Merry Christmas! It’s amazing that it’s already time for sending out cards and newsletters. This last year has sped by and I can hardly believe that a year ago this month we were taking the big leap of moving from Oregon to Utah! Wow, a lot’s happened in a year. Here are the highlights: January: Kris started his new and wonderful job with SitePen. He gets to do work he loves and can work from home or anywhere with internet access. We bought a house in Sandy, Utah. Two weeks later we experienced a huge snowstorm (or a couple), the biggest the valley had seen in at least 10 years. As a new resident I remember wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into! February-May: Mostly involved getting settled in to our new house, finding a home church, a doctor for Jennika, making friends and starting to feel at home. June-July: We made a quick trip up to Casper, WY to visit Nikki’s family and then a three week long trip to Oregon to visit friends and family. We also got to join our church in an outreach, organized by Kris, to the homeless community in downtown Salt Lake. We provided meals, conversation, love, and prayer to everybody who came by. August: We road tripped down to Lake Powell, Durango, Denver, and then back up to Casper where we celebrated Jennika’s first birthday! Then we traveled with Nikki’s family to the Unita Mountains and spent four days backpacking in the beautiful wilderness. September: Nikki started teaching conversational English to international students from the university. We were back out in Oregon for a friend’s wedding and to celebrate Jennika’s birthday with the Zyp family. Then we joined Kris’s parents up at Snowbird, Utah for a week of luxurious vacationing in the mountains. We also found out that the next little Zyp will be arriving sometime around the end of May 2009! What a memorable month! October-November: We spent, for the most part, at home. Kris had several speaking engagements which required he travel. Jennika kept us entertained with her growing vocabulary, both verbally and in sign language. She loves being outside in her playhouse and going on hikes. In October we were also delighted to welcome our old roommates and dear friends, Rebecca and Michael. They moved from Oregon to live with us and we are so happy to have them. Michael (2) and Jennika are good playmates and fight just like siblings! December: Another month of busy traveling; Kris flew out to Florida to speak at a conference (yes, he’s becoming quite the lecturer) and then directly to Chicago for another engagement. Nikki and Jennika made one last trip up to Casper to squeeze in a holiday visit with her family. For Christmas we’ll be flying out to Oregon to be with Kris’s family and our friends.
Whew, what a year! We’ve seen the incredible abundance of God’s blessings in so many ways this year, especially through family, friends, and Kris’s very flexible job. We are so thankful to call you our friends and family and pray that you are also able to revel in God’s goodness.
May you holiday be filled with peace that passes understanding, love that knows no bounds, and joy in the One who deserves our praise.
Summer ended with a bang at the Zyp household and autumn looks to be full and exciting too. We traveled to Oregon for a dear friend’s wedding and then returned home with Kris’s parents. We’re spending the week up at a local resort and having a wonderful time as we watch the leaves change.
The National Weather Service’s forecast for the next ten days said today we could expect highs in the mid-forties with a slight chance of snow before noon. However by Monday they are forecasting sunny skies and a high of 81! What a change!
Here’s a preview of our spring days….
This week has been a busy one, I have lots on my mind, and lots I want to write about. For now, here’s a summary of our exciting lives.
Saturday was Kris’s 31st birthday and the day my family (Mom, Dad, Liv, and Matthew) would be arriving at our house to spend Easter with us…well, mostly to see Jennika, but Easter was a good excuse. We decided to get up and go for a nice hike before our company arrived. Kris used one of his gifts (a hiking guide book) to find a suitable hike for us, I bundled up Jennika, and we were off. The hike we selected followed a creek up to an old mining cave. We however, didn’t reach the cave because about a quarter of a mile into the hike we encountered a moose! We gave him (0r her?) lots of space and slowly hiked further as he ran further up the trail. Eventually, however he decided he didn’t like this game and just stopped about 50 feet from the trail. We’ve heard plenty of stories about how dangerous moose are and didn’t want to risk aggravating our friend. So we attempted to go up and around our large furry road block by scrambling off trail. Unfortunately we couldn’t find the trail again once we got past the moose so we decided to head back to the car and find another, safer trail.
