Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Day Past Half

Katie Anne is 6 months old going on 6 years. She wants to do everything we do, especially Kirsten. She is actually trying type on my computer right now. I cannot believe how quickly time is passing and how much she has changed in the past 6 months. Love you Katie!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Time is Here By Golly!

The past week has been full of Christmas time fun with family and friends. We started by taking the girls to see Santa. We waited in virtual line and they sent a text message when it was our turn. Brilliant! Everyone was happy when they saw him for once. Katie did not even cry the way Kirsten did as a baby.

Monday night we went to the Alleman's for our annual Christmas dinner with the Ethertons. It is always a highlight of this time of year.

Monday night my brother also got married to the most amazing girl in the world. John and Sarah got married in Arizona and we could not make it, but we will definitely be there next year when they are sealed.

On Tuesday we had friends over to decorate sugar cookies.














Tuesday night we had all of Jeremy's family over for dinner and then we surprised Kacey with a cake for her and Tyler's 1 year anniversary. John and Sarah made it in a little later and it was great to be able to congratulate them as well.

Wednesday night we put a fire in the fireplace, made cinnamon rolls, and listened to Christmas Carols. It was a great family evening. I loved having all four of our stockings on the mantle.



















On Christmas Eve we went to the Lenderman's house during the day. We enjoyed sandwiches while the kids serenaded us with their original compositions.














That night we went to the Alleman's again and were surprised to find Jason and Ellen had come in a few days early from Colorado. We enjoyed Enchiladas for dinner and I shared the Three Levels of Christmas with the family.

Kirsten loved dressing up as Mary again for the Christmas play and Katie was the angel.

Kirsten made sure to leave some of her special sugar cookies that she decorated for Santa, along with some milk.














She came bounding into our room on Christmas morning exclaiming "He came! He came! Did it snow?" She was devastated there was no snow, but she got over it once she saw all the presents under the tree.

We started the morning with our traditional breakfast of waffles with ice cream and strawberries.
I made the girls matching pajamas this year. Jeremy was thrilled that since we now have two kids, he was able to opt out of the matching pajama line up this year. I think they are cuter on my girls anyways.














Kirsten got a DS and several games. I cannot believe that she is old enough for something like that, but she loves it.
Katie got a purse from Santa and a tea set from her sister and some soft blocks from us.
Kirsten surprised Daddy with a model rocket. She came up with the idea on her own and can hardly wait to help him put it together and launch it with him.
Jeremy got me a snuggi and some fuzzy socks - he knows me well - and his parents got me the Stampin Up Digital studio. I have already started digitally scrapbooking and love it!

Jeremy's dad carved a wooden Santa for Kirsten that is holding a heart. She was so thrilled! She is definitely a Grandpa's Girl.
This was my Christmas present! Love you Katie!
We spent the rest of Christmas day at my dad's house. We enjoyed a wonderful turkey dinner that Patty made and they had their neighbor's, the Christensens, over as well.

Grandma and Grandpa Alleman gave the girls a giant castle tent. It takes up Kirsten's entire room, but she doesn't seem to mind.
They spent most of the morning in there playing together.
Today for church, the girls looked beautiful in their matching dresses and bows. It was difficult finding matching dresses in their sizes, but worth it.
We had such an amazing Christmas and are so thankful to have been able to spend it with so much family and so many friends. We are especially mindful of our Savior and his birth, but mostly his atoning sacrifice for us. We pray that His memory and spirit might be with all of you throughout the year to come.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Can you tell the difference

So here is the puzzle of the day. Which baby is Katie and which one is Kirsten? Can you tell the difference?

Yeah, I didn't think so! Don't feel bad, Jeremy couldn't either. The first picture is Kirsten at 7 months old, the second picture is Katie at 5 months old, in the same outfit of course. Sometimes I feel like I gave birth to the same baby twice. I wonder if they will continue to look so similar as they grow up?!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jingle Bells

I thought for a moment today that my little Katie had captured the true meaning of Christmas as she lovingly adored the Baby Jesus from the Little People Nativity.
Then she ate it.
Kirsten got to see Santa at the Primary Activity on Thursday, but she was not very interested. We will try again at the mall this next week.
Today was Kirsten's Kindergarten Christmas Party. They made a Penguin thermometer magnet.
Ava's Grandma came and read them a story, and they had treats. It was so fun to be able to go and share it with her. And yes, she is wearing short sleeves on December 17th. I love Texas!
On a more serious note, my Grandpa Lowe is not doing well. He began bleeding internally yesterday morning as a result of his Chemotherapy and they rushed him to the hospital. He kept aspirating and his lungs were full of fluid. They drained his lungs and then he went into emergency surgery to remove a 5 foot section of his intestines that had died. They did not expect him to survive the surgery. He did, but he is in critical condition and not stable. He cannot breath on his own and his kidneys have stopped functioning. My sister Anne, as well as my dad and Patty were able to get last minute flights and head out last night to be there. I am heartbroken that I cannot be there by his side. We can't afford tickets for me and the girls, and Jeremy had surgery yesterday and cannot help me drive. So we are here, sitting by the phone, expecting the worst but praying for the best. I love my Grandpa so much and cannot imagine a world without him in it. I pray that the Lord's will be done and trust in the atonement of the Savior and the sealing ordinances of the temple that will enable me to be with him again in the eternities.

