Sunday, December 23, 2007

Our (usually) annual news letter

If you didn't get an envelope that looked something like this, we probably didn't have your address, or perhaps we don't like you and were trying to avoid you, but most likely we knew that you at least occasionally read our blog and thought we'd save the money of paper, ink, and stamps to let you see it on here. If you are the people in the last group we've decided to reward you (for saving us money AND reading our so incredibly interesting blog) by posting lots of new pictures that I don't think we've posted yet. If you happen to be someone that DID get this envelope and do read are blog annonymously we'd ask that you'd comment occasionally so that we might know that you don't hate us.

Merry Christmas! -- and Happy New Year!
Our year has been quite eventful. At the beginning of January, Youssef started working as an independent retirement advisor and came to discover in the next 7 months that he really didn’t like working for himself and the uncertainty of a commission paycheck.
The highlight during that time for him was that we learned how to make sushi from our then-tenants who had grown up in Japan. When Youssef was looking for another job in August, we found out that our tenants were going to move (as their school was shifting and, they wanted to be in a different location). This was quite sad for us because they had not only become good friends of ours, but we were in a time of financial transition because of Youssef’s job change.
However, as always, God provided a new tenant right when we needed one! Then Youssef got a job as a reporter for the Newport Miner Newspaper. He rediscovered his place in the world as a writer and realized again that writing is what God has planned for him. He is doing a wonderful job and every now-and-again gets complimented by someone in the community or in the office about how he writes and how he is raising the quality of the paper.
To make Youssef’s happiness complete, Lynné has taken over doing the bills and finances as his commute doesn’t bring him back in town till after bank hours. Our family is thriving in this new arrangement. Every day when Youssef comes home, Lily runs to the window and says “Daddy here!” over and over as she jumps on the couch. They have become quite close this year; she lets Youssef put her down to sleep – which helps Lynné rest at night. Lily also loves to have Youssef’s undivided attention as he plays with her and throws her in the air even before he takes his coat off.

Lily has grown up so much this year. She will be 2-years-old January 4th and is already so independent. When she wakes up in the mornings, she usually plays for a while by herself or will get her milk out of the fridge and put in her own video to watch! Lynné loves this as she can sleep an extra half-hour or so!
Lily will also get things out of the fridge and bring them to Mommy if she’s hungry. This usually works quite well, but on occasion little bags of cookies that were supposed to go in Daddy’s lunch may be found scattered around the house. One or two might be open and could have nibble marks on them. She’s a very good girl though, and we just find things like that funny as she’s showing her independence and doing things for herself.
Her special big girl jobs are to put her shoes in the basket by the door when we come in the house (she’s been doing that for most of the year) and recently she’s been putting her PJs away and throwing her own diapers in the garbage. She also helps Lynné clean up by taking toys to her own room when asked (though she usually comes back with another toy, but at least it’s being played with.) She really enjoyed going to lots of parks this year to play on the slides. She still loves books and sometimes she prefers to “read” them all by herself (she uses a lot of sound effects). She’s talking a lot more (though, not on command) and loves to help Mommy bake and do other projects! She’s also excited about her little sister coming in March! She likes to pat Lynné’s tummy and say “sis sis sis” and other babbling words that we can’t quite make out yet. We can all see how this is just the right time for Renna to come as Lily has grown so much closer to her Daddy and is learning to do things for herself.

Speaking of a new baby, a lot of people have asked what we need for her. If you happen to be one of those people and are wondering right now, Lynne' has been going through everything that we have and taking note of what we need. Really, aside from possibly a few articles of clothing perhaps, there isn't much we need. However, Lynne' has been doing some research about babies sleeping and came across this special baby hammock-bed (recomended on the Dr Sears web site). It is not only medically proven to aid babies to sleep longer and better (from ones with colic, preemies, acid reflux, or just fussy babies that like to be held) it looks really comfy and will fit in our house so much easier than the crib that we have, which Lily always hated. Lynne' had a hard time laying Lily down when she was little because she hated to see her cry or be unsafe or be too far away. Now, with a toddler, she won't have the luxury of holding a newborn all the time. Also, what do parents of a newborn need the most? Sleep. So, if you'd like to help us save up for this wonderful sleep invention and were planning on sending us something for the new baby, please make checks payable to the "Tired Parents Who just Got Their Toddler to Sleep Well and Want to have an Easier Time with Their Second Newborn Fund."

