Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in a Nutshell

January: Celebrated Kylie's 2nd birthday and my mom's 50th. Kylie learned to count and identify various colors. I took on some small sewing projects.
February: Announced that we were expecting Baby #2. Josh's Valentine's Day gift to me was a pair of tickets to see "Wicked" in the spring.
March: Josh took over almost all of the parenting responsibilities due to my rough pregnancy, during which time Kylie learned how to identify almost all of the letters and symbols on the keyboard. She enjoyed any free time outside she could get!
April: Learned that Kylie would have a little sister. Josh and I had a wonderful weekend together in Toledo, OH where we saw the musical "Wicked." Enjoyed celebrating Easter.

May: Surprised Josh's parents in Washington and had a wonderful time with his family. Spent tons of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Learned that there was a possibility that we would have to move to Utah so Josh could keep his job.

June: Josh played on a softball team with my Uncle, brother, and dad. Began potty training Kylie (...then took a break!)
July: Celebrated the 4th of July with my entire family. Received the proofs from my maternity photo shoot (and LOVED them).
August: Completed a series of crafts, including the baby's crib bedding. Moved into our own apartment. Welcomed Summer Danielle into our family after a very long, difficult pregnancy.
September: Adjusted to life with a new baby! Summer received her baby blessing.
October: Enjoyed a beautiful day at the pumpkin patch with some friends. Celebrated Halloween with a football theme.
November: Celebrated my dad's 50th birthday with some gag gifts. Enjoyed Thanksgiving with my dad's family. I visited the ER twice for an allergic reaction and spent an evening in Urgent Care due to a severe stomach flu. Learned that Josh would no longer be required to move to Utah to keep his job!
December: Finally got Kylie on a better sleeping schedule after struggling with it for MONTHS. Enjoyed the Christmas festivities with the family.
All in all, it's been a pretty crazy year! We took a few trips, endured a difficult pregnancy, welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our lives, and spent plenty of quality time with family and friends. As I reflect on the year I am reminded of how truly blessed we have been, and although things were not perfect (far from it), we have grown tremendously and appreciate the many good times we have had. We feel so fortunate to be employed, healthy, and surrounded by our loved ones. This past year has been interesting and we look forward to a new year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas All Month Long

In our family we have several Christmas celebrations throughout the month of December: a church Christmas party, a family party, another smaller family get-together Christmas Eve, etc. By Christmas day, we're ready to relax and just enjoy time at home, which is exactly what we did. Since we kind of celebrate during the whole month, I realized that I couldn't just share a "Christmas post." So, I'll back up a little bit.

Kylie loved helping me decorate the tree this year. So much, in fact, that she felt the need to continue decorating long after I finished. It may be difficult to see clearly in the picture, but Kylie put a red marker cap and Summer's pacifier clip on there. Guess where we found our laundry key??
As I mentioned before, my brother was able to come home for our family Christmas party. Kylie had tons of fun playing with her Uncle "Kah-wo."
You know that Geico commercial that talks about the little pig crying "wee, wee, wee" all the way home? That's what this video reminds me of :)
Christmas Eve we went to my parents' house for dinner. Kylie enjoyed helping Grandma make cookies. So did Kramer...
The girls were showered with gifts that night. We found that Kylie really didn't enjoy opening the gifts much, but once they were opened, she had to play with them immediately.
I have to share this: my mom made me a recipe book! When we lived with my parents, I cooked dinner every night (except when I was pregnant) and so I became well acquainted with my mom's recipes. Once I moved, I hardly had anything to work with. This book is AMAZING. She made this adorable cover...
...typed up each recipe, alphabetized them all, and then categorized them. I love her.
Summer is so young we really didn't get her anything for Christmas. The Bumbo chair was her one and only gift, and I can say with confidence that she likes it very much.
Now on to Christmas morning. We had been prepping Kylie all month long about Santa Claus bringing her presents, finding things in her stocking, etc. I was shocked on Christmas morning when Kylie was not excited. AT ALL. She wanted to sit down and watch TV with her sippy cup of milk like she does every morning. When Josh and I started opening our gifts, she showed a little interest, but it really didn't hold her attention. The video depicts about the most excitement she showed all morning.

It did get better though! Just like on Christmas Eve she wasn't too interested in opening her gifts, but once they were opened, she had a great time playing. Here she is with her new skates and medical kit. I don't know that I would trust a doctor on skates... Anyway, she ended up having a wonderful day playing with her new toys.
Kylie really impressed me this Christmas. At first I was kind of bummed that she wasn't excited about opening presents, but that feeling quickly faded when her all-time favorite bedtime story became The First Christmas. (Side note: this book is awesome! Josh's mom recorded herself reading the story and Kylie loves to hear her Grandma's voice every night). Anyway, she loved pointing out baby Jesus, the shepherds, and the star in the book. Also, her favorite gifts were the least expensive ones: bubbles, crazy straws, bath finger paints, number flash cards, etc. She also enjoyed shopping for other people and helping me wrap their gifts. I feel like, even at such a young age, she gets it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and were able to enjoy the holiday surrounded by friends and family.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Playing Santa

I'm still working on capturing pictures of our Christmas holiday so I'll do an official Christmas post later. Until then, I'll let you read all about my senior moments as Santa (hopefully the kids don't read this post anytime during their childhood).

1. I did not have any tags, bows, or ribbons on ANY of the gifts. I completely spaced.... that's the best excuse I can come up with.

2. Some of Josh's family members sent gifts to us unwrapped with the understanding that we would wrap them before Christmas morning. Don't worry-- Josh was a good boy and he made sure to wrap the gifts and put them under the tree. When I saw them, I said, "Oh how funny! Your family has the same wrapping paper as us!"

