We have come a long way in one year.... from an empty apartment on Christmas (with only a tree) last year (see below)... after our cross country move just 4 days before.
Now in a beautiful house with wonderful neighbors, new friends, a new church family, great jobs, and sooooooo very much to be thankful for.
This year's tree hunting team is feeling much more settled. :-)
Micah continues to be a vibrant and energetic young lady who is 7 1/2 going on 30. She is filled with creative energy and ideas that we work at harnessing on a daily basis. She is at the top of her class academically and her teacher is working with her to hone in her ability to stay on task with the daily class routine. Her teacher reports that Micah is kind and loves to help other students whenever possible. Micah is growing up so fast and becoming more independent with tasks at home. She loves one-on-one time with adults, reading, spelling, creating her own crafts,
and riding her bike WITHOUT training wheels.
She has come a long way with her math skills this year and we are very proud of her accomplishments! We are planning on embarking on a little winter indoor soccer to provide her an outlet for all that rainy season energy. She is a regular attender of the "Disciple Makers" class at church where she is able to exercise her ability to memorize God's word and hide it in her heart.
We pray for continued health, growth physically and spiritually, as well as a continued love for learning in every aspect of her life.
Jonah will turn 5 in February and he certainly is starting to seem more like a 5 year old than a 4 year old these days. He has learned his letters and is sounding them out and writing them with greater ease. He is on the brink of reading according to his teachers. He loves imaginative play with animal figurines, cars, and is a super hero at heart. He still loves to snuggle on the couch with a cozy blanket and a good movie which continues to be a treat for tired parents at the end of a long week. He is growing up fast and this year marked the transition from a "toddler bed" to a full size bed which was a big deal for this little guy.
Jonah would not let Micah's accomplishment of riding a bike without training wheels go unmatched and he did the same about a month after his big sister. He is also super excited that he is old enough to play soccer too and will start with a winter indoor league like Micah.
He adores time with Micah and misses her terribly when she is not with him.
He is not the least bit shy and is usually the "life of the party". He is loved by everyone and is a good boy with a thread of mischief here and there.... certainly a boy through and through! He loves to explore, collect treasures, and dream up elaborate imaginative stories which is such a joy to watch and listen to! Catch up on our frog catching adventures on our post titled "A Little Boy and His Frog..."
Portland in 2012 has been a playground for all of us, but especially for Pearce... While his position as a Cardiac Surgery PA has grown to include participating on the DaVinci Robotic Surgery Team with Dr. Molloy, there have been many oportunities for both personal side interests and great family adventures. As always, our family has gravitated towards time in the mountains and Pearce continues to share this love with Heather and the children.
Establishing ourselves here in PDX has included becoming invested in a great body of believers. Our church home became Hinson Baptist Church in the SE Hawthorne District. Our pastors, the teaching, and all the members have been a real blessing to us as we grow with them.
Part of our time in Portland has been spent pouring our lives into the Hinson Church College Ministry with weekly teaching and fellowshipping in our Happy Valley home. It has been a privilege and a blessing to get to know these outstanding young people and to watch them grow in the Lord. We are looking forward to what God is doing in 2013...
Heather's position in Orthopaedics meant an opportunity for Pearce as well. He and Heather's surgeon- Dr. Dominic Patillo have befriended each other and gone on some Salmon fishing adventures together..It's also made for some incredible dinners as well! Dom's wife (also a Heather) is our family Pediatrician! Another blessing to our year..
Well- In case anyone was wondering, Pearce is still finding his way to high places in the mountains. Below is a pic of one of his multiple Mt. Hood Summits. While he longs for the days the kids can climb these big hills, Pearce has made a few mountain friends here in the Portland area. His Denali tent mate, Will Kalenius lives just down the way in Albany, Oregon and Pearce has also made some new friends on the Portland Mountain Rescue Team where he volunteers time.
Check out www.pmru.org for more information on this great team!
