Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas!

For a family who loves eating, baking, shopping, cooking, presents, decorating, crafts, hot chocolate, lattes, bundling up in the cold, reminiscing old times and gathering with family and friends, could there possibly be a more wonderful time of the year?

To say that we like food is an understatement. We love food! In our spare time, Stephen and I enjoy baking: a decadent chocolate cake with a creamy milk chocolate frosting or vanilla bean croissants (my new favorite) which take 3 days for the entire process. Stephen bakes Danish puff at least once a month and it makes it easier for Pear to go to bed if she knows she gets to partake in Danish puff in the morning. Stephen cooks up good food of all different ethnicities. He has a knack for melding herbs, spices and pairings within a meal. I don't especially enjoy Asian food, so any time I'm gone, that's what he makes for himself and the girls. I prefer to cook Italian, French, Mexican and of course American dishes. Stephen does all of these as well, (and usually better than I do, although he would never admit to it.) The bottom line is- we love food. We love having people over for meals. We love including our girls in the process of making food. We even enjoy watching geeky shows like Iron Chef America! The love for baking doesn't cease in this home. And we see this love for buttery goodness being passed down to the next generation. If you haven't been around Jovie recently- her cheeks do not lie. Her world revolves around food, especially sweet food. The excitement and joy seen on her face as a cookie appears in the room is enough to make everyone in the room stop and watch her enjoy the delectable bite she is about to take. Although Pear ingests half the quantity that Jovie does and is much more picky about the types of food she eats, her sweet tooth is almost as big and her desire to be in the kitchen baking, cooking and cleaning is very evident. It is a very familiar sight to see Pear pushing a chair up to the counter to help wash potatoes, make daddy a latte, mix a batch of cookies, frost a cupcake, salt the meat, smell the herbs, unload the dishwasher or whatever else we may be doing.

It's amazing to me that we've been in Olympia for 1 1/2 years now. Our duplex and the gift of owning a home continues to be a huge blessing, while at times causing us much grief. That may sound worse than it actually is. I guess a better way to put it is this: every time we start a new project or remodel another room, I begin to hear Pear saying words she normally wouldn't say. Words or phrases like: "piece of junk" or "freakin' dane-it". Stephen has done an amazing job remodeling, especially given the fact that he constantly has a little helper or two that he so graciously welcomes. Over the summer, he gutted our bathroom. Let's just say it was disgusting and now it is gorgeous, probably the nicest room in our house! We now have a nice front yard and an entry way with nice pavers. Our kitchen is halfway complete and we hope have it finished by spring. And the list goes on. The life of a homeowner!

Did I mention that Pear is a princess? If I didn't, take note. You may call her Pear or you may call her Princess Pear. If you mistake her for anyone else such as stinker, googly bear, pumpkin, cupcake, monkey, etc., you will get one of two things: a glare and short retort, "I'm not _____ I'm a pwincess!" or a devastated child that cries as if you are trying to shatter her beliefs and tell her that she might not be a princess, "but I thought I was a pwincess." And Pear seems to have it figured out, if she is a princess, Jovie is also a princess. Although we can get away with calling Jovie other endearing names, we will often hear the same remarks if Pear is in her complete princess mode, "but mom, Jovie is a pwincess, not a chunky monkey!"

Either I have been eating far too many doughnuts or I have a baby growing in my tummy! I think the latter to be true for two reasons: One- there isn't a good doughnut shop within a 15 minute radius. And two- I can feel the kicking of little feet right now. We are 18 weeks along and due May 13, 2010. We find out whether we'll have a little boy or a little girl on December 23rd.

Stephen and I are so blessed. We are happily married. We have 2 children (Pear will be 3 in February and Jovie just turned 1) and another on the way. We own a home (the rent from the other unit in our duplex sure does help out with the mortgage!). We upgraded Stephen's junky VW Jetta to a new Toyota van. Stephen has a great job as an Enterprise Technology Architect for DSHS. We have good health. We have wonderful parents, siblings, family and friends. As you may have guessed, having food on the table isn't a problem in this home. We have a God whose grace is sufficient and who sent his son as a baby so that we can be saved. And that same God chose us to be HIS children. Could we ask for anything more? I certainly don't think so but as the years go by the list just gets longer and longer.

Merry Christmas and may you too be blessed in Christ!

Paige, Stephen, Pear, Jovie, and baby.

A note from Stephen:

As I was reading Paige’s letter above, I kept wanting to interject my highlights and thoughts. So instead of mucking about in her sentences, I decided to throw in my notes as an addendum. Paige really did highlight the 3 major areas of our life: kids, food, and our house. Outside of that set, there were several activities that I would like to call attention to. I went on a fantastic backpacking trip in May with 12 good friends. We hiked to Toleak Point and camped on the beach. The weather was sunny in the low eighties with no wind, I had to keep reminding myself that I was sitting on a beach, on the Pacific Ocean, in Washington State, and I wasn’t wearing a parka and mittens or being pelted in the face with sand. It really was a special trip. If you want to see pictures of the trip you can visit my blog http://sbackholm.blogspot.com. Secondly, THE highlight of the year for me was going to Maui for 5 days in November with Paige. We left the kids with Paige’s parents, and did nothing but snorkel and lay on the beach the whole trip. I now see why people go to Hawaii.


Regards,
Stephen



Thanks to Michelle at Candid Reflections for the wonderful photographs.

2 comments:

McFamily said...

Great Christmas letter, it made me hungry :)

Merry Christmas!

Emily P. said...

I LOVE all of your pictures. They are just beautiful!