Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bye Bye 2014!

It feels like I was JUST doing this for 2013, as I sat on the couch and watched the ball drop.  (I was a bit slack last year.)  Somehow 2014 is already over, and it's time for me to do another recap.  It has been an exciting year and just looking back makes me exhausted to see how much we packed into it! We may not take extravagant trips all over the world, and we may spend lots and lots of low key days at home, but we sure do fill our days, weeks and months with lots of family, friends and fun!  Here we go...

  • It SNOWED and Nana came over to have some fun in the snow with us! 
  • We had fun with all of our new Christmas toys and goodies.
  • I took Kristi & Davis's engagement pictures for the newspaper.
  • Kate's friend Sarah had a roller skating birthday party; Kate's first time on skates!
  • We had a great visit with Kate's birth parents. 

  • It snowed AGAIN!
  • We visited Gigi and Pick at their lake house.
  • We hosted small group at our house, which is Kate's favorite.  She and Conner had fun driving the John Deere Gator around.
  • We ate Mexican food at Mr. Salsa and someone REALLY enjoyed the salsa!
  • We FINALLY finished up our home study and ordered our profile books for our agency. It's official! We are waiting for a 2nd baby!

  • We had awesome weather for March and spent lots of time outside. 
  • The weather was so nice, we went to get ice cream!
  • We visited the zoo with Gigi, Pick, and Kristi.
  • We got the Jesus Storybook Bible, which has turned into one of our very favorite children's bibles.

  • We visited Gigi and Pick at the lake; we went fishing and rode on the boat!
  • We celebrated Easter with family, and even went to an Easter egg hunt!
  • Kate tried rollers for the first time. We were testing out a new style and hoping to use these for Kristi's wedding, but Kate would only let us keep them in her hair for about 20 minutes.  
  • We spent many Sunday afternoons picking flowers (azaleas and dandelions). Kate must be a romantic.

  • Kristi and Davis got married. Our entire family was in the wedding.  Kevin officiated, I was a bridesmaid and Kate was the flower girl.  Kate did a GREAT job, especially considering she was only 2 years old at the time!
  • We visited my parents at the lake (again) and Kate went tubing for the very first time. Her exact words were "Best day ever!!"
  • We celebrated Mother's Day, my 3rd as a mom!
  • Kate made her ballet debut in her first recital. She had so much fun she crashed another class's number after hers was over.
  • Kate finished up her second (and last) year of Mother's Day Out at a local church. She moved up to preschool in August!

  • We took a "staycation" at my parent's lake house and had a blast! Kate loved swimming, riding/driving the boat, and seeing friends and family.  Her Nana and Grandma Betty even came down for the day and went out on the boat with us!
  • We took our youth group to Carowinds, and Kate came along!  6 months later, it is STILL all she can talk about.  Carowinds is probably her favorite place on Earth right now!
  • Kevin celebrated his 3rd Father's Day as a Daddy!
  • Kate had her first major hair cut - almost 6 inches gone!
  • We had a great visit with Kate's birth parents at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia. What a fun trip!

  • Pick turned SIXTY! We celebrated at the lake with cake and bowling, Kate's first bowling experience.  Of course, she loved it!  And to top it off, she just about beat us all!
  • We spent lots of time outdoors - playing with the water table, tricycle, and scooter!
  • We had friends over for the Fourth of July and shot off fireworks! The kids loved seeing them, but weren't a fan of the loud noise!

  • Kate turned THREE!  We celebrated with a small family party at home.  
  • Kate's last day of Mothers Day Out was last year, and so this year she started preschool.  She is in a 3K program.  It is crazy to think that we only have ONE more full school year before she starts kindergarten!
  • We also enrolled Kate in a tumbling class this fall. She has loved it, but we decided not to continue the class after December, because of the busy season of life we are in right now.
  • Kevin turned 41 and got a new gas grill for his birthday.  He also got the "gift" of a Georgia win over Clemson in the first game of the season.

  • We made a last minute decision to take a mini-vacation to Myrtle Beach and are SO glad we did. Turns out, this was our last get-away as a family of THREE! :) Kate had not been to the beach for an extended trip since she was 10 months old.  Behind Carowinds, Myrtle Beach is now her second favorite place on Earth!  
  • Kevin was also voted to be the Senior Pastor at our church in September!
  • Kevin and Ken took a trip to Indiana to spend time with their mom, who has been fighting cancer. 
  • After only a few months, I really felt like I needed to re-do our adoption profile books. I didn't have a ton of time to devote to them when they were originally done, because it was busy season, so after September 15th (our "second busy season"), I spend every night for a full week and updated our book.  I loved how they turned out.

