Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

I have to admit, as great as this year was, I am so glad to be done!! I think all of our little family looked at the end of this year as the time we could all finally be together for the foreseeable future. I feel a sense of accomplishment just making it to the end of the year! Right now we are in Arizona for two months before we ship off to Germany! (At least we think so... you can never tell with the military...) We are enjoying the warmer weather immensely! I went to the park with the kids the other day in a short-sleeved t-shirt!

Blake is glad to be home after spending the first half of the year in Iraq. He worked as a recruiter for a few months upon returning to Utah and then has been attending an intensive training course at Ft. Huachuca, AZ ever since. He has worked so hard this year in his career and we are so proud of him and all he does. He read a lot of history books while deployed and came back with a pretty impressive breadth of knowledge. Blake also had the opportunity to attend a few BYU football functions like Thursday's Hero, BYU Couples Night and a special Thursday's Heroes dinner. Being a huge Cougar fan, he loved every minute! Once he returned home for good, Blake and I were able to go to an event where we met Greg Mortensen and heard him speak. What an experience!! I don't think I have seen many people get a standing ovation before they even spoke a word. In case any of you missed it, here is the video of Blake coming home to Salt Lake City airport:

I have been keeping busy trying to keep my kids alive (much bigger job than one would expect), fixing up our home for renters, packing up the house for the move and some "just me" activities. Obviously the biggest event of the year was welcoming Blake home from Iraq. I am thrilled beyond words to have him back with us! You forget how stressed out you are until he comes home and the cloud you have lived under for a year has suddenly dissipated and you can see the sunshine again. It felt like a massive exhale. I had a piano recital this year in June and I recall being wedged in between the seven and ten-year-olds... at least that is how it felt in my mind. I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment when it was over. I also earned three of my karate belts this year, my yellow, orange and blue. It was VERY hard work and I was pretty sure I was going to die during the first test, but it was SO worth it! This was something I have wanted to get involved in since I was a child and really enjoyed learning so much. Other highlights include Blake sending me off to the Utah Shakespeare Festival (everyone should go!) by myself and going to the Orson Scott Card Writer's Workshop and listening to him speak for two whole days straight. Amazing!Logan is forever full of energy and curiosity. He wakes up at full speed ready to start the day. He started learning to read and I always marvel at how quickly kids progress when they put their mind to it. He loves learning about everything and generally going crazy. I often find myself watching him and thinking, "If I could harness your energy, I could take over the world!" (Not that there are any impending plans of world domination.... yet.)I am pretty sure he is the class clown at his school since every one of his classmates laugh whenever he approaches... like they are preparing themselves for the hilarity to come! He graduated from the Tiny Tiger program in our karate studio and I have really seen a lot of growth from when he started until now. We are very proud of him!

Chase is still our family teddy bear and loves to be silly and make people laugh. He has yet to learn his colors but he can identify at least 25 different dinosaurs and tell you the differences between them. Go figure. Speaking of dinosaurs... why talk about anything else in his presence?! Unless you are talking about trains... then it is ok. Chase was starting karate as we were leaving and loved calling himself "The Karate Kid" every time he put his uniform on. He is full of personality and always says the funniest things.Reagan is my giggler. She giggles all day long (when she isn't complaining about Logan, hahaha). She is a little smarty-pants and is already learning to read and doing basic geography. She loves princesses (I have no clue where she got that from) and dance. She had her first dance recital this year and she will pay rapt attention to the dance instructional DVDs we got her last Christmas. Right before we moved she was able to earn her purple belt in the Tiny Tigers program in karate, which was her goal when we started. She is so funny to watch when she is sword-fighting or flag-sparring because she is so busy laughing that she can hardly do anything. Reagan is a little spitfire and we adore her!

As this year comes to a close we fully recognize that we could not have gotten through these past two years without the support of our dear family, our amazing friends and incredible neighbors. You are such a blessing to us. It is hard for me to feel like I have taken more then I have given these last few years and I have learned a lot about letting go. You all have sent Blake messages (and packages) of support, put 30 American flags in out yard to welcome him home, helped me with my home/computer repairs, watched my kids, fed us, helped clean my house, gave a listening ear when I thought I couldn't do it anymore, and, quite honestly, kept me sane. All of you will be sorely missed and will always be an intricate part of our lives no matter where life takes us. We hope that this season finds you well and surrounded by those you care about. We love you all and wish you all the best!

Blake, Diane, Logan, Chase, and Reagan