January so far...

We celebrated Evie's 5th birthday party in Omaha at CoCo Keys (indoor game/water park). The boys loved it and so we'll need to go up again soon...maybe for L's 4th birthday in March.
That night Declan got some quality cousin and Nana/Papa time with an overnighter. This was the pic I got from my mom of Declan loving his hot cocoa. 
Sunday night movie night. Crosby and Declan chose to be fireside:
Sometimes my 2 year old looks 4. Amazing how quick kids grown. Sniff, sniff.
On the way home from skating, Declan was telling cute stories only a 6 year old could make up. Love him all deep in thought:
Ryan came over for our Monday Bachelor nights and the dogs immediately claimed his lap. Unfortunately, this season is a bore so I think I'm done.
I'm so happy my grandparents moved back from New York. Gie (what we call my grandma) and "B" are buddies. 
My aunt and cousin visited and we got to spend some quality time together. They joined in with the trainable fun.
Declan is so excited to test for his BLACK belt soon. Can't believe he's stuck with this so long. Hope he keeps it up! We see a ton of potential for him to do amazing in martial arts.
I don't want to nix anything but it's been unseasonably warm all month. It was over 50 several times this week and the boys drug all the toys over to the last patch of snow of course. 

January Christmas

Now that Mark's family is spreading out (Ohio and Colorado) we had to do a non-traditional time for Christmas so January worked for everyone. It was a fun and crazy day with 9 kids 7 and under. 

The day before we had our Colorado fam over for dinner and "L" was smitten with Violet:
These two boys are bestie. Cousins rock:
Uncle Jase and little Landry:
Sister-in-law's are the best...

Big Day

When Declan was 10 months old he started a new daycare. He quickly became glued to this sweet girl named Bekah. That daycare ended up being a bad fit but I stole Bekah and she became our nanny and an honorary member of our family the past 5 years. She's been through so much with us and even nannied the twins we fostered and I feel like we couldn't have done it without her. We were SO EXCITED she met her perfect match (who happened to be our pediatrician's son). Eric and Declan are peas in a pod and Decs was thrilled to be a part of their wedding.

That same rink

Just over a year ago, on a Monday in December, we sat home with Declan in preschool and the twins on a long visit with mom and discussed what was next. Fostering the twins was not on our radar but in many ways, we are so glad we did. One of those huge reasons was that we met the caseworker that would ultimately match us with the boys. 
We had the boys on respite the two days before. It wasn't good. It was chaotic, exhausting, confusing. We thought fos/adopting 1 and 2 year old boys would be a no brainer but we paused. Big time. We made a pros and cons list. ((I know! I know! It's ridiculous)) but, with hesitation in our hearts, told the case worker we were all in. That night, we had a mini celebration down at the Railyard here in Lincoln. It's an enchanting outdoor skate rink that I still can't believe is in our city. We had an absolute blast. 
First time skating for this little dude. Celebrating the "yes" given to maybe have two little new dudes join our family:
We went back to that rink this year with those two boys we had said yes to the year before. I had a little moment when I saw Mark walking hand in hand with my older sons so I set down the 2 year old that was on my hip and took this picture because I wanted to freeze and revisit it. 
My parents joined us and my mom took this picture which may be my new favorite picture of all time. It perfectly captures our crazy life. ;)


Christmas Joy

Last year on Christmas I knew the boys would be joining our family soon. What they would do to our dynamic, I had no idea. This year has stretched us. It's grown us closer and our hearts have expanded beyond what we knew possible. This is my perfect Christmas, right here in this one picture:


I love dressing up and getting a yearly picture with Santa. We have a favorite Santa (or should I say we stay away from the creepy Santa at the mall close to our house). We arrived all cute and ready about 5:30pm to beat the evening rush and found out Santa had just gone to dinner. Whaaat?! I think Mr. Santa needs to take an earlier dinner because...hello...right before Christmas....5:30 at night.  It took about 5 minutes for the boys to quit listening and earn a group time out. This picture was not funny at the time but is super funny to me a couple weeks later:

We assumed neither little boy had visited Santa before and it was pretty evident. Afterwards I tried for a good picture together and this is about how it goes most the time:
We did the merry-go-round as well. It accidentally became a tradition years ago and Declan couldn't wait for "the brothers" to try it.