The Best of 2011

2011 is going out as softly as it came in for us, low-key and with both Nate and me at our computers. Earlier today I was reading through last year’s post, The Best of 2010, though, and it was a bit mind-boggling to think how much had happened this year: we moved from La Coruña to Santiago, we survived a road trip to Switzerland and back, we acquired two new future teammates, and we watched M turn from a quiet newborn into a toddler with the nickname “Mr. Destructo.” It was a full year.

The highlights from our 2011:

1. In January, my parents visited to celebrate R’s birthday and their 40th anniversary. That was the last time we saw them, and we can’t wait until they come again:

2. My brother, Clement, and his wife, Tracy, had their first child, Ethan. We haven’t met him in person yet, but it’s been fun to see him on Skype and watch him grow into a very round, very stoic little person:

3. In July, we said goodbye to our beautiful and beloved La Coruña:

…and moved 45 minutes southwest to Santiago de Compostela:

Even though this move was the natural next step in the Pilgrim House project, it was hard to leave our church, our good friends, and the kids’ school.

4. The transition to Santiago was made so much easier by the Walters’ visit. Nate’s parents came to help us unpack, build Ikea furniture, entertain the kids, eat lots of Nutella, and explore more of Spain:

5. In August, we survived a road trip to Switzerland and back. We attended International Teams’ European Regional Conference near Interlaken:

6. B and R learned two important skills this year:

Riding their bikes:

…and playing the piano. I have the privilege/ burden of teaching them, and though I’m not a natural teacher, it’s been so gratifying to see them play the piano and enjoy it:

7. Something finally clicked in K’s brain this year, and these past couple of months she’s been saying things like: “In Spanish we say, ‘Hola,’ and in English we say, ‘Hello.’ In English we say, ‘Moon,’ and in Spanish we say, ‘Luna.'” We had been worried about her verbal development, and everyone always said that she was processing all these languages at once and that’s why she was taking so long to talk. Now it’s all finally coming out, and in quite an organized manner! Otherwise, she remains our little girl who loves all things princess:

8. And M well deserves his nickname “Mr. Destructo.” He disturbs and upsets everything in his path, but we’re all enamored of him and think he’s the cutest button around:

9. It was a big year for the Pilgrim House project. We became an official NGO called Terra Nova; we hosted Gale S. and Anne H., two new teammates who will join us in 2012; and we finally got our business plan written. We loved celebrating these milestones this year, and even found unexpected encouragement through driving through a bunch of tunnels.

Gale, our new teammate, on her “vision trip” back in April:

10. When we were still looking for apartments in Santiago, I happened to see a place online that was for sale. The kitchen had beautiful red cabinets that I fell in love with and drooled over for about two days. But since it was for sale and not for rent, I knew it wasn’t for us. So we kept hunting. We contacted our realtor about an apartment for rent that she had talked about previously – she didn’t have any photos of it but it was in a good area. We set up a time to visit it with her. The first thing I noticed when we stepped into the apartment was the kitchen – it had red cabinets, the same color and style of the apartment for sale I had seen online! It was like the Lord was saying once again, “I see you, and know what you like, and here it is, just for you.” We ended up renting this apartment, and the day we moved all of our stuff into our new red kitchen was one of my personal favorite moments of 2011:

We’ve now lived here for six months, and we see how the Lord went before us to prepare such a great home for our family, even before we knew what we needed. Our new apartment is close to the Camino, the local school had space for all three of our kids, we can easily walk to stores and parks, and the boys were able to join a great soccer club that practices within walking distance from our home. We’re grateful to be here.


So that’s a whirlwind tour of our 2011. I wish I could sit down with each of you and hear your highlights! Here’s to a 2012 where we feel the Lord’s presence before, behind, and beside us through all the good and the bad. Happy New Year!


This entry was posted in Family, Keeping Faith, Kids, Milestones, On the Camino, Santiago de Compostela, Top Five (or 10) Lists. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Rachel

    WOW – I am WAY WAY Behind in reading this blog! I love it! Happy 2012 to you in Spain! Also, I love the “M and crackers” post. How many times has this happened to me?!?!?!?!? Love you!