Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Twins are 2!

I hate that I can't seem to find the time to stay caught up on my blog! I love going back and reading my updates, especially on the girls because I've found I've forgotten so many things. It's nice to have things written down so those memories aren't lost! Anyway, I'm a couple months late on this update but I didn't want to miss it.

Eden and Lydia turned two on September 21st. Am I the only one that finds this crazy?????? I still find myself calling them babies on occasion, but they really aren't anymore. The "terrible" twos are definitely in full swing but also the terrific twos! Some days are so incredibly hard and I wonder what happened to my sweet girls that turned them into little terrors. But other days they are absolute angels that want to snuggle and kiss me and tell me they love me all day. Those days are the best!

EDEN: Eden has definitely taken on the role of older sister. She bosses Lydia around all day and luckily Lydia is super mellow and likes to follow along with what her sister says most of the time. For instance, for Halloween Eden was supposed to be Bo Peep and Lydia was going to be her sheep (very fitting for their personalities) but when it came time to put costumes on, Eden was insistent that she be the sheep and Sissy be "Peep." Lydia promptly handed the sheep costume to Eden and picked up the Bo Peep dress instead. At least they were both happy in the end. When we go for walks, Eden gets really upset if she is not leading the pack. She prefers to run ahead and call back, "Come on, guys!" Eden loves to draw pictures. I know I'll probably regret it one day, but the crayons are always sitting out at their play table so she can color multiple times throughout the day. Fortunately, she knows that coloring is only for paper and we've only had one incident of crayon on the fireplace. Both girls are pretty good with recognizing different colors so we're starting to talk about shapes now. I don't think they really get it at all but they love to say "circo" (circle) over and over as they draw their pictures and proudly show me their cirlces (aka scribbles). I also introduced finger paints recently and those were a huge hit!

LYDIA: Both girls talk really well, but Lydia definitely talks a bit more and a bit more clearly. She is such an imitator and copies whatever we say. When we read books or say prayers, she always repeats the words. She is quite the singer as well. She can carry a tune and she knows a lot of the words to the songs we sing. She also likes to make up her own songs. She usually sings herself to sleep at nap time. It's pretty cute. She made up a song about Eden and we think it's so funny when she sings it. The only problem is, Eden hates it! Whenever Lydia sings it, Eden screams, "No Lydi! No Song!" Lydia has always been more cautious than Eden but she's started to get over some of her inhibitions. She used to hate being pushed in the swing at the park but recently she's decided she loves its and will even tell me to give her a big push. Both girls still love the park and we've had great weather this fall so we go at least a few times a week.

SLEEP: Oh, sleep. I thought sleep issues were only things you deal with with babies. Hahahaha. How naive I was. They went through a really long stretch of good sleep but recently that has all changed. The girls went through several weeks of nap strikes where they just flat out refused to nap. In the beginning, it was fine because they would just talk to each other and read their books in bed but as the weeks wore on, they just started getting more and more overtired and nap time turned into scream time. It was devastating. Perhaps, you think I exaggerate and devastating is too strong a word, but if you've never dealt with two overtired, cranky two year olds day after day, you have no idea how horrible it is. I tried everything to get them to take their naps from crying it out (2 hours of screaming!) to sitting in their room with them to help them be calm to different naptime schedules to totally losing it and yelling at them to go to sleep. Nothing worked. It's so hard to accept that the are independent little people and if they don't want to take a nap, I can't force them to. I finally tried separating them and moved Eden to another room for naps but that did not go over well. Eden wasn't having any of that, but when she said Lydia should sleep in the other room, I decided to try it. Thankfully, we've seen some improvement. They still skip naps a couple times a week but at least they are taking some naps and we're able to avoid all three of us in tears every afternoon. Bedtime is also a challenge. They just don't want to go to sleep! I can't just ignore them, because Eden has started to strip down out of her clothes and diaper and I find her naked as a jaybird when I go check on her. One night, I didn't check, and about midnight she started whimpering and crying because she was cold and wet. We've found that the earlier we put them to bed, the better.  So recently we've been trying to get back to 7:00 PM bedtime. It just seems like it's so hard to have them ready for bed by 7:00. They are still in their cribs and Nate thinks we should just go ahead and move them to beds now while things are bad. He says it can't get worse. But it can!!!! So I'm sticking to my guns and we're keeping them in cribs for as long as possible! The good news is we finally got rid of their binkies. They obviously weren't helping them sleep anymore so we told them binkies were for babies and just stopped using them. The first few nights they would bring it up and say "binkies for babies" but they seem to have forgotten all about them now.  Let's be honest, the binkies were probably more for our sanity than to fulfill the needs of the girls.

