We celebrated the 4th with friends. The kids hid behind the fence while the daddies blew things up!
We got our house painted, started up our summer session of school (we are trying a year-round schedule this year with a shorter summer and longer, more-frequent breaks - we're liking it!), and went to Family Camp with our church over Bea's birthday weekend!
|Big one year old!|
We went to Minnesota to visit college friends and family.
Our goals were to enjoy the journey and eat ice cream every day! We made several stops on the way up at parks so that the kids could run around and have a break from the car.
|Tandem bikes on Lake Harriet - we traded off riding with Lila and pushing the littles in the stroller.|
Beatrix got her first skinned knee. :(
Faith started at a new preschool in addition to her special needs preschool. It's been a wonderful learning experience - I'm learning a lot about how to teach her teachers what she is capable of (she's a bit of a con artist!). I'm also getting a good glimpse at how she behaves and participates in an environment that isn't catered to her like her other school is. Her teacher is so sweet and loving and totally game to try all my ideas. Faith loves it!
A local church has monthly respite nights for families who have children with special needs. They don't take kids under 18 months though, so we've had monthly date nights with just Bea which has been pretty fun to give her some one-on-one attention!
|There she is!|
|Reading in Lila's bed before bed|
|Playing dress up - their favorite thing to do together|
Faith turned 4! We had a party at a park and got ice cream as a family!
|Hamming it up at Baskin Robbins|
We celebrated Faith's birthday with her birth family - including her birth grandma who was in town from China!
|Thank you, Lila, for being a weirdo in every picture we took that night.|
We tried potty training.
|By the end of our 3 week attempt, Faith and I felt the same way about it.|
But it didn't go that great so we decided to take a break. Until the Spring. Maybe I'll potty train both Faith and Bea together?
Lila reads all day, every day. She follows me around the house reading out loud. This picture so represents who she is at this stage.
Lila and I got to take a special Mommy-Daughter trip with our friends to a craft workshop in Oklahoma. It was a lot of driving, but totally worth the special time with friends and our girls!
Faith is really into painting. I love her creations.
Bea wants to be wherever her sisters are. I love the way she's looking at Lila in this picture. You can tell she thinks Lila is the coolest.
Halloween with Bowen (scarecrow), Lila (Kirsten the American Girl), Faith (Rapunzel), and Beatrix (Peacock).
November:We had appointment number 10,008 at Children's Mercy and the sisters were in rare form. They went through all my snacks and stickers in record time and were bouncing off the walls. I told the nurse, "This is why I usually get a baby-sitter!"
This one was an ENT visit - still trying to figure out Faith's hearing and sleep issues. We will have another sleep study this spring.
No real reason for this picture other than the cute baby girl with killer eyelashes.
Faith is learning to write her name! She writes Fs all over her papers now and she loves practicing her name on her doodle board.
This is a frequent scene at our house - all of them gathered in the same room, but doing their own thing: Lila with her nose in a book, Beatrix strapped in her high chair with a snack (usually because I'm trying to accomplish something without her tagging along leaving dumped toys in her wake!), and Faith engaged in some independent project (racing her cars across the table in this case). Usually my house is not this clean, though. If there were ripped up scraps of paper, markers and various princesses strewn about the rug, that would be more accurate!
My Nanny passed away just before Thanksgiving. She had degraded significantly over the last several weeks of her life. I took this picture a few weeks before she died when I visited her at the memory care facility where she lived for the last few weeks of her life. It was heartbreaking to see her so broken and feeble. I am grateful that she did not have to live long in that state and that she is now restored and whole with Jesus! I am also tremendously grateful for the intimate time we got to spend with her during her last year of life. I'm so glad my kids got to know her and I know will treasure those memories.
Faith's birth family joined us for Thanksgiving at my parents' house. Apparently 6 year olds are incapable of taking a normal picture!
Are you jealous of our egg rolls and sesame chicken alongside the typical Thanksgiving fare? Well you should be!
Lila desperately wanted "high heels" and I was vehemently against them. But alas, I broke down and sent the Husband on a late night Target run so we could surprise Lila with them the next morning for her trip to see the Nutcracker ballet. They are strictly for "fancy" occasions (although she tries to convince me that things [like Target] are fancy on a daily basis), and the Nutcracker was the perfect first use for them!
I asked her to stand in front of the tree so I could take a picture of her and this is how she posed.
And then Faith stood in front of the tree to pose because, why not!?
Every year, Faith's therapy school has a photographer come take pictures of the kids to use for their fundraising banquet. This was my favorite of Faith this year. The Husband photoshopped the bloody lip and bruise on her forehead. Without fail, that girl will injure herself right before we are seeing her birth mom or getting our pictures taken. She has a gift!
Lila turned seven (SEVEN!) and we continued with the tradition of birthday donuts at our favorite donut place (John's Spaceage)...
...and visiting Santa at Bass Pro. Beatrix followed in the Kautzi children tradition of being terrified of the guy.
After Christmas, we went to Minnesota for Nanny's funeral. All of my cousins came in town and I got to meet wives and girlfriends I had never met before! It was a wonderful celebration of Nanny's life and so good to be with family. The kids did remarkably well, but we were all ready to be home and back to our routines after a crazy month!
I'll end with this picture of Beatrix holding the "nuh-nuh" that her sweet, sweet teachers gave her for Christmas because it makes me happy.
Here's to the New Year!