Thursday, June 26, 2014

Musings

I just need to get some things off my chest, so I'm posting here - because I feel like sharing it with the bloggersphere...

I grew up attending church, going to Sunday School, VBS, Pioneer Club (our church's equivalent to Awanas, I believe), and any other church function that may have been happening. I went to a private Christian school and had quite a few friends that I enjoyed spending time with. My next door neighbor who was only a few months younger than me was also my best friend. It was easy to be best friends with her when she lived right next door to me - we could see each other daily. As I went into 3rd grade, my parents decided to homeschool me and my siblings. I was so excited about this! Seriously. I wanted desperately to be homeschooled.

The problems I didn't see coming with being homeschooled aren't very noteworthy. Truly, my parents kept me socialized through church activities and sports, etc. The worst was the "uncool"ness factor it brought on me with all of the kids my age. This happened gradually. It wasn't until middle school that I went from having quite a few friends to not having anybody (other than my next door neighbor). My "friends" didn't think I was as "mature" as them and I was too sheltered. As if middle school age wasn't hard enough on it's own.

It was a hard, awkward time. As I got into high school, my next door neighbor started dating and didn't want to hang out as often either. This wouldn't have been such a big deal except that I - of my own prerogative - had decided that I didn't want to date until I was ready to consider marriage. As an early high schooler - I was in no way ready for that.  Times got harder for me. Friends grew scarcer.

Then God blessed me with some wonderful ladies I babysat for from church. They were youth group leaders and had little ones. They took me under their wing and loved on me and became my best friends. I enjoyed my time with them immensely. They loved me through my awkward years.

I should add in here that my dad and mom were awesome supports to me. They loved me, they listened to me, they cared more than anyone else. But, wanting a friend outside of my family was very hard for me.

As I (and my friends of past days) got older and (semi) matured in life and faith, I was able to re-establish friendships that had gone to the wayside. It was lovely to reconnect with these friends. I was (and still am) a bit hesitant to get too close to them. I don't see any reason to do that to myself. I am a genuine, real, loyal, passionate and devoted friend so keeping people at arm's length can be a bit of a challenge for me. Although, I've learned that sometimes it is necessary.

Life continued to happen. I became an aunt. I met the love of my life. I got married. One of the youth leader friends got busy in her life and wasn't around for many of these events. I love her still. I harbor no hard feelings towards her. I still talk to her every once in a while. The other youth leader friend stayed very close and connected to me. I vacationed with her and her family. I enjoyed my time with her and felt that we were becoming more and more on par with each other rather than her being my leader. She was my "bestie." When my dad died 6 months after I got married, I was crushed. She was right there - helping to hold me up. One day, I remember staying in bed and telling my husband I just couldn't get up. There was no point. He called my dear friend and she drove to my house, got me dressed and took me out for some therapy shopping. She truly was a gem. She blessed me in so many ways. She let God use her. It was beautiful.

Life continued to happen. I changed jobs. My husband and I got pregnant. I quit working. Other things happened in my extended family's life that I will not share as it's not mine to share - but life was stressful. It was good in a lot of ways, but it was stressful. My friend didn't understand how and why I wasn't making time for her and her kids. I would still see her - but it was infrequent. She had come over for dinner with her family one night and we went on a long walk and talked about our friendship being so valuable but life happens and we weren't able to make the time commitment that we used to be able to before I had a husband and a child. I recall her saying that if a relationship is important, you make time for it. I agree with that statement. However, I also believe that if a relationship is a good one, the time apart just makes the time together that much more sweet. It's precious. It's valuable. My marriage and my child are more valuable than any other friendship that could happen in this life. We left the conversation and I felt reconnected and like we were on the same page.

A few months later, I got an email from her saying that because I didn't have time for her and for her kids, she was done with our friendship. My heart broke. My heart still breaks over this. Her children, who are now teenagers, have been my babies throughout their lives. They were so important to me. They are so important to me. I still pray for them and for their mom.

