Friday, January 02, 2009

Looking Back-Looking Forward-Enjoying The Present

The last twelve months for us have been great! That alone is a true blessing. During the first month of 2008 we moved back to our little cottage, in our little town, with our little family. We will be here for the next two years or so. Leif has continued with his schooling and is moving along great! We welcomed our second little boy, Caleb, in April. He has been a joy from day one. It is such a blessing to have a healthy baby. We love watching Jakob interact with his baby brother. He loves being a big brother!

Soon after Caleb was born and I was up and going, summer was upon us and we took full advantage of the fact that Leif didn't have work tying him down. My parents sponsored a trip throughout the the states of Illinois and into Missouri. We traveled for three weeks. We visited Nauvoo and Carthage jail. And we visited with family during the Westwood family reunion in Branson Missouri, along with many fun things in between. We desperately needed the trip. It had been a hard couple of years leading up to the trip and when we arrived home we felt re-energized. -Thank you so much Mom and Dad!! We will never forget the the precious time spent with you! -

After our trip we struggled a bit to find employment for Leif during the school months. But after much prayer and searching Leif was offered a position at the local Elementary and Middle school. He is their Office Aid/Lunch Coordinator/Character Counts Advisor. It keeps him busy and happy. But that is only his first job. He is also the local liaison for the Community College. He helps the local residents enroll in college classes as well as securing the faculty for our location. THEN, he is a full time student online with Northern Arizona University. He's working on a Business degree. Along with family life, these jobs, giving occasional massage therapy, and school, Leif is also the Primary Music Chorister every Sunday. Needless to say, Leif is a very busy man! Happy, but busy!

Jakob and I both started school this year as well. Jakob continued preschool. He LOVES everything about school. He also loves the ballet class he goes to each week. I started a Holistic Health Practitioner program this Fall. I have learned a lot and look forward to learning more as I continue. It is set up as a two year program. I also enrolled in some general education classes at the community college. I enjoyed them so much that I will be taking more classes every other semester. It's been really neat to have the chance to show Jakob the importance of education by example, rather then just by words.

Some how in between all of our responsibilities Leif and I made the time to fix up our house. The boys both have their own rooms now, the walls are painted, and it feel just like home. Words can not express how grateful we are to Leif's parents for their unselfish love. They have given this space to us unconditionally. We will forever be grateful for this home as well as the time we get to spend with Leif's family as we live so close to each other! - Thank you Mom and Dad! -

My life is full every day with the journey of being a wife, mother, and student. I am also blessed to work with the Young Women in our ward as the First Counselor in the presidency. It has been a great experience that has really helped me to get outside of myself a lot more.

As I said, this past year has been wonderful. It has been fun, happy, and stable. We feel truly blessed!

During the 2009 year we plan on continuing on the path that we're on. Leif will continue to build his education and serve the community. I will continue to enjoy my family, being especially happy that I'm not pregnant (I've been pregnant or recovering from pregnancy for a LONG time leading up to Caleb's birth) I will continue to work on loosing weight and getting healthy, continue my education, and continue to enjoy my time with the Young women and the ladies I serve with in the presidency. Jakob will continue to amaze us every day by his ability to bring us the greatest joys and the most aggravating frustrations all within one day. He will prepare for kindergarten and hopefully be able to start in the fall. He will also have his first dance recital this spring. Caleb will most likely be the one who changes the most this year. He will continue to be our little bright eyes. He will learn how to move around and then he'll start to talk. He will undoubtedly follow his big brother everywhere, chattering right along with him (Then I'll really feel schizophrenic!:). But oh how fun it all will be! As a family, we hope to improve our family scripture study, we look forward to a nice summer vacation(s) again, and just enjoying our everyday life together.

And for the present moment, Leif is ordering his school books for this upcoming semester, I am blogging (a common past time), Jakob is watching his Your Baby Can Read video and singing along with them, and Caleb is asleep.

Life is good!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Christmas 2008 Journey

We had a great trip to my parents house! We are also happy to be home. For no other reason then there is no place like home. Jakob walked in the door and his face lit up as he said, "I sure missed our house, did you miss it too?" I missed our soft Memory Foam mattress pad;).
Now it's time to give a run down of the events and fun memories:) There are many!

