Woosh! We made it through the holidays/birthday. It was questionable for a while there. I have been delaying this post waiting for pics, but I'll just add pics later. It was a good Christmas. Ben received such exciting things like bedsheets and a sewing kit. Ok, maybe they're not exciting, but will be useful on his mission. His birthday was slightly better getting snowboarding goggles (he does have 4 weeks of snowboarding left).
He is doing extremely well with both the spiritual and physical preparations. Spiritually, he has been to the temple, continues to teach his primary class and set an all around good example for his siblings and I'm sure his friends. We are having a race to see who can finish the Book of Mormon first. So far I'm winning. He is bearing his testimony more often. Physically, he has started working out again and we have most everything on his list. We even got luggage after the new year.
Just some little tidbits: Ben is taking the time before he leaves to teach his brother and sister how to snowboard. It seems like he's trying to spend more time with his family, which is greatly appreciated. We're all very excited as the day of departure rapidly approaches and a little sad to have his great spirit gone for 2 years. You lucky Pennsylvanians!