Year End Round-Up

Happy 2015! I’ve taken a break from blogging for the past four weeks, sort of accidentally. I mean I thought about posting my Christmas decorations or a reflection on Advent or the baby gender reveal, but in the end I was too busy living the moments to write about them. My parents parked their fifth wheel at an RV park just a few minutes away for the whole month of December, and my brother spent the last two weeks with us. It was fantastic to have them all here, and Charlotte was most definitely in seventh heaven. But now it’s back to normal life. My brother flew off back to his YWAM base in Oregon on Saturday, and my parents left this morning to meander their way toward warmer weather (Florida to be specific). These partings always break off pieces of my heart, and let’s just say grandparent/uncle withdrawal is a real thing for my sweet baby girl. Thankfully we will be seeing my parents again in a couple weeks, but now I’m getting ahead of myself. First let me list a few highlights from the past month.
– Birthday celebration/gender reveal party

My birthday fell on a Saturday this year, and happened to be just a few days after my anatomy scan ultrasound. I thought it would be a great way to celebrate my birthday, by sharing our news with our families (my parents arrived back in town that week too). With horrible difficulty my hubby and I managed to keep the gender a secret until party day. We debated how to do the reveal, and in the end chose the popular but very cute balloon present option. We had Charlotte open a huge box with balloons inside. When the PINK balloons popped out I think everyone was surprised! That’s right, it’s a GIRL!! I almost fell off the table when the ultrasound tech told me. I was absolutely convinced it had to be a boy because this pregnancy has been totally different than my first one. But no, the tech was positive it’s another girl. C wasn’t sure what to think at first (she’s been talking about her baby brother for months) but now that she understands she’s having a baby sister she is so excited. She likes for us to list all the things she’ll be able to teach her. It’s adorable.
– Christmas Eve
I’m so thankful we didn’t have to travel at all this Christmas.

We spent a lovely, low-key Christmas Eve at home, baking, reading, and playing games, then went to the 6:00 Christmas Eve service at our church. Our church has six Christmas Eve services, and they get so full you are actually supposed to pick up tickets beforehand. Thankfully I had procured the tickets the first week of December, and my parents offered to go a bit early to save us seats. It’s a family service, which meant that all the kids (babies and toddlers included) stay in “big church” with their parents. It’s loud, full of music and the sound of kids, and lacks the contemplative nature of a traditional Christmas Eve service.

We met up with Chris’s brother’s family at the tree after the service

But it’s so fun and festive, and will hopefully be a great memory for our girls in the years to come. C did great through most of the service, until the end when she decided she wanted to hold mommy’s burning candle instead of the glow stick that had been provided for the ten and under crowd. Fortunately we were able to avoid setting fire to the pew.

opening her one gift on Christmas Eve (pjs)
My first “belly pic” at 23 weeks. Second child problem

– Christmas Day
Again, I’m so thankful that we got to spend Christmas morning at home. Charlotte is still a little too young to understand the excitement of waking up early on Christmas morning (thank you Lord) so we were all able to sleep in a bit. We started with stockings, opening them youngest to oldest as we always have since I was a kid. C’s favorite present was actually a stocking stuffer. It’s a water paint book that comes with a special brush you fill with water. As you paint over the page the white drawing fills in with bright, gorgeous colors and reveals the background and surprises like flowers, butterflies, etc. She was perfectly content to “paint” while we made and ate cinnamon rolls. We eventually got around to opening presents. I tried to stick to “something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need” and I sort of succeeded. πŸ™‚

Wear: Tinkerbell and Ariel costumes (purchased at Halloween on sale)
Read: Doc McStuffin’s and Minnie Mouse books

Want: play cottage with several animal families and furniture (the knock-off Calico Critters line that Target sells)

Need: Baby doll, crib, diaper bag with diapers, wipes, bottles, doll clothes etc. (because she “needs” to practice being a big sister :))

She loved everything, and thankfully we had enough time that she could play with things as we opened them slowly. The baby doll and crib were her last gifts that we brought out after all the wrapped gifts had been opened. I know most people do the unwrapped, “Santa” gifts first, but I think saving them for last makes them more special. It works for now anyway.
After C’s afternoon nap (I was pretty shocked that she actually slept) we went over to Chris’s parents’ house for Christmas dinner. It was a lovely, slow day spent with family. So much better than last year, when Chris and I both got the flu. 😦
– New Year’s Eve

My dear friend Mysti threw a “toddler’s NYE” party, inviting the four “original” playgroup families. It was from 5-8, which is the perfect time frame for a New Year’s party if you ask me! We got silly in the photo booth

These ladies are my tribe…they keep me sane and let me know that I’m not alone in this crazy motherhood journey

and pigged out on sweet and salty treats while the kiddos enjoyed a toddler friendly snack bar. Mysti even ambitiously had a craft prepared to make New Year’s shakers, and they turned out so cute!

At about 7:30 they played an old Youtube recording of the ball dropping. We all shouted Happy New Year! and called it a night. It was perfect.
Thanks for indulging me in some reflection and remembering (or if you just scrolled through to see pictures I totally get that). These days if I don’t write it down I won’t remember it, and I so want to remember it! Hopefully in the next couple of days I will post some of the many things I’m looking forward to in the New Year, including designing another girl nursery, a “magical” vacation, and having a baby! What were some of your highlights from the holidays? Did you write them down? You should! πŸ™‚

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