OUR DAYS: Our typical day looks something like this
7:15 Girls wake up. Nate gets them out of bed and starts getting ready for work. I catch a few more minutes of sleep if I can
8:00 Breakfast
8:30 I clean up the kitchen while the girls color at their activity table
9:00 We head upstairs. I get the girls dressed for the day and then start my sewing for my Etsy business. The girls toy room is right outside my sewing room so they play with their toys while I sew. I break up the occasional scrabble but honestly, they play together really well. (Especially in the mornings when they are happy.)
10:30 We'll either have a playdate with friends, run our errands, or go to the park if we have nothing else planned.
12:00 Lunch time. Nate gets to come home often so we enjoy spending some time with Daddy during the day!
1:00-3:00 Nap time or "rest" time if they choose not to sleep. I use this time to work some more on my sewing
3:00 Girls wake up, have a snack, and watch a show. Their favorite thing to watch right now is a cute short film called "Room on the Broom." They ask to watch the witch nearly every day! Other favorites include Mickey Mouse, Dora, Curious George, Daniel Tiger, and Sofia the First.
4:00 We either play outside, go for a walk, go to the park if we didn't go in the morning, video chat with one of their Grandma's, or run any errands we didn't get to earlier.
5:00 Realize its almost dinner time and I haven't prepared anything. (Why does this happen every day?) Figure something out. The girls will either play upstairs or if they're cranky and I don't want to deal with it while I'm cooking I'll put another show on.
5:30 Nate comes home
6:00 Dinner. Playtime with Daddy while I clean up the kitchen.
7:00- Bathtime, stories, songs, prayer
7:30 Bedtime. Spend the next hour or so trying to get them to go to sleep! (Or more on a bad night. Less on a good night. Like I said, we're working on this!)
The rest of the night, Nate spends working on our renovation projects on our house and I spend working on my business.

GOALS: There are a few things I'm hoping to do better as a mother this year. I don't yell at them often but enough that I'd like to do better. It doesn't help and just makes me feel guilty. Potty training. The girls are definitely showing signs of readiness but I'm not ready. I'm pretty busy with holiday sales with my business and I just don't want to deal with it! My plan is to try in January. The baby is due in February so we'll see if we can knock it out before baby comes. I'd also like to do more at teaching them things. They are like sponges and I feel like I should be introducing them to more new things. Stupid Pinterest makes me feel like I'm a bad mother because I don't do any of those activities with my kids. I don't need to go crazy but I'd like to dedicate some time to my children's learning.

We love these girls so much and feel blessed to have them!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Baby Girl #3

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, you may not have heard the good news. I'll let the girls tell you.

We are so excited to be bringing another little girl into our family! Our house already feels like a circus so why not add another baby? Seriously though, I'm often overwhelmed taking care of our twins and I wonder if we are absolutely nuts for having another baby. I've determined that yes, we are nuts, but we are already so in love with this little girl and know that she is going to change our family for the better!

