Monday, January 28, 2013

Kennedy's {1/2} birthday

As one who has a summer birthday, too, I love that Kennedy is able to celebrate her 1/2 birthday at school...special treats and a little gift from her sweet teacher.  Such a special day for our little Miss.
I cannot begin to explain how excited Kennedy was for her celebration. 
 (Unfortunately, her party was scheduled for a Friday morning, so I was still at work.  But Kyle did a wonderful job getting her ready, taking lots of pictures and describing all of her emotions in great detail.  He's pretty terrific.)
Kennedy chose to bring ice cream sandwiches - but of course we needed to fancy them up a bit.  Some sprinkles, lollipop sticks and cute polka dot cupcake wrappers made for cute little treats.  She was thrilled!
Kennedy happily posed for pictures before heading off to school

I can feel her excitement!

the sweetest teacher ever, Miss Tricia

hard at work

Happy 1/2 birthday, beautiful girl!

As much as it killed me to miss this special morning, I loved that Kyle got a chance to be a part of it.  He is often gone and certainly doesn't get the opportunity to participate in preschool events during the day.  It was probably very special for Kennedy, as well.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Christmas Day ~ 2012

Here it is the 18th of January and I am finally wrapping up my Christmas posts, wahoo!  January has started off slowly for us, but I have still managed to fill the minutes and I'm afraid my blog is often the first to be neglected!

Our Christmas celebrations ended with a wonderful afternoon and evening spent with family.  It was relaxing and fun but also special.  I love having a house full of people and there were helping hands throughout the preparations of the meal, so it was stress free!

Of course, I had to get all of our usual pictures before the festivities got into full swing.  After a few posed photos, I put the camera away and just enjoyed the fun!
My handsome boy

Christmas cuteness

sweet Kennedy

Pops and Nana

Our family

Papa and Grandma

the girls

the boys

the kids enjoying snuggles with Papa
(Kennedy had an unfortunate incident with a large cup of water, so an outfit change was in order)

I went to bed that night feeling so grateful for our family and for the blessings of Christmas.  It really was such a lovely time of celebration.  I loved the fun activities we did as a family throughout the month, was so happy with our lower key Christmas Eve and treasured all of our time with family.
We are so fortunate to be surrounded by so much love!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Morning ~ 2012

Merry Christmas!
Carter and Kennedy were so excited for Christmas morning, although (thankfully!) they were both so exhausted from the days before that they actually slept in and didn't come downstairs until 6:30.  Yes, that's sleeping in at our house!
They were so excited...getting them to wait so that I could turn on lights and snap a few pictures was nearly impossible.
I usually try to get a picture of their sweet, excited faces as they tip toe down the stairs but not this year...they were making a mad dash!
Carter is carrying a little stocking that Kennedy got from her Sunday school teachers.  She hung it on her door knob and Santa was very sneaky and put a few small things in it, as well.

They got bikes from Santa!
Kennedy's was exactly what she wanted and she's been riding it as often as she can.  Carter's was a touch too big, but after a few days practice, he's more comfortable and seems to really like it.

Stockings are always a big hit...sometimes the smallest, simplest gifts are the ones that they enjoy the most.

a new Ariel puzzle

A new devotional book that we've really been enjoying so far.

love these little looks of excitement!
We tried very hard to scale back this year and both Kyle and I felt so much better about it.  The kids seemed to really love their gifts, as opposed to being overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of it all.  They were very appreciative and we all enjoyed the present opening process more this year.  

speed balls 
(really racket balls that they play wall ball with at school)

Trying hard to humor their mom with a nice picture in front of the tree

helping Daddy
Daddy got a new TV for upstairs

Legos were the big gift this year...Carter's at the age where he's kind of hard to shop for.  He loves Legos and games, so he got several of each this year.

Daddy got some new clothes

quite possibly Carter's favorite gift of all!
He wore his new jersey three days in a row and only changed because I insisted it needed to be washed.

An Ariel doll that fits perfectly into her bike basket

Our traditional Christmas morning breakfast...cinnamon rolls, sausage and some fruit.  
So yummy, such a special treat!

Nana is here!
Nana and Pops arrived around 10:00 on Christmas morning, so as soon as they arrived we started round two of presents.  Again, they tried to scale back and the kids really loved their few special gifts.  
The best gift was having them here, though!
Kennedy was permanently attached to Nana for her entire visit!


Kennedy desperately wanted a LeapPad like Carter and was thrilled to receive one (and it was purple!) from Nana and Pops.  I think it'll be a great toy for her for many years.  With all of the electronic gaming options out there, I feel okay about this one because at least the games are educational.

