'Twas a Merry Christmas
February: One for the Books

Way, Way Back in January

What happened in January, you ask?

We turned the calendar over to a new year.

Brennan turned five.

Matt turned *&(*&*.

I went on three church-related retreats.

And all the beautiful mess of life in between. 

The beginning of January marked two months of the fullest, some times the hardest, and some times the most rewarding months personally and for our family. So as it began, I took a deep breath and dove in...

Brennan thoroughly enjoyed building the Lego sets he received for Christmas.  

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There have been a number of things Matt and I have had to adjust and tweak when it comes to holidays and establishing our family traditions, not the least of which is the timing of when we give our main Christmas gifts to the children. We had our legitimate reasons for waiting to give Brennan his gift, mainly that we had no time to put it together before Christmas. So when it took more time and made more of a mess to put this game table together than what we anticipated, we both agreed that for the sake of, oh so much (including our marriage), we would do everything we could to make sure Christmas gifts were put together before Christmas. Go figure.

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One beautiful princess.

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A week into the New Year, I had the amazing opportunity to join our church staff on their retreat. Knowing what a close-knit staff we have and hearing stories of how much fun their retreats can be, I secretly hoped there would be a reason for me to be included at some point or another. So when I was invited to be a part of the retreat to begin some bridge building between staff and Vestry while our pastor is on sabbatical, I did a little jig of joy! And it was awesome. I think very highly of our staff, and it was a privilege to join them in worship, time in the Word, church planning, and some humorous rounds of Wii Winter Olympics! And you know what? I not-so-secretly hope to be able to do it again some time.

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It’s a good thing we recycle in this family, because I have two artists who constantly ask for paper to draw and color. 

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On Saturday, January 10th, we hosted six of Brennan’s buddies for a Wild Kratts birthday party. Matt was a huge helper planning all the animal-themed games and running last-minute errands for me, and I also couldn’t have done it without my Momma. She made the creature power suits which, to this day, are a hit with B & K and other kiddos who came.

Ready to party!

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I thought that picture looked familiar. We took a similar picture 2 years ago:

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Our boy enthusiastically welcomed each guest who walked through our door. It was so fun to see his hospitable heart that looked like it would bust with excitement.

We had six creature power discs each guest wore and took home: chameleon, cheetah, shark, kangaroo, a beetle, and a butterfly. The idea behind Wild Kratts is that the power disc gives you the specific animal’s abilities, “powers” (i.e. a cheetah is super duper fast). For each game they played, they earned their power disc they could pull on and off. 

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They successfully inspected for (plastic) bugs in our backyard. 

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"Cheetah tag" to pull off their tails was a hit, as was the game "sharks and minnows". 

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Kangaroo races.

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Butterflies busting out of their cocoons. 

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We were incredibly blessed with a rare January day that was warm and beautiful enough to be outside! That would be a first for us in the few times we’ve attempted a small birthday party for Brennan. I don’t know how we would’ve done it otherwise. 

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Oh, my little guy. My precious little guy. Happy 5th birthday!

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The next day all five of us (Molly included) hit the park for some soccer and a snack. A really yummy snack: leftover birthday cupcakes. Can you tell someone is happy about it? I think Molly enjoyed some crumbs herself.

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Winter was taking its toll on our garden/lunch spot, but not on our delight in being there with my girl.

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They slept in these creature power suits. They ran errands in these creature power suits. They played for hours in these creature power suits. 

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January 16th…he officially turned 5! He chose a chocolate donut for his birthday breakfast, and I threw in the eggs for token protein. By the way, it’s morning, but you can’t tell…it looks painfully dark outside. Goes to show you how early my birds rise.

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His preschool class was ready to celebrate his big day. 

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Matt, Kensie and I joined Brennan for lunch, and KJ and I hung around for his birthday snack time at the end of school. 

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Brennan didn’t choose anything homemade for his birthday. Instead, he chose Chuy’s, which I have no objections to whatsoever. He wanted to be sure about one thing: that they would sing to him.

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A very exciting birthday present for both my boys: a trip to Charlottesville to watch the Broncos play in the Superbowl with Matt’s family!

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Some great buddies, Lauren and Cayden, at our special park we usually enjoy all to ourselves.