My friend and I are now going on the 2nd year of not talking. Life continues to happen. I now have another child. My husband and my kids are invaluable to me. There is nobody else I'd rather spend time with than them. And yet, my heart still hurts. This friend who helped me in my awkward years, who helped me through my dad's passing, who celebrated with me in my pregnancy unfriended me on Facebook at the same time that she had messaged me saying we were no longer friends. I replied to her email and told her the door was always open on my end, but I understood. I understand that it's hard when dynamics change. Life changes. Life happens. Things can't stay the same. They never do. This friend and I have more mutual friends than probably most people do. I see them commenting on posts that she's tagged them in. I see her commenting on their posts. It hurts. It hurts more than it probably should. These are people that I remember her being friends with during our friendship - and none of them were as close as she and I. How could she shut the door on our bond and leave the door open to these friendships that don't mean as much??

Another thing that really gets me about this...this friend is a fellow believer. She is a Christian. I am a Christian. She (as a good friend should) has called me out on my crap in the past. She has helped me to realize where I was wrong and she did it with love. As I've continued to grow in my faith - I recall the verses about "as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men." I've done what I can. And I feel no peace with her. It still hurts.

Just three weeks after my daughter was born, my mom and I were at the mall and we saw her and her beautiful daughter. Well, I saw them from the back as they walked by. If I had actually seen them first - I would've ran up and given them a hug and let them know how much I love them. They shunned me. As they walked arm and arm and side stepped me and my mom - glancing over their shoulders to see me. I felt like I was a "bad guy" and someone to be completely avoided. This is not the way I think God wants us to see each other. We are sisters in Christ. We will be in Heaven together. I will be thanking her for giving to the Lord because mine was a life that was changed because of her. So, it's weird to have someone avoid me so wholly.

Recently, I've been thinking about sending her a note and telling her what I love about her. I've made it a goal for this year to (at some point) write each of my friends on Facebook and tell them what I appreciate about them and let them know how loved they are. I would do this for her, but we aren't Facebook friends. So, I've thought about doing it the old fashioned way. The conundrum I run into as I consider this is that I love her very much, but I don't want to hurt over this. I don't want a letter back. I just want everything to be ok and I want her to feel blessed. I want her to know what a blessing she has been in my life. I want her to know that as my sister in Christ - we are good. Life is good. I love her.

I just felt the need to write this somewhere, so thanks, interwebs, for letting me share here.


And with that, here is the letter that I'd write to my friend:

Dear Friend,

I just wanted to send you a note and say thank you. Thank you for your friendship over the years. Thank you for letting God use you in my life on countless occasions. Growing up, I struggled in friendships and you befriended me. When I was planning my wedding and feeling overwhelmed, you helped me with my ever-growing to-do list and helped calm me down. When my dad passed away, you got me out of bed, made me dinner, and took me therapy shopping. You have blessed me greatly in so many ways. You are beautiful, funny, charismatic, an excellent cook, a mom who only wants the best for her kids, and are easy to talk to. I don't expect anything in return. I just want you to know that I pray for you. I thank God for you and I want to remember only the good things from our friendship (which are countless). I love you forever, my friend.

Heidi

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Music of Disney

One of my favorite things about Disney parks is the music. I went to Disneyland as a young'n and then not again for many years; rediscovering my love for Disney parks on my honeymoon. As we entered the gates of Disneyland, I heard the music and immediately a smile spread across my face and I looked at my newly-pronounced husband and said "Oh my goodness! This is what I hear in my head every day! This is amazing!!" I constantly have a song in my mind, and generally it's from old musicals or Disney movies...both of which play while you are walking down Main Street, USA. It was fantastic. One of my first memories of entering the park after years of absence and it felt like...home. It was wonderful.

Since that trip, I've been on a mission to find that music so I could play it when I needed the Disney magic/nostalgia. And I found it! Finally. It's only taken 7 years, but I finally found it! My husband came home from work the other night and I had the music playing and he said to me "I feel like I'm about to leave Disneyland for the evening, recapping the day...I like this." And I liked it too. So, I wanted to share it with all my Disney-loving friends.

Do a youtube search for "Disney Parks Loop Music." You're welcome. That's the best, clearest station I've found that plays all the music from Main Street to Splash Mountain to California Adventure and everything in between, including queue music.

And for other music that you might want to find (which I think you'll be able to find on Youtube, but just in case you don't) check out d-cot.net. Totally worth it!



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thankful

Thankful.

