Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The never-mailed Christmas Letter

A Christmas Letter from the Stewarts
International Cheese Curling Champions 2010

by Alysa Stewart

Jacob continues his graduate studies in Physical Chemistry. He hopes someday to become a professor of Chemistry. Don't be surprised when he doesn't end up teaching at Berkeley – he would rather teach than have to worry about producing amazing research results. 

This is the part where I try to make Jacob's current research sound exciting, dangerous and kind of understandable: Usually Jacob and Brian are trying to get their tiny oven to reach 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. Or perhaps they're aligning the laser which is smaller than a toothpick (no smoke, all mirrors), or refilling the liquid nitrogen which could freeze your hand off, or tinkering with the pumps (which required an addition to be constructed on the building). Once this is all set up, they heat Buckminsterfullerene in the oven, cool it with the pump, shoot the laser (which is kept cool by the liquid nitrogen) through it, and analyze the graph that comes out of their spectrometer. The molecule costs $20/gram, and one gram only lasts an hour in the oven. They've never seen the lines it is supposed to be making on the graph, so they plan to test pyrene (which can cause cancer and birth defects) next.

Jacob also spent the year serving in the church. He worked with cub scouts until this summer when he was called as ward mission leader. He enjoys helping the missionaries teach the gospel and working with new members of the church. He also enjoys popcorn, books by Brandon Sanderson, and tickling the boys.

I spent the majority of the year pregnant. I volunteered at the library, delivering books to homebound women, until the belly got too big, the books got too heavy, and Benjamin got too rambunctious (read: kept ditching his pregnant mommy with a stroller full of books and running through nursing home hallways, attempting to board elevators unchaperoned). I served in the Stake Young Women's presidency (helping organize youth dances and meetings, and training youth leaders) until August. Recently I was called as the ward Relief Society meeting coordinator, and will help organize meetings and events for the women in the ward. I've kept busy the past few months as a judge for the Cybils (Bloggers' choice children's literature award). And of course, in the day-to-day, two little guys keep me scrambling to make sure everyone is dressed and fed properly.

Benjamin is two-and-a-half and finishing up his first year in nursery. He especially loves music time with Brother Miyasaki. He enjoyed being in Kindermusik (taught by mom) at the beginning of the year, and often pulls out instruments to play. This year he has participated in a grammar study at the U of I and loves going to play (on camera) in their lab. It is amazing how much he has learned to say. He is working on potty training, and can be relied upon to wake his parents up with a smile in the morning. He loves to webcam with relatives.

Levi was born on September 7. He has already flown through boxes of Benjamin's hand-me-downs, and almost rolled over several times. His signature move is the ab crunch. He sleeps like a dream, but took his time learning to nurse properly. It is easy to see he loves being part of the family, and it is apparent that he inherited the sensitive skin genes. 

Merry Christmas!  Remember how Jesus Christ was born? And lived? And died?  Well he was resurrected, too! And he's coming back again soon!  We can't help but smile as we celebrate his birth. 

Thank you for caring about our family.  Best wishes for the New Year!


Cami said...

Cute post. You definitely made Jacob's work sound exciting (good writing on your part...) It sounds like your family is doing great! Congrats on the new addition :)

Annaliese said...

Hi discovered Brandon Sanderson this year too. Possibly my new favorite author.

That's cool you volunteered at the library. And that you had an awesome baby and all! Miss you guys!

Helen Macfarlane said...

Happy New Year to you and your ADORABLE family!

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

LOVED the christmas letter! It's fun to hear your year in recap.