Home For Christmas 2015

2015 12 24_4022‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house we were celebrating Christmas in the calm before the storm. We decided early in the morning (when we happened to wake up a couple hours before the kids) that it might just make things go smoother and less overwhelming for the kids to have Christmas  a day early in order to space it out from seeing the relatives and travel. It was definitely far more relaxed then Christmas other years or even this whole week leading up to Christmas to spend the morning with just the 4 of us, and to have a less overwhelming pile of presents to choose from!

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Of course there were still plenty of presents, and Santa came through with full stockings and the Dinosaur SuperD asked him for last week!

Baby R had to try out all her presents as she opened them

Mom and Dad guessed right when picking out presents this year and R was enthralled with her new doll stuff!

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And How CUTE is this! Our neighbor and dear friend MADE this doll carrier that we gave R!!! Its perfect and now she can carry her babies, just like mommy!

D got some pretty great things too! A LeapPad and a REAL (kids) Camera were among his faves, and of course he never tires of new books!

2015 12 24_4104 Then it was time to clean up…and R was delighted to help with her new brooms (one from each grandma!)

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All finished off with a yummy breakfast! All in all it was fantastic to be able to take breaks as the kids needed, avoiding sensory overload meltdowns and having less new stuff all at once made this Christmas “day” a lot less crazy then I had anticipated, we have already played with toys and calming down back into routine…We are still looking forward to having a big Christmas with all the relatives later this week, but I think we may be onto something having a small family Christmas and then visiting with the rest of the relatives on another day! A Very Merry Christmas to all of our Friends and Family!

Merry Christmas from us to you

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For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  – Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV.

As we approach the holidays it is time to write a bit of an update. This year has been very full. Full of joy and full of stress, full of family, full of learning, full of new friends and new directions, and full of God stretching us in every area possible! These verses represent both what we have seen in the past year and what we pray for the coming year. So with no further ado, a glimpse at 2015!

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4.5 Years

Super D: This kid keeps us on our toes! He still loves SuperHeros, especially Batman this year! Batman costumes, Batman Lego, Batman pictures is the name of the game! Recently his interest has also turned to Lego, building and destroying is an activity he enjoys to do and it seems to be almost calming for him. He also likes to be creative with coloring and crafts and proudly shows his latest artwork to hang up in the kitchen! He is very curious and interested in “why” lately…why are things the way they are? how are things made? Why did they make them that way? Why do we have separate garbage cans for the organic garbage and recycles and trash? We are definitely in a why stage these days!

He also loves hanging out with the kids on our street, there is a boy a few houses up who he has really connected with a few months older who he likes to play with on a regular basis, they ride bikes and like to color together and of course make up superhero or hide and seek games. He is never shy to try and make a new friend.  He is turning into a great big brother! He adores his little sister and always has to stick up for her if he feels she isn’t being cared for to his standards. Of course not without the expected “sibling revelry” that also comes with the territory!
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Batman and a neighborhood buddy

We have had some fairly significant challenges with him this year that have required extra work and a lot of prayer and energy to try and help him feel secure in our family, and that is going to be an ongoing challenge for some time, however we have seen encouraging signs over the last six months  that gives us hope. We do not yet know what life looks like long term regarding some of these behaviors and diagnoses, but we do believe that God is and will continue to work in his life and in our family.
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1.5 years

Baby R: R has changed so much in the last year! Of course going from a 9 month old baby last January to a 20 month old toddler is crazy amount of changing and growing in just a year! She is a little person now! With opinions and a stubborn streak!
She still is not very 2015 12 11_3966_edited-1verbal and only has a handful of words that she uses regularly, but communicates very well. (Apparently I stole this line right out of my own babybook…). She points and nods and shakes her head, knows some signs and learns the important words like what an owl says “Hoo hoo” and what you need to go outside…”boots”. She loves to go outside, to go see her friends at church, coloring (not always on the paper), LOVES OWLS and points them out on everything she can find. Has a new favorite food every day, but don’t you dare give her leftovers! Those will go on the floor, even if they were her favorite the day before!
She is quite sensitive and is the one you often find crying BEFORE the other kid touched her or BEFORE brother took a toy away,  but also with that she LOVES hugs and cuddles and on a bad day the Lenny Lamb (baby carrier) is still the easiest way to help her calm down.
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First Birthday Cake Smash

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Mom and Dad (Alternately known as Paul and Katie)
As stated above, we have been stretched a lot this year, I (Katie) have had health issues show up that have had a big impact on the way I live and how much I am able to take on. It is further compounded by stress, which has been difficult to avoid this year. On top of being new parents (to 2 kids!) and also new to being parents to a child with some extra needs; We have lost an income as I gave up my position at work and stayed on as causal after my maternity leave ended.It was a hard decision to make but my health was suffering and I really felt that one of us needed to be home with the kids due to their individual needs right now. Luckily Paul’s work has been more steady this year then any years previously, and it is a job that he continues to enjoy.
But as God stretches he also provides. Paul volunteered to take the Santa Pictures for our church’s breakfast with Santa event last Christmas (By the way, awesome event….if you didn’t get tickets this year, ask me about it for next year!) and from Saturday to Sunday we went from feeling like we didn’t really know anyone to having people knowing us by name the next day! We were invited to join a homegroup shortly after and found real encouragement and love and learning and real community in this group. It has helped that it is full of couples with children close to our children’s age as well as some with teenagers and grown children – to give us a glimpse of whats ahead!
Paul is also on the setup team and I am back in the nursery loving the babies. Another mom and I also started up a play group at the new church community Hub, that I am looking forward to see how God continues to use that to bless us and the community.
 Prayers for a peace filled holiday and 2016 for your family and ours. We couldn’t have made it without our family and friends support!
  – Katie and Paul.
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