We drove about a mile up the road and started another beautiful hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon. We had hiked maybe a half mile when I started seeing recent signs of moose. I wanted to warn Kris, who carried Jennika in a front pack, to keep an eye out for moose but thought to myself that I was being silly. After-all what is the likelihood that we’d encounter two different moose on two separate hikes? So I kept quiet, fearing Kris would think I was being ridiculous, and we continued on. The further we got, however, the more I saw that convinced me that we were indeed behind another moose. So finally I did mention it to Kris and he said he’s be watchful. After hiking another 5 minutes we came upon a large older moose, standing about 100 yards ahead of us on the trail….staring at us. We both quickly backed down the trail to give the moose lots of room. He looked tired and a little desperate. I think we’d been chasing him for a while and he was tired of running and ready to face his pursers. So once again we turned back. As we headed back to the car I told Kris how sorry I was that we didn’t get to complete a hike. Both he and I weren’t very sorry though. It was a little annoying to be turned away by a moose, but way cooler to just get to view such a large and amazing creature in its own setting. That in itself was a pretty cool birthday present for Kris.
On Sunday we attended church, an amazing experience that I hope to write about soon. Then we feasted on a wonderful Easter diner together. That afternoon my family drove back home and I took Kris to the airport because he had business meetings in San Jose early the next week.
Monday and Tuesday Jennika and I were on our own. Let me just say that I have a great deal of respect for single moms. It’s tough being on your own with a little one! Wednesday afternoon Bill and Karen (Kris’s parents) arrived from Oregon. They came to see Jennika…and us….but mostly Jennika. 🙂 Wednesday evening Kris flew home and we had a happy and full house again.
I have to pause here for a second and say that I have the absolute best in-laws that a girl could ask for. When I listen to my girlfriends complain about the comments their mother-in-laws make, or the irritating habits and demands of their husband’s family I simply cannot relate. I have been blessed with another mother and father who really do treat me like their daughter, continually bless Kris and I, never criticize us, and are always willing to help us in whatever way possible be it prayer, babysitting, or swinging a hammer. I love it when they come to visit because I know that we’ll get a lot done and we’ll be adored and blessed.
So, having said that, you can easily imagine that our next two days were spent enjoying being together and working on home improvement projects. Bill and I made at least 4 trips to Home Depot in a 24 hour period. I love that store! We rented a rototiller and Bill broke up the dirt in my garden. We also purchased three trees; two Aspen and one Pear, and planted them. I also now have sheeky new light fixtures in my kitchen. They were delighted with Jennika and spend nearly every one of her waking hours holding or playing with her. I know that she felt well loved! Good job Oma and Papa!
Early Saturday morning, despite our best efforts to convince them to stay longer, Bill and Karen started the long drive back to Oregon. We were sad to see them go so soon.
That afternoon we decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunny and warm weather and go for another hike. It’d been a full week since our last hike, which is a really, really long time for us. So we decided to hike up the the first hamongog (Hebrew term for meadow) on the trail up to Lone Peak. This summer we hope to actually climb Lone Peak so this was a good preparatory hike.
The hike was beautiful providing great views of Lake Utah on the way up and a beautiful snowy field with Lone Peak in the background at our final destination. We saw lots of signs of moose on the trail, which made me a little bit nervous, but we never encountered more than a lizard and several very stupid mule deer.
And so that brings us up to date. It’s Saturday evening and we’re sitting in our warm and peaceful house with the lights off to observe Earth Hour Day. Hope your week was full of fun, love, and adventure too!
Jennika and I got to spend the last six days in beautiful, sunny O’ahu. Oh, what a wonderful time we had! My dad was sent there on business and invited us to join him and Mom. He was booked to stay in a hotel on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, the “perfect” beach in O’ahu according to most tour books and the general public. The only draw back to the trip was that Kris was not able to join us because he had to work. If he had come, it could have possibly been the perfect vacation.
O’ahu was humid and warm, a HUGE climate change from cold and snowy Salt Lake City. While there we toured most of the island, swam in the ocean, basked in the sun, snorkeled Hanauma Bay (incredible!), and visited Pearl Harbor.
Jennika was a great traveler. She slept on the airplane, adjusted well to the time and climate change, and delighted people left and right. The locals especially loved her. Many times we’d be walking through the market and be instantly surrounded by “grandmas” and “aunties” (their words, not mine) who oohed and awwed over her. Some tried to hold her, others just wanted a smile. One group even offered to buy her gold rings and bracelets if I brought her back the next day to visit them!
Jennika was not, however at all interested in the ocean. After a couple attempts to introduce her to the warm water she decided she’d had enough. She didn’t want to be in it, didn’t want to be close to it, and in fact, didn’t even want to look at it! Oh well, it is an awfully big body of water for such a small person.
My favorite part of the trip was the morning we spent snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. I’ve snorkeled before in St. Maartin, but this was SO much better. I could be in just six inches of water, put my face under and see fish all around me! The deeper out we went the more colors and varieties of fish we saw. We even spotted a squid hiding in the reef. I think Jillian, Dad, and I could have spent the whole day there and if we ever go back to O’ahu that will be on the top of our list of places to visit.