Dec 31, 2009

Nine things I loved about 2009

2009 is closing its of course I have to squeeze in a final word.

I'm grateful for so many things that happened this year. I'm choosing to remember the good, to dwell on the happy, to internalize the blessings. It was a crazy year for sure, but on the whole, I think I'd do it again!

So, in year-in-review fashion, here are nine of the things I loved about 2009. Each highlighted word is a link to a blog post I authored on that subject. Enjoy!

Baby: healthy, happy, female

Baptism: family, celebration, blessings

Four seasons: variety, color, sunshine

Husband: provider, handyman, better half

Technology: social networking, blogging, email

Friends: supportive, entertaining, eternal

vacations, celebrations, love

Adventures: exhausting, humorous, humbling

Learning: simplifying, laughing, growing

Here's to a fresh start and a new year! Bring on 2010!

Dec 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We had a fabulous Christmas! Many thanks to our delightful family and friends who made our holiday so warm and cheery.

We enjoyed a fun Christmas Eve get-together with the Shaha family that included dinner, dessert, a nativity reenactment, and lots of talking and laughter. We're lucky to know such fantastic people!

Our kids didn't get to bed until almost 10:00 p.m., but we tucked them in wearing cozy new jammies.

Garry and I set a night-owl record preparing for the big day ahead. I finally crashed at 2:00 a.m., but Garry was up much later!

Of course the kids' reactions this morning made the sleep deprivation worth it! Some of my favorite moments:
  • Hearing "Yes!!" and other happy exclamations as the boys unwrapped their gifts
  • Watching the boys ride their new scooters around the house
  • Installing new fruit and veggie drawers in the fridge (seriously, so exciting!)
  • Enjoying a yummy casserole, cinnamon rolls, and OJ for breakfast
  • Watching Gavin open all of Lexi's presents after she got up (two hours after the rest of us)
  • Seeing Garry wear his new beanie and slippers all day long
  • Talking to my brother Ryan (Croatian missionary) plus all of my parents and siblings via Skype for an hour
  • Taking a 2.5-hour nap

Truly, we are blessed! What a happy day.

Dec 24, 2009

A real-life holiday greeting

‘Twas an average Tuesday in the wee morning hours,

When one Bartle awakened and started his tour.

He raided the fridge for some food and a drink,

Then found a stray marker and drew on the sink.

Solo crimes are no fun, so he woke up his brothers.

Pretty soon their cacophony roused Father and Mother.

The groggiest parent just stayed in the bed

While the other marched downstairs with a deep sense of dread.

In the family room were scattered clothes, toys, and couch cushions,

And three costumed boys played out rescue missions.

At the “late” hour of seven, the boys were released

To the kitchen to partake of a great morning feast.

Cold cereal, milk, yogurt, and bananas were spread.

While the boys ate at warp speed, the baby was fed.

A chapter of scripture was read ‘mid the mess.

How much the kids listened is anyone’s guess.

One hour later two boys left for school.

Dad drives every day, which Mom finds very cool.

The five-year-old boy spent his morning in learning,

Spanish and art, recess, handwriting.

He would be thrilled if school lasted all day,

But three-hour kinder means afternoons of play!

The second-grade boy was busy in class

With math, science, writing, and reading en masse.

This kid who needs people is a popular boy,

He’s finding that friendship brings him great joy.

At home with the babies, Mom’s morning was filled

With a sweet little girl whose grin gives a thrill.

The pink thing sits up, rolls over, and grabs

At anything in reach - toys, pens, dolls, or bags.

The toddler is busy 13 hours each day,

Pausing only to eat -- he’s always at play.

He talks very well, works puzzles, gives hugs.

As crazy as he acts, he always wants love.

The Mother-in-charge has her chin above water,

Housework, kids, and the blog are almost all she can offer.

She used to have hobbies and projects galore,

But now she wants sleep -- just a little bit more.

The Father-at-work is a Super-Dad, too --

His days at Wells Fargo, his nights at the zoo.

He cooks and reads stories, gives baths, and plays games --

The preferred parent by far, in act and in name.

The year has been busy: a new baby in tow,

(But first there was bed rest, we think you should know);

Two milestone birthdays -- 30 and eight --

A baptism and baby blessing made the year great.

Two boys in school, two crazy sports seasons,

We always feel tired - these are some of the reasons!

