For many years, I’ve written an annual Christmas letter.  I’ve always wanted to put them in a scrapbook with that year’s “official” family photo as well as all the candid shots from Christmas.
Yeah – that hasn’t happened yet.

But I’m making progress.  Here are several of our annual Christmas letters and photos.  I’m still missing chunks of time . . . but I know those letters are stored in a Ziploc bag, in a shoebox, shoved under a piece of furniture, SOMEWHERE in this house! 

If you happen to have a “hard copy” of one of the missing years, I’d be so grateful if you’d scan and send it to me!

1996

(the letter that started it all)

‘Twas the beginning of ’96 and all through the house
Books on baby  names were all strewn about
We had chosen a girl name with loving care
But ideas on boys names we did not share.

At night as I lay nestled all snug in my bed
visions of our little one danced in my head
Would she be perfect? As perfect can be?
Would she look more like Mark or more like me?

We had so long to wait until mid-July
So while we were waiting we went on with our lives . . .

In April a tornado struck my parents home
so off to Van Buren the hubby did roam
he left his job, but didn’t feel a loss
He fulfilled the dream of being his own boss.

He is now a business owner and the business is doing well
Mom and Dad’s home was rebuilt, sold and they are both swell.

I continued working with kids for the state
Up until the month before my due date.
July finally rolled around and on a Monday morn
our little angel – Grace Elizabeth was born.

Now everywhere we go Gracie causes a sensation
And we’ve got to admit- parenthood has exceeded all our expectations.

I loved being home with little baby Grace,
But after twelve week,s the real world I had to face.
So back to work I went, but only half time
and comfortable knowing that that precious baby of mine
is safe from all danger and every type of harm
lovingly cared for in her grandparents arms.

We cherish our daughter every minute of every day
But now that its Christmas, I’d just like to say . . .
We should all be thankful for the gifts we’ve been given
and give all thanks and praise to our Father in Heaven
For it is the gift of His Holy Son
That we should keep in our hearts after Christmas is done.

Have a blessed holiday season!

With love – The Dildays
Mark, Jody and Grace Elizabeth

1997

Happy holidays from us to you – and best wishes too for the year that is new.
How to describe the year just passed? A year of FIRSTS that went by too fast!
We rang in the new year with friends so glad to wish “Happy 25th” to my mom and dad.
The calendar in May marked a day not to miss – our FIRST HALF DECADE of wedded bliss.

Soon Mark was off on a 10 day trek – all the way to Canada and back.
He & Wally & Steve & Dave had the trip of a lifetime about which they still rave.
Besides a cold, Mark caught fish galore – and a 13 pound Northern – who could ask for more?

As Gracie grew our house seemed to shrink – ” time to move,” we did think.
We found the dream that we could afford. Square feet, baths and bedrooms – it had more.
So now we are settled in our FIRST NEW HOME and Gracie finally has room to roam.

Soon it was June and so we did take – our first family vacation with little Grace.
We began in Sioux Falls – Cousin Heather’s wedding provided another FIRST…
GRACIE A FLOWER GIRL. I thought I would burst.
Then on to the lake FIRST TIME Gracie would go. We enjoyed our stay, although the temp was too low!
Our time there was spent getting to know – cousins Kristin and Sara – last seen long ago.
At last meeting, just girls…now grown into teens – they kept us entertained with their giggles and screams.

The trip home included a lengthy detour – one we wish we had missed for sure.
It was on a long stretch of Iowa interstate that the three of us met our fate.
Mom and Dad were traveling just ahead. What Dad saw in his mirror must have filled him with dread.
Right in our path a deer did bound – hitting our windshield and roof before hitting the ground.
Gracie was started but thankfully unharmed – and soon she was comforted in her grandmother’s arms.
Mark and I in the front were covered with glass – but The Lord kept us safe as a semi flew past.
Next a RIDE IN THE AMBULANCE – for me another FIRST! Twelve stitches in my face…
Oh well! It could’ve been worse!

In July we managed to keep cool – celebrating Gracie’s FIRST BIRTHDAY around the grandparents’ pool.
Later that month we got news like no other – this spring Gracie will have her FIRST SISTER OR BROTHER!

