Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Letter

To all our friends and family whom we sent a picture and well wishes but not a Christmas letter . . . here it is.

This blog is a recap of "a day in the life" so you can catch up by reading previous posts or check back for future musings. But, here's what we've been up to the last couple busy, fun filled weeks.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving for the first time in our new house. We moved in last year right before Christmas so it was a special time to celebrate a year of thankfulness. There was much to be thankful for - more than I could list. The food was delicious (thanks Dad for doing all the work) and the company was lively (Guesstures has never been so funny).

Yes - we are that family that the day after Thanksgiving, we go get the tree.




Then we pull out all the decorations and get busy. Our family Christmas gift was a new incredibly beautiful nativity set that will be a priceless treasure in our home for years and years and years to come.


And finally, we settle down to our favorite Christmas movie, "Elf" of which we can quote most of the lines. Good times. Besides, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!"


 

On December 13, our little bug turned 7 . . . siete in Spanish . . . seven . . . six plus one . . . 7. I am still in shock and awe. How can this be?


My little buddy who makes me laugh, loves to draw, loves to snuggle her momma, loves that she can read now so well, and continues to get sweeter and older by the day yet somehow still manages to be full of it . . . I can't believe you're seven but I am so proud and amazed by you. I have loved everyday (well . . . most everyday!!) and look forward to hundreds of days to come!!


(and yes - these pictures are from when she was 5 - you can't fault a momma for hanging on in her heart just a little bit . . . )

On the girls actual birthday, we let them choose where to eat and what to do as a family. This year Haley chose Sushi and mini-golf. Fun was had by all.


Over the weekend, Haley was surrounded by 10 little girls in celebration of her special day. They played Barbies, made fleece pillows, ate some yummy gluten free cake pops, and played some more Barbies!!


Haley had decided a while ago that she would like to get rid of her high in the sky bed for something lower to the ground. Grandma Merry and Grandpa Gerry decided to give Haley a bedroom revamp this year as a gift. In order to make this makeover happen, Grandma Merry and Mom took an all day trip to Ikea (thoroughly enjoying the meatballs and being absolutely amazed at the packing ability of the Ikea employees . . . I would have taken a picture of the car in it's ridiculously jam-packed glory but I couldn't move any limbs in my pushed up seat!!) The next step was a day of Mom and Dad dismantling the rather large bed unit (complete with a desk, closet, book shelves and a dresser) while carefully labeling it for the next owners to piece it together. (Know anyone who wants a super cool giant loft type bed?) And last but not least, a day of Marsh girls putting together and setting up the new room. Yup - you read that right. Hannah, Haley and Momma put together a bed, desk, set of drawers and a book shelf all by ourselves - Marsh girls don't quit!!




She absolutly adores it and got right to work at her desk.

We excitedly awaited the mail everyday and enjoyed each Christmas card that rolled it. We can't get enough at looking at the pictures on our door of all the people we love.


Mid-December, Grandma Boobah and Papa rented a large van, picked up Auntie and Ben, picked us up and swept us away for a evening of Christmas fun. We started at Bucca De Beppos for an absolutly delicious meal and then headed to Lights of Christmas (over one million lights wrapping and decorating and creating a fantasty world that's unbelievable!) Although it was raining, the sights far out weighed the wet . After all, we live in Western Washington right?





Christmas Eve we spent as a little family quiet at home enjoying each others company. Hannah played us some new Christmas songs she's been working on.

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And Haley read us one of our favorite Christmas story books.


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Christmas morning brought lots of surprises. Haley woke up, raced down the stairs and proclaimed loudly, "Thank you Santa, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!" Man I love this kid. We were surprised opening stockings and enjoyed giving gifts to each other. We cooked a mini Thanksgiving dinner together making it a mellow day of making memories.

On the 26th, we headed down south to celebrate with the Marsh family. Ryan, Travis' brother, made an amazing ham dinner that we couldn't get enough of and we exchanged gifts. Moses (the 3 1/2 year old) had a fantastic time as it's the perfect age to enjoy a lap full of presents!! After playing a hilarious game of headbands (Bonnie - how on earth did you guess "Julie Andrews" in five questions or less? And Ryan - Hannah's sorry "fireplace" was too hard!! hee hee), we headed down to Seattle to go ice skating (truly one of Hannah's biggest Christmas wishes!) The ride south was complete with a group singing of the twelve days of Christmas (maybe we should print the words next year?) The laughs were priceless. Skating was much harder than I remember it being eons ago - and Hannah fell exactly 63 times (or so) but each time she popped back up with a smile and carried on. From start to finish, it was a fantastic celebration together.




