Here is the e-version of the Christmas letter we WILL be sending out this week (We WILL! We WILL!!!) I love Christmas!!
Dear Family and Friends,
What a busy year it has been! It is overwhelming to think about all that has happened in the last year. We have enjoyed a lot of time together as a little family, worked really hard, and taken on some new challenges!
Shortly after last year’s Christmas letter was written, we received some very exciting news! After several months of interviews and anxious waiting, Matt accepted a position as Pastor to Youth at Grace Brethren Church of Calvert County on January 10th. This is the church where we both grew up and where were married, so we were thrilled to be “home.” Leaving Grace Chapel was not easy for us, however. We’d really come to love the people there and still keep in touch with many of them on a regular basis. We were not looking to go anywhere, but this position rather “fell in our laps,” if you will. We truly believe that God orchestrated all of this and that we are in His will. It is exciting to look back and see how this was all part of His plan!
Since January, Matt has been extremely busy! He is usually gone several nights a week either at youth group, ministry team, or counsel meetings. He has also spent quite a bit of time away on retreats, both with the youth and with district pastors. Julie’s brother-in-law jokes that he wants to be a pastor when he retires so that that he can go on these retreats all of the time! This summer, Matt traveled to Colorado, Virginia, and Ohio with the youth on various trips. Since Caleb is too little to go at this point and Julie is unwilling to leave him for that long, her involvement in these summer activities is pretty limited. She looks forward to when they will be able to go as a family on youth events.
Julie is in her sixth year of teaching at St. Leonard Elementary School, and is definitely facing some new challenges this year! While this group is particularly exhausting, she is enjoying teaching Honors Reading. Recently, her students performed several short plays for the parents, complete with costumes and props. Although Julie isn’t sure why she thought having 27 students and their parents in her classroom would be a good idea, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! There were many faces of parents beaming with pride behind their camcorders and cameras, and even several administrators and board supervisors came out for the event!
Caleb, the littlest Leach, is a bundle of energy and joy! At nearly two, he is learning new words by the minute and is continuing to amaze us with how he can string words together and remember new vocabulary. Some of Caleb’s favorite things include his Matchbox cars, construction vehicles, and balls. He has a very good arm on him, and Matt has high hopes of him being a pitcher one day! Caleb also really enjoys being outside, and we spent quite a bit of time this summer drawing with chalk on the driveway, playing on the slide, riding his scooter down the street, and playing catch in the back yard. Our next door neighbor, Wally, adores Caleb and often brings his two dogs over to play when he sees us outside. We are really enjoying our neighborhood!
Caleb was a turtle this year for Halloween. Julie tried the costume on him quite a bit early and Caleb asked to put it on just about every night after that! Whenever anyone asked what he would be for Halloween, Caleb gleefully replied, “A turtle!” At our community fun fest, Caleb won the award for scariest costume. We still aren’t quite sure what’s so scary about a turtle, but Matt started chanting, “Fear the Turtle!” anyway! On Halloween night, Caleb and I did a little bit of trick-or-treating in our neighborhood before heading to our church’s Fall Festival. Caleb’s favorite prize of the night was his beloved monkey he named George! It is fun to see him become excited about special events and holidays. Both Julie and Matt are really looking forward to Christmas this year and seeing the excitement written all over Caleb’s face!
This summer, our family traveled to Cooperstown, New York to celebrate Matt’s 30th birthday with a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Although our trip started off a little rough and we found ourselves questioning whether it was a good idea to travel that far and that long with an 18-month-old, we actually truly enjoyed ourselves! Some of the highlights of our trip (besides the obvious visit to the museum) included going to a butterfly conservatory, a safari-ranch that had both exotic and domestic animals, and a petrified creatures’ museum. Caleb’s favorite was watching the butterflies in the conservatory land on his head!
We hope that this letter finds you well and that you have enjoyed catching up on the events of our family. Have a wonderful Christmas!
Matt, Julie, and Caleb Leach
P.S. To keep updated on our family throughout the year, visit our family blog at: www.lifeasaleach.blogspot.com.