Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, 12 months in the making

This was a weird year.

Ryan and I lost a combined 70 pounds, and while he has done a proper job maintaining his weight-loss, I started regaining weight in November.  Of course, I have good cause; I am pregnant with our fifth child.  Now only 15-weeks along, I have put on 12 pounds already.  Thanksgiving and Christmas at home were not helpful, so I am already planning on practicing serious self-control in the coming months so that I can enjoy a healthy pregnancy.

In addition to giving our daily diets a good kick in the pants, I also started running in April and more seriously in July when I started training for my first and second half-marathons which were in September and October.  Unbeknownst to me, I was four weeks pregnant during the Kansas City race!

I have enjoyed making a new friend in my running partner, Heidi, as we have shared many hours together in both the heat and the snow.  We ran the Omaha half together, and then I was able to travel to Kansas City and spend the weekend with my sister, mother and sister-in-law.  Even though we could not train together, it meant a lot that I was able to run with my sister, who first inspired me to take the challenge in the first place back in July.

It seems like I was able to travel quiet a bit this year.  Ryan and I went to Denver, CO twice.  Once in April to celebrate our birthdays and again in October to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage conference.  Both visits were a lot of fun, and we got to attend an Avalanche hockey game each time which thrilled Ryan.  Of course, we traveled to Kansas several times to visit our parents and were so blessed to make one special trip in April to celebrate my parents' 25th wedding anniversary!
October 2011, Pepsi Center in Denver, CO

In addition to visiting the great state of Colorado, we took our annual trip to Kansas City where we stayed at Great Wolf Lodge.  It really has become our favorite place for family vacations because it is so perfect for the kids.  In addition to lots of swimming, we went to an indoor bounce house one morning, Crown Center Plaza and Deanna Rose Farmstead.  We had a great time, and have already decided to take our trip in September in 2012 because it was too busy in August, especially with so many small children!

While we did not add any children this year, only the second time that has happened since we had Aubrey in 2006, we did find out we would be adding one more next summer in late June.  This little addition was a complete surprise, but we are excited and everyone is hopeful that we are having another little boy.  I am currently 15-weeks pregnant, so we will probably try to find out the baby's gender next month if at all possible.  We also added three non-people members to the clan.  In March we adopted two female rats, Starlight and Gwizdo; and in August, we adopted a little Teddy Bear puppy, Koda.  All three are beloved friends, and Koda is a wonderful companion and handles the children wonderfully.

As for my little people, this year had its ups and downs.  Respectively, Grace turned two in April, Aubrey turned five in June, and Caleb turned four and Emma one in September.  Aubrey started kindergarten with me at home this year although it has quickly become apparent, she already knows everything (except for how to tell time) that a regular kid would learn in public school.  I am eager to add a few new things to our routine in the remaining half of our school year.  She is incredibly smart with an exceptional, if not slightly photographic, memory.  She has been reading through the BOB early reader series, and has made a lot of progress (and gained a lot of confidence) over the last two months.

Caleb has lost all sense of volume this year turning into an rowdy and loud little man.  I tried to include him in our school work, but he was still fairly restless and more of a distraction than anything.  His passion for building things has continued to grow, so I have had to resign to never having perfectly made beds because he frequently pulls his blankets off to make tents and kicks his mattress off to build forts.

Little Grace has found her voice this year and grown a lot both in height and personality.  She talks more than any of the other kids, and I would say she is our most social child.  We have been working on potty training for some time, but it has definitely been two steps forward, one step backward.  While she wears underwear at home, she still will only tell us when she needs to go potty when we are out in public.  Something about using someone else's toilet ... Grace is our most well-mannered child, too, always saying her pleases and thank yous, and apologizing if she gets underfoot or bumps you as she passes by.

Emma changed and grew a lot this year, growing from a little 3-month old to a walking 15-month old.  From four to eight months, we struggled with weight gain, but when we finally decided to quit breastfeeding, the formula helped her gain weight.  She is still very small for her age, only 19 pounds, but she is hitting all the other milestones right on time.  She babbles a lot with only a handful of understandable words including: Momma, Dadda, cup, drink, stop (of all words), no and dog.  She understands nearly everything we say, so it is only a matter of time before she is talking more.  She loves to drag things behind her or wear things around her neck like necklaces or socks or whatever!  For Christmas she got a few legitimate pull/push toys, so hopefully she will stop dragging everything else around.

Outside of our own home, our extended family continues to grow.  In January, we added a beautiful sister when Ryan's little brother got married and just this week, we added a new little niece whom Ryan's sister and brother-in-law just adopted from Ethiopia.

It has certainly been a full year, and I have not even gone into Ryan's work schedule and conferences.  It always seems unreal to see another year tick away, but this year seemed to flit by particularly fast.  I am positive the same will happen next year; adding a fifth child can only mean that!

We were sorry that Christmas cards were not mailed this year, but the expense is crazy considering that most everyone can read about it all on the computer :)  Looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us over the next 12 months, I promise not to let my blog go that long without another entry!

1 comment:

fred aldrich said...

Thanks for the update. Your family is beautiful. I think homeschooling is appropriate for only motivated and qualified parents, and I think you're it. Good luck, and blessings to you and yours in 2012.