Closing out 2020

I know we are already in the new year, but I wanted to close out 2020 with our late annual Christmas letter (if you click on it, it will open larger to read it easier)

and the left over pictures from December to show some of the wonderful memories we have been able to make in the last month of 2020.

I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but I do know that I have the ability to make it a good year no matter what is going on in the world, and that is what I am choosing to do. God Bless.

These are our Bits O’ Bertoch.

Cassie Bertoch

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Nearing the End of 2020

These last few months have felt like a test of patience and faith.

I have been pleasantly surprised with my adventure with homeschooling with the girls. I am lucky in the fact that they are eager to learn, so it doesn’t feel like a chore and dragging them to the table.
Bailey is in first grade, so we are working on reading and sentence structures and time and money and basic math. She is an avid reader, and I keep a reading log of the books she has read so far during her daily reading time, and each time she finishes a sheet, it makes my own book loving heart so happy! I am also so proud of her and the work that she puts into her education. She yearns to learn and understand. I am thankful for the flexibility of taking breaks when brains start hitting the wall, and I have learned when she starts to hit that wall. It has brought us closer together, and I know she loves the one on one time I (try my best) to give her each morning. She is maturing and has grown so much emotionally and spiritually and physically. She has such a pure kind heart that is a gift she was born with. She has an obedient nature, and I feel lucky that at this stage I don’t feel like I have to worry a lot about her, I can trust her judgements. She has such a fun sense of humor, and plays so well with her sisters. She also loves to play Minecraft with her Dad. She’s our little gamer. Her and Adam have built worlds full of houses shaped like candy canes, bee hives, temples, pumpkins, flags, animals, christmas trees, and aquariums and lava volcanos and gardens galore! If you can imagine it, they can create it! I love it!

Claire is in Pre-K, so we have been working on tracing words and sounds and recognition, as well as some basic math and counting skills. She also loves to learn and she puts in the effort. Claire will sit and work on a concept or letter until she figures it out. She has the patience to sit in the difficulty. She has now also started preschool with the high school program she did last year. We felt that since it is only a couple hours a week, the masks wouldn’t be too hard for her, and it would give her some classroom experience before she potentially goes to full time kindergarten next year. She loves it. And she is thriving. She is so creative. She colors elaborate, beautiful pictures, and is really proud of the fact that she can write all of her families names! She lives in her own little world sometimes and will create these elaborate stories and playtimes. She particularly loves playing Mommy, and I often find her little baby dolls or stuffed animals tucked into makeshift beds in various places in the house. It’s the most adorable thing ever haha. Claire also started speech therapy in October because I felt she could use some help, and I am very thankful I did because she definitely needed more help than I knew how to give her. Her speech therapist is amazing and Claire puts in 1000% of effort in each session. Claire is an inspiration for me in dedication and hard work. When she is on her own, without knowing anyone is watching, she will work through the mouth exercises and letter sounds she struggles with. She wants to be heard and understood and I am so glad that there are people who are trained in helping people to communicate more effectively. I am excited to see where she will be this time next year πŸ™‚

Sophie is our spunky bundle of fun. She loves to be at the table when I’m teaching the girls and will play with play doh or the math blocks, or write gibberish with a pencil on paper to feel like she is doing school too. Her favorite days are Fun Friday’s because we usually do Bingo with lifesaver gummies and create fun crafts πŸ™‚ She understands so much from being around her sisters, and will play pretend with them and follow their rules for the game (for the most part haha). She is now fully potty trained! My last one! No more diapers or pull ups! It’s glorious. She loves being independent and doing things on her own. She loves to build blocks and will create endless “cakes” to sell in her little shop haha. She loves playing tea party and cafe with her sisters and playing with the nativity sets we have around the house right now. She is my last baby, and watching her grow is bittersweet. I love every stage her and the girls are in right now,….but knowing that my baby is getting bigger and bigger is tough on my momma heart!

We are in a good routine with schooling and schedules and it’s been nice! I have my little school nook corner at the kitchen table, and I have a bulletin board that I call the “Wall of Fame.” The first couple months I used it as a trophy wall to showcase the things the girls have done πŸ™‚ And then in November I decided to do a thankful tree, where everyday of the month we all wrote down 1 thing we are thankful for, and 1 person we love on heart shaped leaves. It became quite the fluffy beauty by the end of the month! And I feel it brought a sense of love and gratitude in our home from focusing on that each day. πŸ™‚ Now that we are starting December and the Christmas season, I made it a Light the World calendar that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints do each year. I tweaked the activities to make them something the girls can do, and we will do one each day of the month. Light the World is a program that focuses each day on Christ and becoming closer to Him this season. Here is the link to the website that explains it if anyone is interested https://www.comeuntochrist.org/light-the-world-2020 .

