After years of swearing I wouldn’t do it, I finally relented and we added yet another member to our family this year. Oliver, an adorable mutt who we adopted from a local rescue organization, is the newest (I know better than to say final) member of the Rushing Clan. Lael, our 9-year old cat, begrudgingly tolerates the puppy, but after dealing with 4 children, she is an old pro. (I can’t believe I just started my holiday letter by talking about my pets before my children. What is happening to me?) And since Oliver has yet to earn his run of the whole house, Lael knows the best places to curl up and sleep where he can’t bother her. Oliver is snuggly, funny, and sweet, and he sleeps through the night, which is more than I can say for the children.
Despite their tendency to wake up and crawl unannounced into bed with Matt and I in the middle of the night, the children are all doing very well also.
Bridget turned eight in August and started third grade at a new school this fall. She is loving the challenges she faces and the fact that she gets to ride the bus every day. While I could live without her 40-minute commute each way, it does give her plenty of time to read–her favorite pastime by far! She is much happier in her new classes and that makes Matt and I happier, too. She chose to play soccer both spring and fall seasons this year (her first spring not playing baseball!) and she has loved every minute of it–even the games they played in 95+ degree heat. She swam again this summer for the Chantilly National Bluefins–the team at our local pool–and had an amazing season, qualifying for Divisionals in almost every stroke; she will start her winter swim season in January and we are all looking forward to getting back to the pool.
Gabe began kindergarten at our neighborhood school just before his sixth birthday in September and Matt and I have been amazed (and relieved) to see how much he loves it. For an energetic boy whose favorite thing to do is MOVE, Gabe has really adapted well to full-day school and is proving that not only can he sit still for long periods of time, when he DOES it, he excels in his schoolwork and even enjoys it too! It has been a great experience so far and we are so glad he loves school as much as he does. He played coach-pitch baseball this spring and joined Bridget on the Bluefins swim team this summer. Gabe did so well in the pool that he actually swam with the 8-and-Under age group, despite being only 5 at the time. He held his own, and even qualified to swim breast stroke in the Divisional meet at the end of the season. We are very proud of him! He played soccer this fall and loved it, as he loves any activity where he is encouraged to run full speed and get as dirty as possible.
Owen is in his second year of preschool at Frying Pan Farm. He amazes us constantly with how quickly he picks things up–he is such a sponge and he loves to learn; I only hope we can keep up with him as he gets older! Although he is often quiet and shy at school and on his sports teams, at home he never stops talking and asking questions (seriously, he never stops), and he loves reading, drawing pictures, and practicing his letters. Owen played coach-pitch baseball on Gabe’s team this spring at age three, because we just couldn’t keep him off the field another season. He loved it and did really well, and is looking forward to playing on his own team next spring. He also swam this summer. Although we initially did not expect him to be on the team, he apparently DID expect to be. So, he practiced in the pool with Nana when she and Pappy were visiting, and in one week he went from not being able to swim without floaties to swimming well enough to join the Mini Bluefins. Because he is the most determined child I know, just prior to his fourth birthday in mid-July, he was already swimming the 25-meter distance required to participate in a meet. He played soccer this fall as well, and like his older brother, loves anything where he can run through the mud without getting in trouble.
Quinn turned two in April and gladly follows along behind his older siblings, fully confident that he is one of the big kids. He happily goes to soccer and baseball games and swim meets, and tells everyone that “when he gets big “, he will be playing too. Quinn’s highlight-of-the-year moment came recently, when he successfully navigated through potty-training–making him an official “Big Boy” and making Mommy and Daddy thrilled to be done with diaper changes after more than 8 years (actually, that might have been MY highlight-of-the-year moment, too). He continues to wrap us all around his little finger, and his older sister and brothers dote on him even when they can barely put up with each other.
We took several fun trips to Boston this year, spent a weekend in NYC in February, and also spent a few days at the beach in Ocean City, MD with Grandmom and Pop Pop this summer. Matt and I barely have time for our own pursuits between all the kids’ activities, but we do manage to do a few things for ourselves here and there. In November, we ran a “Spartan Race” in Fenway Park; it was a 3-mile obstacle course race that we trained for all summer and fall. It was very challenging and really fun, and we got to run all through Fenway and even out onto the field in front of the Green Monster. We are already talking about what kinds of races we can do in the next year–running around is so second nature to us now, it’s what we do best! 🙂
We wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best in 2013!