|This makes me want to cry. She was so tiny in January!|
A brother/sister moment.
|A midwinter zoo trip.|
January - We rang in the new year at home with my Mom and Dad. I tried my best to re-create some of my favorite dishes from the now defunct Bahama Breeze in OKC. I made jerk chicken pasta, Cuban bread, chocolate tres leches, and Mimi Cyndi's mandarin orange salad. I started the year with my sweet but still-in-diapers boy and my tiny, baby, pacifier sucking, barely walking/talking, diaper wearing baby girl. Ryland and I did something different this year with our New Years resolutions. We wrote family expectations. We wrote personal goals, marriage goals, and goals for our kids. Happily, we reached many of them and we made great progress towards many others. Being the visual person that I am, I highlighted/marked off each goal as we reached it. At year's end, I am happy to report that there are more things highlighted and marked off than left blank. The kids both had yucky ear infections most of this month which resulted in many doctor's visits and bills.
|Tunia's surgery with her happy napper and paci.|
|Isaac cried when he found out we couldn't keep his tiger gown.|
|My husband indoctrinating our children early.|
February- My honey turned 28 and my baby boy turned 3. We celebrated Isaac's birthday with an indoor pool party with his best buddies and we took our annual trip to Arkansas to celebrate with Mimi and Poppy. Isaac and Hope both received new tubes & lost their adenoids within 5 days of each other. That was not fun, but we were so glad to see them have relief after months of ear infections and the sickies.
|Isaac grew out his stache for his party, but we made him shave it.|
|Isaac and his buddies at his party.|
The birthday boy at Aunt C's homecoming.
|My soccer star.|
April- I reached a personal goal by completing my first 5K. I finished at a time that was better than what I anticipated, and it felt great! We had our annual Easter service at Central and as usual, I was so proud of my husband's creativity and God given gift of leading others in worship.
May- It was the end of the kids & my school year at GCK. We left on the last day of school to celebrate the retirement of my sweet friend, Donna Burkey, and to attend high school graduation parties for our cousins/greatly loved ones- Dana, Carly, Jordan, Mary Ann, Mary Kathleen and we had to miss Brittany's but we love her too!
|Mothers Day gifts.|
|Big girl bed.|
|The sweetest picture of Hope and her Daddy.|
|The big boy bed.|
July- We celebrated Independence Day at the Kaiser Hood Pig Roast. Our friends Jase and Riley joined us two days a week to play. We spent a week at Greers Ferry in Arkansas with both sides of Ryland's family. We did a lot of boating, swimming, eating, and just being together.
|Cousins at breakfast.|
August- I got a wild hair and cleaned out and re-organized every closet, cabinet, and drawer in the house. It took the whole month. Geesh. I had a nasty case of strep throat. Yuck. We moved Hopey from her crib to a toddler bed, and Isaac from a toddler bed to a big bunk bed. My cousin Riann and her husband Trent, and big brother Parker welcomed their gorgeous baby girl, Karla "Sloan" at the end of the month. Isaac and Hope were immediately smitten with baby "Fwoan".
September- The kids and I packed our backpacks and headed back to school. The kids loved their teachers and were excited to be back with their friends. Sadly we lost our precious Pawpa Kenneth to a very rare brain disease. We miss him dearly but we are so thankful that we know that we will see him again someday. The theme of his life was quiet service to those who had needs. He gave generously of his time, talents, and treasure, and was truly the hands and feet of God. He is one of the kindest men I've ever known. I'm so proud that I had the privilege to marry into and raise a new generation of his legacy.
|First day of school.|
|First day of school.|
|We miss you Kenneth.|
October- My tiny, spicy, fun, little rinka (princess) turned 2. We celebrated with a pumpkin patch party with some of her dear friends. And I turned 29 again. Ok, I turned 30. My husband took me to Galveston where we boarded a cruise ship, set sail for Cozumel, and spent 4 glorious days on the ocean. It had been nearly 4 years since we had spent more than 1 night alone together and I had no idea how much I missed Ryland Russell, my best friend. At home we are so often mom, dad, music guy, preschool teacher, fixer, diaper changer, cook-er, clean-er, do-er. It was refreshing to be us, the old us, the us who fell in love and had a history before kids and jobs and lives. For the record, we are insanely thankful for the kids, jobs, and lives that we have, but a respite gave us time to reconnect, clear our minds, and come home refreshed. It was just what we needed. I'm sad we didn't do it sooner! We came home to our pukey boy. And a week later my sweet hubby planned a surprise party for me with some of my very best people. I was loved into my 30's for sure. We celebrated Halloween as grapes ( Ryland and I ) and the kids were Buzz Lightyear and Baby Buzz.
