. . . for Lauren and Lauren: January 2015

January 29, 2015

I'm too tired for a creative title

blanket scarf
blanket scarf
sweater: old navy   scarf: ebay   bots: target   jeans: ? 

Hey look.  Real snow!  This was a few weeks ago and we've gotten so little snow this year.  I really don't mind as I hate driving in the snow, but we've yet to play outside with Addi because the days there's actually been snow on the ground it's been too cold to be outside.  

I've done lots of little projects around our house and can't wait to share them.  Last weekend I painted our bathroom and made some towel hooks that I love!  If everyone can get healthy over here, I hope to finish it this weekend, and share soon.  I should probably stop watching HGTV because I want to do a million projects all the time.  

Thank you for your comments on my post this week.  I know there are moms in the same spot as me, but I just don't see it regularly so it helps to throw it out there every so often and hear that others are in the same place.  While I know it wouldn't be as fun or appealing, it'd be nice to hear and see more of those truths through social media and hear others insecurities or struggles.  So thanks to those that took the time to comment or the few that emailed me.  It is greatly appreciated. 

Speaking of struggles, I hate to be a downer but this week has been straight up hard.  We had not even a week of good health since Addilyn had the stomach flu right after I had it, and now she's had a higher fever for four days and has not been herself.  Her sleep is off, we've been stuck at home, and I'm straight up tired and crabby.  But I know this is a normal part of motherhood and am trying to remind myself that it's part of the job and things will go back to normal soon.  That being said, I'm ready for a healthy streak over here!  

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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January 27, 2015

Family Night In

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

Since my sister and her family moved here, she had the idea of having a family game night every other month.  With kids in the picture it's hard to spend time alone with just the adults.  Having a quadruple date night in with all of us was a great idea! 

Whether it's just you and your spouse, or two couples or four.  Each couple was responsible for bringing an appetizer and a dessert.  

We had Monster cookies, lemon bars, chocolate covered peanut butter cracker sandwiches, lemon cookies and peanut butter cookies.  So many desserts!  Everything was delicious.  

Thanks to Target registry you can have everything you need for a family game night in. Cookware to make appetizers, kitchen aid mixer for desserts.  Wine glasses for drinks, speakers to play music and a camera to take pictures. 
wine glasses    Calphalon Cookware Set  Sonos speakers   Nikon Camera  Kitchenaid Mixer

Addilyn put a little damper on our game participation as she wouldn't go to sleep at my parents, so Chris and I missed out on Settlers of Catan and The Game of Things.  Next time though, we'll be playing games!  I think it was a great idea to have a family game night in, and I look forward to many more.  Check out Target registry for everything you need for your own date night in!

And my favorite part of these posts.  One person gets to win a $25 Target gift card.  Just let me know what you'd bring or make for a family game night in the comments below.  Make sure to leave your email address too!

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#Targetwedding #Sponsored 

January 26, 2015

This is the kind of mom I am

The last few weeks I've felt overly sensitive, extra emotional and struggling with being confident in motherhood.  Addilyn who is an already clingy, needy baby has taken it up a notch over the the last few weeks and it's been hard.  I've felt overly sensitive to comments of her clinginess or her attachment to me.  I feel like she's jumped from a baby to a toddler and I feel kind of lost in how to parent a toddler. 
Lately I see all these moms on instagram or even my friends around me with kids close to Addilyn's age and I can't even count the number of pictures and stories of potty training attempts and big girl beds.  

Here I am still nursing my not so baby in the middle of the night, a few times during the day, she sleeps in her crib, with a pacifier with no thoughts of potty training or big girl beds.  She says mama about a million times a day, I carry her a lot, and she's super attached to me.  

Honestly I am not in a hurry to get her out of her crib or attempt potty training, but it's hard for me not to think we are behind.  To feel like I don't know what I'm doing and second guess that I've messed up in ways I've mothered and habits I have or haven't set.  

I want to raise an independent toddler with soothing skills to be okay away from me in the nursery or at bedtime.  Or gosh I'd love to know when I'll leave her overnight.  But I I'm not sure how or when we'll get to that point.  I feel like we'll have a victory in the nursery or with someone putting her to bed here or there, and then a step back with me coming home to a crying baby not sleeping, or getting paged from the nursery because she won't calm down.  

