Merry Christmas 2022!

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This is the first time in 10 years that I did not send a Christmas card (don’t worry you are still on our list). It was a first-world-kind-of-difficulty, but it made me sad not to send out the nearly 200 cards to friends and family that we normally do.

Ocean City 2022

In an effort to save some pennies, we opted out of our annual family photo shoot as well, and I have discovered that our family doesn’t do group photos unless we are on a beach somewhere.

Zach wrapped up his 9th year coaching football and his 10th year teaching. He is the head of computer programming and helps the high school run its online curriculum.

It was fun to see how interested Caleb has become in the Xs and O’s of football, watching film with Zach and drawing out his own plays, and also in the world of computer programming and all things STEM. Although Caleb does not particularly look like or even act like his dad there have been more “like father like son” moments this past year than ever before. Basically, the men in our family are all nerds.

We sold our third fixer-upper in the spring, and we are now renting a home that we found due to nothing short of a miracle (I shared that story along with our other fixer-upper adventures HERE) until we find our forever property. Our dream is to build, but I could also work some magic on an existing house if it means getting the property we want. We will see what 2023 has in store!

Since finishing the basement of our third fixer upper was the last big project until we build, I decided to be more intentional about “fun” things with some of that extra time now that we are renting a house which resulted in signing up for a dance and acting class with Gracie at CAVOD Performing Arts. It has been a ton of fun and we just had our end-of-semester showcase last week.

First time ever axe throwing this year as well. We have always made a good team 🙂

Bounce Craze for our annual Valentine’s Day outting with our super cute dates.

This year Gracie turned the big 1- 0 as she called it. Although it is hard to believe my first baby is 10, I have enjoyed her more this year than ever. She is creative, energetic, driven, and a joy to be with (except for when she wakes up in the morning).

A highlight for her (and me) this year was getting baptized. You can read all about Gracie’s baptism and her story here.

Another huge highlight for Gracie this year was being in her first-ever show which boasted a director and cast members from Broadway. She was blessed to learn from the incredibly experienced cast, and it was such a joy watching her shine. She already has her show run for 2023 on the calendar which includes the possibilities of Lion King Jr, Elf Jr, and The Sound Of Music. It’s a good thing my job is virtual.

Caleb (8) is as sweet and kind as that smile would suggest. I received a call from his principal a couple of months ago who shared with me that several teachers witnessed Caleb at recess telling a large group of boys he was playing football with to stop laughing at an autistic girl whose diaper was showing. When they didn’t stop he walked over to the teachers and told them to tell the boys to stop. Once they addressed it he went back to playing football. Just another day in the life of Caleb.

This child remains one of my greatest joys and one of my greatest frustrations. The past 8 years of Caleb’s Christmas card recap are proof that guardian angels are real and that it is no small miracle this child made it to the age of 8; his mother’s wrath being his primary risk factor.

On the same day, he will tell me we need to leave in “three-twelfths of an hour” (not in 15 minutes… 3/12s of an hour) and then forget to wear his shoes to the dentist (thankfully the dental hygienists adore him).

Recent IQ testing has confirmed that he is, in fact, exceptionally bright, yet I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t preferable to have a lower IQ and remember to wear one’s shoes.

Lily (5) remains as sweet as she is sassy and as cute as she is ornery. She makes all of us laugh on the regular, gives the best hugs, and is the first to get someone a bandaid or offer comfort when hurting. That being said, this little human is also not afraid to lay down the law whether that be with her siblings or strangers three times her size and age.

This aggressive spirit resulted in a rough start to kindergarten – hitting, kicking, and biting kids who didn’t “listen to her” or whom she perceived as not “being nice.” It was incredibly humbling as a parent to have “that kid,” and yet I could not be more proud of “that kid” who has made such incredible progress this year in controlling her anger and channeling that stubborn spirit into kind, productive behavior.

I am so thankful for her teacher who has been an incredible guide (one Lily loves, by the way), and for the chance to grow as a mom. I learned I had to set aside my to-do list and spend more quality time with her. Lily wouldn’t open up to me about her day if I asked point blank, but if I spent 30 minutes doing a puzzle with her when she got home she would start to share what happened on her own.

The pretty. The messy. The hard. The easy. The chaos. The calm. I am truly grateful for it all. Each moment is what makes this journey uniquely ours yet relatable to many of yours.

Unlike the slogan says, life is NOT a beach. It is hard, and the struggle is real. Some days are sunny and warm. Others are gloomy and cold. But EVERY DAY there is Jesus.

He is not just the baby in my nativity manger for the month of December. He is my Living Hope all year round. I pray that Hope over your heart and home. That you would know just how much you matter and that YOU ARE LOVED. Merry Christmas dear friends.

Ahna Fulmer Signature

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