Here's a little update for my dear blog readers, friends, and family who are wondering what we've been up to lately. I promise you it won't be sugar-coated and pretentious, as Christmas letters can sometimes be!
2011 was an incredibly hard year!
Wow--I'm sighing just thinking about how to write about it without sounding like a whiner. Moving into a fixer-upper has meant countless hours of painting, cleaning, and working on the house and yard. Josiah has painted over 10,000 square feet by hand with a brush in the last 18 months and I painted 7 rooms this year. Our home is looking much better as a result! Having an infant for most of the year meant little sleep and lots of work. When Katri got sick in February with a terrible croupy cough that ended up being Influenza A, we lost a week of sleep and it crushed my health. Already pooped from caring for the kids and a baby, my health took a downturn and I ended up seeing my doctor for post-partum depression, discovering that my body was really low in several important nutrients and minerals. A year after the birth, I'm finally feeling back to normal, but still have to be very vigilant about taking vitamins and getting my rest. We had many friends going through terrible and sad things this last year: divorce, custody battles, miscarriages, church-splits, life-threatening issues with their kids, etc. I've had a few different friends move away. Josiah had a couple of minor fender-benders and I needed my wisdom teeth out. Each year we spend most of October and November in a plague of sorts--this year was no exception with colds, pink eye, roseola, ear infections, and Katri's mystery rash. The stomach flu we get every year on Jer's birthday came a month late this year, making us miss the kids' Christmas program at church. He's glad to have finally had a sickness-free birthday though!
Every week there was a new battle/obstacle/challenge. It is with a sigh of relief that we bid 2011 goodbye and hope for a little more rest and peace in 2012!
An update on our family members:
Led the Youth Group for 2010 and half of 2011; He's glad to be back to being a volunteer, but not in charge of everything.
Loves to hang out with the teen boys and is great with them
Continues to work for my Dad in carpentry and furniture building
Has decided to become a football fan to bond with other guys and is now glued to the games
(He roots for the Packers! Now that I've said that I realize he may be stoned next time he visits MN!)
Worked cleaning a law firm for a couple of hours a week for half of the year
Saved up for months and bought a Nikon dSLR--a dream come true!
Hosted 6 teen girl missionaries and a 5 Day Club which was LOTS of fun!
Helps lead a Pray n' Play group each week for mom friends and their kids.
Loves to shoot people (with a camera that is!) I've done lots of shoots this year for friends and even some clients and shot the pics for the church photo directory.
Is loving homeschooling....most days anyway....
Started Frugal Friends, a club for friends who enjoy couponing and saving money.
A first-grader, doing My Father's World curriculum
Almost 7 years old
Loves going to AWANA
Started losing teeth this spring
Is becoming a better reader
Still loves to color and draw and do crafts
Loves playing dress-up
Our fearless girl who learned to snowboard with Daddy this winter and only took
one person out on the slopes!
Often helps Mommy clean and is super-organized and energetic!
Is in home-preschool this year
Turned 5 in November
Asked us how he could be a follower of Jesus this spring
Loves science and learning about animals
Enjoys helping Daddy in the garage and snowmobiling fast with Grandpa
Had his second round of swimming lessons and did great, even jumping off the diving board!
Our caring, sweet guy who loves babies and is always looking out for his tiny sister
Turned 3 in August
Is in home-preschool with Jer
Was potty-trained in June
Our "jumping bean" who is very bouncy and athletic
Loves Cars 2 and motorcycles and monster trucks
Always has a cheerful smile and loves to tell Mommy he loves her so, so, sooooooo, so much!
Our little sunshine boy whose hair is starting to turn brown--maybe we'll get fewer inquiries about it now!
Nicknamed KK, Kate, Katri, Kelly Belly, Kay
Is very timid and unsure of everything, from baths, to men that aren't Daddy, to loud noises, etc.
Turned 1 on Oct. 28th and had a Teapot Birthday
Loves the song "I'm a Little Teapot" so it was the inspiration for her room decor
Is a happy and laid-back little girl who loves her teddy bear and enjoys eating....all of the time!
Our latest talker (the other kids talk so much she doesn't feel the need to say much)
Still unmotivated to walk--she loves being the baby and capitalizes on it
Our sweet and serious little angel--doted upon by everyone in the family
Ali learned to ride a bike without training wheels this spring and a week later Jer learned! Justus learned to ride a bike with training wheels about a week later so we spent lots of time biking this summer! Josiah got a cool new-to-him bike and we found a used tag-a-long and baby seat for a bike so we can put our entire brood on wheels!
In April we were able to visit our dear friends in Kansas and enjoyed our time there. We miss them so much! We were happy to see them again in June when they came to stay with us for a few days. I was blessed to be able to have coffee with MoneySavingMom in Kansas, which was a huge honor! She's my favorite blogger and has saved us thousands of dollars over the years as I've learned couponing/frugal tips from her, etc.
In August Josiah took the 3 oldest kids to MN to spend a week with his family. They had a wonderful time and I did too--a week of quiet spent enjoying my baby and painting the kids' rooms.
In March we gained a new nephew Jedediah! He was born on the mission field in Honduras, and we got to meet them in July when my brother and his wife came back to WY for an extended visit. We have enjoyed getting to know him and he makes a wonderful photography model! He doesn't have his aunt wrapped around his little finger....not at all!
In November I was able to attend a Beth Moore conference with my mom and sis-in-law Anna. It was a fun girls-getaway even if it was only a couple of days.
We had a special Christmas with my family at the cabin in the mountains that my Grandpa C. built 40 years ago. It's a place that holds tons of neat family memories for me, so it was fun to share one last Christmas there before it the estate is settled and it is sold.
It was so cool to play music with my brother, hubby, and mom on Christmas Eve.
(I play piano a little bit and Josiah plays guitar)
We played lots of Scum, Boggle, and some Aggravation in the evenings at the cabin.
Josiah's parents, sister Kianna, and her boyfriend Karl, from Canada, will be spending a few days here with us for New Year's. We are excited to see them.
In spite of the trials we have encountered in the last year, we are truly blessed. God has been with us each step of the way, providing what we need and teaching us many things. We are so thankful for the precious people in our lives who make the difficult days bearable. Whether it's a kind word on facebook, or this blog, a phone call, a chat over coffee, a listening ear when we've had a rough day, an offer to pray, or a helping hand, we are grateful for all of you and pray that you and your families would be strong in the Lord.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!