Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Year In Review - 2014

We kicked off our 2014 year celebrating MK!  After a lot of thought and prayer, our big girl braved getting her ears pierced on her 7th birthday.  Though this mama was a bit skeptical on what the outcome was going to be, she marched right in, chose her earrings, sat in the chair, and never looked back - not one tear was shed and she was all smiles on her big day!
 January also brought on our first snow of the winter season.  Our little house on the hill, a house filled with many memories for all of us.  It was during the month of January 2014 that we began to ponder selling our home of almost ten years!  Little did we know that our home would sell within one week of being placed on the market. 
 Chinese New Year
We shook it up a bit and just had the children from China join us for the first part of the day....we did crafts, read stories, played games and just enjoyed celebrating their birth country.
 That evening, the families all gathered for dinner and our first lantern release.  To have been one on our lawn that evening would have been a treat to anyone - there was a lot of conversing on how the lanterns worked, how to light them, if they were even legal, and where they would land.  Amidst the conversation were the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" of the children who watched in awe as the lanterns rose into the night sky.
 Late February MK made up her mind that she was going to learn how to ride her bike without training wheels.  She was off in no time!
 Happy 14th birthday Colin!
March 5 and he was up and ready to celebrate his life with us!  To know Colin is a blessing - he is one of a kind and never ceases to make us smile each and every day....and laugh too, he is good at making us laugh at him and with him!
 With our home being under contract, it was time to place a few things for sale that we did not necessarily need anymore.  This chair was one of them.  
This chair belonged to Ryan's brothers' family.  Purchased when their now 30 year old daughter was an infant,  it was time to say goodbye.  Or so we thought.  Colin insisted that he wanted it for our new house and he wanted it specifically to go into his new bedroom.  To accomplish this task, he chose to recline in it during our sale so that no one would purchase it.  It worked and the chair now sits in his room.  
 After many agonizing months of waiting, praying, and tears being shed, our baby girl was found!  As the furniture was being escorted out of our home and placed into storage, our girl was being prepped for her new family to come and scoop her up forever!  
 Saying goodbye.
Honestly, this is a day that I could erase from my personal chapter book and not miss it one bit.  It was a day of me being more than overwhelmed, calling in my dad's help while sobbing to my mom, trying to remain somewhat cheerful and assure the children it would all be ok....after all, it was all for good, positive things to come!
Thankfully, we made it and our sadness ceased as we closed that chapter in our lives.
 New beginnings.
A lot that we had our eye on for a few months was now ours and our house plans were drafted.
Time to build!
 Meanwhile, our city kids took to country life.
Creeks, lakes, ticks, deer, tractors, golf carts, atvs...
 and family close by.  We were able to spend lots of time with grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles....a treat for sure!
 Happy 12th birthday to PRYCE!  
2014 has been his year to grow up.  Legos are still around but not nearly as enjoyed as once before.  Playing with MK is still something he will entertain but not as eagerly as once before.  Instead, he is all about football, baseball, bike riding, exploring outdoors, and being with his friends.  
It is a bit sad for his mama but a happy time too.  
 As often happens in a large family, it was divide and conquer on Pryce's special day.  Ryan took off to camp with Pryce and his friends while the girls and I headed out to watch the Spring Formal for Colin.  
 Meanwhile, behind the scenes, our new house was well on its was to being our new home!
 It was important during these first few months to keep busy.  
Ryan and I got engaged in front of this fountain 18 years ago.  
Who knew what that night would lead to?!
 2014 proved to be Maddox's boogie boarding year....she even got her very own and was all set to keep up with her siblings!
 And our house grew and grew....
 Garden City
 One of my most favorite pictures of the year by far!  
One week from the time this photo was taken, we were on our way to meet our Maryn Gentry!
 Lake times....
 kayaking children all enjoyed their time at the lake during the summer of 2014. 
 More progress....not much longer now!
 And we were off!  
Ryan, myself, and our girls were about to sit at an airport for a crazy amount of time due to delays and cancellations BUT that was unknown at the time hence the huge smile on my face!
And the boys were off to sailing camp.  
And then Nebraska.
By themselves on a plane.  Eek. 
For a mama who has never been away from her children more than a few days, there was some serious nervousness amongst us all!
But they did well.  And we did well.  And we are forever in debt to our friends, the Mohrs, and my parents for keeping them busy while we were away!
