Monday, January 2, 2012

What a Year - 2011/Christmas Card Letter

This, our third edition of the Reinberg Family Christmas card, leaves us feeling utterly blessed by an amazing 2011. We have so many things to celebrate and give thanks for this year. We thought last year was full of firsts and realize that only continued into this year as well. Our family also encountered some trials and hard times that still leave us feeling though, how blessed we are. We pray for those who have endured suffering and strife and are amazed at their strength and faith that God would pull them through.

"These are a few of our favorite things" from 2011:

January - We celebrated our first New Year as a family of three and enjoyed a wonderful celebration with our dear friends, the Vanicek and Jones Families. We decided it would be the first of many New Years Eve parties with kids included and Eleanor had a blast at her first NYE party with friends, Katie (2 days younger) and Garrett (2 months older). Eleanor also crawled for the first time on New Years day!

February - Eleanor got to experience her first real snow and a week of Mommy and Daddy held captive in our tiny apartment as school was cancelled due to icy roads. Andy enjoyed a week of playing old school Nintendo games and Lindsay of course couldn't sit still and organized the entire apartment from the Tupperware cabinet to the ribbon drawer while of course also enjoying a week of non-stop sweet baby girl! Don't worry - none of that organization lasted more than a month or so in our teeny little shoe box.

March - We enjoyed a celebration of Eleanor's first St. Patrick's day complete with a lake house spring cleaning, green beer, and a new family favorite - Lindsay's first attempt at creating Irish Potato Salad - Colcannon.

April - Eleanor's first steps were just in time for her first Easter. It was her Daddy's wish that she be able to Easter egg hunt and boy did it come true. She had so much fun picking up the eggs and putting them in her basket. We had a wonderful time celebrating our Lord's Passion, Death, and Resurrection with the Aldons and awaited only a few weeks until our sweet baby turned one!

May - Eleanor's first birthday will never be forgotten. Her day began with a party thrown by Lindsay's 4th graders complete with animal crackers and goldfish to share. After her first party, she ventured to Houston's with Mommy, Daddy, Marmi, and Aunt Mary for her birthday dinner. Houston's is a popular Reinberg hangout for all things celebration including where Andy and Lindsay went to celebrate pregnancy and finding out Eleanor was a girl so it was only appropriate that we celebrate her first birthday there. The night was capped with Lindsay and Eleanor covered in her first chocolate sundae. Andy's favorite part of May was spending hours and lots of words that shouldn't be repeated putting together our birthday girl's present - a brand new kitchen. What first birthday would be complete without a party? Eleanor enjoyed her pastel pink themed party, cake, and most of her family and friends who also dressed in pink (even her Daddy!). Her smash cake was so super cute and wonderful from tart bakery - Mommy and Aunt Jenna (also her godmother) made the cupcakes, cake balls, white chocolate dipped pretzels and strawberries and the hamburger lunch. There was even a pink drink that many of the mommies enjoyed - a copycat of Cheesecake Factory's spiked raspberry lemonade.

June - Andy and I, after much urging from our parents (on both sides) were blessed with the opportunity to attend a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend where we got to stay in a nice hotel and basically just focus on each other for a weekend. It was a nice break but we also missed being away from Eleanor for the first time! Our first family plane trip brought us to visit Andy's sweet grandparents, Grace and Gene Reinberg in Ft. Davis, Texas. Eleanor had a great time on the plane opening and closing the window and peering behind the seat incessantly saying, "hi" to the man passed out behind us. She wasn't ever phased that he never responded. She also gave us the first of, I fear, many scares as a parent. On this trip (in the middle of nowhere), she hit her head and passed out, and taught us a new trick of hers - she tends to hold her breath when she gets too worked up and makes herself pass out if we don't remind her to take a breath. This is what the EMTs who said she was fine when we rushed her to the local fire station (don't worry, an ER was over 30 min. away) told us and we later learned Andy's dad used to do the same thing as a child.

July - Another first - a trip across the country and Eleanor's first 20+ hours straight in the car to visit Lindsay's Family in Virginia, the Thomasons, Andy's first encounter with our Nation's Capital and any Civil War/Revolutionary battlefield he could get his hands on, a beautiful wedding of Lindsay's cousin, Jessica and her new hubs LJ, and visit to Lindsay's Dad's side of the family in Baltimore, Pop Pop's hometown, then to travel south along the coast to visit Lindsay's 95 year old Grandmother, Grandmary and Aunt and Uncle in Pinehurst, and introduce them to Eleanor for the first time, topped off with a few days by the beach in Florida on our way home. Eleanor was a champ on the trip and loved meeting all her family members along with the waves and sand at the beach. Andy and Lindsay celebrated their second wedding anniversary in pieces this month - one date was a day alone to road trip to Gettysburg, PA, their favorite battle of the Civil War (nerds), another was a date alone to tour the capital, and the third was a steak dinner cooked by Andy with in tow on the actual day - July 18th.

