Monday, December 15, 2008

Earley Family Christmas Letter 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to You All!

In early 2008 I got hooked on reading my friend Sherry's blog and decided to do one of mine own and thus began New Nothings.  No one has asked me about my blog title, but I feel some explanation is required.  My life is full of NEW -sometimes meaningful and sometimes insignificant- NOTHINGS.  I enjoy just logging on to type- to let loose how I feel.  And sometimes what I have to say means much more.  That's just me.  So this year, I thought I'd save a tree and post my Christmas letter on here!  I hope that you all enjoy!

~ Brynn

It's hard to think of what to say when it's been a year since you last had to write it all down.  Kids have grown, jobs have happened, hair has been cut and colored, tears have been shed, laughs have been given, lives have changed, people have been moved to different houses.  And more.  

Let's go youngest to oldest!

Liam turned 1 this past September, so his year has been full of new adventures.  Liam is all smiles and is never really unhappy unless it's time to change his diaper.  He brings constant joy to this home.  Our boy decided to take his time learning about life.  He didn't roll over till he was almost 6 months old and finally got his first 2 teeth right after we celebrated his first birthday.  We thought that he'd heard too many stories about his Uncle Jared and decided to emulate him by doing the "army" crawl FOREVER.  It was wonderful to see him eventually get on all fours.  He just started walking this month.  Brynn is overjoyed at this as he has been the biggest of all three kids and the slowest to walk- she now says she could do an arms of steel DVD (though buns of steel is what she wants.)  He is a hoot to have around and brings MUCH "boy" energy to the predominately female enviroment.  We all love his grunts and yells, nothing can top his dinner time ritual of clenching his food in both his fists and saying, "AAAARRRRRGGHHHH."  Ahhh, to see him tackle Evie and take her graham cracker away is priceless (she only weighs about 5 lbs. more than he does.)  How has Brynn coped these past years playing only with Barbies and holding tea parties?  How we look forward to our little man's growth into a big man and we wait eagerly for the day when we can tell him (and his future wife) he once ate toilet paper out of the toilet when he was a baby...

Evie is our mischievous, stubborn, happy little stealth ninja who prefers to run around in princess dresses and swing like a monkey from what ever she can find to swing from.  Her favorite thing is snuggle time with Jason or Brynn whenever she can get a moment.  Evie is one unique kid.  Eating fried eggs with Jason is something she LOVES- as long as there is ketchup.  Ketchup is as important as air in Evie's life.  Thanksgiving dinner was eaten with ketchup, all of it.  Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, biscuit, turkey, sweet potato casserole.  All of it.  It's a mystery.  We had the major accomplishment of getting her potty trained at the age of 4 in 2008. Brynn learned the valuable lesson of "what is easy with one kid might not be so with the next one" when it comes to this subject.  Having only one child in diapers at a time is a precious thing.  Evie is still at home this year as Grandma Nancy asked her once if she wanted to go to school or not and Evie replied that she just wanted to stay with Brynn and eat snacks.  Life with Evie is never boring!               

Katie. What can we say about Katie?  Where as life with Evie is never boring, life with Katie is never quiet.  She is our chatterbox!  Jason once noted that every thought that runs through Katie's mind comes out her mouth.  Even if you walk out of the room Katie continues to talk to you.  Her imagination is like no other!  And she flit-floats from one thing to another always finding joy in life.  She is a huge ball of energy that flattens Jason and Brynn everyday!   She has continued to grow and have adventures in first grade this year.  She is back at Our Savior Lutheran School and is doing very well.  We found it interesting when one of her teachers sent home an award certificate this year for Halloween naming Katie and her costume as "most EXOCTIC."  Katie usually makes perfect A's on her spelling tests, and we have high hopes that Katie will one day be the most special and "exoctic" person that people know!  We feel confident that Katie's love of the Lord and love of others will take her far in life and we can't wait to see the Father's plans for our first born. 

