We had a great Christmas and New Years. We visited with family and friends, enjoyed each other's company, and spent a lot of time at home watching movies, reading books, and playing new games. Not sure if it is my increasing age or the fact that we live farther out in the "country" but these days I would much rather stay home then attend lots of activities, etc.
Monday we rang in the New Year with the Neuharths--an annual tradition we love. All the kids made it up until midnight (this was easy for Charlotte, my little night owl), but are still recovering a few days later! We have lots to look forward to in 2013; the arrival of the last member of our quartet in May, Charlotte's first IEP and starting school, and Will's first day of Kindergarten next fall just to name a few....throw in a few birthday parties and a couple vacations and 2013 should be a year to remember.
However, before we move to 2013, I want to review 2012. I did this last year and have really enjoyed looking back at that post over the year. I also picked one picture from each month that represents what I thought was the best part of the that time period.
So without further adieu, 2012....
2012 started with some very unseasonable warm weather for a Wisconsin winter. Snow pants and boots were forgotten for a few weeks as we broke out the light coats and took frequent walks. Charlotte continued to work hard at her goal of independent walking, learning how to stand from a sitting position during this month.
Our annual dells trip with the Neuharths was in early February. As usual, the kids had a blast, and Katherine was able to forget the fact that she had to miss her 100th day of school celebration. My water-loving children have gotten quite brave in the wave pool and water slides, and Charlotte loved the kiddie areas. Charlotte's expressive language took a giant jump around this time and she impressed us daily with new signs.
Our only large snowstorm of the winter happened in early March, followed by a week of freakishly warm temperatures...topping out in the mid-80's! All the outside play time helped Charlotte decide it was time to give up crawling for good, and our baby girl officially became a fulltime walker in March. We couldn't have been more proud of her. Katherine and Will also added a new skill; riding 2-wheel bike sans training wheels. Katherine also lost her first tooth this month (though the dentist had to give her a hand and "wiggle" it out).
I couldn't pick just one picture to for April. Mike and I left the kids with Missy and got away for a night by ourselves in early April, only to return to a very sick little girl. Charlotte ended up with a bad case of croup, though she recovered really quickly. We took an impromptu trip to Madison over the kid's spring break and visited the zoo. At the end of the month we welcomed Tucker, my brother and sister-in-law's little boy, and much to Katherine's delight we went to see him when he was just one day old.
May reminded me how lucky I am to be the mom of my three kids; they truly bring me so much joy on a daily basis and I am so grateful for that. We had a get together for mother's day in early May to celebrate just that, and I enjoyed time with my own mother and grandmother. May also brought some great weather, lots of time outdoors, and the installation of a new garden and lots of new trees (we are attempting to fill our large, mostly vacant, yard!).
June! Probably my favorite month of the year, as it marks the beginning summer. I welcomed the change in routine and thoroughly enjoyed the first entire summer in our new house. The kids started summer school and swim lessons, as well as a soccer camp and t-ball for Will. Missy was off for the summer, and frankly nothing beats having your best friend 5 minutes away! We spent many mornings sipping coffee and chatting, helping each other out with the kids, and enjoying each other's company. Charlotte turned two in early June and we celebrated with another big bash out at Kate and Bill's.
We extended our summer fun into July with plenty of beach time, to the delight of all involved. The older kids were kept busy with all of their activities and Missy was able to help me out with them during Charlotte's weekly therapy sessions. The fourth of July was HOT, and we decided to take a trip south to visit Mike's grandparents with a stop for a round of mini-golf and dinner at the Rainforest Cafe on the way home. It was during July when Mike and I started discussing the possibility of expanding our family.
August came too soon in my opinion. I always wish summer could last a bit longer, however, we did our best to make the best of what time we had left. As summer activities wound down for the kids, we made sure to do all the things we had not yet done before school started in early September; we hit the beach a few more times, the zoo, a weekend trip to visit Mike's family, State Fair, and planned many play dates with friends. At the end of the month, right after "meet the teacher" night for both kiddos, we drove up north and spent a few days on the beach with my family. Little did anyone else know (and wouldn't know until November!), right before we left for vacation we found out that baby #4 was on its way...coming in May.
Katherine started 1st grade at the beginning of September, and Will started 4K a few days later. Both kids were happy to be back at school with their friends, and excited to get to know their new teachers! Charlotte's therapy continued with her once a week schedule of PT/OT/Speech. It was during the beginning of September that we started to notice subtle changes in Charlotte's behavior. She seemed tired a lot, battled some icky intestinal junk, and was hard to engage in play. At first, we didn't think much of it, but towards the end of September it started to become worrisome. I thought maybe it was a food allergy and started by cutting out dairy, though it didn't seem to help much. Will turned 5 in mid-September and was thrilled with his gift--a new basketball hoop, though a bit disappointed because he thought after he saw the pole installed it was going to be a zipline. At the end of the month the kids celebrated turning 5 and 7 with a bash out at the farm.
Well, if there was one month I do not want to re-live this year it would be October. Charlotte's funky behavior progressed to being incredibly worrisome, and by mid-October after two trips to the pediatrician, her blood work came back abnormal. Long story short, almost 2 years to the day of her open heart surgery (which was the same day as Katherine's 7th birthday!), we ended up in the hospital for a few days and after a bone marrow biopsy to rule out the ever so scary leukemia, we came away with a diagnosis of Celiac disease. Over the next 6 weeks, she slowly got better as gluten was now eliminated from her diet, and an improvement in all areas of her development was seen. I really don't know what else happened in October, as it seems like such a blur now. All I know is that we could not have made it through those few weeks without the incredible support of our family and friends.
Things were looking up come November as Charlotte's health improved as did the morale of the rest of us! Mike and I got away for the night in early November to celebrate his birthday, and a few days later finally shared the news of baby number four with family and friends. By this point I was feeling much better, and a lot of the worrisome days of early pregnancy were behind us. The kids were super excited to be gaining one more brother or sister and both agreed they wanted the baby to be a boy so Will would have a brother. Thanksgiving at Kate & Bill's towards the end of the month, as well as a quick trip to Mike's parent's house was a great way to end the month.
Christmas concerts, visits to see Santa, birthday parties, and holiday preparations filled our December days. Charlotte continued to amaze us with her crazy amount of energy and growth in all areas (her speech is really taking off these days!), and the older kids were patiently awaiting the arrival of Santa. Mid-December brought our anxiously awaited anatomy ultrasound where we found out that the baby in my belly has a healthy heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, umbilical cord, spine, and everything else, as well as a...penis. Yes, we were shocked as the tech told us she was 1000% sure that this baby is a boy, and we all could not have been more thrilled. Christmas this year was a blast, the kids are all at such fun ages and it is always nice to see relatives and friends.
And there you have it. 2012 in a nutshell. It was a good year, all things considered. We are incredibly grateful and blessed by all we have been given this year and look forward to all 2013 holds!
Happy New Year everyone!