On the 27th, we headed up north to celebrate with the Stoebe family. As has become a yearly tradition, we joined Grandma and Papa at a hotel where they stayed the night before and set up a winter wonderland - a full size decorated tree, snowflakes all over the walls, and an overwhelming amount of presents. This year Namies was able to join us with was truly one of the most special gifts of the day. We opened "Grandma sacks" with are like over sized stockings filled to the brim with thoughtful presents for each person. At one point I looked around the room and saw four generations smiling and sharing in the joy of Christmas. We spent the day eating Papa's incredible cooking, trading gifts, and remembering stories of Christmas past. Their room was the presidential suite to allow enough space for everyone and the room included a large jacuzzi bathtub of which the kids took four baths over our two day stay! We spent the night right next door after staying up way to late playing games and eating homemade goodies (Made the weekend earlier at a very special new tradition - baking at A. Kays with grandma, auntie, namies, me and the girls. It truly was a priceless time!) We woke up the next morning (thankfully after sleeping in a bit) to eat breakfast at Grandma and Papa's next door diner, fit in one more bath for the girls, and play the packing tetris game before we headed back home.

I love this time of year. I love all the lights and sounds and family and fun. I love the decorations and the cards and the traditions revisited. I love when the kids are home from school (ok most of the time) and we can spend lazy days playing games or snuggling up to watch a movie. This time of year truly reminds me that in the scheme of life, the days can feel so long but truly the years are so short. From our family to yours, wishing you many blessings in the New Year.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

End of November 2012 Camera Dump

We have had quite a few fun filled memory making weeks this fall. I suppose it's a good thing that I have not spent a lot of time blogging as I'm been too busy living! But now, it's time to get it all out there. Instead of remembering every story about every event, I'll just dump the camera and fill in the blanks.

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It was crazy hair day at children's church one week . . . these girls love to do the crazy hair thing!

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Haley was invited to a birthday party at Jungle Play-land (a glorified hamster wheel for kids to jump and run and slide). Afterwards, as she couldn't eat the birthday cake with her gluten intolerance, I took her to Big Scoop for a cotton candy dish of ice cream.

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We carved our pumpkins together. Grandma and Jerry even helped. And we cooked some pumpkin seeds - one of my favorite traditions that I ruined by burning the whole tray. Whoops.

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For Halloween, we had Taylor Swift and a ballerina to walk around our new neighborhood. Daddy had to take a pre-trick-or-treat nap and we were good to go. We LOVE our new home and area in which we live. We truly enjoyed chatting with neighbors as we walked around.

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For Travis' birthday, his brother came up, left the kiddos with us, and took him for a day of celebration. (The abridged version of their adventure goes as follows: Ryan's car kicked up a piece of the road ruining the underside of his car causing them to loose all the oil in the car in front of the Starbucks head quarters rendering them officially stuck down in Seattle awaiting AAA tow truck to come a few hours later. Joy.) Meanwhile, the kiddos had a good time here. Hannah made Juniper a tea party which she absolutely loved. Sweet cousin memories.

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We took a trip up north to spend some time with my grandma. Hannah had a wonderful time giving Namies a makeover and making her "beautious" as Namies would say!

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I took my special 9 year old to "Secret Keeper Girl PJ Party" based on the incredible books by Dannah Gresh encouraging girls to love themselves and see themselves as God sees them. It teaches modesty and the true definition of beauty. It was filled with dances to learn, giant balloons to play with, a fashion show, humor for moms and their little girls and a special night we got to have together.

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I met up with some great great great friends from high school for a night of lots of laughing and yummy food at a local brewery. I have some fantastic friends now who will be in my life for a very long time but there is something so fun about spending time with those who knew you when and can laugh until we cry about some of the experiences we had together. (Jill you're on for January!!)

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And finally, yes, we are those people who, the day after Thanksgiving, rip down harvest decorations, pull out all the Christmas boxes, fill the house with Christmas music, go get our tree, set the house up and snuggle down to Elf, the best Christmas movie of all time.

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That should catch you up on the Marsh household. Hope you are yours are enjoying the magic of the holiday season! (And I better get a Christmas card . . . .)