Brynn is.  Her year has gone up, down, sideways, backwards and forwards as she wears the many "mom" hats.  She and Jason still enjoy time with the Jr. High and High School students at their church as youth group leaders.  They named the group R.O.C.K.- which stands for Relying On Christ the King.  Brynn had a ton of fun and lost 5 lbs. when they took everyone tubing on the river for a day.  Acting is still a priority for her and she was able to participate in a play this Summer called "Dora the Dishwasher."  Brynn can now do an entire grocery store run and speak in a Southern accent the whole time and fool all!  Acting at church has continued too, ask anyone at Pagosa Bible Church about the cheerleading skit.  It's famous.  :-)  Bringing smiles to faces this year has been something Brynn has really enjoyed. 

Well, we went youngest to oldest so that means it's Jason's turn!  (We have the wonderful task of celebrating Jason's 30th birthday in 2009!!!!)  Jason has been a busy man this year.  Always a hard worker he has continued in his apprenticeship as a plumber and should soon be getting his residential license.  Jason also had his first experience of building a fence to keep our kids off the street after we moved into a new house this past June.  Working and moving with 3 small kids and an insane/perfectionistic wife is not an easy thing, but Jason survived to recommend not doing it to any one else.  As most of our R.O.C.K. students are guys, Jason has had a really great time getting to hang with them and go snowboarding in the winter and wake boarding in the summer.  As Brynn is typing this Christmas letter at 12:11 am- Jason is at work with his brother, shoveling snow and helping to plow the parking lots at the 2 local grocery stores.  Brynn thanks the Lord for the hard working husband and loving father her Heavenly Father has blessed her with.      

Except for our R.O.C.K. "responsibilities" we have taken a break from previous years service at Pagosa Bible Church.  Jason has taken a break from his ushering duties and Brynn has taken a break from teaching preschool.  God impressed upon us that our focus needed to be at home, so home- for now -is where it is. 

Thank you for spending a few moments reading about our crazy, somewhat disjointed lives!  Feel free to read more about our past year in older posts.  (There are pictures in them!!!)  And make sure you check back often, you never know when there will be a funny family story to bring a smile to your face!

Love to all and God Bless, 
Jason, Brynn, Katie, Evie & Liam

Friday, November 7, 2008

halloween vacation

I decided to take the kids to Arizona for Halloween this year to see my parents. I needed a sunshine with warmth break and I was also in need of serious retail therapy. That and Katie and Evie wanted to be fairies and it's difficult to bundle a fairy properly so that her dress still shows when it's 35 degrees at night. So I thought we'd go trick-or-treating one time where the weather is more like 80 degrees at night. We all had a great time except for Liam. He was sick for the whole vacation. Liam was supposed to be a monkey for Halloween, but he wound up with a fever and so went as himself and sported an orange and green pacifier as his costume.
Liam also didn't get to join in the swimming fun. Katie loves the water! She jumps in, dives under and splashes everything in sight.
Evie spends her time on the steps. My little girl Evie. She is like none other. Only once did she decide to "jump" into the pool and have me "catch" her. This is how the conversation went:

Me: Would you like to jump to me Evie, I'll catch you?
Evie: Yes (as she stands on the edge of the pool) but come closer.
Me: (Already about a foot away) Ok (I move up 6")
Evie: No, closer!
Me: Ok (As I move ALL the way up to the edge of the pool)
Evie then puts both arms around my neck, wraps her legs around my waist and without ever entering the water says, "Whee!"
Shopping was fun, fun, fun!
Except for car troubles that made me leave a day after I was supposed to and the long drive there and back by myself, oh and the fact that Liam was sick, we all had a wonderful vacation. It was hard to leave the 90 degree temps to return to P-town and SNOW the next day, but it was nice while it lasted!