Now the holidays are upon us – yet too soon they’ll be gone.
BUT THE GIFT OF OUR SAVIOR LIVES ON AND ON…

Have a Blessed Christmas!
With love – the Dilday’s
Mark, Jody and Grace Elizabeth

1998

Season’s Greetings to our family and friends,

Once again Christmas is drawing near, and recently a friend of ours made it clear
That he found xeroxed letters to be full of tack – but I hope y’all like them…because I send quite a stack!

We began ’98 as a family of three. But but by spring we’d added a branch to our family tree.
Due in March – but he came four days late. Ethan decided he’d make us all wait.
On April 2nd he made his debut – and suddenly we were the parents of TWO!!!
He’s such a good baby – so easy to please. Even so Mark says “No baby three.” (We’ll see!)

Gracie sure loves her new little brother. And I adore my job as a stay at home mother.
Lucky am I to spend quiet moments each day with my two little angels as they giggle and play.
Most days show me challenges, we run at a hectic pace. Still I cherish this time for they think growing up is a race!

Gracie has already left baby days behind and now has the skills to tell us EXACTLY what’s on her mind!
“I’m the big sister,” Gracie proudly proclaims as she comes up with cute sayings and funny nicknames.
“big boy,” “big fella,” and “hey you little mister” are just some of what Ethan hears from his silly big sister.

In July Gracie turned the big number TWO. And by fall we decided – a vacation we’re due!
Mark asked, “Honey, where shall I take ya?” So in October we headed off to the island of Jamaica.
The beaches, the weather, like out of a dream. I even managed to be crowned the. “Beer drinking queen!”
A week in paradise – it went by too fast. But I’m sure our 1st tropical vacation won’t be our last!

Mark continues with his own construction company. A small business owner he now claims to be.
So much goes into being a success: workman’s comp, insurance, and TAXeS no less!
I’m proud of him and all he has achieved. It’s no small thing to make your dream a reality!

As for me, I’ve finally found my niche. Once I realized social work wouldn’t make us rich!
I’ve left those days of “on-call” behind and made Pampered Chef the career I can call mine.
With more time to devote- I put kitchen shows in motion. By January 1st I’ll have my first big promotion.

Amidst all the hustle, the shopping, the baking; remember too some time to be taking.
Quietly sit and reflect when you’re able, on the little Christ Child who was born in the stable.
He’s the greatest gift the world has ever been given. Glory be to our God in Heaven!!!
Have a blessed holiday season!!!
With love, the Dildays
Mark, Jody, Graciebeth and Ethan

Christmas 1999

T’was the 1st of December, so down I did sit,
not to read or to relax or to crochet or to knit
But to tackle a project that looms larger each year,
my annual letter to bring Christmas cheer.
So out came the calendar of the year ninety-nine.
A reminder of how we spent a year’s worth of time.
Seems each year gets busier, we’re always on the go-
maybe a New Resolution should be to take life more slow!

We rang in the New Year at “Fayetteville First Night” –
a celebration that fits our young family just right.
The evening included fun for people of all ages –
a parade, music, and dancing on many different stages.
An alcohol-free party, so no drunk drivers to fear –
we had so much fun we’re going again this year!

And speaking of fun, there was more to be had
on a trip to New Orleans – (Mom went without Dad!)
A Pampered Chef incentive trip in the town called “Big Easy” –
Cajun food and the French Quarter for 5 days kept me busy.

When spring arrived we picked up our pace –
having company at our house became commonplace.
Near the end of March our first visitors arrived –
family from SD came to celebrate Ethan’s first year of life.
“Springfest” – a fun Fayetteville tradition brought more company,
we enjoyed the festivities with good friends the Nesjes.
There were various performers and crafters along the way,
but the Bed Races on Dickson Street are always the highlight of the day.
Though the weekend flew by, we’re thankful just the same,
memories made with TRUE friends are precious. We’re so glad they came!

In May mark made his second trip way up North –
and spent time fishing with friends at Oak Island Resort.
No records were broken, but good times were had.
No fish to mount on the wall – and for that I’m secretly GLAD!
While Daddy was in Canada, the rest of us played.
With Grandma Johnson in Sioux Falls the three of us stayed.
Gracie made fast friends with the three kids next door –
Grandma took us to the Zoo and the Ramkota – who could ask for more?

