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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Digital Christmas Card 2016



Christmas 2016
 
Dear Family and Friends,

   I’m not really sure how this year has flown by, but once again, it’s Christmas! 2016 has been a full year for our family! We are so grateful for the Lord’s blessings and enjoy seeing your pictures and hearing updates on your families!

   Callie finished out her kindergarten year and her first year of Sparks (AWANA) and second year of tee ball. We are so proud of her for working so hard to memorize all her Bible verses and learning to read! Toward the end of the school year, I had to make sure I held the book where she couldn’t see it when I quizzed her on the verses, as she told me one day, “Mom, it’s so much easier to say the verses now that I can read them!” J She began attending 1st grade at Faith Christian School in the fall and is loving it! She is our perfectionist and wants to get everything right the first time! Both girls took outdoor swim lessons with my cousins’ children this summer, which was a lot of fun. Callie really made huge strides in her technique and her confidence! It’s been so exciting to see her grow emotionally this year and learn to process through life’s ups and downs in a healthy way.
 
   Maggie was thrilled to FINALLY (said in an extremely dramatic voice with hand motions-as most of Maggie’s words are ;-)) start school this fall. She’s pretty confident she can do most everything Callie can, if only we would give her the chance! She continues to be our loud little tomboy, who loves to make messes and play in the dirt, often while wearing a frilly tutu! She regularly asks us deep questions out of the blue and has a sweet love for Jesus coupled with a stubborn streak a mile wide. She is also a bit (okay, perhaps more than a bit) boy crazy-crushing on her summer Sunday school teacher Mr. Button and our junior high pastor, David. She was rather disheartened when David got engaged, but both girls are excited to be the flower girls in the upcoming wedding!

   Dave and Amy just celebrated 12 years of marriage this week! As we look back, we are grateful for the many blessings God’s given us, but we are also thankful for the hard times that have forced us to rely more on Jesus and taught us how to work as a team. Parenting two strong-willed children is exhausting. They have fighting down to a tee! But we are so thankful God entrusted them to us and pray for wisdom to be parents that point them to our Savior! We enjoyed surprising them with an early Christmas present vacation to Disneyland this month. We LOVED seeing their faces as they met the characters-especially the princesses, and we discovered both our girls enjoy thrill rides! Other highlights of 2016 included Dave’s trip to Israel in February with members of our church, more time with grandparents and cousins, and Amy teaching a class at Corban University during the fall semester. Church is going well; thank you for those of you who pray for Dave and the rest of the church leadership and for the pastors’ families! We know how important those prayers are and appreciate you!

With lots of love and excitement for what God has planned in 2017,

Dave, Amy, Callie (6 ½) & Maggie (3 ¾) Bertolini

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas 2014-Our Digital Christmas Card

December 2014
Dear Loved Ones,
  
  I recently read through some of our past Christmas cards and determined two things:
1.) We are very blessed. Seriously, we’ve had our trials, but God sustains and gives us strength, and the good He’s given us (family, friends, church, etc.) far outweighs the hardships!
2.) Life is a whole new ballgame after a second child! Wow, I apologize for all the peachy keen, glowing reports with our easy firstborn. We have since learned that Callie’s behavior during the first few years was a gift; it was not due to our exceptional parenting! Laughing in the face of everything we thought we had nailed, Maggie or both girls give us daily reminders that take us back to Sergeant Schultz’ famous line, “I know nothing!” However, I am so very thankful for our precious girls-for their sweet smiles, their contagious laughter and their heartwarming hugs but also, (in my good moments—when they’re in bed or playing nicely J) for those sleepless nights, the crazy disobedience and the constant cries of, “MAMA!!!!!” that drive me to prayer. And for those of you who pray for us—for our parenting and for our girls to grow to love the Lord with all their hearts, THANK YOU! It means the world to us!

   2014 was a very busy year! Maggie turned one in February. We celebrated with a family trip to Disneyland. This was a win-win-win in my book. We had a great family vacation with friends and visited our CA family; Maggie will think we are awesome when she looks back on pictures years from now (hopefully J); and I didn’t have to throw a one-year-old birthday party (totally sneaky). Maggie is the little firecracker that lights up our family. She has an amazing cheeseball smile that comes out as soon as she sees a camera phone! She loves to climb and thinks “childproofing” is a joke. She adores her sister; she loves snuggling, playing chase and stealing her sister’s stuff! She just figured out how to open Callie’s bedroom door-insert dramatic meltdown from 4-year-old! While her comprehension and athleticism has been excellent for quite some time, her verbal skills are just beginning to come out. Callie has proven to be an adept translator when Daddy and Mommy are clueless!