Six months later and they continue to tell us stories from those two weeks we were apart.
And just like I have forgotten the pains of labor, I have forgotten the pains of that trip - sort of.  It's only been six months and there were a lot of delays, cancellations, new flights, etc.  Maybe it is safe to say that I am still processing the pain! Ha!
 Oh sweet girl!  
I know she knew something was amiss - she is a sharp little cookie so I feel confident that she was a bit suspect when they placed her in a brand new dress and brand new shoes...and the almost three hour drive there, phew.  
And then you walked through that playroom curtain and your life has not been the same since!
 I am pretty sure this will be one of my favorite photos for life.  Bless those dents.  My sister always laughs at me for having what she calls "dents" in my head when I am stressed or thinking.  "Not flesh of my flesh,....but still miraculously my own!" On this day you became ours forever, dents and all baby girl!
 Though Maryn was our slowest to smile, once the smiles began, they were aplenty.  And the laughter and the giggles - she is one happy girl 90% of the time!
 The Fab Five
A whole hand.  
Probably my favorite number now.
This was their first pic together less than 24 hours after landing on US soil.
 It didn't take long for the boys to find their way back to the lake....all three got their boating licenses during our stay.  
 And our bigs made their way into the pool!
It was a different sort of season for sure....they swam for a team near my parents' home.  Two meets each week!
 And baby girl quickly melted her brother's heart.
 Happy Birthday Maddox Ren!
FIVE years old!
You talked about this day all year long.  It came and we celebrated you like no one's business!
Everyone should have a Maddox.  She is full of life and has a mind all of her own....and her heart is huge!
 Maryn Gentry meets Nannie.
My Nannie has had a rough go of it this year.  
She is 94 and counting.  She is my last living grandparent and has a special place in my heart for sure!  I was so excited to introduce Maryn to her.  Maryn is our only baby that truly has rolls - and my Nannie could not have been happier!  She loves a healthy baby!
 Happy Second Birthday Maryn Gentry!
Thankful we were all together for her special day!  Two looks good on you for sure!
 Four months later and our house is DONE!  Hooray!
 New house meant new furniture.  
New furniture meant ordering furniture.
Ordering furniture meant waiting on furniture.
No problem.
Bring in barstools during the interim and all is well in their world!
 Happy 80th birthdays G-Mom and G-Dad!
 And bring on the football!  Go Gamecocks!  My mission is to have one child who wholeheartedly loves the Gamecocks!  
 With the season of Fall amongst us, it was off to a not-so-local apple orchard!
We met some friends there for the day and though the drive was long, the company was perfect and a good day was had by all!
 How she eats an apple!
 Seabrook and bikes!  A treat for sure!  It was our first little getaway with our new family of 7!
 And it was this little one's first time putting her feet on the sand.  We had some excited siblings to entice her!  Liking the beach is a must in our family!
 The Fab Five does it again!  So thankful for them!
 Off to Disney we went!  Our niece and cousin, Emma, turned 10 and she asked for a family trip to Disney for her present!  What a fun time to spend with her celebrating her life!
 October brought on pumpkin kissing:)
 All dressed up for the big trick or treating day!  Our little pumpkin - all of our children have worn this costume on their first Halloween!
 With school well into session, our co-op decided to snap a shot of our group!  
 And our first adoption gathering in our new home! 
Seven children have come home this year in our group!  
And two more are on their way!
 My sweet Nannie.  She gave us a scare just before Thanksgiving and landed herself in a nursing home.  We were so thankful to see her up and smiling during our visit!
 Happy Thanksgiving 2014
My parents now have 10 grandchildren amongst their three children
And my dad was one happy man on Thanksgiving day when all thirteen of us were at the farm spending the day with my mother and him....
 And as quick as Thanksgiving came, it was over and Christmas was well on its way!  Our annual trip to see A Christmas Carol was a success as always....followed by our annual trip to the mall for a pic with Santa. 
 And the decorating was completed....
 we relished in this little one's first Christmas....
 and we enjoyed every bit of sharing our traditions with her!
2014 was a full year!  The sell of a house, the purchase and building of a new home.  The temporary living in the home I grew up in.  FINDING MARYN.  Traveling to bring Maryn home!  Moving into our new home.  Meeting new friends.  Gathering with old friends.  Watching my children grow up.  Watching new relationships in our family begin.  
It's been a beautiful year!