In July our Gracie turned a whopping THREE.
Wasn’t she born yesterday? How could this be?
The tradition has been set- in July we need to stay cool,
so Gracie’s party takes place around Grandma’s pool
Mommy had planned a clown shaped cake,
but when Gracie saw Barbie-
well, that’s what I baked!

Later in July we were back at Grandma J’s. Mark went to work but I went to play!
He spent long hours shingling the roof. Now it’s all fixed – no more leaks is the proof!
The weekend included a reunion of the class of ’89.
Next time we meet with be Two Thousand and Nine!
The Sioux Falls Brew Pub was our gathering place
and everywhere I looked I saw another familiar face!
The reunion qualified as an overwhelming success!
We golfed and we danced, but the “Brewery Bash” was the best!

A tough decision made August full of stress I’d say.
With his business, we decided, Mark just could not stay.
So he has returned to Nabholz, a company with a strong history and future.
A difficult, but good decision of which we are sure.

In September my good friend Joanna was married at last.
I was honored to be included and we had a blast.
The rest of the fall we’ve been busy as can be.
Gracie’s in gymnastics and Sunday School now that she’s three.
It’s difficult to coordinate all of these things –
but we enjoy our involvements and the pride which they bring.

And speaking of PRIDE -how ’bout them HOGS? Did you see us beat those #2 Vols?
Ethan is already a true Razorback fan,
he cheers and yells GO HOGS just as loud as he can!
Which brings me at last, to the point of this letter.
At Christmas, the timing just couldn’t be better.
We wish you the best that 2000 can bring and rejoice in the Birth of our Heavenly King!

Have a Blessed holiday season!
Much love, The Dildays – Mark, Jody, Grace and Ethan

2001

It’s that time of year again, How can it be?
here in Arkansas the temperature is till 73!
Regardless of the weather, in my estimation
Christmas couldn’t come quick enough for our grieving nation.
Our young country has experienced hard times before,
but we’ve never ALL longed for “Peace on Earth” more.

World events aside- what a wonderful year we had!
We now have THREE little people who call us Mom and Dad
Little Genna Bev (named for Grandma J) Made a miraculous arrival on a hot July day.
Now that the hormone level at the Dilday’s made a shift
Ethan in fondly known as the “Peanut Butter in the sandwich!”

With coal black hair and her little “Genna winker” smile
Genna affects all of us in her own sweet style.
Gracie loves her role of being the big sis.
And Ethan love having someone always ready to “watch this!”
Daddy loves having another kiddo in pint size
And Mommy loves finally having a baby with BROWN EYES!

Gracie is now five years old and she started school.
Mr. Conrad is her teacher and he is “way cool.”
Best friends and classmates are Landie and Paige.
Chasing boys at recess is all the latest rage.
After school we have fun in our Daisies Troop.
(It’s Girl Scouts for Kindergartners if you’re feeling out of the loop!)

Ethan like to hang out at home with Mom and baby sis
While Gracie’s off all day at school the toys are all HIS!
On Tuesday mornings we pack our lunch and head off to Kids’ Day
It’s a Christian preschool program where Ethan loves to learn and play.
His buddy Jonah is in his class and that makes it fun.
Its also a day when Mommy can get some things done!

In his career with Nabholz, Mark has made great strides,
Promoted to Superintendent, we wears his new hard hat with pride!
On his first solo project, a new bank was in the plans.
Completed ON TIME and UNDER BUDGET! Hey Mark, YOU THE MAN!
Finally he has been recognized for his talent and skills.
Realizing a goal is one of life’s greatest thrills.

Before the baby, I managed to reach two goals with Pampered Chef.
One was an award for recruiting, in the company, I was among the best.
The other, a vacation – all inclusive – a trip for two.
Mark and I enjoyed our time at the Moon Palace in Cancun.
Although I’ve slowed the Pampered Chef is still a big part of my life.
It allows me first to be a mother and a wife.

And now, more than ever, I value time with family.
Mark, Gracie, Ethan and Genna are my TOP priority.
The holidays will be difficult for many families this year.
So many of them are missing the ones that they hold dear.
Many gone forever, missing since 9-11.
Others off defending freedom in planes with bombs and guns.
Please remember those families when you bow your head to pray.
How I wish the PEACE of Christmas could come, this time, to STAY.

