Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Christmas Card Letter

Happy holidays, everyone!

It's that time of year again - writing Christmas cards, preparing for the upcoming holiday celebrations, and reflecting on the past year.  To be honest, 2013 has had a lot of ups and downs for our family.  It's been one of those years that I won't be sad to say goodbye to come New Year's Eve.  Don't get me wrong, we've had our fair share of joyous moments this year, too.  We'll try to focus on those.

For instance, who can resist these two ladies celebrating their first Eddie-Niedermeyer New Year's celebration?!  I remember thinking at the time, "they're just growing up so fast!"

Days after the New Year, I had to say goodbye to the first car I'd ever bought, my Mazda CX-9.  I still couldn't tell you exactly what went wrong with it, but faced with the decision of fixing it for $5000 and still having the possibility of the transmission going out at anytime or trading it in, I made the tough call of trading it in.  As you probably remember from my post, this is how I became the proud owner of my first minivan.  Hello, motherhood!

February was a definite up/down/up/down kind of month, starting with the "up" of my brother's engagement just before Valentine's Day.  And we were so excited to celebrate our Annalyn's first birthday, complete with cake smash photos and all, but our plans got a bit derailed with the passing of my Grandpa Banghart just days before her birthday.  We loaded up and made the cold, long trip to Nebraska and though not under the best of circumstances, we were blessed with some unexpected family time including an impromptu birthday celebration with my cousins and their kiddos.  See what I mean?  Up, down, up, down.

luckily I took these a bit before her bday
since we spent that actual day driving back from NE

birthday celebration in Nebraska

also, the first time she wore pigtails!

celebrating with all the girls

Later that month, I got to take Travis and Mallory's engagement pictures (in the snow!).  It was freezing, but we ended up with some super cute pics!

March went a little smoother and we got to take a little mini-vacation to Nashville, TN for some much-needed warmer weather and time outside.  We had a great time exploring downtown, buying cute boots, going to the zoo and country music hall of fame, and walking through some beautiful botanical gardens.  All in all, it was the relaxing, fun trip we all needed!

April was a month of mostly downs this years.  Michael's Grandpa Eddie was diagnosed with cancer and all too soon passed away.  It was the third Grandpa we'd lost within the year and again we felt cheated and hurt.  Getting to see our nephews, niece, and cousins' kids reminded us how much children help us to heal.  Something about seeing the next generation grow is so comforting in times of loss.

May brought some more ups in the form of sunshine and beautiful weather, and later Josh & Ravelle's wedding.  The ceremony was beautiful and we got to enjoy a weekend in Chicago with the family over Memorial Day.  Not to mention, we got another sister and a niece!  Definite ups!

the Eddie ladies

Looking back, June and July were just a blur.  Summer brought us more time as a family which is always a blessing, and thanks to family (aka free babysitters) we even squeezed in a couple date nights.  We had a pretty big garden again this year, and ended up with lots and lots of tomatoes and raspberries especially.  Thanks to our zoo membership, we frequented the Indy Zoo, even if just a for a couple hours to get a soft pretzel and some Dip 'n Dots, and maybe squeeze in a few animal exhibits.

August meant back to school for Michael and crunch time for me in preparation for two important upcoming weddings - our friends Jeff & Kinzie at the beginning of September (the one with all the pies) and my brother's at the end of September (the one with the Mario groom's cake).  Somewhere between all the adjusting and planning, we snuck over to Butler for a walk and a photo shoot for Annalyn's half birthday.


maybe my favorite picture of Annalyn. EVER.
I think even Blue II (who we also lost this year and miss greatly)
would be proud of that bulldog face!

September was a definite upswing of 2013, starting with Jeff & Kinzie's beautiful wedding.  I made 15 pies and one cute little wedding cake for this elegant, laid-back wedding.  As an added bonus, my BFF, Shawna, was the photographer and even offered to take Annalyn home towards the end of the dance so we could enjoy the rest of the evening with all our college friends. 

the happy couple

Two weeks later, my little Travi said "I do" to the girl of his dreams, and I got another sister!  All three of us got to be a part of the wedding party - for the first and maybe only time ever, so it was really special to us.  It was a beautiful ceremony, and even our little flower girl danced the night away.

Mom & Dad danced to a special song
in honor of their 30th wedding anniversary

Two days after Trav & Mal's big day, we had a big day of our own - finding out I was pregnant!  We were excited, relieved, scared, and nervous all at once, but 3 ultrasounds and a few months later, we are preparing to welcome baby #2 on or around June 6th, 2014.  Annalyn already says "tummy baby" and kisses my belly, and "big sister" which just melts my heart.  She's even given baby a nickname - "Aboo" or just "Boo" and refuses to call him/her anything else.  She loves playing with baby dolls right now, so I'm hoping that will make her transition to big sis a little easier.  My blog has definitely taken a back seat the past months since I was unable to look at/speak of/think of/smell/taste/hold down much of anything related to food.  Ahh the joys of pregnancy!  But no complaining here, I couldn't be happier or more excited to see our little family grow.

October is always one of my favorite months and after our crazy September, we were glad to have a fairly chill month.  We started to tell some of our family and friends our big news and became more and more relieved as each ultrasound showed our little bean growing and doing great.  Ahh, sigh of relief.  Over Michael's fall break, we were able to make a trip up to Fort Wayne to stay with Emily and Aaron and go to the FW Children's Zoo for a Halloween celebration.  Annalyn loved dressing up, playing on the giant pumpkins, and meeting Bruhilda the good witch.  For Halloween, we dressed up like Lady & the Tramp and their bowl of spaghetti, and since trick or treating was postponed due to weather, Annalyn got to wear one of Michael's old costumes from when he was little the next day.
Lady & the Tramp and their bowl of spaghetti
Grandma Cindy came over for Halloween!
(she's been making lots of extra trips to help me out when I'm sick
or watch Annalyn when I have some of my longer appointments.  We've really had
to rely on friends and family more with this one so far - super grateful to all of you!)
November came and went in the blink of an eye!  We once again celebrated two Thanksgivings - an early one with our Indy family (it's been a tradition since we were all still at Butler), and a second one with my family in Illinois.  That same week, we announced to everyone that we were expecting baby #2 in June 2014.  A whole lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!
Which brings us to December and the countdown to Christmas!  This year we started a new little family tradition and wrapped 25 Christmas books for Annalyn to open each night as we countdown.  We chose a mix of religious and holiday themed books with the hope that she will start to soak up the spirit of the holiday season.  Hearing her say "baby Jesus!" sure is adorable.  We just love starting our own little traditions and merging our families' old ones as our family grows.  I hope that all of you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year filled with love, joy, and wonder.  We sure have another big year ahead of us!  Look forward to updating you next year :)

ok, I'll admit it...
I haven't been good alllll year
but I'm mostly sweet, honest! 
do I hear jingle bells?!
Merry, Merry Christmas!!
Ashley, Michael, Annalyn & "Aboo"

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