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“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and His name shall be called,
Wonderful Counselor,  Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family!!!  We are celebrating the incredible gift our heavenly Father has given us in an incarnate Savior!  We pray that this season is an especially blessed and meaningful time for each of you as well.


I hope this letter finds all of you in good health and enjoying the holidays.  We have had a busy, but enjoyable fall – so far no major illnesses.   We have now been living in Sioux Falls for over a year and really feel settled.  We are enjoying many of the advantages of living in a more urban area.    This summer I could not believe all the free activities available for my kids, not to mention the variety of pools to choose from. 


Travis had a good year at SDN – he has really gotten to know many of his co-workers and has adjusted well.  He has been able to find some guys to play racquetball with on a regular basis, and really enjoys that.   He, once again, was able to do some hunting with family this fall, and got a few deer.  He keeps busy with little tasks around the house (like cutting up a hot tub – ask him sometime!) and enjoys playing online games with his brothers.  A highlight this year (for all of us) was traveling to Kansas to witness Trav's youngest brother, Andrew, getting married.  We are so happy for him and excited to welcome his wife, Natalie, and her daughter, Marin, into the family!


I continue to be a stay at home Mom, with a few piano students – still hoping for a few more – but as Nathan started preschool this year, I began to look around for more subbing opportunities.  I am signed up with Sioux Falls Christian, where our kids attend, Sioux Falls Public, and Brandon Valley Public Schools and have had a few opportunities to help out at those schools this year.  I also occasionally help out the Lutheran High School here in Sioux Falls.  I have found it interesting to be able to sub for more than just music, and have successfully navigated through math classes, and English as well.  I also returned, for the first time in 30 years, to Heidleberg Youth Camp, which is a Bible camp sponsored by the denomination I grew up in and we attend here in Sioux Falls.  I loved going to camp as a kid, and enjoyed seeing Carolyn experience it this year. I was  privileged to be a counselor for the high school aged campers, which was a lot of fun!


At this point, I'm going to try something new, and let Carolyn and Nicole write about their years for themselves, so here is Carolyn:


I am in 8th  grade and next year I will be in high school and in 5 years I will be in college, and this is what mom thinks. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” :) This is what I think. “Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha” I like to tease her about it. :)  Anywho, back to 8th grade. My teachers are Mr Fopma-Lang. Arts, Mr. Kroschell-Science, Miss Punt-Bible, Mr. Begeman-History, and Mrs. Boer-Math. Some are strict and some are not, but they're all nice. I am also in orchestra, and play the violin although it is getting boring. I love drawing, art, playing lego batman 2 with nathan and nicole, and that kind of stuff. This summer I went to Dordt Discovery Days, and Heidelberg Youth Camp. This fall I went to my Uncle Andrew's wedding in Kansas. Now I have 10 cousins instead of 9. I didn't really do much in the spring but at the beginning of the school year, I went to Lifelight with my cousins. I think that's about it except that I'm going to Grandma and Grandpa Rayhons's house for christmas this sunday. That's it so bye!


And here is Nicole:


This year I advanced from 3rd grade to 4th grade.  I am very excited to be a 4th grader.  My teacher is Mrs. Mulder and she is very nice.  My class is very noisy and wild, but I've made lots of friends.  I have started playing in the local youth orchestra, in the group for younger students called Sinfonia.  It is lots of fun!!!!!!  I love playing cello.  Something really cool is that my cello teacher is also my conductor.  I love making crafts and I make so many that every space in my room gets covered!  I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE horses.  I wish I could have my own horse and take riding lessons.  I'm excited because I have a real art teacher for the first time.  Recently I've made lots of clay sculptures.  That's all for now, Nicole Mae signing out!


Nathan will be 5 in  a few weeks.  He continues to be tall for his age and to amaze us with how much he learns and picks up from everyone around us.  He kept the audience quite entertained at our recent Christmas program by pointing out all of his family members to the little boy standing next to him.  He loves superheroes, legos, playing Xbox, and hanging out with his sisters.  He really loves playing in the snow, in fact, I'm afraid he might be partly responsible for the late storm we had in April because he had been praying for more snow every day for about a month before that!  He is in preschool 3 mornings a week and I'm not looking forward to my baby going to Kindergarten next year!  


This about covers it for us this year – God has been good and we have been richly blessed!


Have a blessed holiday season, and as always, if you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods............well, we have a guest room and our door is always open!!!!  We'd love to see all of you!


In Christ,


The Rayhons

Travis, Alecia, Carolyn, Nicole, and Nathan