This year Ellie has been going to ballet class. She LOVES it, and I often find her dancing all over the house! Her favorite movie right now is Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses, and she tries to copy the ballet moves each time she watches it. It is so much fun to see her enjoying ballet so much! Last weekend she had her ballet recital. She was very nervous, but did a great job! My mom and one of my nieces made a trip up from Oregon to watch Ellie, and of course Jared, Parker and I went to see her. There were 8 girls in her class. They all looked so cute dressed up in their ballet costumes! And I think they all had a lot of fun!
Ellie in her recital costume - so cute:)
The back of Ellie's costume
Some of the girls practicing before the recital
Part of the girls' dance was to "grow like flowers"
Ellie and Daddy after the recital. Daddy was so proud!
When I was in high school, there was a period of time when my small group leader rarely had a prayer request. She often said that she felt as if she were in a "summer" season in her life - in other words all was going well. She was thankful for her kids and her husband, and though sometimes unpleasant things came her way, she just seemed to have an attitude that was joyful no matter what. She would sometimes say that she wondered if maybe a "winter" was coming - that maybe some tragedy would happen because things had been so "right" for so long. And yet her "summer" continued. I always envied her life a little during those years, and hoped that someday my life would be something similar.
Well, in thinking over the recent months, I am realizing that I feel as though I am in a "summer" in my life. No, I don't have everything I could ever wish for, but yet really I do. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally. Who provides for my needs and the needs of our children. Who loves the Lord, and serves Him faithfully every day. Who romances me, makes me laugh, enjoys spending time with me. I have two wonderful children, who bless me every day. To hear them laugh makes my heart melt - every time. They are kind, and generous, polite. They make me proud. They are not perfect - nobody is - but they are such wonderful children. And already they both love the Lord. In fact, just yesterday Parker told me for the first time, in his two-year-old excitement, "Mom, I love God!" I have an amazing extended family, both on my side and on Jared's. Our families are supportive and encouraging. I have good friends. I have good health. I have everything I need, and also so much that I don't need, but that just makes life sweeter. And the One who gives it all to me is my Heavenly Father.
I would not change a thing about my life. I am so blessed. I feel more blessed now than I ever have. And yet I believe that it is not only my circumstances that have changed to make me feel this way, but more importantly my attitude. I can choose to focus on the things I want, that maybe I don't have. Or I can choose to focus on the wonderful things that I do have. And today that is what I choose to do. And while it is winter and a little bit chilly outside, inside it is a warm and wonderful summer!
This past weekend something amazing happened - I had the whole weekend alone with my hubby! Jared is really into bird hunting, and since we've moved he hasn't had many chances to hunt. He just doesn't know where to hunt on this side of the mountains yet, and it's quite a drive to hunt on the other side of the mountains. Well, the end of the hunting season is quickly approaching, and I wanted to make sure that he had another chance to hunt this year. So I made sure he could have the time off work, asked his parents to watch the kids, and booked a hotel room for this past weekend. I was going to surprise him, but I ended up telling him about it. We drove over on Friday night, hunted Saturday and Sunday, and came home Sunday evening. It was so nice having that time together, just the two of us! I used to go hunting with Jared pretty often when we were first married, and I don't think I had gone with him at all since having kids. We sat and waited for geese to fly in the mornings, and then hiked around and hunted ducks and quail in the afternoons. The weather was really cold, but it didn't rain or snow on us. What a blessing is was to spend a whole weekend together! It is so important to take that time for our marriage, but all too often we don't take the time. One of our newest goals is to take more time for each other!
Jared and me waiting for some of the geese to fly
A porcupine we came across - he was in a tree and Jared got nice and close for a picture (with his gun in hand just in case).
We had a very fun New Year's Eve this year. Actually, we had 2 very fun New Year's Eves! A few days before New Year's Eve, the kids and I went with a friend of ours to a local mall where they have a celebration every night for about a month before Christmas and then after Christmas until New Year's Eve. For the week before New Year's Eve, they have a "New Year's Eve" party every night. It takes place along the sidewalk, and there is music; drummers all dressed up playing drums; dancing bears, mice, etc.; people on stilts; confetti. They pass out noisemakers, and everyone blows them. Of course, this party goes from 7-7:30pm, not until midnight, but it was very fun, and I think both of the kids really enjoyed it!
Then came the real New Year's Eve. Jared had to work, so the kids and I decided to have our own little New Year's Eve party, and they both stayed up until midnight. We had special snacks, strawberry soda in special glasses, played games, danced, watched movies, and then blow our noisemakers and yelled, "Happy New Year!" It was a lot of fun, and thankfully the kids both slept in the next morning:)
I realized that I have yet to blog about our recent Christmas celebrations, so here I am, a couple weeks late. The weekend before Christmas, we had our own little family Christmas morning here at our house, since we would be gone on Christmas morning. I made our traditional Christmas breakfast, biscuits and gravy. The kids received one gift from Jared and I - a children's table and chairs set that we thought would be too large to take over the mountains and back - and we all opened our gifts from my side of the family (they had sent them with us when we came home from Thanksgiving). The rest of our day was just a normal Saturday.
The night before Christmas Eve, we packed into our car and drove over the mountains to stay with Jared's family. Jared's sister and her family were staying there, too, and it was lots of fun for Ellie and Parker to play with their cousin, Kya. We were also able to see Jared's other sister every day while we were there. On Christmas Eve Jared went hunting then came back and joined the rest of us at the Christmas Eve service. Then was the living nativity - Ellie and I were angels this year. Then we went back to the house for a late dinner and the opening of most of the gifts. It was a great time, and the kids were all so excited and entertaining!
Christmas morning we woke up and opened stockings, and our family opened the rest of our presents. Then we got ready for a Christmas dinner up at Jared's grandma's house, with extended family. We were able to stay one more day after Christmas (Jared hunted again that day), and then we made the drive back home the next morning. It was such a fun Christmas! It was wonderful to see family, to play in the snow, to enjoy time spent together!
Ellie and me before the living nativity
Parker and Ellie in their new Christmas p.j.s on Christmas Eve
The kids looking for the "pickle" on Christmas morning
I'm a wife and mom, being blessed daily by a God who loves me. I've been married for 6 years, and am still learning every day how to be more of the wife God intended me to be. I also daily learn lessons in mothering, and my two kids teach me so much! I'm originally from a little town in Northwest Oregon, and now live in Western Washington, where my husband works at a Bible camp.