Speaking of circus, taking decent pictures of my girls is next to impossible and I'm sure my neighbors enjoyed the comedy of watching me try to do so. At one point both girls were pushing their pumpkins down the hill and chasing them into the street! Here are a few of the pictures that didn't make the cut for the announcement photo.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Mini Vacation in Branson

Back in May, Nathan put in his two weeks notice at Wal-Mart and we are now one of the very few families in Bentonville who don't work for Wal-Mart or a vendor for Wal-Mart! Nate now works at America's Car-Mart home office which is also located in Bentonville. He is doing similar work as a Database Administrator, but he has more freedoms, responsibilities, and opportunities with his new job. During Nate's job search period and the transition out of Wal-Mart, life was pretty stressful for us. We didn't know if we'd be able to find a good position or if it would mean leaving Bentonville. After living here for five years, we've really come to consider it home and felt very blessed to be able to find a new job and be able to stay here.

To celebrate the new position and to relieve some stress we decided to take a mini vacation to Branson, Missouri! Branson is a pretty quirky town, but we love going and finding new things to do. This year we bought season passes to the amusement park Silver Dollar City. We started our vacation off with a bang by meeting our friends Cat and Shaun and their little girl Brizelle at Silver Dollar City. We've found it's definitely easier and more fun to go with friends. The kids can all play together and do things in the kiddie area, and we can also take turns trading off and going on the roller coasters! It was a gorgeous day so we all decided to go on the "wettest ride in the park." It was a raft ride where you can shoot water at other boats or spectators on the side. In return, the people watching the rafts go by can shoot water at you as well. We were literally soaked from head to toe when we got done and all had a great time on the ride including the kids! Cat and Shaun must have loved the day as well, because they ended up buying season passes that day as well so we can all go back together again!

Soaking wet and having a blast!

After a day at the park we were all starving and went to a delicious Italian restaurant. Nate and I have actually been there a couple other times while in town and are never disappointed with the food. We were however, disappointed with the service this time as they forgot to make our ticket and we had to wait a long time for our food! The nice thing was once they realized their mistake, they quickly got our food out to us and comped 50%  of our meal! Our friends headed back home that night and we headed to our hotel.

We bought a pretty sweet deal on Groupon and stayed at the Grand Country Inn. Included in our package was a two night stay, show tickets, large pizza, popcorn, drinks, and admission to their indoor/outdoor waterpark! The next day we didn't even leave our hotel because we had so many fun things to do right there. The girls absolutely loved the water park and we stayed there for hours! I was pretty impressed with it as well. It was great for little kids but Nate and I had a lot of fun playing in the water as well. By the time we all got back to the room we were exhausted and took a nice long nap. 
Lydia braving the slide

Eden blowing kisses

Having fun with Daddy
That night we went to one of the shows. It wasn't really our style of show. (Most people in the audience were at least 65 years old.) But it gave us something fun to do and the girls actually did really well. They each got their own bucket of popcorn, which they loved, and munched away for the first half. We did end up leaving at intermission and walking back to our room where we finished out the night watching one of the Harry Potter movies on T.V. If you know me at all, you know I'm a stickler for early bedtimes for my kids but with us all staying in one hotel room and it being a vacation, I made an exception. The girls were thrilled that they got to stay up with Mommy and Daddy until 10:30 and snuggle in bed while watching T.V. So often, we feel restricted in what we can do because we have such young children, so this trip was a good stretch for us and helped us be more confident in being more adventurous with our girls.
Yummy popcorn!
They devoured their buckets of popcorn! Notice the age of the rest of the audience :)
The next morning, we headed to Silver Dollar City again. This time to meet our Shepherd and Pendleton cousins! They bought season passes as well so we had all been trying to coordinate a trip together so it was fun that it worked out. Even though we had just been to the park two days before, we still found new fun things to do. We rode all our favorite roller coasters and I even convinced Alyssa to go on Outlaw Run with me. I may or may not have been completely honest about what all the ride entailed. (second fastest and second steepest wooden roller coaster in the world at 68 mph and 81 degree angle drop!) but I think she enjoyed it!

Exploring the rope tree house with Daddy

Playing in the sand with the cousins and Auntie Alyssa

Eden really liked riding the "doggies!" with Daddy. Lydia hates all rides so she just watched and waved. 
Staying hydrated on a hot day

Don't you just love a baby in overalls!?!?

