Thursday, December 20, 2007

The 2007 Christmas Letter

If you received a Christmas card with this blog site listed, welcome to the 2007 Estep Family Christmas Letter. If you’re a regular reader (Jeff), welcome as well…and Happy Holidays!

Like any year, it’s been a year of milestones and firsts. Luckily, there was a minimum of obstacles encountered this year, so I’d have to say it was a pretty good year.

Once again, we endured a winter in North Carolina virtually free of snow. I’m not sure whether the kids (Kaitie and Nathan if you’ve forgotten…) remember what snow is and I know for certain that they’ve never built a snowman. Keep your fingers crossed for some of the white stuff this coming year!

Despite the lack of snow, we still had quite a cold winter, so we headed down to Florida in March for a two-week vacation along with Kim’s parent’s (Wayne and Eileen). Week one was the most family-oriented as we spent our time in Orlando. We visited the Magic Kingdom for only one day, but what a great day it was for the kids. Never did mouse ears look so appropriate on two smiling faces. We also visited SeaWorld on a very blustery Florida Day. Otherwise, the weather cooperated beautifully.

The second week was spent at Daytona Beach at the Ocean Walk Resort. It was an incredible unit with a magnificent view, but our timing was off as we hit a very loud Spring Break week. Still, we had a ton of fun among the tattooed and pierced partying college kids, at least until the next-to-last day when Nathan put the “break” in Spring Break and busted his collar bone on the water slide. I think his “adventure” in the emergency room was his most exciting event of the entire trip.

Once we arrived back to NC, Nathan again garnered the attention of some medical folk when he had one of his molars extracted. It was the first out-patient surgery for either kid and I’m happy to say that the parents survived...barely. Nathan came out like a champ.

Both kids reached exciting milestones in the beginning of the summer. First of all, they both donned their blue mortar boards and graduated from Carolina Kids Academy. Not long after, they both reached their 5th birthday (I have NO idea how they became big kids so quickly). And then in mid-July, both kids started kindergarten at Olive Chapel Elementary, complete with back packs large enough (on them anyway) to serve as a sleeping bag. (For those wondering, the school system here has year-round classes). An extra-added bonus was having a visit from the kids’ Pap-pa and his new wife, Kitty. And for the record, I’m thrilled that Kitty is part of the family.

After six weeks of school, Kaitie and Nathan reached their first “track-out” time. In year-round talk, tracking-out means that they take a 3-week vacation between roughly nine weeks of classes. We took advantage of this time and traveled to Massenutten, VA where we met up with Dad and Kitty again as well as traveled alongside Wayne and Eileen .

School started back up in September, but Kim and I took a nice mini-vacation for our 11th Anniversary…an over-night getaway (our first alone since the kids were born) including a half-day spa treatment and a wonderful dinner (with no kid’s menu).

The celebration was a last-hurrah of sorts as I was ordered by my doctor to go on a fairly strict low-carb diet in order to get my cholesterol in check. I’m happy to report that my blood levels are in great shape and that the entire family is following a much healthier lifestyle. Not a bad way to wrap up the year.

We hope all of you had a healthy and wonderful 2007 and wish you the best throughout all the holidays and into 2008.

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