Monday, December 31, 2012

A Farewell to 2012

Happy 100th post of the year for me.  Guess I somehow managed to do this blog thing after all. :)

We have had a big year, and obviously adding child #4 to our family was the most notable event!  It's hard to not view this year as The Year of Leah...I think it's because she was born towards the beginning, in the spring, and we had most of the year to get to know her!

Before she arrived, though, we had Upward Basketball that started in January...

We all always cheer him on!
Playing hard!

My bestie, Kassie, had her 4th baby in February...remember that we have been pregnant all four times together? :)

This was a few months later obviously!  But this was the day Anna met Leah.

 And Josh took Sarah to a Daddy Daughter dance for Valentine's Day...

All dressed up for the dance.

Sadly, we lost Josh's Grandma in February...we miss her bunches, and I wish she could have met Leah...

My favorite picture with her, taken in 2007.

In March we spent lots of time decluttering kids' rooms and getting the house ready for Leah.  We painted and reorganized and did all kinds of things to make our house ready for the new addition.  Josh and I also went on a "last date" knowing that time alone would be hard to come by after the baby arrived.  We had fun in St. Louis with an overnight getaway.

I remember celebrating Easter as a VERY PREGNANT girl...she arrived just days later...

Easter Sunday.

And it was the day I felt our family was complete...

The day we met Leah.

A few weeks later in May, I had my gallbladder removed (after months and months of massive attacks and horrible pain).  I was in the hospital for five. long. days.  I missed Sarah's preschool graduation, and that was hard.  She looked so pretty.  I'm thankful my dad was able to take her.

Shaking hands with Ms. Diane (date is not right obviously!)

So proud!

The summer seemed to be the months that blended together, mostly because of our putting our house on the market, having a contract on it, finding a house, and then IT ALL FALLING THROUGH.  I know I will look back and realize how it all worked out the way it was supposed to, but I think I'm still not quite there yet.

Besides the house drama, Caleb learned to ride his bike  without training wheels this summer, and that was a big deal around here!

Leah was dedicated at church.

Our family on a special day.

Caleb and Sarah had their birthdays in August.

Caleb started 2nd grade, Sarah started kindergarten, and Gabriel started preschool...

Gabriel's first day of pre-k.

Spending time with the worship team at church was also a big part of my year.  Meeting this girl has been a huge blessing.

Amy and me at practice.

In September Sarah had the honor of being the St. James Homecoming MiniQueen.  She was the cutest little thing that night.

Presenting the crowns :)

Caleb won a Lego Building contest for this entry...

His cool car thingy.

In October I got to go to a Cardinals playoff game!  That was sersiously the most awesome game ever!

Leah had fun, too!

October was also fun with trips to the pumpkin patch, the zoo, and Halloween.

Hayride at the pumpkin patch.

I guess I had four kids for this? :)

My four...all dressed up!

For my birthday weekend in November, I had a girls getaway with one of my besties!  We met the former lead singer of NewSong.  I didn't stumble over my words when I met him (mostly). :)

Me, Michael O'Brien, and Sarah.

Gabriel turned 4 in November.  We had a little, "just family" get-together.

A Spiderman party :)

In December I seemed to get the wild idea to do all kinds of "make my home homey" projects, so I did a family picture wall and a wedding picture wall in our house.  We also added new curtains to the kids rooms.

We had a very nice Christmas.

Christmas morning.

The last day of the year was perfect.  With snow on the ground and time with my kiddos.

It was a full year, and I am looking forward to 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, the kids woke up and opened gifts.  We somehow have established an orderly way of things, first thing is a picture! :)

Leah enjoyed her first Christmas morning.

Then we made some fun, reindeer pancakes.  I saw a picture a friend posted earlier and she found this from Pinterest.

Then around noon we traveled to my aunt and uncle's house to celebrate with  my dad's side of the family.

Leah was cuddly with Aunt Kathy.

And I love this picture of her with my grandma.

I truly enjoyed the season this year.  I'm always sad to see it come to an end but even more so this time.

I will keep playing my Christmas CD's this week...I need a few extra days of Christmas I think! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"What I Am Thankful For"

The kids had their last day of school on Tuesday and are now on Christmas break.  Caleb brought home a few projects he had worked on over the last month or so, and one of them was an "I am thankful" type thing.  When I saw it, it really made my heart smile.

