2011 in Images

I did a photo recap at the end of 2010 and really liked it.  So, I thought I’d make it a tradition.

At this point, looking back on 2011, I have few words.  It was just such a crazy year.

One that definitely shook me.

There was so much good, thank God for photos to remind me, but wow, it was hard.

January
32:365

Almost there.  Light.  Dark.

February
57:365

Home.  Relief.

March
Contradictions

Adjustments.  Contradictions.  Comfort.

April
Easter dessert and conversation

Friendship.  Light.  Peace.

May
Evening light

Hope.  {If only I knew what was to come.  Still hope.}

June
A night in the backyard with a child photographer

Summer.  Shock.  Family.  Shock.

July
Morning coffee

Denial.  Growth.

August
223:365

Duality.  Embracing.  Acceptance(ish).

September
The last one of him.

Goodbyes.  Fun.  Lasts.

October
Italian prettiness

Future.  Adventure.  Missing.

November
November 25

Light.  Home.  New.

December
Poffabro, Italy

Peace. Paths. Hope.

May you notice your blessings in 2012 even if they are not what you expected.  Sometimes, those are the best.

2011 in Images

I did a photo recap at the end of 2010 and really liked it.  So, I thought I'd make it a tradition.
At this point, looking back on 2011, I have few words.  It was just such a crazy year.
One that definitely shook me.
There was so much good, thank God for photos to remind me, but wow, it was hard.

January
32:365

Almost there.  Light.  Dark.

February
57:365

Home.  Relief.

March
Contradictions

Adjustments.  Contradictions.  Comfort.

April
Easter dessert and conversation

Friendship.  Light.  Peace.

May
Evening light

Hope.  {If only I knew what was to come.  Still hope.}

June
A night in the backyard with a child photographer

Summer.  Shock.  Family.  Shock.

July
Morning coffee

Denial.  Growth.

August
223:365

Duality.  Embracing.  Acceptance(ish).

September
The last one of him.

Goodbyes.  Fun.  Lasts.

October
Italian prettiness

Future.  Adventure.  Missing.

November
November 25

Light.  Home.  New.

December
Poffabro, Italy

Peace. Paths. Hope.

May you notice your blessings in 2012 even if they are not what you expected.  Sometimes, those are the best.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Thankfully, my mood lifted significantly after my last post.  We have had a really great week.  Jeff has been off and we’ve enjoyed hanging out just the five of us.  Somedays, were spent just hanging out at home and others we were out and about.  Of course there have been moments, every family has those, but overall it’s really been delightful.  I guess that’s the good thing about having such a hard Christmas is that the next one can almost always be better.  So, after last year with Jeff in Iraq and the rest of us enduring “Puke Fest 2010” I should have known it would be good.

Trieste

On Friday, we loaded up the car and drove to Trieste for the day.  As soon as we stepped out into the ocean air I felt at peace.  Once again I was reminded that the water is my happy place.  I mentioned that to Jeff but of course he already knew.  That’s why we were there.  Our main destination was Miramare Castle.  It was beautiful.  We did go in and all enjoyed that but the best part was walking around the grounds and surrounding park.  More than one of us commented that it was like being at the zoo (without the animals, of course!).    We enjoyed a delicious lunch (fettuccine frutti di mare for me, yum!), walked along the water a bit and then headed home.

new jammies

We spent Christmas Eve mainly at home.  I used the morning to prep dinner and breakfast for the following day.  We watched movies and hung out.  There is a town near us, Poffabro, that has several hundred nativities set up.  Hoping to miss the crowds and parking nightmare, we went in the late afternoon and enjoyed walking through the town.  After that it was our traditional lasagna for dinner, new pjs, FaceTime with Grammy and Grandpa then reading the Christmas Story from Luke.

The Christmas Story

Sharing the duties

Jeff read most of it but Jack read the last few verses.  I loved that they shared the duties.

Checking out their stockings

 

Spy Connor

I woke at 4:55 to sweet Connor saying “I can’t believe it is Christmas, I’ve waited the whole calendar for today.”  How can you argue with that?  He cuddled with us until 5:30 when Jack and Morgan came in and we headed downstairs.  The day was full of gifts, more FaceTime, guitar hero, playing with new toys and just hanging out.  Jeff and I each even took naps.  It was like a breath of fresh air.  Just what we needed.

Dolomites

On Monday we got back in the car and headed up into the mountains to sled.  My word are the Dolomites gorgeous!  We found more snow than we expected (and thus weren’t fully prepared) but we enjoyed a few runs, a picnic lunch and coffee at the rifugio. The kids fell asleep on the way back so Jeff and I were able to enjoy the view and some actual conversation.

On a walk/ride

Yesterday was another chill at home day as is today.  We went down to the bike/walk trail this morning and it felt good to get some exercise and fresh air.  Jeff’s back to work tomorrow so I’ll need to be on my game for the long days ahead with all three home until next week.

It feels good to have caught our collective breaths heading into the new year.  I hope each of you feel the same way.

