Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

It would appear that I'm not going to get a Christmas letter mailed out this year. So here's your virtual letter! :) 

Wallman Christmas 2015
Greetings Friends & Family!

What a whirlwind this year has been! I feel like I say that often anymore. I’ll try to be briefer than last year with my letter...that was a bulky envelope!

Grace turned one in September. She has quite the personality! I have a feeling she is going to be the sneaky ornery one! Grace is very expressive and has a grin that will melt icebergs. She still won’t walk more than a few steps, even though she could! She babbles and I love nothing more than seeing her siblings make her laugh. She has definitely made this year very...challenging...entertaining...exhausting... It’s been an adventure adding this one to our family! None of us can imagine life without her, though. Such a blessing from the Lord!

Isaac is now FIVE! He wants to do everything the big kids do, which sometimes leads to tears. He is full of contradictions (I think I’ve mentioned this before!) minute tough and nothing bothers him, the next minute sensitive and telling me how pretty I am! He goes 100 mph until he’s made to be still, which usually only happens at bedtime...and even then some nights it’s a struggle!! He has started “school” this year and he is loving it! He usually prefers Anna to be his teacher, too! She has helped him learn to write his letters and some numbers and even read a few words. He’s very proud of his work and is excited to have his very own school books!

Jacob is eight. Where has the time gone?! His favorite things are Legos, farming, and videos games (which he gets only when Binga visits and brings her iPad! haha). Just the other day I was cleaning carpets and had our front room mostly emptied of furniture. When I finished, he ran to his room saying, “This is perfect for farming!!” He came back with his tractor, disc, and combine and he & Isaac spent the rest of the afternoon “farming” the carpet. Jacob is so easy-going. He enjoys reading quite a bit now. He loves Hank the Cowdog! I get a kick out of hearing him belly laugh when he’s reading those!! One of his favorite things this year was probably getting to spend a week in Colorado with Anna at Grandpa & Grandma’s house! They had so much fun and kept Grandpa & Grandma moving with a whole bunch of hikes! Of course Jacob’s favorite part of the week was probably building Legos with Grandpa!

Anna is double digits! What?! How is my baby 10?! She is beautiful...most importantly on the inside. She challenges me as a mother--with her devotion to the Lord and her discipline to read the Bible and pray; with her, shall we say, spunky attitude; with her creativity. She is uniquely Anna Rose! She would probably say she has 3 favorite things from this year. First, she was baptized! She asked the Pastor herself if she could be baptized (it took her many months to work up the courage for that!). She went through a class for a couple months with him, to make sure she truly understood what it meant. It was a blessing to hear her give her testimony in front of the congregation and watch her get baptized! Second would be the week-long stay at Grandpa & Grandma’s. She thoroughly enjoyed all the hikes and all the fun things she and Grandma got to do together. And the third highlight...she got her very own puppy! She’s been asking for one for years. We finally told her she could have one on 2 conditions: she saved $100 to put toward one and she had to show us she could be respectful and responsible-which also meant she needed to learn about dogs and how to care for them. She took it all very seriously! She read and re-read every single book our library has one dogs...literally. She knows more about dogs and Aaron & I combined! Finally, in mid-October, she got her puppy!! A yellow lab she named Sadie. Anna is in heaven with that puppy! She has done an AMAZING job training and taking care of Sadie. I’m so proud of her! Sadie is a very good dog and is going to be HUGE! There have been many times I’ve looked out the back door and seen Anna sitting in the sandbox with Sadie-usually when she’s upset. She says Sadie helps her feel better.

A new addition to our family this year is Amanda-our foster daughter from the college. She graduated last year, but came back from California to finish up some classes & go to nursing school in Kansas. It helps that her boyfriend is here ;) We love having her live with gives Aaron & I a built-in babysitter! And the kids love her. “Manda” was one of Grace’s first words! She’s a willing helper around the house, too. All that time we were remodeling the garage into a guest suite, I thought it was for grandparents. The Lord had other plans, so I’m glad we decided to do that project instead of redoing the floors! We’re happy to open our home and help her out while she pursues her dreams of becoming a pediatric nurse!

Me, well...I’m still alive! Grace has made all of life much more challenging!! She doesn’t sleep well...never has. Our days are sometimes chaotic, but I’m trying to remember to find joy even in this season of life when sometimes it’s hard to find! We’re so blessed. I still enjoy learning more about health & wellness through the Young Living essential oils. I’m looking forward to putting in a good garden in the spring and stocking our pantry for the next winter! I’ve slowly found my way back to the kitchen. I truly enjoy cooking and baking and it feels good to be back to doing more of that.

