Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12 JOYS of Christmas, 2015 (PART 1)

This Christmas I have my work cut out for me and lately I catch myself feeling like Mrs. Grinch instead of enjoying, and helping my family to enjoy such a very special time of the year. So this morning, as I was scrubbing my bathtub I was struck with the inspiration to write this post. Maybe it will be a one time thing or it might just become an annual tradition. Its amazing how much more joy we experience when we stop to focus on the good.

1. Rebekah is 3 this Christmas and besides her growing anticipation of opening presents she has noticed Christmas Music on a new level this year. Her favourite song is "Little Drummer Boy" and she will boldly announce that "Rubber Bum Bum" is playing whenever she hears the tune. SO CUTE! She also does an absolutely adorable rendition of "Go tell it on the Mountain."

2. Joshua opening presents. I had a preview of this while I was wrapping gifts. He got hold of one and I was happy to have him play with it while I finished up but I didn't anticipate how quickly he would figure out how to rip the paper off. There is something so joyful about kids ripping into their gifts. I remember how exciting it was (and sometimes still is) to unwrap a surprise.

3. Samara memorizing her lines for the church preschool pageant. She STILL likes to rehearse them for us even though the pageant performance was on the 13th. We are planning a bit of an encore on Christmas day. This was a huge accomplishment for her and rightfully so she is proud of herself.

4. The joy of lights. David mentioned this year that one of his favourite parts of Christmas time is when the lights are off and the Christmas tree is lit up. He even made furniture rearranging suggestions for maximum viewing. Driving around to see Christmas lights is always a highlight.

5. C A N D Y. Tomorrow we are decorating our homemade Sugar Cookie Ginger Bread Houses. We assembled them today and the kids can't wait to get their hands on the candies to decorate. Angeline made one already at a friends birthday party and was so proud of her candy covered mound. She also took the liberty if decorating the plate and concluded that next time the roof should go on afterwards so that you could fill the entire house with candy.

6. Family Portraits. This is definitely one of MY favourites. If it wasn't for me the rest of my family would be happy never to pose for a group picture. It means a lot to me to have us all together in one picture. It's a lot of work to get everyone looking at the camera let alone smiling but it's worth it.

I plan on posting a part 2 with an additional 6 Joys after Christmas.
Wishing You much Joy as you reflect on the many blessings this season brings.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

Dear Friends and Family,
I thought I would be smart this year and start my Christmas letter in August. I know what you are thinking... brilliant, right? Brilliant might have been saving it to the desktop. Not so brilliant was not being able to find it and starting over again.
Oh well... think merry thoughts!
Having 5 kids is CRAZY! Most of the time it is CRAZY fun and we are CRAZY in love but it is always CRAZY busy. Sometimes things get out of hand and crazy fun turns into insane crazy and occasional insane crazy becomes senile (which is NOT fun). Balancing homeschooling 3 kids with my regular mother and housewife duties is challenging and I have had to make some adjustments to our schedule. I am still fine tuning it but I think we are figuring it out. The trick is how to get everything done, squeeze in some fun and have a little room left over for sanity. 
I don't get a lot in the way of personal time but I do enjoy the occasional cup of loose leaf tea. In June I took (and passed) my driving test so that I no longer have to drive around with a “N” sign in my glovebox (I mean on the back of the van). I had my “N” for over 15 years, some sort of a record I am sure. I started a new devotional app in July called First5 which has been really good. This fall I had a lot of fun attending Zumba classes.
     A Major Milestone for us this year was celebrating our 10 Year Wedding Anniversary. After 10 Years, we still do! In celebration we had a family ring made so that is certainly a highlight for me as well.
     Jonathan was officially promoted at the start of the year to head store manager. He played soccer in the Spring on our Church team and this year they made it to the playoffs. He joined Karate this fall and has been attending classes with David. He is continuing to enjoy board game nights monthly.
     David took art classes in the Spring and we were really impressed with his work. He is training to grade for his white stripe belt in Karate. He started Grade 4 this fall which means he now gets letter grades. He is attending Soaring Eagle Nature School once a month where he spends an entire day in the woods. He joined DIY for kids and now has an online portfolio and is earning badges for projects. It's like a modern day boy scouts. Check out his page at:
     Angeline is now in Grade 1 and is continuing to do well. She attends class 2 days a week for about 8 weeks each term. She thrives at school and at home. Earlier in the year she attended a mixed dance class and she will be participating in Dance Week later this month. She is currently in swimming lessons. What we are most proud of is her gift of welcoming others. She has a natural ability to find a friend who is new, shy or struggling and taking them under her wing.
     Samara is just about to celebrate her 5th Birthday and is now in Kindergarten. A lot of change has come her way this year and she is now on her own for some of her activities where she is used to having her big sister. She has also had the opportunity to be the big sister as her and Rebekah took a Ballet class together this fall. She is in a K/1 split with Angeline at School and will also be participating in Dance Week. I really feel like she is coming out of her cocoon and we are enjoying her now as a butterfly.
     Rebekah is now 3 and enjoyed her first Ballet (or as she says "Balleray") class this fall. She has been waiting patiently for her turn and loves having a dance class to attend. She quite enjoys her time with Mommy and Joshua when her sisters and brother are at school. She will often ask me not to pick them up. :) We thought she had coasted safely through the accident prone 2's (Angeline broke her arm and Samara broker her collar bone when she was 2) but shortly after turning 3 she landed herself with 10 stitches above her eyebrow. Her bangs hide it, if I have time to blow dry them to the right.
Joshua is now 1 and has been walking about for the last month and a half. He is certainly in a very busy but also a very fun stage. Our Baby Boy is growing up too fast. We love his kisses, his car sounds and his growing vocabulary. He loves his bath time, the naked time that follows, cars, trains and going outside.
I am continuing to update our family blog if you are interested in updates throughout the year. Visit
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Love, Melissa, Jonathan, David, Angeline, Samara, Rebekah and Joshua Neufeld

PS- Our family Christmas Picture will come in a later post. I still have to pick up the boys shirts. For now here is a sneak peak of the girls in their Christmas dresses.