Something that has been rough for me is the fact that my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in October. It blind sided everyone and it took me a bit to wrap my head around it and accept it, but I have faith that she will be okay. She is a fighter. I need her. My girls need her. The first night she told me, when we weren’t sure exactly how far along or what the plans were yet, and it sent me into a spiral. Im only 30! I cant lose my Mom! I slept in my girls room that night and listened to them breathe while I silently cried and thought about all of the potentially missed memories and advice, and my fear that I could one day die young as well since it could now run in the family (my nana had breast cancer too). It definitely helped put things in perspective for me and in what truly matters in life. FAMILY. Luckily her doctors are very optimistic. It’s an aggressive cancer, so she started chemo very quickly, but they have a good plan in place, and she has been a trooper. I feel confident that I have many more years with her! My girls pray every single day for her and for her cancer to be healed, and I am a believer of prayer for sure. She was going to come and visit and be here this week actually, but because of starting chemo, she had to cancel. But that’s okay, because she needs to focus on getting better so we can make new memories! We have plans this coming July to meet in Florida at a condo on the beach (for Adam and I’s 10 year anniversary too!) and that is going to be our cancer free celebration beach vacation! She’s got this.

My brother Danny is on his mission! He was supposed to go to Chile, but with covid he was reassigned to San Antonio, so it has been neat knowing he’s over near our neck of the woods! I love the fact that we can have weekly facetime sessions now on their missions, and I love that it brings missionary work and the spirit of the lord even stronger in our home because of his service and talking about his experiences each week. I have seen him grow and his testimony blossom. It’s weird seeing my baby brother be an adult! But I love the relationship we have and I am proud of the man he has become. Of all my siblings actually! I feel very blessed to be so close to each one of them and I am so proud of who they have become. Aj is in the military and is a strong man of faith and is hilarious and always has me crying with laughter. He is so sweet to my girlies too πŸ™‚ And Bean got a job at Primary Children’s in Utah and she is killing it! She is a child life specialist and is blessing so many families with her tender heart. My girls are jonesing for fun Aunt Bean to visit again!

I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so much love and family. Adam’s family is so wonderful and I am thankful for the deep meaningful relationships I have made with them. I feel lucky to live so close to them and get together for holidays and fun moments and memories. Adult siblings hanging out is just the best guys haha. And the girls love their cousins!

I am really excited for this Christmas season to end the year on a much needed hopeful note. I feel like I am emotionally crawling to January 1st, but I know the Lord will strengthen me, and I am so blessed. I have faith that as long as I turn to Him and trust in Him and His plan for me and my family, then I cant go wrong. He is the source of happiness. And I rely on that!

Have a wonderful Christmas season, and enjoy the massive random photo dump of our little family’s lives πŸ™‚

These are our Bits O’ Bertoch

Cassie Bertoch

 

We Are Still Here!

It’s been a few months! We are still here and surviving! It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster if I’m being honest. Ive had some hard moments these last few months. Moments where I felt defeated and alone and exasperated and exhausted and spread thin. However, luckily, with all of the low points, there has also been friendship and family and laughter and fun and meaningful conversations and silly conversations and good food…etc. So it is all a balance it seems haha.

Time is all a blur at this point, so it is hard for me to remember everything along this timeline, but to give some highlights:

