Monday, December 29, 2014

The Robinson Review...A Look Back at 2014

This branch of the Robinson Family Tree has had a pretty solid 2014.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best in 2015, and give you some highlights from our 2014.

Nigel has had a very nice year. He has continued his homeschooling with Robin and is thriving. The homeschool format has allowed him to grow at his pace without having to worry about being slowed down or rushed by the other students a typical classroom. The most gratifying part of this experience has been observations from others on how much Nigel's confidence has grown over the last 1.5 years. It has also been a great experience for Robin. Nigel loves having his Mom as a teacher and she loves teaching him. One of his favorite things about homeschooling is the lack of tests. As he says, "My teacher knows what I have learned."
He has begun art classes with his Grandma Karen and has shown a creative eye and steady hand.
Nigel continued his Martial Arts lessons, and has earned his Blue Belt with a Red stripe so far.
His favorite memory from the past year was our trip to Washington D.C. to visit Brett, and the rest of his crew. The cousins had a blast spending time with each other, site seeing, and hanging out at the pool.
Nigel is really looking forward to 2015, and the adventures which lay ahead. Top on his list: learning to play his new blue guitar, which he received for Christmas.

Nora really enjoyed her 2014. Februrary saw Nora's twelfth birthday, which she had been planning for the last 4 years. As a family we really love watching the Olympics, both Summer and Winter. With the Winter Olympics taking place in February, Nora could not pass up the opportunity to have an Olympic-themed birthday.
Here she is preparing to light the Olympic torch.
And this is one of the games she created; Pin the Skis on the Jumper.
Nora has continued her great work in the classroom, maintaining straight A's throughout middle school, and this year has made the Scholastic Bowl team. As a seventh grader she was finally able to participate in school athletics, and decided to join the Cross Country team. She really enjoyed competing with and supporting her teammates. Nora had a solid first season setting a personal record at a home meet running the 2 mile course in 15:14, and receiving a medal for a 16th place finish in the girls open at the El Paso-Gridley meet.
Nora is looking forward to building on the success from the season, and has started training with me in the offseason. In fact, we ran our first race together this year at the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run 5k. Added bonus, we made the front page of the local paper!
Nora is very excited for what lies ahead in 2015. In particular the beginning of Scholastic Bowl, the upcoming track season, and a return to Cross Country next fall.

Robin is awesome. As I mentioned in the section for Nigel she has been an amazing teacher. Enough cannot be said about how much time, work, and patience she puts into his education. The dedication she shows to both kids is fantastic. We are very lucky to be in a situation which allows her to stay home for the kids.
She has entered her twelfth year as a proof reader for the Legal Record, a newspaper owned and publshed by our brother-in-law, Brandon. Speaking of the Legal Record, 2014 saw some big changes for them. Brandon has formed a partnership which has opened up the Chicago market and brought about a name change to the company, which is now called Chronicle Media.
Robin continued to be very involved in Eureka Christian Church by singing in the choir and being part of the worship committee. I am constantly amazed by the things she and the committee do.
One of my favorite things about Robin is her creativity and ability to pull things together out of thin air.
Here is the unicorn costume she put together for Nora.
Our worship committee wanted a traveling Mary and Joseph to travel house to house within our congregation this Advent. They could not find a suitable Mary and Joseph, so, Robin made them.
We were invited to an Ugly Sweater Christmas party, and I wanted something unique. So, she helped me by making a sweater that is ugly on the inside.
I, for one, am looking forward to what she comes up with for 2015!

2014 has been Super.
I tired of being beat up by my family, so, in July I joned them in their Martial Arts class. I have been having a great time taking the class with them, and have become a touch more flexible. So far I have earned my White Belt with Yellow stripe. The rest of the family still has a leg up on me.
Work at Eureka College has been great. We brought in the second largest freshman class in school history, opened our first new academic building in 96 years, and have a great start on the class of 2015! I love what I am doing. I feel like I am having a positive impact, and have so much more time to spend with the family.
I am still running and have renewed excitement due to Nora picking up the sport. I am not running as fast as I did a few years ago, but am still earning medals in my age group. In fact, this year saw my first age group wins. Robin and the kids got me a great gift for Christmas; a three pack of races for 2015, the first of which will take place on New Year's Day. To say the least, I am going to hit 2015 running.

We all hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a Happy and Healthy New Year!