travel tips

Ok, so it's been a while since I've posted anything and there is a good reason for that. I've been busy. Really, really busy. Part of the busyness was getting ready for the Silver Ring Thing, but I will blog about that later. This post is about vacations and how you should take them. First: you should not take them BEFORE any event you are helping with. Something will inevitably go wrong and you will be late getting home or not make it at all. You should go AFTER the event. Then you can truly relax. Second: If you have more than one child and you are traveling by yourself (with no spouse) you should NOT drive in the middle of the night. Especially on a windy pass. Sidebar- I do not like windy, mountain passes. This is a slight problem as I live in Colorado. I can handle Wolf Creek Pass, I cope with Red Mountain Pass. These are the "local" roads I must deal with. However, I refuse to ever again drive through Salt River Canyon in Arizona, at night and by myself. As I mentioned before, I live in CO. I've seen my fair share of elk, I have however never almost hit one as big as a horse going 75 miles an hour... I have also not had to deal with psycho semi-truck drivers who sit on your bumper. Never in my life have I ever felt so excited to see the "AZ State Prison- Do Not Stop For Hitchhikers" sign, it signals the END of the canyon -end sidebar. Third: If you are having car problems before you leave, you should fix them before you have to drive 9 hours to get to where you are going or vice versa. (Or you might end up leaving for home, getting an hour away and then having to drive back an hour to take your car in to get fixed. As I did.) These are helpful tips to traveling. Traveling sanely.

crazy hair night

Katie attends AWANA and a couple of weeks ago they had crazy hair night. Katie won. Enough said.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

wedding adventures

Last Saturday the guy who was Jason's best man at our wedding got married himself. (The guy's name is Jarrod.) Well, Jarrod and his gal decided that they were going to have an "outdoor ceremony"- in October. Let's put it this way, the rain and hail held off just long enough for vows to be said. Jason was a groomsman, and he looked oh so dashing, but his groomsman duties left me standing in the cold by myself. Maybe I should say standing under a deck while it rained by myself? Anyway, Jason as usual knew everyone and I knew about 4 people. People assume that I am very outgoing, but I'm so not. Standing by myself at a wedding for an hour is a nightmare for me. Luckily, the 4 showed up right before the ceremony so that I could at least stand next to someone I knew for that. Which brings me to my next nightmare. I, along with a few other daring ladies, decided to wear heels. We of course did not think that the lovely yard with it's beautiful green grass would be so soaked that we would sink in it like quicksand. I was calmly standing there when I decided to shift my weight and realized that my heel had sunk all the way up to the bottom of the shoe. Do you know how hard it is to pull one self out of the yard while standing on an incline and having to put all your weight onto the other heel? It's impossible. After finally freeing both of my shoes, I quietly walked over to where there was some pavement and stood there under the pretense of taking pictures. Jason told me afterwards that he could see me and almost laughed outloud when he saw me trying to get my shoe unstuck. Ahhh. After the day was done, me and my shoes had survived to be shy and sink another day.

A couple of pictures of Jason and I.

Groomsmen and bridesmaids walked down the path to the theme song from Star Wars.Jarrod and Amber performed a sand ceremony rather than unity candles. They poured 2 different colors of sand into the same vase at once and they blended together. As the pastor put it, "Try separating that!"

Monday, October 6, 2008

it snowed

Well, it snowed. Not down here yet, but up on the mountain. If you know me at all, you know that I am not a fan of snow. If I had my way I would take up residence on some Caribbean island, like...umm... Bermuda! As soon as it snows I am cold. It can be a little snow or a lot of snow, but as soon as it's here I am just freezing. It's too soon to turn on the heat in my opinion - and the checkbooks opinion- but we had to turn it on for a bit the last 2 mornings. I am hoping for a winter like last, hardly any snow till after Christmas and then it just dumped. Of course then it must be done snowing by the end of March. I think it snowed the first week of May last year...? This never happens like I want it to, but maybe? I can handle snow for a few months!

The view from my kitchen window.

christian women's retreat

This weekend I attended the 31st annual Christian Women's Retreat held here in Pagosa. This is my 3rd year attending and my 3rd year on the retreat committee. I get to decorate for the retreat every year and do the name tags. This job puts my stamping skills to use and I LOVE getting to be creative! For the 30th anniversary of the retreat this year we chose (I should say GOD chose) the verse Isaiah 61:3, "To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." The theme being God's work in women's lives and the different seasons that they go through, mourning, praise, joy, get the idea. I got to spend the weekend with 41 awesome "trees of righteousness." It was, as always, a wonderful retreat and I am looking forward to going next year. I have included some pictures of my table decor - my take on different seasons - and the Fall beauty of the camp where we hold the retreat, Sonlight Christian Camp. Enjoy and let me know if you want to come with next year!!!

