I chose not to do a Christmas card this year because all the reasons. When you don’t get one from us, it’s because no one did. So consider this your 2017 Christmas love from the Hartman family. If you are one of those over-achieving holiday types with some nifty way to display all the cards (and you happen to care that badly) feel free to print!

This year seemed to fly by more quickly than usual. So in an effort to catch up and look back, here’s a short recap of each of us, beginning with the youngest.

Dean turned a year old in September. Like any infant-turning-toddler, he is changing and growing so fast. Dean is very expressive and is usually either smiling or scowling, both of which are really cute. He may never take to solid foods. Dean loves tractors, shoes, books, and anything Wesley is doing. But his absolute favorite thing is to ride a dirt bike around the yard with Caleb.

Wesley will be three in January. He is as rough and tumble as he is tender and sweet. Wesley loves dinosaurs (“sharp teef”), mountain lions, dirt bikes and anything Caleb is doing. (His presents this year included a toy gun and his very own tape measure.) If Wesley can climb it, he will jump off of it, which is to say everything, including us. Wesley’s vocabulary has exploded this year and he says all kinds of cute and sweet things (that I can’t seem to write down fast enough). For example, at almost every meal, even if he doesn’t like it, he tells me “this is the meal I ever had!” (Of course, he means best meal.)

Claire turned 5 in July and, and in September, we officially became a homeschooling family. (What?! That’s something I honestly never thought I’d say. In fact, I actually SAID it was something I’d never say. Good one, God. You’re hilarious.) It has already been so good for her, for me, and for our whole family in many ways. Claire loves all things horses, to do craft projects, and she loves to read and be read to. Claire is as precocious and persistent as ever, and it’s been so fun to see these qualities mature (a little bit) in the last year.

I can’t seem to get over just how big all three of them are.

Caleb had a full year of teaching, coaching, and making beautiful and functional things out of wood. (But, after last year, which was all these things plus building our house and welcoming a baby, it seemed like a breeze to him!) His cabinet business is really beginning to take off and he officially became Hartman Custom Cabinetry Inc this year. It’s been an exciting challenge for both of us to figure out how to be small business owners. Caleb is faithful as ever— in busy times and in slow times, he does the best he can, the next right thing.

I spent the year doing my darnedest to shape the lives of my little people while God uses them to shape mine. The two are one and the same, I’ve learned. And the longer I do this thankless and relentless work, the more I seem to settle into the sacrifice of it, the more comfortable I become with being at the end of myself, and the more joy I seem to have.

This year turned out to be a lot of transitions for us— some big and some small, some we saw coming and some we didn’t, some circumstantial but all transformational. (I’m going to try to write more about them in the coming year.) But, in all things, God has been so faithful.

So, Merry Christmas from the Hartmans! And all the blessings to you and yours in the coming year.

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Merry Christmas from the Hartmans!

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