The annual family Christmas letter

Troy and I, with our eldest and his new bride
I'm going to skip right past the fact that I haven't posted on update on anything the past several months (and wow, is there a lot to share) and jump right to a sweet bit composed and sent me by two of my older kids the day after my birthday last month.

Our move halfway across country has been so unbelievably bittersweet. The adventure of a new place, a new home, new friends, new church, etc. etc. etc. ... vs. the ache of leaving our four older children behind, along with a new son-in-law and a daughter-in-law-to-be. (Who became, with great joy, the bride of our oldest in September.) That was one of those things we knew would be hard, but determined to weather with grace.

It's been harder than I ever dreamed (how have our parents handled Troy and I being so far away all these years??), and going back for the wedding in September just underscored how much I've missed them.

I'm a completely biased mother, true, but all my children can be quirky, funny, darling, clever, maddening, obsessive, bullheaded, cocky, by turns. As they've gotten older, I've loved watching their personalities unfold and their senses of humor develop. And doggone it, I miss the wonderful young adults my older ones have become ... are still becoming.

The Barbarian Horde, Sept 21, 2014 ... in order of age
So perhaps you can imagine my delight upon receiving the following piece of whimsy. My daughter Erin graciously gave me permission to share, so with very little editing on my part, I offer this glimpse of our family, as seen through the eyes of Erin and her next-youngest brother Ross, ages almost-21 and almost-19, respectively. :-)

(Note: as explained elsewhere, for years I've affectionately referred to our collective family as "the barbarian horde." You'll see that this has grown into its own family joke ...)

Can we say ... drama llamas??

Once Upon A Time in the lands of America~

There lived a Barbarian horde. Of course there was the Barbarian King and Queen, but who were the rest?

There was the first born, First son, Heir to the throne of the Barbarians, Lord of Engineers, Keeper of Lady Leah, Maker of riddles, Prince Alistair,

There was the second born, Second son, Prince of the Barbarians, Lord of the Cybernet, Breaker of riddles, Prince Ian,

There was the third born, First daughter, Barbarian Princess, Queen of the Amazon Warriors, Queen to King Aaron, Maker of splendid and delicious things, Queen Erin,

There was the fourth born, Third son, Prince of the Barbarians, Lord of the Ents, Tall dark one, Prince Ross,

There was the fifth born, Second daughter, Princess of the Barbarians, Elf Lady, Keeper of the Woodland creatures, Player of the piano, Princess Breanna,

There was a sixth born, Fourth son, Prince of the Barbarians, Taken at birth to watch over us all, Dancer of heaven, Prince Duncan, [yes, I got allll choked up here]

There was the seventh born, Fifth son, Prince of the Barbarians, Lord of the drama llamas, Lord of the woodland creatures, Keeper of the livestock, Prince Cameron,

There was the eighth born, Third daughter, Princess of the Barbarians, Lady of the cats, Lady of the woodland creatures, Player of the guitar, Princess Corrie

There was the ninth born, Fourth daughter, Princess and last of the Barbarian horde, Lady and instigator of the woodland creatures, Singer of beautiful songs, Joy maker, Princess Meeghan,

Not the end, just the beginning...
Written by Erin & Ross, Entertainers for your night [November 9, 2014]. Hope you enjoyed.
Aaron and Cameron can't quite bring themselves to be that silly...

All photos by Sarah Haley Photography.


  1. Anonymous3:27 PM


  2. Anonymous4:23 PM

    This is so sweet, especially since I was around when most were born. Love this family. Merry Christmas to the McNear Clan.

    1. Thank you so much! (it would be wonderful if you'd post your name, so I can properly recognize and extend appreciation! :) )


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