Well, this is one of my favorite things to do each year—writing the Greenwood Christmas Letter. I guess I enjoy it so much because it gives me the chance to reflect on what God has been doing in our lives.
We started off 2010 by welcoming our newest addition, Sophie Sugai. She arrived on January 15th weighing in at 7lbs 3oz and measuring 20 ¾ inches long. Labor was about 4 ½ hours and after 5 minutes—yes, 5 minutes—of pushing, she made her entrance into the world. Let me tell you, ever since that day, she lets us know that she is a part of our family. The first three months were VERY rough. All she did was cry, cry and cry some more. Chris and I were working off the definition of colic that we had gotten when Josiah was a baby, so we didn’t think she had colic. It was amazing because when she turned three months, she just stopped crying —let me tell you the next day I was trying to remember everything I did the day before so we could have another cry free day. Shortly after she turned three months, I was reading an article about colic. In the article, it re-defined colic. Well, according to this definition, Sophie had colic. I think when a definition on colic changes, a world-wide memo should be sent out letting parents know—this is kind of important information. Sophie is almost 11 months old and continues to bring much joy to our life. She definitely has a fiery personality and is very vocal in the process. When this little girl wants something, you better watch out! I’ve decided that I need to go ahead and read “The Strong-Willed Child” by Dr. Dobson. Usually, disciplining Sophie starts with me telling her no and ends with her smiling and laughing at me. The disciplining makes her even more determined to get or do what she wants. We are praying that she is getting this all out of her system before the teenage years, but I have a feeling this is just the beginning!! Sophie continues to amaze us on how quickly she is learning things. I think she is learning things so quickly because she has Josiah to watch and learn from. She is already crawling and pulling herself up to her knees. She tolerates the baby food we give her and lets us know when she is ready for some table food. We really look forward to seeing how God is going to shape Sophie and how He is going to use her. We know her fiery personality is a gift from Him and can be used in a positive way—let’s just hope we remember that as she gets older!!
Josiah is now two. He continues to be a WONDERFUL big brother to Sophie. He is so gentle with her. We don’t worry about leaving Josiah and Sophie in the same room, and we are so thankful for that. This year, I have started school with Josiah. About a year ago, we started the “Your Baby Can Read” videos. Josiah has done really well with them and has started to recognize quite a few of the words. I didn’t work too much with him on letters and sounds, but he has picked them up along the way. I could tell towards the end of the summer, he was starting to get bored with our routine, so I decided that we would go ahead and try school. So in September, we started school two days a week. We track our weather every day and talk about what the date is. On the two days of school, we do a Bible lesson. We have learned about Creation, Noah’s Ark and when Jesus feeds the 5,000. We were amazed the first time Josiah told us what happened on each day of Creation. After Bible, Sophie usually goes down for her morning nap, and then Josiah and I do a lesson on the letter he is learning. We usually go over the sound the letter makes and then we make a craft of something that begins with that letter to put in his ABC’s book. In the afternoon, we do a math lesson and then we do some kind of Science or Social Studies lesson. So far he really enjoys school. There are some days when he doesn’t want to do anything, so I just go along with it—I mean who doesn’t have a day when all they want to do is stay in their pajamas and play. When we do play, the big hit at our house is Thomas the Tank Engine or Dinosaur Trains. In September, we went on our first family vacation. Yes, we have been on trips before, but it usually was with family members or going to see family. For our trip, we headed to Strasburg, PA, outside of Lancaster and spent two nights in Amish Country. The Greenwood Family thoroughly enjoyed our vacation for different reasons. The parents enjoyed getting away from the hustle and bustle of DC. Josiah enjoyed seeing Thomas in person and riding in the “boose.” I don’t know why he says we rode in the caboose because we didn’t, but we just let him go along with it. Sophie pretty much went along for the ride and enjoyed having new territory to explore. Another big achievement for Josiah is he is now day-time potty trained. I think we were totally spoiled with him because he pretty much initiated wanting to use the potty at the beginning of the summer.
Chris continues to stay busy with all that he does at the church. He preached a great sermon series on discipleship this summer. I will include the church’s webpage at the end, so you can go listen to his sermons if you have time. He is going to start preaching the first Sunday of each month, so he is pretty excited about that. We both feel like we have really started connecting with the youth and enjoy having them around. We have three youth that live within walking distance from us, and two of them were over at our house quite a bit this summer. Chris and I were a little sad when school started and they weren’t around as much. We get to see one every week because she comes over to watch the kids while I teach ESOL. The other one comes over every Friday evening, so we can study the Bible together. There are moments (when we stay up way past our bed time) that we feel really old, but we are so thankful for the ministry God has given us here.
Well, where do I begin with me? Well, I guess the biggest thing going on in my life started back on July 1st when I took the kids to an animal farm when my mom and niece were in town visiting. While we were there, Josiah asked if he could ride the pony. My gut feeling was this was a bad idea, but for him to initiate something like this was big for him. So, we got in line and waited our turn. I asked him a couple of times if he really wanted to do this, and he assured me that he did. I asked one last time as we were walking over to the pony, and he told me that he wanted to. So up on the pony—small horse—he went. Since this was his first time, the handler thought it would be a good idea for me to walk on the other side of the pony. Now, the light weight that Josiah is, as soon as the horse took off, Josiah started to get off balance on the saddle. The horse stopped, so the handler could get Josiah centered back on the horse. When she did, the horse side stepped right on my flip flop wearing foot and stood there for a good 10 seconds. I didn’t make a big deal about it because I didn’t want Josiah to be frightened, so we continued on the pony ride. By the time the ride was over, the top of my foot was the size of a tennis ball. At that point, I decided I needed to go the ER. So here it is in December, five months since the accident, and I’m almost fully recovered. I’ve had a soft cast, a boot, a hard cast and a boot—again. After being under the care of an orthopedic doctor for about three months, he wanted me to go see a pain management doctor. He couldn’t find anything on the x-rays and felt that 3 months was plenty of time for muscles and tendons to heal. So off we went to the pain specialist, and I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS pretty much means when I had my accident, my nerves were telling my brain that I was hurt and had been injured, but they never stopped telling my brain any differently. The treatment for CRPS is to have injections of steroids into the nerve heads in my back that go to my foot to reset the nerves. Now, for those of you who know me, I never had an epidural during labor because I wanted NOTHING near my spine, so this was a BIG deal for me. This was a moment that I needed to trust God. I needed to trust the fact that He is the One who gives skills to certain individuals—especially, the pain specialist I was seeing. I have learned a lot about my relationship with God over the last five months. Sure there were times, when I was down because I just wanted to be done with the whole ordeal, but I am truly thankful for all the lessons I have learned and for my deeper relationship with God.
Well, I guess that is all for this year. We hope you all have a very Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy Blessed New Year!
Blessed by Him,
Chris, Sara, Josiah and Sophie