Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peakin Christmas 2011

Monday we celebrated Christmas with the Peakin side in Cedar Rapids. It was such a great, relaxing time. The kids (that title includes Sean, Mike and Travis) played outside, we ordered food from HyVee so there was no food preparation stress or mess, we chatted, we just hung out. It was great!

I didn't take many pictures at our Peakin Christmas. It wasn't for lack of cuteness surrounding us, that's for sure! I may have had my hands full taking care of some kiddos. ;)

I did manage to get a few cute pics though. :)

My cutie pie neice, Abby Cadabby!

Tate and Tyler spent a lot of time playing on their 3DS's. They both got MarioKart and loved it!

Tyler, Leah and Tate...

The kids loved their gifts!

Leah Lou...

Sweet Kayla...

Tate opening his MarioKart game from Nana and Papa!

All of us kids went together and got Pat and Linda a huge (20x30) canvas of our family to hang on their wall! We were so excited to give it to them. I think they liked it... :)

Thank you, Sara and Travis for hosting us!

From Cedar Rapids, Mike and Sarah, Leah and Kayla and our family headed to Dubuque to surprise the kiddos with an overnight stay at Grand Harbor Hotel and Waterpark! They were all over the moon thrilled and were bouncing off of the walls when we arrived! We ordered Pizza Hut right when we arrived and then headed down to the waterpark. It was so much fun to hang out and let the kids go wild. :) And go wild they did! I was EXHAUSTED by 9pm and was asleep before any of the adults. :) This is unheard of for me! We awoke bright and early and all headed down to the restaurant to eat breakfast before heading back to the waterpark. Believe it or not, I didn't take A SINGLE picture while at the hotel! I was pretty busy feeding, holding, changing a little one and doing a bit of napping. :) It didn't even cross my mind to pull the camera out! Darn it! Hopefully Sarah got a few pics of the night!

Upon our return from Dubuque, it was "get my house organized extraveganza". It was embarrassing how my house looked. I am feeling so much better now that things are put away. I haven't put Christmas away yet though! The tree and decorations will stay up until after the new year. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What a special Christmas Day!

I am not even sure how to go about writing about our Christmas Day. It was incredibly special and memorable for so many reasons. One reason, is one of those things I cannot be specific about, but what I will say is that we got a new addition to our family and we are over the moon about it! :)

This Christmas, we spent the afternoon with Tate's birth family. We always celebrate Christmas with his birth father Brandon who we love and adore as well as Tate's Grandparents Marsha and Gary. We love all of these incredible people so much...they are our family. This year we got to add some family to the celebration and we were so excited about it! Brandon's brother and his wife and son joined us this year and Tate finally got to meet his Uncle Austin (Brandon's brother), Aunt Jill (Brandon's sister-in-law) and his cousin Ayden! Oh my goodness, it was amazing!

I am in love with these 2 pictures!!!

Tate with Grandma Shingledecker...

Tate and his cousin Ayden. These 2 had a great time playing together, laughing, talking and just hanging out. It's like they'd always known each other. It was so fun to compare and contrast (although there wasn't much contrasting to do as Tate and Ayden are so much alike!) Tate and Ayden. We found out that Tate and Ayden have the same hands...they got them from Brandon and Austin! Also they have many of the same habits. It was so nice to just chat and have a great honestly felt like we had all been family for years!

Tate with his Aunt, Uncle and cousin!

There may have been a gift or 2 exchanged at this little gathering as well. ;) Tate was ECSTATIC about his Angry Birds shirt from Brandon! Seriously, he immediately removed his Hawkeye shirt and put on his new "favorite shirt ever"! :)

And he has been a guitar playing fanatic since he opened his Paper Jamz from Grandma and Grandpa!

I don't know, maybe he'll be a rock star some day!

It was an incredible afternoon spent with amazing people and eating way too much yummy food! Tate is so blessed to have so many people who love him so much!

Then, from this Christmas gathering we headed directly to get our biggest Christmas gift ever! ;) It was an unbelievable day. Emotional, wonderful,

We will never forget Christmas Day 2011!

Santa came!

Christmas Eve night, Tate and I arrived home around 10:30pm from Des Moines. Sean and I put Tate to bed in our bed so that he couldn't get up in the morning and run out to see what Santa got him before we could catch him. :) After he went to bed, we got everything ready.

Santa enjoyed the special cookies Tate made for him and even left Tate a note. Tate was very excited about the fact that Santa left him a note!

I love the morning bed head and sleepy eyes while getting his Santa gifts! These little Angry Birds bean bags may be Tate's new favorite things...really, he LOVED these. This boy is easy to please!

He's going to be learning some new moves now that he has Dance Central 2!

After getting his stocking stuff and Santa gifts, we opened the gifts we had gotten for each other. Then, it was time to get ready and head off to Muscatine for Christmas with some very special people! :)

(And I can't NOT mention that we had 4 stockings this year!!!! YAY!) :)

Christmas Eve in Des Moines

Sean had to work this Christmas Eve and Cassie and her family were in Storm Lake for the Burback Christmas and Chris, Brenda and family hadn't arrived in Iowa yet. Tate, Mom, Dad and I decided to celebrate in Des Moines with my grandpa, Baldersons, Adams' and Gehlings. It was a small group, but so much fun. Tate, Olivia and Jazzy played great together and it was so nice to get to chat with everyone.

My Grandpa is so sweet and always so proud of his family...

Little Jazzy is so gorgeous! My camera liked her. :)

Olivia and Jazzy with Great Grandpa Clodfelder...

Tate with Great Grandpa Clodfelder...

Grandpa with his 3 girls...

And they can still be silly for pictures. Guess Grandpa didn't get the memo that this was the one he was supposed to make a funny face in...ha. :)

Olivia and Jazzy...

My little poser...

Tate and Jazzy...

And the kids waited patiently for present opening. Tate said, "Look Mommy, I am very special!" Oh my goodness...

Mom got the girls super cute purses filled with all kinds of fun stuff. They were happy. :)

Tate got lots of cars and guys and an airplane and a Memory game...he loved everything!

And he got these too. Hilarious!

The time with the family was too short, but so nice! Thank you, Cathy for hosting!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

bursting with love

God never stops amazing me with His plans. He definitely knows what we need even when we thought we needed something different. I am so silly to think I know what is best for me. I don't know how to stop trying to control my life! My life is so much more fullfilled by His plans than it would have been with my own.

I am just feeling so incredibly blessed right now. Even though I have worry about how our life may be playing out (when we thought we wanted it to play out differently), I just know that what we're doing right now is "right" for us and JUST what we should be doing. I know that Sean feels the same way. And yet again, God surprised us with what we were handed. And though the road ahead may be bumpy, we are ready to take this path layed before us with gusto!

And I honestly didn't know my heart could love this much. I am bursting. What an incredible Christmas this will be! God is always good, even when times are hard, He is ALWAYS good!

Preschool Christmas Program

Tate's preschool Christmas program was yesterday. He and Ava were so sweet and did a great was one of the cutest things I've ever seen!

He was soooo proud!

Ava did everything perfectly. She knew to stand straight and tall and did all the gestures for the songs perfectly. She has an amazing memory and it showed in her performance! So cute!

When the show was over, Tate apparently wasn't done...

Ava's Grandma Erika and Granny Linda were there to watch...

Tate was so proud of his art projects he had created...

It was such a cute little production they put on. I am just so happy with Tate's preschool and his teachers...they are amazing!