Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Look Back at 2015

Each year goes by more and more quickly.  It is hard to believe that tomorrow is 2016. How in the world did that happen? Regardless, 2015 has been a pretty great year.  There were busy seasons of the year (no pun intended) and slower-paced parts of our year.  I wouldn't change a thing!  And just like I've done the past few years, let's take a look back at some of the highlights...

  • After 3 months at home with the kids on parental leave, I went back to work.  The adjustment was not easy - especially jumping straight back into tax busy season. That's life! The crockpot was used often, and we survived!
  • We took the girls to the circus.  Kate loved it. Karsten was just along for the ride. 
  • Kate fell more in love with her little sister every day.  We were still constantly saying "don't touch her face", but the cuddles, hugs and kisses were endless.  
  • February's weather was a bit crazy.  After a few super warm days, we got SNOW.  Kevin and Kate built a snowman. Karsten wasn't quite sure what to think, but we documented another one of her "firsts".
  • Karsten turned four months old on February 6th. 
  • We celebrated Valentines day by wearing lots of PINK, which actually isn't all that special for my pink-loving girls. 
  • I'm declaring this the month of the pajamas, because that's apparently the only pictures I took of my kids this month! It must have been a busy one. 
  • Karsten turned five months old and started putting everything in her mouth. We thought teeth would be in any day... but that didn't happen. 
  • Apparently March was one of those low-key months, because that's all I've got!
  • We celebrated the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, this month. Easter was a fun celebration. And the Easter bunny brought the kids (what else?) matching pajamas! 
  • Kate let me put curlers in her hair for Easter and she actually slept in them ALL night long! 
  • We dyed Easter eggs, and Kate LOVED it. She has become very into arts and crafts so this was right up her alley.
  • My parents came up for Easter, and Kristi and Davis joined us for the fun too.  Of course Kate had to hunt for Easter eggs.
  • I attempted to get one of our annual pictures in front of the azaleas. I figured out, once again, how hard it is to get a good picture of 2 kids!
  • Karsten started solids, but wasn't too thrilled with them so we took it very slowly.
  • We celebrated Mothers day and sent special messages to two very special moms in our lives - Kate and Karsten's birth mothers. 
  • Kate had her last day of preschool. We LOVED her K3 year, and will miss her teacher (Mrs. Morgan) terribly!
  • It got warm enough to pull out the sprinkler and our bounce house. Yay for outdoor fun! 
  • Karsten learned the joys of splashing in the tub, and our bathroom hasn't seen a dry night since!
  • We pulled out the easel and paints and made lots of projects outdoors. 
  • Karsten started sleeping through the night! This may be the BEST part of May!
  • Kate took swimming lessons and did SO well. She's never been scared of the water but she now will go under without holding her nose and come back up, and she is THIS close to being able to swim all by herself. 
  • Karsten turned eight months old and started crawling. Life gets even busier.  She also said her first word - Dada.  
  • We went to Lake Keowee with family and had a blast. Kate especially loved paddle boarding with her "best friend" (my cousin) Mark.
  • We celebrated Father's day - so special!
  • Kate got a new bike and helmet and started practicing. She is a bit timid on her bike, which is kind of surprising since she is usually so fearless!
  • We spent many days on the lake and many Sundays at a friend's pool. 
  • Kate got a pretty big hair cut (about 6 inches). This is the 2nd big haircut she has had, along with a good many trims. I am so jealous of her thick hair!
  • We celebrated the 4th of July. 
  • We got a lot of use out of our inherited bounce house from my sister in law (thanks!!)
  • Karsten turned 9 months old and added Mama and Hey to her vocabulary
  • Kate turned FOUR and we celebrated with a Mermaids & Pirates birthday party.
  • One of Kate's birthday presents was a horseback riding lesson.  The girl loves animals and especially loves horses.  It's just too bad that she is allergic to them.  We are praying she outgrows this!
  • We took a family vacation to Jekyll Island, GA. Karsten loves the beach. She took a huge bite of sand on Day 2 and then realized how gross that was. 
  • Kate went on her very first mission trip, and we found out that she does not heart doing dirty work (like cleaning out a chicken coop)
  • School started back and Kate got another awesome teacher. We LOVE Mrs. Wentzel!
  • Karsten turned 10 months old and got her first two teeth!
  • We celebrated the return of college football. Go Tigers! (Who are now National Championship bound - right, Kevin!?!)
  • Kristi and Davis got a puppy, Tucker, and stopped by our house to show him off. Animal lover, Kate, fell in love.  The rest of us thought he was pretty cute too! 
  • We had a great visit with Kate's birth parents, Lori and Bobby
  • Karsten practiced her baby aerobics and Kevin tried (unsuccessfully) to imitate her. 
  • Our girls started playing together more and more. 
  • Karsten turned 11 months and started walking.
  • Karsten turned ONE. I'm still in denial. 
  • We had lots of fall fun (pumpkins, church fall festivals and lots of orange!)
  • We took Kate to her first Clemson football game of the season. She asked when she was going to Clemson. 
  • We celebrated Karsten's birthday with a big party.  The theme was milk and cookies but of course Karsten got her own cake.  It took her a few minutes to figure out what was going on, but then she dug right in! She did get a kick out of everyone singing Happy Birthday to her though! 
  •  On Halloween, Kate dressed up as Cinderella and Karsten was a little piggy.
  • I attended CPE in Orlando for work and a few of us went to DISNEY on one of the nights. Kate was super jealous that I was at Cinderella's castle. I'm still talking Kevin into a family visit before too long.
  • We celebrated World Adoption Day with a family selfie. After one hundred thousand attempts, that was the best picture we could get. 
  • I snapped a picture of Kevin reading the bible to Kate before bed. This has been their tradition for the past year, and I love it so much .
  • We spent Thanksgiving at Folly Beach with lots of family and got a picture of the cousins in matching Christmas PJs. 
  • December has been unseasonably warm. I don't think we pulled out our jackets for the entire month!
  • We visited Santa. Karsten was not a fan. 
  • We built a Gingerbread house! 
  • Kevin and Kate took on a Pinterest project and built a pallet Christmas tree.
  • Karsten keeps becoming more and more of a climber. She was so proud of standing on top of her box!
  • We celebrated Christmas with family not once, not twice, but THREE times. Triple the fun! 
  • We spent lots of quality time together with family - my most favorite people. 
And that was a very quick recap of our 2015.  It was a blast.  I hope 2016 knows what it has to live up to! 