Have a Blessed Holiday Season and PEACE in the New Year.
With love, The Dildays
Mark & Jody, Gracie Beth, Ethan and Genna Bev

Christmas 2003

An update of this Dilday crew is not an easy thing to do
When one does it time after time in such a silly attempt to RHYME!
But here it goes anyhow . . . A glimpse into what we are up to now.

Genna is in the throes of the terrible twos
But “spirited child” is the term that Mommy prefers to use.
She’s definitely a Daddy’s Girl but she has her mommy’s traits
I’m sure no one will be surprised when she takes up DEBATE!

Ethan takes after Mark – laid back, quiet and cool.
He’s learning to be more social now since he has started school.
This fall he enjoyed playing on a soccer team for the very first time.
When he wasn’t doing the MACARENA down the field he played just fine!

As Gracie grows her list of activities do too:
Piano, Brownies and Shepherd Kids are just some of the things she likes to do.
She truly is a “girlie girl”. Makeup is one of her favorite toys.
Oh how her parents dread the day when she starts to notice BOYS!

Work is much the same for Mark. A new hobby is jig saw puzzles.
Late at night he works on them while pots of coffee he GUZZLES!
Three are done so far and we have plans to glue them all
Then use them much like wallpaper to cover the laundry room wall.

The biggest change for the Dildays this year is Mommy’s new position
A full-time job with the American Red Cross forced us all to make a transition.
We’ve all adjusted to our new routines, alas – there’s nothing to fear
Just keep your fingers crossed for me, I’m supposed to raise $300,000 this year!

May you be surrounded this Christmas with those that you love
May you know the PEACE of Salvation sent from our Father above
may your Christmas celebrations be filled with merriment and mirth
And may we all finally know PEACE on EARTH!

Much love from The Dildays
Mark, Jody, Gracie, Ethan and Genna

Christmas 2004Dilday Christmas 2004

As I write we are driving through Arkansas, all five of us in the van.
Instead of sugar plums dancing in my head, I’m seeing sardines in a can.
Our annual tradition involves a trip to Stuttgart in November.
Last year we skipped the holidays – quarantined with illness through December.
But by January with health restored, we embarked on another year.
One house, 3 kids, and 2 careers kept the Dildays in high gear.

In March I burned the midnight oil directing my first campaign.
Seventy-eight thousand dollars was the result, so I guess I can’t complain.
Mark finally finished the “quad” which took two long years to complete.
Now a dental office in Pinnacle Hills gives him new challenges to meet.

When the school year ended and summer began…
We hired a new nanny – and this time it was a MAN!
Mister Travis watched the kids throughout June and July.
Then cousin Josh from Sioux Falls came down and decided to give it a try.
Having Josh live with us was both a lifesaver and a pleasure.
Our time spent with this awesome young man is time we will always treasure.

A visit from friends Laura and Royal was a summer highlight we had planned.
But flood waters and Red Cross duties arose and the vacation time was canned.
But Laura and Royal hung in there – what else could they do?
They made us realize that true friends are far between and few.

The new school year brought about a change in Genna’s day,
With Grandma now at home full time, they have more time to play!
Now Gen and Gram are making memories and sharing quality time.
Tuesdays are spent making “Love Bears” before they venture out to dine.

Ethan is now in the first grade, his sweet disposition still makes us proud.
On the soccer field and playing video games are the two times he gets really loud.
His latest adventure involves the Tigers, a young version of Boy Scouts.
His dad is the official “Den Mother” which means this mother is happily left out!

Now 8 years old and in 3rd grade, our Gracie is one of a kind.
It seems with every new venture a hidden talent she manages to find.
Her parents encourage her to practice piano – much to her dismay!
Yet when it is time for her to perform, she BEAMS as she plays.
Brownie meetings and campouts are regular activities.
And in church she performs with the team of Creative Ministry.

This year’s hurricane season was one that was like no other.
During times of disaster it is hard to be both a Red Crosser and a mother.
Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne called me to Florida and Alabam.
I worked out of Chapters in Daytona Beach as well as Birmingham.
All the while Mark carried the load, taking care of kids 1,2 and 3.
I know there is no working mother out there who is as fortunate as me!