But now as we pause at the end of the year,

We think of our days and have reason to cheer.

Four healthy children, a home, a great city,

A wonderful job, and dear friends and family.

Our faith in the Savior stays close to our hearts,

But at this Christmas season we wish to impart

Our love for the Christ Child, born Christmas Day,

His mission in life is to brighten the way.

Our days are so long, and often so hard --

We wouldn’t get through them without faith in the Lord.

We wish you great tidings, hope your worlds are just right.

Merry Christmas to all -- may you sleep through the night!

Dec 23, 2009


The Christmas season is full of traditions at our house. Here are some of our favorites.

Advent calendars to count down the days.

A Christmas tree decorated in sentimental hodge podge style.

A door festooned with cheerful greetings and cherished faces.

A winter wonderland.

Brightly wrapped packages stacked out of the children's reach.

Sugar cookies (from a mix this year) for kids and Santa Claus.


Through it all, we know that Christ is really the center of Christmas. We are grateful for the symbols of the season and the people around us that point us to Christ.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 19, 2009

We can be fancy, too

We took some pictures in our dining room today with the help of our good friends, Bob and Melanie. We've got all the right equipment, but it sure helps to have a friendly face or two behind the camera!

We discovered that having pretty clothes doesn't mean kids can look at the camera at the same time. Wait...we already knew that. And the kids are cute anyway. And we have a family-of-six picture to put on the wall. The payoff was worth the effort!

Merry Christmas!

Dec 18, 2009

Partners in crime

I didn't think Gavin would recruit an accomplice so soon...

...or that his co-conspirator would think it was so much fun.

Here we go again.

P.S. These pictures brought back memories of an escapade
that involved two different partners in crime
almost four years ago.
{Click here then read, "CTR...or not."}

Dec 17, 2009

A letter to Customer Service

Dear Kenmore,

Instead of buying a new oven two weeks ago, we called your parts department to see if there was a quick-n-easy fix for an oven that wouldn't warm up.

As it turns out, there was, but you mailed us the wrong thing.

Then you refunded our money and mailed us the right thing.

The right thing came in the mail today.

So, after two weeks, $45, 15 minutes, and 5 screws, we're back in business.

I'm actually kind of disappointed.

I wanted a new oven - one that was electric. [And clean.]

Can you tell me what to break so I get my wish next time?



Seven months

It's hard to believe that seven months have passed since Lexi's birth. She is a joyful addition to our family.

Here some of my favorite things about this girl right now:
  • The way she crinkles her nose when she smiles
  • The way she kicks her legs with gusto when she is happy to see me
  • The way she smiles with her whole body
  • The way she grabs a fistful of my hair when we walk around
  • The way she isn't crawling yet
Developmentally, Lexi is basically following the pattern of her older brothers. She is very, very wiggly. She is interested in everything -- toys, books, paper, spoons, and anything she can get her hands on. She's a very sturdy sitter, but sometimes falls over on purpose when something far away catches her eye. Lexi is working on an army crawl and can spin and roll in any direction. She can really move! I am thrilled that she isn't crawling yet. The boys were all crawling by seven months, but I am quite content to delay this rite of passage for a while!

At a checkup just yesterday, Lexi weighed a mere 15 pounds, 5 ounces. Her petite frame is partly due to her lack of interest in solid foods. She will sometimes entertain a few bites of vegetables or rice cereal and a couple times a week will suck on a biter biscuit, but for the most part she's still a Mama's-milk-or-bust kind of girl. She is still waking a lot in the night, which is driving me crazy! Two months of sleeping through the night sure spoiled me, and I'm hesitant to make her cry it out when she's so tiny. Does she need the nighttime calories? I don't know!

She currently has a cold and sore throat. She got shots yesterday and seems to be unwell after enduring multiple rounds of my antibiotics. It's been a sad week for Lexi, but we look forward to brighter days ahead.

Lexi adores the boys and her Daddy. Her face lights up when they walk into the room. She endures Gavin's occasional abuse with relative ease. I look forward to those two being good friends.

This is a season of firsts for Lexi. She flew on airplanes for the first time this month, and also visited Arizona for the first time. Her first Halloween and Thanksgiving have passed, and soon she'll enjoy her first Christmas. We sure enjoy life with our little girl!

pass it on!

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