East Coast Activities: No doubt, there is now a great distance from Portland to our friends and family on the East Coast but that hasn't stopped our multiple visits to see family and friends..with even more trips booking into 2013 to New England and Florida. Below is one of those return trips to West Virginia where Pearce checked on our home sale, made a quick visit to see friends/family in Harrisonburg and volunteered his time with the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine AWLS Conference in New River Gorge. He continues to serve on their Board of Directors and enjoys the opportunity to share his passion for Wilderness Medicine. To learn more about this great organization, check out www.appwildmed.org
Nepal in 2012- For serveral years, Pearce and Heather have been supporting an amazing organization called Climbing for Christ (C4C)- a Missions group that purposes itself to deliver the Gospel to unreached people groups where other people cannot or will not venture to travel. By partnering with local churches, a great ministry of hope has been brought to many people. With C4C, Pearce and Heather have provided some resources into assisting some local pastors and churches in Nepal to help them get established and thrive in difficult places. This year presented the opportunity to actually go and serve in the mission field. Traveling to Humla (the hidden Himalayan region of western Nepal), Pearce and his fellow missionary workers trekked to the local mountain villages with some local pastors to bring good news of hope, resources of encouragement, and even the blessing of medicine with multiple trailside village clinic sessions. Below are a few pics of the trip, but to really get a sense of the amazing work God is doing in Nepal, check out Pearce's personal blog at www.thebeislife.com.
To learn more about the organization: check out climbingforchrist.org.
Heather has transitioned into life as an Oregonian and truly loves our new stomping grounds. It is a wonderful place for family time, hikes, bike riding, wonderful summer sunset walks with majestic mountain back drops, and is the land of rainbows!
Mt. Hood from our neighborhood....
A rainbow over our neighbors' houses...
She is now an orthopaedic surgery/hand surgery physician assistant on a team with one doctor and enjoys this role. She has learned a lot this year and is fitting in well in her new work environment. She continues to praise God for his provisions in job that is a great fit. She is fulfilled in her role as a wife and mother and continues to pray for wisdom and humility as she learns so much in these areas each year. It is an amazing journey!
She also has joined the Portland Biking Community with a new road bike this past year and has had some interesting adventures on 2 wheels. It had previously been a challenge for her and Pearce to both escape on a bike ride together, but now that both the kids are mobile bikes with no training wheels, we are looking forward to some great family adventures in 2013.
Heather has also been participating in facilitating/hosting the Hinson College Bible Study group with Pearce and has been enriched by the indepth studies and building relationships with others involved. She is blessed to be a member of Hinson Baptist Church and serves as a volunteer in Micah's Sunday school class. While it is tough to find times where other moms can mutually gather at the same time, she has been slowly growing new friendships with other ladies at church and new neighbors.
She has also spent some time volunteering at the kids' school in the health room. On those days, Micah usually finds some "ailment" that she would need medical attention for so she can get an extra hug from Mama. :-) She is also no longer challenged by numbness in her right hand after a carpal tunnel release surgery in November, which is quite nice!
We had our first visitor in our new home, Pearce's mom, Tina. We explored the coast (Canon Beach) and some waterfalls. The brisk weather was ok because the sun was out and the sites were breathtaking. We enjoyed some quality familiy time and of course she could not help herself from being helpful around the house with tasks and for that we are grateful!
With the little man, taking a stroll... (Micah was in school).
We would not let anyone leave Oregon without visitng the beautiful waterfalls...
Micah and Jonah enjoyed a little game of "Bury Granny Boo" and since the sand was too cold, they used blankets and stuffed animals. :-)
With summer weather came plans for a family reunion in Oregon with Heather's family. It was so nice to have everyone together (except Andrew, Melanie's husband, who was missed!) Please click here to see our post from that visit for a detailed summary of the week of memories made!!
Later in the summer/early fall, Pearce's sweet sister, Lauren, visited. We had a great week with her and did not want her to leave. She enjoyed the sights and sounds of Portland/Oregon and fit right in to our crazy little world...
A visit to the Japanese Tea Garden...
The Oregon coast....
Some Aunt and niece/nephew bonding. :-)
Ahhhh... feel the sun and the breeze, so refreshing~
Hiking with views of the Columbia River Gorge.
Playing under waterfalls. :-)
Next adventure... up to the moutains.
Views from base Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood.
August brought another reason to celebrate... the wedding of Pearce's brother Ryan to his lovely bride, Kelly. We headed down to southern CA to enjoy the festivities and some family time at a gorgeous beach house.
The kids, poolside, with Aunt Megan and Aunt Lauren.
And swimming "lessons" with Uncle Justin.
Pearce's sister, Megan, and step-mother, Chris.
Micah and Pearce's dad...
Father and son time relaxing on the beach.
Jonah and "Grandpa Doc".
Lauren against the beautiful Laguna Beach backdrop....
A family shot with the flower girl and ring bearer...
