2013 ReCap! Favorite Highlights of 2013

With this being the last day of 2013, and its nearly 3 months until our little one is two. I thought it might be fun to recap our last year.

Here are some of the highlights in our family. The good, the bad, the absolutely ridiculous.

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JAN – Our car of nearly 8 years finally gave out and we HAD to get a new one. While our credit is super terrible, let’s not talk about it, I did score this super nice car. Payments are more than most people would want to pay, but it’s within our budget, it hasn’t had a run in with a deer yet and it will be nearly a year in our family in January. I am still in love with this car, despite the fast food bags in the floor boards.

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FEB – Punky and I found Gymboree and we had a blast. We used our free trial class to get acquainted and it was great fun while we had the open gym option. I really feel like Punky learned to walk at Gymboree, she had more room to move around and she really got her confidence there. We may not to Gymboree now, she’s just too busy for that, but I will always be thankful for some great friends I have met and made as a result of connections there as well as their help in her development.

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MAR – Miss Punky turned one this March and it came with all sorts of great things. We had a Dr. Seuss Blowout for her and there was plenty of cake pops and fun to be had. A special dress was made just for her party and her pictures were taken by my best friend for her one year birthday. She also started walking more steadily in March, when she really took off and didn’t need as much hand holding. It’s been all down hill since then in the mobile toddler department!

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APR – Punky’s first trip to the zoo. It wasn’t exactly a hit, she was still too small to enjoy the animals and know what was going on. But, it was fun to take her out of the house as a family – and spent time with our awesome friends and her godparents. She liked being carried around and looking at the birds in the aviary the most, I think. Her moms enjoyed going home to rest our toes by the end of the day!

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MAY – Punky and I joined a mom’s group which was a big step for this Mommy. I suffer from a pretty ridiculous anxiety disorder when it comes to strangers and new things outside my comfort level. Punky and I are no longer a part of that group, but we met a lot of great women and did a lot of great things together as a Mommy and Daughter hanging out. I miss that time together now, and hope we have more of it this summer.

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JUN – We started working with utensils and other food groups in June. We started with Applesauce, but well, Spaghetti O’s are just awesome and she made a great big mess with them. She does much better with a fork now, perhaps not a spoon quite yet still, but we are getting hang of it. It all started with this attempt at eating something a great deal more messy than finger foods and snacks.

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JUL – The forth of July marked the first time we put Punky’s hair in pigtails, it’s when her hairstyle really began. Since it is her signature look now and most people are just over the moon by her pigtails, it’s worth mentioning when we started this! We have since started adding barrettes and flower barrettes to add color and keep her bangs out of her eyes!

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AUG – We spent a lot of time hanging out with family and some friends with other toddlers this summer. We spent most of our time running through the fountains at City Hall downtown in our community. It was fun to watch her run through the water and touch the water. It was a great sensory activity as well as a way to keep us all cool and not melting in the hot August temps.

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SEPT – August we learned how to slide. Albiet, it was really sliding on our tummy and we haven’t mastered sitting on the butt to slide, but well, it’s more fun to slide on your belly anyway! She absolutely loves the slide now and I’d say it’s her favorite thing to do at the park. She will slide forever if I let her and she cries when we leave. It would be AOK to let her slide all day, but other kids have to wait forever, she’s so slow to turn around and get in sliding position.

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OCT – For Halloween this year, we dressed up as a family. This is the year that Punky was able to participate in some of the Halloween events and was able to eat all the candy she wanted and attend a party at her Grammy’s house and actually enjoy it. We all dressed up as Snow White, the Evil Queen, and the Mirror(not pictured). We had a great time, not only was Punky super cute, Mommy won a costume contest at work!

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NOV – November marked the month that this Mommy had to face the facts and really take the munchkin to get her hair cut. We went to our local Shear Madness Kid’s Haircutting place and it was a success. I was so sad to see her hair go and people ask if I kept a lock of her hair, but well, it would just get lost or scattered somewhere. Besides, what’s better than a billion pictures like this to remember the event.

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DEC – December was full of all sorts of greatness. 24 days of fun Christmas things and Santa related awesomeness, ended with a great Christmas full of explosions of presents, food and family. However, my most favorite highlight of December has to be the transition to the toddler bed. She has taken to it like a champ, better than I expected, but I’m not sure why I expected something less than normal for her champion sleeper! She’s just getting so big, and with the bed has come in increase of tantrums and time outs and swats on the butt, however, the big girl bed is the best part of December.