Here is a picture of Kirsten with my Grandpa when she was just 11 months old. Our love and prayers are with you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Girl Scout Holiday Celebrations

This week has been a busy one, especially for my little Girl Scout. On Monday night we had a special Christmas party for all the Girl Scout Troop Leaders and their daughters. We had fun caroling around the neighborhood. It took Kirsten a while to leave my side and head up to the door, but she finally got brave and pushed her way to the front at the last few houses.
We had a group of almost 60 people, and we all stayed together. Can you imagine opening your door to this?!
We then headed back to the school where we made ornaments, had a cookie exchange, and refreshments. I really enjoyed spending the evening with just Kirsten.
Last night, we had our troop investiture ceremony. As part of the ceremony, each girl said a part of the Girl Scout Law, and put their petal on our troop flag.
Then each girl came up one at a time and pledged to live the Girl Scout Law and Promise, we pinned them, and then gave them a certificate and some Daisies. Kirsten was so excited to be a "Real Girl Scout"!
Katie is getting more beautiful and alert everyday. I cannot walk out of the room anymore because she is all over the place. She is rolling and scooting right now, but is desperately trying to get her knees under her to crawl. She is sitting up and loves to sit and play with her sister. I have to make sure that I always have toys on hand these days or she will go after whatever I have. I cannot read, watch tv or work on the computer anymore while nursing, because she gets distracted and wants to see what I am doing. She truly is the light of our life and we are so grateful for her. Don't you just love her big eyes?!
Tomorrow, Kirsten and I are going to see Tangled at the Studio Movie Grill with her Girl Scout Troop. We are both really looking forward to it. Jeremy is actually disappointed that he does not get to go. We are thrilled that there is only one more week until Christmas break, but I am a little worried that I have too much to do to get ready for Christmas in just two weeks!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Preparations

The past week has been full of getting prepared for the Christmas Holidays. I spent most of the week working on Christmas Crafts, Christmas Stockings and presents.

I made this advent calendar out of a mini-muffin pan and various punches.
I also made a JOY banner just like the BOO banner I made for Halloween.
For Family Home Evening this week we put up the Christmas Tree. It feels so good to have the house decorated. We will hopefully get to the outside tomorrow morning.
Katie is completely mobile now and can get pretty much anywhere she wants to go by rolling, turning, and scooting. Her favorite place to hang out these days is under the Christmas Tree.
Katie is also eating rice, and oatmeal, drinking water from a cup, and will start veggies tomorrow, if I get them cooked. The other night, Jeremy was giving her a bottle and she kept reaching for it, so he let her have it. I could hardly believe it!
My girls are just getting so big. Every morning Kirsten asks if it is Christmas yet. I hope the advent calendar I mad will help her keep track. How are your Christmas preparations coming?

Chicago

The Friday before Thanksgiving, Kirsten, Katie and I flew to Chicago to visit my sister Anne and her family. I was a little apprehensive being on the plane alone with both girls, but they did amazingly well. In fact, when I stood up to get off the plane, the lady behind me said "I didn't know there was a baby on the plane!" That had to be the best compliment a mom could ever have!

On Saturday, we headed downtown to the Magnificent Mile. We saw the ice skaters, the parade, Millenium Park and enjoyed being together. Downtown Chicago was amazing!
While there, we had to stop for some authentic Chicago Pizza at Giodanos. It was unbelievable. I had to get a picture - I may never be able to eat regular pizza again!
Katie was a trooper downtown, it was freezing. She finally crashed after dinner. She spent a lot of time sleeping in her stroller that week.
Kirsten was particularly fascinated with "The Bean". It is this huge , bean shaped mirror that reflects the skyline of Chicago all the way around.
Monday, we went to the zoo. Can you believe that it was 65 degrees in Chicago in November?!
Here is Kirsten loving on her cousin Emily at the zoo.
Her favorite animals were the penguins and of course the giraffes. My sister bought her a plastic giraffe that she named Sparkles, and she sleeps with it every night.