I feel pressure to reach certain milestones by certain dates.  But I think the majority of that pressure is from myself.  I need to be more confident in my parenting, and the choices we make for our family.  Also in knowing that a good amount of those things, like her crying in the nursery is her and not anything I have done to make her that way.  

I want to be more confident saying this is the kind of mom I am and stop worrying about what people think.  Because chances are they don't even care.  I'm still nursing my toddler.  I get anxious about leaving her at bedtime because she's in a phase of not handling it well.  I carry her around a lot and probably treat her more like a baby then I probably should.  I don't feel prepared to handle teaching and training a toddler.  But I'm doing the best I can.  I'm pretty sure every mom is doing the best they can.  And that looks different for every mom.  

God picked me to be Addilyn's mom.  God picked Addilyn to be my daughter.  I'm the kind of mom that is overly sensitive  and emotional, and I pray that I can use those emotions and qualities to make Addilyn sensitive, and compassionate.   God gave me a daughter that is stubborn, clingy and a little wild.  And I pray that I can use those emotions and qualities to raise a daughter that is brave and strong and doesn't give up. 

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January 25, 2015

If I could . . . .

sweater: ?   pants: old navy   boots: target    scarf: made by my sister in law 

always have old outfit pictures that I haven't shared I'd be pretty happy seeing as I didn't change out of yoga pants all week last week.  

have coffee with a blogging friend it would be Sybil.  This week I've texted her a few times asking for prayer and she's encouraged me and prayed for me and I am thankful for her wisdom and wish we could talk in person.  

buy two new scarves it would be these two:

one  // two

rotate between two sweaters it would be these two: 

one //  two  

recommend a book for you to be it would be Let's All Be Brave.  I'm almost done and I have loved reading it.  

watch one tv show on repeat right now it would be Fixer Upper on HGTV.  I love it and want to do projects in every room in my house now. 

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January 21, 2015

Hardware sensory board

hardware sensory board

I know a sensory board is no new idea, but I thought I'd share the one that we made for Addilyn a few months ago.  I looked at a bunch of pictures on pinterest and just combined a few and really just added whatever we could find at Home Depot.  Unfortunately all those little hardware pieces are not super cheap, but it has provided lots of playtime for Addilyn so oh well, right?  

hardware sensory board

We bought a piece of plywood and I painted it.  Then Chris drilled in a ton of screws for all of the things we bought.  We have two lights, a few locks, a wheel, some circle hooks to hold a carabiner, links and a rope.  That pink circle was the case for running tape I had that Addilyn loved screwing the cap on and off.  She'll put Cheerios or monkeys in there and put the top on and off.  We screwed PVC pipe on there and she can drop stuff through it.  

It would entertain for a long time at the beginning, but sadly has lost some of it's interest now.  I think I'll put it in our garage for a few weeks and then bring it out again with hopes of her spending time playing with it again!

hardware sensory board

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January 20, 2015

Slippery Slope

top: online boutique    lace tunic: jane.com   leggings: costco   boots: zulily   scarf: ebay

It's a very slippery slope when it comes to wearing leggings as pants for me these days.  Thankfully this lacy tunic tank top makes it a little more acceptable.   But really.  Someone should pull me back because I'm dangling right on the edge at least a few days a week.  

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January 19, 2015

To work on

dress: old navy    boot: justfab

I know some people aren't a big fan of resolutions, but I like them.  I like setting goals and thinking about what I want to work on.  I think it's a little more attainable for me to set goals for seasons, as circumstances change and life gets busy and crowded and goals get lost.  So for this period of time, here are some goals I want to work on: 

Make Addilyn healthier foods.  This is an area I feel like I fail pretty miserably at and I'd really like to do better.  It's hard for me because Addilyn is not a good eater and the times I've made her things that take energy and time, she just spits them out and I get frustrated.  But I know the more I offer her foods, the more likely she is to eat them. 

