Hello 2014!

Time to ring in the new year!

We didn’t have a ton of plans for New Year’s Eve because Ken had to work, but we went out to dinner with some friends in the evening. We went here-

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Yep, Mellow Mushroom. It’s a favorite of the locals, and it is exactly like the name sounds. Vegan entrees, hipster decorations, and edgy lighting/colors. We totally fit in because we are soooooo hipster, ya know?

Ha, no not at all. But they really do have good pizza! Ken and I shared a pesto pizza. As we all know, you can put pesto on any food and it makes it ten times more delicious, so of course this pizza didn’t stand a chance of making it home for leftovers.

After dinner we went home and put Kenny down and tried to find the perfect movie to ring in the new year. After several failed attempts (movies not available, free rentals not working, google chrome not working) and our confidence in our ability with technology a bit shaken, we decided to settle with the movie Clue. Ken had seen it before, but I hadn’t. Overall, I thought it was pretty funny.

We then did the whole martinelli toast at midnight and called it a night.

The next day we had a lot of time to reflect on the year. 2013 was a really good year for our small family. Kenny was born, we graduated college, we moved across the country, and Ken started his first job. We feel so blessed and appreciative of our many opportunities and this fun adventure we are having here in South Carolina. Some days it is hard to not have any family nearby (ugh like when I was sick a few weeks ago), but overall we are really enjoying ourselves. We have learned a lot living here in the South. Even though I grew up in a big city, I have never lived this close to poverty before. It is really humbling to see people struggle to get the basics- food, a home, heat, clothing, safety, etc. We’ve had many eye-opening experiences, and I think it has been good for us to see these struggle and to try to learn to be more grateful and humble.

Most of all, I feel like in 2013 I have learned the most about myself. Becoming a mother has really helped me learn who I am, and the important role I have raising this little one with Ken. Motherhood has made me confront some of my weaknesses and helped me learn to just try my best everyday. It has helped me realize again and again that no one is perfect (especially me) and that’s okay. I have learned to take one day at a time and to enjoy the here and the now. I know that little Kenny thinks the world of me, and it doesn’t really matter if the dishes don’t get done for the day. Or the vacuuming. Or the laundry. Or if we are eating pancakes for dinner for the third time this week.

God has entrusted Ken and I with this little spirit and raising him truly is the most important thing. The joy Kenny has brought us this year truly is immeasurable. I am grateful for 2013 and the happiness it has brought my family and I.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us! I can tell it’s going to be a good year. :)

Christmas in Cincinnati

This year Christmas was really good to us. We were able to drive (7 long hours) to Cincinnati to spend it with my family. We also saw some friends that we haven’t seen in waaaay too long.

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“Mary” started attacking Tut during the Nativity skit.

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Marli and Jake copying one another. That girls sure loves her Uncle Jake.

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We were able to go to the mall and let the little ones play and let out some energy. Love seeing these two cousins interact and play together. I hope they remain good friends.

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And we played lots of fun games together! Euchre (Jake is still cursed), Headbanz, Gulf, Apples to Apples, and the Phrase/Picture game. Gosh, the above picture. Jacob Dorsey is such a good artist and is able to capture phrases perfectly in drawings. And my poor mom. Her writing arm is in a sling right now, so she struggled with trying to draw in the given time period. Sometimes she would draw hilarious pictures where we were suppose to assume various details (Where is the toilet paper, Mom? Silly, it’s in the present!) and write the most vaguest phrases (a detailed drawing with a pictured animal/object interacting with a person would turn into “someone needing help”.) So many laughs.

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And then of course, I had to include this picture. While Jake was taking out the trash, the bag split. It could have been on a Glad Trash Bag commercial. So perfect.

Overall, it was a success! We were even able to squeeze in an extra two days in Cincinnati that we weren’t planning on. Best. Husband. Ever. Ken had to go to church in jeans and work boot because we weren’t planning on staying for Sunday. Loved it.

And Kenny really enjoyed opening presents. He sort of got the hang of it. Hopefully he understands more for when it’s his birthday (two weeks away!).

Also, Christmas is so much more fun with a kid. It’s so fun to see him open presents and get excited to play with “new” toys. It’s going to be really hard not to spoil this kid.

Hope you all had a great Christmas! :)

Kenny’s First Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. I always have. It used to be an excuse to stuff my face as much as humanly possible, but it has now evolved into a nice holiday to allow me to reflect on what I am truly grateful for. The stuffing my face is definitely still there (as conveyed this year in my ability to rip my pants. whoops), but it’s more than that now. It’s a time for family and friends.

So this year what am I most thankful for?

I am so grateful for my little family. I have such an amazing husband who does so much for me, and I have a beautiful little healthy boy. What more could I ask for?

So how did we spend our Thanksgiving this year? We drove up to DC and visited some of Ken’s friends who live there still.