To show my love and my thanks I enrolled his “second cousin” Gertie Mae.
She and many special guests helped us surprise him on his 40th birthday.

As we leave 2004 behind, be assured of what’s in store.
A lowly manger and a Savior’s birth fulfilled the promise of our Lord.
The tiny babe became the perfect Man. His brutal death fulfilled the perfect plan.
He came to earth a gift to give.  He sacrificed His life so that we all could LIVE.

REJOICE! PEACE!

With love from the Dildays
Mark, Jody, Gracie, Ethan and Genna

DILDAY CHRISTMAS 2005
(the one where we look like a Disney sitcom family)Dilday Christmas 2005

As I sit down to tell you about our family this year,
the overwhelming task starts to cause me much fear.
It seemed much easier during another time,
to tell you our story and make it all rhyme.
But alas, our 3 kiddos provide all the inspiration I need,
I just hope the rhyming makes it interesting to read!

Miss Genna, the baby, makes quite a fuss.
No longer a toddler, but a PRESCHOOLER she reminds us.
She’s secure in her role as the youngest child.
She’s spirited and sassy, definitely NOT mannered mild!
She’s got a mind of her own and uses it well.
She’s learning about phonics and learning to spell.
From 8-5 she hangs out at Living Faith Preschool.
Her 4-year-old status makes her cooler than cool.

Next year she’ll attend Root with her brother and sis.
That’s one more milestone Mom can check off the list.
It’s hard to believe how the years have flown by. Soon we’ll kiss daycare bills goodbye!

 Ethan is 7 and in grade 2.
Soccer, football and Boy Scouts are some things he likes to do.
Piano lessons are a new venture this year.
His first recital last month caused him no stage fear.
Consumer Science is the focus of his GT classes.
In it they study which products have the most appeal to the masses.
Ethan loves counting and measuring…any kind of math.
Perhaps he’ll follow his Godfather Josh’s career path?!?

 Gracie, now 9, has had quite a year.
She’s rubbed elbows with celebrities both far and near.
In June it was Extreme Makeover’s very own Ty.
Mom and Gracie agree….he’s quite a cutie-pie!
Then in October with stage lights aglow,
she met Ashlee Simpson at a benefit show.
Gracie sings in her school choir and acts in a few plays.
If she’d practice piano she’d be a star someday!

 At this time last year I was leaving Red Cross.
But after only 3 months I was completely lost.
In March I went back and returned to my passion,
along the way I learned a valuable lesson:
success is not measured in dollars and cents,
but whether you feel your work has significance.
Hurricane season wore me out from August through November.
And “Runnin’ from Rita” is an experience I’ll always remember.
My friend Dalinda and I spent 23 hours on a Texas interstate,
where we worried and prayed and grew in our faith.
We finally reached Waco and were able to rest, thanks for your hospitality,
Bill, you’re the BEST!

He’s simply the best husband a wife ever had.
He even does laundry, which makes me so glad!
But it’s his role as a daddy that sets him apart.
And his love for our kids still captures my heart.
Nabholz continues to show their confidence in Mark.
They’re giving him another opportunity where he can leave his mark.
They’re starting a new division in the company and it needs to be led.
So Mark has been named Nabholz’ Concrete Division Head.
Concrete is his “thing” I guess I should mention.
Plus they’re sending him to Las Vegas for the World of Concrete Convention!

 I’m sure I’ll have more updates to give you next year.
In the meantime we send Christmas greetings and holiday cheer!

 9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 9-11

Much Love from the Dildays

Mark, Jody, Gracie, Ethan & Genna

Dilday Christmas 2006

This year I’ll try to keep the poem short and sweet
‘Cause after all this is another deadline I must meet.
So here is a glimpse of a “year in the life”
From the perspective of a busy mom and wife.

A summer road trip to the Black Hills and back
Included a visit to friends Jonah and Jack.
The purpose of the trip – the wedding “of the century”
At last Uncle Scott married Aunt Deb – Can you say “FINALLY?!?”

In SD we took in the sites along the way
Like Custer and Crazy Horse and the Needles Highway.
The Cosmos and the Badlands were pretty cool too
But the highlight, of course, was the Mt. Rushmore view.