Drink more water.  I know this is huge in terms of health and exercise and should be easy to do. When I was teaching I was better at drinking lots of water and always carried my water bottle with me.  I bought a new, cute water bottle because that will help right? 

Stop complaining.  When Addilyn has a rough night of sleep again or is crabby, or when Chris and I get in a fight, I immediately want to text my friends.  To have some sympathy or validation in how I'm feeling.  I don't think there is anything wrong with support from your friends, and I am so thankful for close girlfriends that I can text anytime.  But I want to stop and think about things more before I immediately complain.  My life is overall really good, and I think a bad attitude can be contagious.  I want better qualities to be contagious and want to complain less.  

Do more fulfilling things with my free time.  It's easy for me to want to spend Addilyn's naptimes watching tv and sitting with my computer.  The last month or so I've been choosing to read, or work on things around my house more of the time.  When I do I feel productive, useful and happier.  It takes more energy and there are certainly times I will keep choosing tv and blogging, but I want more of an even balance.  

I'm sure in a month or two these goals may change, hopefully because I've accomplished them! 

January 18, 2015

Time for a new week

Yikes.  This last week and a half was a rough one.  Monday morning Addilyn passed out when she fell, which even though it's happened a handful of times before, it's been a few months and it just threw me off.  Made me a little more anxious, and made me worry about her and her health.  We thankfully had her 18 month appointment that afternoon where the doctor assured me it was okay.  The doctor wants us to put her on a nebulizer twice a day to see if that helps her nighttime cough, and while I am happy to be doing something that will help and anxious for positive results, I'm dreading the treatments and the expense.  

Then Monday night in a matter of an hour I went from feeling completely fine to feeling absolutely awful.  I had a violent, awful case of the stomach flu and literally felt like I was going to die.  I rarely get sick, and have never been that sick before.  Hence the no blogging.  Any second I put Addilyn down for a nap or bedtime all I could do was lay down.  I am far from a sympathetic person when Chris gets sick, but I think this has given me more compassion for the future.  

That same day, my father in law had to go to the hospital with a heart scare.  He is fine now, and everything is good, but a reminder that life is scary and you really have no idea when things like that could happen.  

Chris then went out of town, his flight back was delayed and he was welcomed home with a sick baby up all night with the stomach flu.  A throwing up one year old is just the saddest thing.  And the most exhausting and messy too.  All in all a week and half that I'd be happy to not relive again. Weeks like last week are bad, and I'm so happy for a new week.  A reminder to be extra thankful when ourselves and family are healthy and when things are easy.  

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January 12, 2015

Being brave

I shared last week that I want to head into 2015 as a Mighty Warrior, ready for whatever God has in store for me.  This book has been a wonderful motivator to do just that.  To live life bravely, and to embrace your passions, fears and whatever God is calling you to do.  Over and over challenging you to be brave. 

I started thinking of ways I was brave this last year.  

- signing up and running the Chicago marathon 
- bringing Addilyn to the church nursery over and over despite lots of tears and only small progress
- making new friends and continually being the initiator in many of my friendships
- being honest and sharing my life on my blog 
- trusting that God will provide for us financially with Chris' job, and staying home with Addilyn

Then ways I want to be brave this year. 

- get back into working out at the Y and taking Addilyn to the childcare there.
- volunteer and get more involved in one of my church's ministries
- continue to initiate friendships 
- read more books that challenge me 
- join a Mom's group
- go away overnight without Addilyn 
- step outside my comfort zone and openly share my faith with two of my close friends 

The thing is I know some of these would not mean bravery to some people.  Going away overnight without their babies or dropping their kids off at a gym child care wouldn't be a huge deal for some, but those sound hard to be.  They make me anxious and uncomfortable.  I can get weary when it comes to being the initiator in my friendships, but I know it's worth it and I want to keep doing it.  Bravery looks different for everyone, and another way I want to be brave is to stop comparing myself to other people.  Whether it's to their goals, what's easy or hard for them, how they look, or how successful they are.  I fully believe the saying comparison is the thief of joy and I want to keep all my joy and work on pushing myself to be brave.  

How will you be brave this year? 
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January 11, 2015

Make up Party

sweater: c/o sheinside   

I love this new sweater. It's soft and cozy and I love the back!

