Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Review

I can't believe we're at the end of another year already! These year in review posts seem to come around every few weeks. Without a doubt, 2016 has been our best year yet! It's amazing to sit here and look back on our year and revel in ALL of the blessings we've received this year. Last year at this time, I was constantly thinking about and upset about the baby that we lost that should've been nearing our final weeks before meeting him or her. Last year, I was wondering if I'd get pregnant again and we were discussing to what lengths we would go to beginning in January. Last year, we just didn't know what our future held for us, but we were prayerful and hopeful. 

Our mighty Lord hears and answers prayers. Here's a recap of our wonderful year...


We rang in the New Year at our friends John and Brittany's house as we have for several years now with great friends on hand. We always have a great time munching on yummy foods all night, playing cards, hanging out...we're so thankful to do life with these people. This year, there's 4 new babies to the group and a couple more on the way in the coming months. 

In January we also celebrated a pretty big birthday for my sister! 40 never looked so young!!

January also brought a LARGE snowstorm to Tennessee. We spent a cozy weekend at home enjoying our unexpected winter stay-cation. 


We had a fun Valentine's date in Nashville including breakfast at one of our favorite beach vacation stops that now has a place in Nashville! 

We also enjoyed another February tradition in celebrating Mardi Gras with some of our closest friends!

February also brought the arrival of our expected due date for our first baby that we lost last summer. I posted a letter that I wrote to our baby. Even with the abundant blessings we've received this year, going back and reading this sent me to immediate tears. The hurt is still raw and I suspect will always be there - I think about the "what if's" every day. I love Amelia and Mae Parker with every breath in my body, but my heart still aches and misses our first baby. 


We planned a special lunch and family balloon release to honor our sweet baby who should've been joining us by that time. 

We enjoyed family time (and way too much food) on Easter weekend. 


We partied our way through April with Stephen and Colin's birthday...

and our "Nephew" Daniel's 1st Birthday "Daniel Caught the BIG ONE!" was a huge hit!

read again here, here and here


In May I shared a sweet story about our youngest nephew Colin and how such a small act of kindness (even that from an innocent 6 year old) can have a lasting impact on someone's life. If you've not read this story, please take a few minutes to read this one. It's one of my all-time favorites. 

Annnd....there was this bit of news we shared in May.

We also shared several videos of family reactions to our news. I will admit, I've gone back and watched these multiple times throughout the year, and I smile all stupidly every time. 


In June we found out we'd be adding a whole lot of pink to our lives!


Sadly we spent an obscene amount of our summer glued to the tv watching Big Brother and even Big Brother After Dark late at night when they stream the live-feed from inside the house. Yes, this what I remember about a good chunk of our 2016 Summer. 

(I hope Nicole uses her winnings to finally get those nostrils stretched that I mentioned throughout the summer...multiple times. Just sayin'.)

My best friend at work began a new journey in her career in July. Work is not the same without her, but we've enjoyed a lunch date during my maternity leave and she's come to love on the girls for a while too. 


I shared our first two baby showers! Our first was celebrating with Stephen's family. 

Then, we celebrated at work...


My family and friends showered us with much love at a "Tea for Two" themed shower. 

Our sweet church family held the cutest shower for us in September...

September always means breaking out all the pumpkins and decking the house out in all its Fall glory. I look forward to this particular Saturday morning in September every year! It's the first Saturday of College Football, first Saturday for ESPN's Game Day. its my Fall decorarting day...all is right with the world!


So, on Saturday night, October 1st, I posted a pic of Stephen and I on Facebook with the caption reading something like "Holy Cow, it's October! We're going to be parents this month!! This will either be the quickest or slowest 4 weeks of our lives." Yeah. And then we had two babies the VERY. NEXT. DAY. 

What's the lesson to be learned here? God's plan > my plan

I shared the girls' birth story...lengthy, but definitely worth documenting. And fun fact, you have ample time to make a SAM's run before giving birth. 


The girls spent nearly three weeks in the hospital. I shared all about our Nursery living in a November post. 

I also shared the "finished product" with our girls' Nursery Reveal. 


Earlier this month I shared our family's 12 Days of Christmas traditions we look forward to continuing and starting with our girls. 

We mailed out our best Christmas card yet...

And finally, we enjoyed a week-long Christmas with our families. 

2016 taught me (loud and clear I might add) that all of my planning is mostly useless. God's timing, God's plan always takes over - and for the better. Many prayers were answered for us this year. Many unexpected blessings were given to us. We are beyond blessed and loved. Our hearts are full. Our cups running over. 

I pray that  our 2017 and your 2017 is just as richly blessed as our year has been. 

"Give and it will be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas 2016

Well, we Christmas-ed our way all through last week until Monday. We were exhausted but have never felt so loved! It was such a special year having our girls with us. Even if they won't remember any of it, it was still a great week spent sharing Amelia and Mae Parker with our families. 