August - Andy and Lindsay BOTH had amazing opportunities come in late summer. Andy, a Varsity defensive football and Head Track Coaching position at Ranchview HS in Carrollton and Lindsay a 5th grade position at Town Center Elementary in Coppell. She has dreamed of working in Coppell since HS and not only was she granted the opportunity to work in Coppell but at (in her opinion) the best elementary school in the district gifted with amazing parents, innovative technology available to students, and a wonderful crop of students with a desire to learn like no other, and a 5 min. commute (as opposed to her 1hr+ to Richardson). Andy had been awaiting an opportunity to coach at a Varsity level and now to also earn the head track coach spot made him even more excited to take on high schoolers! Both miss their friends from their old schools but are so thankful for this new opportunity.

September -Varsity football consumed our lives this month and next. Eleanor loved going to the games and was a trooper staying awake until sometimes as late as 10pm so she could run on the field and see her Daddy at the end of the games. We also earned a whole new family at Ranchview - Lindsay with some wonderful wives to accompany her in the stands, and Andy with a most uplifting and positive coaching staff he could ever dream of. Eleanor also has made friends with the coach's kids.

October - Lindsay celebrated her 27th birthday and Andy never failed to make it special. He arranged for Aunt Mary to babysit on a weeknight and took L to Nordstrom to get her makeup done and some much needed new products seeing as she hadn't bought new in almost 2 years! He also treated her with some perfume and a dinner at none other than, Houstons. October brought a two month wave of viruses for Eleanor - poor baby just couldn't get well. One of those we could actually name being 5ths disease. Eleanor also enjoyed her second Halloween. She was a butterfly (butt-bye as she said) and though she still had a terrible rash from her 5ths disease (she was no longer contagious), she went to a couple houses, including Marmi and Pop Pop's and LOVED her first candy! Lindsay's Uncle David also suffered a heart attack and a couple of months in the hospital and though we missed having Marmi around, were so thankful she could be there with her brother to help. We were SO thankful for the friends and family who helped with Eleanor in Marmi's absence. We are so blessed!

November- Eleanor's sickness continued with high fevers and more we really don't even want to write about which kept us from traveling to College Station to see Andy's family for Thanksgiving. My family also decided not to got to the farm so we had a very last minute/impromptu Aldon family Thanksgiving at mom's house this year topped off with two versions of homemade stuffing I made and LOVED - I will never use a mix again! We also enjoyed our first ENTIRE WEEK off for Thanksgiving break - what a treat!

December - Eleanor finally began to feel better come December and we had a wonderful month preparing for our Lord's birth. A new tradition we began in the Reinberg house as we counted down the days of Advent was that Eleanor got to open a new Christmas book each day. She LOVED practicing unwrapping the gifts and looked forward to opening her new book every night before bed. Lindsay ran her first half marathon this December finishing in 2:08.?? and feeling great! She is either going to run another half and hope to better her time or do a full or maybe both in 2012. She couldn't have done it without the support of her husband and sister Mary (who watched Eleanor and stood on the sidelines cheering in the rain) as Andy ran the last 4 miles with Linds. Andy celebrated his 28th birthday with a 3rd annual trip to Billy Bobs - this time to see Jack Ingram. Andy's almost entire coaching staff game along with his parents for the first time and brother, Tim along with Lindsay's sisters Mary and Kel and Andy's best friend from HS, Greg and girlfriend Michaela. It was a fun weekend as always! Christmas was spent at home and Santa came for the first time to the Reinberg house. We enjoyed 5pm Children's Christmas Eve mass for the first time in a long time and said goodbye for probably a while to midnight mass. After mass we enjoyed a spaghetti dinner and agreed it was a new tradition - way easier than a Turkey and all the fixins. Eleanor put cookies and milk our for Santa and woke up in her own bed, so excited to see what he brought along with eat the rest of his cookies! We then traveled to the Aldon's for a day of fun and just can't reiterate enough the blessing of family.

We are so thankful for all those who are in our lives and pray that God Blesses you and yours this Christmas and in 2012. If we haven't seen you in a while, our door is always open - you might have to squeeze in Eleanor's room on an air mattress but are always welcome!

Andy, Lindsay, and Eleanor

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