Fall Photo Shoot

Now that the Christmas cards have been mailed, I can finally reveal the pictures from our fall photo session!  I love, love, love the pictures.  McKenzie was incredibly uncooperative that day, but Beth our photographer happened to snap some adorable pictures!   If you are in the Maryland/Delaware/Pennsylvania area, I highly recommend Beth from Beth Sabia Photography!  She is great with kids and incredibly talented!

Here are some of our favs!

Coat

Hug

Kneeling

I love capturing a new family portrait at the same time each year!  Look at the difference a year makes!  This will be a tradition in our household each year so that we always have an updated family photo to look back on!  Love it!

2012 Fall Family Photo

2013 Fall Family Photo

Fabulous Holiday Fun!

What a weekend!  Busy yet so much fun!

Kenzie is in love with Christmas lights.  She ohhh’s and ahhh’s as we pass houses with lights.  She points out her window and giggles.  As more and more people are putting their lights up,there’s even more to look at.  Friday night after dinner, we decided to drive to the Herr’s Factory to look at the light display that they put up.  It was a great night, filled with Christmas music on the radio, and pretty lights to see.  Kenzie loved it!  It was raining, so we didn’t get a chance to get out and walk around, but still so worth it.  Here are some pictures that we captured!

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Saturday, we spent the morning doing laundry and cleaning up the house.  We were hoping to get the outside decorated, but ran out of time!  We’re hoping to get it done some time this week so that McKenzie has time to enjoy them before the holidays are over.  As an aside, I have never been a fan of lawn decorations at Christmas and I refuse to get a blow-up one, but a simple light up snow man or reindeer may be in our future.  Kenzie would love it, since she’s obsessed with Frosty!

snowman

A-Ra, Jessica’s Aunt, spoiled her by buying her every Christmas movie possible.  We’ve watched a few of them, but Frosty is her favorite!  She marches around the house they way Frosty and his crew marches around town.  Her stomping is hilarious…she only marches with one foot.  It’s adorable!

Saturday evening, we went to dinner to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.  It was a great evening had by all and we are lucky to have her in our life.  After dinner, we stopped at a local creamery that makes homemade ice cream.  Kenzie’s patience was starting to wear thin, so I downloaded the JibJab Elf Dance App.  I quickly snapped pictures of everyone and created an elf dance sketch.  She loved it!  It kept her laughing for the rest of the evening!  Oh technology!  I highly recommend this distraction technique!

jibjab

On Sunday, we took McKenzie to have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  From a distance, Kenzie thought Santa was the coolest.  She would point to him, smile and wave.  Up close, she didn’t care for him too much!  She didn’t scream, but was really unsure.  Look at her clenched little fists.  I think Mrs. Claus was our saving grace!  Very cute little breakfast put on by our local volunteer fire house.

santa 2

santa 1

It started snowing around 11 yesterday and didn’t stop until the evening. Then we had bouts of freezing rain and sleet overnight.

Snow

We spent the day making cookies with my Mother-in-law, Mom and sister.  It was such a nice way to spend a cold, winter day.  There is more baking in store, but we had to call it quits so that we could get home before the roads got too bad.

cookies 2

Kenzie is currently spending the day at home with Brian and loving life!  I can’t even stand how cute these pictures are!

Kenz snow 1

Kenz Snow 2

Hope everyone had a great week!

The Thankful Project: Day 23 – Something You’ve Seen

luke 2I’ve seen our family grow.  We’ve grown through marriages.  We’ve grown through the birth of little babies.  We’ve also grown through adoption.

Today, on National Adoption Day, I’m thankful for my brother.

My Dad and Step-Mom chose to adopt back in 2005.  After waiting almost a year to meet him and bring him home, he finally joined our family.

I’ll never forget the day.  We all gathered at their house to anxiously await their arrival from the airport.  We had decorated the front of the house and had food waiting.  In they walked with the most adorable little 11 month old you could have ever seen.

He was overwhelmed, yet happy.  His whole world was completely different.  His life had been turned upside down.  For 11 months, he had spent time with a foster-mother who loved him dearly. For 11 months, he had only heard the Spanish language.  For 11 months, Guatemala, or Guate-LAMA (as he used to call it) was his home.

Now he was in his new home.  With a Mom and Dad, more toys than he knew what to do with, a two sister’s.  He instantly captured our hearts and became part of our family.

luke

Although there is a 20 year age difference between us and we’re at very different points in our lives, I’m thankful beyond words for this charming little guy!

Kenz

 

thankful project titleI’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

The Thankful Project: Day 21 – Something That’s Easy to Take for Granted

Each morning, we get up, shower, get dressed and prepare to start our day.  We often take for granted that we are able to get out of bed on our own, able to shower and dress on our own, and able to care for ourselves.