This weekend I finally knocked out one of my 13 by 30 (which should now be change to 31) and learned how to apply makeup.  A friend of mine taught a make up party, where she demonstrates a different look on each person.  I shared that I wear the same makeup to Target or to a wedding and I wanted a more put together "everyday look."  Now I don't think I'd come close to recreating it everyday, but even learning how to properly do my eyeshadow or what brushes to use for different things was so helpful.  Now to buy lots of new makeup!  

Addilyn was in absolute heaven with all the makeup Emily brought!  She even put some on her and she was thrilled! It was pretty adorable.  

 Hope you had a wonderful weekend and have a great start to the week!

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January 8, 2015

Mighty Warrior

During my freshman year of college I started getting really awful headaches.  They'd get bad enough that I couldn't remember things like my birthday, where I was, how to find a number on my phone or what year it was.  I ended up in the hospital quite a few times and it was an incredibly scary few months.  We never found anything beyond severe atypical migraines as they called them.  But there were moments and tests and appointments to rule out things as serious as brain tumors.  It was traumatic, and hard and taught me a whole lot.  

During that time there was lots of tears, fear and a whole lot of praying.  As I was going through all of it, my dad called me a Mighty Warrior.  He reminded me of the story of Gideon in the Bible when God used him, a small, scared and not quite prepared man to defeat a huge army.  "The Lord is with you Mighty Warrior."  I clung to that verse a lot during that time.  

Years later I clung to that verse when we were going through our fertility treatments and longing for a baby.  I wanted to handle the trials I was going through with confidence that God was going to get me through me.  That although I felt unprepared and weak, I could fight whatever battle I was going through.  

Last year I made a word for the year.  It was rest.  I wanted to rest in God's presence.  To be content where God had me, to rest my anxieties and worries and trust that God was in control.  I wanted to spend more time being still in His presence and seeking after Him.  

I feel like I am in a pretty "safe" place right now.  Sure I question my parenting, I'm tired a lot and I'd love to know when God is going to give us a second baby.  But Chris' job is doing well, I'm thankful to be at home with Addilyn, mine and Chris' marriage is in a good place and overall I'm happy.  But I want to be ready for God to use me.  I want to go after opportunities that may be out of my comfort zone.  I want to be a better friend and encourager.  I want to be less selfish and more generous with my resources and time.  

I've thought hard about a word for the year and I can't think of one.  I can't seem to pinpoint an area to describe what I want to work on.  I like growth, or contentment or joy but feel like none of them are it.  So instead I want to go at this year as a Mighty Warrior.  Ready for whatever God has planned for me.  Trusting that he is going to prepare me for whatever trial, circumstances or battle I may face. To celebrate victories and blessings of all sizes.  To look for opportunities to be used, to be a better friend and a better spouse.  To be brave and confident and ready.   

2015.  I'm ready for you!

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January 7, 2015

Recommendations welcome

sweater & skirt:  old navy    boots: dsw

The high today is - 3 and our ground is covered with snow.  Very much different than these pictures. It finally looks like Winter around here.  

I finished Gilmore Girls and if it wasn't the day before Christmas Eve when I watched the last episode I probably would've mourned for days.  I loved that show, but feel kind of guilty when I look how many episodes there were and how fast I watched them.  Now I often did other things while I watched, but still.  Perhaps some reading and quiet to fill nap times and evening for awhile.  

But Friends on Netflix will be competing for my attention. 

I just finished the Nesting Place and absolutely loved it.  I already have been spending a lot of time this year doing things around our house, but am motivated even more.   So I need more books.  I should probably read a book about parenting a toddler so recommendations please! 

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January 6, 2015

Dear new mom,

A friend of my was having a baby shower that a lot of friends couldn't make, so a friend of hers asked everyone to write her a letter.  Of advice, encouragement, whatever you'd like.  I figured I'd share my letter as even reading it two months later I could use to take my own advice. 

Dear new mom, 

I am so excited for you and your new role as a mom.  I have no doubts that you are going to be an amazing mom and that your sweet baby is so lucky to be born into your family.  I have very little advice as I feel like I just became a mom, yet somehow 18 months have already passed and I'm sure months will just keep flying by.  But here are some things that come to mind when I think about my year and a half of motherhood.  