**

2013 was full of a great deal of firsts for our precious little one and our family. We found out my brother and his wife are expecting their first baby boy, can’t wait! Kim’s brother proposed to his girlfriend this summer, and we can’t wait to add her to the family!

I had a few bumps in the road, like the job front being less than ideal, being in therapy for PTSD for several reasons, and the increase in toddler tantrums and as her personality has continued to grow, the more she has tried our patience as mothers.

However, we have also celebrated our 10 year anniversary, DOMA was struck down and we started on our marriage in Iowa and set a tentative date for our wedding ceremony after our marriage.

There are a lot of dark spots in this year, but there are more tiny, beautiful shining moments in this year and I am looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for us!

Here’s to you, my family and friends (including those mamas and mommies in blogger land). I hope you have an excellent New Year full of joy and beauty and may all your dreams come true!

The Christmas Post

I finally got around to being able to sit for a moment and write this post. I have been pretty sickly since yesterday and the week flew by anyway! We had so much great things to celebrate and a sadness that happened shortly after Christmas. Another family matriarch passed away yesterday morning and we will be taking Punky on her first funeral trip this week.

Christmas for us is not yet, done, we still have Grammy and Papa and then my side of the family as well, which we will be seeing this weekend! My brother and his wife are expecting their first child and my sister is throwing them a baby shower. I’m really excited about that!

Anyway, our Christmas was jam packed full of presents and family and fun and lots of food.

Punky got up bright and early and wasn’t really interested in waiting for anyone to wake up – she headed straight to the tree for the promise of presents Mommy put her to bed with.

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The hit toys from Santa? I’d say Dora and Boots skating friend dolls and her animal sounds barn from Fisher Price Little People.

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Other toys from Santa included a package of new books for her LeapFrog Jr. Reader full of Toddler milestones stories like potty time, bedtime and other fun things. She also got a Doc McStuffins medical bag with a little stethoscope and other fun doctor stuff, including a Doc McStuffins cell phone, which she has been handing to us for days now. Included in her stocking was many M&Ms and small cars and stuffed unicorns of all colors and varying sizes.

After a much needed nap, we got ready to go out to visit with family and celebrate Christmas with Kim’s dad and family. This included getting dressed up in her Christmas dress and boots with pretty black flower bows in her hair.

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Since she really didn’t take a nap, even though I laid her down, she fell asleep on the way there, with both Dora and Boots in each arm. It was pretty darn adorable.

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The day was full of more fun and presents, more food and more family. She played with her cousin.

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They sang songs on that thing for what felt like hours. She also played on his new toys, since her toys were not opened, being that it was an art easel and supplies.

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And she gave me lots of sass towards the end of the day. That’s becoming a new trend in our little one. She’s pretty good out in public, thank goodness, but she’s kind of a brat face at home. Lots of no in her vocabulary, peppered with a few kicking episodes, flopping on the floor and banging her head on the floor. I am told this is normal for her age, but damn it sure gets old.

Then there are moments when I get pictures like this.

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Today was another round of fun and family. We had a great time hanging out with Kim’s uncle and his family – we don’t see them very often. She got to sit at the ‘kids table’ for the first time. It was pretty darn adorable.

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Punky opened more presents.

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Snuggled with one of her favorite people. The aunt who saw her birth.

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Then we headed back to meet up with Grammy and Papa. She was their light of the day, as Papa’s mom passed away yesterday. I think its true that the spirit of a child lightens anyone’s heart. And as much as she’s a pain in my ass at home, she’s such a doll baby out of the house and especially loves her Grammy and Papa.

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She knows when we are driving up their house as she will start clapping in the backseat and say “Papa” until we get there. If she could live with Grammy and Papa, I think she may be very happy!

She hung out with the dog a little, who just makes her giggle and whom she calls on her pretend Doc McStuffins cell phone quite regularly.

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Climbed on Grammy’s couch.

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And took her baby for a stroll around the living room.

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All and all it was a pretty great day and a nice Christmas week. We have more to come, and I’m not sure where we will fit the abundance of new toys in our apartment, but well, we shall see!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate was wonderful and full of family, fun, and food!

Day 24: The End of Our First Christmas Countdown

On this our last day before Christmas, I think it’s pretty awesome turn out. I love that we have something to remember her second Christmas by. Part of me feels like this is the first Christmas for her, she really was able to participate in all the fun activities and I had such a blast spending extra special time for her.

After work tonight, we headed on over to Kim’s grandpa’s house. It was a little empty without her grandmother there.

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But, in our true family style, there was still food, love, and laughter.

