Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Family Christmas/New Year's Letter ~ Our Top 10 of 2013

Dear Friends & Family,

Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year! We thought we'd give you the Top 10 Highlights of our year.

1. Jake got the limb lengthening contraptions off his arm last Christmas (because of his Ollier's disease) and we are so thankful to see that his arm has been growing this year! It's truly amazing what medical technology can do!

2. In February we took the next step in building Dad's Disappearing Salsa Co (our new family business)....we built a certified "Salsa Kitchen" at the house! Once we received our permit from the health department, we hit the ground running, selling at all the local festivals, flea markets and shows. In October we launched our full-featured website and began selling wholesale to stores. We are so thankful to see God blessing our efforts and we look forward to seeing what God has in store this next year. We'd love for you to check out our website! www.dadsdisappearingsalsa.com

This is a family business so everyone gets involved! The kids fold, cut and staple the labels on all the packages.  They like to have races to see how fast they can do it!
It was a busy season from June all the way through December. 

3. In April we enjoyed a visit from Steven's parents and together went for an ultrasound to discover we were having a our 7th boy!

4. On May 28th, we welcomed our sweet little Ezra James! He is probably our happiest baby yet, smiling at everyone with his big adorable smile and "happy eyes" as I call them. He is almost 7 months and is already crawling. He makes us all so happy!

Big brother Abel with Ezra
Hanging out in the "Salsa Kitchen" sink

5. My mom came to help out when Ezra was born. Sadly, this was the first home birth (out of 6) that she missed! Ezra actually came before his due date! But we were so happy to have her here with us for a couple weeks. And what a help she was!

6. We had a very busy spring and summer selling Dad's Disappearing Salsa Mix at 2 different evening farmer's markets each week. I took a few weeks off from the farmer's markets after I had the baby, but got to bring Ezra to make his debut appearance at the Clinton Farmer's Market when he was just a week old! 
The boys are getting really good at talking to people about our salsa and making lots of sales!  Here they are at the Livingston Farmer's Market.

7. August was Cousin Camp!  My brother Danny and his wife Jessie and their 4 kids came down for a couple of weeks.  We had a great time together, making lots of fun memories.

Grizzly (left) & Ezra (right) were born just a few days apart.
Everyone loves Uncle Danny!

8. In the fall, Jake and Zack joined the ranks as entrepreneurs, starting their own business "Sticks-N-Stuff", making and selling PVC bows & arrows, blow guns, sling-shots, etc. They did it all on their own, including the upfront investment. They sold at 3 markets, with a booth next to ours at 2 of them, and even one with a booth quite a distance from ours. They did great and were definitely encouraged with such a successful first business venture. We can't wait to see them continue in the spring when the markets start up again.

9. With our attention focused on building our new business and the time investment that requires, we decided it was time to take a break from some aspects of our farm life. With baby goats being born every year, we found ourselves with too many goats who were eating us out of house and home and  not giving us anything in return. In fact, we didn't even have a good milk goat this year.  Do you remember Maybelle who nursed on herself?  You can read that story here. Yeah, she didn't end up giving us any milk.  So, it was time for them to go. Though it was sad, we were glad to be able to give them to a family in our church in exchange for a bunch of free range meat chickens in our freezer. They are now grazing happily on acres of luscious green pasture. Maybe we'll start over with a new milk goat at some point...and definitely get a new flock of chickens here soon. For now, we'll focus on dealing with our 3 remaining chickens who think they are cats! Yes, you can just call us the funny farm!

10. So here we are at the end of our Top 10 and I know you've scrolled down before you read anything else to see if there's a special announcement. Well, there is a baby coming, but it's not ours (heehee). It's the baby Jesus (well, I guess you could say it is ours! He's for all of us!). And this advent is a time to anticipate not only his coming as a baby, but his coming again...as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!!! We can't wait! Are you ready?
(Sorry, this was written as a Christmas letter that morphed into a New Year's letter.  I'm not the only one that does that, right??)

We hope you and your family are doing well. We would love to hear from you, so please leave us a message! May you know God's love and abiding presence this year.

The Mena Family
Steven, Jenny, Jake, Zack, Ben, Sam, Hailey, Jed, Abel & Ezra

This is one of our favorite pictures that my brother took while he was here. He's an amazing photographer! Check him out at www.vasquez.co.

1 comment:

  1. It was fun seeing what your family has been up to! I just found out about the salsa a few weeks ago. Can't wait to try some. And I agree that your brother is a great photographer. We love the pictures he took for us a few years ago. We have a few printed on canvas arranged over our couch. EVERYONE who comes to our house comments on them. We need to have more taken the next time he's in town.