First let me apologize for not sending any Christmas cards. There are many explanations (excuses), but none seem to be "blog worthy" so I will spare you the list and instead give you a review of 2008 for the Smart Family.
Rylan turned 5 in May this year. He has changed so much and seems to be looking more and more like his daddy all of the time. He started pre-school in August and LOVES it. He continues to be a very social creature. He loves people (especially girls) and thrives in all social situations. After many trips to the Texas Tech games this year with Daddy, he decided that he was a Texas Tech fan (mostly a Jordy Rowland #38 fan) and has gradually turned his wardrobe into a black and red shrine. He told us that someday he wants to play for the Raiders (even though thanks to Mark he has already received his first recruiting letter to OU - there is still time, Mark :). He has so many great friends here in Naz. There are lots of little boys his age and all of them come from great homes with good parents. Like most little boys, he is a constant ball of energy from the time that he wakes up until he falls asleep (still in our bed). We are working on improving his manners which is really cute. He started karate and has found a love for it. He really keeps his focus and listens intently to his sensei. He really has completed our family. He is the fun, the energy, and the light-hearted reminder to the rest of us that life is too short not to play.
Ashlynn turned 10 this year. She went to many camps this summer....church camp, cheer camp, dance camp, basketball camp, and probably a few others that I am forgetting. I am starting to notice that her calendar is more full than mine now. She is half-way through her fourth grade year now and loving school. She is a good student! So far, she has yet to make lower than a "A" on a report card. She reached a mile stone just before Christmas when she hit her "100 point" marker for AR points. Once the student reaches "100 points" the reward is lunch with the principal. I think that her daddy was more excited about it than she is. Lunch with Daddy in front of her friends was not her idea of a reward. None-the-less she was proud of staying on track. She also got to choose an instrument this year and is taking beginning band. She is playing the alto saxophone. She absolutely loves it! Just recently she received the honor of 1st chair of the entire band. She too, is fortunate to be in a class of many great girls. In her class of 21, 14 are girls. I would venture to say that some days contain more drama than others and because our school is so small they are all in the same class together all day. I pray a lot for the sanity of their teacher. She is a sweet girl with a heart for others (even frogs). She is my constant reminder that we are blessed and fortunate.
Rocky is in his second year as the head football coach at Nazareth. He added principle to his duties this year and is enjoying the challenge. His knowledge and love for the game of football is still so inspiring. It is amazing being behind the scenes with him as he prepares for each week. He is so dedicated and leaves out no detail. My favorite times are around 10:30 each week night during football season.....he will be in bed watching "film" with the remote in hand playing....rewinding....sleeping.....playing...rewinding....sleeping.....playing.....rewinding....you see the routine. He works to complete exhaustion every night. I have also enjoyed seeing him in his new role as principal. When you marry a coach you expect windsuites and coaching shorts, but the suits and ties have been a bonus. Just as this year has been a blessing to him, it has also come with challenges. He lost his sweet grandmother in November just after Thanksgiving. She lost her fight with lung cancer. He has also been a spectator to his mom's battle with cancer. She just finished chemo and radiation for gallbladder cancer. Through it all we have learned that God is still in control, that good friends and family are life's greatest blessings, and that priorities often need re-adjusting when those you love are facing hard times. We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this year and I really do believe that the longer you are married the more blessings that God reveals through us as a couple. Rocky is my balance, he is the greatest daddy in the world, and he is who God intended that I take this life journey with through all of the ups and downs.
I just completed my fifth online semester. I finally hit a dead end to what I can take online so next semester will be a "time-out" for me. I am planning to take an online christian counseling program which will certify me to work in ministry specifically womens ministry until next fall when I can go to campus to finish my degree. I still don't know exactly "what I want to be when I grow up", but I know that God has been working on my heart. I am also working from home making custom gifts with vinyl lettering and decoupage. It has really been more of a hobby than a business until Christmas hit....WOW.....it got busy. I have enjoyed the work and it was great to pay for Christmas without stress. I try to balance my days with time with God, working out, playing with Rylan, working, and talking on the phone. Through it all I have somehow spent hardly anytime blogging here. Writing has always been my outlet and my therapy. I hope to spend more time in 2009 posting on Mommysmart.
I pray that your family will be blessed in 2009. Thank you to all of you for your friendships. We would never make it through our days without the wonderful support of friends and family. So from the Smart home to yours......Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!