I'm pretty sure it wasn't until Addilyn was three months old that I put her down for a "real" nap.  I don't regret it one bit.  I sat all the time and held her.  I watched a ton of tv while I was nursing her and while she slept on my chest.  She rarely snuggles with me now and I wish she would still nap with me but won't!  I miss when she would and I'm so glad I soaked it all up and took advantage of those snuggly naps!

My biggest struggle as a mom has been comparing Addilyn and I to other moms and their babies.  I think this is probably really common but I wish it wasn't a struggle for me.  When I'm stressed about how she still isn't sleeping through the night or doesn't do well in the church nursery, or how I'm nowhere near ready to leave her overnight, I think about how I wouldn't be nearly as worried about those things if I wasn't comparing them to those around me.  If I didn't know how other babies were doing in those areas and only thought about how we are both happy and surviving just fine, then I probably wouldn't worry about them nearly as much.  

I did not expect adding a baby to be as hard as it was on our marriage.  Again, I know everyone is different in this but it was a struggle for us.  I think partly because we had been married for so long without kids, but it was tough.  It was hard to find time together, and time to sit and have real conversations.  So if you're in that place just be encouraged that it's a season and to keep working on it and it will get better!  Don't stop working on your marriage and telling each other how you feel. 

I had a lot of worries when Addilyn was little and still worry a lot about her.  Her health, her future, all that.  It's crazy how much you love your baby, but I remind myself over and over that God loves her even more than I do.  That he is in control and has a perfect plan for her.  

I could cry thinking back to the days Addilyn was a baby.  I would LOVE to go back to her tiny little self for a few days and hold her and just stare at her newborn self.  I know it sounds cliche but it goes way too fast.  When I drive past the hospital where Addilyn was born I almost cry because I so badly want those first moments back.  I want to hold her on my chest again and I want to look at her tiny face in shock that she was the baby I carried for nine months.  But those days were also so hard.  Scary, overwhelming and exhausting.  

So, as you go through all the ranges of emotions know that they are all okay.  That when days are really, really hard you have tomorrow that is a new day.  And when days are really great, you can hold onto them and be thankful and know they will come again. 

God is going to give you everything you need for your new role and you are going to be an amazing mom.  And are going to experience a love that you can't imagine or describe.  You will do great!

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January 5, 2015

Costo and Ronald McDonald

hat: old navy   scarf: groopdealz   boots: just fab

I've never been a big hat wearer.  But now that I don't get dressed for work, hats seem to be a reasonable option.  Or should I say now that I don't shower every day, hats are a good coverup for my greasy hair.  And tired, squinty eyes.  

A few months ago I was so close to buying a similar hat online from J.Crew kids.  But while my head is pretty small, I thought it probably wouldn't fit and it was still $20.  It's a good thing I waited because I found this hat for $4 at Old Navy.  

My friend Liz texted me a sweet text the day I shared this on instagram and asked how I made red and yellow look cute together.  I then got slightly self conscious thinking about red and yellow and how the only combination I know well of that is Ronald McDonald.  .  

Also these leggings are from Costco and they are my favorite.  Costo leggings and Ronach McDonald color schemes.  Looks like I'm headed to real fashion blogger success.  

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January 4, 2015

Looking back at 2014

I almost forget that I did a post like this last year and how much I enjoyed looking back and reading it, even again now.  It reminds me what a blessing this blog is, as a way to store our blessings, hardships, pictures and memories.  Here's a look back at the highlights of this year . . . 

In January, Addilyn turned six months old, which felt like a big milestone.  Half a year as a mom!  She also got really sick this month and it felt like a long winter, but I know God used those times to remind me to continually give my worries and fears over to Him.  I wrote an honest post about how I feel about blogging, and still have most of those same feelings. 

