2012: A Bauer Family Retrospective

Blogger’s Note:  This is a version of the Christmas letter Jen and I sent out with our Christmas card.  I added a few things about our post-Christmas activities.  If you were not among the chosen few to received a card and were desperately yearning to know what on earth The Bauer’s were up to in 2012, yearn no longer.

A Merry Yuletide, one and all! With Christmas right around the corner we hope you are enjoying the season and getting all your shopping done with a minimum of Scrooge-like thoughts about your fellow man.

The last couple of years have been a bit crazy around The House of Bauer. We felt like 2012 brought a bit of normalcy and routine back to our lives, and we welcomed it with open arms.  Very, very open arms.

Our winter and spring were pretty quiet. The only real news of note was that Andy completed his training as a dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Office, and for the first time in two years he was not a trainee of any kind.  Huzzah!  It’s now been two years that Andy has worked at the Sheriff’s Office and he is enjoying his time as a dispatcher.  In his spare time he loves playing with the kids, watching sports (of course), and has recently started a new hobby of buying auctioned storage lockers.  He bought his first one for $10 and made a pretty handsome profit off the contents.  Jen is just glad most of the stuff is now out of the garage.

May brought a nice change as we rented out the house we own (or will someday) and have been living in for the past eight years, and moved into a roomier house in an even better neighborhood.  We feel so blessed to have an enough bedrooms for the kids to each have their own, a yard for the kids and dog to play in, and a nice quiet neighborhood for the kids to grow up in. We now live about 1 minute from church, school, the park, Andy’s folks, and Oliver’s Market, which is pretty great. When the weather is nice, we can even walk Lily to school.

We’ve already gotten a little more than we bargained for as landlords.  Our first tenant had an affinity for indoor gardening of a certain type, and we had to give him the old heave-ho.  Fortunately it was pretty uneventful, these things can get pretty sticky, though having a rental property sit empty for a month is not ideal.  We have new tenants now, and hopefully their thumbs are not green

In May, Jen took the kids to see her sister and her family in Colorado. Jen, Lily (age four), and Henry (age 11 months).  On an airplane.  Alone. Though they had a fabulous time (other than the little flu big Lily managed to pick up–fortunately not on the plane), Jen has sworn off solo flights with the kids for a while.  Yup, it was one of those trips!  It was well worth it, though, for Jen to spend some time with her sis.

Jen has been enjoying life as a stay at home mom, spending her days scheming up new ways to better organize the house and catching Henry climbing up on every piece of furniture we own.  She has also been teaching a writing class at RVCS once a week and leading the Puggles class at Awana, to get her teacher fix.

We celebrated Henry’s 1st birthday in late June.  It was hard to believe our little guy had been around for a year already.  It seemed like just yesterday we were sitting next to his incubator at Kaiser in Roseville, wondering when he would get to come home.  We celebrated with a houseful of family and friends and are so grateful to God he is such an active and strong little guy—who keeps his parents very busy!  At his 18th month high-risk infant checkup, he finally broke the 18 pound barrier!  He is very busy and we often find him on top of the dining room table or chewing on one of Jackson’s bones.  He’s a great snuggler and gives really good kisses (watch out ladies!).

Our summer was one of the most fun we’ve had. We visited Lake Almanor in July. We, along with most of Andy’s extended family, rented a couple of chalets—yes, chalets—right on the water. Andy’s family has been coming up to Lake Almanor since he was a little kid and it was fun to revisit all their old haunts and relax at the lake.  Lily went fishing for the first time, Jen and Andy jet-skiied, and we all had a great time hanging out with family and eating as much food as possible.

Barely had we been home from Lake Almanor, when we packed up the gear again and headed up to Hartstone for family camp.  We were only able to go for a day the previous year and really missed it, so we were excited to spend (almost) the whole week up there this time.  The Eel river was just the right temperature, the food and fellowship was good, and Lily enjoyed getting as dirty as possible in the shortest amount of time possible.  Henry, who was just starting to walk, got some good practice trekking over the forest terrain.

We ended the summer with a big BBQ with friends and family at our new house, and Lily started her third and final year of Pre-K in August.  She loves school and is always surprising us with how quick she learns new things.  She keeps us constantly in stitches by saying things no four-year-old has any business saying, and being just about as silly as she can be.  She loves puppies of any kind, she does gymnastics at school, and just started playing basketball at Mini Hoops which should lead to some comedy of the highest order.

As great as the year had been so far, October has to take the cake.  Delayed by a couple of years thanks to the police academy and a new baby, Andy and Jen finally made it to Hawaii!  By themselves!  Andy’s folks graciously, generously, amazingly, agreed to watch the kids for a week so we could enjoy the tropics of Maui.  Amazing does not begin to describe the experience.  We’re already planning our next trip.  Don’t worry mom and dad!  We’re taking the kids next time.

November started out well with Andy’s birthday and Jen’s sister coming for a visit from Colorado, but ended on a rough note.  We all got sick right around Thanksgiving and had a hard time shaking it, but we were all healthy just in time for a great Christmas.  Andy’s sister’s and brother-in-law were all back in town, and thanks to our roomier confines we were able to host Christmas breakfast and present extravaganza at our house for the first time.  I like this have-the-family-come-to-the-kids thing more than the bring-the-kids-to-the-family.

More family arrived in town after Christmas, when the Indiana Graves/Scherzer’s stopped in for a few days on their way to Hawaii.  We spent some good times with them and got a kick out of showing them our new house, because its their old house!  We like to keep things all in the family.

We hope you all have had great years and we are definitely looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us in 2013.

The Bauers:  Andy, Jen, Lily, Henry, and Jackson

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