Monday, December 28, 2009

2009...What A Year...

As a new year approaches, I am reflecting back on what year 2009 has been. Gosh, it seems like we were just packing and heading to Greensboro, NC for our annual New Years trip to ring in '09! Since then a lot has happened!! We created a nursery in our house, we celebrated the impending arrival of Sweet Pea with family and friends, I had my last day at my oh-so-wonderful job (I miss all those ladies tons though I wouldn't trade where I am for the world!), I coordinated the first statewide conference of the adult sibling group in TN...and then our lives changed forever. Our hearts grew tenfold (at least). Our family was and continues to be blessed. Baby K was born. April 29. Man, what a journey. Parenthood is the most challenging and rewarding job there has ever been. I was sitting playing with Baby K tonight, and the sound of her laugh rights all the wrongs of the world. My heart just smiles everytime I see that gummy grin of hers. Becoming parents has taken mine and Brad's relationship to a whole new level - I love seeing him as a daddy. To have been the guy that would never even touch a baby, he has embraced his new role and I love seeing him do just about anything goofy to make Baby K grin. I love that he gets her in her jammies for the night while I get her bottle ready - when I walk in, they are usually rocking and reading a book. I love the little things for sure. These last 8 months have literally flown by. I honestly have no idea where they went! Baby K has grown leaps and bounds and continues to amaze us with her curiosity, feistiness, and zest for life. It's amazing that she's already had her first bath, first smile, sat up, first cereal, first baby food, first rolling over, first time sleeping in her crib, first time with a I know there are so many more firsts that are so exciting, but I just can't believe all that has already happened.

In 2009, we were still able to travel a little bit! We took our first family trip (including Sadie!) to the beach and Baby K went on an airplane for the first time to visit Nanny and Papa in Phoenix. We also went to Louisville when Baby K was just 7 weeks old to celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. We went to Memphis for a night for a holiday party. I'd say Baby K has done pretty well - she will have visited 4 states by the time she is 8 months old (we are heading to the beach in NC tomorrow)!

We continue to be blessed with wonderful family and friends. I look forward to 2010 when two of my best friends will get married. I am so lucky that I will be there to help them celebrate such an important and wonderful time in their lives. We are blessed with good health. We are blessed that Brad has a great job and that I am able to stay at home with Baby K. This year I also started a part-time job. In August, I began working 8 hours, from home, doing what I love - I am the Sibling Project Coordinator. Come January 1, I will begin taking on more responsibilities and work 16 hours from home. I will be the sole person responsible for all of the programs offered to people that have siblings with disabilities. I can't wait to see what happens, as I hope to grow the programs this year.

We are blessed. And I can't wait to see what blessings 2010 has to bring...

8 Months Old

Just a few days shy of being "officially" 8 months old :)

"It's all about the U, right Papa??"

All snuggly and ready to go on a walk!

As I sit here and type this, I am watching this sweet baby girl get on all fours, rock back and forth, and take one "crawl forward"!! Wow - she really is growing up too fast. She is really good at scooting backwards and rolling around. She has also gotten to be a pro at the sitting thing (although she got her first bump on the head yesterday after trying to turn around while sitting and taking a header into the entertainment center - she is fine though!). She is grunting, fake coughing (and then laughing at herself), and is quite talkative (dadadada is her favorite). She loves tracking Sadie walking throughout the house. She goes from the superman fly position to the plank pushup position. I know one thing is for sure - we are going to have to babyproof this house stat!! She loves all baby food, is getting better with the pincer grasp (index - thumb grasp), and loves it when I give her water out of a real cup. The other day I gave her a little piece of hashbrown and a small green bean because she was opening her mouth everytime I gave myself a bite - she loved it!! She still has NO teeth - I swear that is going to happen so soon and it just has not yet! She claps and jumps on command and recognizes her name. She makes the funniest grins where she grins so big her eyes close and she even snorts sometimes! I can't wait to see what happens in the next month. She is growing leaps and bounds every week it seems - in fact, each day it seems as if she is learning something new. I look forward to waking up each day to see what she will learn and see that look of amazement and excitement on her face.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sweet Pea's First Christmas (x 5)

CAUTION: I believe this post sets some sort of record regarding the number of pictures included. With it being Sweet Pea's first Christmas, I took an unbelievable number of pictures! It was definitely a whirlwind of excitement. We are so incredibly blessed.

On Christmas Eve, our neighbors came over and we swapped gifts - the wee one's first unwrapping experience! As I would have expected, everything went straight to her mouth! She especially enjoyed the tissue paper (and bows...and the wrapping paper...)

Our first real celebration was with Brad's family - his mom, Grandmother, and aunt and uncle came over on Christmas Eve. We ate some delicious food and were able to visit. We all really enjoyed watching Katie play with the wrapping paper and tissue paper!!

Mommy and sweet girl

Family picture

Sweet Pea got money to put in her education accounts - you can tell she feels quite comfortable holding that cash! :)

"This is SO fun, Mommy!!"

I wanted to start a tradition of having one present from myself and Brad that she can open on Christmas Eve - so this is the first of many years!

