Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Smith Letter 2011

This has been our most international year, and that is saying a lot for our family. We have watched our kindergartner—Everett—enjoy school on two continents, Liam developed his life’s passion: snakes. Delaine successfully navigated the German language living in Austria and Liechtenstein, and Steve completed his MBA at Thunderbird, in addition to accepting a full-time job with Hilti in Portland, OR starting in January 2012.

Liam has blossomed into an adventurous 3 year old. He loves doing flips on and off of the couch, playing in the dirt, collecting sticks and rocks, and learning everything and anything about reptiles. He is a true herpetologist. He plays with his toy snakes, eats with his snakes, bathes with his snakes, and sleeps with his snakes. He will not allow us to miss a week at our local library so he can pick out his weekly assortment of snake books. He loves it when we read to him and he takes every chance he can to physically challenge his brother in what he considers to be a perpetual, winner-takes-all cage fight. His ninja fighting skills are pretty awesome., and he loves to sing and rock out to music by Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, and the Ramones. He is so excited to start primary this coming year. He is a true character, and makes our lives so much more LIVELY.

Everett has had so many milestones this year. He attended Kindergarten in Austria this year (they start at 3 yrs old there), where he became fluent in the German language. His daddy is super proud! He was devastated to leave. He loved Europe so much, and we hope to get back there soon. Upon our return to the USA, Everett started Kindergarten in Arizona. Despite being the youngest in his class, he is thriving. His teacher says he soaks up everything they cover. He LOVES to learn. He can read very well, write more legibly than his dad, and loves everything about school. He was awarded student of the month in October, he was on the principal’s list for both quarters, and he earned a special Howl Award every month. He is heartbroken that he has to leave his school, he’ll start in the Northwest soon. He is not only our little academic, but he has also advanced to a green belt in Karate! Basketball is the next sport on his list.

Delaine has spent her year being a trooper. She has worked hard at planting roots in Austria, Liechtenstein, and Arizona. She is also a full time chauffer—in Europe she escorted the kids by bus, train, stroller, and by foot. In Arizona, she drove Steve and Everett back and forth to and from school several times each day. She spent the rest of her time, cleaning, cooking, and enjoying outings with the family. She particularly enjoyed our trips to Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy, Neuschwanstein (the Princess Castle), Bavaria, Lego Land Deutschland, Oregon for Delaine’s Grandfather’s funeral, and the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, she is excited to settle in the Northwest for a while. Delaine wins that Smith family prize for PATIENCE and DILIGENCE this year.

Steve fulfilled many of his dreams this year. He was able to work in his mission area in a large company. He also got his family to be Germanophiles, too. He has also succeeded in learning Portuguese. And to top everything off, he GRADUATED from a highly ranked business school. While in school, Steve worked as a Campus Ambassador, Foundations Leader, and a Peer Career Advisor where he advised his fellow MBA students on resume writing and job searching tactics. He has refereed countless family wrestling matches and various other spur-of-the-moment homemade games. Although his schedule was crazy, he led the family in family scripture study, family prayer, faithful church attendance, and regularly scheduled date nights.

This has been a remarkable year for us, full of great experiences and accomplishments. We wish you all the best for the coming year 2012. We miss you all, and we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!