-Sophie is about 75% potty trained. We are close people!! So close! We have good days and bad days, but she is slowly and steadily getting it, which has made all the difference. Because it means we can leave the house for longer periods of time and go and do things without as much fear.
-Bailey has lost 2 teeth!! Her two bottom ones and she is looking so grown! And Claire could be the best knot tier in the nation. No joke. I have had to cut so many randomly tied shoe laces off of things because I cant for the life of me untie the dang knots haha.
-We went to Utah!!!! We drove up in 2 days. They were long days! But the girls were troopers! We downloaded so many movies on the iPad and had a ton of snacks and activities for them, so we were prepared haha. Adam was also a trooper for doing all the driving while I climbed all around the back taking care of the girls haha we made a good team. It was so wonderful in Utah. From beginning to end. We needed it so much. To get out and get away and forget about the virus. It was so great to reconnect with my siblings Β after so long and for the girls to be so spoiled and played with and loved haha. For my brother’s 18th birthday my parents got all of us 2 hours at Flow Rider, the indoor water surfing place. Haha well in 40 minutes: I pulled my groin, Adam tweaked his elbows, Celine cut herself on the edge of the side wall…all the people 25 and up….and of course Danny and Aj were killing it haha. So we left after an hour and licked our wounds and pride haha. But we made some fun memories πŸ™‚ Flow Rider was basically the only place we really went to, and it was just the adults. We took the girls to the park and a splash pad, but we just had good quality family time at home, in the backyard, at parks, and with one another. It was great. I was able to witness my brother Danny get the Melchizedek priesthood and get ready for his mission to Santiago Chile, (which has been reassigned for the time being to San Antoni, Texas this coming September). I had the most quality time Ive had with Aj since he was a kid, and was able to see how much he has turned his life around and become a strong man of God–it made my heart so happy! And Its been so long since I have laughed so hard. I was thankful to have some really great life changing conversations with my sister Celine and be with her during some pivotal moments, I am proud of her strength and courage. And of course my mom and dad were the cutest Nana and Pop Pop ever! The girls agonized over waiting for Nana to wake up every morning to play! (And to give Nana credit, she was up at 6:30am! haha) The girls love them all so much! In fact, Bailey still prays everyday that Uncle Danny will be safe on his mission for two years. πŸ™‚ I was able to visit my bestie Merinda and meet her newest little bundle of joy, Michael! It was seriously squad goals, sitting on her back porch watching our kids run and play together. Who would have thought when we were little 18 year old freshmen, that 12 years later we would be where we are at. It made my heart so happy. I love her so much.
The girls were in mourning when we left. It was 2.5 weeks of nothing but love, fun, and play. I was sad to go too! We had our 9 year anniversary on the road actually! Haha we celebrated in the hotel with pizza and cupcakes! It was one to remember πŸ™‚ On the way home we were lucky enough to head over and see Austin and Rhuvana and spend some time with them. They fed us well and we always feel so comfy with them, and have lots of laughs and good talks. I love it. I was thankful to see their cute house and where they live and spend time in their space. It’s different when people come to you and your space. So I am glad we were able to do that πŸ™‚
-But home sweet home! There’s no place like your own bed, no matter how much your heart misses. We slept so good that first night home, we all did! Haha.
-While we were gone, Ally had a beautiful baby boy! Little Hyrum! Yay for another nephew! And she is a flippin rock star to be pregnant and give birth during this pandemic. Hyrum will have quite the story to tell his friends one day of him coming into this world.
-Not long after we got home, Adam turned around and flew to Washington for the graveside service of his sweet Grandma Bird. I was lucky to have met her a couple times before she had Alzheimer’s 😦 She passed with so many surrounding her in love and support. I am so glad Adam was able to go and be there with his family and celebrate her life. She will be missed by many.
-Now that we are home and getting back into some kind of routine, school is the next thing on the list. With Covid, schools are requiring face masks for everyone pre-k and up, all day. As well as not being able to socialize and have kids near each other. I understand the reasonings behind it. But that is hard for a 6 year old. And I know my 6 year old, and the lack of social connection would break her little spirit. We prayed about it really hard and felt that for her personally, it would be best to keep her home. (Side note: zero judgement for those who are going to on campus school. This is just what fits best for my family). So we had decided to do the online option. But then found out it was going to be mainly all day on Zoom. And I don’t know how that would work with my other two girls, and how Bailey would be able to navigate that…so we ultimately decided to withdraw her from school this year and homeschool her myself. I am actually really excited. More than I ever thought I would be! haha. I am thankful to have an extra year with my girlies home with me πŸ™‚ Im going to do some pre-k work with Claire too to help her prepare for kindergarten as well, so they will be able to have school time together. πŸ™‚ I am sure there will be hard days and good days. But I felt peace for the first time in making this decision regarding school, so that alone has been an answer to prayers.

So here we go! After having such an eventful few months, I am curious to what the next few will be! Stay tuned! haha.

Enjoy the hundreds of pictures of random family fun and love πŸ™‚