Monday, December 01, 2008

Our Christmas Letter

This is for the few people who got our Christmas card and picture and just checked out our blog for the first time. Here is our year in review:

Another year of adventures, fun, and challenges is behind us and shines perspective on what is to come. In leu of a paper Christmas letter this year, I decided to keep everything online. I blog at least a few times a weeks, so there wouldn't be anything revealed in a Christmas letter that you don't already know if you read Peters Paradise. We've had a good year and I'll recap:

Christmas last year found us surrounded by family and we celebrated the season with many get togethers, delicious cooking, and lots of gifts. Each year, when I start to get overwhelmed by all we have to do for Christmas, all I have to do is look around at the extended family we are so blessed to be part of and be close to. Being surrounded by all our family at this time of year is the best part!

We took off for a few days to Klamath Falls as a family in January. A blizzard snowed us in our cabin for a few extra days, but we didn’t mind. There was a hill right next to the house and we sledded every day and made snow people. It was the perfect way to enjoy winter since we rarely get snow at home. (Except this year where we had snow for almost 2 weeks right before Christmas.)

The winter is always gone before we know it and Jeff starts farming and working long hours again. I went on a trip to visit friends and family on the East Coast in May. Mandy accompanied me on the airplane and gave me many experiences that challenged my endurance as a mom. She didn't enjoy being cooped up in our shared seat; during one fit, she thru squash baby food all over the 20-something, preppy guy in the seat beside us. Mandy and I made it to Tennessee where I spent 3 days with my friend Laura and her husband in Nashville and my friend Hillary came also from her home in San Francisco for the visit. We shopped and toured and talked and talked some more. I've known Laura and Hillary for 12 year now and every time we are together, years fade away and our conversations are easy. Since I was already on the east coast, I then flew to Washington DC where my cousin Jessi took me on a whirlwind tour of the city. I stayed just 2 nights there, but had a wonderful time with my cousin and seeing such an amazing city.

As always the summer was full of working. The girls were a lot of fun and loved being outside. We made daily treks to find Daddy in the field and also enjoyed Jeff’s aunt, Janice, home from Africa for the summer months. Gathering to eat and be with family was the highlight of our days. I was busy this summer with photography sessions and enjoyed taking pictures for real customers for the first time. Senior portraits are my favorite. I officially started my business, complete with business cards. It is a creative outlet for me that I find challenging and really rewarding.

Emma is 4 years old now and we enjoy this delightful age. She is a sponge, taking in more than we realize until she repeats it back, amusing us with her intelligence and wit. She loves music and was singing along with “Dare to be a Daniel” when she suddenly stopped and said, “Daniel is my other name!” I confirmed to her that yes, Daniel was just like her middle name, Danielle. I then asked her what her whole name was and she responded, “My name is Emma Daniel Obey.” She is definitely listening. She is extremely determined, read stubborn, yet her developing personality also shows us that she is perceptive and thoughtful and compassionate.

Mandy is now 15 months and so much fun. She is almost always smiling. Mandy is social and tries to get people to smile back at her – it opens up many opportunities for conversation with strangers. Mandy is very busy and was scooting at 5 months and crawling at 7 months. She is now walking, carrying this and that around the house on unknown missions. She is surprisingly independent and would rather play by herself or sneak and steal her sister’s toys. Although they fight at times, the interaction between the girls is precious and a blessing I did not anticipate. Their early morning giggles make getting up easy and Emma often says to me, “I love this baby.”

Jeff’s life is immersed with the farm, but he also finds time for things he enjoys. He got an iPod this year and listened to hours and hours of sermons while he was working. I am in awe that he makes all those hours in the tractor/combine a learning opportunity. Watching him is a good example of how to grow your faith in the midst of a busy life. He is happiest when he is outdoors and goes out shooting with friends as often as he can. Our old house keeps him busy when he is home. I was very thankful for the work he did on my laundry room last winter, tiling and putting in cabinets. I love the shorter days in the winter and not just because I have my handyman around again, but because I love evenings with him home playing with the girls. Their favorite games are Hide and Seek, wrestling, and a frightening game where the girls go flying through the air on a leg catapult. Their laughter and love is my greatest joy.

We recently went on a trip to Canada and saw the beautiful Canadian Rockies in B.C. and Alberta. We stayed 3 days in the Canmore area before we drove to Saskatchewan to visit Amanda and Lindsay and family in Nipawin (3 hours north of Saskatoon). It was a blessing to be with their family and see the fulfilling life they have there, living and working on the campus of a small Christian college. We drove all night to skip a day of travel and rested in Cor D' Laine before heading home. We had a great time.

Jeff and I love our life together. In September, we went away by ourselves for the first time in almost 4 years while my parents watched the girls for 3 days. It was a refreshing time that reminded us both why we started this journey together. As parents, we feel blessed and our marriage is strong. We often say to each other, “Remember when…” about good times (and some bad too) from our 7 years together. The perspective we now have shows us how far we have come. We look forward to the blessings and even the challenges that are in our future. God is so good.

We hope this update finds you happy and healthy. We love hearing from you. Keeping in touch is easy for us with email at AJEPeters at gmail dot com.


Choco Girl said...

Love it! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Alysun, I love your blog and look forward to it. Your Christmas letter was great, even though I read your blog at least twice each week.
I love you and am so proud to be your Grammy