Saturday, December 31, 2011

I decided to do another recap of our year. It is so hard to narrow down each month to just a few pictures to share but it is fun to look at the final result. And I can never get over how much the kids grow. Enjoy the photo recap!

Lyla stayed with us for a long weekend and the three of them found all sorts of interesting ways to stay entertained. Look at those adorable bows!

Let's not forget that ice fishing season was also well underway and Max made sure to help pull up every last one of those big fish!

Birthday celebration at Acapulcos, in other words, another excuse for Grandma and Bopa to get together with their favorite grandbabies.

Remember that time I found Max and Rory in the tub, with their clothes on? Yeah, I don't think I'll ever forget that day.

I took my solo vacation to Miami in February too. The weather was not as warm as I had hoped but the peace and quiet was everything I wished for.

The mean mommy puts the kids to work washing the dishes.

March 1st was my first day home as a stay at home mom, shortly after we got together with Kristen and her boys to celebrate my new life change. Needless to say, we all had fun!

We also paid a visit to GG John. We knew his days were getting numbered and it was really nice to get to visit with him and have him laughing at his great grandchildren.

GG also accompanied us to the Minnesota Zoo. If you don't remember, she showed up in a mink fur coat. It will be one of my most cherished memories.

We finished up our first tumbling class. The children had a blast and it has led to many more exciting classes at our gym.

Everything is starting to defrost, and Max is bringing mud, mud, and more mud into my home. I may be going a little crazy.

My cousin Gwenda married her love, Matt, and the whole family was able to help her celebrate!

Max turned 3 and apparently became old enough to own his own four wheeler. He was pretty pumped about all his presents although I think it was mainly just having all the attention on him that really made him happy.

The kids got busy helping Daddy build our second garage.

Our newest cousin, Nora Wynn, joined our family on May 25th. You can never have too many cousins!

We got an annual pass to Willow River State Park and have fallen madly in love with our walks to the waterfall. We've taken many people with us to show off the parks beauty.

And of course we had the Woodtick Races again this year. You know, where everyone plays in the dirt, eats food, plays with fire? Yeah, that would be my family's annual gathering.

And the gorgeous weather had us out in the lake early this year, much to the kids' approval.

We celebrated our nation's birthday at the lake with family and friends.

And there was the Lumberjack Days Parade in Stillwater with our cousins.

Oh, and remember that day the kids and I took a walk along the river before our lunch plans? And a man caught this huge carp and offered to let Max hold it only to have him bear hug the slimy fish? Yeah, another thing I don't think I'll ever forget. He was so happy...and stinky!

We joined Grammy, Auntie Katie, Lyla, and Nora up at their cabin for a vacation. This is when I got the adorable pictures of all the kids jumping off the dock, be sure to go check those out if you haven't seen them!

With the new garage we had to re-landscape which lead to even more mud and dirt. I think at this point I finally started to accept this. Or at least, I settled down a bit.

Andrea and Rosie helped me bring the kids to the Minnesota State Fair. We had a blast and I hope to do it again next year. Maybe make it a tradition if the girls are up for it?

Max started his first day of preschool. You guys? This picture still makes my heart melt. They were both so happy.

Rory turned 2 and became even more independent.

We were able to sneak out to the farm a few times that summer and fall and help Uncle Jeff manage all his new calves. Because you know he couldn't have done it without Max and Rory's help.

We started preparing for Halloween with our cousins. I'm so glad we do this together every year.

And let's not forget Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Two of the cutest toys you will ever find.

This is when I finally got Dusty to join us for a walk to the waterfalls. We took a different trail back to the car and I snapped this gem. Seriously? If I could do pictures like this every time I took them? My house would be wall to wall photos.

We also visited with Allison and Oliver and took this adorable picture. All of the cousins which was then printed and framed as a present for Grammy and Dido.

After my Grandpa's (GG's) funeral, a big group of us took some of his ashes and dumped them into the creek that he fished and then took a shot of Brandy. It was a great way to remember a great man.

Rory had her first dentist appointment. What a little diva in her sunglasses to protect her eyes.

And to round out the year, we celebrated Christmas with all our family. I just love this picture as I so rarely get to be in front of the camera with both my children.

2011 has been a good year to us. There was sadness and anger, as there always will be, but joy and happiness were far more prominent in our lives. Here's hoping that 2012 is just as good to us!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas morning Max came into our room and instead of crawling into bed with me he crept up next to my ear and whispered, "Mooooooom." When I opened my eyes to look at him he continued on, "Santa came and my pirate ship is under the tree." Talk about heart melting! So Dusty and I were up and played pirates with Max at 7am.