This word just keeps coming to my mind today. I have SO much to be thankful for. I deserve nothing and yet God has given me so very much. Everything I have is a gift. I realize many people say things like "you deserve it" when something good happens to someone. But, what do we actually deserve? We deserve nothing, well, nothing good. Are we good people? Not good enough. You cannot be good enough. It is impossible. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. It's just the way it is. And yet, God freely gives us gifts. I am blessed beyond measure when I think of this realization. I am grateful. The biggest gift I have is salvation, next in line is my marriage.

As a young teen, I was challenged to write a list of all the attributes I would want in my future spouse. After I wrote it, I stuck it in my Bible and would look at it every once in a while. There were the normal teen girl wants "sensitive, musical, etc." but then there were the items that were actually important: A man after God's own heart, someone who loves his family, trustworthy, honest, a good communicator,..." and as I thought about the list of items, I realized that God has given me pretty much all of the things on my list in my husband. Wow. What a gift God has given me.



Thank you, God, for giving me the man of my dreams. Thank you for preparing him for me and me for him. Thank you for loving your daughter enough to bring me my love. I love you, Lord. You are an awesome God.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Just some rambling

One of my lifelong dreams has been to meet Doris Day. That may seem like nothing to most people, but she has been an inspiration to me. Her smile lights up the screen, her voice is silky smooth, her dancing is graceful and fun and she is a terrific actress. I have a great love for acting, and I believe it started when I watched Doris Day perform. I love her.

This year, Miss Day is turning 90 years old. She actually shares a birthday with my son, that makes it an extra special day. In honor of her 90th, there is going to be a great celebration in Carmel-By-The-Sea to celebrate her.

I found out about this event months ago, and immediately called the hotel to see if my idol would be there. They didn't know at the time, so I went ahead and booked. There were to be some VIPs there, and the hope was that Ms. Day would be among them.

I've been counting down the days. Less than one month and counting! And then, the email came in. Miss Doris Day, my childhood (and adult-hood) favorite, would not be in attendance at any of the celebration festivities.

I had big dreams of meeting her, but expected that dream to not happen. I figured if I could just see Doris Day, I'd be pleased as punch.

But, rather than her being there, there will items (autographed by her) up for silent auction, there will be a fancy dinner, with Peter Marshall as emcee. He is the VIP for that evening. I couldn't remember who he was...until my mom told me - he was the radio broadcaster in "Annie" - you know, the guy that says "Ah ha! The lovely bolin sisters..." and then sings "Never Fully Dressed." Anyway, he is their VIP. The next day, there will be a dog show, featuring the Doris Day's own dog (Daisy) - which you can get your picture taken with, for a fee.

So, to recap: the VIPs are Peter Marshall and Daisy the Dog. And Doris Day will not be in attendance for any of her 90th birthday festivities.

I. Am. Devastated. Heartbroken. My dreams have been shattered. It's a small dream, but one that I've had on my bucket list for forever.

I have yet to cancel our reservation in hopes that I will get a follow-up email soon saying "Nevermind! There have been so many cancellations due to Miss Day's absence, that she has decided it's safe to come out!" I don't actually expect this to happen, but I am holding on to every last drop of hope that I can.

So, my plans to go to Carmel, see my favorite actress/singer of all time, and relax in the beautiful city that was run by none other than Clint Eastwood seem to be coming to an end. There is no point in spending an obscene amount of money to big on items signed by Doris Day. I have a picture signed by her, that will suffice. There is no point in spending that kind of money to attend a dog show and see VIPs that I couldn't care less to see. Would it be cool to see someone famous? Sure. But, not for the high dollar price that it was gonna cost.

I know my hopes of meeting Miss Doris Day are ending. It's a pretty sad realization for me. Let's face it, she's not a young lady anymore. She's healthy, beautiful and still working for her dog foundation, but she's not out and about. The likelihood is, she won't be around for any length of time in which I could convince someone anyone who might know her that I must meet her.

I need to remind myself that she is just a person. A beautifully talented, lovely person. And just thank her for the memories of her movies and music. And the gift she's given me in finding one of my passions in lighting up the "screen" or stage. Thank you, Doris Day. You have been an inspiration to me and I think you are amazing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Top 10 Let It GO

My son is in love with the music of Frozen. I mean, in LOVE! If ever the TV is on, he wants it on Frozen music, if ever we are driving in the car, he wants the music of Frozen on, if ever I have the radio on, I must quickly turn it off so we can listen to all of the songs of Frozen, if ever I am on my computer, he is asking for youtube videos to be played of Frozen. For this reason, I do believe I have seen and heard every single version of "Let It Go" that has been created thus far.

