Merry Christmas!!

That’s right…I said it…MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  Not Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings…Merry CHRISTmas!

Welcome to our first blog and our semi-annual Christmas letter all rolled into one.  In lieu of printing, folding & mailing over 100 copies of this, we thought it more economical & eco-friendly to go with an e-letter this year.  Hopefully it finds you all well.

Since the last Schrecengost family Christmas letter (2007) there have been abundance of changes in our lives.  For starters we sold our house on Hunt Ave in Eden to a childhood friend of Christy’s in the summer of 2008 and purchased her grandmother’s house on West Ave (1 block away).  Her grandmother lives with us, which has been an adjustment for all involved, but is working out to be a tremendous blessing…especially for Ivy & Mya.  The memories they will have of the time spent with their great-grandmother are priceless.  The new house provides significantly more space both indoors & out…which is especially helpful with our newest addition – a Newfoundland puppy named Sheldon.  He was born on October 7, 2009 and came home to us on November 28th.  Sheldon was the runt of his litter and because he had to be bottle fed as a newborn pup, is very snuggly and loves to be with people.  He’s growing like a weed and has gained approximately 7 pounds in the 3 weeks we’ve had him.  The girls adore him & do a fabulous job helping to care for him.  Of course, he is a puppy, so (like a toddler) you have to watch him every second or he’ll have SOMETHING he shouldn’t!  His favorites were ornaments off the tree, but we’ve gated that off from him now so he concentrates on trying to get a hold of people’s shoes.

No one in our home has seen more change in these past 2 years than Ivy.  As many of you know, she has struggled with medical issues since she was 9 months old and in May of this year, just 2 months before her 8th birthday, we FINALLY got a diagnosis: Celiac Disease.  I have never been so relieved in all my life!!!  Celiac is an auto-immune disease stemmed from the body’s inability to process gluten.  Gluten is a protien found in wheat, barley & rye.  Thankfully, a diet change is all that was needed to make our little girl healthy again!  Within one month on a Gluten-Free diet, Ivy’s symptoms were gone & she had more energy and an overall better disposition than ever before!  Thank you God!  We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr Rossi at Strong Pediatric Gastroenterology for his willingness to treat her for Celiac even with the blood work being inconclusive.  Ivy is now off every medication she was ever on and is thriving!  Thank you God!

In April of this year, Ivy also got her first pair of eyeglasses and in September she began 3rd grade, which meant moving up to “the big school”.  She likes her teacher & has a ton of friends in her class.  She continues to excell in school and dance (where she has been moved up to the older tap, jazz & ballet classes with mostly 6th graders).  Ivy is also in her 2nd year of piano lessons and is looking forward to playing an instrument in school next year.

Mya is 4 1/2 now and attends the universal Pre-K program through the school district.  She goes to school every afternoon (M-F) and rides the bus home with her big sister…such a thrill for her!  She too does very well in school & dance and is a born entertainer.  When she isn’t singing or dancing around the house she’s putting on puppet shows or acting out stories with her dolls.  She finds joy in the simple things, and is generally a very happy little girl.  It’s so hard to believe that our sweet little baby will be off to Kindergarten next fall!!  Oh how time flies…

Christy has been enjoying the opportunity to stay home with the girls for several years now.  She returned to the work force part time by taking on a retail sales position at JC Penney for the holidays where she specializes in Fine Jewelry.  Thankfully that position will end soon and she will be able to spend quality time with the family once again.  Over the summer Christy played softball for 2 teams and as soon as this seasonal job is over, she hopes to return to dancing.  She has stepped down from the MOPS ministry leadership, but continues to be active in Children’s Ministry and Bible study.

Sam’s thankful to still be working for Erie 1 BOCES.  We know how difficult the economy is right now and that steady employment with good benefits is hard to come by.  We are very thankful that he not only HAS a job, but that he works with a great group of people and he enjoys what he does.  Not many (if any) other teams within the BOCES structure get along so well that they even choose to spend their lunch breaks together!  Outside of work, Sam continues to play basketball on Saturday mornings and has joined a Bible study with a great group of men.

In other family happenings, we had the opportunity to go on our first big family vacation since having Mya…in April we traveled to Disney World for a week!  It truly was a magical experience and we hope to make it back there again someday.  And recently, Christy’s sister, Holly, said YES to her long-time boyfriend Doug when he proposed!  All 4 of us are honored & excited to be in the wedding party and we couldn’t be happier for the two of them as they begin their life journey together!!

So that about wraps it up…another year has come & gone.  We pray that the true spirit of Christmas will permate your heart this season and that the year ahead will be filled with God’s greatest blessings.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!



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