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My dear husband--he’s the most gracious and supportive man I know. Our Vestry retreat was scheduled for the weekend of Matt’s birthday, so he kindly and sacrificially watched the kids Friday and Saturday and let us move his birthday celebration to the following weekend. The Sunday of his birthday, however, we managed to slip in a few celebratory moments, like breakfast at Rudy’s before church and an afternoon watching the NFL playoffs with guacamole, queso, and a tower of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

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I love them. They certainly can be at each other’s throats and know exactly what buttons to push, but then there are the sweetest times they know they are best friends. And they wait patiently playing games with rocks and observing birds while we wait for our neighbor to get her hair cut.

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This lady! She and her husband, Ron, came to the hospital the day I was born with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. She also was my third grade teacher. Ron and Tycha are the most special of family friends. We got to take them dinner one night, and these two couldn’t get enough of her reading to them. She and her husband are some of the most courageous people I know, walking with dignity and joy in the midst of their battles with cancer. I’m very sad to say that Ron passed away a week and a half ago, and I head to El Paso on Friday for his service. Ron bravely gave me my first job; we have lots of sweet memories together as families who traveled and spent special occasions together; he was a man who loved his family wholeheartedly; and he worked with excellence and integrity. I love them both very much. 

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This was the first of five ice days, and the most legitimate one with the most accumulation. It makes you shiver just looking at it, doesn’t it? Ahem. Brennan had four school days cancelled. FOUR! We were a bit stir crazy to say the least.

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He’s lucky he didn’t break his neck sliding on that ice. As his luck would have it, however, he would pull a muscle in his neck doing push ups <smirk>.

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Soaking up our ice-morning before Matt left for work with hot chocolate, popcorn and a game of “Sorry”.

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As part of Matt’s extended birthday celebration, we took him bowling. All three of my peeps beat me. My only claim to fame while bowling was when my daddy, after I gutted ball after ball, bet me $100 if I could get a strike on my next turn. Low and behold, I did! I pulled it off and he painstakingly gave me the $100.

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Then we treated the birthday boy to lunch at Mighty Fine. These two love themselves some MF!

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The last weekend in January was also my last retreat of the month, this time for Missions Team. The boys had already jetted off to Virginia for their birthday/Superbowl extravaganza, so my Momma graciously came into town to spend the weekend with my girls. There was something magically special about that one-on-one time for KJ and her Mees.

I literally thought this might be the last picture of me and Molly. Our time was quickly drawing to a close with our precious girl. 

We had another great retreat with people I love and highly respect, and I was able to go home to a lovely dinner and relaxing night with my Momma and Kensie-girl.

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We made it through January, took another deep breath, and dove into February for one more crazy, blessed, oh-my-gracious, what-a-ride, memorable month!



At five years, Brennan weighs 49.4 pounds (90th percentile) and is 45.5 inches tall (90th percentile). Has stayed in the same percentiles since birth <grin>.


It’s now June 29th, and I realized last night that I hadn’t asked Matt to move over his pictures from his phone now for 6 months. Ay carumba! So here are a few pics he took from the month of January, including his trip with Brennan to Charlottesville.

Nothin’ like playin’ football in the airport to kill time. He looks as serious as ever.

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Because of weather, the boys’ flight was redirected through D.C., so they took advantage of it and met up with Mac, Julie and the twins for dinner. I was a tad jealous. It was a bright spot in their day after the travel chaos.

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Showing his moves off to Papa.

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The adults got to go out one night for a nice dinner to celebrate Ruth’s birthday.

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Our littlest nephew, Luca, had his 100th day celebration, a Korean tradition that was special Brennan and Matt could be there for. And of course, Kim did an amazing job hosting and making what looks like a scrumptious menu.

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Cousin love.

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Brennan and Jadon had a fabulous time together!

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We love getting to visit Micah when visiting Charlottesville.

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Super Bowl Sunday! These lifetime Broncos fans are ready for the big game and the party. It turned out to be a very sad game.

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Here’s to next year’s Bronco season!






Brennan's bday looked so fun with all the games & special vest ! What a lucky girl you are to have won $100, poor daddy but I guess he knows how to motivate his daughter to succeed :)!

Sorry to hear about your dear friends loss to cancer. Hugs!

Glad you enjoyed your retreats!
Always love seeing how the kids are growing & fun times , we miss so much .

love the creative and detailed bday party! my fave pic is of B in his cowboy hat on the fence. stunning! January is a packed month! Maybe we can move it next year so it's not so close to Christmas!? Hadn't seen that pic of us. Love it and all the Super bowl pics. What a special trip! No matter the outcome of the game :)

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