Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas Kids

My Gifts From Tim - Yes, I'm Bragging!

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Last Televised Bills Game

Can you tell what team we root for in this house? ;) (Jocelyn puked on my jersey b4 we got pics)

Year In Review

Well, it's the end of yet another year. So here's our obligatory end-of-the-year newsletter:

2005 just flew by, and I can hardly believe everything that's happened for us in such a short period of time. Of course, Tim and I got married, combining our three children, and then added a fourth. Can you believe I am now the mom of four!! Of course, Tommy and Vanessa don't live with us full-time, but we are hopeful that they will get to spend most of the summer with us this next year. We have been enjoying our time in northern Japan. We've spent a lot of time traveling around the area and down to Tokyo. When my mom came in August, she and I also headed down to Kyoto for a visit, and we have a family trip planned in February to attend the ice festival in Sapporo. In April we will be leaving the area for good and moving to Maryland.

Caitlyn has had an excellent year. She started first grade in the fall and really loves school. She is excelling both academically and socially, and we hope to get her involved with more group activities, like sports, when we return to the States. She is also enjoying her new status as older sister to three new siblings. I worried that this would be a difficult transition for her, but she really surprised me with her excitement and enthusiasm. She loved having Tommy and Vanessa around (I really think she hated being an only child--very boring!), and she never mises an opporunity to show off Jocelyn (it's a little embarressing, actually, since she often demands that strangers admire her sister!). Caitlyn's 7th birthday is tomorrow, though her actual party will be the week after she returns to school since all her friends are on vacation right now, and she is very excited about getting older and being able to do more things on her own (she really, really wants to be able to hold Jocelyn by herself!)

Jocelyn came to us a little early this year, but she is as round and chubby as any baby should be! She has filled out so much you would never be able to tell what a scare she gave us when she first came into the world. Now she's reaching and grabbing for things, and the ever-present drooling has starting up (teething is just around the corner!). I can hardly believe how big she's gotten already. She loves to make sing-song noises and smiles all the time. We used to think she was such a sour puss baby, but now I think she was just really pissed about leaving the womb early. Now she's adjusted to the world and seems to like it :) It helps that she goes to a great childcare worker, and the other kids seem to adore her. It is so cute to see them all trying to make her smile, she absolutely loves it!!

Tommy and Vanessa also came into our lives this year -- well, into mine and Caitlyn's anyway! We got to spend several weeks with them over the summer (though Tim has gone by himself to visit them a few other times) and had an absolute blast! We were lucky enough to get to spend Tommy's fifth birthday with him over the summer (Chuck-E-Cheese is still cool ;) and he also started kindergarten this year. If you have any 4-5 year olds in your life, get the Pigeon books (like Pigeon Drives the Bus), they are sooo cute and Tommy just loves them. Vanessa is two and her birthday is just 8 days after Caitlyn's. She is learning to talk and emulate her idol, Dora the Explorer :) Everything is Dora the Explorer with this kid, and she looks just like her, too, which makes it even cuter! It reminds me of Caitlyn's obsession with Scooby Doo. Both Tommy and Vanessa live with their mom in Texas, but we are looking forward to having them as a big part of our lives when we get back to the States and it's easier to travel down there! We will definately have them over the summer and hopefully for their winter break next year, as well.

Surprisingly, though we live so damn far away, we made quite a few trips this last year. Over the summer we went to Texas to see the kids and to Minnesota for my family reunion. We also met up with Tim's mom in Minnesota where she proceeded to spoil Caitlyn rotten! We are so excited to be moving to east coast (his family is up in Buffalo, NY), so we can see a lot more of her. Then my mom came here to Misawa to visit for three weeks in August. I had really hoped she would be here for the birth, but Jocelyn was having none of that! Even so, we gathered our courage and forayed off to Kyoto when Jocelyn was just 3 weeks old. It wasn't the easiest trip, but it was well worth it to see such a beautiful place! Then in November, Tim traveled back to Texas to spend some time with the kids and he also stopped off in Chicago to spend a very brief time with Stef, John, and Yelena. This next year promises to be even busier as far as traveling. I'm currently planning a very quick trip to Seattle at the end of February for my girlfriend Susanne's wedding (I'm a bridesmaid :). We are then moving in April, though Tim and Caitlyn will probably leave a couple of weeks early and take the dog to his mom's house in Buffalo, then I will meet them there and we will head off to Colorado for my girlfriend Laura's wedding (another bridesmaid :) Hopefully we will also be able to visit my parents in Albuquerque during that same trip.

So that's our year in review. I know you probably know most of it, but I always feel obligated to re-hash everything in a condensed version for your perusing pleasure. Enjoy the pics!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tim in Chicago

I forgot to post these earlier. When Tim went back to the States last month he made a quick trip to Chicago to visit Stef, John, & Yelena (we mixed sigs with Lexi, so he missed out on seeing her). So, here's some really cute pics from that trip. I love the peek-a-boo one! Doesn't Yelena look exactly like Stef did as a baby?!

My Daughter is a Genius

I had to brag a little. Caitlyn may not be the most well behaved of children (she has this tendency to never stop talking is class...not sure where she gets that from ;) But, she is definately one of the smartest. Her first term in the first grade and she's already won the Principal's Scholarship Award. She was sooo proud to show her Mommy and Daddy when she got home. How cute is that!!

Sleepy Frog

Wednesday, December 14, 2005