   Speaking of Callie, our little performer is happiest when she is on the go! She is once again loving preschool and has some sweet friends. She also began ballet this fall. I’m not sure there’s anything cuter than little girls in ballet! We are all excited to watch her in the Nutcracker next week! Callie also enjoyed her first official year of VBS this summer-including the stage performance at the end, and she will be in the children’s church Christmas play as a baby dancing cactus! She loves to put on concerts for us at home and goes by the stage name of “Lisa Margaret”! Our little Sweetheart is constantly playing imaginary games and challenges us on a daily basis, as the lectures we give her are so often ones we need to hear ourselves! “Talk less; listen more. Don’t throw a fit; just ask for help. It doesn’t matter what “she” did; you are responsible for how you react.” I find myself having to apologize for my reactions to my children far too often! Thank goodness for the forgiveness they freely give, just like our heavenly Father!

   Dave has spent the year continuing to figure out the role/schedule of lead pastor. We have all discovered that unwinding from the job is even more difficult in this position. However, he is doing a great job, and God is blessing our church. As a church, we are doing the Read the Bible for Life program-a chronological read through the Bible in a year. Dave’s sermons come from a passage we read each week. Earlier this fall, Dave and the other pastors got to go to the Catalyst conference in Atlanta. It was a great time of learning and bonding as friends and a ministry team. Another highlight of the fall was the Men’s Chili Cook-off, where Dave took first place with his “Smokin’ Porker” chili. He has also been further perfecting our favorite salsa recipe and continues to enjoy barbecuing whenever the weather allows. Another fun thing for Daddy is that both girls enjoy playing with his remote control helicopter and are now getting into Wii games.

   Dave and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary next week! I think most who are married would say that similar to parenting, marriage has its perfectly blissful moments and its perfectly infuriating moments, all part of growing us closer in our relationship with the Lord. This year, Dave has had the opportunity to perform several weddings, and therefore, we have done some premarital counseling sessions. It’s been so valuable for us to get back to the basics some days and continue to work on our own marriage, as well!  In addition to counseling, I am, once again, co-directing the children’s Christmas play, which is a lot of fun and volunteering on the women’s ministry team at church. But of course, I spend most of my time trying to keep the girls from driving each other crazy-or worse, ganging up on their parents! I love taking zillions of pictures of them and on especially brave days attempting art or baking projects together. (They look adorable in their little matching aprons Grammy made them). I continue to enjoy working a few hours at the real estate office each week. My mom has been able to visit a couple weeks this fall. It’s great to have the time with her, and we are so grateful that her health continues to improve. The girls and I are also thankful to be able to see Dad a couple times a month.
 
We hope this Christmas brings you special family time and a new awareness of Christ’s love for you.
“Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.”
Philippians 2:6-7

With love,
Dave, Amy, Callie (4 ½) and Maggie (22 months) 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas 2012

It's obviously been a really long time since I updated our blog-mostly because I really didn't know what to say over the past few months. We've certainly been going through a stretching trial in our lives, but we've also just been extremely busy with the stage of life. So, below is our "Christmas card," with highlights! 

As many of you know, 2012 has been a difficult year in our family. However, our God is faithful, and we’d like to focus on His blessings this year & look forward to His continued work in 2013! We so appreciate your prayers for our family!
· In January, we enjoyed a wonderful family vacation (with friends) to Disneyland and got to visit Dave’s grandparents.
· Callie turned 2, moved into a big girl bed and is now potty-trained! She also continues to amaze us with her vocabulary, and we love listening to her sing songs and Bible verses!
· A new niece, Nora Anne, joined our family in May.
· We found out Baby Girl Bertolini #2 is on the way (Feb. 2013)!
· Dave began his FINAL year of his Master’s at Western Seminary (set to graduate April 2013!) and will, Lord-willing, assume the role of Senior Pastor at our church in September of 2013. 
· Finally, despite the very painful circumstances, the Lord has used Dad to touch so many lives for Him and there is more than 1 new Believer for each month we have been apart! We choose to praise. 

With love, Dave, Amy, Callie and Baby B.

Monday, March 12, 2012

REALLY LATE DISNEYLAND TRIP

So, we took Callie to Disneyland in January, and I haven't posted about it...I'm taking the easy way out, so here is a video highlighting the trip!

Almost 2!

A very brief synopsis-mostly in pictures, of what we've been up to these last couple months! We decided to potty train. Cold turkey method-threw out all the diapers for both day and night and into the big girl panties. They are so cute in this size! Callie, for the most part, has done great! I get her up in the night to go when I have to, or when she cries out. We moved her to a big girl bed! Found one on Craig's list for a great deal that matched the rest of her furniture! She LOVES it-however, it takes her much longer to go to sleep because she likes to play in there. The posts have 4 removable "microphones" that she uses to sing. (especially perfect for ABC's and Jesus Loves Me). She sings ALL THE TIME!



First night in Big Girl Bed!
Still enjoys baths
Looking so much older!
Wrestling cousin A.J.
Ready for church with stickers from going potty in the toilet!
A rare sunny day!
The microphone :-)
We went outside and Callie said "Oh, sunshine!" I said, "Yes, God gave us sunshine today." She responded with a resounding, "THANK YOU, GOD!!"
My Cutie Pie!
Pretty in purple (side note, this dress was a hand-me-down from a church friend, but it happens to be the same dress the flower girls wore in our wedding :-) How fun is that?!)