So, in no particular order - other than the order in which I have seen them (for the most part), here they are for your viewing pleasure:

1) The Original:


2) The Other Original:

3) The Multi-Language Version:


4) The Piano Guys:


5) Africanized Tribal Cover: 




6) The Weatherman:


7) The Google Translator:


8) The Mommy Version:

9) The Good Morning America Sing-A-Long:

10) Kids Reaction to Multi-Language Let It Go:


There you have it. The mom version may be one of my favorites because I can relate to it the most. :) However, all are fun. I've seen a few other versions that I have decided not to share on here because I have no desire to necessarily see them again myself. So, there you have it. The top 10 Let It Go (and Parody Let It Go's) according to me. :)

And here's an extra little treat for you: my son singing "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?"



Thursday, February 20, 2014

35 Insider Hacks for Disneyland

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/35-insider-hacks-for-taking-your-kids-to-disneyland

Our daughter!!

This post is a bit delayed, but here is Elsie's birth announcement

The Front

The Back

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The year: 2013 - a look back

What a terrific year this has been! Much has been accomplished and fun has been had! Here is a look at the highlights, for those who are interested. :)

In January: I turned 30 and my husband surprised me with a trip to my favorite place on earth: Disneyland!! He came up with the greatest idea ever for surprising me too - for a few weeks leading up to my birthday, he was giving me coupon books. There was a deadline at the back of each coupon book for yet another coupon book that I had to ask for by the deadline. I almost forgot to ask for the biggest and best coupon book because I wasn't feeling well - but I remembered! Here's what I got as I blurry-eyed looked at my voucher as I was waking up:


It was AMAZING!! Huge surprise. I don't think he'll ever be able to top that. :)


While we were there, we did a "Walk In Walt's Footsteps" tour of Disneyland and we got to see his private apartment. That was pretty fantastic.

In February, we dedicated Cade to the Lord. Basically, what that means is we have made a commitment to raise our son according to God's will and ask for God's blessing and guidance and whatever God will's for our son, that's what we want. There's more to it then that, but I'll just leave it there.



In March we went skiing with some friends. Cade really enjoyed playing in the snow and sledding was a blast!



Also in March, my mom, my sister (Becca) and I all went to the coast for a night and watched The Beach Boys perform at the casino. It was so great! We may have been the only non-blue-haired gals there, but we had a blast. Surprisingly, they didn't sing "Little Old Lady From Pasadena," which I think would've suited the crowd much better than "Surfer Girl" :). We were grooving to the tunes and loving it.

Right around March,  Thumper decided to meet one of his lifelong goals of running a marathon and began training with a few friends. I made them all shirts to commemorate their efforts. You can't see the back, but they say all of the races they were hoping to complete before the marathon (5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, Marathon) with a check box for each of them to mark once they had completed each one. (Which, by the way, they did do!) 



In April, Cade turned 2 and we had a party with just family at Creative Studios for Kids. What a fun place! If you are ever in Salem, I'd highly recommend checking it out. Here's a picture of my little two year old. High energy, full of empathy and love. I adore him.


Also in April came our big announcement: we are having another baby! It was nice to finally officially get the word out since I had been feeling pretty sick for the weeks leading up to the announcement.


In June, we went on a Disney cruise to Alaska with my mom and my nephew, Gabriel. What a blast that was! The ship left from Vancouver, BC and we went to Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway (not necessarily in that order). Because Vancouver isn't too far from us, we drove there. We stopped at Pike's Place Market and then went on to a hotel a little past Seattle.


The following day, we went to the Vancouver Aquarium, which I'd highly recommend. It was way fun. 


Finally, we boarded the ship and had a fabulous week. (And, just to show how amazing and dedicated my husband is, he continued to train for his marathon while on-board. He ran almost every day, if not every day! He's a rockstar!) I have a bazillion pictures, so I'll just show you this one. The cast members took it of us before we boarded the ship. This, my friends, is the look of excitement (and possibly exhaustion) from all of us. 


