Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!

It's time for the annual Bentrup Christmas letter/blog post/email/whatever because I am too cheap and lazy green and eco-conscious to send out actual cards/post cards. 

Naturally, I am sending it right on Christmas Eve because I like to keep Advent a spiritual time and wait to celebrate Christmas until actual Christmas.  Naturally.  Or possibly it's because I didn't get around to writing it until now and due to a series of unfortunate incidents involving a broken camera and replacement camera and wrong battery and wrong power cord, we were not able to take family pictures until this past Sunday.  Which actually might have turned out to be a rather fortunate event because it was an unusual 75 degrees in December and a kind passerby offered to take our pictures for us, thereby preventing me from working off a few Christmas cookies by running back and forth with the self-timer. 

Merry Christmas From Us.

It was a very windy day.

And, this what we've all been up to this year.


 Ben has had a most exciting year.  In May he graduated from Ave Maria School of Law with his J.D. degree.  It took three years of really hard work, but he has now earned the privilege of tacking two more letters onto his name (in addition to the B.A. and M.A he already had). 

Then in July he took the bar exam in Virginia and in October found out he passed!!  In December he was sworn into the Virginia State Bar, a ceremony that Heidi was pleased to attend with him.  When asked what she had learned there, she said, and I quote, "Lawyers are three times as likely to have drinking problems as other professions."   So, take that for what it's worth.  So far...no drinking problems.  And Ben has even given up drinking Diet Coke (for the most part). 

So, now Ben is licensed to practice law in Virginia.  Keep his number handy should you reside in that state and find yourself in an interrogation room. 

And to celebrate, he got himself a fancy new gangsta fedora.  Quite dapper, isn't it?

If this whole lawyer thing doesn't work out, he's already got the coat and hat for a detective gig. 

Meanwhile, since there were a couple of hungry mouths to feed, he got his Virgina teaching license and landed a job teaching Spanish, French, and Latin to 7th and 8th graders.  We're praying (very, very hard) that he'll find a lawyer job once the school year is over.  Any prayers you want to add to ours would be much appreciated.


Amelia started blogging - on this here blog - quite regularly.  And, miracle of miracles, a few people actually read it.  She has discovered that she quite likes writing after all and has been really enjoying this whole blogging thing.  So, if you haven't read past posts...go back and take a gander at them, should you be so inclined.  In the future, she's hoping to publish a few articles on a few real websites or magazines...so stay tuned for that.  

In the meantime, she is now in her 8th year of La Leche League leadering and her 7th year of homeschooling and amidst all that, trying to find the time to do a minuscule amount of work for CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop (check them out for all your Catholic gifting needs) along with keeping up her home remedies website, my-home-remedies.com .

Amelia is mostly done talking about herself in the third person now. 


Heidi is 11 years old and in sixth grade.  She loves to read, write, cook, draw, play chess, and visit with her friends.  She especially enjoys social activities such as her Little Flowers club and homeschool co-op.  She is like a second mom to her baby sister Elsa, and much to her mother's delight, can actually sing her to sleep.  Her favorite subjects are English, history and Latin.  She does not enjoy math nor sweeping the floor, although she begrudgingly does both. 

This year, Heidi played in a few chess tournaments, dispatched several high school students, and even won a trophy and a medal.


Greta is nine years old and in third grade.  She loves to read, write, draw, play chess, play dolls, play dollhouse, and play with her friends.  Her creativity produces lots of interesting stories and projects.  She enjoys Little Flowers club, homeschool co-op, and any other social activities we do.  She is a second teacher to John and loves helping him with his reading and math.  She always assigns him little math tests,  even though she hates math herself.  Her favorite subjects are history, English and geography. 

Greta also likes chess tournaments and even won a medal at the last one for having a winning record.


John is 5 years old and in Kindergarten.  Unlike the rest of the family, he loves math.  He also enjoys learning how to read and likes doing his schoolwork.  He is begging to do school during Christmas break.  His teacher is less than enthusiastic about this proposition although she is quite happy that he loves school so much. 

John's favorite things are (and I quote) "playing chess, playing on the computer, playing on the kindle, playing with Greta, saying the word "cow" and playing stuffed animals." 

We do not know why he likes this bovine vernacular so much...we figure it is some sort of annoying 5-year-old boy thing.  Or it may have something to do with his mother's master's degree in the reproductive physiology of the dairy cow.  Bovine lovers unite!

John is quite the talented chess player and is now the highest rated in the family (except Dad).  He also has won a trophy and medal at chess tournaments and can't wait to play in more tournaments in the future.



Elsa is 15 months old and wild as can be.  She has amazing fine motor skills and loves to put her artist's mark on everything: books, paper, walls, and her legs constitute some of her favorite canvases.  Her dearest wish in life is to be "big" and do whatever everyone else is doing.  Whether that entails running around, doing school, eating with sharp utensils, climbing high places, or scooping cat litter, she always strives to be right in the middle of the action.  She loves nursing, ice cream and picking out her own clothes (yes, at the tender age of only 15 months).  She does not like sleeping.

In other news, at the end of May, we were very, very sad to leave all the wonderful friends we made in Naples.  We summered in Rhode Island (just like the Vanderbuilts) and then at the end of August we moved to Virginia, where we now reside and plan to for both the foreseeable and non-foreseeable future.

Grandpa Nugent was heartbroken that we took our cat, William (whom they had been watching for the last three years), back to Virginia with us.  Heidi also acquired a guinea pig (named Pippin) as her very own pet this year. 

In another very surprising move, Amelia's parents picked up and moved all the way from Rhode Island to Indiana at the end of September....so no more summering in Rhode Island for the Bentrups. 

We are very pleased that in 2014 our family will be expanding.  No, not THAT way (at least not yet anyway).  At the end of May, Amelia's little brother, Michael, will be marrying a wonderful woman.  We are so happy and excited to welcome Bethany into the family!! 

On December 30th, Amelia and Ben will celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary. 

This year, thanks to a unique opportunity to hold two family members hostage unless they agree to provide a night of free babysitting (you know who you are, consider this your only warning), they are hoping to actually go out on a rare date to celebrate their anniversary.

Mommy, Mommy let me in. 
It's been a wild and crazy 13 years and an especially wild and crazy 2013.  Who knows what 2014 will bring?  Lots of love and laughter, I'm sure, and probably a few tears as well.

Tears and laughter shown here.

We wish all our friends and family a very, very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

May the Peace of Christ reign in your home this year, and may you all have a Blessed and Happy 2014.  If we haven't heard from you lately, please drop us a line we'd love to know what you've all been up to!

Amelia, Ben, Heidi, Greta, John, and Elsa. 
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1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas! http://www.iris-hanlin.com (Country Girl's Daybook)


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