Lynné, as always, had many projects going.
The main ones this year, however, seem to be scrapbooking (which is very appreciated by both Youssef and Lily) and her paper artwork. The artwork has been displayed in “The Good Works Gallery” in downtown Spokane (which is closing this December. Look for them at the Lavendar Festival or in other galleries and shops.) Everyone is quite impressed with the pictures’ unique quality. She’s made a few more since putting 6 in the gallery and the new ones have been scanned so that prints can be sold. The prints aren’t as interesting as the originals of course, but will be much more portable and will (hopefully) sell well.
It’s nice for Lynné to be able to do this from home since she has such a busy toddler and another baby on the way. Lily has special scissors that she gets to use when Mommy is working on projects. Right before clean up and snack time, the carpet is usually covered with little pieces of cut paper mingled with toys and cracker crumbs. She usually helps Mommy clean up though (with her own toy vacuum) and most of the time, Daddy comes home to a clean house (but not always). Youssef’s extra-work projects are done mostly on the ride to and from work.
This Christmas season has been lovely so far. We've made Saturday mornings special with family time and belgiun waffles. Lynné is always trying to make everyday things special too, with candles for dinner (that Lily tries to blow out), or a special story with hot chocolate or tea after dinner, and other little things. Lily loves chocolate (calling it “kalk”) and tea (that she can say perfectly!) As a family, we still enjoy going on walks together (even in the cold weather). Now, with the Christmas lights up around the neighborhood, Lily loves to look and gasp at them as we walk or drive by. Besides gasping at each lit house that she sees, she also points and says “PriEe dare” (pretty there), which is so fun to hear – when we are driving, a gasp or exclamation can be heard every minute or so.
The lights and the cookies of the season are more than enough to put yourself in a Christmasy state.
Do remember that the Christmas season comes about because of the Gift God gave us... and in His charge to his saints to "be holy as I am holy," we may offer gifts to each other.
Therefore, we don't just offer gifts to see the smile on the recipient's face. We offer gifts to help them. The smile is the icing on the cookie.


Ryan said...

Great pictures. Have a very merry Christmas you guys and we will have to get together soon.

Ryan said...

Great pictures. Have a very merry Christmas you guys and we will have to get together soon.

RickCapezza said...

I never know what to call Lynne's artwork, but that's a neat "picture."

"Also, what do parents of a newborn need the most? Sleep."

So true.

Did/does Lily have difficulty sleeping? Kyrie never did, but Antonio doesn't sleep quite as well.

Lynne' said...

Lily sleeps well when I hold her and when I was nurseing her she thought she needed that to sleep. At the begining of this year she woke up every two hours wanting me to nurse her and hold her (it was a little much for a one year old) I worked with her a lot though and now she sleeps through the night pretty well (just has a bad dream now and then but will go back to sleep pretty fast). So in some ways no, she actually was a good sleeper because she did sleep a lot it was just a lot of work on my part from the begining till now. She slept better in an upright on the shoulder possition when she was first born. I know she would have liked the Amby bed that I'd like to get for Renna. I had to wean her because it was so hard for her to only nurse a little since she thought she HAD to nurse to sleep (and being pregnant I was ready too). She mostly stays in her own bed now too and just snuggles in the morning (she's been pretty consistant about climbing in at 5:30am)... I think she just gets cold or something.

Forrest said...

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!! I really do not know how Rick and Rachel have done it for so long, for we have been gone only nine days and we really miss you all!