Winter vases & name tags-

Spring vases & name tags-

Summer vase and name tag-

Autumn vases and name tags-

Sunday, September 28, 2008

gas ovens and cakes

I have produced the worst cake ever in my 16 year cake baking history. Never before have I had a cake tank so badly. I am not counting my experience of mixing 2 boxes of cake mix and then pouring said 2 boxes into only 2- 8" round pans. 2 boxes cake mix + 2- 8" round pans = an overflow of cake that falls onto your stove element and catches on fire. The reason I do not count this disaster is that the cake never actually came out of the oven fully cooked...

Anyway, I am getting used to cooking with a gas oven. I have previously only used electric. This is a wonderful way to bake as you have instant heat and such. However, I am having a problem either undercooking or overcooking items. I am still not sure which one happend to my cake for youth group today. All I know is that it stuck in a perfectly greased and floured, timer set, toothpick tested cake pan. Half the cake stayed in the pan when I dumped it out! On both layers!!! This resulted in the lopsided cake you see pictured. I would normally never serve a cake so warped, but as I figure it's for bunch of teenagers, who cares. Thus ends my tale, one which you could probably care less about...


Liam has quite the aversion to crawling on the tile floor. To solve this problem he has started crawling on his hands and feet, rather than his hands and knees. This, of course, is very funny. What's impressive though is how fast he can move this way! I tried to take some pictures of him as he came at me, so hopefully you will be able to see what we mean!

wedding pictures

Jason and I have been married for 6 years and while I have had a few pictures from our wedding printed, I had quite a few more that I have never had the money to develop. I have never actually liked most of my wedding pictures. They guy we chose presented a beautiful album of previous work and my dad and I (the ones who saw his portfolio) decided that he was great! He then did a really bad job at my wedding. Shadows and such, and fuzzy, unbalanced pictures. However, he did turn over all the negatives to us and my parents decided to put the negatives onto a disc so that we could all have copies and print them at our will. This was a wonderful idea till the gal who copied them reversed the images and then loaded them in low resolution. They look "ok" online so I have included a few for my blog. Hopefully my dad can take the negatives to AZ and have them more "professionally" loaded onto a disc and THEN we can all really enjoy remembering that day!


Ok, so I have been waiting on pictures that my parents took at Liam's party to post a new blog. Here it is!
On September 16th, Liam turned one, but we celebrated on my actual birthday of September 20th. We had a bunch of close friends and family come and enjoy the evening with us. I was excited to enjoy all the "good" food that's "bad" for you as my birthday dinner- fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, biscuits, green salad, corn and watermelon, which I guess balanced out the other stuff. I made a chocolate-chocolate cake for Liam in the shape of a bear and of course there was ice cream. A real "Southern dinner for the Texan girl," as Jason put it.

We couldn't wait to see how Liam reacted to his cake. Katie enjoyed her first piece of cake and got somewhat messy, Evie ate only the icing and picked at it with 2 fingers hardly needing even a paper towel to clean her up, but Liam....Liam needed a fire hose to get clean. We set his cake in front of him on a little plate and he proceeded to dump it off immediately. He then grabbed the cake with both hands and squished it in his fingers all the while making this very boy noise of "ooouuugggghhhh." After he was done smashing it up beyond recognition he started to stuff it in his mouth. After a few bites he thought it was pretty funny and smeared it in his hair. Anyone standing in a 2 foot radius found out that Liam likes to "swish" his highchair tray (wipe his hands across the tray as fast as he can and watch the food fly) and they very quickly backed up to avoid chocolate on their clothes. All in all he had everyone in stitches and was really fun to watch him enjoy his cake! One of the highlights was that I got to go for a ride on my brother-in-laws Harley. I have been asking for a ride since he got it a year ago and he finally took me! After we got back Katie convinced him to try on her princess hat and he did so, he then proceeded to go for another ride on his bike wearing it! (My brother-in-law is a former Marine, if you didn't know and did two tours in Iraq.) Ok, now you should understand why this was so funny to us. So Happy Birthday to me and to Liam.