Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Christmas Letter

Thanks for visiting our family blog.... 
Some of you come around often ,yet, for many of you... this is your first time.

no matter how you got here...
grab a cup of something warm... snuggle in... and enjoy our story of this past year.

 2013 was quite the year for us.  We slowed things down a bit~ and this fall we took a life turn that has us all taking some priorities changes (more on that later!)
Early in April, we traveled to Maui with all of Bryan's family and spent 10 days living the island lifestyle.  Odin spent a lot of time snorkeling.  Bryan golfed.  Bjorn spent most of his time in the pools.  I read books.  It was amazing.  The rest and relaxation was so good for my soul.  Odin has now turned 10 and Bjorn is embracing 8 with pride.  The boys are growing up so fast... I am starting to miss the little stages of life ( key phrase- "starting to").  Two years ago, we bought a cute, vintage, itty bitty trailer and this summer we kept her close to home. We took her out to the coast and up to the mountains all season long.  Bryan, kindly, tolerates the camping lifestyle~ but the boys and I LOVE it!  In May, we added a new puppy to the family~ we now have 3 new chickens and 2 dogs.... I am still wishing for a small pig or pigmy goat but I have a feeling that will never happen.... (that is what Bry says!)

Bry's 2013
 He is still working at NWM and is in his 8th year with them.  I believe he has found his perfect fit.  The company is small in size, yet, big at heart and we adore everyone there.  Bry is always working on the "honey do list" that I have going.  This year he added the finishing touches on a house in a tree (its to big to call a tree house!), built up a cold storage space under our stairs, and extended our gardening space, to over twice its size, with raised beds.  Even today, as I type this... he is in the front yard fixing our porch of some worn out wood.  If you would like to borrow him... there is a small fee of dark chocolate due at time of service. He has mastered the Saturday Morning Breakfast  with a recipe for Belgian waffles that leave you wishing he would open a restaurant! (oh man, they are SO good!)

The highlight of his 2013 would be a winter Bandon Dunes Golf Trip with the guys.  This was his 3rd year going... and his 4th trip is right around the corner.  He enjoys running and reading, and of course, still plays ice hockey, weekly, and golf, when the rains stop.

Odin's 2013
Odin is now in 5th grade.  This year, after a rough time in 4th grade, we decided to keep him home for school and he does online courses with Connections Academy (one of the Fall life changes I mentioned above).  He is kicking some serious booty academically and is really enjoying it.  This past summer he went away to camp for 4 days.  He loved the freedom away from mom and dad.    He is a pro at swimming~ and is still taking lessons~ in the Spring he may go out for the local swim team.  This Fall he also decided to try Flag Football.  This is a sport I have no clue about~ so it was kinda fun watching him run the field and just enjoy the team sportsmanship.  If Odin could do anything, all day long, he would choose to play Minecraft.  He loves video games, Legos and watching football games with his dad.  It has been a joy to watch him change and stretch out his wings a little this past year.... He seems to really want to explore life on his own these days.  When he grows up he wants to be a Lego Engineer.

Bjorn's 2013
Bjorn is in 3rd grade... He grows faster than anyone I have ever seen before.... he averages an inch and a half in height and a pound and a half every two months.  This past two months he grew by 2 pounds and 2 inches.  (this is great news... because for many years he was not growing due to dietary issues).  He is still in a social communications class through the public school system, but is looking forward to being mainstreamed in the next year or two.  This year, at school, he won an XBox through his jog-a-thon.  He came home, not knowing what an Xbox was.... and said "Guess what mom, I won a box!".... let's just say Odin has enjoyed showing Bjorn how to play with this new gaming system. 
He still has many doctor and therapist visits a month~ he is a trooper with his whole medical schedule.  His newest team is a Functional Neurologist Group that, we hope, will begin to help us connect all of the therapies and  we will see some progress flourish.  I truly believe we have just seen the tip of the iceberg with Bjorn and what he is going to bring to this world~ it is exciting to know there is so much more to come.  He loves to ride his bike, go on nature hikes, play at the park and play in his room.  This Fall, he started to play hockey with the Portland Jr. Hawks.  Its a rigorous weekend schedule for the whole family, but we all seem to enjoy the time around the ice.  Last week he scored his first goal against a goalie~ I was thrilled beyond containment as I jumped up and down cheering.  He was given the game puck for his goal ( as I beamed!).  It has been a beautiful experience to have this organization embrace Bjorn and his needs, I am not only proud to be a part of this group~ but am constantly humbled by their grace and support for B and our family.  His newest passion is anything that revolves around Monsters University and music.  He says that when he grows up he wants to be an Art Director for Pixar, a percussionist in an orchestra (emphasising on the marimba or vibes), an employee at 7-11, and work in a bakery making gluten-free cupcakes.

Tif's 2013 (that's me!)
I was able to enjoy a few weekends away this year... one to visit some girlfriends in Lake Shasta and the other was a FarmStay, in Hood River during the Summer Cherry Festival, with some Portland friends.  Since the Fall, my life has changed drastically.  Homeschooling has brought some challenges, but has also given O and I some much needed time together.  The weekends are all about hockey... and so home life is very different these days.  I am still teaching piano and my students are really growing their talent.  Starting next month I will have 20 students... which is exciting.  I am also teaching Sustainability and Gardening classes after school at our local elementary school~  I love this connection with the kids in our community.  This summer I opened up our home and taught homesteading classes to the kids in the community.  We were able to go out in our yard and make some great things from scratch.... I truly believe I have found my passion.  I love it.  I am still knitting, tending to my chickens, and experimenting with Harvesting and Preserving foods.  About three weeks ago, I had a small health scare, that put things in a reflective phase for me.... Needless to say, I am in my 8th year of being cancer free... and plan to enjoy the moments ahead in 2014 with simplicity, joy and in peace.

As I look back in 2013, I see each of you as an influence that has made our lives here in Portland, fun filled, more joyful, and abundant.  Thank you for being not just friends, but family, as we live life together~ near & far.   Hoping you each had a Merry Christmas and you look ahead to an adventure filled and wonderful 2014.

From our home to yours~
Bry, Tif and the boys.

** feel Free to leave a comment below... let us know you were here!**


  1. I really like (and miss) this family!!

  2. Great photos! And it's nice to know more about you and your family! :)