Aaron is working hard, like always! He stays very busy at work, but makes the most of the time he has to be with the kids. He sometimes takes a work trip to Wichita in the evening so he’s started taking one of the kids (except Grace) with him each time. They really look forward to their turn! 

We pray this letter finds you well and that you know the Savior, whose birth we celebrate. No greater gift has ever been given, than the gift of God’s own Son. 

Aaron, Jennifer, Anna, Jacob, Isaac, and Grace 

Below are some of the pictures from our family session in May! (I can't remember if I've posted any of them already??)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Girl's Best Friend

I thought I had posted about the newest addition to our family, but I must have only put it on Facebook. For almost 2 years, Anna has been working toward getting a puppy. She had to prove she was responsible and respectful by keeping her room clean and showing she could take care of a dog all on her own. She read every book, literally, our library has on dogs and puppies and how to care for them. She knows more about puppies than you and me, both! She knows every breed of dog there is...Grandpa can attest to that when they were at the Scottish festival this fall! Ha!  She also had to save up $100 to put toward buying a puppy.  It didn't take her long to save up the $100. She got $60 just for her birthday!! She was tempted many times to spend that money on other things, but she never spent a penny of it. Anna did her research and decided she wanted a Lab. Aaron & I were kind of holding out, hoping a friend of ours would be able to breed his Lab and we could get one of his puppies. That didn't work out, so we started looking online. Kind of on a whim one day, I ran across an ad online. There were no pictures, so I texted the number listed and she said there was only one left, a female. "I'll send you a picture...she's the cutest one of the litter!" Oh my stars, she wasn't kidding! Well, that pretty much sealed the deal! The middle of October, the puppy was ready to be picked up. For a few weeks before this, we had been keeping a puppy--puppysitting 24/7 basically (long story). Anna had been doing an amazing job training that puppy and taking care of it. I had no doubt she would do even better with her own puppy. The boys stayed with some friends while we drove to Colby to pick up the new puppy. Anna was in love from the moment we stepped out of the car!

 Meet Sadie!!! 

 She kept saying, "I can't believe this is happening. I can't believe I really have my own puppy! I didn't think this day would ever come!!"

 She didn't last long in the box! :)

 Still more information for Anna to read about puppies and their care.

Because Jacob & I are both allergic to dogs (and I can't handle dog hair in my house), Sadie will be an outside dog. We converted the little red playhouse into a dog castle ;) and Sadie is quite snug and warm in there! Best of all, there's plenty of room for Anna to go in there with her when it's too cold to just be outside.

 Sadie is going to be a huge dog. Her paws are gigantic! But she has the sweetest temperament. So laid back and not much of the dreaded puppy behavior I was expecting. I think part of that is her genes (her parents were super friendly, chill dogs), and part of it is the time and effort and love Anna puts into that dog. Anna discovered that Sadie LOVES the trampoline!! After the ice storm we got a couple weeks ago, she put Sadie up there and then would stand on the ground and kick the ice loose from underneath...Sadie had a blast jumping after the ice chunks!! Now they just get up there and play.

 Growing up way too quickly.

 I had to laugh at this shot...Anna was trying to get Sadie to look at the camera, but it looks like she's choking her! Haha!

As I took these pictures, I thought to myself, "Only 8 more years and I'll be taking her senior pictures with Sadie!" EEEKKK!!!! The days are long, but the years are short...

 Sadie was quite intrigued with what that clicking noise was when I was snapping all the pictures!

So, we are now a dog family ;) and Anna is doing a fantastic job with her dog! Sadie is just over 3 months old and she doesn't jump up or chase the kids...she is such a good puppy and that's thanks to Anna's diligence in training her! So proud of Anna!!

Just Horsin' Around

Once again, Dad's cousin Cherie brought her granddaughters down for a weekend of horse riding at Scott's. It was a fun weekend with LOTS of kids (9 of them one day!) riding horses! ;)

Isaac LOVED riding. Even the mini Spirit. He was SO proud of himself. "I can do it by myself Mom!"

 Ha!! Little Miss Anna, struggling for control. Boy does that sound familiar!!! 

 Isaac & Ellie waited patiently for their turns on the big horses.

 Silly Grace!!!

 The difference a year makes...Anna couldn't wait to canter on her horse this year!

 Good posture, but KEEP YOUR HEELS DOWN! Ha! 

 We have another horse lover in the family!

 Jacob rode for a little bit, but it's not really his thing.

 Amanda came one day to ride. We'll make a cowgirl yet out of this California girl! ;)

Jacob preferred Spirit.

As always, it was a fun weekend and we all appreciated Scott & Amy's hospitality!