Our Christmas letter to our friends & family

Every year I write a letter to our family and friends. I presume they want to know our updates. There have been large gaps when I didn’t write, but the last few years I try very hard to stay connected in this small old-fashioned way.

Here we are again, CHRISTMAS!

Bob and I stood in the kitchen tonight after work and paused a moment with a sense of wonder…how on earth…has time flown by so fast this year?! It’s our THIRD winter in Virginia. How’d that happen?! Just seeing that typed out makes me sit back in my chair and take a deep breath. I think it’s because, first we had Broken Foot/Big Snow Winter (that whizzed by), then we had Sick Cat Winter (and that whizzed by). This year, it’s All About Work Winter and it’s whizzing by extra fast.

I’m working full-time now and have been since September, the same place Bob works. What started out as a part-time subcontracted position developed into full-time employee status. I’m the Internet Sales Coordinator. I take care of the shopping website and all the places we sell stuff. It’s like being a ringmaster or a juggler. I answer a lot of questions, connect a lot of dots, and click a mouse a lot. I work some hours each week at home, but also have an office to go to. I didn’t think I’d like another job as much as I loved being a church administrator but the key really is how varied my days are. I’m learning new stuff, I get out of the house, and, they pay me without me having to remember to bill hours. It’s great. Most of the time.

I’ve always known Bob works hard but it’s been a long time since we were in the same work environment. If you think we see each other a lot, you’d have guessed wrong. It’s more than we did, but honestly, if I go looking for him, it’s most often a view of his white butcher’s coat flashing around a corner. He’s on the move constantly. It’s no wonder he comes home and melts into his bucket.

Work on projects at home progressed a lot this year. Bob’s workshop is finally nearly complete and he’s moved in and unpacked his tools. He announced this weekend he thinks he has a plan for organizing the space. That’s good news because my list of stuff for him to build is getting longer! He gets diverted though. Back in June we did a bit of landscaping and had the overgrown shrubs pulled out and some beds dug. I only got a few perennials since it was a bit late to get them in the ground. Bob built some raised beds for vegetables but I only had mediocre results. This year should be much better. I can hope.

The best part of this year has been Kate & John are back in the States. We get to see them often! They drive out more than we drive in to Washington DC. I think they feel sorry for us because we seem to have difficulty getting around the city, specifically, we can’t find our way OUT of the city. We find our way in okay. (It’s a 90 minute drive.) But, for some reason, our drive home is always an adventure, where one wrong turn takes us far and wide. One drive home took 5 hours. I’m not kidding. One time I was by myself and got all turned around by the Pentagon. I kept aiming the car West and would end up North. Or South. Or maybe East again which is always not good since we very clearly live West of Washington DC. It’s getting better though. The last two times we made it home without incident. We are so proud.

Last summer we took a trip to Wisconsin for our 40th High School Reunion. It was great to see everyone and great to spend time with our families. We got to see most everyone on the Moehrke and Arnold sides. On the Moehrke side, we celebrated Jill and Drew’s marriage (they eloped), ate fish fry, and did whatever Mom and Dad said. On the Arnold side we had a big family gathering, then helped Edna meet with a realtor to list her house for sale. Which sold 9 days later contrary to all generally accepted thinking in these economic times!

We’re slowly getting to know the area where we live. Not the obvious historical stuff. Things like, the guy down the road has a hot air balloon and I’ll often see him up in the air on cold crisp mornings. And, on Friday nights, the booming sounds we hear from across the back woods signal a touchdown for the Warriors of Sherando High School. (They sound successful.) Or, there’s someone in the neighborhood that has a lot of company and the same electronic doorbell we do. Our’s rings when their visitors press their doorbell!

We had snow in October but none since which is fine with me although I did finally get not one, but two, winter coats, and I’ve been replacing my Texas winter wardrobe with heavier clothes and more layers. Challis scarves are my friend (I was one of the original Bohemian Chic), and so is the electric heater I use at work. Boomer doesn’t like the cold much either but finally this year, he has thick winter fur. His solution to getting inside quick and up off the frozen ground, is to let me know from a window sill he wants in. So I open the window and in he pops. We are feeding one of the stray neighborhood cats we’ve named Floozie…for the obvious reasons…and Boomer tolerates her to a certain extent. You might remember he was a spare cat at one time. Well Floozie has taken to sitting on our door sills and window sills too. That’s as friendly as she gets though. She does seem to like us or at least we amuse her. She reminds me of Mona, a tortoise-shell we had years ago, that we loved dearly.

Honestly, writing about the year makes it seem terrific, but it’s been a challenge. Maybe yours has too? I think it’s always good to pray in the New Year so I’ll be praying for you, and that you have a healthy and successful 2012. Be especially blessed!


If we are connected on Facebook or by e-mail most of this stuff you know or read between the lines of my status. My address book needs updating and frankly, we don’t get as many cards as we used to. I chalk that up to us moving too many times to keep track of. Please check in by e-mail or comment below. We would love to hear from you!


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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One Response to Our Christmas letter to our friends & family

  1. Kay Brown says:

    Robin, loved reading your letter. Wish I was good at it, but wouldn’t know how to condense it ith 6 kids, almost 14 grandkids and great # 5 is due in Aug. Many Blessings for the Browns.
    It has been 1 year ago today that we lost Karen so was thinking of her today as I looked at a photo from Oct 2010 the last time she came to our home to celebrate Dalton’s 1st birthdat (Jennie’s son)
    Sometimes I still think I can just give her a call to chat…miss that!
    Hope you and Bob had a wonderful Christmas!
    Kay & Charlie

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