belfast for christmas

we are away to belfast today for the christmas holidays once again. i will do my best to update and add some photos while we are there and from christmas. we’ll be driving home on new years day =) what fun…

for now, here is our christmas news letter =)
christmas pose
christmas pose

‘… and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying ‘hitherto hath the Lord helped us’.’ 1 Sam 7v12.

The latest addition – Ezra Andrew!
The big news of the year was the birth of Ezra on 30th November at 7.17am. He weighed in at 8lbs and 2oz, which Janelle was happy about considering the fact he was 11 days late. Janelle’s mom, Robin had been over the previous week, and was due to fly home to the States on the morning of the 30th. This being so, I took Janelle to the Woman’s Hospital on the Sunday to see about being induced, however, mild contractions had already started, so we went back home to wait it out. By early morning on the 30th when it was certain Ezra was coming, Robin phoned to postpone her flight, and the Lord graciously provided the necessary funds through the care of the saints. We are so pleased that Robin was able to spend a day with wee Ezra before returning. My mum, Valerie is over at present, and keeping the house running and the other boys occupied with crafts, projects and trips to the park. Both Ezra and Janelle are doing well and we thank the Lord for his goodness and many blessings.

The wee monkey – Jonah Edward!
Now 18 months, and for the most part keeping up with his big brothers. He has a natural athleticism and just loves climbing, jumping, balancing, swinging, running and wrestling. A real wee monkey! He has had numerous falls, but always bounces back up and tries again. Actually, he will lie there on the floor for several moments, and you can almost hear him thinking ‘that didn’t go quite as planned’. Then he will be up for another go. Following the monkey analogy, Jonah is also quite the cheeky boy – I wonder who he gets that from? He is, however, a very content wee boy and will entertain himself often, away from the other boys mostly playing with the train set. He loves Thomas!

The strong, silent type – Noah Craig!
Three and a half now, and Noah is just now beginning to expand his vocabulary ever so slightly from ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘yeah’, ‘no’ and ‘oh no!’. When Micah is doing some school work, Noah will often join in, particularly when Micah has been learning his phonics. This has helped him to begin to make new sounds, and now he is able to say his name which is a major breakthrough. For most of the year he has called himself ‘ah tuh’. Although Noah is not speaking fully yet, the title the strong, silent type’ is not really very accurate, as he can certainly make his presence known!! As to being strong, we have always known he was a different build to Micah, but anytime they are wrestling over a ball or something, there is only going to be one winner. It’s not all violence with Noah. He is a wonderful helper, and very loving and caring. When Ezra was born, he sat there for almost ½ hour holding Ezra on his lap which was so sweet. He loves his cars and will spend ages lining them all up and then rearranging them into a different formation.

The leader of the pack – Micah Brooke!
With Micah I feel like I’m living my childhood all over again. It’s scary how much like me he is in character and temperament. I remind Micah at times of the weight of responsibility that falls on his shoulders being the eldest!! He is very good, for the most part, and will look out for the others who constantly follow him and want to join in with whatever he is doing. Two big events stand out for Micah this year. On his 5th birthday he got a bicycle ‘with 2 wheels’. We spent a lot of time in the first two weeks riding up and down our cul-de-sac, but by the end he had mastered it. Now it is his favourite pastime to spend time riding around on his bike. Father and son have enjoyed a number of rides out and about since then to the park, round the reservoir, to the library etc
Now he’s 5 it’s time for school, and we have begun, on a more formal basis, our homeschooling of Micah. For this term we have been concentrating primarily on basic maths skills and learning to read. We have been pleased with his progress this term. He enjoys his maths much more than reading, and has almost completed the key objectives taught in a reception year at school for maths. With reading he has learnt most of the phonic sounds from Jolly Phonics and has just recently read his first two stories from the Read Write Inc series.

The tired and weary ones – Mom and Dad!
A number of things stand out over the year. Just before Easter, I had the very great privilege of officiating at the marriage of our good friends Peter and Becky. They are now expecting their first child in January, and with Becky’s own health issues, they would appreciate your prayers.
Following the wedding, Janelle had the pleasure of taking a visit home to Baltimore with Jonah, particularly to join in the family celebrations for her cousin Amber’s Bat Mitzvah. She really enjoyed being with family again.
In June, I was relieved to see the back of the Special Measures that my school was in for almost a year and a half. Life was able to return to a more normal pace, and then in August we held our annual outreach week, which was a real encouragement.

With all our love. Andy, Janelle and the boys.

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Author: ALM

*ulsterman & american in birmingham UK *5 young boys *christians *missionaries *homeschooling our children *photographers

3 thoughts on “belfast for christmas”

  1. Awww… Janelle… I love seeing all four of your boys together. They are just precious! I love how Micah and Noah hold Ezra! So sweet…. makes me so excited for my two to be big brothers to another little one at some point. 🙂

  2. Everyone loves the boys pics! Suzanne was asking about you and how homeschooling was coming along. She was not surprised that Micah likes math better than reading. She says its a boy thing!Keep up the good work. Love you and miss you.

  3. for whatever reason, i’m all weepy after reading your letter…ha! your boys are just so sweet & i love hearing both yours & andy’s perspective on raising four boys. blessings in the year to come, girl! lots of love from the very cold american south!

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