Merry Christmas from our family to yours…
2017 was a big year for the Bicknells. Four kids joined our family. The oldest came with a beard, another is a beauty with long black hair, and two are babies. We feel so blessed by our growing clan. Luke was at Army boot camp during Lacy’s wedding so he missed this family photo in our front yard.
People always say to me, “I don’t know how you do it with all those kids.” The truth is I don’t do it very well. If you come to our house on a normal day–normal for the Bicknells anyway–the boys are shirtless and barefoot, even if it’s 40 degrees out. They’re burping and farting and fooling around. I spend most of my time just trying to civilize them. I’ve given up teaching the boys to put the toilet seat down. I’m happy if they just use the bathroom. Every tree on our lawn has been peed on a million times. Our yard is only a dozen years old, yet our trees are magnificent. Visitors always inquire, “How did you grow trees like these?” Now you know the secret, go pee on your trees.
This autumn we didn’t take our Christmas picture. The photo at the top is from last spring. I didn’t want to torture everyone trying to get them to look presentable. If we photographed ourselves truthfully, the boys would be half-naked, holding knives. I would be wrestling our six-year-old to the ground, trying to get shoes on him. Lacy and Jake would be making out, making the rest of us blush. Cami, Drew, and KJ wouldn’t be in the picture. Drew hates pictures. Luke would have a beer in his hand like Opa, just to freak me out, but Luke is now in the Army National Guard and has a job at their headquarters in Sacramento. He’s an amazing dad to his little guy, Cam. We are very proud of him and Alex.
Then there’s Cami and Drew’s daughter, Kara, with her dark eyes and dimples. She is so precious. I can’t tell you how much Scott and I adore being Papa and Poppy to our grandbabies. Yes, I know my grandma name is weird. A friend in college decided we needed to pick our grandma names when we were twenty years old. I chose Poppy and can’t remember why. I’m sure our grandbabies will straighten me out. “They’ll probably call you Poopie,” Scott says. I’m absolutely okay with Poopie. Growing up I was Poopie. I kind of think the name fits.
I do find it hard to write the Bicknells had a great year because I know some of you didn’t. We’ve had those hard years too. I know what it feels like to sit down and pen a Christmas letter with an ache in your heart and tears in your eyes. All I can say is the Lord’s love is very real, so lean into his love, allow the Lord to comfort you if your year was difficult.
Time passes so quickly, the seasons flying away like geese across the sky. Ten years ago, we named G2 after his Opa and now they are hunting buddies. John and Joe love hunting with Opa too. All our boys had fun dove hunting in September at the ranch (Uncle Cody joined us that day), and John filled our freezer with venison in October.
Oma and Opa had a big year as well. They became great-grandparents. We sure couldn’t do life without them. Oma runs our summer fruit harvest and Opa is often on the tractor tending to the orchards when he isn’t engineering at his office. My parents don’t believe in retirement. Their work ethic puts everyone to shame. The rest of us do our best to keep up.
Speaking of keeping up, our four youngest boys are coming into their own. Three of them played football this year for the Sutter Huskies, and John and Joe are currently playing soccer at their schools. For Thanksgiving vacation, we took the boys to the ocean. Summer trips are about impossible with harvest overwhelming us. This year we rolled right into football during harvest season. It was tough, but worth it.
Many of our friends are becoming empty-nesters as Scott and I fall into bed at night exhausted after reading the Bible with our boys because we really need Jesus. The truth is, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our growing sons are so fun. Scott has taken up coaching football with the Sutter Junior Huskies and my writing is going well. After more than thirty years together, we tend to fight about only one thing, who gets to hold the grandbaby. I’m grateful God blessed us with two.
Wishing you a bright and merry Christmas and the happiest New Year. “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child himself.” Charles Dickens.