Our Family

Our Family
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my hearts trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. ~ Psalm 28:7

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Update 2011

            Merry Christmas!! Oddly, my last blog post was in August, so if there is any need for clarification, yes, indeed, time DOES fly, and yes, indeed, 4 kids DO keep us WAY too busy!  In case you can't keep track (because Lord knows Chris and I have trouble) the four little people in our world include Stephanie who's now 10 and in 4th grade, Melanie, she's 8 and in 2nd grade, Ryan who's 6 and in 1st grade, and my little man, Kevin who turned 5 at the end of August and is in Pre-K.

            This year, as in true Justi fashion, we began with a move into a new house and ended with a new addition to our family. Now, before you go gettin' all wound up, let me clarify; we haven't added a new baby for 5 years and have no plans of doing so anymore. THIS new addition has 4 legs and fur; after dog sitting this past spring for a dear high school friend of mine, we fell in love with her Shih Tzu and added our own little Roxie Roo to our family this past August (on Melanie's 8th birthday). The little ball of fluff is puppy fun and has made our house even that much more interesting (apparently our day to day wasn't crazy enough!).

            Last Christmas, Chris moved into our new home (which had been occupied by a lovely middle aged couple who packed up a little, left a ton, and moved to Texas).  We inherited their mess, and "mess" is an understatement. The home was left in a condition that would've made the guys at "Hoarders" flinch. But not Chris; he "saw the forest for the trees" and dove in. He moved in 3 weeks earlier than we did, and by the time we moved in on Dec 20th, a couple of Clorox burns and a tetanus shot later, the house was beginning its transformation, thanks to Chris and my dad. We celebrated our first Christmas complete with party hosting (as if we'd let a little thing like unpacking stop us from celebrating?!? We had the house unpacked and decorated by our Christmas Eve party) and haven't stopped working on the house since. No complaints; we enjoy making it "ours".

            Our year was spent making odd discoveries, finding unique treasures (and not so unique trash) and getting our above ground pool ready for summer. We landscaped, dug, tore up, replanted, mulched, removed old car parts (and some old bones of some kind....don't ask...I, for one, don't want to know).  Before you knew it, we were muck booted up and clearing out spots for camping on our 2 acres, fire pits, tire swings, and slip and slides, and creek walking in the stream that runs through our yard. We've had a full year of new friends with lots of fun....we've had brunches, book club, lunches, dinners, girls' nights, cookouts, Fall Fests, and date nights with the new friends we've made; Most everyone has 3 or 4 kids, too, so chaos reigns supreme with the kids outnumbering the adults!

            The rainy spring was well worth the beautiful summer. We swam everyday and by July, we geared up for a huge pig roast to honor my dad's 60th birthday. Over 100 guests celebrated the day with us, and we plan to do this now annually (We think the Saturday after the 4th will be our annual date).  The mammoth slip and slide was the recycled tarp Chris once used to create the ice rink on our very flat Cleveland property. THIS time, we used it on our very hilly property and found that we could fit about 20 kids on it at once! In fact, at least one newly crowned 60 year old "kid" was seen slippin' and slidin' at one point. A full fireworks display lasted over 1/2 hour, thanks to my pyrotechnic brother and his "craft".  Lots of time has been spent catching up on lost years with our family, now that we are all "just down the road".  Family dinners and birthday parties with grams and paps, aunts and uncles are all being made up for now.

*****************************Justi Recap 2011******************************

JANUARY: It snows. A lot. And we are stuck because our driveway becomes an ice hill.  Much of what was uttered in January was related to traveling down an icy driveway and therefore, probably shouldn't be shared here! Ryan tells everyone to wave their "terrible flag" (instead of terrible towel) when the Steelers need a little help. It doesn't really work. But he has fun trying.

FEBRUARY:  Still snowing, but now Valentine's candy has filled the sugary void since Christmas. When I ask Melanie if she'd like a little brownie for dessert, she replies, "Now why in the world would I say no?"  . We've survived sledding with no broken bones so far this year.  Kevin tells me "you put the YOU in bea-YOU-tiful". Steph and I go shopping, and I discover a fashion diva in my midst. She tells me "Oh, that is so you, Mom.  I just love fashion".  Melanie is too busy making faces in the 3 way mirror to care.