3. When it came time for Josh and I to fill each others' stockings, we thought it would be best to take them to separate rooms to be filled so the surprises wouldn't be spoiled. When Josh picked mine up and started to walk away, I said, "Hey, that's mine!" A little too late it dawned on me, Why would he fill his own stocking? Of course he has mine!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Family Christmas Party

For many years my dad's side of the family used to gather together every Christmas Eve. When Josh and I got married and started alternating households for Christmas, my family moved the Christmas party up a week so we could participate too. So last weekend we had the family Christmas party and everyone had a blast.

Kylie could hardly wait to open up her presents
This is the first Christmas in a long time that my older brother, Kyle, was able to be home with us. Ok, so it wasn't technically Christmas, but he was home for the party. This year everyone just bought gifts for the kids instead of exchanging names, which is why I was surprised when Kyle had a gift to open. It was this old school towel. Apparently it was the first towel he ever used at my Grandma's house. We often tease my Grandma about the things she saves (she doesn't throw ANYTHING away), so it was really no surprise that she would pull something like this out.
Ishijah, Kendell, and Sadi opening their gifts
The adults did end up exchanging gifts in a way. We each went to the dollar store and bought 2 items to give away. All of the gifts were put in the middle and we played a form of bingo to win gifts back. The game just continued so eventually you were able to "steal" gifts from other people. It was a ton of fun! Apparently that's what Christmas is all about... stealing. :)
Kramer and I chilling once the chaos died down.

I LOVE this picture of my brothers with my Grandma
The sibs

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All I Want For Christmas... some sleep!

It's normal for parents of young infants to be a little short on sleep, but it's not our infant that is keeping us up at night... it's our toddler! For months we have been fighting tooth and nail to get this girl to sleep, but with very little success.
This picture was taken at 10:00 pm. Josh's exhausted expression in this picture says it all!
Align CenterBottom line: Josh and I were exhausted and Kylie was chronically sleep deprived... seriously. This type of problem happens gradually and I'm pretty sure it started when I was pregnant. Since it was a really difficult pregnancy, most of my attention went to preserving my health so Kylie's schedule slowly faded into nothing. She often resisted naps, crashed in the evening, went to bed very late, and arose much too early= sleep deprivation x 1000.

She became a completely different person that I really didn't want to be around, truthfully. I spent all day everyday walking on eggshells as Kylie rolled from one meltdown to the next. Every time I tried to implement any kind of schedule, Kylie resisted hard and loud so I would just give up-- I was SO tired! I was already tired from taking care of an infant and running a household that I really didn't have the energy to practice much patience with her. But I was desperate for a change that would help us be a happier, more well-rested family. I read 4 books about creating routines for toddlers, but this book has BY FAR been the best. I could kiss the woman who wrote it. She not only provided incredibly helpful solutions (with the reasons behind those solutions) but she also gave real examples of the problems that exist in the first place. I felt like somebody FINALLY understood EVERYTHING that I had been experiencing for months. It was also humbling to realize that I had been doing just about everything wrong.

I have started to implement some of her strategies and have already noticed a huge difference in Kylie's sleeping habits, but also her attitude and behavior. She is a much happier person and I love to be around her again! She is in a good mood when she wakes up, takes regular naps, and goes to bed willingly at a decent time. She can stay focused on tasks for longer periods of time and her day mainly consists of activities instead of meltdowns. Granted, things are not perfect and we still have a ways to go, but the situation has improved dramatically in just a matter of days. Josh and I actually get to spend time together in the evenings again! Let's just hope that things continue to improve.

Hello, December

This sweet girl is already 3 months old!
She is still an easy baby and has plenty of big smiles to share. No, she is not sleeping through the night yet, but she usually only gets up once. You can't tell from the picture but her hair is getting lighter and lighter. I'm guessing that she'll be blonde in a few months. Her hands are constantly in her mouth and she has started to experiment with grasping objects and bringing them to her mouth. We are so happy to have her in our family!
Kylie has really taken to her younger sister. She plays very well with her, loves to make her smile, and even has conversations with her in the car. She sure is loved!

Goodbye, November

It seems like the month of November went by in a hurry! For me, it was a pretty crazy month. I mentioned in my last post that I developed a severe allergic reaction to Gain laundry detergent that landed me in the Emergency Room twice in two days. However, I also came down with a terrible stomach flu the day after Thanksgiving that put me in Urgent Care. Not only did I have the usual stomach flu symptoms, but I had the worst migraine on top of it. Unfortunately, I've had a headache everyday since. I wondered if it had anything to do with my vision, but after a trip to the eye doctor, I've learned that I still have perfect eyesight. As strange as it may sound, I'm beginning to wonder if my wisdom teeth may be the cause. I'll let you know what I find out!

A HUGE "thank you" to my parents and Josh for really stepping it up during the times when I was sick. The kids and I really appreciate everything you did to help!

Despite all of the trips to the doctor, November wasn't all bad. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with my dad's side of the family. The food was fantastic and we just enjoyed talking, laughing, and hanging out with everyone.

The best part of November, though, was getting to celebrate my Dad's birthday. He turned 50 this year so we gave him some special gifts that he could appreciate in his old age: fiber, prune juice, a pill case, reading glasses, adult diapers, denture cleaner, and a cane :) He was a GREAT sport!

We did get him real gifts though, too. My brother got him a Michigan State jacket, and I got a DVD made of some of our home movies. The tape had been broken forever so I got it repaired and put on a disc.

We were definitely thankful for family this month, among many other things. We really have been so blessed!