Saturday, January 7, 2017

McGarvey New Year Letter

Dear family and friends,

For the annual McGarvey update, we're going to go month by month and hit some highlights, mainly by means of pictures.


Sam continues to enjoy theater and hone his acting skills. He had several opportunities to do so in 2016, beginning with his role as the White King in "Wonderland" (based on Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass) for the Carousel Performing Arts Center.

Big Sis proudly poses with the White King post performance


Jono turned 9 and had a blast at his Minecraft themed birthday party, where the three women in his life rocked the party planning. Jono was also hired by Five Below to be their leprechaun greeter. I believe this photo was taken after he was asked for the 47th time where was his pot of gold ("Duh, it's at the end of the rainbow!").

* The thing about Jono being hired by Five Below - it's a joke.
This is just the kind of thing that happens when we take our kids out.
We try to do so only when necessary. 
Hannah had a great basketball season last winter. She even received all conference honors!


The McGarvey's headed to Texas. Chris's dad was surprised on Christmas (2015) when his wife Yvolene gave him a calendar saying we were coming for a visit. She had worked it out to fly us down for the kids' spring break (Thank you, Yvolene!).

Flight delay with 5 kids? As long as you have bananas, it's no sweat.

With GPA & Yvolene (and Ollie) at their house.


Sam turned 14. 

Hannah tried her hand at Lacrosse for the first time and received the award for "most improved player."


Jono played little league baseball for the first time and enjoyed learning the game. 


Sam participated in another Carousel production. 

"Prince Frank" and company at the curtain call

We enjoyed a wonderful visit from Nana!

At the rock wall in Alapocas Run State Park

It's never serious for long with these five

We also took a very fun family vacation in FL (despite dad stepping on a huge nail a few days before we were scheduled to depart). Never thought we'd go to Disney (for a variety of reasons), but we did, and we had a great time. The trip also afforded us the opportunity to visit Chris's sister Jenn and her husband Canas on our way down. It was great to see them on their own turf in Savannah, GA. 


Beth and the kids drove out to Chicago to spend one last time at 1928 Dorset Drive. Ama & Papa Russell sold the house they lived in for over 25 years and downsized. It was quite the reunion. All but one of the 17 grandkids were able to be there. 

Sam was asked to play the Mad Hatter at a special event at an art studio in Chester, PA. He made the costume himself (Hannah did the make-up) and had to be in character for three hours for all comers to the "Mad Hatter Tea Party" open house. His was a surprise and delight to his "guests."

He and Jono also participated in the Missoula Children's Theater "Tour in Your Town" production of Jungle Book. It's a unique program where the traveling theater company arrives in town, holds auditions and casts on Monday, holds practice daily that week, and then performs the show on Friday afternoon and evening. Sam played Tabaqui and Jono was one of several who together played Kaa (the snake).


Hannah turned 16(!) and began driving! She's a good driver, and hasn't given her parents too many additional gray hairs...yet.

This is the picture Beth took on the way home from the DMV.
The smile says it all.

Ama and Papa Russell made several trips in 2016 to join the McGarvey family chaos. In August, we were able to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary together!

Thanks to a friend, we once again spent a fun day at Hershey Park before school started back in session.
Beth's idea to organize our seating this way to catch a pic with 6 of our 7

As the start of school approached, volleyball season got started for Hannah, and Sam decided he wanted to play football. Lily also got started with her first year of volleyball on the middle school team. It was, at times, a bit of a challenge logistically, but we had a lot of fun following their seasons. Beth also coached the JV girls volleyball team, and was an assistant coach for the Varsity girls.

The Lions had their best season in school history,
ranking in the top 10 in the state of DE and making it to the 2nd round of the state tournament.
Sam ended up playing the same position Papa played in college,
and he was able to pick Papa's number for his jersey!
Lily was thrilled to start volleyball!
And started. All 5 are now in school. Hannah in 11th, Sam in 9th, Lily in 6th, Jono in 4th, and Ben in Kindergarten!


September is hereby dubbed "random picture" month:
Come to our house and you might be greeted by this guy...

...or this crew!

Sometimes you need to be spontaneous, get your PJ's on and head out for ice cream!
Lily is going to make a great babysitter!
She is always happy when she has Avery on her hip!

Lily is a nature lover.
On a daddy-daughter date to Ashland Nature Center, Lily impressed our guide with her ability to spot things.
Here she found a monarch butterfly caterpillar. Can you?


Ben turned 5!

The birthday boy sporting his blue ribbon!
I think he won first prize in the "cutest 5 year old" division.
Annual family outing to go apple picking and eat apple cider cinnamon donuts!


Lily turned 12!

The Cubs won The World Series!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Ama and Papa at the house they are renting for a year in Wheaton.

While there, Dad took Hannah for a Wheaton College prospective student visit. This can't be happening! (That's our student tour guide on the right)


Chris and Beth celebrate their 20th anniversary! Whoo-hoo! We're still happily married!

We actually celebrated early at Thanksgiving so we could spend an overnight in Chicago!
We closed out the year at Nana's. We enjoyed time with Chris's sister's family, as well as Zsi-Zsi Ann.

The most important highlights in 2016, whether our circumstances felt like highlights or lowlights, whether we even recognized them or appreciated them, were the unceasing, overabundant, daily measures of steadfast love and mercy from our faithful God.
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)
And every bit of that love and mercy was purchased for us on the cross by Jesus, our tender Savior and sovereign King. 
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing." (Ephesians 1:3)
And so we end, appropriately, with Ben singing The Doxology (it's in video format, but there is only audio):


With love,
The McGarveys

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