Season's Greetings from The Britton Bunch

Britton Bunch
Christmas 2005 Letter

Dear Loved Ones, both family and friends,

Blessed Holiday Greetings from the Britton Bunch! Hope this finds all blessed with good health, much happiness, precious memories, and bountiful blessings!

This is my second attempt at getting out a family Christmas letter. Last year I got the letter wrote, but the printer wasn't working as it should, so I didn't get the letter sent out. If you are interested in reading it, select Chrismas Letter 2004.

We have had a very busy year! We have had many blessings, and a few sorrows. But through them all, God has been so good to our family! In April, we lost a baby, Jessie Jean, due to miscarriage. Jessie was only 10 weeks old. That was a very emotional time for our family. But God was good to walk us through the heartbreak. In October we lost yet another baby. A son, Joseph David Lemuel, to miscarriage. David was a beautiful baby! Once again, God walked us through that dark time, and He carried me safely through two emergency D & Cs because of hemmoraging. Someday, we will see our babies again! What a day that will be!!

The highlight of our year was our family's first ever family vacation! We had a great time, and have so many precious memories and loads of pictures to carry with us! Our destination was my brother's wedding in Illinois, but we took the long, leisurely way around! We took the kids to Tulsa, OK and saw a few old friends and all 3 homes that we had lived in while we were there. It was a very sweet walk down memory lane, so to speak. Broken Arrow, OK has grown by leaps and bounds!!! Still though, our past homes and neighborhoods looked like "home", and held many dear and precious memories!

We then headed to Nashville, TN and had a ball there! WOW! What fun we had! The highlight of Nashville was riding the General Jackson Showboat and getting to watch a dinner show that was as hilarious as it was patriotic!

After a few days there, we drove to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN. We stayed in a beautiful chalet and spent several incredible days there! We hope to someday go back. We spent an awesome day at Dollywood Amusement Park; a day just playing around Pigeon Forge - riding the go-carts and amusement park type rides; and a day in Gatlinburg - going to the aquarium, Ripley's Believe It or Not World Record Museum, and just strolling the streets, shopping. It was pure bliss!

If ya'll ever get the chance to, you'll have to make a trip to TN! We ended our stay in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg with a dinner show at Dolly Pardon's Dixie Stampede. It was a pretty neat show! It was the North verses the South, Civil War era and costumes, and had all the pluses of real stampeding buffalos, trick horse riders, and lots of patriotic songs! (WARNING: Eating utensils NOT included!)

The morning we left, we headed deep into the Smoky Mountains and crossed the North Carolina border. It was an absolutely gorgeous drive, minus all the bugs when we got out to take pictures. Hadassah had just told her daddy that she 'didn't like those woods because there were creatures in them'. We laughed and not five minutes later a big black bear ran out of the woods and across the highway where we had stopped to take pictures. Hadassah was right about those 'creatures'.

After crossing back into TN, we headed to Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Horse Park, a big one on Shalee's list. It was breathtaking! A real horse lover's dream! From there we headed to Florence, KY and spent several hours going through the Answers in Genesis Musuem that will hopefully be finished in a couple years. It was very enjoyable. If ya'll ever get the chance, you will have to visit there too. Then it was time to hit the road again, passing through Cincinnati, OH, and on through Indiana and into Illinios, to my brother's wedding.

All of our children, but Abriannah were in the wedding. Shalee was a candle lighter, Chase was a Jr. Groomsman, Kaylee handed out programs and then bubbles and rice, Caleb was the ring-bearer, and Bethany and Hadassah both were flower girls. They all looked so sharp! We had a great time and our family has really been blessed with a precious sister-in-law, and aunt.

After two wonderful days in Illinois, it was time to head home, going by St. Louis, MO, and through Kansas City, and on to Colorado to pick up the girls' horses, who were spending their vacation on my parents' place.

Well, I guess I should get onto how the family is growing, as they surely have!

Shalee is now 15, and in the 10th grade. She has her driver's permit, and keeps her daddy busy with driving lessons. DeWayne has taken on the role as Driver's Ed teacher. They have made some memories that I am sure neither one will forget!