  • During the first week in October, I dropped off our "new" books with our adoption agency.
  • Our church rescheduled our Fall Festival for the first weekend in October and we had PERFECT weather.  The kids had a blast, and Kate especially enjoyed getting her face painted like a pink Spiderman. 
  • I took Kate with me to get my hair cut, and brought the iPad to entertain her while she waited. She LOVED it because I'd loaded the movie Frozen on there for her. 
  • Kevin went on a golf trip and while he was gone, Kate got sick.  I ended up at the doctors office with her on Tuesday, October 7th for a nasty respiratory thing she had going on.  And while we were there we got a call that...
  • WE GOT A BABY!  Karsten Rose had been born the day before and her birth mom had selected our family.  Kevin drove home from North Carolina, we took Kate to her Nana's house (since she was still sick) and were at the hospital the following morning to pick up our youngest daughter.  Crazy how our world turned upside down in just a few short hours! (See bottom-left picture above.)
  • After staying with her Nana and Papa for a few days, Kate was STILL sick.  My mom had been staying with us to help with Karsten, and since Kate was still sick, she took her home to their house to recuperate a little more so she didn't get Karsten sick.  They ended up at the doctor again, and it turns out she had pneumonia. Poor kid!  She was a trooper and I know she soaked up every minute with her Nana, Papa, Gigi and Pick. She was NOT starved for attention.
  • FINALLY, we got both girls at home under one roof and Kate got to meet her baby sister.  She LOVES her. Her first words when seeing Karsten were "Awwww. She's so cute! I always wanted a baby!"
  • After Kate being gone for over a week, I wanted to do something special for her after she felt 100% again.  I took her for a Mommy/Kate day to a local pumpkin patch and lunch.
  • We celebrated Halloween.  Kate was a cowgirl!
  • Sadly, Kevin's mom lost her battle with cancer and passed away on October 30th. 

  • Kevin took Kate to her very first Georgia game in Athens, while Karsten and I went to my parent's house to watch Clemson play.  House divided!
  • We took a day trip to Gumlog, Georgia with some of Kevin's family to see where he grew up and eat at their favorite restaurant- Gumlog BBQ. 
  • Karsten turned one month old! 
  • Kate finally got to shower her little sister with hugs and kisses.
  • I took our Christmas card pictures, and Kate perfected the art of the "fake smile".  Future pictures should be interesting.
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving with Kevin's family at his Dad and Diane's house. Kate and Karsten were both spoiled with attention, but Karsten especially so.  She didn't want to sleep for days after that unless someone was holding her!
  • After Thanksgiving, we put up our Christmas tree, pulled out Christmas pajamas, and did some winter art projects!

  • Kate's preschool class put on a Christmas performance for the parents.  They sang multiple Christmas songs, and Kate really got into it!  Not that she enjoys attention or anything... :) 
  • Kate and I made Christmas cookies.  It was a mess and took FOREVER so I'm not sure this will be an annual thing, but Kate enjoyed it!  We'll have to do it again at least once when Karsten gets a bit older!
  • Kate was selected to model a few headbands for an Etsy shop.  
  • A week before Christmas, we finalized Karsten's adoption in family court.  She is forever a part of our family, and we wouldn't have it any other way. This girl sure is loved.
  • Two days before Christmas, we were given 2 tickets to the play Beauty and the Beast so Kate and I could go.  We had a blast!
  • We spent lots of the month just spending time with family and friends, and loved it. 
  •  Karsten turned two months old.  The days have been flying by!
  • We spent Christmas at home with family. Each year gets more and more fun as I can see the excitement in Kate's eyes.  I know it is just going to continue to get better as both of my girls get older.  But, beyond all of their anticipation, we know that the real gift of Christmas is Jesus and celebrating his birth is so much more exciting than anything else!
  • Somehow, I turned 29... again.  Just kidding.  Since I turned 25 my dad has been saying I'm 30, because he "rounds up".  I guess now he can say it and actually be right! The next 30 years have a lot to live up to!
2014 definitely had it's share of sad and disappointing times.  We found out Kevin's mom had cancer and she was gone only a few short months later.  We waited for nearly a year for a child, and though I didn't share a ton of it on the blog, we were told NO more times than we could count. But God knew what was in store for our family, and that Karsten was on her way.  He knew that SHE was the daughter He had planned for us, and we couldn't be more grateful.  Kate has grown so much in the past year, and is loving her role as big sister.  Kevin and I can't believe how much our lives have changed in just one single year.  It has been a crazy year!  And though there were plenty of down times through the year, the overwhelming majority of 2014 was full of joy, happiness, blessings, and thankfulness.  We can't wait to see what is in store for 2015!

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