Monday, February 5, 2024

 Merry Christmas 2023

As many Holiday activities start to fill our calendar, the wrap up of 2023 is swiftly approaching. We are grateful for the opportunities, trials, blessings and adventures we have had. We are again reminded of the love and goodness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And hope that this last year has brought the same to our friends and family. Without further ado, here are the happenings of the Burkinshaws. 

Emerson (4) is as full of energy and adventure as any preschooler ever. From climbing trees, collecting snails, and taking his beloved “Scooty” to the park, Emerson is constantly on the go. He loves animal books and learning about their different habitats. He is full of information and is willing to tell anyone who will listen, even the young man at the grocery store checkout. He sported a sling for a few weeks after a piggy-back-ride-exchange didn’t end well, but he healed quickly and hasn’t slowed down! Highlights of his summer were going to the beach house in Galveston and hunting for crabs at night. He is Molly’s last buddy at home. Emerson is always up for a trip to Costco or an adventure to Lowe’s. His sweet smile, and perhaps the fear of a meltdown, has gotten him quite a few matchbox cars and Kinder treats while on trips around town. We are so glad he is ours!

Isobel (5) is in Kindergarten! She started this fall with Mrs. Diehl. Isobel adores her and has made so many new friends! She is learning how to ride the bus with the big girls, order her own lunch on Fridays, and remind mom to sign her binder every night. She loves to read books and find all the words she knows as we flip through pages and pages! Isobel has found the magic of bike riding. She rides to the park as Emerson follows on Scooty for the big kids’ soccer games. Isobel loves crafts and coloring. She comes home with all sorts of ideas for books she wants to author and illustrate. She loved the beach and sand castles. Isobel couldn’t get enough of the waves! She would head out with the big kids. Paul and Molly were constantly counting heads and staying close. Isobel still gives the best hugs! We love her!

Adelaide (8) was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Grandparents from both sides came to support her. We are so grateful for her good choices and love of our Savior. Adelaide is still playing soccer. She loves her teammates. She is a quick defender, and pretty tough despite being one of the smallest on the field. She doesn’t back down and will chase after the ball. It’s fun to watch her play!  Adelaide loves to read and write.  She has found new friends in the neighborhood to run around with. She has a watch so she knows when to return home for dinner, and she doesn’t like being late! Adelaide also enjoyed the waves at the beach, but likes the pool better. It’s not as salty! She is a joy to her classroom where Mrs. Barragan cannot get enough of her kindness and willingness to help. Adelaide has continued with piano lessons and loves to learn new songs she can sing along with. She is sunshine!

Esme (9) is growing into one of the big kids! She is the first of the elementary kids awake, ready to pack her lunch, eat her breakfast, and unload the dishwasher. She loves to help in any way she can at home and at school. This is her sixth season with her soccer team, and she loves it! Coach Taylor can put her in any position and knows that she’ll play hard until the last minute. She really enjoys goalie, much to Molly’s anxiety. She is adored by all that meet her. Esme also loves public speaking. She volunteers for talks in Primary, speeches at school, and prayer at home almost every night. Esme had a bike accident at the very beginning of Summer break which meant a cast for the majority of the summer. We’re glad it was waterproof! She got it off right before our trip to Galveston. Esme is always ready for an adventure with Emerson to find toads, chase rabbits, and dig up snails. Everyone should have an Esme! 

Elin (12) is ready to be a teenager! She loves to write up contracts for Paul and Molly to sign to help motivate practicing piano and violin. Elin is very good at following through. She has really blossomed at school, at home, and in athletics. It was her first time competing with the cross-country team at the middle school. Elin placed in the top 10 at every meet! She loves to run and enjoys working at it. Elin is constantly striving to be better in all aspects of her life. She loves being in the class presidency for her Young Women’s group. It has been an opportunity to serve the girls her age. Elin started babysitting. She is beloved by the families she tends to. She is a fun babysitter! We have learned that Elin doesn’t like the dark, and will stay downstairs to “talk” until one of us walks her to her room. It’s a good thing Paul is so patient, because Molly is sometimes just tired! But, we love our “deep” discussions with Elin. She has good insights and questions. She’s a good one!

