Merry Christmas 2016!

Greetings to all of our friends and family! We are all well at the time of this writing, and we hope you are too. It has been another good, full year for our little family.

We have really enjoyed watching Lydia grow into the walking, talking (a little!), happy 15-month-old apple of our eyes. We are blessed that she is very observant, quick to learn new skills, and rarely sick. Her newest skill is being able to point to different body parts when named. 👶

Lydia making a funny face

Melissa is still enjoying the best job ever—being a stay-at-home mom! Since Lydia is constantly growing and changing, Melissa always has new challenges to encounter and new skills to learn. In between that she is starting to get back into reading books, practicing piano more, and doing a couple of crafts. 📗🎹

Melissa holding Lydia

Brian has been keeping busy at work, although he still finds time for ping pong on his office’s new ping pong table. 🏓 One of his goals for the year was to get back into reading books; including audio books, he more than doubled his goal by reading 45 books. 📚🏆

Brian in the woods

Here are some of our highlights, activities and achievements of the year:

In March, we did a thrift store date night with some of our church friends. Each couple picked out a $10-$15 outfit from a thrift store for their spouse, and then we all went out to eat together looking ridiculous. It was a blast, and we caused a lot of people to smile (and probably run for their cars!).

Brian, Melissa, and their friends dressed in their thrift store purchases
High fashion from the thrift store

In April, Brian attended a Men’s Advance Conference with the church, and thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and teaching. We also took a day trip to New Orleans with Micah Bucy, where we tried some local food, got some beignets, and listened to a local jazz band on the street. We also checked out a costume shop. It was interesting to see all the creative ways people were making money, from juggling and magic tricks, to music performances, to being a living statue. It was a very fun day! 🎷

Melissa with a living statue in New Orleans
Melissa with a living statue in New Orleans

Much of May and the month or two preceding was spent hanging out with Micah before he left for California. We miss you, Micah! In memoriam. 👨‍⚕️

Brian with Micah at his Medical School Graduation
Micah at his Med School Graduation

June saw the launching of our podcast, Ten to One! We were enjoying making top ten lists of different topics, and decided it would be fun to record and share them with you! We are up to 25 episodes now, and look forward to recording again after our Christmas hiatus. 🎙

July was a busy month! Our church hosted its annual BBQ, Cake, and Pie competition. Melissa won first place for her delicious Baklava Pie, improving on last year’s third place finish. Even now she is planning which new recipes she will use as she continues to mow down the competition. 🏆

Crossroads Bake-Off 2016 - News Report on Melissa

We also celebrated Cow Appreciation day at Chick-Fil-A! This year Melissa convinced Brian to join her in dressing like a cow. 🐄

Brian, Melissa, and Lydia dressed up as cows at Chik-Fil-A
Moo!

During Vacation Bible School, Brian and Melissa taught the 4th and 5th graders.

Somebody died in August, and Melissa was a part of it! Masquerading as the erratic world leader Genesee Glasco, she hosted a murder mystery party for our Sunday school class. A fun time was had by all, and we look forward to possibly doing another next year. 🕵

Brian and Melissa at the Murder Mystery Party
Genesee Glasco and Alfred Einstein

September was go, go, go. First we celebrated Lydia’s first birthday. Brian’s family was able to attend along with our church family, and we had a fun day complete with pizza, cupcakes, and a watermelon smash. 🍉

Brian and Lydia at her birthday party
Happy Birthday Lydia!

Next we took a trip out west for a vacation and a wedding. Our first stops were to visit Melissa’s family, first flying to Colorado to see Melody and her fiancé Nate, then to Los Angeles to visit Michael, Esther, and their children. ✈️ Next we drove up to visit Micah in Northern California, then to Washington, where we visited Dale and Donita. 🚗 Last we got to see Patty and Abe get married.

Brian, Melissa, Lydia, and Patty at her wedding
Congratulations Patty and Abe (not pictured, but he was there!)

One of our best vacations yet, and we were so glad to see everybody. For those asking when we will visit next: it’s your turn to visit us in Alabama. 😀

At the end of October we traveled back to Colorado to see Nate and Melody get married. So happy for you both!

Lydia newly born
Congratulations Melody and Nate! 💒

November saw us planning and making a full Thanksgiving meal for only the second time of our adult lives, and we started a new tradition: naming the turkey! This year’s esteemed bird was granted the moniker of Micah. 😆

Micah the Turkey
Micah the Turkey 🦃

Joining us and Micah were Mom and Dad Binzel and most of Brian’s family. The next day, Melissa partook of her very first Black Friday shopping experience. It actually was not too bad; people were polite and stores were not too crowded.

December, one of our favorite months! We celebrated our 5th anniversary by purchasing wooden board games, Crokinole and Quoridor. We also enjoyed lunch at Steak ’n Shake, saw some Christmas lights and ate homemade hot wings.

Homemade hot wings
Homemade hot wings are delicious 🍗

Tomorrow we will be driving up to Lousiana to have a Very Koser Christmas. 🎄 All of Brian’s siblings and their spouses, fiancés, and children will be under one roof, along with Grandma Sabol, making a party of seventeen! 🎉

We are looking forward to making 2017 an even better year than 2016. Thanks for your part in making our year, and hopefully we will see you again in 2017. Merry Christmas! 👨‍👩‍👧