Merry Christmas Again!

Merry Christmas 2016 from the Pieper family!!  It has been another year of the craze we call normal around here, bringing much change and many memories made (I think, but I can’t remember anything before last Thursday, the brain can only hold so much – but you know, it sounds good.)

At the beginning of 2016, Bill was starting to feel the 20+ year itch and began to prepare our family for the fact that his career was about to make a change.  We didn’t know what that would mean but slowly God worked on my need for financial security and helped our family adjust to life beyond Microsoft.  He is now employed at Intelligent Insites, doing more of that tech stuff I don’t understand and sleeping at night again, so that’s good.  His daily commute brings him to downtown Fargo, which in this part of the world, is quite a drive, like 25 minutes.  Whoa.  I had to adjust suppertime to 5:45 now.  Big big changes after decades of 5:30 supper.

Spring brought us our first family graduation! What a great season of life to reflect on what an awesome job we did at parenting.  High fives to us as we sent a readied 18-year-old way down the road to NDSU.  (A new list appeared on my wunderlist app that day called “Things James forgot to pack” and we sent siblings back up to his dorm later that afternoon with things like bedding – really??  The next day, we got this call “Mom, I forgot to grab my towels and shampoo” so up we went again with that stuff.  What did he pack??)  James snuck in all the farm-related work he could this fall, even driving sugar beet truck – which in my mind means a Tonka truck in a sand box but in reality was a semi-truck cruising down the interstate hauling tons of beets at very high speeds – nothing a mom wants to think about.  He loves college life and continues his path to attaining a crop and weed degree.  This kid is consistent with his love of farm life.  And I feel like I am adjusting to life without him home pretty successfully now although the first few weeks pretty much wrecked me.   And because of James, we have Emily.  I am just going to leave that here.

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Alli – oh sweet Alli – so much sincere love and kindness radiates from this girl.  She sings and dances, her heart full of music.  Theater filled her year – Fiddler on the Roof, The Little Mermaid, Charlette’s Web (in which she played Wilbur and for those of us who have loved her for 16+ years knows that Wilbur was pretty much her dream role) and now preparation for Phantom of the Opera.  She loves people as much as she loves her music.  Her tender heart amazes me.  She works in the church nursery and watches kiddos for MOPS groups (talk about life coming full circle).  She is looking at colleges and is unsure of what direction she wants to go, but honestly, her passion is elementary education.  When she was tiny (that’s a joke, she still is shorter than I am and always will be) she wanted to be a ballerina teacher so not much has changed: when God puts a calling on a life, you step aside and watch everything fall into place.  And, elementary kids are smaller than she is so that’s good.  Alli will be our caretakers when we get old, so we are extra kind to her…what goes around comes around and we are hoping for an awesome party atmosphere when someone chooses our nursing home.

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Karalyn, still the jokester of the family, continues to amaze us with her growth.  When I look back at the kindergarten mom that I was, I remember worrying about her because she didn’t talk to people she didn’t know and you know, that is pretty much everyone at kindergarten, and I wasn’t sure how she would function without Alli by her side.  Now, she has the tightest-knit group of friends I have ever witnessed and her social calendar is packed.  Not surprisingly, all these friends came from her XC team and I am so thankful for this group of Mustang girls who have pulled my Curly out of her shell.  She is training to run her first half marathon this spring and we all know that when she sets her mind to something, she is going to get it done!  Karalyn works at a nursing home which I blame for her change in direction concerning college and career.  A couple months ago, my veterinarian suddenly decided she wants to instead be a doctor, so we have started looking at med schools with her.  She is going to pay off for us big time.

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Andy, the crazy one, is still the crazy one.  Building, fixing, climbing, creating, drumming, messifying (yes, it’s a word), this kid knows no boundaries.  His mind always running, his body always moving, he just needs to get himself through chemistry and history so he can get on with his real life.  He loves a job, except a real job that requires a time clock and self-control, and prefers getting grease on his hands over pretty much anything else.  Back when he was a preschooler, he asked for duct tape, nails, and zip ties for Christmas.  This year, he wants tools, work boots, and a Carhart jacket.  Our little Bob the Builder has grown into Tim the Tool Man and we just try to keep one step ahead of him, or at least keep up with him as he moves so quickly.  He loves hunting and fishing, being with people, and misses his big brother a lot.  For obvious reasons, Andy is looking at tech schools: Diesel Mechanics or Electrician or a Diesel Mechanic who builds houses for fun, or an electrician who fixes small engines in his spare time or some other combination like that.

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Are we busy? Yes, so why not also go back to college myself?  I enrolled in online classes to get my teaching license.  This is a little bit different from my original agriculture degree, but this is the direction my life headed and when doors open you walk through them.  I am not sure the timing of it all, but one of these days I will bring home a different sized paycheck doing about the same thing I am doing now, minus recess duty so booya for that!  Winter recess duty – three words of torture.   And, when I am a real teacher, I will get to use the color printer at school.  So when you ask, “What on God’s green earth is she doing that for?”  remind yourself: the three main reasons she is doing this: $$, recess duty, and color printer.

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So we sent one off (fly, little birdie, fly) and prepare to send three more.  Good thing Lucy and Walter are here to maintain some sort of normal.  Lucy has the life every busy mom dreams of.  Eats, sleeps, and poops.  That’s about it.  At 11 years old, she has earned that right.  Here when we get home and ready to drop everything for a good belly rub, Walter is pretty amazeballs.  He loves to eat Alli’s socks.  In conclusion, Walter loves belly rubs and socks.  And Cheetos puffs.  We don’t raise no fools round here.

So in true form, today I realized Christmas is in a week.  That means I must get a month’s worth of stuff done in a week.  That is how I roll.  Let the week of nutso begin.  Merry Christmas to our family and friends.  We are surrounded by a fantastic team of people who cover us in times of need, love on our kids, and bring much joy and laughter to our lives.  We love each of you.  Have a blessed, relaxing time celebrating Jesus!!  Our family is planning a snowed-in-palooza.

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