The fall of ‘06 marked a new Dilday phase
When Genna joined Grace and Ethan in the back-to-school craze.
Kindergarten here we go! Our little girl continues to grow…
Just last month she lost her two front teeth
The tooth fairy will certainly be busy in coming weeks.

Ethan’s favorite pastime is Playstation 2
Thank goodness piano and Cub Scouts provide him with other things to do.
Star Wars movies are this 8-year-old’s current fascination.
Directing Sci-Fi movies, Ethan will tell you, is his career aspiration.

Gracie – at age 10 – fit’s the definition of a “tween.
”She enjoys puppies, singing, and email…and everything in between.
This year she is performing with the Children’s Choir at the U of A.
She didn’t inherit her mother’s voice – I guess it’s safe to say!

 A couple of other “biggies” that are worth an honorable mention:
A new puppy named Calvin now rivals Dixie for attention.
Our Hogs went 10- 3 this year and they’ll pay Orlando a visit.
We can’t seem to get enough of RENT or the soundtrack that goes with it.

As for Mark and I…at times it seems we are just along for the ride.
We agree that parenting these three amazing kids is an endless source of pride.
With meaningful work for our hands to do and the fortune of good health,
We realize that we are truly blessed with immeasurable wealth.

 We wish the same for you and yours at Christmas and throughout the year.
May the good news of the Savior’s birth bring you PEACE, LOVE and GOOD CHEER!

 Much love from the Dildays
Mark, Jody, Gracie, Ethan and Genna

CHRISTMAS 2007

Another year is quickly ending so with this Christmas note we’re sending
A peek into the Dilday 5 and our BUSY, BUSY, BUSY lives!

The latest news is a family addition -a pup in keeping with our “Shepherd Tradition”
Frauline Daisy Katarina’s the name -Filling the shoes of Sam is her aim.

Genna is 6 and loves 1st grade
Sophie and Grier are her favorite playmates
She loves animals – yes! – it is true
So she is right at home in this DILDAY ZOO!

This year Ethan has become quite a witty boy.
His sense of humor and his smiles bring us endless joy.
Along with video games and all things Sci-Fi
Basketball is a sport that he is giving a try.

Gracie’s status has changed. Oh yeah! She’s COOL!
She’s now a Mustang at McNair Middle School.
Quite the social creature with no shortage of friends
Seems the email and phone calls will never end!

This year Mark had two big anniversaries
Fifteen years married – to me and to his company!
Thank goodness at work Mark is rock steady
‘Cuz I’m on my 4th career already!

Social work, sales, and then Red Cross
At last I landed a job where I am the boss!
Chasing disasters made me a wreck
Life’s much calmer as a non-profit exec!

Mark and I are becoming masters at tag-team parenting
And though exhausting, we know there’s nothing more rewarding
So we try to savor each moment and make it last
Because we know these days will fly by too fast!

And all too soon the Christmas season will end
So we wish this wish for our family and friends
“Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year!”

Christmas 2008

Dilday Christmas 2008 – A Haiku

A welcome “snow day”
God’s little way of saying
“Write poem already!”

Grace Elizabeth
Cotillion, texting, Twilight
Life in 7th grade.

Ten-year-old Ethan
Karate lessons working.
Has straight A’s this year.

Genna Beverly
Attached at hip with Sophie.
Endless sleepovers.

Then there’s us . . .parents.
No better title to hold.
We are beyond blessed.

Baby in manger.
God’s little way of saying,
“I love you THIS MUCH!”

Dilday Christmas 2009


Dilday Christmas 2010

Dilday Christmas Letter Quiz 2010

You may remember we ditched the rhyming Christmas letter concept last year for a fill-in-the blank version.  Well, let’s see how well you paid attention and/or how much you know (or can guess) about the Dildays this year.

1.  On an average night at the Dilday house you’d find us a) playing a lively game of charades b) discussing Einstein’s theory of relativity c) reciting our favorite lines of poetry or d) watching all six seasons of LOST on Netflix.  ANSWER?  D.  It took us six years to catch up with the rest of America, but eventually we all got sucked in by this pop culture phenomena.  Especially Genna — who helped us all keep the storyline straight.

