2018 was a wildly wonderful and emotionally turbulent year. We have the incredible gift of watching three brilliant spirits explore this crazy world but also had to say “see you later” to dear souls. Favorite Auntie Kim (AKA Queen Elizabeth), among many others, took their leave of this earth. We miss them very, very much.
Since our move to Indiana in 2015, we finally feel at least a little bit settled in the Ripberger Farm Farmhouse (no busted pipes or failing foundations! Hooray!). OK well, Jeff just told me we have some old rusting pipes that someone’s coming to fix tomorrow—but the view from here is that we won’t have to move in with Mom and Dad while it is fixed this time! 😊 The farm land was drastically reduced at the start of this year and all of us on the homestead continue to navigate what new normal is going to be for the family biz.
We’ve got little updates about each of us below—please remember us in your prayers as we step into this next year. Merry Christmas!
JEFF (written by Maggie) || Jeff, as always, has cared well for our family this year-he engages the kiddos in meaningful conversations during the constant taxi-ing, gives approachable explanations for everything from simple addition to complex strategy, and never fails to provide a dad-joke for every situation (Raena has joined me in the eye-roll and shrug responses). His employment situation has been a bit rocky but Jeff holds hope for the future as we all try to discern what God is doing through this unsteady season. I was able to tag along with Jeff to a conference in Long Beach CA and we loved having a short time to explore a bit of the West Coast together.
MAGGIE (written by Jeff) || Maggie is the recipient of the prestigious Most Hats Award. She is in her second year working with the Indiana Wesleyan University chapel program, coordinates the AirBnB rental house on the farm with Michele, organized the third season of the Summer Silo Series, photographs various life milestones and businesses, has written for Catholic Rural Life, teaches 4 dance classes at Kristie Wright School of Dance, has begun training as a spiritual director, and mothers 3 crazy-wonderful kids. Certainly not least of all, she keeps me (Jeff) sane, functionally organized, and pursuing the best of life. Together we even tried our hand at re-branding the dance studio including a new website with Maggie’s photography. 2018 held some firsts for Maggie too – pink eye and gray hairs. She wasn’t thrilled.
RAENA (written by Maggie) || Raena started kindergarten at Acacia Academy, a classical school in Kokomo, just two weeks after turning 6, as well as taking art lessons with Kendra Bayer-Foreman (one of our favorite people in the world). Raena absolutely LOVES her teacher, Mrs. Hostetler, who has helped her learn to read over a hundred words and continue to grow in her leadership and people skills. Last year Raena wouldn’t go under water in the pool but this year she swam like a fish–deep end, shallow end, flips, and dives. Such a blast watching her grow and face her fears! She even biked for 85 minutes at a school fundraiser.
REIS (written by Maggie) || Reis turned four in July and continues to melt us with her empathetic heart. She (and Crosby) spend two days during the week with me, one with Jeff, and two with our good friends the Dieners playing with Evelyn and Leonard (who are within months of the same age). Reis’s favorite thing to do is play board games (with Mom, Dad, Grandma & Grandpa, Raena, and Gramellow & Pops–and in that order!!). She also really likes her weekly dance classes with Miss Alison and isn’t far behind Raena in the pool play. It’s rare to catch Reis without a frilly skirt or dress on, and she regularly dons a few scrapes and bruises from frolicking through her days with little attention to her physical surroundings (read: she runs into things often).
CROSBY (written by Jeff) || Crosby’s 2nd year of life has released all that is wonderful and challenging about a toddler boy. Contagious giggles and a growing but sometimes mysterious vocabulary have been added to an already noisy house. Crawls have been replaced by chases with older family members and his tractors, trains, and trucks regularly “beep beep” and “bonk!” under his guidance. He even *sometimes* sleeps through the night. He loves diverse book topics ranging from school buses to dogs or pink cupcakes but is at his most content riding along with Pops in a tractor on the farm.
Some 2018 Favorites
dance music on Spotify in the kitchen
Kelley’s ice cream runs
Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese
superheros, princesses, and tractors
afternoons at the pool
Frankfort, MI vacation (Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Cherry Bowl drive in movie!)
Friday Family Fun Nights (take-out and a movie) and Sunday Brunch with Grammellow and Pops
Books: A Wrinkle in Time series, The Road Back to You & The Path Between Us, The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, Pinkalicious series, American Girl books, anything with pictures of trucks and tractors, The Book with No Pictures, and the 12 other books sitting on our bedside tables partially started. Jeff finished the entire Catholic Catechism (a three year process)!
TV/movies: This Is Us, The Big Bang Theory, SHIELD, Manifest, The Greatest Showman, Bolt, Sophia the First, Paw Patrol, My Little Pony/Human, DC Super Hero High everything, NCIS, Marvel anything
West Michigan visits
anything that involved good food and drinks and friends 🙂