Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Christmas Card

(click on the photo to enlarge)
As pictures typically capture the good times and happy faces, it was a great exercise in gratitude to go through photos and create our traditional annual Christmas card collage. Sure, we've had plenty of hard times (involving far more hard work and stress than is probably healthy - a big resolution for 2012 is to slow things down...) but I'm struck by the beauty we've experienced, the great people and places we've enjoyed, how cute the kids are, and how many fun and wonderful adventures we've had.  All in all, the good stuff in 2011 has far outweighed the not-so-good stuff.

Here's an overview of the year (mostly represented in the photo collage above):
  • HOME: We've lived here for just over a year now and this is really feeling like home. The kids finally settled on a name for our beautiful old house - Ida Mimzy.  Ida is my great grandmother's name and was one of the top names in the 1880's when this house was built. And Mimzy - the kids came up with it and I think it adds a little whimsy to the whole thing. We've done plenty of projects to get Ida whipped into shape and she sure has her quirks but we love our house and neighborhood dearly.  
  • SCHOOL: We've had our scholastic challenges this year as the kids have gradually adjusted to a good school that makes them tow the line academically and encourages some stretching that is uncomfortable for some of the kids. Eliza begs for extra homework and projects, Isaac bemoans the hours he has to put into homework but faithfully plows through, Ashton has a hard time remembering that he has homework at all which presents some problems, and the twins whip through everything easily and are reading up a storm. So if you average out how everyone's doing academically, I guess we're at a nice level "fine" when it comes to school.
  • SNOW: Having spent 6 years in the Bay Area and then 6 years in St George, snow is a pretty new thing for our kids. And last winter it kept snowing through April!  The kids built countless snowmen, became fearless sledders, and impressed us with how quickly they took to the ski slopes. This year we've been low on snow and we're all crossing our fingers for at least some Christmas flurries. 
  • SPRING BREAK ROAD TRIP: Our spring break trip this year involved great adventures and loads of family bonding time in the car (so grateful for audio books and kids who are old enough to be pretty civilized during car trips). We went to visit my brother Jonah and family on the Olympic peninsula and had a great time exploring Seattle, hiking in the lush rain forests of the Olympia National Park, visiting a beautiful old lighthouse on the Canadian border, hanging out with the Eyres' many cool farm animals, and relaxing with some of our favorite people. Then we drove down the coast and spent a few days in our beloved San Francisco with my sister Charity and Jared's sister Kathryn and family. We went up and down the roller coaster hills of San Fran, basked in the diversity and excitement of the city (the kids were especially impressed with the street performers and naked bike riders we saw), enjoyed a wonderful Easter at the Pritchett house and loved visiting our old house and ward (congregation) in San Jose.
  • HIKING AND BIKING: After enjoying 6 years of beautiful red rock biking and hiking in St George, we were sad to leave that behind when we moved here. But we've loved exploring great new hikes and bike rides in the mountains five minutes from our new home and we've been back to many of our old favorite hikes in St George this past year. The beauty, fresh air, bonding and exercise involved in hiking and biking has proven to be an important part of this family's well-being.
  • ASHTON, IDAHO (a.k.a. "the farm"): We've loved living nearer to Jared's mom and brother and the farm where Jared grew up. Some highlights at the farm this year included helping out with the annual Bull Sale, feeding cows, seeing the newborn calves, snowmobiling and sledding, jumping on the trampoline, riding around on huge tractors and combines, helping with the potato harvest, riding in the 4th of July parade, and enjoying time with scores of wonderful relatives. 
  • BEAR LAKE: As usual, we spent most of July at Bear Lake with most of the Eyre family. The kids enjoyed countless hours in the sun, water and sand with beloved cousins while the adults basked in great conversation, reading, games, beautiful scenery and togetherness. My sisters and I cooked and talked up a storm (we recorded a new series of Deliberate Mothering podcasts to capture some of our best conversations) and our husbands came up on weekends when they could. Isaac and Ashton became quite good water skiers and wake boarders, Eliza overcame her fears and got up on skis a couple times, and the twins drank a fair amount of the lake in their waterski attempts without exactly finding success. They were successful, however, in somehow starting an old tractor and taking their little cousin for a joy ride that miraculously did NOT result in any damage to people or property! Jared and I did our traditional 50-mile bike ride around Bear Lake for my birthday and I tried to learn to like running up and down the hilly road by the lake as I trained for the Grand Teton Relay. 
  • GRAND TETON RELAY: Jared and I whipped ourselves into shape so that we could spend 36 hours running and resting and laughing and covering 185 miles of beautiful terrain with 10 other Loosli family members on our relay team. It was gorgeous and grueling and amazingly fun. I was slow but steady. Jared was fast and strong. We're doing it again next year.
  • WORK: After relocating here a year ago for what seemed like a wonderful job for Jared, that job quickly went south. Jared had to jump off the sinking ship in March and he's been working full time on several exciting projects since then (which is great except that none of those projects are exactly lucrative quite yet). He's been able to combine his trucking and engineering knowledge to work on a very promising trucking-related product that will hopefully go to market in the near future. And it's been a huge blessing to have his help with The Power of Moms as we went through a total website redesign and added many new programs. He's helped make the website beautiful and functional and helped us reach our current audience of over 100,000 moms. We now have 100's of moms using our Mind Organization for Moms program and running Learning Circles in their own communities plus we held seven professional development Retreats for moms across the country during 2011. I've loved working with so many devoted, selfless, bright and wonderful women (especially my amazing partner, April) and I couldn't have done any of this without Jared's very active help and support. Jared and I are also still running our little preschool curriculum company, The Joy School Company, and enjoy working with the great ladies who run preschools using my parents' Joy School curriculum. 
  • CHURCH: We love the diversity of the good people in our church congregation. Jared works with the missionaries and I'm the Bear Scout den leader. We're so grateful for the chance to gather each Sunday to think about and talk about how we can become the people we're meant to be through the example and Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We hope that 2012 will bring us all great adventures, beauty, contributions, fun, love, joy and growth (without too much pain if possible!). We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Much love,
The Loosli Family


Rebecca said...

Merry Christmas! So glad you live here! xoxo

Jonah and Aja said...

Great job Saren! This is a great Christmas card.
Mele Kalikimaka,

April Perry said...

Great photos, Saren! And Merry Christmas!

Rich said...

Hey Saren, great to catch up with you through your blog. I've been "thumbing" through the pages for about 30 minutes and laughing at some of the 'stressful' posts. Thanks for taking the time to write. I'm going to set a goal to write something beyond my name this year.

By way of note, I hope that Snow Beast on your Christmas Card isn't meant to resemble a snowman. Tell engineer Jared, that one's not getting past the neighborhood approval committee.

Janine Cate said...

Great pictures and update. Merry Christmas.

the Geoff Davis said...

What a great card, Saren! It was so good to catch up on your adorable family. We're in St. George and wishing you still lived here so we could visit!
Merry Christmas! Darcie


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