Friday, February 20, 2015

Hamilton Happenings- A year of family stories and photos

Kathy and I are flying overseas again tomorrow, so I won't have time to write a new blog this week.  In the meantime, I'm sharing Kathy's 2014 year-end Hamilton4 newsletter.  I removed or altered the Christmas-y bits. 

This family update was originally sent out as a Christmas letter to our friends and extended family.  As always, links to earlier blog posts look like this.

From Kathy:

Greetings, Family and Friends!

Our biggest news of 2014, in case you haven’t heard, was the birth of our son Levi James Hamilton on January 15th

Levi weighed 9 lbs. 6 oz. and was 19 ½ inches long.  Now 11 months old, Levi is crawling, climbing and getting into EVERYTHING!  More than Lena ever was at this age. He continues to bring us so much joy and happiness.

Vine video: Unclick the mute button above to hear Levi singing as he learns to crawl

Lena has accepted her role of big sister very well.  Lena loves her baby brother very much, and Levi’s face lights up whenever he sees her.

Lena and Levi enjoy playing together, except for the occasional, “Mommy!  Levi is looking at me.”  Yes.  It has already started.

In September, Lena turned 3 and began preschool two mornings a week at Aloha Christian Preschool, a ministry of our church.  Lena loves school and is making lots of friends.

Open house at Aloha Christian Preschool

Lil' Lena gets jiggy with it during Aloha Christian Preschool's Christmas program.  Kinda.

We are still serving as Youth Pastors at Aloha Church of God.  This past summer we led a combined group from our church and Tigard Church of God on another mission trip to Vicente Guererro,Mexico in Baja California.   We are planning to go back once again in 2015.

Missions work trip in Vicente Guererro, Mexico with Welcome Home Ministries

Garth preaches on occasion, when his shift at Delta Airlines allows.  We love the people whom God has called us to serve.

In addition to working for Delta at PDX airport, Garth also became a hiking leader for NW Wilderness in 2014.  He also started assisting with expeditions for other local outdoor groups.

NW Wilderness climb to the summit of Mount Adams

Garth organizes and leads hikes, scrambles, and adventure expeditions all over the Pacific Northwest, as he does with our ministry students.  Combined with his leadership, love for people, and passion for the outdoors, his aggressive-leaning hikes often fill to capacity.  This role also allows him to explore wild areas that would be too dangerous for hiking with Lena or Levi (or me!).

Garth also ran in the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon with some Delta coworkers.

A tutu-clad Garth with Delta coworkers, after crossing the "Finish Swine" of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

I still work 3 days a week at The Portland Clinic, and I love my new position of Nursing Support/Referral Coordinator for our Family Practice department. The other days, I am a stay-at-home mommy to two very busy L’s (Lena and Levi).  I often joke that I go to work to relax.  But being a SAHM to the L’s is definitely the best job ever!

In March, we (without kids) flew to Dublin, Ireland for a few days.

Dublin, Ireland- A few days before Saint Patrick's Day

I flew home to the U.S. early, and Garth continued on to meet some friends near Belfast, Northern Ireland for a couple more days.

Northern Ireland: Garth and a few friends from Australia cross the rope bridge over to Carrick-a-Rede, on their way to the Giant's Causeway

It was this Ireland trip that first brought out the separation anxiety that I get from being away from the L’s.  But I really enjoyed uninterrupted time with Garth! 

This summer we took our first road trip as a family of four for some hiking and visiting in Southern Oregon.

On that same trip, we also visited the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.  

Lena loved seeing all the animals up close, and Levi was too young to care.

We also took the kids on our annual Hamilton family camping and water ski trip at Banks Lake in Coulee City, WA. 

Garth of course occasionally flies over the pond for quick overseas friends day-visits to his many international buddies, but only when the kids are committed to plans that don’t necessarily involve him, allowing him to get away for a day or two.  Depending on the destination and the festivities, some of these international trips are eventually covered on Garth's Blog.

In addition to these overseas weekends and international family getaways, we sometimes take domestic trips as well.  For example, a few months ago Garth blogged about taking Lena for a Daddy-Daughter day trip to Seattle.

Daddy-daughter airplane ride

Earlier this month, Garth and I flew away together for a completely kid-free week.  It was intended to international  We tried to return to Johannesburg, South Africa (for a safari that Garth was planning), and then to Nicaragua and Seoul, South Korea.  But due to flying stand-by and encountering oversold flights, we ended up visiting friends in Seattle and spent some time in L.A. and Atlanta instead, including hiking Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Hiking Georgia's Stone Mountain before catching a flight to Rome, Italy

With only a couple of days left, I encouraged Garth to stick with our original plans and continue on for the planned Saturday night out with friends in Rome, Italy without me since he had a couple of extra vacation days.

It’s hard to sum up our year in a short letter, but I encourage you to follow Garth’s blog: Garth does a great job of writing about and posting photos of the things we do, including some of our exciting family hiking and surfingand of course our travel adventures.

We are blessed by a faithful God... May each of you feel His love this blessed [Lenten] season!

Garth, Kathy, Lena and Levi Hamilton

Thanks again to Kathy for writing this update!

Garth's blog will return next weekend with a book review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed, followed by updates from our latest hikes and overseas trips!

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