Such a fun Christmas morning!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Christmas Eve Service ~ {Nativity Play} ~ 2012

Carter and Kennedy both participated in the Nativity play during the Christmas Eve service at church this year.  It's a simple production - no spoken lines, but great costumes and so much fun for the kids.  I have to say that it was probably the highlight of my Christmas celebration.  As we sat in the front pews, surrounded by our dear friends, watching the pure sweetness unfold on the sanctuary steps, I just felt joy.  An overwhelming sense of joy and peace.  This is what Christmas is all about.  I am so thankful that we are a part of this wonderful church family...I feel so blessed that my kids get to be a part of these memorable events and love being at church.  They were so excited to take part in the play and really enjoyed the experience.  The whole event just seemed to embody the love and joy of the Christmas season.

Preparing for the performance...
Carter was a shepard who was guiding the sheep (his sweet sister!)
I thought he looked fantastic!

I will quickly admit that this time in the chapel was complete chaos ~ there were kids everywhere.  Excited kids.  Kids with staffs that were all too easily turned into weapons.  And it was loud.  Very, very loud.  It was kind of my idea of a nightmare...but it was worth every second to see these kids up at the front of the church, helping to tell the story of our dear Savior's birth. 
Andrew and Carter

My little lamb

that face was just too much
Kennedy's costume was a bit too big, and the ears were a little bothersome but she really wanted to be a sheep, so we made it work.
She looked as cute as could be, I couldn't get enough.

Carter and Bryce

small group girls
Kaitlin, Audrey and K

Waiting for the service to start ~ so wonderful to be surrounded by our dear friends!

This was Sharon's last Christmas Eve made me so sad to know that she wouldn't be telling the Christmas story next year.
Hoping she enjoys every minute of her retirement!

Our shepard and his sheep
(yes, she crawled down the was slllllooooow going but they made it!)

Our little troop of performers
The look on Kennedy's face at this point was priceless.  She looked so miserable, but I truly believed she loved it.  Keela (the cow next to Kennedy) was hilarious, too.  We kept wondering if her waving feet would accidentally kick over the manger.  And to the right were the angels and wisemen...a few times I was afraid they were going to set themselves ablaze on the the Advent candle.  It was this mix of sweetness and comedy that made it so much fun!

The singing was beautiful and at the end of the service, all of the children were invited to the front and given glow sticks.  The lights were turned down and we sang.  It was a beautiful sound!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas Eve ~ 2012

Christmas Eve was a wonderful combination of our usual traditions and new, tried it for the first time things.  I kind of loved it, actually.  Not one who usually likes change, it was surprisingly great to mix things up and we all had a lot of fun.

Ainsley, Kennedy, Asher and Carter
We hosted our friends, the Asburys, for brunch on the morning of Christmas Eve.  They recently moved to the area and weren't able to go back home for Christmas, so it was fun to celebrate together.  I love hosting and had fun with the menu.  I tried to keep things simple but of course we had way too much food! 

 Our kids are the same ages and (usually) play very well together.  (Both Carter and Kennedy were super tired from a late night up with friends the night before and were less than hospitable at times)  Besides the occasional arguments, we had a lovely meal and a lot of fun.  We are thankful for these new friends and really enjoyed our time together.

We were able to get a quick picture of our family
We had less than an hour to clean up and get ready for church after our friends left. 
Quick outfit change, ran a brush through their hair and snapped a few pictures before heading out the door.  We had to be to church early because the kids were participating in the Nativity play (quite possibly my favorite part of the entire holiday!)

I'm not sure if anyone was ready for this picture, but I just had to include it for myself.  I look at this photo and am just so filled with gratitude.  I am blessed beyond measure and as we celebrated Christmas this year, I was intentional about my prayers of thanks.

Daddy and his best girl
my sweet girl

he's getting so big!
love my boy

I set up the camera on the dining room table and tried to set the timer...the lighting isn't the best, but it was all we could do. 
Definitely needed a Christmas Eve picture of our sweet family

Kaitlin and Kennedy ~ looking cute in their color coordinated dresses!
This was the start of the chaos of getting all the littles dressed and ready for the nativity play.  The girls were so excited!

Another new tradition...
After church, we put on our comfy cozies and got into the car.  (I had intended to make hot chocolate but forgot!)  We spent the next hour or so driving around our town and admiring the beautiful Christmas lights, listening to Christmas music and reminiscing about all the fun holiday things we'd done that month.  We all had different favorites.
  Everyone was quite tired by the time we got home, so it was off to bed...dreaming of Santa, I'm sure!