We had such a fun weekend. It was a much needed break for us and definitely helped us rejuvenate!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

20 Month Update: Where has the Time Gone?!?!

I've been meaning to do an update on the girls for months and just haven't gotten around to it. I didn't document when they started walking, their first words and sentences, I have no idea how many teeth they have or how tall they are. Sigh, I'm afraid life has gotten busy and the milestones are just flying by. Luckily, I'm somewhat of a laid back person, and I won't feel too guilty about "missing" the milestones, because trust me, I didn't miss them. I'm right in the thick of the action! I just may not get around to documenting everything. I'll just do my best to catch up on the big things in this post.

The girls are now 20 months old! It is crazy to think they are now closer to two than one. What has happened to my babies? How did they become rambunctious toddlers overnight? Like most kids their age, they love running, exploring new things, and playing silly games. They absolutely love going to the park and we are there at least three times a week. Eden will sit in the swing for hours (no joke) and frantically shake her head "no" if you try to take her out. Park time would be way too easy if Lydia liked the swings as well, but alas, she hates them! She prefers to wander around and follow the birds in the grass. So I divide my time between pushing Eden and chasing Lydia when her wandering takes her to the road. At home they like swimming in the sand, taking Ollie for walks, playing with playdough, watching Daniel Tiger, jumping on the bed, reading stories, rocking their babies, blowing bubbles, and drawing with sidewalk chalk.

Eden has taken the role of older sister to heart. She is very concerned about Lydia. If I hand Eden a treat, she immediately says, "Sissy!" and wants me to hand her another one to give to her sister. When we pull clothes out of the dresser she says, "Sissy!" and wants to grab Lydia's clothes a well. When I ask her which high chair she wants to sit in, instead of choosing one for herself, she points to one and says, "Sissy!" Eden has become very particular about which carseat, which side of the stroller, and which high chair she sits in. Luckily, Lydia doesn't care at all or we could have some serious fights on our hands! Eden also loves to run everywhere. She rarely walks anywhere these days, so it's always an adventure keeping up with her, especially because Lydia is more a stop and smell the roses kind of girl. When we go for walks outside Eden usually runs ahead and then realizes Lydia is lagging behind staring at a cat or something so she runs back yelling "Sissy" and grabs Lydia's hand to pull her along. Eden's favorite toys are her baby and her stuffed animals. Not sure on her stats now, but at her 18 month appointment she was 19 pounds.

Eden loves wearing Mommy's shoes and does surprisingly well walking in them

Lydia is still my smiley, affectionate girl. She loves to give hugs and kisses and tease her Momma by not giving hugs and kisses when she asks for them. She is pretty laid back most of the time. She hates wearing shoes and socks and always pulls them off the first chance she gets. She does have chubby feet so I imagine it's not very comfortable stuffing them inside her shoes. She does however, love toting her socks around with her. Ever since she was a baby, she's loved socks! Lydia is a great sleeper. She would probably sleep in every morning and take a nice long nap every afternoon if Eden would let her. Eden is ALWAYS the first one up. I used to try to get her out of the room before she could wake Lydia, but it didn't really matter because as soon as Eden realized she was playing alone she went and pounded on the door calling for her sister to come play! Life would be too easy if we had two Lydia sleepers! Lydia loves reading books. She has become quite a little parrot and will try to repeat all the words if you read them slow enough. Lydia's favorite toys are her baby and her princess Little People. At her 18 month appointment she was 23 pounds.

Both girls are relatively good eaters. Eden is definitely pickier though. I refuse to short order cook, so they get to eat whatever we're eating. I try not to panic when they refuse to eat something because I know they're not going to starve and eventually they will eat. If I'm really desperate, I'll put Daniel Tiger on and I can sneak all sorts of food into their mouths when they become engrossed in the show! Luckily, they eat most things we give them. I finally weaned them both a few months ago as my birthday gift to myself. When we first started breastfeeding, I never dreamed in a million years that we would make it 16 months! I'm going to go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for that accomplishment :) I was definitely ready to be done though (You know its time when they can say "Thank you, Mommy" when they finish nursing!) and the girls seemed to be ready as well, as they made the transition to whole milk in sippy cups really easily.