Punky sat at the table like a big girl and eat her dinner, sort of. She doesn’t really eat much of anything. If we can get her to eat anything but bread and pasta, we feel like we have won the lottery. If she puts meat in her mouth of any kind, well, then we are the best moms ever!

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When we got home after dinner, we gave Punky her Christmas Eve present, we have decided to incorporate Kim’s family tradition of getting pajamas for Christmas Eve. So she got to open her present under the Christmas tree lights.

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She got a new book, that we will be reading before bed tonight and a new little pajama set, which she was very excited to put on right away.

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I just love them! They were just too cute to pass up. Kim really likes moose, so this was a shout out to the warm winter pajamas before Christmas, but also to her mama’s favorite stuff.

We are definitely ready for Christmas tomorrow morning. I need to wrap the rest of the presents and stuff her stocking with some little toys and fun stuff.

Hope everyone else is going to have a great holiday season. No matter what you celebrate and no matter your reason for the season!

Day 22: Ornament for the Tree

Last year, Kim and I decided to get Punky an ornament each year that represented her personality and her likes of the year. Last year, we spent a lot of time reading and we took a great liking to Dr. Seuss. Her favorite book when she was little was “Fox in Socks” and it inspired her first birthday party theme.

So, she got a cute little Dr. Seuss ornament for last Christmas. This year, she’s all about the trucks and cars right now. So we got her a Mater ornament. She’s never actually seen the show, but that’s the closest ornament I could find with a truck.

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We are excited for the holiday. Today’s activity was actually supposed to be about playing in the snow, and we do have snow now, but unfortunately – she’s not fully well enough for me to feel comfortable to let her go outside in the cold again.

While I was going through pictures from the last year, I really noticed how much she looks like me. I knew it, I hear it all the time, but my goodness, the pictures just don’t lie.

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We are super close to Christmas and I need to start wrapping stuff and getting things ready to go for Christmas. This is the first Christmas she will really know what’s going on, so I’m super excited about it!

Day 21: Slowing Down On The Countdown

I know, I know. I have been slowing down on the countdown. Yesterday, I forgot all about it. I gave her two envelopes today, but since the stuff required us to do things with snow, which we don’t have yet, we skipped the activities.

We have been more focused on getting our little Punky Monster well again. She’s been dealing with the breathing treatments better, which means, Mommy is also dealing better with them.

It’s not as traumatizing for me as it was a few days ago. It’s still pretty darn exhausting and I have been known to shed a tear or two, just because she looks so miserable when we do them.

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My poor sweet baby.

We are gearing up for a large snow/ice storm if the weather man is correct, which of course, who knows, they get paid whether they are right or wrong. Though, I just recently looked out my window and found a thin layer of snow on the ground, but more icy sheets than anything.

Good thing I’m off work tomorrow. I regret that I have had to miss quite a bit of work this week, from sickness from both my girls. Punky and Kim have been super puny for different reasons, neither contagious that I can think of, just unfortunately, sickly and needing extra love and care from Mommy.

I did give Punky one of her presents early, a few weeks ago, and she seems to really enjoy it. She likes on Nick Jr. and I found the cutest little Millie doll that dances and sings.

We have been trying to work more on counting with Miss Punky, but so far that’s been unsuccessful. However, her vocabulary has been growing and growing. She is saying two word sentences now and it cracks me up when she says things like “No Way” and “Oh Man”.

We have been singing the ABC’s together lately. The video is a little blurry, but I just love how much she has grown in the last 21 months! OMG, I can’t believe this kid is almost TWO.

Day 19: Memories and Sickness

Today marks the one  year anniversary of when Kim’s grandmother passed away. I love that woman and I still miss her a great deal. I’m also sad that she won’t be able to see Punky grow up. A year ago, we were in the hospice entertaining small babies, this year we are remembering our family matriarch with love and growing toddlers.

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She would have had such joy watching them grow and learn and play. Some people believe she’s out there watching us and while I believe her good energy surrounding us and keeps her family’s spirits up, it’s a sad time of year to have a loved one leave a very large hole in your heart and in your life.

I had to come home early from work, because Kim has been puny and last night, we were both up with Punky coughing and puking. She’s been pretty ill since yesterday afternoon. I feel like her cough has escalated – so we have been having a pretty low-key night as far as our Christmas countdown goes.

Punky and I spent the late evening in the Urgent Care of our pediatrician’s office. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I absolutely love our pediatrician’s office. Not only are the doctors and nurses awesome, the rooms are decorated for children in mind and they have an after hours and weekend urgent care.

