Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family!  We hope this past year has been an exciting one for you.  Here is what our little family has been up to.

Jillian is now 5 years old!  She started her final year of preschool this fall (she's been in preschool for a year and a half now) and has made some amazing progress.  Her speech and vocabulary are spectacular and it's a delight to hear all about her imagination.   She got her first haircut in January and another one in July.  She loves having "fancy hair" and is usually patient enough with me.  In July, she got to spend a few days at Lake Chelan with Granny, Grampa, Auntie Katie and Uncle Andy.  Right around her birthday in November, she started reading!  She loves to do art projects, especially with Granny, and is adept with several different mediums.  She has grown about 4 inches in the last year, but hasn't put on any weight, so she's quite the slender girl nowadays.  It's surprising to a lot of people, because she was such a chubby baby.  She really has become a beautiful girl, inside and out.

Jason turned 2 in June and is soooo very two years old.  He is crazy verbal, talking and teasing us all the time.  He really loves to be silly and tease.  He is strong, both physically and mentally.  This kid has a will of his own and makes sure everyone knows it!  He is very active, running, climbing, yelling, driving his cars all over, wrestling, and more.  He has been an adorable big brother with Kayla.  He gets very concerned about her if she's upset, wants to be with her when she wakes up and all together just loves her to pieces.  He is very much a Mama's Boy, and prefers to be with me over anyone else, but he's warmed up to others quite a bit over last year.  He even got to have a sleepover at Granny & Grampa's a couple weeks before Ducky was born; lucky dude.  We gave potty training a try in August and he wasn't completely ready for it, but he still uses the toilet a couple times a day.  We'll try again in a couple months.  He can be a handful, but he really is a tenderhearted little boy with charm to spare.

Our newest addition, Kayla, arrived in June, blazing her own trail.  She is an incredibly sweet and almost unbelievably happy baby.  If you haven't heard about her birth, you should totally read this.  You can't stop this girl!!  She has her own timetable and it doesn't matter what you want, she's doing it her way.  She has done great with nursing and actually is the first of our kids to make it to 4 months without needing to use formula.  Since we're separated so much less, she's been able to be 100% breastfed (or at least, had breast milk; she's had some in bottles when I was at work or away for the evening).  She got her first tooth at 4 1/2 months, after starting to teethe at 3 months.  At 5 1/2 months, she started army crawling!  She can get up onto her hands and knees and rock, but hasn't quite gotten it all coordinated for hands and knees crawling yet.  But she sure gets around and into everything.  She continues to defy expectation by being the first baby we've ever seen master Downward Facing Dog (yoga pose).  I don't imagine she'll be a late walker like her older siblings. ;-)  She's now 6 months old and got her first taste of food Christmas night.  The mashed bananas weren't thrilling to her, but it was fun for her to get a chance to try them.  I love waking up each morning to her smiles; her happiest time is right after she wakes up.  She is so smiley and happy; she's a joy and a light in our lives.

Steve spent the first half of the year at home with us, while going to school for his MBA, and then in July, he got a job!  He was hired by a dental supply company to do accounts receivable.  He's been there for a few months and it's going great.  Almost everything about his job is great, the hours, the location, the management and other employees.  If it just paid more, we'd be content to stay there forever.  But for right now, it's fabulous.  As of this month, he has completed 5 of 8 quarters for his MBA program.  Everything is on track from him to graduate at the end of the summer!  We're quite excited for that to happen and for us to move on to whatever is our next chapter in life.

Aimee has been busy, wearing many different hats over the year.  For the first few months, I worked 20-40 hours a week, while gestating Ducky.  This pregnancy was the hardest, physically, because there was a lot of pain in my right hip, which affected pretty much everything.  But luckily, it resolved once the baby was born.  If you ask what the highlight of the year was, I will say, without hesitation, that it was catching my own baby.  It was the single coolest experience of my life.  Now that Steve is working full time, I am finally getting to be a full time stay-at-home mom.  For a couple months, I worked on Saturdays, but was furloughed for the winter, so I'm not working at all currently.  It's been actually really really nice to get to spend the time with the kids.  It's been both an adjustment to three kids and an adjustment to being home full time.  For our whole marriage, excepting maternity leaves, I've worked at least part time (evenings and Saturdays).  But now that I'm home full time, I've become a much better housekeeper. ;-)  I am still cake decorating when I get time, and have branched out into sewing and other crafts as well.

February saw our family head to Texas for Steve's sister's wedding.  We got to spend 6 days with our Texas family, which was wonderful.  Some of them had not met Jason yet, and we had been missing them all.  Erin & Charles were a gorgeous couple, and instead of having bridesmaids & groomsmen, they had all their nieces and nephews be their 'attendants'.  The five little girls got to wear beautiful formal red dresses and the five little boys wore tuxedos.  It was even cuter than it sounds.

This year has been one of big changes for our family.  We've grown to a family of 5, Steve got a new job and I am staying at home now, and all the kids are learning and growing each day.  It's amazing how one more kid really changes the family dynamic.  We are very blessed to have such a wonderful family and life, with so many lovely friends & family.  We love you all and wish you a most Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.