I always dreamed of having a mini Daniel. These two are the joy of my heart and I’m so in love. I spotted this cute little denim shirt for Ollie at H&M kids and couldn’t resist getting it since I knew his Daddy had the exact same one in his closet at home. And so naturally what had to follow was a photo shoot in complete matching outfits. My sweetheart’s birthday was on the 5th and I loved getting to celebrate him all weekend. We started out with a mini celebration at my parents house the night before with a couple gifts and some cake. Everly got to sing Happy Birthday to her Dada and watch him blow out his candle. She’s been really into that the last several months. She likes making pretend cakes and puts pretend candles on and loves singing the Happy Birthday song. So when it’s a real birthday with real cake it’s the best thing ever! That night the kids stayed with my parents and I got to take Dan out for a night stay at a hotel that our sweet friend blessed us with. The next day I took him out shopping and we ended up at a Guitar Center. I got to bless him with a brand new acoustic guitar! He has been playing his other guitar for the last 14 years so it was pretty special to walk away with a treasure that I know he’ll have forever and probably end up passing along to one of our kids. The next day, we went out to brunch with my whole family. My sisters and their kids came into town and it was so special being able to celebrate all together. Getting everyone together in one spot is more rare these days so it was such a treat. Today, our sweet Oliver decided to walk! He took his first official step by himself last week but decided he wanted to be a little more brave today and walk a lot more. I’d say 4 steps in a row so far. I just realized, thinking back on when Everly took her first steps that she did it on my birthday. And Ollie walked a couple days after his Daddy’s birthday. How cool! I’m a proud Momma for sure! I don’t really know how he’s growing so fast but I’m doing my best to enjoy every second of it. He’s been more vocal lately too and it’s the cutest thing to hear. He of course is still saying Dada all the time and still charming me with his dimples. Now, if I could only get him to sleep through the night, haha. This life with my sweet little family is such a dream come true. Every day I have so much to be thankful for! In just a few days Dan and I will be celebrating 16 years of marriage together. I just had this crazy thought…We started dating when I was 19, so on my birthday next month I’ll be able to say that I’ve been with him for half of my life! Wow. I love this life we’ve built together and can’t wait to see what the days ahead will hold.
It’s been a very action packed and beautiful December full of family fun and lots of memories made. We started out by going to Knotts Berry Farm with our family on the first weekend. We loved watching the kids do the rides and they were even brave enough to do some on their own! Everly had a blast with her cousin Brian, especially on the mini train ride. We visited Santa together, took some pictures, and ate cookies and candy canes. We ended the night on a real train ride with the whole family, watched the Christmas tree light up and the snow fall while we ate candy. It was the perfect way to kick off our Christmas season. The day after we traveled back home, we went out and picked out our tree together. It was so special realizing that it was our first year picking out our tree together as a complete family! We loved watching the kids have fun decorating, enjoying the lights, music, and all the magical moments we shared together. They’re at such a fun age! On the 8th, Everly turned 2 and a half! These are the days of princess dress wearing, singing and dancing to Frozen “Let it Go” on repeat daily, Blippi watching, and adventure loving. She is spunky, full of life, and is 100% a daddy’s girl. She’s brilliant and beautiful and I’m so in love with our special girl. Daniel had a photoshoot at a senior care residence the next day and we took the kids with us. They hosted a Christmas dinner and had their Christmas tree lighting. The whole property was covered in a beautiful Christmas light display and we loved that the kids got to experience it. On the second weekend, Daniel and I took a road trip out to watch our niece Kaylyn perform in her very first Nutracker performance. She was one of the angels and we loved getting to see her sweet face. She was so proud and we were so glad we got to be there for her. The next day, Daniel and I photographed our last wedding of the year in Solvang. The kids got to have some quality time with their Nana and Papa while we were away. The following day we visited Santa together at a local park. We got some adorable pictures of little Oliver on his lap. They had a cute little station set up where kids could write a letter to Santa and put it in a mail box. And they also provided food and drinks for everyone. It was a fun afternoon! On the 18th, Ollie turned 7 months old. He’s still the happiest baby ever and blowing our minds with how fast he’s learning and growing. He’s still crawling everywhere, pulling himself to stand up all the time, and charming us with his dimples. On the following day, Daniel led worship for our candlelight service at church, and then later that day we hosted a holiday Rollerskating party for our Rollerskating club, Coast Skate Club. Everly got to pull out her roller skates again and her Daddy pulled out his rollerblades. I loved watching her skate around with her Nana and Dada with the biggest grin on her face. More fun continued, and my dad took our Holiday family portraits the next day. There was a break in all the rainy weather and we were able to go out and get our first family photos as a whole family. My dad captured some really great treasures that we get to keep forever. Thank you Michael Kinney Photography! A couple days later we hosted a December Birthday and Christmas celebration at our house with my whole family. My grandpa, mom, dad, and sisters, along with their families all came over. We started out with making gingerbread houses together. I loved seeing Everly have so much fun with all her cousins. She has such a special relationship with each one of them. After the kids finished making their houses, we sang to my dad and sister, and they opened up some gifts. Then all the kids opened up their Christmas gifts to each other, and from their Nana and Papa. It was such a joy to watch. Daniel made our homemade spaghetti for everyone while we played “A Muppets Christmas Carol” movie. Then we all got cozy in our pj’s, my grandpa said a Christmas prayer for everyone, and my dad read “The Night Before Christmas,” with everyone piled up on the couch. We closed out the night with a gift exchange for the adults while the kids had a little dance party in the other room. So many fun memories made! On Christmas Eve, it was raining again so we stayed cozy inside and made sugar cookies together. I loved getting to make them and decorate them with Everly. We used my grandmas “Aunt E Sugar Cookie” recipe. She loved it and definitely ate her fair share of frosting and M&M’s during the process. On Christmas morning, we took our time and watched Everly and Oliver open their gifts from us. Everly got her Elsa castle from Santa, along with many other fun and exciting gifts. Oliver loved watching his sister, opened up his gifts, and was very content with the teethers he opened first. I just loved the sight of them sitting in front of the Christmas tree. I dreamed of having a family for so long and to finally experience all these amazing memories make my heart so full of gratitude. In the afternoon, we met up with my extended family, and in the evening, after the kids went to sleep, Daniel and I exchanged gifts to each other. We’ve been enjoying these last few days of the year inside while it’s been stormy outside. Our tree is still up and we’re still surrounded by the Christmas mess and I love it. I’m excited for this New Year and can’t wait to see what it holds. Being a mom of 2 now has had its challenges at times, but overall I’m so happy with all the memories we’ve shared together and know that I am living in my best days. Thank you Jesus for this year! Nothing is more precious than family.