She loved the bag!! It was PJs that say "Baby's First Christmas" on them, as well as a baby book about Christmas

Lovin' on Sadie

Sporting her new jammies on Christmas Eve!!
So begins Christmas Day - our first Christmas morning as a family of 3! Brad and I woke up before Baby K did, which is very unusual! I guess we were just really excited! She ended up waking up at around 7:45, so we started our morning! We would end up having 4 Christmases by the end of the day. Lots of family, food, fun, and presents to open!!
Christmas looks like Santa came!!

This is what I found when I went to get her up!

Even Sadie found that Santa had left her some goodies in her stocking!

We helped Baby K get a look at her loot!

Our sweet girls :)

She is figuring out all the fun stuff that Santa brought her!

Doesn't she look so big standing at her play table? I know she will be pulling up on it in no time!

She's really concentrating on opening this present!

She looks so excited to see this present - that expression is priceless!!

Thanks to Aunt Tanja for some awesome Titans gear!!

My favorite picture of the day, I think - Baby K posing with all of her Christmas morning goodies!!

Christmas morning with Mommy, 2009
And so begins Christmas #3 - heading to my mom's house (or Cee Cee to Baby K)! It seems that Santa even went there too! We all had stockings there and some fun gifts too! My mom also made her infamous hammies, so we ate too many of those too :)
"Merry Christmas, Cee Cee!!"

Can you find Sweet Pea?? :)

I love her expression in this one too...

Cee Cee got her a Care Bears DVD and cute pink hat - this picture makes me laugh!

So excited about the Elmo doll that Uncle Will gave her! It was Will's when he was little!

My mom gave us his and hers marshmallow guns! I can hardly wait to get out in our yard and shoot Brad with some little marshmallows (and Sadie can't wait to eat them!)!!

The best family photo to date! Love it!
Next, we headed to Christmas #4 with my Meme and my mom's family. We ate some yummy food (seems we do that almost all day!) and had a great time seeing everyone. Everyone was so generous this year and really picked out great presents!
Baby K hanging out on the couch - Daddy added the magic touch of the bow :)

Meme got a Snuggie - and I am fairly certain it was her favorite present of the entire day!!! We all got a good laugh for sure!
Our final Christmas with my dad's side of the family. We got there and ate again :) Once again, delicious food! One of my favorite traditions of the holiday season is that my grandfather reads the Christmas story out of the Bible that has been in my family for close to 150 years. He lights a candle that my uncle made when he was a young boy. After the reading, we go around and talk about the past year and our hopes for the upcoming year. I love hearing about everyone's blessings and challenges, as well as their hopes for the future. Even though Baby K slept through the Bible reading this year, I am glad she got to be a part of it, and I can't wait to do it again next year!!
Apparently she was excited about her "Baby's 1st Christmas" ornament :)

All the girls wearing goofy hats!
And of course, the guys couldn't escape the hats! Here's the guys (except Will)!

Baby K snuggling with her new blanket that Brad and I gave her. She was so incredibly tired but having so much fun being the center of attention! I love this picture.
What an amazing seems like it went by so quickly! It's hard to believe that it's already over. I can't believe how time is flying by - and I have a feeling that it is only going to go by faster!
I wanted to finish this post with the Christmas story that we read every year. I think, while it is so great to find that perfect gift for each person, it is truly important to remember what the day is all about. So here is Luke 2:1-14 (KJV)...
[1] And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. [2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) [3] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. [4] And Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) [5] To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. [6] And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [8] And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. [9] And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them: and they were sore afraid. [10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, [14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Second Annual GNO Ornament Exchange

This year I got together with some girlfriends for our second annual ornament exchange! Once again, we got together for a delicious dinner at Red Pony and enjoyed some wine, great food, and of course, wonderful company. I think it had been the first time we all got together for dinner in a year! After we ate, we all drew names and got the ornament that person brought. I ended up with a really neat ornament that holds a special place on the tree. Here is a picture of the group of ladies! We actually sat at the same table as last year, so we have those same rooster paintings behind us :)

Annual Limo Lights Tour

About a week or so before Christmas, my brother, Will, scheduled his annual limo lights tour. We piled in and headed out to see all the neat lights - including a stop at George Jones' house! We had fun visiting and eating some yummy food before heading out - and then again after our adventure! Thanks to Grandma (Brad's mom), we were also able to have a night out 'by ourselves' (i.e. Baby K stayed at home!). Here are a few pictures from the evening...

Me with the bro - I absolutely love this picture!!

Me, Brad, & Will

And of course we had to get a picture in front of the tree :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mommy's Little Helper

Since Baby K is obviously an efficient sitter now, I decided to take her grocery shopping with me and let her sit in the cart! Typically, I try to go by myself to grocery shop (what a way for some alone time!), but every so often I will take her. Usually she falls asleep in the car, so I just put her carrier on the cart. But she loved sitting in the cart like a big baby and getting to see everything. She smiled and talked to all the people we saw and played with her toys too! She is growing up too fast, for sure!