|Cinderella and Grapes.|
|Hope's birthday hayride.|
|Hope's birthday cook-in|
|Me and my boyfriend.|
|Buzz and Baby Buzz.|
November- I spent the first weekend in November helping my parents to move my baby brother to San Antonio. When the lovely (and by lovely I mean completely horrible) moving company, All Star Movers didn't do what they said they would do, we ended up having fun anyways. We're Harmons, that's what we do. At the Russell house we decked our halls early. The kids helped and absolutely loved having our home draped in the colors of the season. We spent Thanksgiving with all four sides of our families and came home stuffed, loved, and exhausted. My little girl came home and decided that she was over diapers and promptly potty trained herself. No joke. She started "going" on her own, has had very few accidents, and even stays dry most nights. I am simultaneously weirded out and completely amazed. Way to go baby! Her determination served her well this time. My sweet hubby went in to high gear with his preparations for our church Christmas musical.
|Random, every day antics from these two.|
December- December is always a marathon month for us. Holiday parties, family gatherings, Christmas musical, and other little fun bits. We loved watching "the Grunch", "necorating" Christmas trees in the kids rooms, and getting deliveries from our elf Sherry, to put in our nativity. Our church's Christmas musical was my husband's best ever. Everything was perfect from the music, to the special effects, the drama, the videography, it was amazing. You can watch it here: http://vimeo.com/55698999 . My preschool music program was the next week. The highlight was a 27 piece nativity made entirely of pre-k cuties as the sang a song called "Was He a Boy Like Me". Ryland and I took the kids to visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop. Isaac asked for a "whiting mckeen gi-tawr" and new Toy Story friends, Hope wanted "Anastic Inastics Dora". We ended the evening with a visit to the lights at Rhema and dinner at Teds. We attended the Owasso Christmas parade. We had parties with our staff, choir, Sunday school class, polar express at the preschool,and then had Christmas celebrations with (deep breath) ... The Harmon's at the Scully's, the Russell/Gardners at our House, the Clapp's at the Upton's, the Harmon's at my parents, and the stinking stupid snow that wasn't bad except for where we were headed delayed us for a day but then we celebrated with Gram Rosie at her place, and the Russell/Rose/Allen/ Burruss families at Angie's. I returned home with my husband, kids, a mountain of gifts, and a bad cold. Santa brought my kids all they wanted and even though it is a lot, and is rushed, we are so thankful that we have so many beloved family members that want to spend time with us. It is wonderful. And my kids are so blessed with family that adores them.
|My favorite Christmas picture of '12.|
|The Russell babies with Mimi and Poppy.|
|Christmas eve with Jeje and Pawpa.|
2012 has been a peaceful year. There have been some sad and stressful moments, but it has mostly been a season of good health, happy marriage, and uneventful life. I know that in the years where life has been stressful and hard that my character and faith have been strengthened, but in a year where there has been rest and sabbath I have been made keenly aware of how sweet and blissful the small moments are. God is in the small stuff- kids potty training, snuggling, dishes, laundry, running, pre-school, and vacations. The small stuff, and our gratitude for it, are just as important as the monumental life changers to God. He is in it all, He doesn't miss a thing, and it all passes through his hands. For that I am thankful.
I am finishing the editing process today: December 30, 2012. Less than 48 hours from 2013. I have no idea what my future holds. I have no idea what my letter will say this time next year, if I am blessed enough to be here to write it in a year. I hope it says that we prayerfully considered buying a home, that we are somewhere in a continuum of bringing a new person into our family (not an announcement- just a hope at the moment), that my kids and husband are healthy and well, and that I know then just as I know now that God is good, He is for me, and He loves you and I, whoever "you" may be.
Dear friends, God bless you in 2013. I pray that you'd find something in every day and hour and minute to be thankful for. I guarantee that you won't have to look far.
Merry Late Christmas and Happy Early New Year.
|From Me and My Forever Boyfriend.|