Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back At 2012

One of my favorite things to do at the end of the year is to look back at what all has happened during the year.  I like seeing what all we have accomplished and what all we did.  It is always so encouraging!!  I started last year taking a look back at the year's highlights through the blog and thought I would do that again. 

January - So I guess January was a slow month for us.  I didn't have that much exciting on the blog.  The weather was super warm all winter so we had lots of fun playing outside.  I took a photography class and learned lots of great new skills that I used all year long.  Kate's "twoness" also began to really show through.  That was something we struggled with all year! 

February - Things got a little more interesting in February.  We celebrated a fun Valentine's Day as a family.  We had a big blowout army themed party (part 2 and part 3) for Ben's 5th birthday.  February was extra special because it had an extra day

March - March was probably our biggest month of the year.  I started with Ben turning 5!!  Then it was off to 8 glorious days at Disney World (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7 & Day 8).  It really was a magical trip we will remember forever.  The month ended with potty training over Spring Break.  It was definitely a break to remember (not in a good way). 

April - We celebrated the resurrection of Jesus to start off the month!  What a glorious celebration it was.  Ben had his first Tball season.  It was a fun experience for us all during the spring.  The kids really enjoyed their trike-a-thon at school and we had a fun adult night out for my brother's birthday.

May -   May was all about finishing up the school year and starting the summer fun.  The kids had their end of year school program and last days.  After all the school stuff was done it was all about jumping into the summer.  We went on a fun zoo trip our first week.  We also started daily trips to the pool and swimming lessons

June - We packed alot into the month of June!!  We finished up the redo of both kiddos rooms.  We now have a princess room and Star Wars room.  We took a fun trip down to Panama City Beach and marked some things off our summer bucket list.  We also went to Bible School and started summer Bible Study.  Matt and I celebrated nine great years of marriage.  The big news was also that Andrew and Kelly were going to have a baby

July - Things did slow down much is July either.  We celebrated a fun 4th of July and did more things on our summer list of fun.  Then we took an awesome fun weekend away to Atlanta (part 1, part 2, part 3).  Kate and I enjoyed a fun tea with Granna.  We finished up the month with another trip down to the coast. 

August - August was a month of big changes for the Eckley family.  We enjoyed Olympic fun at the beginning of the month.  Then it was all about starting school.  We did some back to school shopping and lots of orienting.  Then Ben started kindergarten and Kate started back to school.  Matt had a big birthday and we we were excited about the start of football season (that didn't turn out so well). 

September - It was all about getting into our new school routine.  Matt and I got to go to Elton John's concert which was totally awesome!  Ben lost his first tooth and started soccer

October - We enjoyed the start of fall with a fun trip to the mountains (part 1 & 2).  There were also lots of fun fall activities including pumpkin carving and pumpkin patch visits.  We ended the month with a very Star Wars Halloween

November - November was another busy month that started with showers for Perry and the election.  We went on a fun birthday trip for Matt's dad.  Then it was all about a certain 3 year old.  We had an amazing princess party (part 1 & 2).  We finished up the month being very thankful for all we have been blessed with. 

December - What a great way to finish out 2012!  Matt got a new certification.  We had a rough time with a stomach bug.  I ran in my first race.  We celebrated Christmas with the Eckleys, on Christmas Eve, at home and at the Easts.  It was all wonderful!

Well that was 2012 in a nutshell for the Eckleys!! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Since Christmas

Things have been really busy since Christmas.  We have been doing lots of fun things but also trying to get things back in order.  It is amazing how much you have to do after Christmas.  Matt had to head right back to work and I had to work a little on Friday.  The kids and I got to spend the day on Thursday with the Wright family.  Always so much fun to get to hang out with them.  Can't wait until they move back!!!!!!  I didn't take any pictures of their visit - SAD!! 
We have managed to do some other fun things.  I got to go out to the movies with my friend Kim on Thursday night.  We saw Les Mis which was awesome.  Matt went and saw The Hobbit on Friday night!
 We have spent hours finding places to put all the new toys and stuff.  We had to totally redo Ben's room and added some great new storage.  We got all the Christmas decor put up as well.  The house always looks so empty without the Christmas stuff but it is nice to have things back to normal. 
 The kiddos have really enjoyed playing with all their new toys and have been great.  We decided they needed a special treat.  We headed over the Sweet CeCe's in the pouring down cold rain. 

 The boys have also spent lots of time putting together lots of Legos.  They are on their last set - the biggest!  They love it!!  Ben is getting so good at putting them together.  He pretty much does it himself. 
I think that gets me all caught up on things.  Just in time for 2013!!! 

Last Christmas!

Christmas night we had one more Christmas at my parent's house!  It is always such a fun time that we all look forward to.  One of my favorite parts is my mom's lasagna!!  This year it was extra special because we got to add another stocking.  Perry's stocking fits right in with Ben and Kate's. 
 Ben did a great job reading all the tags and passing out the presents. 
 You will see in the pictures Kate liked to help everyone open their presents!
 She was also excited about her new pet vet station. 
 There were some funny gifts as well.  Andrew was so excited about his nasty lemon water and mint jelly!
 Ben of course got more Legos!

 Andrew rocking his "Hey, where's Perry?" shirt! 

 I loved my new chevron throw!
 Kate was so excited about her wagon for her Bitty Twins. 

 It was such a fun evening of gifts and family.  We all got so many great things!  Thanks to everyone!! 