Unfortunately, they both like picking their noses!

It amazes me, how fast they are learning. They say new words everyday and have even started stringing them together. They love talking about animas and making their different noises. They love learning new songs especially the ones with fun actions. I feel like I should be better at introducing letters, numbers, and colors and things just because they are at the stage when they are soaking up everything like a sponge! However, I don't aspire to create child prodigies who can read by the time they are two so we'll get to those things eventually. Right now we're all just enjoying spending everyday together doing fun things and exploring the world around us!

They like learning about their body. Their favorite parts to say and point to are eyes, ears, mouth, nose, toes, and of course BELLY BUTTON!

Did I mention they love their babies?

Ice cream is their favorite treat

Family Hike in Devil's Den


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Day in the Life with Twin Toddlers

It's been just over a year since I did a "Day in the life" blog post and I thought it would be fun to do another one to record what life really looks like most days for us. Of course, there is no such thing as a "normal" day around here but here's a chronicle of A day. This was yesterday, and it was actually a really good day!

6:30 AM Nathan wakes up and gets ready for work. He leaves around 7 and I stay in bed hoping for a few more precious minutes of sleep. Usually the girls are up around 7:15 but ever since the time change they've been sleeping in a bit!

8:00 AM Eden starts fussing and I drag myself out of bed. Good morning hugs and kisses and diaper changes for both girls. Then I start making breakfast. Eden plays in the living room while Lydia sits at my feat and cries. Apparently, she's got some "hanger" going on.

8:30 AM Breakfast! This morning it's scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa, tortillas, milk, and bananas. The girls can be picky about eating but generally speaking, they love breakfast and eat really well for that meal. Even when they love their food, they still also love gravity and a lot of food ends up on the floor! Ollie eagerly awaits the scraps.

9:00 AM Wash the girls off and clean up from breakfast. Get the girls dressed for the day.

9:30 AM Give Ollie a bath. Half the food the girls dropped at breakfast ended up in his hair.  The girls like to help scrub him in the tub. Now the tub is dirty so I guess I better clean it. After cleaning the tub I realize, it's been a while since I've cleaned the bathroom so I might as well do the whole thing. Once again, the girls like "helping." I'm glad I bought some of the "natural" cleaners that are supposed to be safer around kids since the girls like to be a part of everything I do. Now, that I'm in bathroom cleaning mode I decide to clean the master bathroom too. The girls are tired of helping by this point, so they just pull all of Mommy's shoes off the rack instead.

10:00 AM Get myself dressed for the day.

10:15 AM Load the girls up in the stroller to go play at a friend's house. My friend Emily lives a few blocks away, and it is a beautiful day, so we walk there. Her little boy is about a month older than the girls, and she watches another friend's daughter who is also a few months older so the four of them have a lot of fun playing together.

10:30-12:00 PM It is a gorgeous day so the kids play outside while Emily and I visit and soak up the sun!

12:00 PM Emily makes us all a delicious lunch. Chicken fried rice, mandarin oranges, pineapple. The kids all sit at the table like little grown ups and make a terrible mess, but they are happy and eating their food so it's all good!

12:45 PM Help clean up from lunch. Load the girls back up in the stroller and head home. Get home and realize Lydia threw a shoe overboard! Retrace steps and find it a block a way. Get home in time to say goodbye to Daddy who had come home to spray the weeds on his lunch break

1:15 PM Change diapers and sing some songs to get the girls ready for naptime. Lay them down in their cribs and leave the room. Eden starts screaming. (Shocker! She's been on a nap strike lately.) I go back in a couple of times until she is calmed down and starts to drift off.

1:45 PM Naptime is usually sewing time for me. My Etsy shop keeps me busy. Today I'm working on a Minnie Mouse dress and a pair of pajamas.

