Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas letter 2011

Merry Christmas, friends and family! I didn't mail out a letter this year, opting instead to give people this blog address. I also didn't write a letter in 2010 so I guess I have a bit of backtracking to do...

2010 was a busy, difficult and blessed year for us. As many of you know, in 2009 I moved in with a woman named Dorothy to care for her while she battled ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Looking back, I'm sure I had no idea what I was getting myself into but the entire journey was such a learning experience for me. I was able to build incredible friendships with the people I worked with, not to mention the wonderful relationships I was able to build with Dorothy and her family.

 Dorothy and I at her 66th birthday celebration

Dorothy battled long and hard and didn't give up the fight until she was good and ready. She passed away on May 12th, 2010 and I was able to be with her. I was left with a beautiful view of what death is as she passed very peacefully in her own home.

Dorothy's family after her memorial service (including her 95 year old mother)

I continued living in Dorothy's home while they got it ready to sell and while Steve and I finished up some remodel work on the home that he owns in Albany (with the help of my sister's fiance, Cody!). I moved into that house in mid-June 2010.

The remainder of 2010 was spent getting settled into the Albany house and doing a bit of re-learning how to do things like sleep through the night. :) (To read a detailed report of what a day in the life of a caregiver is like, visit this link.)

We adopted these three cuties as well.
Shady, Tegan and Petra

Christmas Eve 2010 was probably the most exciting day of the year... when Steve proposed and we became engaged! That is a very fun story, which you can read here.

2011 threw us into the whirlwind that is wedding planning! To be honest, I don't even know what to say about 2011 because it went by so quickly! I turned 24 in April, Steve turned 37 in June and Jordan turned 10 in July. His birthday post is here. He continues to be our pride and joy and we are so thrilled to be his parents. He is extremely into Legos right now and spends hours and hours and hours (literally) on the family room floor. Sound effects can usually be heard coming from that corner of the house. He also spends quite a bit of time singing and whistling, especially while in the shower. This year he learned to ride a bike, which was very exciting for him.

Our summer was mostly uneventful as we mostly stuck around home, still preparing for our wedding! We spent lots of time playing outside and Jordan even got to go on a canoe trip with my brother, Colby, and his fiance, Caryn. The trip was a reward to Jordan for improving his reading skills over the summer during tutoring time with Caryn. He was so thrilled!

Steve started his 14th year driving city transit and continues to mostly love his job. He is a people person and enjoys the social aspect of the job, but struggles daily with back and neck pain.

I am still working at the Corvallis hospital in medical records. This year I hit a wall at my job and have started to struggle more with the feeling of being sucked in by the daily grind. Things are constantly changing in our department and if management isn't able to wisely keep up with the changes... the employees suffer. I do enjoy the fast-paced-ness of the job and the great working relationship I have with many of the physicians.

In October our big day arrived! To view some more of our favorite wedding pictures, click here.

We spent our wedding night in Albany and headed out the next day to spend 4 nights in Hood River. We stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast and enjoyed being the only guests that week.We were able to make day trips to Multnomah Falls, the Columbia Gorge Hotel and take a trip on the Mount Hood Railroad.

After our getaway we headed home for two nights to do laundry and re-pack and then loaded up the car and Jordan and took off for a week long adventure to Disneyland! We spent one day each at Disneyland, California Adventure and Universal Studios. At the end of the trip we all agreed that we didn't think we could choose a favorite park, just favorite attractions. Jordan and I are both huge fans of the roller coasters! The day we were are Universal it was 95 degrees so our favorite attractions were the ones that kept us wet.

I had thought that after the wedding and honeymoons life might slow down a little bit so we could regroup but that was wishful thinking. It seems that we plowed right into the holiday season with gusto and here were are, enjoying the heck out of it! :)

We have some big plans in the works for our family in the near future. Jordan has been struggling in school for the last several years so we are working towards me quitting my job and staying home to homeschool him next year. We aren't able to give up the income I bring in, so I am in the process of starting a home childcare business. I have started taking the required classes for this process and it's both scary and exciting! I'm thrilled at the idea of staying home with my boy (and future children, which are hopefully not too far off!) and helping him learn in fun and exciting ways. We think it may be just the ticket for him.

As we throw ourselves into new and exciting adventures, we hope you and your family find yourselves healthy and happy as well!

Wishing you a holiday season full of love and peace,

The Hanolds


Heather Clark said...

I love you Mikaila!

Michelle Flamez said...

So happy for you Mikaila!! Love the wedding photos! I bet you parents are so proud of the beautiful woman you've become! I wish you the best for all your future plans sweetie! <3