Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Sweet Kaela, in less than four days you will be TEN YEARS OLD!  That means double digits!  But for today, you are 9.99 years old and I plan to savor these last hours of your first decade of life.

The night you were born was special in many ways.  As the world was celebrating the birth of Jesus, we were also celebrating the birth of YOU!   You were born exactly on your due date, on Christmas morning at 3:40am, and we were the only people in the entire birth center having a baby that night.  You are so special to share your birthday with Jesus!

When you turned 1 we had a big celebration with all our friends and family.  You got to have your very own cake, and you learned what it feels like to squish frosting all over!  (And then you took a bath!)

When you turned 2 you helped put ornaments on the tree, and you put them all on one branch.  We had your birthday party at our house, but you were so overwhelmed with all the people and you hid in the play room and played with your old toys.  So Mommy and Daddy opened all your presents with our friends, and you were happy in another room!  For your birthday picture, this is what you would do when we said "SMILE!"

When you turned 3 you started showing your girly side--you LOVED pink, and you played with dolls all the time.  Baby Graeson was born a month before your birthday and you were such a good big sister!  You helped Mommy when I was tired or feeding the baby, and you played with him when he was awake.  When you turned 3 1/2 we started the tradition of your half-birthday party on June 25.

When you turned 4 you liked to be silly and playful.  You would push Graeson around inside a little toy grocery cart.  You also had a doctor kit with a stethoscope, syringe, and silly red glasses!  This was also the year you asked Jesus into your heart after we had been reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe book together.  What an important event!

When you turned 5 you got a new bedroom!  You chose pink butterflies and you helped paste them onto your walls.  You felt very special to have a new room!  You started kindergarten this year which meant you were at school every day instead of just a few mornings.  I remember thinking we would have to share you with the rest of the world.

When you turned 6 you were a big sister again, and you helped take care of Baby Maezie.  You were old enough to hold her by yourself, and even to feed her a bottle.  You were also losing teeth every month!  Since you were losing teeth at the same time Maezie was getting teeth, we would use her teething gel on your loose tooth in order to get it out.  You were so happy whenever another tooth would come out!

When you turned 7 it seemed almost overnight you weren't a baby anymore.  Maybe it was because your front teeth finally grew in and made you look older.  Maybe it was because you were getting so much more confident in yourself.  You started to be interested in nail polish, and glittery chapstick, and pretend makeup.  And of course you loved to wear dresses and hair ribbons.

When you turned 8 you started to grow from little girl to big girl.  You were the tallest in your class and you grew so much this year!  We started having "girl talk" on the couch and on the bed, and we would talk about our days together.  On the night of your school Christmas program, it snowed and snowed and snowed!  A lot of kids didn't make it to the program, and the next day school was cancelled due to snow.

When you turned 9 you just kept growing and growing!  You always did very well in school, and you really started developing a love of reading and learning.  You had lots of friends at school because you were very easy going and caring about other people.

When you turned 9.99 you are definitely not a little girl any more.  You got your ears pierced for your half-birthday, and you are responsible enough to take care of your very own kitty.  You did a really good job when we moved to Bend and you had to make new friends at a new school.  You were very patient when you had to share a room with Maezie for a few months, and you were waiting and waiting to get a cat.

I'm so proud of the BIG girl that you are!  You are such a joy to Mommy and Daddy and you are a good big sister to Graeson and Maezie.  We are SO HAPPY you are part of our family and we love you so much!  I can't wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.  But.....could you just stay 9.99 forever?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Merry Christmas From Bend

Merry Christmas from Bend!
Last year at this time, we had no idea that major changes were just around the corner!  Our life was calm, comfortable, and conventional—we knew every street, store, and stoplight.  We were predictable, planned, and purposeful.  But….God had other plans in mind!
I had felt a gentle calling to expand my hospice career, and in early Spring I received an undeniable message that my work in Klamath Falls was needed elsewhere.  By May, I had been hired at Partners In Care hospice in Bend.  We notified our family and friends, had a giant garage sale, packed up 8 years of accumulated belongings, and moved three hours away….all in less than three weeks.

Initially we stayed in our RV trailer at my dad’s house for the first couple of weeks.  Though it was an hour commute to work, the slow-paced country life was a nice transition—and the kids thought “camping” was great!  Soon we found a rental house in town and were able to spend the summer evenings exploring the many walking paths, parks, and hikes.  Now, after a long and grueling process, we finally have our own house!  We also have found a new church, doctor, dentist, grocery store, post office….and our new favorite: Costco!

The kids have all adjusted quite well.  Kaela and Graeson are at the same school—they love their teachers who both happen to be Beaver fans!  Kaela is in gymnastics and Graeson started taekwondo this year.  Maezie is in a small church preschool three mornings a week and she really likes it as well.  Bryan is staying home full-time now and during those mornings when all three kids are in school, he hikes up Pilot Butte and spends time on the mountain.  He hopes to get involved with our new church’s high school group soon.  I am enjoying my job and it is a perfect fit for me—but I do get impatient about the learning process and would like to know everything NOW!

The actual transition of moving was not easy—lots of goodbyes, many changes, and occasionally getting lost.  But we love our new town and especially our new house!  Since we’re now in “central” Oregon, most anywhere we visit is only a couple of hours away.  Make sure you change our address so we can keep up with all of your happenings as well!