It's that holly jolly time of year again. If you haven't noticed from the posts, we've had a pretty eventful 12 months, starting with a New Year's celebration with our BFFs.
I have to say, that was probably the high point of our January. After that it was just a lot (I mean A LOT) of snow, and a lot of jealous moments when Michael got snow days at home with Annalyn while I had to make the snowy, icy, freeeeezing, white-knuckled treck into work. That's right, even in snow emergencies.
February, though still snow-covered, brought some fun with Annalyn's second birthday. This was really the point when I realized, wow, she is not a baby. Like, at all. This picture really made me stop and see how "growed up" she was getting, as she puts it.
For her birthday, I pretty much let her decide what she wanted to do. When asked "Peanut, what should we do for your birthday?", she replied, "Go to Target and see the red balls." So we did. Then I asked her, "What do you want for lunch, mac 'n cheese maybe?", and she said, "I want to go eat pancakes." So we did. When Daddy got home, I let her decorate her cake with decorations she picked out at the grocery store (flags, stars, and sprinkles) and we celebrated her last birthday as an only child.
Before we knew it, May was here and we were preparing to welcome another little lady into our family. We couldn't have been more excited and proud when Miss Emelina Mae made her appearance exactly 2 weeks early late one Friday night. The look on Annalyn's face when she met her baby sister, "tummy baby!", was priceless.
A week or so later, Michael was done with school, and for the first (and likely last) time all four of us were off together for the entire summer. Trying to make the most of it, even with a newborn, we headed to Nebraska to introduce Emma to my extended family, meet four new babies, and celebrate my Great-Grandma's 95th birthday. Some time in the country made us once again think, "why don't we live here?!" but my mom was quick to respond with "don't you dare take my grandbabies that far away!"
A month or so later, we had Emelina baptized in our church, wearing the same gown that her Grandma Cindy, Great-Aunt Kathy, Annalyn, and I all wore. She was blessed to have both sets of grandparents, her great-grandma Banghart, great aunt Kathy, godmother/aunt Lindsey, Aunt Mal, Uncle Josh & Aunt Ravelle, and cousin Chloe along with her proud Mama, Daddy, and big sister at her baptism ceremony and the celebration at our house afterwards.
Before I knew it, my teeny tiny baby was 3 months old, and I was back to work. Leaving the girls seemed even harder this time, and Michael ends up bringing them in to my store at least once a week (usually on my 13 hour days) to visit. Though most of our planned fall activities got ruined by rain and cold weather, we were able to squeeze in some fun, including Zoo Boo, a trip to the apple orchard, and a couple walks around Butler's beautiful campus.
The holiday season has started off great, getting to host Thanksgiving and helping throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law and cousin. I had a lot of fun getting to play "fairy godmother" and make a pumpkin into a baby carriage. We are so excited for our little nephew, Samson, to make his arrival this winter!
Annalyn is at such a fun age for the holidays this year. Everything still seems new and exciting, but she's getting old enough to understand some of the magic of the season. Emma loves the lights, music, and sounds of the season, too. Michael and I are rediscovering the holidays from a whole new angle - as parents charged with teaching our kids about the joy of Christmas. The traditions, the magic, the baking, and most importantly, the gift of Jesus's birth.
Wishing you and your family a very, very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!