2.  We got a wild hair and took a last minute Spring Break trip a) to visit Graceland in Memphis, TN b) snow skiing in Keystone, CO, c) to the beach in Destin, FL, or d) backpacking through Europe.  ANSWER? A.  Other places we visited in Memphis included the National Civil Rights Museum, the Pink Palace, the Memphis Zoo and the Commissary in Germantown, TN — where the food is “So good you’ll slap your mama!”   But we are totally up for vacations in all the other places– so call us if you’re going there!

3.  Which of the following is true of 14 year old Gracie? a) at 5″ 10″ she stands a full inch and a half taller than her mom!  b) she’s sporting a “tin grin” for the next  18 months.  c) after a very successful volleyball season at school, her off season “club” team will play tournaments in the three state region through April  ANSWER?  All of the above!    I’m a little jealous of her height, it certainly does come in handy at the net!  Who knew we could become such rabid volleyball fans?!?

4.   In a surprise move, 12 year-old Ethan a) plays blindside flanker for his middle school rugby team b) joined the Justin Bieber fan club c) gave up video games for Lent, d) tap danced at the school talent show.  ANSWER?  Trick question!  NONE OF THE ABOVE.  Ethan’s favorite past time, by far, remains playing video games.  However, we’re all about “Life Balance” around here, so he also enjoys taking Kempo Karate twice a week, plays trombone in his school band and loves to attend K-Life and Logos.  He is taking confirmation classes this year and will be confirmed on Mother’s Day 2011.  He’s also a pretty smart kid and will take the ACT as a 7th grader  as part of the Duke TIP talent program.

5.  Which of the following is how 9 year- old Genna described herself for the Christmas Quiz? a) “I love animals.”  b) “Tigers are my favorite pet.”  c) “I love my family.” d) “I like playing outside.”  ANSWER?  You guessed it!   All of the above.  “Pokey” is a word that the rest of us would use to describe her.  *smile*  But seriously, while we are so proud to see our kids grow and mature and develop strong personality traits, it is so refreshing to have a sweet little girl in the family who simply loves puppies and sleepovers!

 6.  After 15 years, we are a) better looking than ever!  b) renewing our wedding vows c) ready to pull our hair out d) heading to Sioux Falls for Christmas.  ANSWER?  D.  Hope to see many of you as we celebrate the season with Grandma Johnson and all our aunts, uncles and cousins!

7.  The best part of  2010, hands down, was: a) summer vacation at the cabin at Beaver Lake b) the kids teaching us to play “pterodactyl” at a local restaurant c) Mark’s layoff after 17 years at Nabholz Construction.   ANSWER?  C.  Wait . . .what?!?  Yes, you read that right.  Mark’s layoff (and subsequent call BACK) was a real life demonstration of God’s promise to work all things for good.  We can honestly say that this has been one of the best years of our life and it has nothing to do with the bank account balance, a Christmas bonus, or an exotic vacation.

May you, too, experience the fulfillment of God’s promises this season and all the year through!  Love, the Dildays

Dilday Christmas 2011
(aka the “Limerick” version)

There once was a family named Dilday
Who sent letters each holiday
And for a long time
They made them all rhyme
To avoid being thought of passé.

We’ll start with the young lady named Grace.
As firstborn she sets the pace.
Now stands five eleven
(Compared to Mom at five seven)
She still things growing up is a race!

Then there’s Ethan, our beloved middle boy.
Likely feasting on a bowl of bok choi.
“Vegetarian” decided he
and by golly, that’s what he’ll be
if only to his mother annoy!

Genna’s the baby it is well known.
She was last to get a cell phone.
But being the baby’s no gaffe
for she’ll have the last laugh.
Someday she’ll have a room of her own!

As for us – how blessed are we?
Entrusted to parent these three.
And though sometimes it’s hard
on the heart (and bank card!)
It’s a great excuse to keep up with GLEE!

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.


DILDAY CHRISTMAS 2012Dilday Christmas 2012

In Denver with the Olsons 2012 got its start, watching a Walking Dead Marathon (NOT for the faint of heart!)

Throughout the seasons we hosted a gathering or two, in our backyard out on the deck that is new.

The kids are now spread out at schools far and near, one in middle school, junior high, and high school I fear!

Gracie works a Saturday job at Rick’s Bakery, while Ethan still strives to master karate.

Genna, at last, reached a goal on her list –  finally growing her hair out longer than sis!