They looked so grown up!!
Proud Mama :-)
A moment of sibling sweetness...
Pearce and his brother Ryan, the handsome groom.
The whole family.
It was an amazing wedding!
The day after the wedding we enjoyed some post-wedding quality time with the newlyweds before they headed off for some R&R.
Jonah was teaching Uncle Ryan how to play his Leapster Explorer.... cute!
Chris's parents, Tommy (Pa) and Jaenette (Nee).
We loved the fun photo booth idea that they had at the reception....
and for a moment we let our sillies out. Ha!
In the fall we planned a family camping trip to the mountains. At a little rustic campground with experimented with tent camping, canoeing, bike riding, no showers/no flush toilets, and some creative cookin' in the woods. It was an adventure and we look forward to doing it again next summer.
Views of Mt. Hood over Clear Lake....
Captain Papa and....
...his little 'helpers.
Jonah tried his hand at fishing.
Micah sportin' Jonah's spiderman shades.
Breakfast in the forest...
We were blessed by a visit from "old friends". Mark and Annette were our close friends when we were first married and living in Illinois. We have seen them very little over the past 7 years since we left the midwest and were thrilled when they decided to embark on a Pacific Northwestern tour for their Thanksgiving break. Our kids got along great and it felt like old times for the adults... it is amazing how 7 years having passed can feel like nothing with close friends!
Alana and our Micah on a rainy day visit to the falls.
Our sweet friends...
little special fact... their daughter, Micah (all the way to the left in the below photo), is the young lady who inspired us to name our daughter Micah. :-) We were so close with her when she was a little girl and we truly were blessed to spend time with her during their visit. We can hardly believe how grown up she is!
The kiddos... toughing out the rain...
Lunch at the unique local McMenamin's, a dining experience.
Walking around Lan Su Chinese Garden...
Mark, always joking and making everyone laugh!
Sweet Micah, my oh my how she has grown! She now towers over Heather!!
The Voo Doo Donut shop experience...a Portland 'landmark'.
They must be worth trying if you need to stand in line for an HOUR to get them!!
Below, Portland's motto... I had heard people talk about this and yes, it is true!
The coveted pink boxes filled with VooDoo donuts!
There were some wild choices....donuts topped with captain cruch, oreo cookies, bubble gum frosting, and of course....
the famous Maple Bacon donut (which was actually quite good!).
Looking forward to the next times our paths cross with these awesome friends!
Early December is a great time for surprising your pregnant sister with a visit! Heather, her mother, and Micah made a surprise visit to see Melanie to help celebrate their upcoming little one with a baby shower. Her mother-in-law, Elaine, helped coordinate the event and keep it a secret. Heather had a blast planning the decor for the event along with a craft for all Melanie's friends to make a unique onesie for the baby! It was so fun!!
Love those silly baby shower games. :-)
Micah was a great little helper and enjoyed passing out the party favors.
What a special time for a mother with her daughters!
It was so great to see that baby belly and feel our new niece or nephew kicking :-)
We also headed out on a foggy day on the farm to help them hunt for and cut down a Christmas tree from their land and collect the fall harvest of persimmon fruits...
Beautiful backdrop... one tree taken down by the recent storm that went through their area.
John and Elaine, Andrew's parents and such great people!
Andrew cutting down their little tree....
The tradition of harvesting persimmon fruits from the tree that is nestled up in the field. By this time of year they are dried and sweet.
Great for eating or making pudding. They are sweet and taste almost like apricots.
Melanie and Andrew... the happy "parents-to-be".
Micah loved ringing the bell at the farm.
A beautiful, misty, Virginia day...
Back in Oregon:
A little Christmas Tree Hunting at....
Off on a search for the perfect tree...
And of course one must test the tree branches to see how they will hold up to ornaments...
our lumberjack... :-)
Successful harvest of a stately and full, Oregon native, Noble Fir tree.
The tree farm even had a fire going and they were handing our candy canes... it was a fun experience which we will likely make an annual tradition!
It was Jonah's turn to put the star on the top this year.... he felt pretty special after getting to do that!
From our home to yours, we pray that this time of year brings you peace and JOY in knowing that God gave us an unmeasurably great gift in sending his Son, Jesus...
"...though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8)
We celebrate Christ this CHRISTmas and every day for there is no greater need for such a gift as He!
Merry Christmas and a Very Happy 2013 to All!!
Pearce, Heather, Micah, and Jonah