Once we got home from our cruise, it was time for the big gender reveal (the day after we got back we had our ultrasound! At least we had something to look forward to when we got home) :)



Our backyard continued to be constructed by Thumper (with the help from some terrific friends once in a while). And by early-summer, we were able to put out our lawn chairs, set up our fire pit and enjoy a movie in the backyard.


Cade and I spent many days during the summer at the local park, cooling down in the water features before nap time. That was definitely a highlight for both of us most days. 


And, as usual, we spent as many weekends as possible at the drive-in. We love our local drive-in and seeing two movies with a toddler is easy when you can do it from the car. So fun. If you've never gone and have the ability to do so, you totally should. 

This is us at the drive-in before the movie started, obviously
At some point during the summer, we had a few days where we watched my niece and nephews. We had a great time crafting, berry picking, swimming and playing in the newly landscaped backyard. Cade totally enjoys spending time with his cousins and I love having them around, so it was a win for everyone!




One of the days that Thumper was doing a long run as part of his training, he left the house extra early in order to run up in Portland. He and his friends ran there and then he was dropped off at the zoo where he met Cade and me for a day of animal-watching. Notice the fierceness of this lion that Cade so bravely rode on. ;)


Also in June, Thumper and I celebrated our 7th year of marriage. It's hard to believe it's been that long (we've been together for 11 years). I am more in love with him every day and I thank God for him. As an anniversary gift, Thumper took me to see Jim Gaffigan in Eugene. Hooooot pockets!


This year, I became the coordinator for Court Street Christian Church's MOPS group and (with the help of my amazing co-coordinator) planned a retreat for all the ladies on our leadership team. We spent a lovely night at Canyonview Christian Camp and prepared for the upcoming year as well as did some swimming, eating, laughing and camp-firing. :) 

Right around 24 weeks


In August, Thumper took a trip to Pittsburgh to go see family and attend his friend, Isaac's,  annual Scott Family Camp-Out. He had a blast zip lining, slip n sliding, firing potato guns and who knows what else. I could not wait for him to get back home, but I'm so glad he was able to go and had such a good time. 

I didn't get any pics from the actual camp-out, but this is the one Thumper sent me of him with his bro and mom
Also during the summer, we were able to get over to my father-in-law's house to cool down from the hot days we were having for some swimming. It was delightful! Thankfully, we had some friends join us which made it all the more enjoyable. And ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better. 



Thumper completed his first half-marathon in August with all of his training buddies. I was so very proud of him. I'm not sure what his time was, but I know he got what he was hoping for. 

After the run. A team of warriors, if you ask me!

This picture just makes me smile, so I thought I'd share. :)
One of my big accomplishments of the year was learning how to can! I had done peaches before, but that was pretty much it. This year, I canned green beans, tomatoes, pickles (sweet and bread & butter), and peaches. I was really proud of myself for that. I'm hoping to do even more next year.


Thumper's dad got season tickets for the OSU Beavers game (Go Beavs!) and I was able to go to a few games before our daughter was born. It was a lot of fun. Cade REALLY enjoyed it too. He now knows the motion to make for a first down and he loved seeing the fireworks whenever the Beavs scored. 
My father-in-law was there too, but he's not pictured.
We didn't get to use our trailer much this year, but we had a great time a few weekends before Thumper's marathon at Detroit lake in our trailer. It was a fickle-weather day, but we had a blast eating chili, playing outside when it was dry and enjoying just being together and relaxing. 


In October, Thumper had his big race! He stayed with some friends and my mom, Cade and I stayed at a hotel in Portland so we could see him crossing the finish line. Don (Thumper's dad) met up with us the morning of the big race and we walked to the spot closest to the finish line. We saw him just a block or two before it and were excitedly cheering him on.  From what I saw, he looked euphoric and pleased, but he says what was really happening was he was trying to keep from dry-heaving. Poor guy. Either way, he completed it and did it just under his goal which is phenomenal! I don't know that I've ever been so excited for him (except when he graduated from nursing school). I got all choked up and was so proud!