2:50 PM Eden starts crying. I get to a stopping point with the sewing and get her out of her crib. Lydia is still snoozing so I leave her in the bedroom. Eden does not like this and keeps going to the bedroom door and pounding on it to wake sister.

3:00 PM Lydia wakes up. I change both their diapers. Lydia throws a fit when I make her put her binkie away but she gets over it as soon as I tell her it's snack time! I give them each a snack cup with captain crunch.  (Don't Judge!) While they eat their snacks, I gather up everything to go run some errands. Lydia throws another fit when she dumps her snack on the floor and Ollie eats it. I get her some more and put her in her carseat. Now Eden throws a fit because she wants to give  Ollie a bone before we leave. I buckle a crying Eden in her carseat and hand her her blankie and Lambie and she calms down.

3:20 PM And we're off on our errands! Post office, Hobby Lobby, and Wal-Mart. Highlights from the trip: 1. Bribing the girls by letting them ring the bell at the fabric counter at Hobby Lobby about 20 times each. 2. Bribing them at Wal-Mart with free cookies from the bakery 3. Bribing them with the veggie pouches in the cart at Wal-Mart. Are you seeing a theme here? 4. Cleaning up the puree from said veggie pouches that Eden squirted all over the groceries. 5. Smelling a suspicious odor from Lydia and then realizing I forgot to bring the diaper bag. All in all we had a very successful errand run!

4:50 PM Get home and unload the groceries. Our 8 year old neighbor is playing outside and wants to blow bubbles with the girls for a bit.

5:00 PM Come inside and Skype with Grandma! Now is usually when I would be making dinner but we are having dinner with friends tonight to celebrate Nate's birthday! Hooray for not having to cook dinner.

5:40 PM Load up in the car again and head to meet Daddy for dinner at our friends' house.

6:00 PM Yummy tacos, beans, and rice for dinner. The girls LOVE refried beans. Caramel pudding cake and ice cream for dessert. On a normal night, after dinner the girls play in the bathtub for quite a while. They they get in their PJs, we read a bible story, sing some songs and they go to bed around 7:15. But tonight's a party night :)

8:15 Get home, dress girls in pjs, and lay them in their cribs. Lydia goes right to sleep but Eden has been having a rough time falling asleep recently. She's fine if I'm in the room but she gets really upset when I leave. We've started leaving the door open when we leave and that seems to help her but I still end up going back in her room a few times before she stops crying and falls asleep.

8:45 Both girls are asleep. Nate and I sit down and watch an episode of the Walking Dead.

10:00 I work on sewing some more of my Etsy orders. Nate does some studying for an upcoming certification exam

11:00 BEDTIME!

And that's it. Just another day in paradise. Even if I didn't fit in a shower today, it's still a pretty good day!

1:45 AM Eden wakes up crying. Ugh, guess I better get out of bed.......

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year, New Blog Post (At last!)

Once upon a time, I was pretty good at keeping up with this blog. Then one day I woke up, and our twins were toddlers and life got really crazy! I haven't written since their first birthday in September and I'm REALLY sad. Due to the crazy nature of raising two toddlers, I have a terrible case of "Mommy Brain", and I fear I've forgotten almost everything that has happened in the last few months because I didn't write it down. Going forward, my plan is to update at least monthly but I figured today, I'd do a quick look back of the last few months as well as a look forward to this next year.

After the girls' birthday, we got really busy getting ready for our trip to Disney World! We had an amazing time with Nathan's family there, and I plan to write a whole blog post about it. One paragraph would simply not do the awesomeness of the trip justice. For now, just know we loved it, the girls loved it, Grandma loved it, everyone loved it!