Working in a hospital has given me a new perspective on the things that we take for granted day in and day out.  Today, I’m thankful for health.  It’s so easy to take for granted.  It’s so easy to assume that we’ll always be healthy.

I’ve seen my share of sad stories – more frequently than I’d like.  I recently met a man who was diagnosed with brain cancer.  The man I saw in the hospital bed, was not the man he once was.  He was confused and combative.  He required assistance for just about everything – eating, toileting, bathing, and walking.

His wife and his family were by his side the entire time. They shared stories with the staff about the man that he was.  They shared stories to remember him.  They shared stories to remind us that the man we were seeing and caring for now, was not the man they knew.

The wife told stories and showed the staff pictures, with the most recent picture taken in August.  It was a picture of the two of them – at a gala.  Both were dressed exceptionally well and looked full of life and love.  She told us that this picture was taken 2 weeks before he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

I thought about that man and his family a lot after that.  It’s incredible to think that in 3 short months, this family’s life has been turned upside down. In 3 short months, this man deteriorated so quickly.  In 3 short months, a wife lost her husband and the sons, their father.

My heart broke for them.

There are hundreds, even thousands of stories like this one.  Although heart-breaking, it serves as a reminder to take care of ourselves, because our health is so important.  It’s one of those things that you don’t realize how important it is, until you are sick.

health

It’s one of my biggest fears, especially now.  I worry about our family.  I pray each day that we continue to be blessed with health.   I can’t even imagine what these families go through, especially when it happens so suddenly. I can’t imagine what I would do.  What if that was my husband?  I would want to be by his side every moment of the day, but I also know that I would need to work to continue to provide for my family.  I would feel torn, overwhelmed and frustrated.

It’s a good reminder that when these families are demanding, frustrated and sometimes outright mean, that they aren’t the same people either.  They are dealing with extraordinary stress, facing the fear of the unknown, and are worried about their loved one.

The toll that illness and disease takes on a patient and their support system is immense.   We may take it for granted each day, but health is so important.

Today, I’m thankful for the health of my family and friends and pray that we continue to be blessed with health and happiness.

 

thankful project titleI’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

McKenzie | 18 Months |

Again, a little late, but better late than never!

So little McKenzie…You’re a 1 and a half!  How in the world did that happen?!  Weren’t we just planning your first birthday party?!  This past month has been so much fun with you!

What’s Happening:

The Start of Potty Training
You’ve shown interest and I’m cautiously optimistic! I know it is probably still a little way off, but you’ve told Jen at daycare and us when you need to go!

potty

Preschool
I can’t even believe that I just typed that.  How did we get here!?  I’ve been researching local preschools for the past month or two.  First, most are way more expensive than I realized that they would be.  Second, most are charging a lot of money for only 2 hours, 2 days a week.  I was shocked!  After researching a little more, we found a local preschool that we love!  I can’t even wait for you to start there in September!  You are going to learn so much and have so much fun!

Vocabulary
I’m not even sure how many words you know now.  You talk all day long!  What I love about your learning words is that you are finally able to communicate with us!  A few nights ago, you were so exhausted.  We gave you your bath and I sat down with you, just as I do each night, to hold you for a few minutes before you climb in to bed.  You lost your mind.   I wasn’t even sure why!  I assumed it was because you were overly tired.  As I listened closer,  I finally caught on to what you were saying as you were crying! Book! You were upset that we didn’t read!  My little creature of habit! I let you pick out a book, we read it, you curled right up in my arms and went to sleep without a fight.  I love that you can tell us things now!

Your newest phrase that you say each night as we end a story, is “The End!”  You are listening and learning and I love it!

Leading up to Halloween, we taught you Boo, since you were going to be a ghost.  Anytime we asked you what a ghost said, you would yell, “Boo!”

We’ve moved on and skipped over Thanksgiving, since “Gobble Gobble” is a little harder to say.  We’ve started working on Christmas.  If we ask you what Santa says, you reply, “Ho ho!” and if we ask whose birthday it is on Christmas you say, “Baby Cheezus”.  It makes me giggle every time.  There is some slight confusion though because any time you want a Cheez It cracker, you will say Cheezus.  We’ve got some clarification to do!

Favorite Thing
Singing the ABC’s.  It’s your favorite song.  As we sing it, you join in with a random E, G, I, or Z.  You bob your head as we say each letter.  After we’re done singing, you will sing it on your own.  You have the rhythm of the song down, but mumble through most of the letters until you hit your favorites – E, G, I and Z.

