Saturday, December 25, 2010

Montana Christmas

Well, Christmas is here. I don't think since growing up in Idaho have we had a more peaceful and relaxed holiday. No parties to go to, no over abundance of food to feel remorseful about eating (Though, honestly I never feel that remorseful.)
For the first time in the history of our family it is just us - Kyle, Rita, Colton and Alex. I'll admit I'm really enjoying this holiday. I have loved the simplicity we have adopted. I love just being us for the day. I love that Colton has the time to really enjoy the gifts he received without being rushed to the next place... but, along with the blessing and relief this Christmas has brought me, there is this feeling that something is missing. When I thought about what it could be, I was shocked to realize that I miss the business of the season. Running from gathering to gathering, visiting family and friends. I miss catching up on the year of events with loved ones that we have been too busy to see the rest of the year.
So, though I have loved the solitude of this holiday. I am quite relieved that this is the only one that I can expect to have without being surrounded by friends and family.

So, that all said this is how we have spent our single Montana Christmas....
For our family the fun has been with Colton. He (now 4 years old) is ready to get a good grasp on what the holiday is all about. Of course we want to encorage the true meaning of Christmas, the birth and purpose of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, all month long we have anticipated the holiday by celebrating the Christmas Advent. Every night after dinner we have lit the advent candles and done a short devotion regarding the Christmas story. This is the first year we have done this. It was so enjoyable for our whole family that I hope it will become an annual tradition, wherever we are.

Also, because of our upcoming move back to Michigan (we are due to leave in 10 days) we decided to forgo a tree. This was a very difficult decision. I have from the moment we moved here looked forward to going up the mountain and picking out a wild fir tree like we did when I was a kid. But alas with the final preparations of our move to commence this coming week. We decided as a family that skipping the Christmas tree would make life a whole lot simpler.
Instead, Colton and I made a picture of a Christmas tree and put it on an empty book self. As it turns out an empty book shelf makes quite a nice Christmas tree. Presents fit nicely in the shelves allowing them to be displayed. The above picture is what Colton and Alex awoke to Christmas morning, prior to today the bookshelf has been relatively empty.
This year has also marked Coltons very real interest in Santa Claus. We did our best to introduce who Santa Clause really is in the telling of the story of St. Nicholas. But he was very wrapped up in the idea of flying reindeer and a jolly man in a red suit. So, we did our duty and left the milk and cookies. In the morning Colton was delighted to know that St. Nick had indeed visited, eaten the cookies, drank the milk and was so kind as to deliver all the presents he had been waiting for from all his Grandma's and Grandpa's. I don't know how this will work year to year. But, we enjoyed playing along with his fantasy.
So, let the un-wrapping comence! Here is Alex enjoying his first Christmas present. Thank you Grandpa Pete and Grandma Meme.

Here is Colton enjoying one of his new gifts. Real water color paints, brushes and paper. Thank you Manna and Papa.

And of course the aftermath. Thank you all for the wonderful gifts. We love everything.

So, that pretty much wraps up our Montana Christmas, it has been a wonderful day. We hope yours was as joyful and peaceful as ours. MERRRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Of All things...

You know, when we moved out here, I knew that we would move around a bit. But never in my wildest dreams did I figure that: A) we would need to move so soon, and B) that the move would be back to Michigan.
Yep, you heard right we are headed back to flat land. Why, You would ask? Mainly the reason is because we have not been able to sell our house back there. We have tried renting it and let me just say that being a land lord is not for the faint of heart. And it is even harder when you live 1,800 miles away. Thought it could have been much worse. It was still bad enough that we never want to have to be land lords again. And since we had no prospects for anyone looking at the house, let alone buying it. We have decided that heading back to Michigan, and eeking out a living until we are able to sell the place will be the best financial decision for our family.

Gosh! this has been an awesome experience, one we will never forget that is for sure. But, I will admit that there are a few things I look forward to as we head east.
#1, grocery stores being less than a half hour away. I will admit that I will enjoy the convenience of shopping once a week, though we are Costco converts for sure and still plan to get most of our staples there on a monthly bases.
#2 For a northern state, gardening is much easier there than here. Though if we were planning to stay here I had a full plan of attack to make things work.
#3 Of course our friends and family. Though this one is a toss up as we have met so many nice people out here that we will be sad to leave. It will be nice though for the boy's to be near their grandparents and for Alex to meet his many Great-Grandparents.

So, the "when" of all this looks like the first week of Januray. Should be another adventure as we attempt to move cross-country in the middle of winter...sigh.... yet again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Colton's 4th Birthday

Had a wonderful time celebrating Coltons 4th Birthday on December 2nd. Time sure does fly.
We kept thing simple this year just the family.
I had the opportunity to make his birthday cake for the first time ever. It was great fun, and even better because he helped every step of the way...

Making the cake.

Alex was a cheerful helper too.

Of course we had to test the batter...yep it was good.

Time to paint some dinosaurs (gift from mom and dad)

Colton helping decorate, he is a great helper.

The finished product. Designed by Colton. Everything about the cake he picked out. The horses are from his collection. and the tractor was new just for this purpose. Turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.

We had the Hatches down for cake and ice cream. Here Colton is blowing out his candles.

Very happy boy, a remote control backhoe. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Hatch.

Time to wind down, sleeping in the new John Deere sheets from Manna and Papa. It was a good day.