Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

I am saving some paper this year and just posting my Christmas letter! Of course, I did send out cards so I guess that negates it, doesn't it? (By the way, I am aware that I made a grammatical error on my Christmas cards, for those that noticed... ha!)

This year has been an eventful one for our family. We started out the year in Sierra Vista, Arizona and moved back into our old house in Clearfield, Utah in April since Blake was deploying. Blake had training in Kansas for three months and then shipped out to Iraq for a year on August 1st. We all miss him like crazy. The whole dynamic of the family is so different with him gone. We are counting down the days until he will be home... as of today, it is 225 days left. (Yes, we are LITERALLY counting down the days!)

Logan is still as energetic as ever! I don't know where he gets all his energy from; it certainly isn't me! He is always getting into mischief, but when he gets caught is very repentant and says "Ok, Mom. I will not ever do that again." He is really at his best when I let him be a helper. He wants to get everything just right and tries to act very adult about it. He has been participating in tumbling and karate for most of the year. Karate was a tough change for him at first and for the first six weeks, I was wondering if it was wise to put him in there, but he has risen to the challenge well. He is currently an orange belt and will be testing for his blue belt at the beginning of the year. He just started preschool this month and is loving it!

Reagan, like Logan, can't stop moving. I am pretty sure she has restless-limb syndrome. It is funny to see her in church, sitting so quietly, except for her legs which are going every which way. (I swear, it is like her legs are independent from the rest of her body!) It is interesting to see how much faster girls develop than boys. She is already going to Logan's preschool, even though she missed the age cut-off by a month, and she is loving it. She is also in dance and karate and likes both though dance is where she really seems in her element. She shows up eager and excited and leaves happy and with a smile. She talks so well and gets concepts so fast that it startles me sometimes and she often asks questions about things that make me stop and wonder "How old ARE you?!" She is developing WAY too fast for me! She is even starting to adopt her little attitude now too and I am learning to deal with that one... it is like having a miniature teenager in the house!

Chase is my little momma's boy. He has always been my best hugger from the time he was a little baby and still gives big hugs to any who ask him for it. He loves trains and carries one with him almost constantly. He is not ready for the same activities his siblings are in (again, so interesting to see the developmental difference between girls and boys when you have girl/boy twins!) and so just the two of us hang-out quite a bit. I am starting to actually be able to understand 70% of what he says now and he is becoming quite a chatter-box. Chase is constantly trying to sit on my lap and demand my full attention so he can tell me about a truck, or train, or a social injustice that he feels isn't being addressed (usually involving his siblings). When he is really angry, he yells "I am going TIMEOUT!" I try really hard not to crack up at that. He is loving this Christmas season since he has an obsession with bells and tries to take them off of every decoration he can get his hands on. You will usually find him dawdling behind our little group staring at some object he finds fascinating and not paying attention to anything else.

Blake is stuck in a little camp in the middle of the desert on the Iraq/Iran border called Camp Minden. Right now is the rainy season and it is making all the sand and tents and muddy, dirty mess. He says that his OCD is taking quite a beating there and I can imagine that is true! I am sure he will have many stories when he returns. He says that he is really appreciative of all the support of his friends and family and we both have been really touched at the outpouring of support we have seen for him! Thank you!

I have been trying learn how to balance everything at home and not go crazy. I have a profound respect for single parents now... and I don't have to worry about the financial aspect. I have come to really understand the concepts of "not enough hours in a day" and "bone-tired." I have been able to do a few things on my own agenda though, which has been nice. I have been wanting to take up piano for some time now and, starting in September, I have been able to do that. We have a Christmas recital tomorrow that I am anxious about. AAAHHHHHH!!!! I have also began applying for Masters' programs to start school next year! It seems forever since I have been a student and I wonder if my brain still functions.

Our dogs, for those you who care, are nine and eight-years-old now! Time sure flies! We found out this year that Marley is going blind in one eye and last year she had cancer! I hope that this doesn't become a pattern for her, poor baby! She is coping quite well with the problem though and is just a little more clingy than she usually was. Maddie is doing well and still wants to act like a puppy and chase balls all day even though her knees won't support it. They spend most of their days sleeping like yen and yang on the dog bed. It has been nice having them while Blake is gone because, even though they are small, I know that they'd bark if the strange noises in the house were anything to worry about, lol.

It has been a challenging year for our family, but we have also grown so much (especially the kids). I am always astonished at how much they grow and how rapidly they develop everyday. The next year will provide new changes as well. Blake will be here to visit for two weeks in March and then will be home in August. Of course, home will be moving then and we will be around Kansas and Arizona until the beginning of the following year. Then in March 2011 we will be off to Germany! Life is an adventure! Hope all of you are having a Merry Christmas! We think of all of you often and keep you in our thoughts and prayers.


The Botill Family

Blake, Diane, Logan, Chase and Reagan

AND Maddie and Marley

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reagan and Logan's Christmas Program

Reagan and Logan both go to Syracuse Dance Academy. Logan for tumbling and Reagan for dance... just so you know that I am not forcing Logan to take dance! They had their Christmas "demonstration." They are just showing what they can do so far this year. Reagan's was really cute. I got such a kick out of it. You can tell that Logan is just so excited to be able to run and jump around without getting in trouble for it. Hahahaha!

Friday, December 11, 2009

My BIG Girl...

My little three-year-old girl, Reagan, has just been growing by leaps and bounds lately. Is it incredible, by the way, how much more mature girls are than boys! She has been doing really well in her dance class and has been wanting to go into karate for sometime now. I have been reluctant, because (besides the cost!) karate demands a lot and I didn't know if Reagan could handle it. Well, a good and bad thing happened: Logan got a new karate teacher. His old teacher was perfect for Logan... didn't let him get away with anything and pushed him to get better. Logan needs that. This new teacher is quite young and is just learning (which we all have to do at some point, right?) and lets him get away with a lot more. His style is perfect for Reagan, though, since she needs more gentle guidance. So I finally signed her up and she was so stinkin' cute!!! She followed instruction so well and loved it!

She was also accepted into preschool even though her birthday is the 23rd of September and the cut-off is the 1st. I, FINALLY, found an awesome preschool for her and Logan. Her teacher says she is doing wonderfully, despite her being so young. I have been paranoid that I might be stressing her out and been watching her like a hawk, but she does it all with such excitement. I am so proud of her!

Side note: Ok, I know some of you are going to laugh at me for saying this, but I have to.... I hate Reagan's hair in these pictures... I went last week to get her hair cut and asked for an a-line bob that was stacked in the back. (I like having a good quality style cut for her, since she is rarely able to keep anything in her hair for very long.) Instead, the lady did this choppy, knarly looking haircut. It was like she didn't even bother making the stacked back either... it is just some choppy layers. Ggggrrrr! (You laugh, but even some of my friends admitted that this was a badly done haircut.) I'm going to get it fixed tomorrow!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Logan Turns Five!

I can't believe my little man turned five! No stopping the clock apparently; no matter how hard I try! This lucky kid had three birthday parties though. Yep, three! He had the first one with two of his cousins on Blake's side of the family during our usual Sunday dinner and had the next one with my side the day before Thanksgiving since my brother's family was with us at my parent's house. We made homemade mini pizzas and had a bonfire afterward. (My mom is a closet pyro and will take any opportunity she can of lighting something on fire... legally, of course.) The last one he had with his friends at Classic Skate, which has video games, bowling, skating, 3 blow-up castles, 3 blow-up slides and this huge pirate's cove climbing/slide/ropes/obstacle course... in short, a lot of things to get kids exhausted!