She is still crazy about horses. She still thinks she wants to raise, break, and train horses for a living, plus about 20 children, or so she says. God has a very special man out there somewhere for her! It will take a special man to share that dream with her. Her horse Zorah has come a long ways and is now a very sweet horse! All of our kids love to ride her but Abby. All the kids but Kaylee rode her in a gymkhana, that the three oldest kids' 4-H club put on, this year . Kaylee rode her own horse in it, as did Shalee, Chase, and Caleb in some of the events.

Shalee is in 4-H this year, taking Horse, Photography, and Vet Science. She is loving it! She continues to work over at the stables, along with Chase and Kaylee. They have a lot of very happy customers, and their business continues to grow all the time. It has been such a blessing for us to live so close to the stables!

Shalee is still big into her artwork, but has begun a new love of sculpting. Her two favorite things to sculpt are horses and goats right now. She would love to take lessons someday from a scupting artist.

She is a wonderful big sister to her siblings! She is very responsible, but never too big to still play with them!

Chase is now 12, and in the 7th grade. He joined the Civil Air Patrol on his 12th birthday, and took his first flight on September 19th. He made the front page of our local newspaper. He is now hooked on flying! Bull-riding is almost a thing of the past! However, talk of flying gliders and sky diving are now the things of his current talk! His mom rates sky diving right there with bull-riding, but keeps praying for him anyway! I know God has a plan for each of our children's lives, even if that plan is for one of them to jump out of an airplane with nothing but a piece of fabric and strings attached to his back! Thankfully, he has to be 15 yrs. old before he can parachute.

Chase is now known as Airman Britton, as he has passed his first level of CAP. He looks so handsome in his uniforms!! He makes his mama proud! He is in with a great group of young men and leaders. The majority of the boys are also homeschooled. DeWayne too has joined the Civil Air Patrol. They enjoy going to the meetings, and most times, Caleb goes along too. He is just waiting till he is 12 yrs. old and can join too!

Chase is in 4-H this year also. He is taking Electricity, Rifle, and Small Engines. He is the only boy in our 4-H group of about a dozen girls. DeWayne is his project leader.

Chase is still the wonderfully mischievious boy that God gave us! He keeps us all rolling with his hilarious dramatizations of history books, and his impersonations of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the Inspector on Pink Panther! He is quite the character!

Kaylee, is now 10, and in the 5th grade. She has come a long way with her horse skills this last year. She is finding that she really enjoys doing the barrels with Anitta. Anitta seems to really like them too. They are both beginners, so they make a good team! Her horse is the sweetest old thing, but she is much taller then Zorah, so the little girls don't care to ride her, but both Chase and Caleb like to ride Anitta. She is a perfect match for Kaylee's personality!

Kaylee is in 4-H this year too, and is taking Baking, Sewing, and Horse. She has her mother and two grandmothers' love of sewing and all things crafts! She also loves to embroider, something I have never picked up. I am her sewing and baking project leader. I carry such sweet memories of when my mother was my sewing and baking project leader in 4-H! I hope Kaylee with carry those same kind of memories.

Kaylee is also a wonderful big sister to her siblings! She is very helpful and always ready to read a book or play a game with her younger siblings!

Caleb is now 8, and in the 2nd grade. He got his first motorcycle this year and enjoyed tearing up the back road behind our house with it! He tries to keep up with his big brother and now his motorcycle bears the marks of a wreck or two. Thankfully, only the motorcyle bore any marks! Chest protectors, riding gear, and helmets are worth every cent! He has slowed down, but there is always next summer!

Caleb is still a soft-hearted, sweetheart! You couldn't ask for a more laid back, happy go lucky, helpful little boy! Our family wouldn't be the same without him! Anytime you ask him for help, his reply is always a smiling, "Sure!"

Bethany is now 6, and in Kindergarden. She is into dogs like crazy! She hopes we move to the country someday, so she can have a dog of her own. She loves going to 4-H get-togethers at the rodeo arena, because that means she can baby-sit the 4-H Horse leader's dogs, Kate and Echo. To Bethany, that is a perfect day! Her sister, Kaylee, has handed down all her dog magazines to Bethany, and Bethany cherishes them as if they were gold.

Bethany is still a tom-boy and baby doll loving little girl all wrapped up in one! She still tries to keep up with those brothers of hers. Right now, both her and Caleb have lost 2 baby teeth each, and she is in a race to lose another one before he does.