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^^^Kenny’s first Thanksgiving.^^^

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^^^And here they are with Marcus who is Ken’s best friend growing up. Kenny’s middle name is Marcus.^^^

And since we were in DC, we hit up some of the museums. We went to the Natural History Museum and the American History Museum. I loved it! My favorite exhibit was the First Lady exhibit. They had all of the gowns displayed that the first ladies have worn. So cool.

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^^^It was freezing in DC while we were up there.^^^

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^^^The boys enjoyed the dinosaur exhibit the best.^^^

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^^^And baby boy was definitely worn out by the time we finished. He fell asleep on the metro.^^^

Overall, fun trip! I loved seeing some of Ken’s old friends, and it was a lot of fun to see some of where Ken grew up.

Halloween 2013

Halloween

Can you tell who we dressed up as?

Kenny is Pikachu, Ken is Ash, and I am Misty.

I am pretty sure that only our generation even had a clue as to what we were, and even then people couldn’t really tell. Everyone thought Kenny was a bee. It didn’t really help that there were two other babies at the party dressed as bees. Oh well, at least we did the obligatory first Halloween pics with the babe. Kenny, sorry we are lame parents and dressed you up in something you will never understand.

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Back to the UT

Phew! 4000-mile round trip in less than 72 hours? Yep, we made it to Utah and back to South Carolina in less than three days, and it definitely was a whirlwind! We had a ton of fun, though. We packed in as many activities as we could. (So much so that even though Ken and I were exhausted because we had to get up at 2:00 am to start our adventure, we didn’t want to take a nap.)

We went to Utah for the weekend because Ken’s grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary! It was a blast to be able to participate in the celebrations and to be able to learn more about Ken’s heritage. I really enjoyed it!

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<<Aren’t they the cutest? I admire these two so much. I hope that I can be just as awesome as these two when I’m a grandparent.>>

We also took family pictures since the whole gang was in Utah. Right when we were about to go outside and take the pictures, it started raining. (Come on Utah. Really? We went to UT to get a break from the rain. I guess we brought it with us.) Thankfully, we were able to take some in a church with an awesome backdrop so you couldn’t tell that it was in a church. (But that backdrop really accentuated mine and Kenny’s paleness. Sorry that I passed that trait on to ya, kid.)

Family Pictures

Family

While we were taking the pictures, we noticed that it had stopped raining outside, so we decided to take a few outside as well.

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We also got to hang out with Stacy and Levi, but I didn’t get a picture of it. I almost did, but Stacy, Levi, and Ken all refused to kiss a random boy who asked to be kissed on the cheek for a scavenger hunt. I don’t really blame them, though.

Also, we got to see both Suzanne’s and Christine’s new houses! They are both very nice houses, and it makes me really excited for when Ken and I will be able to buy a home. (At least 2 more years until we settle down into a more permanent location.)

And coincidentally we were in town for Katie Cutler’s mission homecoming! It was so fun to be able to see her (and Kelsey Kerr!) again after serving for a year and a half.

Homecoming

<<This picture was taken 2.5 years ago, but it’s the only picture I was able to find of the 3 of us.>>

While we were in the chapel listening to Katie give her awesome talk, Danielle nabbed Kenny and played with him for 3/4 of Sacrament meeting. It was great! I don’t think I’ve been able to listen that well to talks in a long time! And Ken and I were even able to hold hands during a bit of it since we weren’t constantly entertaining the babe. It was pretty refreshing.

Oh yeah, and Stacy and Kennedy were at the homecoming as well. Wish I had taken a picture of everyone.

Anyway, I love the UT and visiting it this past weekend made me feel like I was just coming back home. I wish we didn’t have to say goodbye to it.

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Grateful

I just have to say how grateful I am for my life. Unfortunately, with how busy life is, I don’t reflect as much as I should on how lucky I am. These late night feedings have allowed me to take time and realize how good I have it. I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I have a kind, caring husband who listens to all of my ridiculous worries and knows how to make me laugh. I have a wonderful family who is always so willing to help out. I have great friends who will listen to me talk about poopy diapers for way longer than normal. (That is if it’s normal to talk about poopy diapers. Sorry about that, Stacy.) I have the gospel in my life, which brings so much joy and peace to me.

Above all, I am so grateful for my knowledge of God and the ability to pray.

Life is sometimes hard and overwhelming at times, but life is good. Life is real good.

Baby Shower

You know what’s awesome? When your sister is willing to drive four hours to throw you a baby shower. Now that’s a good sister. Plus, she had the cutest decorations!

You know what else is awesome? That Stacy made all of the food and was willing to let us use her place.

Tracey also organized some fun games. I only got a couple of the games documented, though.

We did pin the mustache on the baby-

And guess what candy bar is melted into the diaper-

And as always, it was good to see friends!

Best picture of the day, though?

Nothing out of the ordinary.