Ewan (14) decided to ref soccer in the Spring instead of play. He has since decided that he likes being on the field getting cheered for, rather than on the field getting yelled at by parents…So, he convinced Paul to coach a Fall season. Most of the boys had never played, but they sure learned a lot and actually came away with a couple wins and a desire to play for Paul in the Spring. (we’ll see!) Ewan has tried a number of different things this year. He played football again, ran cross-country which he found he’s pretty good at, and is currently on the middle school wrestling team. Ewan has continued in his GT classes, private lessons for the cello, and reading ferociously. He likes to tease his sisters, and “battle” Emerson.  He’s even starting to notice girls! We may be grateful for that…teen boy hygiene is not being ignored! Ewan keeps life interesting, and we are so grateful for him! 

Aislee (15) is now a sophomore! The district opened a new high school this fall, but Prosper High still has about 4,00 students! Aislee doesn’t really like the packed hallways or “G” lunch, but she’s glad most of her friends stayed, and we’re close enough for her to walk home. There is also no shortage of cute boys! The youth in our Stake went to Nauvoo this summer. Aislee had a wonderful time learning about the history of the Church. She has gained a stronger testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. Aislee has also enjoyed her 5:45am Seminary class and the opportunity to learn about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. She’s learning a lot about time management! Early mornings are hard when followed by late nights! Aislee has continued singing for the high school choir. She has made really good friends, and it has given her opportunities for other choirs. She sang in Jenny Oaks Baker’s Joy to the World Tour a few weeks ago. We are grateful for her goodness!

Olivia (15) is also a sophomore. Boy does time fly! Olivia is full of life and all things fun! She is still playing the violin in the orchestra where she has many friends. She chose not to run cross-country so her schedule would have room for some honors and AP classes. She loves learning about the body! Nauvoo was the highlight of her summer. She loved seeing the Church history sites, hearing testimonies of the missionaries there, and driving the 14 hour one-way bus trip. Olivia loves to babysit, but may try her hand at reffing soccer in the spring with a few of her friends. She’s also glad we live within walking distance to the high school. And, our house seems to be the meet up place for friends after school on Fridays. Sometimes, it seems like we collect teenagers…! Olivia still loves books! We have to take books from the table at dinner so we can have a conversation. We are glad she is ours!

Molly has spent the majority of 2023 coaching soccer games, watching soccer games, walking cross-country courses, listening to orchestra and choir concerts, folding laundry, washing dishes, and so on and so forth. However, they may be some of her favorite pastimes. Her most favorite pastime has been running with Paul. They worked up their mileage over the summer and fall, and are now working on speed. She still can’t beat Paul, but Saturday morning long runs are her favorite! For the last week of school, Molly and Paul were able to fly to Las Vegas to attend her youngest brother’s wedding, and then fly to Seattle to hike in Olympic National Park for a few days. It was amazing! She also got to fly to Utah to attend another brother’s wedding for the first week of school in August. They were both beautiful. She is grateful for a year of growth and learning!

Paul Has continued to heal. He runs almost every day, drives the girls to early-morning seminary, coaches soccer, and rides his bike around with Emerson and Isobel. He has stayed active with goals of handstand-pushups, faster paces, and longer distances. Paul flew to Colorado in August to hike the Rockies with his brother. The year has been full of adventures! We were able to make the drive to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for Thanksgiving with Paul’s family where we stayed up too late, hiked many mountains, ate way too many treats, and most importantly, enjoyed time with family. Paul enjoyed coaching Ewan’s soccer team this fall. The boys really enjoyed him, and have asked if he’ll return in the Spring to coach another season. He’s good at it! 

Well, that’s a wrap! 2023 has gone by quickly. We are grateful for friends and family who have loved and supported us. We have grown a greater appreciation of the words of our Prophet, President Russel M. Nelson, “...Heavenly Father’s plan for us is fabulous, that what we do in this life really matters, and that the Savior’s Atonement is what makes our Father’s plan possible.” Life is hard, but it is what we do with the hard, and how we love each other in the hard that matters. May we remember our Savior, Jesus Christ—His birth, His life, and His love this Christmas as we strive to think with an eternal perspective of what matters most. 

Much Love, 

The Burkinshaws