"Annual" Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

Since today happens to be the last day of 2006, I decided it was a good time to write our annual family letter (OK, so I’ll call it “annual” even though we all know this is the first one and it’s not guaranteed that I’ll have the next one ready at this time next year). :) Most of this letter will be divided into sections for each person.

Obviously, the biggest event in our family this year was Emma’s arrival. Suddenly, the parent-to-child ratio (and my arm-to-child ratio) has evened out. They’re getting closer to outnumbering us! :) Therefore, it seems fitting to start with Emma first.

If we were having a contest, Emma would win the prize for biggest change. She went from “the size of a walnut” (in the words of our BabyCenter weekly e-mail) to 6lb 12oz and 19½” long on July 23rd to about 15lbs and 25” long now (estimates—she’s hard to measure!—but I can tell you she wears size 6-9 months right now). She has some issues with getting to sleep (or not sleeping, rather), but other than that is probably the most happy and smiley baby we know. And she is very patient and content overall—which is good for us because her older brother has become extremely demanding (more on that later). She is also quite photogenic. :)

Jonathan started nursery at the beginning of this year. A HUGE relief for us! Others tend to comment on how well-behaved and quiet he is, but I think that is just because they are seeing him when he is out of his element. To be honest, he is pretty well-behaved, but he definitely has his defiant moments, which seem to appear more and more often lately.  He is entering the world of “big-boyhood,” complete with wanting to do everything himself. In fact, “by himself” has become one of his most used phrases, along with “no,” of course. (He’s still trying to get used to personal pronouns, and often speaks of himself in the third person.)

One boon to us during this independence stage has been that he is quite good at tattling on himself. Near the beginning of the year, as he was learning to climb, I’d hear him say, “don’t climb on the table” and turn around to find him on the table. Or we’d hear, “don’t eat the book” only to look over and see him put a book in his mouth. We like to say that he is giving voice to his conscience. Unfortunately, he seems to be slowly growing out of this.

Amazingly, he has adjusted to having Emma around extremely well. He had some issues the first week or two (trying to climb into my lap while I was nursing her), but for the most part has been a very loving and helpful big brother. The biggest problem has been in teaching him when not to help—like not I think one reason he’s adjusted so well is that we gave him a “baby doll Emma” to take care of himself. He likes to pretend the doll is a real baby—he’s put her inside Emma’s car seat, swing, and high chair, and laid the doll beside Emma on the floor to “play with her.” The most amusing parts come when he tries to imitate me. He has tried to “feed” his baby doll a couple of times. Oh, dear. :)

I’ve been quite busy this year, though it’s sometimes a little hard to say what exactly I’ve been doing. The best way to put it is simply that I’ve been a mother. :) I am very happy with my life right now. I am amazed at how quickly my children are growing and am in awe as I see their personalities bloom before my eyes.

I also love managing our household (especially finances—that’s the twisted “accountant” side of me coming out :)), though the cleaning part has gotten much harder now that I have a little two-year-old who not only makes it hard to get time to do so, but also can trash the entire home in the space of 5 minutes. If only I could get that energy to work the other way… :)

My calling has also kept me busy this year. On January 1st, Bryan and I were released from our very short stint as primary teachers and I was called as the primary secretary. Since I love organizing and tracking information, this has been a perfect fit for me. I even got to design an MS Access database for it (designing databases has been my hobby since my job as secretary at Chemicals Management three years ago).

And, I am happy to report, my health has also been quite good this year. The pregnancy with Emma was practically opposite of the one with Jonathan. For those who may not remember, I had preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure) with Jonathan and so he had to be born a little early. I’d also become quite swollen and gained a lot of weight (some people didn’t recognize me anymore). With Emma, I actually had to get new pregnancy clothes because I was too small for my other ones! In fact, the night before she was born, Jonathan’s doctor thought I still had another two months left! :) That made me happy. :)

Oh, and one more thing to report—Bryan and I went to Nauvoo in May! (Jonathan spent time with family and friends.) Bryan had visited before (before the temple was rebuilt), but it was my first time there. It was amazing. The “historic/restored” buildings and demonstrations were fascinating. And the temple, of course, was beautiful and seemed full of “pure light” (best way I can describe it). But what really touched me ended up being all the greenery—seeing how “alive” the area looked, naturally, and then realizing that the pioneers (including my own ancestors) left this beautiful place and, in faith, traveled west and created a new home in a desert. I guess that just made me more aware of the devotion they had. I am very grateful for that devotion.

This has been an extremely busy year for Bryan. All aspects of his life have been extremely demanding: school, work, his calling in the Elders Quorum, his children, and even his wife. :) Actually, the last two have been trying to not add too much stress, but not always doing a good job. :) He’s working on his last year in the Information Systems (ISys) masters program (computers + business) and has just finished applying to other schools for his doctorate.

Bryan’s work has been a little more eclectic this year. He’s had three separate (though not terribly distinct) jobs: an RA (research assistant) for two different professors and a TA (teacher’s assistant) for one of them. He’s also been working with one of them on a paper (and he helped come up with the idea for it). They submitted the paper to a top journal in the field and just received it back for revisions—which means it passed the first round of reviews! Since top journals tend to be very selective and competitive, this is a huge achievement. :) The other big news in this area is that Bryan has been selected to teach an ISys undergraduate class next semester—a web consulting class. He’s talked for a while about how fun it would be to teach at BYU, but he never expected to do it before graduating! (By the way, that’s the reason he’ll be getting another degree after this—he wants to be a professor, which I think is perfect because he enjoys teaching as well as the research.)

This coming year will bring a lot of changes for our family. Aside from the obvious (Emma and Jonathan growing), our biggest adventure will be the school drama—finding out which school we’ll be going to and then moving there. The plan is to start the next program (whichever it is) in the fall, so we’ll be here in Provo until sometime in August, but then we’ll embark on this newest challenge. So we have no idea where we’ll be writing from next year—it could be Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania, California, or Oklahoma.

As a final side note, for those of you who would like to read snippets of our thoughts from the past year or so (including some movie critiques and news commentary from Bryan), we have a blog. It is at www.beckmanfamily.net/. (We actually have a website kind of connected to it at www.beckmanfamily.net, but we need to work on it a little before it’s running again.) Oh, yeah. The blog also includes pictures. :)

Cassia, Bryan, Jonathan, and Emma Beckman

2 Responses to “"Annual" Letter”

  1. oh wow Jonathan is really growing. Oh and Emma is getting cuter everyday! i have not seen u for a long time. oh Brandon is sick!! bad

  2. Hey you guys! Looks like you’re doing great! It was great to hear from you. Way to go, getting a letter out, even if it’s in Feb. I haven’t even done one! A baby at the end of October does that to ya! I can’t believe how old Jonathan is! It’s crazy! We’ve only been gone a little over 2 years. Sheesh! I love the picture of him as a missionary for H and him reading to Em. That’s so cute! Thanks for sharing.

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