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When we laid her down for a nap, I could hear her in her room coughing and I was going to let the Benadryl kick in to help her sleep, but then she started gagging and sounding like she was about to vomit. I went in there to check on her and her pillow was soaked in sweat and she just couldn’t stop coughing. It was making this Mommy with an anxiety problem really nervous. I picked her up and got her in the car without much thought.

She stood on the scale like a big girl this time and let them get her vitals and stuff without much fuss. When the doctor listened her her lungs, she was wheezing. They recommended a breathing treatment for her in the office. I knew that wasn’t going to go very well and I was right.

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She wrestled me for most of it and it broke my heart! We got through the bucking and the screaming 10 minutes with very little medicine getting in her, but the doctor said afterwards that her lungs sounded 100% better. They sent us home with a seal shaped nebulizer to take home. She won’t be thrilled when we have to do this at home, every four hours. I’m not looking forward to it.

**

Hey guys, guess what.

That breathing treatment was as traumatizing for everyone involved as I was afraid it would be. But, especially me. I think my number one and main fear is suffocating. Literally, I am terrified that I will suffocate and I make a point not to cover my nose and mouth for any reason.

So to see my little girl struggling and screaming with that mask on her face. She was bucking like a bull and it was just SO hard. I actually freaked out for a minute. We had to stop for a second, because I was afraid we were suffocating her.

I did what all moms do, I called my mama. My sister has been through the breathing treatments with her boys for years now. She got a hold of my sister and they reassured me we were doing it right and it was ok.

It wasn’t any better for my the second time around, but hopefully, this gets better, because it’s to make her feel better and I will do what needs to be done to make her feel better. Sometimes, I feel like things like this make me play tug of war with myself.

On the one hand, I absolutely know it’s good for her and yet all I could think about was how much we were ‘hurting’ her. So if I can’t get a hold of my fears, like Kim says, it’s projected on Punky and it makes things worse.

Send me calming vibes people, this is going to be a stressful few weeks with the little one.

Day 18: Making Cookies With Mommy

So, let me preface this by saying, I’m not a baker and I don’t really cook. However, I really wanted one of our countdown days to incorporate a dear tradition from my childhood. One of my favorite memories, growing up, was going to my grandmother’s house and decorating cookies. Any way I wanted to! So, my brothers and sister would all gather around the table and smear icing and sprinkles all over the cookies.

I always told her I’d never get too old to decorate cookies. And, I meant it. I moved away and didn’t get to come back home for each year after I graduated, so I’m glad we got to start the tradition up again with Punky.

Again, I am not a baker, so making the dough from scratch, wasn’t going to happen. So, I got a package of pre-made dough – which is also very convenient after a long 8 hour day at work.

We laid out some wax paper and smooshed them into shapes with the cookie cutters.

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We put the cookies on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I swear I cooked them exactly as the instructions on the package said to cook them. After the 12 minute wait, I opened the oven to a cookie blob. All the cookies had grown into each other, deflated, and made a giant cookie in the pan.

Oh well, I was disappointed, but Kim made a good point, it doesn’t matter, it’s still going to taste good. So, while I wanted to help her decorate little candy canes and snowmen and the million stars she cut out, I suppose, for the toddler, a cookie blob was probably a better idea anyway.

We smeared some icing on the top, shook sprinkles on it and threw the candy ones on top.

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While I wanted everything to be perfect, it won’t always be. So, I suppose I need to lighten up a bit and let the fun be what it is. I know she enjoyed munching on the sprinkles and licking her icing covered fingers. Maybe next year, when the shapes may be more intriguing to her, I can figure out how I managed to lose all the shapes – but for now, it was a pretty sweet success.

Day 16: Afternoon Out on the Town with Mommy

This was a bit of a spur of the moment thing. We were supposed to just go to Walmart and get a star off the Angel tree and come home. We will still do that later, but well, I decided to take Miss Punky off to the mall. It’s the first time she’s really been since she’s been so mobile.

Her Mama was taking a nap – so I thought, what better way to keep the house semi-quiet (I forgot to turn off the TV, so it didn’t work) than to get the toddler out of the house. The weather is pretty decent today and it was a nice little outing for just the two of us.

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I got her dressed first, in one of her many Christmas shirts. This one says, “Is it too late to be Good?” While I was getting myself ready, I looked over and she’s just chilling by the front door. When I pulled up the pictures to pick which ones to share, I noticed that she got the door with some chalk. Easy to clean up and according to Kim its been there for a bit. I never noticed!