Coincidentally, Emily and Katie had matching outfits, so we could not resist dressing them up the same. They are 9 months to the day apart and I know they will grow up being the best of friends.
On Tuesday we went to the Field Museum of Natural History. We got to see Sue, the largest T-Rex ever found. They also had a Robo-Sue exhibit with Animatronic Dinosaurs. Kirsten loved it, Katie not so much. We spent most of our time at the museum looking at Dinosaurs and Kirsten telling me all about them. When were looking at Sue, she said:
"Mommy, I know why they call them Dinosaurs, because when they bite you, you get really sore." She is so funny! Where does she come up with this stuff?!
We loved seeing all of the animals from around the world. There were so many that I have never even heard of, much less seen.
It was a long day, and by the end of it, Katie and Emily were both asleep in their strollers, again. They were so patient with us all week!
Katie did equally well on the way home, even with a delay and plane change. Kirsten is such a pro when it comes to flying and was such a great helper and so patient with the delays.

We spent Wednesday through Friday in Oklahoma at my grandparent's farm. It was such a wonderful Thanksgiving, I always love being there. Jeremy drove up to Oklahoma to meet us, and boy were all 3 of his girls glad to see him. Of course, Katie screamed the entire way home in the car. She HATES being in the car and pretty much screams non-stop any time she is in it.

We had such a great vacation, but are so glad to be home. Now it is time to get ready for Christmas!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

5 Months

Katie is 5 months old today! Even better than that, I am getting her picture up on time this month!
This month has been an exciting one for our little girl. She is almost 17 pounds, which means that she is in 9 month clothes, and we have had to adjust all of our cloth diapers to the medium setting. She loves rolling and uses it as a means to get all over the house. She is sitting up and unfortunately loves to watch TV. This past week she discovered her toes which has made diaper changes interesting. She loves books, especially hymn books at church, and sings along any time I play Beethoven on the piano. She has started making "mmm" sounds and growling at us. It melted my heart the other day when she reached for me for the first time. I love my little girl and feel so blessed to have two wonderful daughters.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Normal?

I would like to say that things are starting to get back to normal around here, but I am not quite sure what normal is. We do seem to have been getting into a more comfortable rhythm though. I set a goal for myself to cook dinner every night for a week. That may sound silly to many of you, but with the way things have been going lately, it will be a first in about 8 months. I made this wonderful Steak Teriyaki the other night and not only was it crazy delicious, but it looked good too!
Yesterday I made three pans of enchiladas and put 2 in the freezer, 4 loaves of bread, and a peach cobbler. Tonight I made 2 meatloaves, 1 for the freezer, baked sweetpotatoes, and green beans. Thank goodness I have a husband that doesn't mind doing dishes! It actually feels good to be cooking again.

I hosted a Stampin' Up party on Saturday and got some great ideas for Christmas gifts. I love crafting! Katie took a 3 hour nap on Friday so I was able to spend the time working on Christmas cards and gifts.

We also went to see Megan - Jeremy's sister - in her High School's performance of Guys and Dolls on Saturday. She did such a great job and is a very talented young lady! I was impressed at how well behaved both my girls were even though it was so late.

It has been almost 3 weeks, but Katie turned 4 months old. I did remember to get her bear shot on her birthday.
She checked in at a whopping 15 lbs 5 oz at her appointment. She is the size Kirsten was at 8 months. It is time for her to slow down! She has started eating oatmeal cereal and loves it. We let Kirsten feed her the first bowl. She loves being able to participate in feeding her sister.


Katie is growing like a weed and learning new things everyday. She loves to roll around the floor and will often roll into the wall or couch and get mad that she can't keep going. She even managed to make it into the bathroom on Friday while I was in the shower.

Kirsten is loving Kindergarten. She is reading so well and just amazes me everyday with the new books she brings home. I love being able to go to her school and meet her for lunch, and try to do it at least once a week. She is such a great big sister and love spending time with Katie. She keeps asking when they can have bunkbeds and share a room.

Last weekend we also had a surprise Bridal Shower for my Step-mom, Patty. She and my dad got married while I was on my mission in Honduras and apparently she never had a bridal shower. So this year for their anniversary we finally threw her a bridal shower. She was so surprised and we had a ton of fun. Of course, what wouldn't be fun about good friends and chocolate fondue?!
We are also full swing into Girl Scouts. I am so glad that I decided to be the troop leader this year. It is a ton of work, but even more fun. I love having this special experience to share with Kirsten. Last week, we earned the Red Petal for Courageous and Strong. We watched a movie about Florence Nightingale and wrote letters to the Troops in Afghanistan. I think that the girls enjoyed the popcorn the most, but we are trying!
We had our family pictures taken last week and I love how they turned out. I cannot wait to get them printed and up on the walls. I love my family! I am also excited to be heading to Chicago to see my sister. I wish Jeremy could go, and we will miss him, but the girls and I are looking forward to our adventure.

I love that life seems to be finally balancing out after about a year and a half of chaos. I cannot wait to see what this Holiday season brings.