We're alive! And even better than that, we are enjoying what I am continually told is a crazily mild winter. Apparently the snow normally stacks up taller than your kids all winter, noses and ears freeze off, and the sun refuses to be seen for months on end...but not this year! I was preparing for the worst and it hasn't been bad at all! I am secretly hoping we can somehow luck out like this for the next 7 years?! I've even been able to run outside most of the winter!
So...yeah...kind of slacked off for the last couple of months. Thanksgiving in a nutshell was: awesome. We went to Iowa to my sister Karen's house and 2 of our other siblings came too, so it was a big half of the family party in Iowa! We had a blast talking, doing karaoke, laughing, and going on hikes. We even managed to get Karen and Lisel back from Black Friday shopping at Wal-Mart without being trampled to death! It was a close call. The week went by too fast, but we were just so so grateful to get to spend time together!
Uncle Dave is so fun! This was just before that bouncing tree branch broke and they all fell to the ground! Mason, Joseph, Charly, Meredith, Porter
Uncle Taylor reading books - Tate, Pepper, Ash, Aaron
Pepper and Carsten
Story WAS asleep...Went to check on her and found a group of adoring fans playing with her
Christmas was really fun too (minus Taylor and I being sick with crazy nasty colds for the whole two weeks!). We were lucky enough to go to Canada and spend Christmas with Taylor's family. They always have a ton of extended family around and playing games, eating too much food, and having fun are good staples in the vacation. Taylor also got to go quading and we went to a Flames hockey game. The Christmas Eve nativity and testimony meeting at Grandma and Grandpa's was wonderful as always. Pepper enjoyed Christmas much more this year and that of course made us enjoy it more too! She had fun opening presents and being a part of the excitement. She loved being up there and getting to play with cousins all the time - especially Royal. They play really well - particularly when Royal smothers the play kitchen food with Chapstick and then gives it to Pepper to eat. Pepper took a good lick and decided it wasn't her favorite, but was polite enough to pretend to take licks when Royal continued to offer it. haha! Smart girl. This was all caught on the secret video Kylie was taking of them playing. She is just such a funny girl. She cracks us up all the time! Grandma and Kylie took our girls to hear Darby sing at a recital while we were at the hockey game. Pepper decided to sing her own solo in between the other singers and busted out, "ABCs! ABCs, ABCs!" for all to hear. Then on the way home they asked Pepper if she wanted to eat a treat when they got home she replied, "No thanks, I'm alright." Is she normal?!
Orr/Christensen cousins! Pepper, Story, Livy, Benson, Kale, Royal, Luke
Pepper and Mommy on the frozen lake behind Rod and Brenda's house
With Grandma and Grandpa Pierson
Royal and Pepper in the tub
Not sure why this was so fun, but we saw these two lying on the stairs quite a few times
January brought us back home and into birthday season! Taylor turned the big 2-7 (which somehow catapults you into your "late" twenties and feels much older than 26...) and we celebrated with a small party and cake and ice cream. He's been super busy writing a paper and studying all month...and attending conferences all over the country!
Pepper celebrated her second birthday! So fun! She is proud to tell you that she is "two!" and loves to ride her new rocking horse that she got. She is talking all the time and loves to sing...even songs I didn't know she knew...and occasionally make up her own. She still loves to read and enjoys playing with other kids more and more. She currently loves letters and carries the letter magnets from the fridge around with her and even sleeps with them. Tonight the lowercase u and n are tucked in for a good nights sleep (she always groups them by shape or letter). She now knows all of her letter sounds and loves to sing "the A says ah! the B says buh!..." She's hilarious to listen to while we're driving... "A tractor! There it its! I found it! Oh, a bus! A big big bus! Beep beep! A car, a red car! Yook! I see it. OH! The J says juh! There's a big big J! And an O - ahh ahh!" She just talks and talks and talks and never runs out of really exciting things to tell me. It's fun too as she learns and thinks more. She will say things that show me she has really been thinking about things and putting them together and making sense of her world. And her memory is crazy. She will talk about things and ask me if I remember things that happened months ago and that we haven't talked about forever. She's just fun and full of energy and personality and we love her more and more all the time! Oh, and she randomly decided to go poop on the "big girl potty" a few weeks ago. Sweet. She does a great job at telling us when she needs to go. It's only forgotten when she is at someone else's house or I am not around to tell. But, hey, I wasn't even planning on potty training her yet, so I'm just really excited for her when she goes!
Reading a birthday card. She took them very seriously...
She's cute. :) That's a new birthday hat from Grandma. She still loves hats!
Happy Birthday breakfast! Pancakes are her favorite. Little does she know they are whole wheat and I add spinach to them!
Petting a horse at Farm Park. So fun! Tons of farm animals to watch and pet, feed, etc.
Story is 8 months and becoming more and more of a person all the time. It is fun to watch her grow up! She is finally cutting her first two bottom teeth and is drooling like crazy and chewing on everything. She sits like a champ and usually only falls over when she is pushed by her charming older sister (who says, "We don't push. Makes Story feel sad, and Pepper feel sad too." yet still pushes her...) She can't crawl, but is getting closer to trying and can still move around a bit by scooting on her bum. It's hilarious to watch - she rocks back and forth and there she scoots! She is really chill and content most of the time, but is really social. She loves to be talked to and gives the best smiles and laughs! She really enjoys watching Pepper and laughing at her (and screaming when Pepper steals her toys, which is frequently...still working on that...) People say she is tiny, but she feels really chubby to me! Maybe just because Pepper was so small. I really have no idea how much she weighs these days...in a few weeks I'll let you know! She also loves her Daddy and always lights up with a huge smile when she sees him. Her Jenny jump up is the coolest thing that ever happened in her world and she loves loves loves to jump! She laughs and smiles and jumps and laughs! So great.
Story the jumping bean!
Her serious side
And, I am nearly 15 weeks pregnant. WHAT? I know. It's insane. I mostly prefer to stay in denial and pretend I am just getting fat. :) I haven't told anyone but family and some close friends here (that I see all the time!), but not because I care if people know, just because I haven't really felt like it...and its kind of fun not telling! It's also really easy since it is winter and I am always wearing big coats. Maybe I am just rebelling. ha! So, I probably sound ungrateful and you are all thinking, "Wow, that poor unwanted child!" Not so. I really am grateful that we can have kids so easily (remember how it took us a long time to have Pepper?) and we are excited to have another sweet little spirit in our family! I was just SO NOT READY to be pregnant again and have another baby! Hello? Pepper and Story are 16 months apart and these two will be 14! Will I completely lose my mind?! Possible. We were using contraception... If there is one thing I have learned in our family its that our children are coming in the Lord's time. Apparently this little one needs to come now, and I am just praying I will have the faith and patience and endurance to be a good mom to all three of our little munchkins!