Saturday, December 31, 2011


Kai. Where do I start. This year we have watched you become a big brother, leave a country that had become your home, begin life again in the U.S, move yet again, start a new school, begin to learn to read...and a billion other things. And you have done amazing. You are amaze me, son. You make us laugh. All. The. Time. You say the funniest things (that I am committed to write down more). You are this perfect mix of sword-fighting, ball-throwing, crazy energetic boy with this touch of sweet, sensitive, thoughtfulness.
You love to sing. Always have. But not just any songs. You make up songs constantly. And almost always, they are filled with the name of Jesus. There is nothing sweeter. You sing out these songs filled with truths that amaze me. It makes my heart want to burst. In the best possible way.
You are such a good big brother. You love, you adore your little brother. When he started walking, you were so amazed. You kept saying, in a voice filled with awe "I can't believe Grady is walking." Just as amazed as we were that our baby was so big now. You are learning patience as Grady has become mobile and interested in your toys. You use your words and say things like, "Grady, you are frustrating me," when he wrecks your train tracks. Or you quickly find a different toy to give him when he wants yours. Your new favorite game is throwing a toy across the room and then racing Grady for usually win because you trip him. Most of the time you are gentle, but sometimes you forget...we are working on it:)
You are very competitive lately. The other day you were in tears because "Grady beat you" during lunch. Apparently he ate faster then you (not that hard)...who knew every meal would be a competition!
Right now you love: school, friends, swords, pirates, StarWars (even though you have never seen must be a 4-year-old boy thing), Legos, trains, your little brother, your Daddy and your Mama.
A few of my favorite things you say right now:
"Can I may have...."
"I would appreciate it if..."
"Mom, can you help me ___, I just thought you needed another job."
Oh, so many others I can't think of right now...but I am going to write them down more!

Below are a few pictures of your little (HUGE) personality:)

Carrying it "like the African women."


Grady Grader-pants. This year has been a year of watching you grow from infant to little person, full of life. You are an absolute joy to us.

You started walking around 10 months. You are now really fast and have us all chasing you around. You are trying to talk (Dada, Mama, Bubba (Kai), and a few others on occasion). You love to make us laugh and it melts my heart. You are silly. You love any piece of clothing you can get your hands put it on your head and walk around like that as long as I'll let you. I cannot fold laundry with you around! You love playing swords with your big brother and love putting hats on and taking them off again. Yet, you refuse to wear hats outside to keep you warm (or socks).
You are a wiggle worm! I thought when you were born maybe you would be my snuggler. I was wrong. Right now all you want is freedom to explore. I'm okay with that...sometimes you lay your head on my shoulder for 3.5 seconds. I treasure those seconds:) You are curious and focused. Boy, are you focused. Once you set your mind to something it is almost impossible to distract you from it. Stubborn, and focused. It is a challenge but I know the Lord can use those qualities in your life. You are also an observer. When in a new setting or large group, you sit back for a bit to take it all in before jumping in.
Also, since I don't keep a baby book (poor 2nd child), I should include some stats from your 1 year check-up.
Weight: 20 lbs
Height: 29.8 inches
Head: 18.3 inches
Right now you love: Balls, cars, food, your big brother, your Daddy(!) and your Mama:)

Pictures below show you and all your little expressions. You make us smile!

Pouty (or contemplative) face

Smiley face

Blank stare face (the is the face he usually does when "observing")

Giggle face

Sweet, twinkle-in-the-eye face

Heck yes (celebration) face

Sad face

Chewy face (this kid is still putting everything in his mouth)

Yelling face (he knows how to get our attention)
Scrunchy, snorty face

Love every one of them:)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas morning

This year we had Christmas morning at our house as a family of four. It was fun and simple and special. Here are a few highlights.

Stockings (I sewed their stockings this year...that was fun!)
One of my favorite parts of Christmas was Kai getting to give gifts to Daddy and Grady. He was so sweet and had definite ideas. When I asked him what he wanted to get Daddy he said (right away):
"I think we should get him one of those horns on deer, that fall off when they die. Then he can hang them in his office."
So we didn't end up getting Daddy antlers. But, Kai and Grady did get Daddy a new coffee cup....but we wrapped it in a giant box to be tricky:)
Kai, also right away, wanted to get Grady a book. So sweet.
And Grady got Kai a little Matchbox airplane...I love how excited Kai was:)
Kai was excited for legos:)
And Grady finally got his baby blanket (only a year late...made quickly Christmas Eve eve).
The boys other gift was a box of dress up stuff.
Super hero masks made by Mom and Dad

Sword, shield, and armor
And pirate stuff...of course!

And Grady with his firemen's hat...which he loves to put on and quickly take off over and over again.
Special memories with our family:)

Monday, December 26, 2011


One of my highlights this Christmas was being able to make some of the presents for our loved ones. Please note that none of these are my original ideas (thank you Pinterest!)...I take no credit for the creativity:)

For our little niece we made a picture puzzle so she could see her loved ones faces in a fun, toddler-friendly way. I found a puzzle at a second hand kids' store and mod-podged cute paper on the front and pictures under the pieces. I left the shapes original because I'm just not that good...too much precision to cover those:)


Grandparents received photo coasters. I found tiles for $.10 each at The Re-Store and printed photos on regular paper, mod-podged, clear-coat, and felt on the bottom. A way to protect your table and show off your grandkids...every grandparents dream.

This is a terrible picture...but a cute project. Sisters received necklace holders this year. Vintage knobs on a strip of wood...I love how they turned out and I love that this was a totally joint effort. I provided the idea and supplies and Tys took care of the construction:)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Candy Trains

I remembering doing candy trains one Christmas when I was little and thought this was the perfect year to do one with Kai. He is pretty into trains right now AND it didn't require the construction skills a gingerbread house might...yes, please! Activities are always more fun with friends so we invited our neighbors over. Craftiness with was a hit:)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jesse Tree Advent

One of my favorite things we did this year was the Jesse Tree Advent. This will for sure happen every year although I will try to find a more age appropriate devotional. Kai loved reading the verses and putting an ornament on the tree each night. There are many variations of trees/ornaments...but I didn't have a lot of time (i.e. I put this together the night before) so I found these easy (yet not too cheesy) print outs ( and glued them on cardstock. It was a perfect way to stay focused on the Son this Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Tree

This year we went to get our tree with the Mauss family...perhaps the beginning of a new tradition (Tradition!)
Here is the hunt...
The celebration at the find
And the cutting

And we even decorated it the same day...