Nick loves the coming of the new year. He loves the idea of getting to start over. Every year he is excited about the reminder that we are in fact made new. We can become new creations. So we spend the weeks leading up to January 1st discussing how we will be better. How will we change? How can we live better emotionally, spiritually, physically, intellectually? Our church, Emmaus Church Community, has chosen the theme of "Together" for the coming year. So we started off the year in a true sense of togetherness by having a sleepover with the Pistoles (a tradition we are excited to maintain with every coming year). Carson and Glory slept in the same room. They took turns distracting one another from sleep, but eventually they fell asleep. Bracken and Wynn fell asleep soon after. The adults decided to enjoy a movie together, but within the first thirty minutes, Jessica and Nick were out. New Year's Eve...9:30. So, we greeted the new year: sleepy, weary, but together. As I fell asleep on the Pistole's living room floor, I felt the excitement of the New Year. Life is good when we do it together. Life is easier when we do it together. Life is better when lived like a sleepover: a little uncomfortable, but you can't help but smile because the people you love are in the sleeping bag right next to you.
The rest of the month was filled with more enjoyment of friends. Daniel Albert returned back to Sac State after his Winter Break. Carson loves to have Daniel join us at church.
The warm weather (for a while) allowed for a lot of outside time. We took a trip to the zoo. Carson and Bracken enjoyed many afternoon snacks outside. They laugh often together. It is such a joy to watch them together. We also were able to finish part of our backyard landscaping: a fire pit. We were able to enjoy a fire with Nonnie and Pop. We sang, campfire style, for an hour. The best part was listening to Pop sing songs like "Old McDonald" and "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain". He didn't know the words, but he just kept singing...loudly. Eventually we moved onto making up songs about one another. Carson, Glory and Bracken enjoyed the singing, the rest of us enjoyed the chance to be childish and to be silly together.
Carson is still loving her baby dolls. She is a mom. She loves to put them to sleep, pack their diaper bags, get them dressed. It makes the mundane aspects of parenthood seem magical. She is also constantly amazing us with the things she knows. She is so attentive to our every word. She wants to learn in a way that is inspiring. She often asks us to turn the music down so that she can hear us talk.
Bracken got a haircut. We couldn't figure out what to do with his hair, so we shaved it. He is talking all the time. He picks up new words and sounds often. His favorite phrase is, "No way." His new awareness of communication through voice and head nods has made communicating so much easier.
We also are excited to announce that we have a new niece, Marley Taylor Newton. We haven't seen her yet (other than in pictures), but we can't wait to meet her in early March when Taylor, Jen and the girls come out for a visit.