2012 – One Full Year in a Blog Post

by Camille on December 30, 2012

Once again, a full year has come and just about gone. And I am left sitting here wondering what happened to it?  2012 has been a year of monumental changes in my family’s life.  After a move north from Utah to Idaho, our little family has experienced everything from adventure to trauma, fears to excitement, milestones to miracles, and sorrow to elation.  Pictures depict this range of emotions much better than words can ever describe:

Of course, being up north, we’ve had our share of cold weather, snow, and sub-zero temperatures.  However, we’ve made the most of it whether snow machining, building snowmen, sledding, or doing 360’s on a tube behind the 4-wheeler.

Living in a new area, my husband took it on him to show our little family around on multiple adventures including hiking, camping, sightseeing, 4-wheeling, and picking flowers in a meadow.  Where we live, we’re surrounded by some beautiful scenery and wildlife.  Rule 1 while we’re driving?  “Always look for game”.

Aside from being surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers, we are also not too far from a different type of landscape – the St. Anthony sand dunes.  Sure, the beach is relaxing, but riding on some sand dunes or simply walking barefoot in this fine sand is exhilarating.

And of course, we’ve made plenty of time for the fishing! Whether it be standing on a frozen lake, pulling fish from a 10 inch hole or casting from inside a boat in the warmth of the sun, we’ve caught some lunkers!  And these girls are becoming more and more versatile in their outdoors capabilities.

We’ve learned a few skills including riding a bike without training wheels (but still keeping it feminine with a skirt):

and learning how to ride a horse for the first time:

Along with other learned skills, the girls learned to take advantage of the 15,000 university students living in our midst.  Before school, on the cold mornings, these two girls sat near the crosswalk intersections selling cups of hot cocoa to the students walking to their 7:45am classes!  They were able to also learn the value of money, hard work, success, and sometimes rejection.

But life doesn’t come without its pain and grief.  C8 learned that the hard way (and so did her mom!) when she spent the beginning of the 4th of July weekend in the ER with a broken collarbone.  Because of that, she had to sport a blue over-the-shoulder sling for the rest of the summer.  

However, being a little girl of a positive disposition and an ingenious mind, she soon turned lemons into lemonade when we noticed how she was using her sling at the local parade.

The immense grief our entire family had to experience this year was one that no family, nor parent, should ever have to live through.  Many tears were shed as we said good-bye to our new cousin/nephew once he was called back to heaven with our Heavenly Father.  Such a perfect soul whose smile brought great joy to his parents and siblings, Grady slipped away quietly one morning and left everyone behind devastated.  He is missed every day.

Yet, amid heartache, our family grows closer together and are grateful to be an eternal unit.  We rejoice in our growth and achievements.

And as we look forward to a new year of 2013, we are already aware it’s going to be another whirlwind of changes:

Happy New Year from my family to yours!  May it be everything you’ve planned, hoped, and dreamed it to be!


I Saw Santa…

by Camille on December 26, 2012

Christmas can be so different for everyone, depending on their traditions they celebrate with their families, to the varying weather in each location.  However, I think everyone can agree there’s something magical about the Christmas season, which is found in the innocence of children and their ability to believe.

Of course, like all other kids, my girls each wrote letters to Santa, thanking him for the gifts he brought last year and kindly asking for a new batch of toys this year.  We visited Santa at the local shopping center so they could even give their requests in person.  (They may have been a little more excited about the miniature candy cane they received after the annual event of sitting on the bearded man’s lap.)

Their excitement mounted when they received a video email from Santa, personalized for each of them.  “He knew what grade I’m in and what I’ve done this year! He really IS watching me!”  And of course, a surprise visit from “Santa” at their school classroom hyped the hope of the approaching Christmas Eve night even more.

What they didn’t expect was what they’d experience after falling asleep on Christmas Eve night.  And what I didn’t expect was their reaction to it! 

Soon after I was sure they had fallen asleep, I ran into their room, shook them awake, and with a contained excitement whispered, “Girls! Girls! You’ll never guess who is in our living room right now!”  The oldest immediately sat up with widened eyes. “Let’s go watch!”  The wide eyes quickly turned worried and she laid back down on her pillow, clutching the blankets to her chin.  “No…. what if he sees us?  He won’t leave us presents!”  I tried my best to assure her we’d be hiding and he wouldn’t even know we were there.  It wasn’t until she realized her little sister was going out to peek, that she decided to tag along.

Peering around the corner of the wall, the girls watched in amazement as Santa placed gifts under the tree, then relaxed on the couch with the plate of cookies and milk that had been left specifically for him.  Ad had seen enough, she quickly ran back into her room and jumped into bed with the hopes that her presence hadn’t been detected.  They quickly fell back to sleep, but awoke in the morning with stories to tell dad, who, sadly, wasn’t able to witness the event.


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