December 31, 2011

2011 ... In Review

I'm finding it hard to believe that these are the last hours of 2011. How in the world has it gone so quickly?  I always hear that as you get older, time seems to speed up, and this is the first year where I really feel like that is absolutely true!

I feel like I need to take a few minutes to think through and reminisce on this last year, my first whole year as a mom. And what an incredible year it has been! The boys have changed so much since January 1st this year!  Look at the boys at the beginning of each month of the year...

January--4 months
The beginnings of their personalities!
February--5 months
Mommy's little cuties!
March--6 months
All tuckered out after a car ride!
April--7 months
Starting to move around a bit!
May--8 months
Daddy's Superboys!
June--9 months
July--10 months
Could they be any cuter?!
August--11 month
Pulling up on furniture!
September-- 12 months
Kings of the birthday!
October--13 months
Close buddies!
November--14 months
Slide Fun!
December--15 months
Out for a walk!
I have loved every minute of being their mommy and getting to spend each moment with them. It is just the most amazing thing watching them develop from the little round-faced non-mobile babies to the active little toddlers who are into everything that they are today!! I'm so proud of my husband and the hard work that he does every single day to provide for us, and that allows me to have been home this whole year getting to fully enjoy our miracles!

I'm so excited about 2012 and all that is to come for our family!  Every stage of my guys has been a joy, and I have a feeling that these next stages will be no different! My gut tells me that the next stages will be harder than anything we've experienced up until now, since walking, climbing, talking, running, and finally letting them have more freedom around the house is just around the corner!  But I'm excited!  I'm also praying that God will give us strength and wisdom in raising these precious boys... Their strong little wills are starting to become apparent, and we want to guide them into becoming respectful, happy, obedient boys, but with the ability to make their own (good) choices and learn from their mistakes.  I have a few parenting books that it is time to pull out and read, and Justin and I are already booked for a Love and Logic parenting class in 2 weeks!  It's scary coming into this stage of parenting, but I know that God will guide us and help us through each and every moment!

Happy 2012 to you, and I'm praying that God would bless our family and friends in some BIG ways this year! 

I'm so thankful that many of my friends who have been on the fertility journey are in the midst of healthy pregnancies, and I'm believing and standing for those who are still waiting for God to answer their prayers (you know who you are!!)!  I saw a quote on P.interest today that said the following:

"It's hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it's even harder to give up when you know it's everything you want."

This is how I felt for almost 7 years up until March of 2010, and it was the hardest time, but yet still an amazing time of my life.  I pray for it to be a time of growth, of drawing closer to Him, and a time of preparation for your turn as a Mommy too.  I know that God hasn't put this deepest desire on your heart only to crush you with a 'no'. It will happen, and when it does, you'll look back and realize that through it all, it was in God's perfect timing! I'm praying for you!

Happy 2012!!!!! May it be your best year ever!!

Catch Up Blogs...

I've done four last catch-up blogs for the year...
You can click from here to see them if you'd like!

Builders and Boxes
Two Cuties
Looks Like Christmas

Thanksgiving 2011

(Be warned... MANY pictures ahead!  This is my last catch up blog of the year, and I wanted to make sure this holiday was also recorded in our family blog/album!  So feel free to read on if you'd like!)

We drove to Denver for Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with the whole Korell/Steiner clan. We were just thrilled that Kathy's whole family made the trip to get to meet the boys!  And the boys were definitely the hit of the show!!

It was definitely a long drive (13 hours that we did overnight so the boys could sleep), but so worth it to get us there with all of our stuff and not having to brave two toddlers in an airplane.  It ended up being a great drive and we took turns and made it there happy and ready to see the family! We arrived Wednesday mid-morning, which made it very nice to have a day with the immediate family before Thanksgiving day.

Our sunrise about an hour and a half away... absolutely gorgeous!
We were met by a very excited Ryley and her mom.  The boys got to "stretch their legs" a bit and explore the house and say hello to Juliet, their dog that looks a lot like Betsy!

 They played a little trio on the piano...

 And after a nice long nap for all of us, we enjoyed a little time on the trampoline!!

Can you say static??

Jack loved it!

Peek-a-boo Brother!

And we were done.
It was such gorgeous weather that weekend in Denver, that we were really able to spend a lot of time outside!  The last time we were in Denver a few years ago, there was at least a foot of snow on the ground.
Will and Mammaw

The swingset teeter totter was a lot of fun!
 We also got a yummy lunch and had a picnic at an amazing park!

