December 31, 2011

Thank You, 2011.....'ve been a wonderful, awesome, life-changing year!

I usually do a year-in-review post with links, but one thing I'm working on is letting go of the pressure I put on myself. Our Christmas letter kind of summed everything up and if anyone is interested in browsing through my blog posts this sure, the blog archive is in the right-hand column. :)

2011 was a year that will always be very important, because it's when Liam joined our family. From January - October (when he came home), it was a roller coaster of emotions, preparations, and seeking God. Also in those months, we were able to cherish Evy Kate by herself and I wouldn't trade those months for ANYTHING.

This was a good year for relationships. I feel like I settled into friendships and really connected with people this year. I struggled at the beginning of 2011 to figure out where I fit in and wondering if I would ever be able to crate lifelong friendships that both parties are committed to. However, I saw a lot of things evolve in that area and I am so, so thankful for the friends God has given me here. It's amazing how I can honestly say I have a rather large friend/Mommy/support group. This year Kurt and I got to take our trip to Branson in September and we still talk about how wonderful that was. We enjoyed every single second!

Within my family, my brother left for college. I've continued to be thankful every single day that we're able to live in the same town as my parents. I've said it before and I'll say it again - it was NEVER something I or my family expected, and that's why we're still so amazed at the blessing of it. We also welcomed our nephew, CJ into the family and he is just a chubby chunk of cuteness. :)

At church, we grew in our leadership roles. Like I mentioned in the Christmas letter, Kurt was elected a deacon! He will be ordained next Sunday. Kurt and I also started an adult Lifegroup class with another couple, with Kurt being the lead teacher. We continued in worship ministry, and singing with Travis Cottrell was a highlight of my life.

Overall, this has been a year of growth - upward towards the Lord, sideways as we've expanded in so many ways (family-size, vision for the future, etc.) as well as downward, as we put down roots. I think that's a pretty great year if we've grown in every area.

I'm so thankful for blogging! I've been able to document our lives and I can look back on everything that's happened. I appreciate all of you and your incredible love and support over this last year, especially through our adoption of Liam. I can't thank you all enough.

I'm so excited about 2012! Here are some things we have going on:

-I will be visiting some precious friends in Mississippi!
-Evy Kate will turn 3 in February. I'm in party-planning mode and we're so excited!
-I'm also hoping to possibly make a trip to Northwest Arkansas to visit my grandparents in February.
-I will attend the Created for Care adoption retreat in March (I switched from the January date).
-In April, Kurt and I are taking a trip to Boston/possibly New York City to celebrate FIVE years of marriage!
-This coming summer I will be making reservations for our Disney trip in January 2013. I'm so thrilled because my family is going with us and we haven't done that in years!
-We're always leaving this open to the Lord, but there's a good chance we will expand our family again through pregnancy in the coming year. We will see what God has in store!

We're so excited to see what God does in 2012!

December 30, 2011

Let's Go Caroling!

A group of my friends and I were talking about Christmas festivities and we decided to get a group together to go caroling! I was trying to think back, and I'm not sure that I've ever even been caroling before....surely somewhere way back when...?!?! After the wonderful experience that we had this year, this is definitely going to become a tradition! The group grew and grew until we had a REALLY large amount of people, which was so fun! We went to several shut-ins and they appreciated it so, so much. We even made a stop to see Kurt, who was on call at the hospital. :) It was a wonderful night. There was one point where we were singing Silent Night, and I just looked around at everyone and felt so thankful. I felt really connected to our life here and it was a rare moment this season that I felt completely immersed in Christmas.

Our last stop was to see Mrs. Agatha, who isn't a shut-in, but it was her birthday! She is the grandmother of really good friends of ours. Her husband, Mr. Charlie, passed away several years ago and was one of my dad's very closest friends. We miss him so much and it was a joy to sing to Mrs. Agatha on her special day!

Happy Birthday Pinka!

On December 20, my little sister Andrea turned 17. We call her Pinka because from the time she was a baby, we called her Punky. Then once Evy Kate came along, she pronounced it "Pinka" and it has stuck ever since! :)

In honor of Pinka's birthday, I gave Liam a messy, rock-star hairdo. Pinka always wants me to fix it that way! :)

Sidnote - Lis didn't know she was in the picture, and that's why she's just staring down. She's not mad - haha!!

A couple of days later, we went to St. Louis to celebrate again! Kurt had to work part of the day, so a sweet friend of mine from church kept the Littles for me so I could go. It was so nice to be with my family!

December 29, 2011

More Christmas in Mississippi

Our last leg of Mississippi celebrations included lunch at Kurt's grandmother's house. We spent more time with family and opened gifts from Momma Dot and Grandaddy. 

Kurt's dad holding Liam!

Momma Dot with her gift from us.

Sweet Maddie!

Opening presents!

Caroline looked adorable!

Maddie and Liam are very close in age, so it was cute to watch them together.

Smiley boy!

Evy and Liam just plopped down and started smiling - of course I had to grab my camera!

Mia and two of the boys!

The whole gang. We were only missing Josh!

Disney on Ice!

While we were visiting Kurt's family, we took Evy to see Disney on Ice! Kurt's mom had told me a few days before that the show was coming to Tupelo (which is near where they live), and Kurt and I knew we HAD to take her! She absolutely loved it (we did too!) and it was such a fun "date" with our sweet girl.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever of Evy Katie!

Daddy giving Evy the rose that came with her souvenir program.

Her first glimpse of Mickey and Minnie!

Of course the Princesses were a huge hit!

This was such a wonderful surpruse - they did a section devoted to "It's a Small World!" I loved it so much!

After the show, Mrs. Pam and Mr. Randy brought Liam to Tupelo and kept the kids along with their cousin C.J. We went out to dinner with Kurt's brother Cory, his wife Ashley, and our friends Jim and Jennifer. It was so much fun!

Me with my two Littles and my nephew C.J.!

Such a fun night!

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