New Year’s Resolutions…

I stumbled upon two great quotes this year that have been rolling around in my head for months…

emerald isle june 2015 mary oliver quote

This first quote is from the American poet Mary Oliver. I love how her words – wild and precious – show the enormous value and immeasurable possibilities of this one life we each get to live. Her question is a challenge… Are we cherishing this life?

my purple coneflowers 2015 - jim elliot quote

I have come across this second quote over and over this year. It strikes a chord with me because I really struggle to be present in the moment – to live each day one at a time. When I saw the quote attributed to Jim Elliot, I thought, Hmmm, the only Jim Elliot I know of is the American missionary to Ecuador who was eaten by cannibals in the 1950s. (Yup, same guy. Yikes.)

Anyway, these two quotes sum up my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016: I want to be fully engaged in the moment – really living it and experiencing it rather than documenting it or analyzing it or planning it. We shouldn’t be wasteful with a life that is wild and precious, right? In 2016, I am giving up:

  • Facebook (that was easy; it’s an election year)
  • Twitter (even easier; just noise)
  • Blogging (painful because I do need a way to capture our life for the kids and I do love to write, but there are other ways I can capture our family history and I have other things I need to be writing… also, I’m irritated that WordPress randomly deleted a bunch of my photos and after two hours of perusing possible solutions on their message boards, I can’t fix it; time wasted)

Additionally, I am cutting back the time I spend on my favorite hobby – reading interior design blogs and wandering through Pinterestto one evening per week. <aaaarrrrgggghhhh> This may be an aspirational goal. I may need a 12 step program. I’m such a visual person and find this stuff so inspirational – and yet, I only convert about 1% of it into an action like actually trying the recipe or tackling the DIY project.

I am not giving up Instagram. I love it. It’s awesome. ❤

On a high note, my goal for 2015 was to organize our house and I did make progress. It’s hard to tell at the moment as we are cleaning up from Christmas and two weeks of laziness, but I did have a few successes:

  • Sorted the family photos, kids’ keepsakes and all the games and craft stuff we store in our family desk/command center
  • Reorganized and labeled each cabinet in our kitchen
  • Got my family to join me in using Cozi, an iPhone app that allow us to share our calendars as well as to-do lists and our shopping list
  • Got our family to join us in using Find My Friends, an iPhone app that allows us to see where everyone is, which saves a lot of time and phone calls and occasionally helps us find a misplaced phone
  • Cleared out our master bedroom closets for new built-ins that work so much better for us
  • Hauled several carloads of things we don’t need/use to charity shop
  • Helped Leah reorganize her room with a new bookshelf and baskets

I hope to check in with you all this time next year to say I’m even more at peace and fully present than the Dalai Lama and have new, amazing ideas for an even better blog… Until then, I wish you all the best in 2016!

Our Christmas Letter: 2015

2015 CHRISTMAS CARD FINAL AU 5x7

Ho ho ho! We hope your holidays are off to a great start! Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and share the highlights of our year:

Leah is now 11 and in 5th grade. She’s had a busy year with drama club, guitar lessons, student council, basketball, volleyball, her pet sitting business, and being a news anchor for her school’s in-house TV station. This summer, she went to Space Camp again (the robotics camp) plus YMCA camp, church camp and a cooking camp. Leah wants to be a chef someday and loves American Girl dolls, swimming in her mermaid tail and reading Percy Jackson novels.

Michael is 8 and in 2nd grade. When he isn’t researching dinosaurs, he is developing elaborate schemes to build a dinosaur zoo on a hovercraft in space. He also started a ‘dangerous reptile removal’ business – no customers as yet. Michael stayed busy this year with basketball, swimming, Space Camp, church camp, running club and football (with Mommy coaching)! He wants to be a biologist someday and loves reading Harry Potter books.

Bryan and I stay busy between the kids, work, church, family and volunteering – but we’re lazy sometimes, too, and enjoyed several beach trips this year with my family and with friends. Bryan has his final round of Lemtrada in December and then we wait for the next medical breakthrough in treating MS. We lost Bryan’s mom this summer which has been so hard – we look forward to spending the holidays with his dad and the whole family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

P.S That’s a 1930 Ford Model A. Not ours! Just a fun photo op.

First friends…

Leah’s very first friend was a little girl named Camille. Leah had just turned 3 years old when we left Florida, but moving away from Camille (and other special people like our nanny Jillian) was so hard! Thankfully a friend warned me that moving is hard on tiny people and we shouldn’t assume a 3 year old would be “oblivious”. Leah was so not oblivious. Camille’s mom and I agreed to keep in touch – and for eight years now, we have ensured the girls get together at least once a year. It helps that Camille’s mom, Tara, is one of my favorite people!

Funny enough, both Leah and Camille have been 99th percentile in height since birth!

They always pick up right where they left off. It’s just incredibly sweet!

We hadn’t seen Lillie in a couple of years because she has been so busy. She had grown up so much and is as sweet as always! I really got a kick out of talking to her about her friends and the music she’s into.

Tara has three kids now – big sisters Lillie and Camille got a baby brother, Alexander, two years ago!

Camille (11), Lillie (13), Leah (11), Alexander (2) and Michael (8)

We had a great visit!

Quick update… and a Thanksgiving recap

I can’t figure out why WordPress ate the images on some of my blog posts and not on others, so I am going to give it one more try before I give up. Here is a super quick recap on Thanksgiving to replace the posts I lost:

We spent Thanksgiving Day with my father-in-law’s extended family: 52 people met at cousins Zach and Alyse’s new home. Their rooster was so gorgeous that he looks fake in this photo, but he was the real deal.

Not everyone made it into the group picture!

The kids loved seeing their cousins!

On Friday, we met with Bryan’s immediate family at his dad’s house and cooked together which is always so much fun!

Then on Saturday, we had round 3…

I hosted Thanksgiving for my family and we watched the Iron Bowl on TV.

We had a great time!

O Canada

The other day – in a moment of exasperation – I let out a big sigh and said something about running away to Canada. Michael got out the globe to identify places where snow will mound up against our door all year round… and he found some. Ha!

I checked and it’s 65 degrees colder in Baker Lake today than here in The Cove – and I am wrapped up in a cozy faux fur blanket. Brrrrr! I may not be cut out for Canada.

This reminds me of a funny story my Gran Gran told me once. My Uncle Hoyt was about 9 years old and he was mad at Gran Gran about something so he said he was running away. She watched him walk all the way up the road, stop, turn around and walk home. As he came in the door, he said, “I decided to forgive you.” Ha!