Here we go.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Thankfully, my mood lifted significantly after my last post.  We have had a really great week.  Jeff has been off and we've enjoyed hanging out just the five of us.  Somedays, were spent just hanging out at home and others we were out and about.  Of course there have been moments, every family has those, but overall it's really been delightful.  I guess that's the good thing about having such a hard Christmas is that the next one can almost always be better.  So, after last year with Jeff in Iraq and the rest of us enduring "Puke Fest 2010" I should have known it would be good.
Trieste
On Friday, we loaded up the car and drove to Trieste for the day.  As soon as we stepped out into the ocean air I felt at peace.  Once again I was reminded that the water is my happy place.  I mentioned that to Jeff but of course he already knew.  That's why we were there.  Our main destination was Miramare Castle.  It was beautiful.  We did go in and all enjoyed that but the best part was walking around the grounds and surrounding park.  More than one of us commented that it was like being at the zoo (without the animals, of course!).    We enjoyed a delicious lunch (fettuccine frutti di mare for me, yum!), walked along the water a bit and then headed home.
new jammies
We spent Christmas Eve mainly at home.  I used the morning to prep dinner and breakfast for the following day.  We watched movies and hung out.  There is a town near us, Poffabro, that has several hundred nativities set up.  Hoping to miss the crowds and parking nightmare, we went in the late afternoon and enjoyed walking through the town.  After that it was our traditional lasagna for dinner, new pjs, FaceTime with Grammy and Grandpa then reading the Christmas Story from Luke.
The Christmas Story
Sharing the duties
Jeff read most of it but Jack read the last few verses.  I loved that they shared the duties.
Checking out their stockings
 
Spy Connor
I woke at 4:55 to sweet Connor saying "I can't believe it is Christmas, I've waited the whole calendar for today."  How can you argue with that?  He cuddled with us until 5:30 when Jack and Morgan came in and we headed downstairs.  The day was full of gifts, more FaceTime, guitar hero, playing with new toys and just hanging out.  Jeff and I each even took naps.  It was like a breath of fresh air.  Just what we needed.
Dolomites
On Monday we got back in the car and headed up into the mountains to sled.  My word are the Dolomites gorgeous!  We found more snow than we expected (and thus weren't fully prepared) but we enjoyed a few runs, a picnic lunch and coffee at the rifugio. The kids fell asleep on the way back so Jeff and I were able to enjoy the view and some actual conversation.
On a walk/ride
Yesterday was another chill at home day as is today.  We went down to the bike/walk trail this morning and it felt good to get some exercise and fresh air.  Jeff's back to work tomorrow so I'll need to be on my game for the long days ahead with all three home until next week.
It feels good to have caught our collective breaths heading into the new year.  I hope each of you feel the same way.
Here we go.

Merry, Joy and All That Jazz

Image

Snow flake garland

If you’re my facebook friend (which I think all three of you are), you know that the past few months have been hard.  I’m normally one who loves everything about Christmas but this year I’m just not feeling it.  Yes, it’s great that Jeff is home with us this year.  And, hopefully, we won’t spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the nastiest stomach flu I can remember like last year.  But, I’m not there.  Yes, Jesus is the reason.  Yes, my kids are excited.  Yes, the lights are pretty.

Blah.

Bring on 2012.

But, in an effort to restore my Christmas cheer I thought I’d do a little tour of our decorations.  And then return to meal planning talk in a week or so.

Advent Calendar

The kids have loved our advent activities again this year.  I picked up this advent calendar in San Antonio.  I’m kind of over the felt nativity look but it’s become tradition so it will likely stay.

gratitude garland

The gratitude garland is hands down my favorite activity that we do in December.  I love the honesty (not every answer is Jesus and health, Jeff always is thankful for homebrew) and that now the kids are wanting to fill out their own.  I started keeping a journal of our list and am so glad that I have.  This is one thing that we will never stop doing.  Guaranteed.

Card Garland

Last year I did a wreath for our cards.  While I liked the overall look, I didn’t like that some of the cards were hidden a bit.  This year I decided just to hang some baker’s twine (how I love thee!) and clip the cards on with mini clothes pins.  I like this much better.

Nativity

We are starting to have quite the collection of nativities.  This is one we got in Mexico the first year we were in San Antonio.

Nutcracker

One of our traditions growing up was to go to the Oregon Ballet’s The Nutcracker.  I loved it every year and haven’t been back in quite some time. Nutcrackers are always a special part of our Christmas time.  Jeff went with us one year (he loved it, don’t tell) and I can’t wait to take the kids and my nephew.  I can already picture us filling an entire row.

Ornament

Finally, one of my most precious treasures.  My grandma painted this in 1980.  I can hardly believe that it’s 31 years old and has gone all around the world with us.  Each year I’m a bit nervous that it will have broken but it always makes it onto the tree.  I barely remember her but this is so special to me.

So, there’s a peek at our first Christmas in Italy.

Merry Christmas, all.  Love well and enjoy every second even when it’s hard.