Happy New Year!  

Christmas #3

The Saturday after Christmas, Kevin's family all came over to our house to celebrate Christmas. Kevin is one of four boys, and it isn't often that all four of them are together. This year, it just happened to work out that everyone could make it!

This is Kevin's grandma, Kevin's dad, and Kevin with his three brothers.

Meanwhile, the kids played in the yard. We tried to get them to do some landscaping. They did more digging. :) 

But they had fun.

We got a quick picture of the cousins before they opened gifts.

And then of course they had to play with their new toys. Kate and Gwen are only about 4 months apart and they had a blast together.  Gwen cried when it was time to leave because she and Kate were having so much fun - a sign of a good visit, for sure!

And that wrapped up our third and final Christmas celebration of 2015!  We are hoping it is not next Christmas before this whole crew gets together again!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas #2 - Christmas Day

We had a pretty laid back Christmas day this year and got in a lot of quality family time.  On Christmas Eve, we hung around the house pretty much all day.  We played a little indoor basketball on Karsten's newest toy...

And of course, I had to get a few pictures of my girls in front of the tree. Christmas Eve tradition, ya know?

And then these two girls headed to bed. We skipped Kate's nap in the hopes that she would go to sleep easily. I'm not sure if it worked or not, because we made her close her door when she went to bed, but she didn't get up!  I count that as a win. 

And the reason for the no-nap was this super exciting toy, which came completely un-assembled, of course...

This was a gift to Kate and Karsten from my parents, but we put it together and had it there for them to see on Christmas morning.  Kevin turns pretty much everything into a competition so he started the stopwatch when we began assembly and we finished in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Honestly, it wasn't too hard or complicated, there were just a TON of pieces. We even had to assemble some of the furniture.

But y'all, this is a pretty impressive dollhouse. It is as tall as I am!

And then Kevin and I went to bed (way later than normal) and hoped that we would be able to sleep until at least 8, which totally didn't happen.  For some reason Karsten woke up at 5ish, which then woke Kate up. As Kevin was trying to get Karsten back down to sleep, I caught Kate coming back up the hallway. She said to me "Santa already came! Is he still here? Can I go tell him hey??"

Surprisingly, she was really understanding about the fact that it was still the middle of the night so she went back to bed and knew she was going to wait until the sunshine came up to get us up.  She woke us up around 7:30 and we knew it was present time. :) 

We FaceTimed my parents so they could see her opening the big gift and she did not disappoint. If you ask her now, she will tell you that the dollhouse is her favorite Christmas present, and then Chase from Paw Patrol is her second favorite!

Around mid-morning, Kevin's dad, Diane and Grandma Betty came over to see the girls and wish us all a Merry Christmas. We had such a low-key day, we all stayed in our pajamas until around lunchtime!  And then we had to make use of the self-timer and get a family photo to document Christmas 2015!  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas #1

Last weekend, we celebrated Christmas with my side of the family. My mom and dad came up, and we all headed over to my sister and brother-in-law's house around 10 that morning.

We all hung out for a bit, and played with their puppy Tucker.

And then, of course, we opened gifts.  It took Karsten a little bit to figure it out. She is my climber, and wanted to just get up on top of all of the boxes. 

Then she realized she could do both - sit on the box AND unwrap it. 

But she still wanted to get IN the boxes.

Okay, now let me explain this next series of Kate.  Back at the beginning of November, we got a Target Gift catalog that had pictures of hundreds of toys in it. Kate flipped through the book and picked out a Chase toy, from the Nickelodeon show Paw Patrol.

I think she watched this at her Nana and Papa's house before, because I'd never seen the show and we don't have cable, so she hasn't watched Paw Patrol at our house.

Anyway, she has been saying for 2 months straight that all she wanted for Christmas was Chase from Paw Patrol. Nothing else. And of course, when Kristi and Davis asked her what she wanted for Christmas, that's what she told them. And that's what they ended up getting her...

After we finished opening presents, we all went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch to celebrate Davis's birthday (which was the next day).  I always love seeing these people, and what better way to celebrate Christmas than together?


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