The hard-working crew!
The rest of October was mainly spent just in limbo - waiting for our little baby girl to arrive. We thought for sure she was going to be early as all signs were pointing to early labor and delivery. She was due on the 28th, but - no such luck was to be had. Instead, my sister, my mom and my dear friend threw me a baby "sprinkle" (I told them I didn't want a shower because I had already had a baby and didn't think it was necessary...they insisted but kept it small by throwing me a sprinkle instead - which, by the way, was an amazing, sweet little tea party. I sure do love to froo-froo it up!)


My sister made this by herself! She designed it and everything. She rocks.
 At the end of October, as we were still waiting to meet our little girl, we did things to occupy our time. I cleaned...pretty much non-stop (I wanted the house to be clean when she arrived!) and we tried to take Cade out and about frequently. One of the out and abouts was to Fordyce Farms - to the pumpkin patch. We went through the corn maze, picked out pumpkins and just enjoyed each other. Thumper learned, though, that a corn maze with a 9-month pregnant lady and a toddler is a bit rough as one will most certainly need a rest-stop and probably some water as well. Oh well! We made it through and had a great time.



When we got back from the pumpkin patch, we took the opportunity to do a maternity photo shoot with my mom. This was some of our favorite shots.


On Halloween, much to our surprise (and impatience on my part) there was still no baby, so we put Cade in a costume and paraded around the neighborhood and at my husband's work, my mom's work and my sister's work. He was adorable and had an amazing time. If you ask him to talk on the phone with you today, he will tell you every time "Hello? I had fun and I said 'happy hayoween and I got canny and suckas." Every. Time. It's adorable and it never gets old to him. :)





On Halloween, as we traipsed around our neighborhood, I was feeling contractions off and on, which was nothing uncommon - in fact, the weekend before I had been to the hospital thinking it was time. But, this time it was real. I was to be induced on November 2nd, but baby girl decided she was done waiting...finally! So, at about midnight on November 1st we made our way to the hospital. My contractions were a little stronger now and I was ready. We got to the hospital and found out I still wasn't yet dilated enough. AAAHHH! So, they had me walk the halls. We walked for all of 15 minutes and I jumped 2 cm in that time. Our beautiful Elsie Dawn was born at 5:48. It was quick and easy (I mean, easy because of the epidural and in relation to Cade) :) 


Cade came later that morning to the hospital to meet beautiful Elsie and wasn't all that interested. The following day when he saw her, though, he ran to her and said "Daddy! Look at her little, tiny ears!" He kissed her and gently hugged her and has been semi-enamored with her since. 



Within a few weeks of coming home, we were on an airplane, heading to Texas for Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah) with Thumper's mom and family. A toddler, an infant, all the luggage that goes along with that and us; it was quite the adventure. Thankfully, the Lord was gracious and all went well. 

Elsie's first flight!

We had a terrific time and were sad to leave, but happy to be done with the traveling for a bit. 

Not much happened in December other than the normal holiday gatherings and picture-taking of my new baby and my now older son. Oh! I guess something did happen - Thumper ran another half-marathon with his running pals, again meeting his personal goal that he had set for himself as far as time goes. 


Before Christmas, I started training for the Disneyland Half-Marathon of 2015 - it's a long ways away, but I need to start training now or I'll never make it. :) 3 days into my training, I fell down the stairs and broke BOTH of my feet. AAAHHH! So, now I'm hobbling along, caring for my two kids and just making it through. I'm already looking forward to having the walking boot off and be back to normal. The holidays were still great, despite that. :) 

We had a great Christmas - Cade got an authentic Buzz Lightyear that he thinks might just be the coolest thing ever and it was just a fun day with my loves. 

Right before New Years, we stayed the night at the beach and had a wonderful time just relaxing. It was much needed and I'm blessed that we were able to get it. Thumper and Cade went down to the beach and to the pool - because of my injury, I wasn't able to join them, but I did take some great pictures while my mom watched Elsie in the room. 




The end of the year festivities were wonderful with a game night at my mom's and enjoying some family and friends. 

A few other accomplishments for 2013: 
I completed my year-long goal to do a Pinterest Test and blog about it a few times a week. To check it out, go here. I'm not that great at sticking with things like this, so I was very impressed with myself. I'm hoping to do it again in 2014. 

Thumper read through the Bible in just under a year. 

Cade knows his alphabet and the sounds they make. 

Elsie can smile and lift her head. :) 

I'd say we've had a very good year and I'm looking forward to what is to come in 2014!

Happy New Year!