Our 2016 Christmas Letter

Welcome to the 2016 Meng Family Christmas Letter! If you read my blog regularly, this letter will only be mildly newsy, but I always loved my Mom’s Christmas letters when I was a kid and it’s a fun way to wrap up a year.

And what a year we’ve had!

Aaron’s big news is that his quest to join the Air Force as an Officer ended with a resounding YES this summer. The beginning of 2016 was filled with interviews, applications, fitness tests, lots of prayers and lots of waiting. We’ve seen God’s hand move in bringing about this new career for Aaron after 10 years at Liberty University in the Cabinet Shop. (Read more about our journey to the Air Force here).
Aaron also got back into running this year and completed the Marine Core 17.75K in April. We enjoyed a day in DC after the race.
I also had a big job shift this year as I quit teaching online in March. This was a difficult decision for me but it was a good move for our family. I’ve been able to spend more quality time with the boys, and more time writing too. I started a new collective blog for moms in October (MotheringBeyondExpectations) and have really enjoyed my role as both writer and editor.
After years of persistent writing and pitching, I also saw some exciting success in online publication, including BlogHer, SheKnows, ScaryMommy, Coffee+Crumbs, For Every Mom, Care-Net, and The Mighty.
This fall, I also started going to the YMCA on a regular basis and have an equal love for the childcare and yoga classes.
Even though I’m not teaching anymore, I’ve continued to enjoy mentoring relationships with 4 college girls throughout the year. I am going to miss them so much when we move!

Micah turned 9 in October and is in 3rd grade. He loves school and his teacher, Miss Little. He made the honor roll for the first 9 weeks and is learning multiplication right now. He joined the chess club at school and just beat me for the first time last night—I better watch out!
Benji also turned 9 on October 9th—his golden birthday! He has incredibly thoughtful primary and Special Ed teachers (Mrs. Shore and Mr. G.). We are so thankful for the love, care, and personalized education he gets at school! We’ve phased out therapy at the Autism center this summer because he is doing so well. Benji loves building robot transformers with his Legos and all things Pokemon these days.
Micah and Benji also learned to ride their bikes without training wheels this spring and can now tie their shoes like champs—two huge milestones. They also LOVE Harry Potter and are already on the 5th book! We have really enjoyed listening to HP on Audiobook together.

Silas turned 4 in October and is my little reading buddy. He has a big noggin full of ideas, jokes, and sass and a head full of fuzzy hair that never lays flat. He loves whatever his big brothers are into (robots, Pokemon, Harry Potter!). We’re still trying to convince him that having a little brother is a good thing. We’ve mastered the ABCs, letter and number recognition, counting to 12 without skipping 5, and telling knock-knock jokes that make sense 25% of the time.
His favorite word is “Butt.”
Eli will turn 2 tomorrow (!) and is lovingly nicknamed “The Gremlin.” His hobbies include emptying salt shakers and lotion tubes but he is so adorable that we rarely stay mad at him for long. He gives the best hugs and kisses and loves all things trains, especially Chuggington. He is fearless and friendly and loves to run (not always the best combo but my reflexes have never been stronger). He is making great progress with his speech therapy. We love our little buddy and are especially thankful for naptime.
We added a new member to our family in November: Gus, a labraweenie! He is 3 years old and fits right into our active family, though he likes to take refuge with me when the teasing from 4 little boys gets to be too much. Gus is a fun-loving ball chaser, kitchen table sniffer (and occasional snatcher), and a total snuggle bug. We like him a lot!
A huge highlight of our year was our vacation to Colorado with my side of the family this summer. We rented a huge, gorgeous house for all 20 of us and had a blast spending time together, going to Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak, and celebrating my Nonnie’s 90th birthday.
Right now our sights are focused on April when Aaron will be leaving for Officer Training School (OTS) for 9 weeks while I stay at home with the boys. After that, we’ll be leaving our home of 9 years to wherever the Air Force sends us! It’s exciting and terrifying and has left us (and by us I mean mostly Aaron) with a long list of home improvement projects to complete so we can sell our house in 2017.

God has taught us a lot about waiting, patience, trusting, and loving others deeply this year. I have no doubt that these lessons will continue into next year as we continue to lean on Him to lead and guide us into new adventures.

Next year, our life is going to look completely different. Stay tuned for more Meng Family adventures in the New Year!

Merry Christmas to you and yours and God bless you richly in the new year!

    Love, Aaron, Brittany, Micah, Benji, Silas, Eli, and Gus (and our guinea pig, lovebird, and 3 chickens because we’re nuts like that).