Mark and I continue to witness time flee and mark each anniversary at our wedding tree.

May you be surrounded this Christmas with those that you love and know the peace of salvation from our Father above. May your Christmas be filled with merriment and mirth and may we each play a part in bringing PEACE to our EARTH.

Christmas 2013
(to the tune of “My Favorite Things)

Dilday Mery Christmas 2013

Sleepovers with Sammy and a new birthday kitten,
Huge growth spurt means now Gracie’s clothes are a fittin’,
Skating on Friday nights and hanging out with Grier,
These are the highlights of Genna B’s year.
Kempo Karate and marching band practice,
High school with Drama and Forensics classes,
Playing his bass guitar and watching Dr. Who,
These are the things that Ethan likes to do.
Senior year, bowling team, Gracie’s looking at college.
Big decision just ahead:  where to pursue knowledge?
Scholarship essays and application forms,
Trying to find the school with the cutest dorm!
Soon they’ll be grown!
We’ll be all alone.
Yes we might be sad.
Then we’ll simply remember their favorite things
And the QUIET won’t seem so bad!

Baby Jesus the Christ ChildRomans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

 

#DildayChristmas2014
(aka the “hashtag” one)

Dilday Christmas Card 2014

2014 got off to a “bumpy ” start when Mark took a mighty tumble at the hunting cabin. (His climbing tree stand broke apart when he was approximately 18 feet off the ground.) Luckily, his “Ninja instincts” kicked in and he was able to essentially back flip on his way down, landing feet first. (By the way, the game camera caught all of this on film.) #L2CompressionFracture #PhysicalTherapy #LuckyHeDidn’tBreakHisNeck

Gracie graduated in May from Fayetteville High School and we enjoyed having friends and family in town to celebrate with – what else? – a #DeckParty She decided to attend Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (#AStAte #HowlYes), which is a great compromise because it is about as far away from Fayetteville as you can get while still qualifying for #InStateTuition. Gracie pledged ZTA and is loving college life. While her major is currently undeclared, she plans to pursue an advanced degree and become an Occupational Therapist.gracie

Ethan has been bitten by the #ActingBug. He had a small role in the high school production of “Enter Laughing” this fall, qualified for the school’s Thespian Troupe and is currently rehearsing “Nothing is the End of the World, Except the End of the World” for an upcoming competition, and in January he’ll audition for the role of Orin in the #SpringMusical “Little Shop of Horrors.”

EthanMusic remains his second great love. He added #ukelele to his repertoire and now plays 5 instruments. Over Thanksgiving Ethan traveled with his high school marching band and enjoyed a 7 day trip to Disney theme parks and marching in Mickey’s Main Street Electrical Parade. #TubasForever

Genna gladly said goodbye to middle school and has embraced the #JuniorHighLife. She especially enjoys attending football and basketball games with her group of friends and is very active at our church in programs such as #GenOn, #PROTO, and #LYO (the Lutheran Youth Organization). She also loves babies and babysitting! She’s thinking she’d like to be a midwife.GennaB

Like many other #teenagers, Genna enjoys reading the incredibly popular #YoungAdultNovels that have come out in recent years. We often find her with her nose buried in a book reading (or re-reading!) #TheFaultInOurStars, #Divergent, or #TheMazeRunner. This hobby makes for great conversations and now Daddy and I are taking book recommendations from our girl!

While all 3 kids were on a mission trip to West Virginia this summer, Mark and I rented a friend’s cabin for a #KingsRiverVacay. It was a peaceful week of porch-sittin’, floating, fishing and relaxing.

#KingsRiverVacayIn addition to #TagTeamParenting, Mark and I have enjoyed spending time with great friends and reconnecting with some old friends this year. We hosted numerous gatherings at #CasaDilday starting with a low-key New Year’s Eve, several deck parties at #CuartoCuartoatCasaDilday through the Spring, Summer and Fall, and ending with the 18th annual #TrickorTreatHeadquarters.

As we close out 2014, Mark is just beginning a NEW DECADE! #MarkIs50.

At Christmas, we hope that the celebration of #JesusBirth and #NewLifeinChrist will be trending in your lives!

Much love from the Dildays ~ Mark, Jody, Gracie, Ethan & Genna