One of my favorite parts of a road trip is the chance we have to listen to a book on CD. On the Christmas road trips we always listen to Christmas themed books. This year was a series of three books by Donna VanLiere called The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing, and The Christmas Hope. They were tear jerkers. But they all had a great moral to them and filled us with the Christmas Spirit.

The whole trip was filled with Christmas parties and gathering and TONS of food! Jakob was also able to participate in the Nativity during primary in my parents ward. He was a wise man. He acted more like a "wise guy"! It was one of those moments as a mother when you wish you could either crawl in a hole, or rewind time and threaten your child with his life if he doesn't show his best self. Jakob decided that once he got up to the baby Jesus (in front of everyone) that he wanted to play guns with the other wise men. In our family, that was/is not acceptable in the church! So, Leif and I were not impressed and made sure we had a good talk with Jakob after the program. Ahh, the joys of raising boys:)

Jakob and Grandpa had a great time together! Grandpa even played play dough with him. Jakob was in Heaven! It was nice to see him play and interact with Grandma and Grandpa Hunt. He loves to spend time with them! We also got to spend time with Uncle Jared and his girlfriend Rachel. As well as Uncle Jason and his girlfriend Hannah. It was nice to have a few more people around that were willing to throw Jakob around a bit and hold Caleb. - Thanks Everyone!!!! -

We took the chance to go out with just our little family to ride the TRAX to see the Christmas lights on Temple Square. We also walked through the huge Conference Center. Luckily we were bundled up because it was cold. But it was a beautiful site and a fun memory. Jakob loved the train the most, of course. However, he loved to see the temple again and talk about the fact that Leif and I were married there.

On Christmas Eve my mom made a yummy dinner for all of us. There was only one major kitchen drama. The marshmallows on top of the yams started on fire. They were REALLY on fire and though I felt bad, I had to throw a glass of water on them to get the fire out. It was actually pretty funny. My mom is a great cook though, she was able to save the yams some how and no one could tell they had been such a mess at one point.

Christmas morning was fun as usual. Of course Jakob kind of thought the world revolved around him. But that was okay.:) It kind of did... We stuck with the three gift tradition. But somehow Santa didn't get the message. Next year we will really follow the plan. REALLY!:) I got spoiled too!! I got pearl earrings, books, aprons, and RAM for my computer! I was able to keep Leif's gifts a complete secret. This was not easy because he found a receipt for the gifts. Luckily he found the return receipt. I found his gift for a cheaper price online, so I returned the one I bought at the store. So he was clueless until Christmas morning when my brother brought in a big heavy package. It was the Collectors Edition of Calvin and Hobbs. - Thanks for helping me find a good deal Heather and Ty! - I also gave Leif a gift certificate for a massage at a spa. He deserves it! We tried really hard to help Jakob understand the true meaning of Christmas this year. I think he got the message. That makes everything worth it!

A couple of days before we left for home we FINALLY went to visit my grandpa Hunt and Grandma Pat. It was the first time that Jakob was really able to comprehend that they were his grandparents too. It had been WAY too long since we had visited them!! - I'm so sorry about that!! - We had a wonderful visit. My Grandpa has the gift of writing. He read us a few of his poems and letters to his family. We also took pictures and visited for a long time. We also loved to go out and see all of the Christmas lights that cover their house and yard every Christmas. Sometimes we put the most important things off in our life and don't even realize it until it's almost too late...

When the girls were in the hospital, Leif and I decided that we would start a family tradition. We decided that on the Christmas years that we were near the hospital that we stayed in, we would take a gift or two for some of the families that had babies in the NICU. We did that this year. It was a sweet experience. We took two Willow Tree Healing Angel figurines. We took the kids with us and presented them to the NICU nurse. We asked them to decide who might benefit from them the most. I hope that it brings the comfort to them that we intended. It brought us comfort and peace...

In between all of these fun times and memories we had a lot of snow and some sickness. But we didn't let that stop us from using the gift that my brother Jared gave us.
He gave Leif and I tickets to the Jazz game. We took Caleb with us and left Jakob to have special time with Grandma and Grandpa. We had a great time! - Thanks so much Jared! -

- Thanks everyone for the great time!! We had a Westwood family party. It was fun to finally meet you Steph. We really missed all of you who were snowed in!!! Hopefully we'll catch up with you sooner or later. Are any of you planning a trip out to Missouri this summer? Please let us know if you are! We're thinking of driving out if the gas prices stay low. -
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