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Monday, December 28, 2015

The O-G 2015 Christmas Newsletter

Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas everyone-

We hope this newsletter finds you all safe and blessed this holiday season.

We write this newsletter from snowy Colorado with hot tea in hand. We had a beautiful snowstorm over the Thanksgiving week and are hoping we get more on Christmas day…although it’s supposed to get to 65 this week! We are enjoying the exciting and variable weather Colorado has to offer.

Our family had a full summer this past year. We enjoyed a one month vacation in June in Oregon (exploring Utah, Nevada, and western Colorado on our way home) and had a chance to camp with amazing friends on the east side of the state (thank you Feldhaus, Shippentower, Tattam and Naylor families for making it special!), in the Willamette Valley (a big thank you to the House’s Funny Farm for hosting our crazy zoo) and the beach where both sides of our family came over and spent several days camping with us. Also, a big thank you to Cat’s parents for putting us up while we made a few trailer repairs and Cat recouped from the flu (yup, she got it while on vacation).

The second half of our summer brought two trips to New Mexico to spend quality time with our Hedges family God-children, then to explore Ghost Ranch during the Mountain States Mennonite Conference (MSMC) general assembly…what a beautiful time listing to our new favorite band The Steel Wheels while enjoying the beauty of the southwest.  Rounding off our adventures we made our final summer family trip to Oklahoma in September where Cat presented some of her Eastern Shawnee history work during the Eastern Shawnee History Summit (PDF program). We also attended the tribal Powwow…it was a wonderful time connecting with our Oklahoma family while watching our kiddos build deeper connections to Oklahoma and our family there.

The Steel Wheels

The kiddos are loving our Colorado adventures and their school here in Boulder. Finn is in the 4th grade this year (I know, brace yourselves…she’s up to my shoulders and we’re entering the scary world of HORMONES!!!) and has really excelled in reading and math. She’s loving her teachers, friends, and has joined leadership group and choir…allowing her to explore her two loves of social justice and music. Our girl is growing fast, easily the tallest in her class, but her beautiful smile and zest for life have only increased. She’s loving our exploration of the area and especially time at home in her tree fort…reading a book and feeling the breeze.

Jeremiah August is growing so fast and keeping us on our toes as always! He’s in the first grade this year and we are so loving his zest for learning. Reading has really taken off for him this year…all of a sudden he sees words everywhere and loves to read them to us.  Jeremiah has changed a lot this year, learning to control his little boy impulses more and more everyday (we’re still a work in progress on that one) but is still his full of life self.  He loves flying planes at the park, riding his bike all over, and exploring the woods! Both kiddos are loving the adventure of living in Colorado, they’ve become fans of deep snow, southwest summer nights, and exploring from the Rockies to New Mexico to Oklahoma.

Cat’s year has been busy with her work taking off more and more while chasing the kiddos and their busy schedules. When we moved the kids said they wanted to see Mummy and Papa often at their school…so that has meant a lot of running back and forth (we live only a block and half from the school) for both Mummy and Papa but it has really been worth it see the kids feel safe and at home in their school.  Cat’s work for her tribe has increased this year and kept her busy. This past winter she wrote and was awarded a large three year grant that will keep the Family Violence Prevention program serving women and children of her tribe for another three years…God is good! Adding to her work for her tribe she was asked this past year to write a book chapter for a book the tribe is writing on Eastern Shawnee history. Her chapter focuses on Eastern Shawnee tribal members moving to the Pacific Northwest and how that’s changed their cultural connection and identity. She is still teaching women and gender studies for Oregon State University and has now added teaching similar classes for Utah State University…both from home, both focusing on minority perspectives.  It’s been wonderful for our family to have Mum working from home especially as everyone has settled into our new life in Boulder. Life can get a wee bit nuts for Cat while she juggles work and home but she loves being available for the kiddos when they need and keeping and tending an inviting home environment.

Eastern Shawnee Tribal Seal
Eastern Shawnee Tribal Seal

Jeremiah has been enjoying his interdisciplinary, Environmental Studies PhD program here at CU-Boulder.  He finished two years of course work in one year and is now in his second year in the program with a much smaller class load but starting his qualifying exams and dissertation research.  His advisor is a wonderful man who understands family and life commitments and values Jeremiah’s contributions (academic and otherwise) over the past 20+ years.  God is good. While this past year has been a busy one for Jeremiah (and family) he has settled into his niche at CU and is enjoying the journey – this new season in life for him.  It makes his life a bit crazy, trying to be a PhD student, teaching classes (which pays the bills), organizing science communication and policy conferences, writing for science magazines, organizing Mennonite men’s retreats and being the Papa and husband he loves to be. Thankfully he’s been slowly chopping commitments from his list to really focus down on family and his PhD. But as he says…sleep is overrated (wink wink).

Our beloved pups are doing well and loving the dry weather of Colorado. Quinn turned 13 this month (I know…crazy...is that even possible?!) and Sidda will be 11 in February! They are both in great health though starting to slow down and nap in the sun a bit more.  Quinn has fallen in love with stalking and killing any small rodents or squirrels that dare to think about coming into our backyard and Sidda is still her happy go lucky self…though she’s now assumed the role of dog pack leader when hiking….making sure Quinn stays on trail and doesn’t wander off too far. It’s been interesting to watch our pups age.

We feel like when we make our way back to the PNW (yes that’s still our plan) we will have thoroughly turned over every stone imaginable in this area – given Colorado a fair shake. We feel this move has taught us (and is still teaching us) to love the moment we are in. Life is certainly not perfect for the OG’s (did I mention Finn is experiencing hormones, hit us with the sex talk, little man rides his bike like Mario Andretti, and Jeremiah and Cat feel their blood pressure rising each year) but we are learning to find the joy in each moment.

We hope this letter and OG news sees you into a happy and healthy new year.

With much love and prayers for peace,
The Osborne-Gowey Family (Jeremiah, Cat, Finn, not-so-little Jeremiah)

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