Hadassah is now 4. She is into butterflies like crazy! Her Grandma Miller gave her some butterfly hair clips for her birthday and now everything is 'butterfly this and butterfly that'.

Hadassah is still a talker who is never at a loss for words! She keeps us all rolling with most of the things she comes up with! That little head of hers is always working, and her mouth is running right along with it!

Hadassah also loves flowers, bunnies, and kitty cats, and 'reading' or singing her little sister to sleep at night! She loves being a big sister to Abby, as everybody else is bigger then her. Hadassah is tiny for her size, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in brains and might! She is still our little snuggle bunny, who dotes on long hugs and lots of kisses.

Abriannah! Oh, our little Abby. She is 2 now. She is into whatever her brothers and sisters leave out! She is a sweet, onery little pill that makes our life all the better, as do each of our children! She keeps us all on our toes, but supplies us with lots of joy and laughter too! She still is strong-willed, but she softening more everyday.

Abby loves books as much as Hadassah does, and one is never enough! Neither is reading the same book once, ever enough!

Abby also loves her baby doll! She loves to mother it, keep it warm, take it on stroller rides, and if she gets tired of mothering, well, she takes it to Grandma (that would be me) to take care of her.

Bethany & Caleb have been mutton bustin' the last two years in a row. For those of ya'll who don't know what 'mutton bustin' is, it is basically your child crawling on the back of a sheep and then they let the sheep out of the riding shoot at a rodeo. The sheep is suppose to run for all its worth, sometimes there is some jumping and weaving involved too, and the child is suppose to hang on and ride for at least 8 seconds! For those of ya'll worried about the safety of this event, they also strap on a safety helmet and vest (like the ones novice bull-riders wear).

This year we went home to Colorado and they rode in our hometown rodeo. Bethany took 2nd place in mutton bustin' for her age. Caleb took 4th place for his age. His sheep decided to lay down or I think he would have placed higher. Bethany also took 1st place in the stick horse race for her age group. She won $16 in total winnings. For a few weeks after that, she said she was going to be a mutten buster when she grew up! That's a 5 1/2 year old for you! Caleb brought home $5, and Hadassah brought home $3 in winnings, as they participated in the stick horse races too. Caleb would have placed higher in the stick horse race, but he was to busy socializing with his new friend (seen in one of his pictures). Hadassah, too, could have placed higher, but she stopped along the way to pick up her sister's cowboy hat up out of the dirt as she ran for first place. What a sweetheart! Chase took 3rd place in a roping contest for kids of all ages. He won a hoof pick.

The kids were all really looking forward to our rodeo and then we all got sick when the weekend came around. So they ended up missing it. We had a lot of sad cowboys and cowgirls around here! But they are pumped for next year! Next year will be Caleb's last year as a mutton buster, as he will be too old. He is determined that he is going to place higher next year.

The kids were given two goats this summer, Roo (named after Roo on Winnie The Pooh) and Sophia. After getting woke up nearly every morning by the neighbors for about two months because their goats were out, they finally decided to give up on the goat business. Their dad did not have the time nor did they have the money to build an appropriate fence for the goats. Especially, for Roo who the neighbor compared to a Missouri Jumping Mule!

The kids have gotten to have so many wonderful experiences because of their work at the stables. They have gotten a lot of hands-on experience with horses, goats, chickens, an onery rooster, and a few cats. God has been good to bless their dreams of a country type life, even though they live in town!

We all stay very, very busy. The boys had a lawn business this summer. They totally transformed the neighbor's yard. DeWayne remodeled the neighbor's bathroom, and we took on painting their 3500 sq. ft. house as well as various other tasks in preparation for the neighbors to sell their house. We are still working on that project! The girls stay busy with their horses and taking care of other people's horses. I am trying to start a cake decorating business (web pages coming soon!). I am learning all about starting a business and how to create web pages, etc. With homeschooling, church, benevolence projects, 4-H, CAP, horses, part-time jobs, etc., not to mention full-time jobs, we do not get away much any more. It keeps us busy, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

In a nutshell, that's a year in the life of the Britton Bunch!

Merry Christmas & A Blessed New Year,

~"The Britton Bunch"

(DeWayne, Debra, Shalee, Chase, Kaylee, Caleb, Bethany, Hadassah, and Abriannah (our little Abby!))

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