Eating
You eat a lot, but are still kind of picky.  You hate any form of meat.  Veggies and fruits…you’ve got it.  Put a chicken, ham, turkey, or meat loaf in front of you and you remove them from your plate.  It’s so bizarre.  We’ve been working on finding new forms of protein that you will actually eat, but haven’t been too successful.

table

You have also become finicky with how your food is presented.  Some days you want things cut, so we cut them up.  Then the next meal, you refuse to eat because you wanted it whole.  Then the next meal you want things cut up.  We can’t keep up!

Sleep Habits
Your sleep habits have been less than stellar ever since daylight savings time.  I think we also had a touch of sleep regression going on at the same time, which means we haven’t been getting the greatest sleep!  For about 2 weeks, you would wake up at 2 in the morning, open your door and stand at the gate.  You would call for me and I would come get you.  As soon as you saw me, you would run back to your bed, grab your blanket, and motion to be picked up.  We’d sit in your chair and rock and you’d fall back to sleep quickly.  You would sleep until about 5:15.  Then you were up again for good!    We’ve been a little tired, but it has gotten better.  The past few nights, you’ve slept through the night again and have only been getting up a little earlier than normal!

Outings
We’ve been busy this past month!

You had you’re second Halloween.  Such a cute little ghost!

ghost

You went to your first show – Disney on Ice. We went with your friend Ella and you loved it!

Disney

You thought you were home, because you insisted on taking your shoes off!

Date Day with Dad – Daycare was closed, so Dad stayed home with you.  You went to a bounce house with inflatable moon bounces with your friend, Adelyn, and then out to lunch!  You had so much fun!

bounce

This month has been one of the best!  You are for sure your own little person, with an ever emerging personality.  It’s so fun watching you grow and I’m so thankful that I’m your Mom!

I love you through and through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.

Love,
Mom

The Thankful Project: Day 19 – A Book

I go in spurts where I will read a lot, and then not at all.  I normally don’t have a lot of down time to read, but when I do I normally fall asleep reading.  It’s really a lose/lose situation.  I’d venture to guess I will love reading a lot more when I have more time for it.

That’s why my favorite book isn’t one published by a well-known author.  It’s not on the New York Time’s Best Seller list.  It’s one that you’ve never heard of.  It’s called Letters of Life and Love.  It’s a book written by us, Brian and I.   I’m so thankful for this book now and I know that it will become treasured even more as the years past and the vivid memories of McKenzie’s first year fades.

front

Before McKenzie was born, we each wrote her a letter.  We talked about how the pregnancy had been, how excited we were, our thoughts and our fears.  I knew from the day I was pregnant that I was going to write her letters throughout her first year.  I also knew I wanted to write one before she was born.  One day when she is pregnant and feeling unsure of the future and what it holds (because every single Mom-to-be goes through it), I wanted her to be able to have a letter from me.  To know that all of the worries, concerns, fears and excitement is normal.  When I told Brian that I was going to write her a letter, he said that he would write her one too.

inside 3

What started out as one letter, turned into letters for each month of her life from both of us.

We typed the letters each month.  Brian wouldn’t let me read his letters, until I came up with the idea for the book.  He told me that these letters for McKenzie and that if she chose to share them with me one day, that maybe I could see them then!  I’m glad he had a change of heart!  His letters are amazing and I know something that McKenzie will look on with love throughout her life.

inside

I decided to compile the book through Blurb.  The program was user-friendly and easy to use.  The book is made up of two chapters –Letters from Mom and Letters from Dad.  We included pictures with each month of our letters.

We had it printed shortly after her first birthday and it turned out incredible.  It has a hard cover and the pages are beautifully glossy and thick.

inside 2

We’re not sure when we’re going to give the book to her, but it something that we can’t wait to look back on over the years.  It’s already fun looking back to see how far we have come as parents and how much she has grown.

I’m so thankful for this book and that we decided to take the time to document our lives and McKenzie’s for her first year.

What’s a book that you are thankful for?

 

thankful project title

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

The Thankful Project: Day 17 – A Room

I thought long and hard about this post.  What room am I the most thankful for?  My bedroom?  A place of solace and rest.  The bathroom?  As a Mom, sometimes it’s the only place that I can get away, and even then, I’m rarely alone.  Even with the door shut and locked, I see little hands under the door and the constant, “Ma…Ma…Ma”.  Hilarious, yet frustrating.  Although not a room, am I thankful for my car and the quiet time I spend in it thinking about life during my commute to and from work?   The dining room?  A place that our family gathers to recap our day.

The more I thought about it, there’s not one particular room that I’m thankful form.  The ones that I am thankful for are the rooms that are filled with family and friends.  The location and room may change, but the togetherness, the silliness, and the love are the things that make me thankful.

family

I talked about my feelings on family and being together, here.  Pretty much sums it up!

I’m thankful for any room, as long as it’s filled with love and the chance to make little, every day memories.

thankful project title

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!