Oh, what a year!

What a year 2011 has been. We left job lay offs, housing woes, etc etc in 2010 and enjoyed a much more joy filled 2011. Peaks and valleys still existed but the peaks were more prominent for sure. A trip down memory lane....

Declan, our reckless child, finally earns his first stitches.
Lots of snow, lots of bowling.
Mark and I travel to Omaha to do classes for homestudy #2, Declan gives up paci (not by choice), house goes on the market.
Celebrated Easter with both sides of our family. I got my nose pierced to commemorate 50 lbs of weight lost.
Happily welcomed warmer temps, the start of many zoo trips and we celebrated our 8th Anniversary!
Started going to the pool 3+ times a week, transitioned Declan to his big boy bed, took in local outdoor concerts, and went to several baseball games. We also had a fun family Adoption Day party! Lastly, our homestudy is finally approved and we become an active waiting family at our agency.
VEGAS!!!! We really enjoyed time away in Vegas. This pic was right after we saw Garth Brooks live. It was definitely a top memory of 2011.
 Declan turned 3 and we celebrated with a Mickey party. We also pulled our house off the market, rented it out and moved next door. Our new home has more space and a huge yard and we took full advantage by playing outside until sundown every chance we got.
Such a busy month, hard to pick one picture! Declan started soccer, I turned 30, annual Mahoney trip, a new nephew born, loads of birthdays. Such fun!!
I completed my first 5k...a huge accomplishment. We also enjoyed a trip to the pumpkin patch and taking our little fireman around trick or treating.
We celebrated Mark's birthday and Thanksgiving with family.
Celebrated Christmas through the eyes of an enthusiastic 3 year old. Enjoyed lots of extra family time. Spent lots of time outside because it was around 50 all month (a huge rarity in Nebraska).
 Here's to a fabulous year! We thank God for blessing our family and our prayer for 2012 is to become a family of FOUR. 

Happy New Year!!


Christmas 2011

We had such a fabulously blessed Christmas this year with both sides of our family. Declan's at an age that everything is so new and fun. It was a joy to see things through his eyes.
Monster cookies with Nana & Papa:
 Christmas Eve dinner with my side of the family:
 Traditional gumbo feast:
We went to our church's Christmas Eve service and it was wonderful! Unfortunately, we didn't get a good pic. I started a tradition of dressing him in a Chaps vest and dress shirt and this year was no different. I'm glad I snapped a pic of him in his outfit when we were doing our family Christmas cards:
 Sweet cousins:
 There was lots of gaming this year. Cousins got a Nintendo.DS and Declan loved watching them play:
 We left my parents and went to look at lights:
Christmas Morning we busted out our new jammies (our tradition) and celebrated as our family of 3:
 We got Decs a Mickey Thingamajig (which sings obnoxiously) that he thought was
pretty darn funny:
 But, without a doubt, his Mariocart Kinex was (and continues to be)
a huge hit:
 Christmas Evening we hosted a chili dinner and game night with both sets of 
parents and some of the cousins:
Super Mario 3! (See the theme?...Decs is obsessed):
Tuesday night we headed over to Mark's parents to celebrate Christmas
with the other side of the fam.
Sweet cousins:
 We started an annual bear pic years ago and last year Declan screamed and ruined it. This year, the other two cousins wanted nothing to do with it and Decs was waiting patiently. Ha!
 A little distraction while the adults opened gifts:
 Annual family pic:
 This is a more typical pic of us:
 Crashing after a long night:

DPP :day 25:

This concludes the December Photo Project! It's been fun to participate for the 3rd year. This pic is a perfect finale....we've had unusually mild temps (it's 60 today!!) and we've soaked up every warm moment before we're slammed with winter.

DPP :day 24:

DPP :day 23:


DPP :day 22:

Thursday was such a blast. My friend Linda (2nd from right) organized our neighborhood's 1st Annual Holiday 5k. I reeeeally wanted to run it but was scared about slipping on the ice or snow. Let's just say my first ever winter run left me full of anxiety. So, some girlfriends and I layered up and volunteered on the course. It was a blast! The outfits were hilarious and the after party such a good time. Mark my words- I'm running it next year. ;)

Side note- at the end of the night, a sweet gal who self proclaimed herself as my stalker, came up to chat because she recognized me from my blog! First time I've ever been recognized from my blog. The crazy thing to me is that she found it through www.thebump.com which is a HUGE mommy chat board (not local). Come to find out, our sons are super close in age and we live in the same neighborhood. Such a small world. Nice talking with you, Gina!!


DPP :day 21:

That hair! What a stud.

DPP :day 20:

Decs:  "Mario Bros Tower"



All day today, Declan talked about Cwist-tull (Crystle, his birth mom). He couldn't figure out why she wasn't coming over that minute. I explained she had to work (why?) and that he needs to nap first (why?) and that mommy needs to cook dinner (why?) and that we'll have to wait but she'll be here soon (why?) Don't you love the inquiring mind of a 3 year old?

We had a great evening of pure Declan entertainment with one liners to die for, dipping and decorating pretzels and gift exchanging. We're so blessed that we get to spend time with Dec's birth mom. It's heart warming to see their relationship bloom.