Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Very Merry Christmas... Letter

December, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from Kleinshire! We hope that our Christmas letter finds all well with you and yours. The boys are enjoying lighting another candle on the Advent wreath each week, and very soon the tree and other decorations will be going up. Letters and cards from so many of you are already beginning to adorn the fireplace mantel. Once again, Christ’s birthday is almost upon us.

For most of you it will be old news that we welcomed the newest member of our family on February 8th when Rosemary gave birth to a healthy nine-pound boy in the comfort of our own home. We christened him Chrysogonus John, with our pastor at St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest, Fr. Phil Tighe, baptizing him according to the older ritual book the next Saturday in the presence of quite a crowd. His godparents made the trip from Washington, D.C., and Rosemary’s parents and younger sister Rebecca were here from Wisconsin to help out for the entire week. Fast forward ten months, and
Chrysogonus is now an active, mischievous crawler and climber, a veritable monkey who holds himself up on things and is nearly ready to start walking. He does his best to keep up with his brothers, most recently, for example, finding himself stuck at the top of the ladder to Cyprian’s bunkbed.

Speaking of those brothers, they are equally active and mischievous. Cyprian is now officially homeschooled, with Rosemary having registered us with the State of North Carolina as “St. Therese’s Little Flowers Homeschool.” He is doing a lot of work at the first grade and some at the second grade level. He reads well, and ever more independently, but at this point enjoys math most of all. This year Cyprian also became involved in 4-H as a “Cloverbud,” participating in activities offered by the Franklin County Extension Office during the summer months and showing one of our dairy goats at a livestock show in Oxford this fall. Cyprian is also preparing to make his First Confession next month and his First Holy Communion in May. As for Clement, he is playing soldier or knight whenever he is not doing homework in imitation of his older brother. He gets to do his own independent thing on Fridays when he attends Montessori-style Good Shepherd Catechesis organized by a St. Catherine’s parishioner. When Cletus’ energies are properly directed, he actually
gets more work done than any of his brothers, busily sweeping the barn or raking leaves. Otherwise he joins whatever his brothers are doing, everything from tearing out all the toys on a daily basis to digging holes in random spots throughout the yard in search of buried treasure.

Franz is very involved at St. Thomas More Academy, teaching a wide variety of subjects this year—various levels of Latin, American literature for the seniors, and introductory philosophy for the juniors. Unfortunately the dissertation has gone on the back burner in recent months, especially as he prepares to add Medieval history to his teaching duties this spring semester. But perhaps the most exciting school-related event this past fall came when the STMA girls cross country team, competing at state for the very first time, came within one point of winning a state championship. As for Rosemary, her out-of-the-home outlet continues to be Tae kwon do every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Last month she successfully tested for her last degree prior to the first-degree black belt.

Finally, all of us, kids included, are intimately involved with our smallscale Kleinshire farming operation, with Rosemary really being the guiding force behind it. We added two fullsized goats to our dairy herd over the summer, and three of our Nigerians are set to kid right around Christmas. We plan to process one of our three feeder pigs over Christmas as well, so it should prove to be a busy holiday season. We also continue to sell our organic whole broiler chicken and free-range eggs to friends and fellow parishioners, and the garden is finally starting to come together. Our winter garden is currently yielding all the broccoli, collards, and cabbage that we can possibly eat.

So, we have a great deal to be thankful for this Christmas as we count our blessings and reflect on our Savior’s birth. Please know of our prayers for all of you, which are sent together with this letter. May God bless all of us abundantly in the year to come.

In Christ,

Franz, Rosemary, Cyprian, Clement, Cletus, and Chrysogonus

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