Matt had to head back to work on Wednesday so he headed home.  The rest of us spent the night!  Something we never get to do at my parent's house.  It was fun to wake up and have breakfast with them.  The boys worked on putting Legos together. 
What a fun time we had in all of our Christmas celebrations!! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Morning

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to posting.  It has been a busy few days.  I am excited to share the rest of the Christmas pictures! 
Christmas morning at our house was so much fun!!!  The kids were at perfect ages for all the fun and excitment of Christmas morning. 
"Santa" stopped by our house for sure. Check out Ben's stash! He got lots of Legos and Star Wars stuff of course.  His big present was the Lego Millenium Falcon. 
Kate must have been a good girl this year as well.  She got a doll house and American Girl Bitty Twins.  She also got her stuffed rabbit. 
Matt and I woke up extra early to make sure we beat the kids up.  They of course slept much later so we were just waiting on them.  They were so excited to go check it all out!

They had fun looking at everything they got.  It was then time to dig into stockings!  Ben was so excited about his I love Bacon shirt!
Kate was excited about her Belle shirt. 
I also got a fun shirt.  It was a Love Africa shirt to support a local adoption.  So cute. 
Kate got lots of clothes for her babies and enjoyed dressing them up! 
We had a yummy breakfast of pigs in a blanket and sticky buns.  Then it was time to open presents.  Matt got some new clothes, an underwater camera, Wii games and a weather radio. 
Ben went shopping at the Mistletoe market at school and bought each of us a special gift just from him.  I got this great ornament!  I loved it!  I also got Zumba for the Wii, running clothes, a blog book and some new shoes. 
My absolute favorite moment of the morning was when Kate opened her present from Ben (a princess dress).  Kate was so excited.  She told Ben thank you about 100 times.  It was so sweet!! 
I saw a great quote by Andy Rooney "One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly."  There was a massive mess but it was just so much fun!! 
It was the perfect Christmas morning.  Such special memories we will cherish forever!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Relaxing Christmas Eve

We survived Christmas!  It was just wonderful.  So many great memories.  I can't wait to share them all over the next few days.  We had the most relaxing Christmas Eve that I can remember.  We had nothing on the schedule which was nice.  The kids stayed in their PJs all day.  Matt and Ben worked on Legos all morning!
 We made cookies for Santa (ok so we broke and baked cookies for Santa). 
 We did finally get dressed late afternoon and headed to church. 
 We always enjoy the Christmas Eve vesper service at our church.  It is a great way to start focusing on the real meaning of Christmas.  We sing hymns and the children go up front to hear the Christmas story and sing some songs.  Kate was hilarious.  She was pushing Ben the whole time and spinning around during the singing.  It was funny and so Kate. 
 After the service we picked up our blessing baskets to deliver.  This is one of our favorite parts of Christmas Eve.  We get to deliver baskets of cookies to people who have to work.  This year we delivered to 2 floors at the women's and children's hospitals.  We always enjoy talking to the kids about how it is better to give at Christmas than to get. 
 On the way home we picked up our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of China Cook!  We look forward to it all year.  Such a fun tradition. 
 Then we had our Happy Birthday Jesus party.  We sang "Happy Birthday" and read the Christmas story from the Bible. 
 Then it was off to bed for two kiddos after putting out the cookies for Santa. 
It really was the perfect Christmas Eve. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!  What a joyous day it truly is as we celebrate the fact that the God of the universe gave everything up to come to earth to save us from our sins.  We pray that you all have an amazing celebration today. 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.   Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  Luke 2:8-20

Monday, December 24, 2012

First Christmas

We started celebrating a little early this year.  We got together with the Eckley family on Saturday night for presents, food and fun!  It was a great evening.  The kids were super excited to open their first gifts.  Ben was so excited about his Star Wars Legos. 
 Kate loved her new Brave doll and horse!

 I had asked for a bike and could not be more excited about my PINK cruiser bike!  How cool is it!
 Matt will be proficient at Spanish before we know it. 
 We all had a blast playing a new game called Headbands.  It was a lot of fun. 
We enjoyed a great roast dinner and hanging out together.  It was a fun way to kick off all the Christmas celebrating! 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  Luke 2:1-7

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 21, 2012 - The End Of The World

I remember hearing since I was a little kid that the world was going to end on December 21, 2012 - my 32nd birthday due to the end of the Mayan calendar.  Of course we all that is crazy but it made for a little excitement.  I had the BEST birthday!!!  Really I felt so spoiled and loved.  My favorite part was all of the sweet calls, texts and messages that I got from friends and family.  It made me feel so loved.  I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.  Thank you guys so much!! 
The day started off right with breakfast in bed.  Matt made me a yummy omelet and toast.  I had a little helper who ate most of it for me.  Since getting better we cannot fill Kate up.  She is about to eat us out of house and home!
I also enjoyed opening a few gifts before the day got started.  The kids got me an awesome monogrammed scarf and Matt got me lots of great goodies!
 I had told Matt and the kiddos that all I wanted for my birthday was for no one to throw up since we had had 7 straight days of that.  They obeyed!!!  Both of the kids were well enough to go to school for their Christmas parties. 
 Kate's little party was nice and simple but she sure did enjoy the gift exchange. 
 Ben's party was a little more exciting.  They decorated gingerbread houses.  Doing that with 15 kindergartners was interesting but they had a great time. 
 Ben went with the minimalist approach on his house but it turned out really cute. 
 The best part of my day was just getting to spend it with my awesome hubby and kiddos! 
 For dinner my sweet parents took the whole family out for dinner to a hibachi Japanese place.  It was great!  I was glad to get to see everybody after a week of being quarantined.  We were seriously impressed with Kate's chopstick skills.  Yes that is her eating noodles with chopsticks.  It was awesome!
 The restaurant was lots of fun and I enjoyed having happy birthday sung to me. 
 My sweet friend Kim made an awesome heath bar cake for me that was super yummy and everyone enjoyed eating!! 
It was just the perfect day!  If 32 stays this awesome I think it just might be the best year yet!

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.   But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.   He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  Luke 1:26-33