Because even though we try to teach our children what truly matters in life, you never know what a small child will say they are thankful for!  He could have said his Wii or Legos or Super Heros.  But he said something that sounds like what I would write.


And after the tragedies both nationally and locally, I'm certain all of us have a better grasp on what really matters. 

These four.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hope Into the Dark

I have tried to sit down and write this post a few times.

The truth is...words are hard to come by for me.

I have not watched the news since about noon on Friday.

After word of the shootings in Conneticut, I felt overwhelming saddness.  When I heard that 27 were dead, including an entire kindergarten class, it was almost too much to take.

My Sarah is in kindergarten.

Then on Saturday morning at 7:00 am, my husband received a phone call that two high school seniors were killed in a car accident.  He took it hard.  He had just had Nikki in class Friday, he played Phase 10 with her and a few others.

He still has the score sheet...they were going to continue on Monday.

Lexi was a homecoming queen candidate...she stood behind Sarah in all the pictures.

Last night he told me that one of his co-workers lost her husband over the weekend to a heart attack.

Too. much. to. take.

And while I do not know any of these people personally, it has been a very, very sobering few days.

I can hardly bring myself to post anything on facebook.  Normally, I will post something cute my kid has said or something funny I saw on someone else's page, or some recipe I found on Pinterest.  Nothing seems right to post.  I saw a picture countdown to a movie my husband and I want to see, and I "shared" it on his wall yesterday.  I actually had second thoughts on whether to do it...

Nothing seems right.

I'm not sure how long I will feel this way.  It is a character flaw of sorts for me.  Even when people are affected who I do not know directly, I hurt with them and for them.

Prayers...lots of prayers...I've been praying more the last few days than I have in a while.

Even more prayers when two of my friends had children in the hospital yesterday. 

Perhaps the thing that has hit me the most with all of this is how many people are hurting this time of year.  A time of year I've always loved is a time of year many people can hardly bear.

That's one way I believe my heart is changing with all that has been going on...having a heart that is more compassionate for those who will maybe never again have a "Holly, Jolly Christmas".

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let
Where there is darkness let me shine light

May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fun With The Kiddos - Nutter Butter Snowmen

The other day I was looking through some blogs that I used to always visit, and somehow I stumbled upon the cutest idea.  So we bought the ingredients and made some Nutter Butter Snowmen last night! :)

 We needed:

Nutter Butters
White Candy Melts (or almond bark or white chocolate chips)
Mini M&M's

 They were really excited about this activity!

They turned out pretty cute!  It was very simple and didn't take long at all.  I'm really glad I found it and hope to find other simple, yummy activities for Christmas break!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bye Bye China Hutch, Hello Family Picture Wall

If you would have walked into our home within the last seven years, you would have seen a nice china hutch on the wall next to our dining room table.  It all came together as a set, and I remember loving it at the time we purchased it.  It took up space on an otherwise empty wall, and it held the china that was given to me from my great aunt's estate when she passed away.

It also became the location for Legos as Caleb grew up and began to build with them.

But now that our family has grown to six members, we really need the room around the entire table.  The space between the hutch and the table was barely enough for a chair, and that was ok when no one sat on that end...not ok when an 8-year-old likes sitting on that end.

I have also always wanted a large, family picture wall.

So I decided to sell the hutch to free up space and give me a wall to work with!  After it was gone, I started brainstorming about how to do the set up for the pictures.  We had many wonderful, gorgeous, perfect pictures taken by Bonnie in October, and I was just dying to get them printed and put up.  I started figuring out what sizes and which combination of pictures I wanted, then I used our dining room table as my way to organize and rearrange (and rearrange, and rearrange) the pictures.

Because I am pretty particular, I then measured between each picture and wrote it down so we could know how far apart they should be on the wall.

It turned out even better than I hoped.  I am just waiting on a wall decal to put across the top - it says: The love of a family is life's greatest blessing.  I was going to order online, but a friend of a friend makes them, so I wanted to give her my business! :)

I am so excited about this wall, and I'm not sure why.  I guess it's because I've wanted to do this for so long, and because I think it makes our house even more homey.  I also think it's because I sometimes still have a hard time with what happened this summer with not moving, and I'm trying to make this place even more lovely for us.

My next wall project is a wedding picture wall - as inspired by a wall my grandma had in her house.  I want to put our wedding picture in the center and then surround it by our parrents' and grandparents' wedding pictures...

Can't wait!