Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Someone commented that on the Christmas card, all our girls' smiles are so nice, but "what's with Aaron"?  I wouldn't say he is a less happy child than his sisters- by any means.  But he is extremely hard to get a picture of.  First, because he is only still while sleeping, it's hard to get a focused picture.  Second, he is camera shy and won't look at the camera or mommy or the person trying to get his attention-- he keeps looking down.  I have dozens of looking down shots, but figured friends & family would prefer to see his eyes! 

And then there's the girls: they are very good picture takers, but Jaci got snow in her shoe when we were at the park (ouch!), and I caught Ella "exclaiming" when I promised Aaron a candy cane if he would *just*look*up!!

(Ella thought maybe she could make Jaci smile?)
And these ones almost made the cut...

December joys: making foot warmers, pretzels, sugar cookies, homemade placemats & scramble!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Letter

Christmas letters. Some people love 'em. Some people hate 'em. I figure if you made the effort to come to the blog, you're the interested party that I'm writing to. I personally love to sit down and read about other people's lives and the past year. But when I go to write one for my family, I begin to contemplate: "Do I just write about all the successes, triumphs and happiness? Or, in an attempt to put off the "good image" (which is only an image), do I write about all of our struggles, weaknesses and discomfort?" We have all had both in 2011. All of us and all of you. But I think God would like me to write about what HIS hand has done in our hearts and in our family. Here's an attempt at that:

First off, the big announcement: we are getting ready to welcome another baby into our family! The timing of this pregnancy and due date were extremely difficult for us to accept. Although we wished to have more children, this would not have been our timing. As we wrestled through shock, denial, and even disappointment, we came to believe God's bottom line: what isn't our plan IS God's! This, another precious blessing from God, is His plan, and he couldn't have made him/her at any other time. Who are we to question, when we couldn't be more pleased with the others He has given us?! Stay tuned for the announcement of our baby's arrival late April/early May.

Aaron Rio (23 months) is just about to turn two! He is an inquisitive and deep thinking little boy who knows what he wants. These traits have made his age 1 year very long and trying. He never took to signing, so could often be found yelling for what he wanted, with mommy making 5-10 guesses, and then giving up. (Up 'til now, we have not found a volume control on him). He has just begun communicating in English sentences, the first complete sentence last month being (when asked if he was ready for bedtime story) "No Mommy, I playin' with horses!". Due to Daddy's influence and the Green Bay memorabilia that has found its way to our home, he says "Go Packers" every time he sees the Packers logo. Aaron is a very sweet little boy (and the most cuddly of our children) who just this morning said perfectly "I love you Mommy". He loves to sing "Jesus Loves Me" with the family. At bedtime he can be heard saying, "Daddy, 'Come to Jesus'" or "Give me Jesus", thereby requesting to be serenaded to sleep. He especially loves his sisters, horse figurines, legos, Layla, and throwing balls.

Jaci Claire (3 1/2) is both delightful and spunky. Unconcerned about winter temperatures, she insists on wearing sun dresses most every day, and will not wear socks. She is most often the helper in the kitchen, joyfully pulling a chair up to the counter to help add salt, break eggs, or stir the pot. She has begun reading lessons in school, and asks to have one as often as her older sisters are studying. She proclaims herself "best buddies" with one of her siblings on any given day, and interacts well with all of them. When she believes she has been wronged, she recognizes the need for some "quiet time" and spends a few minutes behind a closed door before offering forgiveness. She is very independent, and finds it hard to take "no" for an answer. No, she doesn't stomp, scream or shout-- she simply waits until mom isn't looking to quietly help herself to a cough drop or gum. We're working on that. She is an excellent swimmer, and is the most exuberant about visiting hotel pools on daddy's business trips to get some more water time. In fact, her exuberance has caused her parents quite a bit of stress at times. She happily jumps into the water (whether an adult is watching or not) and can swim the width of a hotel sized pool.

Tessa Jane (5 1/2) is at the adorable stage of beginning to think for herself. She can be heard making such comments as, "Mom, God has no beginning and no end, but we have a beginning and no end". To which I reply, "That's exactly right, Tessa!" She then confesses that it is hard to belive that God has no beginning, and I must concur! She can typically be found doing ballet twirls and pirouettes through the house as she sings and asks all manner of questions. She was elated to be old enough to join the local 4H Club this year, and attends monthly meetings along with her older sister.

Ella Rose (7 3/4) is a born leader. She is our #1 helper around the house, and pitches in cheerfully. She also has an acute sense for justice, and quickly reports if a younger sibling is misbehaving, or if something is "not fair". She enjoys homeschool, and likes to get Math over with before moving onto more interesting subjects like geography or gems. Just this year, she has discovered a passion for independent reading, and can be found curled up with a paperback when the house becomes quiet. She is currently reading C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe".

Adrian continues to enjoy his position as Field Engineer for Bonneville Power Administration. He is anticipating increased responsibilities that will shift to his shoulders when his boss retires in March. A highlight of his year was a horseback camping trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness in July. He also had a successful hunting season, bringing home a cow elk in October. Work evenings, he is bombarded at the door by a miniature stampede of children who are very happy to see someone who is bound to be more playful than Mom. At bedtime, he can be found reading a chapter to the children before ushering them off to bed.  He is a picture perfect example of Ephesians 5.25's exhortation to "love your wife", and that keeps this whole family very, very happy!

As for me ~ well, I don't have a lot to show for all my energy output, but am not seeking a career change. By some miracle of Heaven, I am enjoying homeschooling the children at their diverse stages, and find it easy to keep up with lower elementary curricula. As dishes, laundry and vacuuming demands have increased, I have sought serenity by not overcommitting to extracurricular opportunities. I do help coordinate the local homeschool group that has consistently attracted 25 kids each week since September!  My prayers are often for a good night's sleep, as well as for all the friends & family that cross my mind frequently!

Merry Christmas, with Love!