The 2017 Anthony Family Christmas Card

And now… the Christmas Card!

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This year has been pretty rad.

We moved to a sweet neighborhood and scored a new house as our rental!  We even have a backyard and awesome neighbors.  Plus, we’re not too far from the property!

This summer we drove to Wyoming,

IMG_2877Colorado, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  You can read about it hereIMG_2554IMG_2516IMG_3396

Staying on the National Parks theme this Thanksgiving, we headed down to the Grand Canyon on our way to Arizona where we spent time with family for Thanksgiving and Celebrated Christmas at bit early all together.  It was 90 degrees and the kids swam every day in the pool.

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But there was no swimming anywhere near the Grand Canyon… It was FREEZING!

It was also the first real vacation that actually felt relaxing.  This wasn’t a trip with kids as I’ve said in the past… it was a VACATION!  I don’t know if it was all the prayer (probably) that went into this trip or if the kids are finally at a fun age where Davin and I are not full time on all day keeping them safe (#dontouchthat!), but Davin and I actually felt relaxed!  He went mountain biking with Eli and Jake, I played ping pong with the kids and took them on bike strolls through the neighborhood to see the Christmas decorations.  They splashed grandpa in the pool.  They made their Granna laugh and smile.  We watched movies and ate food.  And even though Evelyn wasn’t feeling well we knew she was in good hands with an Aunt Keeli the ICU nurse while we were out of town for two nights in Sedona.  Also, Keeli and Jake have the gift of hospitality.  Her house was FULL of our stuff, kid stuff and everything in between and she and Jake were like, “oh hey, do you need anything?”  SO CHILL.  She had our towels wrapped in cute jute string and a welcome note when we got there.  If I can even host half like she does in my life, I will have accomplished something.  We loved our trip with our family!  And we look forward to more trips with all of our family in the future.

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“Evelyn was cold”

We have two 1st graders a kindergartener and a toddler.  And while homework is relatively simple… no one prepared me for the extravaganza of it all.

We have to do homework individually in a quiet space so that no one compares reading levels, math abilities etcetera, all while Evelyn toddles around and pulls papers off the table and I keep the others from chaos.  It’s like standing in the middle of a popcorn maker trying to thread a needle and do long division in my mind.

Homework is my frenemy right now and dinner doesn’t make itself and well, the kids want to play outside, which is super important to their growth and development but they can’t watch themselves because they are still little so I have to sit outside in the cold and I feel like I lost my rhythm once the time change happened.  I had one, but now it’s dark and freezing at 4pm, soooo.  I’m at a loss and high frequency words don’t just learn themselves people!

Our house is coming along.  If you ever wondered what it’s like to build your dream house, I can share my experience thus far.  It’s AMAZING.  It’s so fun to dream and plan, and decorate in my mind and choose all the things.  So it’s so far not stressful because we are waiting on all the paper people to finish their paper jobs:-)  Also, Davin has become a bids babysitter.  We request bids, he checks on them every few days.  We finally get the bids, we make decisions.

Davin and I celebrated ten years of marriage this year!

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It’s going better than I thought it would when we first were married.  That sounds terrible, but at the time our new love felt so full of life and magical, it was hard to imagine it could stay that good for so long.

R&D The Couple
Hello freedom! I’ll see you again in 18 years…

portrait photography by www.majestyphoto.com

I guess I was naive enough to think that the beginning was the best.  And although it was great, I had no idea what four kids would be like.  They have grown and matured Davin and I into such better people.  We have had to become less selfish and work A LOT harder!  Plus they are all just so cute with their different personalities!

Eli is 7.  Every year he turns a new age, it becomes my new favorite.

He’s the best!  He is kind.  I tuck him into bed and he asks me how my day was.  Now, he’s probably just stalling out bedtime as long as possible but it’s sweet and thoughtful and he listens intently as though what I have to say is important and we have interesting talks.  The other morning he said he felt like the Lord spoke to him.  He said he heard his name at night and almost came to our room but remembered the bible story where God calls Samuel’s name and instead Eli replied, “yes Lord?”  I was intrigued and asked him what he felt like the Lord said and I asked permission to share.  He said the Lord told him four things:

  1. Don’t say, “I’m the worst.”
  2. Help my family
  3. Be kind to my friends
  4. Set a good example at school

I watched him that morning love and serve his family and I teared up thinking God may have spoken to my son and helped me out a ton!  He even made lunch for his sisters and asked, “what can I do for you Mama?”  Mama’s (and Dad’s) if you pray for your kids – God actually LISTENS!!!  I’m still in awe.

Dani is our quiet calm.  Having her in the house just brings so much peace.

She’s able to ruff and tumble with her brother, playing all sorts of games that they come up with and then switch to an incredibly gentle and kind older sister to her younger two.  She loves Ellie with such grace and generosity, I watch her and it reminds me of Jesus.  She’ll often see me frustrated in the day, come up hug me and and say, “Let’s pray Mama!”  She loves her littlest sister with such big sister sweetness.  Before school, she is often the last one out of the car, and her and Evelyn have a thing where she asks Evelyn, “What’s this?” and she picks up her foot and then kisses it.  Then she grabs her other foot, hands and eventually her forehead asking the same question and giving each of them kisses.  All the while Evelyn soaks up every second and kicks her feet in delight.  Dani is a delight.

Ellie is a joy.

She is learning so much and becoming such a mature big girl.  She can organize her room, sweep the kitchen and is an unstoppable helper when she wants to be.  She loves to lead and is learning to hone that gift in amazing ways.  Ellie daily makes us laugh or smile.  She is also five, which we often forget, lumping in her behavior expectations with her older brother and sister.  She keeps up most days with them, but I sometimes have to stop and remind myself that she’s only five and to parent her with a bit more grace.  Ellie loves to dance, sing and dress up.  She adores her friends and will play and hug them as much as we let her.  Fashion just may be one of her gifts, as she’s always adding an accessory to her ensemble when permitted.  Ellie is a delight.

Evelyn, our sweet youngest.

She and I get to spend most days together, just the two of us.  It’s the dream I always thought I missed out on when I first had twins!  She in the stage where she loves to try everything herself first: buckle her carseat straps, crawl up into her high chair and put on her boots.   Most days we find ourselves smiling in awe when she uses a big word correctly or speaks in complete sentences.  Some days Davin and I get to have lunch with just her and we’ll both grin at her and she’ll smile and close her eyes and turn her head, pretending to hide and be shy from all the attention.  She loves to play with her siblings, our neighbors, and her cousins are kind of celebrities in her world.  “Sadie go wiff me to Peets?”  On the drive home from Arizona she counted to eleven all by herself and the car erupted in cheering and clapping for her.  She can sing her ABC’s by starting at the beginning, picking up around Q and finishing it from there;-)  We think she’s just about the smartest, most adorable two year old ever!  Evelyn is well loved by all!

We are grateful this year for our amazing family that we enjoy and look forward to spending time with.  We have super awesome neighbors that we enjoy doing daily life with, a church we feel at home in and group of friends who bring life, light and encouragement to our lives.  Family and friends are truly our greatest treasure – as a kid I’d read that and think, “whatever, that sounds like a Christmas card!” but in all reality, our family and friends are the best gift from Jesus.  Aside from Jesus himself, obviously;-)

portrait photography by www.majestyphoto.com

Thank you.  Thank you for being family or a friend in our lives, we are richer for it and treasure you and the memories we have, our relationship and days to come Lord willing with each one of you.

May you be richly blessed this season and year by our Lord Jesus Christ, the best giver of all the gifts!

He loves you and don’t you forget it!

Hugs,

The Anthony Family

 

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