We had a magical time in Magic Kingdom

 Before we left on our trip, I decided to make our girls and their two cousins matching Minnie Mouse dresses. Little did I know, that would be the start of a brand new adventure for me! After posting a picture of the dresses on Facebook and receiving so many comments on how I should sell them on Etsy, I gathered all my courage and took the plunge! I opened an Etsy shop. I started with selling the Minnie Mouse dresses and was shocked when people bought them! I decided I was really going to give this a shot and see if I could turn it into a nice little side business. I used my profits to buy a serger and started making more items for my shop. In 6 weeks time, I sold nearly 200 pairs of leggings and 20 dresses! It was an amazing blessing for our family that we were so grateful for. The holiday rush was pretty crazy, so I'm hoping the shop will just bring a nice steady, manageable work load for me throughout the year. If anyone is interested in checking out the shop you can find it here. (And if you ever want to order anything contact me first so I can give you a promo code for a friend/family discount!)

These were two of the Christmas dresses I made and sold in my shop. One benefit of the shop is the girls get to keep all the model outfits!
 Nathan has been very busy as well. He makes a great sewing assistant! Bless that man; when I was swamped with orders, not only did he help me with cutting and ironing and such, but he also took over a lot of the household duties all while continuing to work full time at his job at the Walmart headquarters! On top of that, he has been studying for a group of tests for a special certification related to his job. AND, he has been working out which payed off when he passed a fitness test at our gym and earned us a free membership for this year! Can we just all agree that my husband is Superman?

The girls have a doctor's appointment later this week, so I'll be writing a whole update on them after I have current stats. They are walking (and running) everywhere and are so curious about their world. This is a really fun age and challenging one! Nate and I can hardly wait for March when the girls will be 18 months old and can go to nursery at church!!!! We seem to spend more and more time out in the hallway at church every week rather than in our meetings. Just a few more months......

They absolutely love going on walks but they prefer to ditch the stroller and walk on their own down the sidewalk now.
We had a great Christmas in Utah this year. The girls had a ball swimming, ice skating, playing with cousins, and being spoiled by Grandparents! They actually caught on a bit to opening presents this year so that was fun.The only thing we didn't like about our vacation was getting sick! The girls and I were sick and most of my family got sick as well. Somehow, Nate managed to stay healthy. My sister, Emily, also got married while we were there. She was a cute bride and I'm so glad we could be there for it. We were able to stay a full two weeks, hoping to wear out our welcome so it wouldn't be so sad when we left, but it still was sad! We already miss Grandma, Grandpa, Aunties, Uncles, and cousins.

Their Christmas jammies were a bit big, but it was kinda funny watching them walk around like little munchkins.  

I can hardly stand the cuteness of this picture with all the cousins at the wedding
I made my dress and the girls' dresses. I have to say, I've come a LONG way with my sewing!
My parents recently got an exercise pool. We didn't exercise, but the girls sure loved swimming in it
I thought it was pretty cool we were allowed to bring the stroller on the ice. The girls seemed to enjoy it.

With it being a new year, I've been thinking a lot about improvement and figured this blog is as good a place as any to record my goals. First and foremost I want to be a better wife and mother. There are so many ways I can improve on that, but I'm going to narrow it down and say I want to be more present with them. I take care of the basic needs and everyone is happy enough, but I think I can do better at just being less distracted and enjoying the moment. Second, I want to take better care of myself. I used to be a health guru but just haven't made them time to exercise or eat right in a long time. And for me, it's not about losing weight, it's about feeling better. I have been sick so frequently this last year, and I know it's because I have developed terrible habits around sleep, exercise, and nutrition. I'd like to start doing some races again and Nate and I have been looking into some upcoming races around here that I plan to start training for. Finally, I want to improve on my housekeeping. Ugh! I really struggle to keep up and I know I will NEVER have a perfectly clean house especially with all the mayhem my girls cause, but I can improve. I'm thinking of making a chore chart or downloading a cleaning ap or something to keep me on track. What are your favorite ways to stay on top of your housework?

It's been a wonderful, busy year for our family. We have been challenged and blessed in so many unexpected ways. We didn't get around to sending out most of our Christmas cards this year, so this will have to suffice. We hope you all enjoyed your Christmas season with friends and family and we hope you are able to keep the Christmas spirit with you all year long!