MARCH: Snow blizzard strikes. All sanity is out the window as snow day after snow day accumulates. Ryan asks if I can "right side" his shirt in. Kevin tells us he is "tired of chewing" his chocolate cake. Kevin also makes a bold statement that he won't change his underwear until he goes to Heaven.  Gotta love that kid.

APRIL: A snowflake or two remains. We dog sit.  We secretly mount a campaign to win Chris over to the dog side. It works (see August). Ryan tries to summarize a movie he saw, and decides, after telling me "um" 13 times, it's just easier to share the ending. Ryan turns 6.  We watch our dollars fly out the window as Steph gets braces.  We are still broken bone free.

MAY: We open the pool! (Yes, it was just snowing a month ago...welcome to Western Pa). We herd a cow with our minivan (we have embraced country living completely). Yard work begins, and Ryan tells Kevin "You need to eat more chicken. Chicken makes you strong. Like Batman. And Mom." Gotta love that kid.

JUNE: It's hot. We swim. Everyday. Life is good. Kevin tells me, after a lunch gathering with friends who brought fabulous muffins, "Mom, I think I have a muffin problem".  Steph launches her jewelry making business and does wonderfully (she IS into fashion, remember?) Gotta love that kid.

JULY: Pig roast. It's hot. We swim. Everyday. We've adopted the "pool is your shower" method and "get in, get wet, get out, get to bed" method of keeping cool when the house still reads 84 degrees at 11pm. (We don't have air conditioning. Yet.)  Dog campaign is in full force. Mel becomes distressed when the frog she loves eats the lightning bug she loves...but is thrilled when the bug survives in the frogs belly and lights up the frog, and then she just loves the frog lighting up. Still no broken bones to report.

AUGUST: We camp out in our backyard. Steph is paranoid about the "ferocious deer". Two birthdays happen (Mel turns 8, Kev turns 5). We get back from Summer's Best Two Weeks Family Camp, and get the dog Roxie. She is so cute (wait till next month) Ryan loses his first tooth, but holds it till the second tooth falls....he felt the tooth fairy should only come when BOTH teeth had been lost. Kevin transforms into Indiana Jones and remains that way for the next few months.

SEPTEMBER: School starts, more chaos mounts as we head into gymnastics for the girls and cub scouts for Ryan. All love their activities. I begin to think Chris was right on the NO DOG side, as she continues to eat more and more non-food items. We often refer to her as "that little Shih...Tzu".  But she is so stinkin' cute.  Gotta love that dog.  The 20 turkeys in the yard begin to look at her like they could easily take her on.  Chris begins to dream of hunting the turkeys. And the ferocious deer.

OCTOBER: Fall fest, scarecrows, pumpkin patches, harvest parties, trick or treating with cousins (Melanie reports "Roxie is trick or treating in the trash!") and canning begin. Pool is closed for the season. Chris and I celebrate 14 years of marriage. We take the kids to the high school's undefeated football games.  My world stops when my dear Aunt Fran passes away very unexpectedly. The rest of the world goes on. And the snow falls before Halloween.

NOVEMBER: Steph turns 10. A decade. I run a turkey trot 5k to celebrate surviving 10 years of motherhood. And I race hard and fast for my aunt's memory. Thanksgiving is bittersweet, but celebrated with family and friends. Still no broken bones in our house. Instead, Chris gets a nasty tick bite and is diagnosed with Lyme's. He starts treatment and is doing just fine. Chris becomes a hunter/gatherer for the first time in 20 years. Gotta love that guy. 

Ah, DECEMBER. The month of crazy hustle and bustle. The decorating is done, the cookies are baked. We are overjoyed to be able to sit back and really celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. We share laughs and meals with many friends and family, and we share the glorious gift of Jesus' love with each other. We still mourn, but we rejoice "Joy to the world. The Lord is come!" May you be blessed by His Grace!  Gotta love that Lord!!

1 comment:

  1. Gotta love you , your family, and your wonderful gift of writing !