Then we came back and the boys found the cable box.

 The baby gate proved to be useless...

Ryley was Supergirl for Halloween, so we had to take some pictures of the Super Cousins!!  Ryley did such a great job trying to hold the boys still, but they are definitely a handful!

They were flying!!
Thanksgiving day arrived, and so did a total of 29 people!!!  I love it that Justin's family is so close, and that they made the effort to come from near and far to meet the boys!  It was quite a full house, but there were many sets of extra arms to hold, love on, and help corall the boys!
Melady and Michele with the boys

The boys wanted to be part of the fun with their big cousins too!

Such a helper!  The boys sure adore her!

Isn't Ryley such a beautiful girl? We can't believe she is already 8 1/2!!
The family has a tradition of doing a white elephant gift exchange for Christmas, so since we were all together, we included it in the Thanksgiving celebration! Everyone had so much fun watching the gifts open, stealing them, and having a lot of laughs!

Will was sure excited about what Daddy opened! ;-)

Jack was happy with a bow!

Our little presents... they almost got stolen by their Aunt Joy!! 

Some of these pictures are a bit out of order, but I just don't think I want to mess with it!

Here are some of the cooking fairies up early prepping the feast!

Prepping the deep fryer
Injecting the marinade in to the turkey for frying
Little fun picture shoot with Mammaw and Pappaw
While Mammaw and the grandkids were out for a walk...

There was a slight mishap with the turkey.  Everyone always talks about how deep frying turkeys brings a real risk of fires, but we are special, and we thought it would be more fun to have a fire in the oven inside the house!  Somehow, there was a hole in the foil pan, and slowly, grease dripped onto the bottom of the oven.  As I was coming outside, Ryan and I both were in the kitchen and realized there was quite a bit of smoke in the kitchen.  We opened the oven door and there were flames!  My first thought was, 'where is the fire extinguisher?' but thankfully Joy had the presence of mind to rescue the turkey!! After the turkey and other food was out, Gene sprinkled on baking soda to extinguish the flames, and then we tag teamed the clean up!

15 minutes later, the oven was cleaned, the house was aired out, and the turkey back in, with the house was no worse for wear!  Thank goodness we all sprang into action, because it definitely could have been a lot worse!  And instead, we have a very funny memory from this Thanksgiving!

Meanwhile the fried turkey had no problems, and we ended up with two scrumptious turkeys!!

We set a long table in their family room, so all could eat together...

And we soon stuffed ourselves full with a delicious feast!
Gene is seriously the Turkey-Master...
he makes a perfect bird every time!
Daddy was feeding the boys goldfish before the meal was ready

Brotherly Love
Kids/Teenager table
The boys got to be at the head of the table!

The whole gang
And later on that evening, we did family pictures.  We hadn't all been together for a picture since 2005, so the family had grown a bit!
The Whole Fam--so glad that we were able to get these pictures!
Thanks Paul and Coleen for taking them!
The Steiner Clan, along with Honey, Justin's grandma

And we had all sorts of helpers/chasers keeping the boys out of trouble!
Happy Jack
On Friday, the family gathered to watch the Nebraska Football game.  There is nothing like watching a Nebraska game with this Cornhusker family!  They are some serious fans, and it is always a treat for Justin to get to watch a game with his mom and his family!  The view around the family room... note the Nebraska attire!

And the boys were the center of attention as we watched them
figure out how to work together to open the door!
There was a festive Korell siblings sing-a-long
And a pretend drive with Mammaw!
After the extended family left, we had a final day together, and Joy and Ryan took us to a nursery near their home that was all decorated for Christmas!  So much fun!

Ryley was practicing her Santa skills
Fun times with Mammaw

While we were in Denver, we were able to get together with our good friends Katie and Harry, who used to live in Texas and be in our lifegroup.  We miss them a lot, so it was worth getting up early and meeting them for a few minutes!  We wish we had more time with them!

Saturday night brought us back to another overnight drive.  Going home was definitely harder than going to Denver, and Justin and I were wiped out by the time we were home!  Thank goodness we had happy little travelers in the backseat!


Phew... that was definitely a long post, but it was SUCH a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Thank you, Joy and Ryan, for hosting us, letting take over your master bedroom, and contributing to some wonderful memories for our family! You guys did an amazing job! We love you!