On Tuesday, we celebrated with Stephen's parents, brother and his fiance. Our girls are the first grandkids in their family, so to say their spoiled is an understatement. We had a FABULOUS dinner and then enjoyed time opening gifts together. 

On Thursday night, we got together with my dad's side of the family. This year has been filled with such joy and such sadness. 

We've celebrated with a wedding, the birth of 4 new babies, an engagement and a pregnancy announcement. But we've also grieved terribly the death of our uncles Bill and Jerrie. It just wasn't the same. Nothing has been the same since they both passed. Their passings have left such a huge void in us. We're confident in their faith and know they are rejoicing in heaven together. We all can't wait to be reunited with them one day. 

Typically Friday the 23rd is our stay at home, bake, watch movies day. It's one of my very favorite days of the year. 

Late that afternoon, I noticed a Target box in our carport. I asked Stephen if he had ordered anything he said no. The box was addressed to the girls. When I opened it, I knew exactly who it was from!

You may have read this story on Facebook already but here goes...

Early in our college years, my good friend Angela thought it would be hilarious to secretly sign me up on an online Jewish dating website., this is a real thing. I started getting random emails from guys and had no clue what was going on. Days passed and finally she fessed up to it. It's been a running joke with us for 13 years or so. 

So, we're now the proud care-takers of Ira Rosenstein, our Mensch on a Bench. (The Hanukkah version of Elf on the Shelf)

I can't make this up. More on Ira later. 

We ended our Friday night with our annual tradition of eating take out, watching White Christmas and snacking on sugar cookies. It's the best day!

Amelia seemed quite intrigued with the music! Maybe she'll love this tradition as much as her mama!

Saturday morning welcomed Christmas Eve, which required a family meeting and wardrobe layout for the girls. We had to make sure to get in one last use of as many of our Christmas clothes as possible. 

We hit the road Saturday morning to have lunch at Stephen's grandmother's house a little over an hour away. In this family there are 3 sets of twins. The oldest set (boys) is 15. The middle set (boy/girl) were born in June of this year. Our set (girl/girl) was born in October of this year. 

The weather didn't cooperate for an outdoor group pic so we settled for an awkward angle self-timer pic. Not the most flattering angle for us, but it'll do. And, Stephen's dad and his brother's fiance both had to work, so we're missing them in this pic this year. 

Saturday night my mom's family got together at my grandparents house. Normally, we get together Christmas morning for breakfast, but with Christmas on Sunday this year, everyone's "traditional" plans had to be altered. BUT, we still had breakfast for dinner and it was wonderful as always. 

Grands and great-grands in the living room...

"Adults" in the kitchen. I'll never make it to the big table for Christmas breakfast. 

Is anyone else like me...your grandparent's house is one of your favorite places on earth? This house means so much to our family and holds years and years of memories. It's home. 

Sure it's way to small for all 25 of us, but I can't imagine being anywhere else on Christmas morning.

Back in November we had family pictures made. One of my cousins had the big group shot made into a canvas for our grandparents. Such a special gift. 

Arabelle...I mean Elsa...checking on Amelia. So sweet. 

We came home that night to find Ira starting his 8 nights of antics. (Yes, we've embraced our Mensch.) 

We dressed the girls in their Christmas gowns and snapped a few last pics before bedtime. 

Our best gifts ever. 

Our first Christmas Eve as a family of four. What a difference a year makes!

Christmas morning, we failed at opening gifts. Fussy babies, bags to pack for the day, bottles to make for the day, getting ready to be at church on was just alot and we didn't want to rush our sweet first moments with our girls. 

After church we had lunch (which was breakfast) at Stephen's grandparents house and opened gifts there. 

One proud Pop...

Later that afternoon / evening we had another great dinner at Stephen's parents house. Unfortunately no pics from there. I think all the running around and being passed around for two solid days was starting to get to them. Both were getting fussy and were sooo tired Sunday night. We had to leave early to get them home. I think it's the quickest they've fallen asleep for bedtime ever. Poor babies. 

BUT first, old Ira was found in Stephen's stocking when we got home. Apparently he heard we were going light on stocking stuffers this year and thought he'd lend a hand. 

Monday morning, the day after Christmas, we opened gifts with the girls. Again, it's nothing they'll remember but it was a surreal moment sitting there with them thinking about all the years to come and the memories made the same spot around our tree. 

Several years ago, we started celebrating Christmas at my parents house the day after Christmas. It's so easy and laid back. No running. No rushing off to be somewhere else. It's the perfect quiet ending to our busy holiday. 

Our nephews love their cousins SO MUCH!

For the last 3 or 4 years now, my dad has come up with some kind of game to end our gift opening. He'll have money, gift cards or random gifts to give away. This year he played it "Deal or No Deal" style. We have so much fun with this and all look so forward to it!

Christmas may officially be over, but Hanukkah trucks along. Monday, Ira was found giving an introductory course to some new friends who have shown up after his arrival.  

That wraps up our week-long Christmas!! We hope you enjoyed the holiday with your family and friends making  life long memories together!