Winter baby

Just quick, baby Kate ready for cold weather (although it has been in the 50's a lot, crazy Winter!) This sweater was with my old doll clothes but my Mom told me I wore it as a baby.

She has such a cute elfish look! When Colin was a baby people frequently said he looked like a little elf, which I was a little offended by. I now full embrace my cute elf baby!
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A few days after Christmas, Brian's Mom Marilyn passed away from complication with ALS. We have been very sad for her loss, but are relieved she does not need to suffer anymore. Brian and I were able to travel to the Seattle area for her funeral last week and I am very grateful we both were there. It was a beautiful memorial. It think Marilyn has very good reason to be proud of her family. Brian's parents have done a lot of things right to raise such good kids.

Below are some words from Brian:

As the youngest for 5 years (before Brandon came along and ruined everything), I was my Mom's little pal. She was the most influential person in my young life, and even as a young man, she was the first person I wanted to share good news with, and the first person I would ask for advice from when I was confused. She was such a wonderful sounding board. I treasure the friendship that grew out of the regular conversations we had as I became an adult. It was hard when ALS took her voice, and we couldn't discuss life, the gospel, music, ideas, current events or anything else under the sun. I started trying to communicate by email more, and Mom sent me some beautiful messages that are so full of wisdom and insight. Here is an excerpt from one: "My life for almost the last decade has taught me more than the first 50 years combined. I certainly did not anticipate the serious trials... but looking back now I feel gratitude for the experience of living in a dark unknown and finding out for myself that the Lord really knows me by name and grants me sweet peace in the midst of frightening turmoil. Now dealing with loss of physical strength is almost automatic for laying my burdens on the Lord, because I have been lovingly schooled by the Spirit in the past. I feel so grateful for our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren. I feel that the Lord truly knew me and Dad to send us such amazing spirits to teach us the power of love. I am so thankful for eternal marriage and family relationships. I find myself very content with my lot with Dad giving me such loving care and the local family helping Dad as much as they can." Who else but Mom could confront the stark realities that lay ahead with such faith and grace? Her entire existence became a living extension of her testimony. I love you, Mom. And I know that there will be many times when I will want to reach for the phone to tell you about something exciting or ask for your opinion. But I know that you won't be far away, and I know that all that you shared with me will be a compass for any situation I could ever be confronted with. I wanted to send you the "Et Resurrexit" from Bach's Mass in b minor in those last days, because it is the music I think of when I consider where you now are- a place of utter light, complete triumph, joy and limitless possibility. (I can't wait to talk to you about the music you're listening to now). 'Til we meet again!


Forgot to publish this a while back. Since we are home a lot now, I long for life on the road. Funny, as crazy as traveling with kids is, once we got somewhere, it was a very simple life. I am finding being home with 3 kids much more of a challenge. Remember when we used to wander around places like Rome and go to festivals, like this one for La Befana? Yeah, that was a good time.
Befana did find our kids in Utah this year. She brought ribbon candy for the kids in their shoes. I think that is a tradition we will keep up as it is fun to celebrate Christmas through Jan. 6 (or 7th this year. She came a little late since she had to come all the way from Italy, so Colin was told.) We were only just barely recovering from our Trauma Christmas in early January.

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We happily said goodbye to 2011!! We had a quiet evening at home with some party hats, pizza, and fizzy apple juice. Brian set an alarm on his phone so we could do a count down at about 9pm.

Kate is our best from 2011. Trips to Rome and Warsaw were pretty good, but other things in the year were very hard.

I adore both those faces!!

Jane even has jammie get-ups.

The Martinelli's was quickly gone.

And we made faces.

The next morning I found that Jane had made a little party hat city with the fancy goblets.

We are very much looking forward to the new year!!

I would love a re-do of the entire month on December. After 5 years of pretty great family health (a few things here and there but nothing super terrible) we were all sick just in time for the holidays. Colin and Jane had it first, gave it to me, and then to my Mom. Very thankfully, Brian missed it during his 8 performances, but he and Kate got it the week before Christmas. All the people I wanted to see, all the neighbor gifts we hoped to give, all the gatherings we hoped to attend or host, all gone. We found out from Brian's ER run on Christmas Eve that we were passing around strep. (Guess how much an ER visit Christmas Eves runs? Over $800!!) Brian has had several complications with his ear, the most recent being partial facial paralysis. Oh my. We just hope he is getting better and regains his hearing! It is quite miserable to have an eardrum burst.

To make things more fun, we added a stomach flu to the mix! We had been stuck in the house for a few days and wanted to do something as a family. I had bought a membership to the planetarium so we headed downtown. On the way, Jane was complaining of a sick tummy. I was not sure if she had just wanted attention since Colin had been sick. She was pretty funny though because she told me she had thrown up by our couch but was "saving it for a surprise for later". She fell asleep but was happy to wake up at the Gateway, where she then threw up on Brian. When our kids are sick, we let them sleep in our room on a "sickie bed" but we had to have two sickie beds in our infirmary. Thankfully kids are better now and although I have technically not been sick since early December, I feel like I am still recovering!