Anyway, we went to the mall and wandered about. We went down to the play area first, because I wasn’t really sure where the Santa set was. One of my really great mom friends works over there and I was looking for her. While Punky played, I texted her to see where she was hiding Santa in the huge ass mall.

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While we waited for the return text, Punky saw the giant carousel and decided she must ride on it.

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I tried to put her on a horse first, but with all other horse like rides, she wasn’t having it. So we settled for nice little carriage seat for her to be buckled into, all nice and comfy.

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After our ride, we found out that my friend wasn’t working today, but she called ahead and told them to give me a photo package of my choice. How thoughtful she is! I’m so glad that while I didn’t really get much out of the mom’s group I was apart of, I met some really sweet ladies, like this one!

We  made our way to the Santa set, but Santa was taking a break. Instead of trying to wrangle the kid while we waited for 15 minutes for Santa to return, we took a short ride up the escalator to Build-a-Bear. Totally spur of the moment. But, what’s an outing with Mommy without a little money spent.

She picked out her ‘pony’ and we went to get it stuffed. I had to practically put her foot on the peddle the whole time, but we got it stuffed.

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We washed the pony and made a birth certificate and paid for it. No clothes or shoes were needed, she’s not even two. But, I am thinking this may need to be a tradition for Punky and I every year. I really enjoyed watching her pick out her toy and make it and then not let it go.

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We finally made it back to get a picture with Santa.

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She did well, but she did have a death grip on the pony. On the way out, we stopped for a Dora cookie for the road and Mommy needed a drink. We headed out to the car and she was content to hold onto her pony the whole way home.

It was one of the few times she fell asleep in the car. I hated to wake her!

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She’s currently sleeping off her fun filled afternoon and I am relaxing my feet! I think an afternoon with Mommy will have to be on the books for years to come! 🙂

Day 15: Christmas Goodies!

For the last few years, we have gotten together with Kim’s mom and the women of the family and made trays of Christmas goodies. Usually everyone brings a few recipes and we make them all up and then exchange them. We usually put together trays for work and other family members. This year, I had four trays of my own, Kim had two and then we had a small tin of our own for the house. 

Punky helped a little. 

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She started by sampling some cherry mash bars. Which, much to her Papa’s dismay, she didn’t really care for them. 

Then Mommy put her to work!

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When all was said and done, I gave her the spoon to lick, the best part of the baking experience. A mixture of Rice Crispies, powdered sugar and peanut butter is sure to smell delicious.

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And it tastes even better!

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This weekend, she’s had not much of a nap, and today is no exception. She’s been fairly decent though, since we have been home. She got M&M’s in her envelope today and of course, lots of Christmas goodies to eat throughout the week … that is … if Mommy doesn’t eat them all!

Day 14: Family Christmas Party

Every year, Kim’s grandpa’s union has a Christmas Party for their families. We all venture to the building and get a group picture with Santa. Its the first time I’ve been in the group family picture. It was pretty neat.

So, we woke up bright and early and got dressed to get to the party on time.

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Miss Punky thought it might be a good idea to go out in Mommy’s shoes. Which she has been getting really good at walking or running and hopping in them! Apparently, according to her Mama, it’s the most favorite game for her right now.

This party is great for the kids, it’s nachos and cookies at 10AM. Hop up the kids on sugar and Santa. We also got presents, crayons and balloons. It’s pretty nice for family conversation with Kim’s cousins that we don’t see often.

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We got to sit on Santa’s lap and that was much better than I expected. She threw a little fit in the line while we waited.

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Once we got to the actual Santa set, we got a shocked look, but it was better than last year. She was intrigued with all the stuff going on. She was promised presents after she sat on Santa’s lap, so it is pretty much likely a bribe that caused her not to be screaming. Well, that and Mrs. Claus pretty much coaxed her with candy canes!

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The day went pretty well and it was a sweet addition to our countdown. We got to spend time with our family and it’s a tradition that Kim’s family has been doing since she was smaller. All the grandkids get together and do this – now they are all grown with their own kids.

The family is pretty darn big. We shoved everyone on the Santa stage and got a picture and believe it or not, the group wasn’t ALL the grand kids or great-grand kids!

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It was a nice little tradition to add to Punky’s holiday fun. I really am loving how the changes in the last year have happened in Punky. Just in being able to celebrate and be more active in it. She loves all the activities and I just love watching her curiosity flash through her eyes and all the wonder in her facial expressions.

I love that she’s able to participate in things. It just warms my heart to make these awesome memories with her. Day 14 of our countdown ended with some great pictures of her and her moms as well!

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