepy baby, giving us all a good rest for a few weeks. However, when she “woke up” and discovered the world out there around 4 weeks, she definitely let it be known that she wasn’t going to be second place to Emma! She only weighs 13 pounds and is almost bald, but has 8 teeth already, and the sweetest smile. She’s quite a mommy’s girl but always has a grin for her dad and Emma. Sometimes we worry that we’re under stimulating her, but then we remember that she watches Emma all day long. And that is exhausting!

Maggie didn’t return to choir after Caelyn was born, but has joined the Lynden Festival Singers for Fiddler on the Roof, to be put on in May. She still volunteers at church in the nursery, for Vacation Bible School and on the Communal Lunch Committee. Having two girls has been a real challenge and she looks forward to having a bit more free time in the new year to do a little more of her missed hobbies like scrapbooking and snowboarding. John is still in Sales at ITB. He played soccer for the Celtics again this year as well as volleyball in the Fall. He is busy with church as well, being a deacon, on the Home Mission Committee, IT Committee and Communal Lunch Committee. We haven’t done any skiing yet this year but the snow falling today means a trip can’t be far off! We attempted our own home renovations this fall by painting the entire main floor and putting in new flooring. We’re very happy with the result but really underestimated the amount of work and time it takes to do it yourself, especially with little ones.

We just can’t seem to let a year go by without going somewhere and this year was no different. In the early year we had a ski trip with each side of the family. We had a few camping trips including Desolation Sound and Cultus Lake just after Caelyn was born. In May we headed over to the island and Sydney-by-the-Sea for a few days, as well as to Semiahmoo Resort for an ITB weekend retreat. In September we took Caelyn to Montreal for a conference, and enjoyed the beautiful city and the beautiful late summer weather. October saw us in Victoria with both kids for another conference and again enjoyed beautiful weather, allowing us to spend a lot of time walking around the harbour. Emma really enjoyed Undersea Gardens and Miniature World and Caelyn enjoyed all the fresh air. On John’s birthday, we boarded a plane with Caelyn to Mexico for 10 days in Puerto Vallarta. Emma stayed with Grandma, then her cousins, and then Oma while we were away and seems to have liked being the centre of attention again for awhile. 2008 was really another year full of travel. Caelyn was quite a good traveller and really blossomed under all the attention. In Mexico she must have loved the ocean air and sound of the waves because she gained half a pound, put out 3 teeth, and would nap in her playpen by the pool for 2 or 3 hours! We definitely got some real rest while we were there. We also had some thrills including zip-lining 400 metres above a canyon and parasailing over Puerto Vallarta bay.

We are looking forward to a simple holiday season celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. May the Good News of his birth be the light of your Christmas celebrations. Merry Christmas to you and your families and we pray for God to bless you in 2009.

Love John Maggie Emma and Caelyn Van Seters

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