Thursday, December 31, 2009


As the year comes to an end I am always forced to look back on the ups and downs of the past 12 months and wonder what is to come in the months ahead. I've never made resolutions. I could never see the point in making grand challenges that would never be met only to leave me feeling like I failed.

This year has been challenging yet rewarding, sad yet joyful, full of struggles yet so full of accomplishments.

We've grown as a family and learned to adapt to our fourth and much loved member, our baby girl. Her rapid changes kept us constantly amazed as she went from a sleeping 6 week old to a walking, talking 13 month old. Brendan's third birthday brought with it a new personality which has been labeled the "horrible threes." We love him dearly and he's a lover at heart. But he challenges his boundaries and tests his independence every chance he gets. He knows his ABCs, counts to 10, uses his manners, hugs his mommy at least 5 times a day, and loves to help in the kitchen (it's no wonder Santa brought him his very own measuring cups and spoons in his stocking this year!)

Joe has stayed busy with work. Even busier since this fall brought an unexpected round of lay-offs that was hard on the entire firm. His work ethic continues to amaze me. The time and effort he puts into the work he does is extraordinary and I feel truly blessed that he works so hard to support us. His second job, the army national guard, on the other hand, has taken away much more time than I'd ever like to accept. One weekend a month, two weeks a year is a load of crap. He spent 6 weekends in a row early this year doing one army function or another which, combined with his civilian job, resulted in 40+ work days in a row and included missing Valentine's Day and my birthday. His commitment is up in July and I'm pushing for his discharge. A decision to make it a career would mean more birthdays missed, more time away and an almost definite one year deployment in the fall. I pray that God will make his plan known in these next few months and that we will all be filled with peace as the final decision is made.

I continue to work part time at the local hospital in labor and delivery and enjoy the flexibility of keeping up my skills but only working a few shifts per month. I've been staying busy mostly being a mom and wife. It's my favorite job in the world despite it's struggles and emotional upheaval. There's nothing like feeling called to provide for your spouse and children and serving them out of love. But I'd be crazy to say that I feel that way all the time (or even a majority of the time) which is how I've come to my own personal goals for the year to come...

-I want to spend more quality time with my children and less time on the computer (at least while they're awake...)

-I want to keep my patience in check, praying for guidance when I need it, rather than yelling at my children and feeling shameful at the looks of fear staring back at me...

-I want to give more of my time helping those less fortunate than myself and stop dwelling on the material things I want...

-I want to serve my husband and children out of love and respect instead of a feeling of obligation...

-I want to be a good example to my children and for them to have fond memories of the things we do together...

And if making small steps in these few simple goals is all I get out of 2010 then I'll still be satisfied.

Here's to a new and adventurous year ahead!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas #3 (Christmas at Home)

Brendan was thrilled to learn that Santa had stopped at our house in Bend even though we hadn't been home. I told him I made a specical call to let Santa know that we would be in California but that our stockings and REAL Christmas tree were at our home in Bend. Brendan replied by asking "whose phone did you use?" :) So his behavior during our 8-hour drive home from Grass Valley was phenomenal as he anticipated yet another Christmas celebration.

And in the true meaning of Christmas, I have to post that we are teaching our children about the birth of Jesus Christ and the reason we celebrate this beautiful holiday. But in the logic of a 3-year-old (and the humor of my life) I must also admit that my son believed that Jesus would want a train-shaped birthday cake. I responded with a gentle "I'm not sure that's what Jesus would want" to which Joe replied "you never know... he may just be thinking... 'if only I were born 2000 years later... then I could have had a train birthday cake...'"

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas #2 (Christmas in California)

We left snowy Bend for a long drive to Grass Valley, California to spend Christmas weekend with my family. Truly the best gift my mom and stepdad could have asked for, having all the kids and grandkids home for the holidays. It was sunny and 60 degrees, no white Christmas for us this year. But such a blessing to spend it surrounded by so much love!

Finally a picture of all six grandkids. Brendan (3) and my sister's son, Josh (6) at the top, my sister's daughter Shawna (12) in the middle and the three one-year-olds in the front, my sister's daughter Molly (21 months), Aubrey (13 months), and my brother's son Sevvy (17 months.)

And truly a blessing to get this priceless picture. These two are so filled with love for their grandkids, it's amazing to witness. Christmas was a blast this year and so much fun to be with my family. But in an effort to start our own family traditions, we made the decision that this will be the last winter holiday season we spend traveling. Next year will be the beginning of a new Bessman family adventure...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Cutie

Such a sweet little girl. My mom made matching Christmas jumpers for Aubrey and my sister's daughter Molly. Bound to be an heirloom... my wonderfully talented mama! But the true amazement this Christmas day was watching this sweet girl take her first good 10 steps! Merry Christmas mommy and daddy!!
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas #1 (Christmas in Portland)

In an attempt to archive the busyness that was the month of December, I decided to start with our first family celebration.

On Saturday December 19th, we packed the kids up and drove to Portland to spend some family time with the Bessmans. Joe's brother and sister-in-law had flown in from South Carolina with their 5 kids and it was a perfect opportunity to see them all and catch up with the family. We were also fortunate enough to be in town for the Barsness (Joe's cousin) family Christmas party. And so I took the opportunity to gather the family for a portrait as I sadly believe that someone will have to die or get married for us all to be together again.

This photo includes my mother and father-in-law, their 6 children (one of whom happens to be the best husband in the world), 4 spouses, 2 girlfriends, and 10 grandchildren with two more on the way (an uncle and two cousins thrown into the mix for fun!)

If you could see more closely you'd notice the look of exhaustion (through the smile) on my face. I had worked a 12 hour night shift the night before. Came home at 7:45, jumped in the shower then straight into the truck for the drive to Portland. Slept fitfully for an hour or so on the way and functioned rather well on so little sleep!
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