So, here's the electronic version:
When I googled "how to write a Christmas letter," one of the key pieces of advice is: do not brag. Obviously, the little Google elf that wrote that article does not know my husband, or how incredibly proud I am of him. It is nearly impossible not to brag on Marcos. This year, I have had the great privilege of being in the cheering stands as Marcos has transformed from being the guy that runs a couple of miles here and there into a full fledged triathlon machine of a man. In September, Marcos completed his first triathlon.
Over the summer, under the influence and tutelage of some incredible Lance Armstrong-type neighbors, Marcos began cycling. He also ramped up his running and worked hard to improve his swimming technique. In January, he will run a half marathon in Houston. Marcos has become one of the top triathlete competitors in the world. And, by "top competitor," of course, I mean "best looking".
Marcos has also been doing a great job with his insurance agency. This year, Marcos was chosen by Farmers to pilot an insurance program for cyclists. He is the only one that is able to sell this type of insurance in Austin! In December, Marcos began working part time at his Farmer's District Manager's office as part of a District Manager training program. Please be praying for Marcos as he continues to work hard on building his agency and as he makes career decisions (aka pray that his agency will bring in enough money to get me a nanny, personal chef, maid, and personal trainer...that's all I ask!).
2011 was a year of dreams being fufilled in the casa de Esparza. After dreaming and scheming and planning about this for a few years, I officially began homeschooling Merrick in August. Though it has been even more challenging than I imagined, and a bit consuming at times, it is an absolute blessing. We have visited dinosaur museums, made masterpieces out of play-doh, learned to write in chocolate jello, gone on field trips with our homeschool group, and become the least favorite people of the local library staff. My favorite part of homeschooling is just snuggling on the couch, reading together. Merrick is a whiz. By January, he will have completed Kindergarten. I have enjoyed documenting our homeschooling experience on our homeschool blog, Gettin' Skooled.
Merrick also began taking tai kwon do lessons this year. Last month, he won second place in his first tournament. This month, he tested and advanced to become a yellow belt. Secretly, I am training him to become my personal assassin.
The twins are growing like weeds. Scout is a fiesty little mama. She often checks Sawyer's diaper and tells me he has a poopie (even when he doesn't). Then, she insists on helping me change it. Scout also got interested in dressing up like a princess this year. It melts my heart to see her walk around in her oversized Rapunzel dress and her mommy's heels. Scout also loves dances parties and taking every single thing out of mommy's purse when mommy's not looking.
Sawyer loves to wrestle and tackle people on tile floors when they least expect it. He also loves trains and cars and planes and motorcycles. Sawyer is a total mama's boy and has, on numerous occasions, asked to have a surgical procedure to be permanently attached to my hip. He also loves to dance. The second he hears music, even if it is background music to a commercial, he drops whatever he was doing (or breaking), and starts galloping around the room with a huge smile.
Both the twins are adorable (and adorably frustrating!) when it comes to nap time. Almost every day, after I put them in bed, I go upstairs to check on them and find that Sawyer has climbed out of his crib and into Scout's crib. I love to listen to them laughing and playing together through the monitor.
As for me, I have really learned a lot this year. I have learned not to wish away challenging times for the "next stage" in life. I have learned that one of the great parts of being married is that when you are no longer as pretty as you once were, your husband still knows your value. I have learned the importance of being systematic about things. I am trying to learn that a few handprints on the wall are not the end of the world and that making memories is the most important thing. I have enjoyed learning about woodworking this year. I actually made this and this and will soon finish making this! I also learned that I love to swim. One of the highlights of my year was completing my first (hopefully not last!) open water swim this year in Austin. Another highlight was going on my first "Girlcation" with three of my best friends in November.
We look forward to an exciting 2012 with our friends and family. We hope and pray to grow closer to God in the coming year, to grow in our knowledge of Him, and to help others in their relationship with Him. We look forward to becoming healthier and stronger and wearing smaller pant sizes (well, I do at least). We look forward to grand adventures. And we hope the same for you!
*For my friends and family, you know I never let the truth get in the way of a good story. For those of you who are friends of Marcos (and don't know me so well)...this should be fun. :)