Merry Christmas!

This entry is a “Christmas letter”, so Happy Holidays!   We thought we’d save a few trees this year, with an online letter.   But what a busy year it has been…new baby, new house and to top it off, a new niece, as well!  I think this time in our lives is composed of one exciting event after another!  Our 2nd daughter, Dahlia June was born in March.  My sister, Sandy, and her husband, Steve, gave birth to a little girl, Cullayn Elana, on December 5th (Sandy’s birthday!), and Brett’s brother, Bryan, and his wife, Jenn, are expecting a baby in May.  Matea & Dahlia are blessed to have so many cousins around their same age. 

As mentioned in previous posts, we moved from Ballard to Bellevue in September.  The girls have adjusted easily to the change in location.  I’m always amazed at how much more naturally they adjust to certain things than adults do!  I had to visit the old house in Ballard today to pick up something  that had been shipped there.  Matea said “our old house”, but seemed relatively unfazed by the event.  Yet, there I stood, with heavy nostalgia running through me, as I remembered bringing two new babies up those steps.  Oh well, change is inevitable and there are so many reasons to be thankful for this particular change.  We are very happy with the new house and feel like we found a unique spot.  Surrounded by walking trails, parks and nearby hiking, yet also fairly close to the urban lifestyle we appreciated in Ballard.  In the 4 months we have lived here, we have seen rabbits, deer, a barred owl and a bobcat in our back yard!  You would think we moved out to the middle of nowhere, yet Bellevue Square is 10 minutes away; downtown Seattle only 20 minutes away. 

Matea has changed immensely over the past year.  Like most 2-and-a-half-year-olds, we are constantly laughing at the funny things she says & does.  She LOVES stories…either told to her, or she’ll make them up herself.  She can spend hours in her bed telling a story to her stuffed animals.  She is usually the main character in the story and she goes on elaborate adventures.  She has a grasp on Spanish, attends a class once a week and we attempt to make Monday’s “Spanish day” here at home.  Besides story-telling and “make believe”, she loves to help us cook, loves to sing songs, being outside and loves her baby sister, who she always refers to as “Daya June”.

Dahlia is 9 months old and is about as adorable as can be (in our very biased opinion).  I keep telling her to stop growing because I already miss the little infant she was a few months ago.  She smiles and waves a lot and reciprocates the love for her older sister, times ten!  They are in the very beginning stages of playing together, but I know we have a way to go before that is truly established.  She has a great, muffled little laugh.  They say that laughing is good for you.  I swear, that as a parent, to hear your kids laugh is just as therapeutic as laughing yourself, if not more.  Unfortunately, with a baby and 2 year-old, the cries and screams are as frequent as the laughs, but you take the bad with the good, I suppose.

Brett is still enjoying his job.  He will be happy to wrap up a major project in February.  Work keeps him very busy, but reducing his commute has added a great deal of stress relief and more time with the family.  For me, being home with the girls is an immense amount of work, but also so much fun.   As far as the year ahead, we are looking forward to a family vacation in March and a summer of exploring our new surroundings.  Matea will start pre-school in the fall.  We hope to spend more time with our friends and family.  I started this entry by saying what a busy year it has been.  Although that is certainly true, we continually try to stay focused on the small and precious things in our lives.   I posted some photos above of everything from Thanksgiving & finding our Christmas tree, to Matea’s new “big girl bed” and some of those small and simple moments around the house.   I’ll post some Christmas photos after the big day.  In the meantime, enjoy a fun & festive holiday season and may your blessings be many in the year ahead.

Love, Brett, Mandy, Matea & Dahlia

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