We eventually got Rory up and she was excited to see her Elmo doll.

We had some eggs benedict for breakfast and then got ourselves ready. We wanted to get to my mom's early so we could put Rory down for a nap there and then get her ready afterwards. She was in desperate need of some sleep. We arrived while most everyone was still in their pajamas. Max and Rory gave out their Christmas presents to Grandma and GG.

Max got busy helping GG make the cheesy potatoes. (Yes, he actually did enjoy it contrary to his pout in the picture. My boy and his attitude.)

We had fun opening gifts. Rory showed off her new fashion accessories.

Dusty and I also showed off some of our fashion accessories thanks to Auntie TaTa.

It was nice to have a quiet evening with everyone after all the hustle and bustle of the last couple days. We got the kids home and into bed not much after their regular bedtime knowing full well that the next day would be spent unpacking and finding places for all the new awesome things we received. Here it is Wednesday and we still haven't found a place for just everything yet. Although, we are getting there.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas eve, evening, we celebrate with Grammy's family. This year was just as fun as every other year we celebrate but there was a definite sadness throughout the house as we're all missing Grandpa. Thankfully, there are lots of small children to keep us entertained and to remind us to enjoy the small things. (And Annette did a great job of sprinkling photos of Grandpa throughout the house!)

We had our Christmas pinata with four kids this year that were in the "little kids" category and got to take swings. Here's Rory, with her one armed swinging.

And Max, and his gigantic swinging.

Max also broke the pinata, look at him proudly holding that snowman's head up for all to see!

Rory's present was a My Little Pony castle set that was a huge hit with all the big girls. They were quick to help her open it up and start playing with it!

Max got a gigantic Nerf gun that we let him take out so he could shoot at his cousins and uncles. Yes, we are really awesome parents. And Max was even nice enough to let Lyla give it a try. (With a little coaxing of course.)

The kids that were too old to play the pinata game got to play the money game instead. I don't really know how to play the game but I do know that the winner, the person that finds the $20, has to sing a Christmas carol. Look at how embarrassed Auntie Rosie is as she had to lead everyone into song!

There was of course more amazing food, and lots of people to talk to and catch up with, and eventually we loaded the kids up and headed home.

This year we started carrying on a tradition that I used to do with my family on Christmas Eve; we had the kids shoot for Santa. In our family, all the kids would go outside and take turns shooting Grandpa's rifle while he held it, and once everyone was done you'd return to the house and find Santa sitting there waiting for you with presents. It's one of my most favorite memories with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and something that really bonded us as it's not a common tradition. With my Grandpa gone, and my kids finally old enough to start making holiday memories, I knew it was time to fit this in. So our new tradition has us shooting for Santa when we get home to let him know that we are now home and ready for him to visit. Daddy got out the pellet gun and both kids took turns shooting it with Daddy's help.

You guys? It was perfect. The kids were excited, they knew that Santa knew they were home now, and I got to share something that was so special to me with them. I can't even describe the joy it gives me. So afterwards, the kids were exhausted and crashed in their beds while Daddy and I stayed up just a little bit later to "prepare" the house for Santa's visit before we too crawled into bed, exhausted.

Monday, December 26, 2011

We had three Christmas celebrations over Christmas eve and Christmas day. So in order to space out all the photos I think we're going to separate this into three different posts. Of course, that also requires me to get the pictures I took on my mom's camera, because Christmas day? I forgot our camera. There may have been some tears in the car when I realized it was forgotten and we were long past the point of return.

Christmas Eve actually started out at home. Dusty was kind enough to get a picture of me and my two lovely children before we got dirty. (They're 2 and 3, I was smart people!)

And as we were packing up to leave, Chris stopped over with gifts for the kids...rifles.

The best part about the rifles is that both of them had a recommended age limit that was exactly 3 years over the age they are. It was really funny, and the kids of course loved them.

Once we visited with Chris for a while we headed out to our first Christmas with Dido's family. Here we met up with cousin Lyla who looked so cute with her teddy bear tights we had to show them off!

And Dusty got in some cuddles with Nora. (Notice Lyla and Nora had matching dresses? Adorable!)

Rory and Lyla were kind enough to let me take a picture of them, with their tongues out...

Anna's kitty was teasing the kids all day by walking along the beams in the ceiling where the kids could not get to her. Uncle Ed was watching Kitty with the kids here.

The kids all got spoiled with numerous presents. Here are Katherine, Rosemary and Ashley watching them open all their gifts.

We also had an amazing ham dinner with more hor d'oeuvres and sides then we knew what to do with. It really was heavenly. After dinner we all visited some more before we needed to pack up and head to the next Christmas celebration. I'll share more on that tomorrow.