Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Greetings with a few Puzzles

Merry Christmas to all our beloved friends and family members.  It is time for your annual Bentrup Christmas letter.

Like all years, this year saw the good and the not-so-good, but all days were a gift.  

Some of the highlights of this year. 

Ben started his own law firm.  Unfortunately, business has been a bit slow so things are still not great financially.  In addition to his law firm, he is still job searching and substitute teaching.  Most of the bad moments of the year relate to the frustration surrounding issues of job searching and underemployment.  In many ways the past couple of years have felt like a perpetual Advent of waiting, waiting, waiting.  However, unlike the real Advent, we don't have an end date in sight . . . so we wait.

Meanwhile, other stuff has happened. 

In January, after months of tests and MRIs and even a biopsy....Heidi was diagnosed with a bone infection in her back.  Thankfully, 2 months of antibiotics cleared it up.  Not-thankfully, however, she seems to have developed new allergies from the antibiotics and figuring those out has been a challenge.

On a positive note, however, Heidi is in 8th grade and getting all A's in school.   She's been first in her class since the 1st grade (not that being homeschooled has anything to do with being 1st in the class or anything).  

She's also been exploring the arts, and in August acted a part in the play Cheaper by the Dozen.  She also continues to do well with the piano. Still, her favorite activity is social time with friends.  

Greta is well....Greta.  

She has personality and a flair for the dramatic.  She also played a role in Cheaper by the Dozen, has written pages and pages and pages of stories and even started writing her own songs on the piano.  In October, she made her debut as a public storyteller and told stories at my mom's Franciscian Fest.  She's thinking about hiring herself out for birthday parties. 

Greta also continues to play chess and has even won a few trophies. 

However, her latest aspiration is to write test questions for the LSAT and she has been having great fun writing logic puzzles for us all to solve.  She even wrote some just for YOU.  Have fun solving them. 

John's year can be summed up in one word: chess. In May, we traveled down to Nashville and John tied for 3rd place (12th in tie-breaks) in the National Elementary Chess Championships in the K1 section.

In January, he got third place in the Indiana K-3 State Championships.

In November, he got first place in the Indiana 2nd Grade Chess Championship.

At the tender age of 7, his chess rating is now 1380 - not too shabby!  That puts him at around #22 in the nation for kids under age 8. He's done almost all his own training.  This year John also became a fluent reader and ardent disliker of schoolwork. the age of 3, has started rivaling Greta for most words said in a day.   For example, she just now gave me a rather long, drawn out explanation about "When you go to the bathroom, first you lift up your dress like this, then you go to the bathroom.  That's how you do it, you lift up your dress FIRST so you don't get it wet."   I figured I would share, just in case anyone wasn't aware of this very important tidbit of information. 

Here she is, taking her rightful place as Queen of the World.

Elsa loves dolls, dress-up, playing with friends and playing with babies. 

Here she is tandem baby-wearing her two babies..appropriately named "Big Head" and "Little Head". 

In other kid news.....the older ones all joined 4-H this year and had a somewhat successful first year. 

In May, we bought a house....a somewhat bigger, older house near the heart of town.  This was a good thing, because it meant we could move out of our old, haunted, way too small house. 

Haunted by an orthographically-challenged ghost.
In September our beloved cat, William, died. 

In October, we got George (apparently we have a thing for Bristish royalty).  George is a Corgidor, which just means he's part Lab and part Corgi...but obviously mostly Lab. 

With the exception of his not-so-infrequent thievery of food, he is a wonderful dog and we couldn't be happier with him. Together, we've put lots of miles on my sneakers pounding the pavement of the lovely older neighborhood we live in.

Yesterday, Ben said he thought he heard mice.  There are only two possible solutions to this problem: the first is to move, the second is to get a cat.  We decided to go with the cat route.

Meet Zorro!  He's four months old.  He looks brown in this picture, but he's actually all black. 

He's brand new to the household but is doing really well so far.  Thankfully he and George seem to get along just fine.

This summer, Amelia decided that homeschooling wasn't hard enough, so she started working at home with Leapforce.  And, then that wasn't enough of a challenge, so she decided to make things even more complicated in the fall and  babysit a sweet infant 4-days a week, all day.  That has now ended, so there may be more time for blogging in the future. Don't drop this blog from your reader just yet. 

We hope all our family and friends have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year's.  We'll leave you with the cliffhanger that is 2016.  What will that year bring for the Bentrups?  Stay tuned to find out.  And keep reading for Greta's logic puzzles.

Greta's logic puzzles:

Easy Puzzle:

Katy, Jim,  Nancy and Nate are all children.  Their mom's names are Anna, Belle, Cassidy and Claire.  Use the clues below to match each child with his or her mom. 

Anna's daughter is friends with Nancy
Belle's son is Nate's friend.
Claire hates N names. 

Hard Puzzle: 

From the clues, match each child with their Christmas gift.  The children are Gloria, Cassidy, Jack, Ellie, Danny and Billy.  The gifts are a doll, train, legos, DVD movie, skateboard, and soccer ball.  Each child recieved a toy that they liked.

Billy thinks that anything used outdoors is dumb. 
The girl with the soccer ball is friends with the boy with the skateboard.
Danny's gift does not require any effort and is not used outdoors.
Gloria and Ellie hate sports.
None of the girls are lazy enough to watch movies.
Danny hates trains and dolls and doesn't have a DVD player. 
Ellie thinks trains are for boys and doesn't like them

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