February.  I wrote a post about marriage after having a baby.  Chris and I were slowly adjusting to our role as parents and husband and wife.  My new niece Annabelle was born and is the sweetest, happiest baby in the world!  It killed me that I had to wait to meet her.  I made it official that I wasn't going back to teaching this year and felt so happy to be able to stay home with Addilyn. That year turned into two and I'm so lucky to to be home with Addilyn!

March.  I found my favorite pair of jeans that I wear at least two times a week.  I wrote a post about my self image post baby.  I made Addilyn and I matching sweatshirts, and was surprised it took me so long to make us matching outfits.  

April.  We took our first big family trip with Addilyn and stayed with my sister and in her family in Vermont.  We met my niece and Addilyn had so much fun with her cousins.  I decided to sign up to run the Chicago marathon again, after debating for a long time.  I locked Addilyn in the car after loading groceries in the truck in the Target parking lot, and I still to this day leave a car door open until she's out of the car or I'm in the car.  

In May I celebrated my first Mother's Day and it was wonderful.  Chris and I celebrated nine years of marriage.  At Addilyn's nine month appointment we talked about concerns with her lack of weight gain which started a few months of tests, worry and many chances for me to trust that God is in control.  I also made a 13 by 30 list, which I still have a handful left, despite turning 30 two months ago! 

June. I officially started marathon training and felt excited, scared and out of shape.  Chris and I went to a wedding, where he officiated, and the comparison pictures of me pregnant and Addilyn now never cease to amaze me!  I wrote about scaling back on blogging and how I struggle with finding a balance between all or nothing, and like always I was encouraged by your sweet comments. 

In July we celebrated Addilyn's first birthday.  So much of the month before I spent planning her party and making decorations and I really enjoyed it.  Her party was so much fun and we felt love and celebration for our sweet girl.  The night of her actual birthday we had a scary and traumatic moment that involved a 911 call, which followed by a handful of times where Addilyn passed out after falling the following months.  Yet again, another lesson of giving my worries to God.  I made a teepee for our basement playroom and we spent a lot of time down there!  

In August my family went on vacation and stayed in a house in Canada.  We spent a day at Niagra falls, and lots of time hanging out together.  It was wonderful!  During the trip I got to meet a blogging friend, who has since then become one of my closest friends.  After very little weight gain over the last three months, our doctor had us do some tests for Addilyn that made me very stressed and anxious.  Thankfully everything came back normal, and we put her on medicine for acid reflux, which seemed to help her gain weight.    

In September I finally gave in to wearing real pants regularly, and accepted my new "mom" uniform.  I started working harder at not filling our days with friends and schedules, and finding joy in smaller moments.   I started redoing our dining room, living room and kitchen and shared the easiest pillow diy.  I went to a paint nite and fulfilled a life goal, and want to go again!  We got Addilyn's one year pictures back and I still look at them all the time and love them!  Also it blows my mind how much she went from looking like a baby to a toddler over the next three months. 

The biggest news of October is that I finished the Chicago marathon.  I seriously injured my knee six weeks prior and really didn't know if I'd be able to do it.  It became even more physically and emotionally exhausting than previous years, but was honestly one of my most proudest moments of my life and I'm so glad I did it.   I put Addilyn in a pumpkin and she loved it.  The pictures are some of my favorite ever of her!  I wrote some Fall goals, which were a little hit or miss throughout the season.  Even though Addilyn was sick, she was the cutest little lamb for Halloween. 

In November I celebrated my 30th birthday.  We went away for a weekend at our friends' cabin and had such a great time!  I was nervous about the long drive there but it was definitely worth it! Thanksgiving week was great!  My sister and I ran a 5K Turkey Trot, we got our Christmas tree and had a great week with our families.  I made a new wreath and hello sign for our newly painted front door and I still love it everytime I pull in our driveway.  

December.  I jumped on the blanket scarf trend happily.  The biggest news that I shared is that my sister and her family would be moving back home this month.  They moved back at Christmas, and I still can't believe they are really here!  We had a wonderful Christmas, and it continues to be so fun and exciting adding Addilyn into all our traditions and making new ones.  

Reading through these posts is a huge reminder that this last year has been really good.  We've had our moments of sickness and stresses, arguments and adjustments, but we are so blessed and truly have more than we could ever ask for.  God is so good.  

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