Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

Merry Christmas from the Brown Family! This time last year, when Benjamin was 6 months old, writing a Christmas letter felt on the same level with writing a dissertation. My sleep-deprived brain was running on about one cylinder and basic conversations felt arduous enough, but composing a coherent, reflective letter on our past year? Nay. Now our crazy child is 18 months old, sleeps like a champ, and so I basically feel like Shakespeare behind the keyboard. In order to spare you my unmerited overconfidence and loquaciousness (see what I’m doing there…using big words because I sleep at night now?), I thought our year would be best presented with some highlights and lowlights, in which I will try to be heavy on the former and light on the latter.
-We bought a house! This was a huge accomplishment for us as we had been patiently watching the market for 6 months or so waiting for the right place to come along. The market in the Portland area was extremely competitive, with properties usually receiving several offers and undergoing contract within a week. Thankfully, God provided us with a For Sale by Owner in the exact neighborhood we were hoping to settle in. The whole process was relatively smooth and we are now walking distance from a park, closer to Andrew’s work, and a hot second from the best coffee shop in Hillsboro. Lattes all around!

-Andrew and I were able to visit the beautiful Canadian Rockies with a baby-free vacation to Banff (thanks, Mom!). We spent 4 days surrounded by ice-capped mountains, peacefully wandering elk, and easy access to poutine. We also completed what I consider to be the hardest hike of my life: we trekked to the top of Mount Sulphur in lieu of taking the cable car. Though it was only a 6 kilometer summit, the majority of the trail was covered with ice and snow. Apparently there was also a warning that you couldn’t hike without crampons, but Andrew, not to be deterred, kept that precious information to himself. The completion of this hike was particularly victorious for me considering about halfway up the mountain, we were stopped by an Asian women decked out with walking poles and traction cleats who promptly pointed at my feet and said, “You no make it.” I assumed she was talking about my Merrel tennis shoes and so I pointed to Andrew’s shoes and said, “We have the same ones.” She quickly reprimanded me: “No, but he strong.” And then went on to explain that she had to stop just a half mile back to assist a woman crying on the side of the path who couldn’t go any farther without the proper footwear and so had momentarily loaned her crampons to her. Well no crying from this lady, hiking friend! It took 3 hours and quite a few stops, but we made it. And the view was one of those things that made you kind of want to do it all over again…only take the enclosed, 10-minute cable car.
-Benjamin is a stud muffin. What can I say? We just really like him. He is a generally easy going, happy guy, who loves to wrestle and rough house, but “smooch” all his stuffed animals, and has recently learned to give “besitos esquimal.” I’m pretty sure when he says “Haaaaa?” and reaches for my hand because he wants to hold hands and walk around the house, my insides instantly combust into tiny pink marshmallow hearts.

-We were able to spend a lot of time with family this year. We spent 3 days with Elizabeth and Jonathan and my 50-something rock star dad on the Rogue River, where we didn’t shower and my dad rowed the raft like a champ. We visited the Brown family in Idaho over Thanksgiving, and we were blessed with the return of my brother to Oregon after a long exodus in California. Now my siblings and I can all watch football together and teach Benjamin to hate the 49ers. I, Lyndsey, was also able to spend a long weekend with Andrew’s sisters in Austin, Texas and visit a great friend of mine in my dearly-missed adopted state of Georgia to see a Taylor Swift concert. Because being 30 and liking Taylor Swift never goes out of style.

-Andrew continues to work at Intel and has been accepted to a PhD program in Computer Science at Portland State; he is slated to start in March. He has also started coaching Crossfit two days a week and is up at 5 a.m. most mornings. Now that he watched Terminator this year, he understands that technical genius and super-human strength have a purpose.
-Finding a leak in our roof while we were in the middle of some massive home renovation projects. The leak just happened to be in our guest room my mom was staying in. Thankfully the fluffy pink fiberglass all over the floor from cutting open the ceiling totally matches the girly aesthetic of the room.

-Benjamin learning the word “no.”

-Lyndsey returning to work…and then not. I accepted a position with a university here in Portland teaching first-year writing, only to discover a few days before the semester that, due to a clerical error, my class didn’t actually exist. I plan to make good use of my employee ID card, though, by using the library and trying to see what teacher discounts I can get around town. In the meantime, I’m still working part-time for a small publishing company as an editor.
-Starbucks holiday drinks now start at $4? I don’t think Jesus would have a problem with the red cups, but he might start flipping tables over the incredulous pricing.

-Hillsboro has decided to expand the two-lane road at the end of our street to four lanes, so we basically live in a construction zone. We are not permitted to turn left, and we basically always need to turn left. Good news is, the project will be finished in 6 months so I guess I have a good excuse to stay home and try to get back into Doctor Who. One season in and I’m just not feeling it. Team Daleks!
-We didn’t watch a movie in the theaters this year. We normally try to see one a year—last year it was Edge of Tomorrow, the year before that it was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. We’re hoping to squeeze in a Star Wars viewing before year’s end, because every reboot in that franchise has turned out to be really good...

In sum, we are thankful to God for the many blessings He so graciously bestowed on us this year. 2015 was maybe one of the best, amidst some big transitions. We are grateful for you all and the various roles you have in our lives, for the companionship and encouragement you offered us this year. May God bless you and yours in 2016, and we pray you may know the breadth and length and height and depth of the rich love of Christ. Let every heart prepare Him room!


The Browns | 2015
Andrew, Lyndsey, & Benjamin


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