2013: Looking Back

What an amazing year this has been.  I am so truly blessed to have enjoyed good health, lots of love and laughter and many blessings this year.  Let's review, shall we?

We started off the year with a mommy & me trip to Florida.  We had an absolute blast and I learned an awful lot about traveling with a little one.  Kennedy got to meet her great grandparents for the very first time.  She was just as infatuated with them as they were with her.
 We drove to Pittsburgh for a belated Christmas with Kevin's family and enjoyed a few snow days where we went sledding in the back yard and made snow men.
 Kennedy turned 6 months on the 29th and we celebrated with a little photo shoot and a trip to the mall for a carousel ride and her first dinner out (that she could actually eat herself).
 We also began our Baby Led Weaning journey.  First with avacados, the beets and sweet potatoes, then pancakes and bananas.  Kennedy surprised us with her ability to chew and move food around her mouth and her appetite was fantastic.  It was so fun to watch her learn how to feed herself (and sucha  relief to not have to force feed her).

Kennedy was able to crawl all over the house... backwards and learned how to pull herself up.  She cut 2 teeth and said her first word, "mama".  We also started working on teaching her to sign.  We should have started sooner, but better late than never.  Signing is a great way to communicate with your baby.

Kennedy gained some forward momentum in the crawling department and Lucy's lazy days ended in a flash.  That poor puppy gets no peace now and Kennedy just adores her.  She also started practicing her walking skills by holding daddy's hands and taking steps.  Baby girl also picked up a few new words and continued rocking the BLW.  This month she ate steak, chicken, french fries, hash browns and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
 We celebrated Easter (on time this year) with a little Easter egg hunt in our living room and a yummy dinner.

I honored my angel baby on what would have been his or her first birthday.  Such bittersweet emotions surrounded me.  I am so truly blessed to hold the sweetest baby girl in my arms, yet I can't help but wonder about the baby I held only in my heart.  

We took our first trip to visit my brother in Delaware and got some much needed beach time.  It was Kennedy's first time seeing the ocean and, although it was way too cold to swim, she enjoyed it nonetheless.
I also transferred to the brand new Spinal Cord Injury and Rehab unit at work... and to overnight 12s.  That has definitely been an adjustment, but it works for us for now.

Kennedy really got into cruising mode and learned how to climb up the stairs.  We celebrated 9 in/9 out.  It's hard to believe that my squirmy little baby was once a squirmy little rib kicker in my belly. 

A roller coaster of emotions.  The month started off great!  Kennedy learned how to stand on her own and we enjoyed lots of time outside in the beautiful summer weather.  Baby girl got to enjoy the pool for the first time... she loved it!  We celebrated Lucy's second birthday with a pool day and special puppy treats.
We celebrated my first Mother's Day as a mommy... it was perfect and beautiful!  I explored how crunchy I had become in the last few years.  Still cracks me up to think about.  Kennedy picked up several new signs and really started being able to communicate with us. Her balance improved and she was finally able to stand long enough for me to snap some pictures.

My parents came up to visit and Kennedy started babbling and pointing excitedly... at everything.  It was too cute!  

Then the rain came.  I got out of work late to find out when I got to the sitter that Kennedy had taken her first steps... and I missed them.  Then came home to learn that my grandfather was not doing well.  He passed away later that afternoon.

Kevin and I celebrated 2 years of wedded bliss and I got a little mushy.  We took a trip to Pittsburgh and enjoyed a DATE NIGHT!  It was glorious!  Kennedy got to ride her first pony at Kevin's parents's house.

And we took her to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.  She loved it!

We started off the month with a whirlwind trip driving to Pittsburgh, flying to Orlando for my grandfather's funeral services, flying back to Pittsburgh and driving back home.  It was a bittersweet trip.  So nice to see family, and many cousins I hadn't seen in years... but very difficult to say goodbye to my Pop Pop.

Kennedy got even better with walking and started walking everywhere.  We celebrated Kevin's first Father's Day.
and made plans for Kennedy's first birthday

I had a few mommy moments (I said a few, lol) as we prepared to celebrate Kennedy's first birthday.  It was so hard to believe that she was turning one. 

Baby girl's first birthday!  The party was a blast, the day was bittersweet and yet everything I hoped it would be for her.  Both Kevin's parents and my parents were able to come visit, as well as Kevin's brother, Chad.  We played, Kennedy smashed her cake and reminisced about her newborn days.
Work started to stress me out and I had a few (mostly coffee related) psychotic episodes.  Thankfully my coworkers have a sense of humor and a secret stash of caffeine.

Kennedy walked more, started to run.  She started learning to use utensils, cut a few more teeth and became increasingly fascinated with books.  Kevin's side of the family welcomed a new baby cousin, Lyla.

We enjoyed lots of play time outside with our favorite puppy and even took her to a doggie carnival.  So fun!


We started off the month with not one, but two trips to the fair!  We met up with our sweet friends, Adam and Amy and their adorable daughter Abbi from Buffalo.  Love the fair!
 Kennedy LOVED dancing to the music in the African village
 I finally donated my stash of extra breast milk that I had pumped.  I was able to donate 750 ounces of liquid gold to the National Milk Bank.  I learned how to can (major crunchy mommy accomplishment).  And I learned that being a good mommy doesn't mean that you do everything right, all the time... or that you do everything, period.  I had to learn to let go of some things and to take it a little easier on myself. 
 We went apple picking at Critz Farms and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather.
I'm still not sure what Kennedy enjoyed more... picking apples or loving on all of the animals at the petting zoo.  Either way, she had a lot of fun and made a lot of new furry friends.
At the end of the month, we headed down to the Outer Banks, NC for our first real family vacation.  We rented a beach house on the sound and relaxed for a week, soaking up the sun, splashing in the waves and just enjoying being together.  My parents were able to come down for a few days each and my brother even made a cameo appearance with his new girlfriend.  All in all, is was a great vacation!

We celebrated Babywearing Week with a fashion show and a trip to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo with some crunchy friends.   And we went back to the zoo a few weeks later for the Zoo Boo.  So fun!

Kennedy battled her first (and hopefully only) round of Coxsackie Virus (Hand, foot and mouth) and then shared it with me.  Not fun.  Her language development was really impressive and she added dozens of new words to her signing and speaking vocabulary.  She also learned how to climb down the stairs.
And... I got older.  By a year.  Whoop dee doo.  :/

 We made another trip to November.  Kennedy played with the horses.
 We took Kennedy to see the circus... what a cool experience!  Lots of fun!


We prepared for Christmas like all families do... by allowing our toddler to decorate (and eat) an enormous amount of cookies.  Right?

We enjoyed mass together as a family

Then opened our traditional, one present... Christmas jammies!!

We were so blessed to have the best surprises for the holidays... my brother surprised us on Christmas Eve 
and Kevin's brother surprised us (dressed in full Santa attire) on Christmas morning. 
After thinking we would be spending the day with our small little family, we were thrilled to be surrounded by lots more love and laughter.  We had a great day!  And Kennedy, of course, made out like a bandit!

As you can see, 2013 has been an incredible year.  We are so thankful for all of the blessings God has brought us.  It's amazing how much Kennedy has grown and how much we, as a family, have grown.  It's hard to imagine that 2014 could possibly be any better than this year has been... but I have a feeling it might!

Happy New Year! 

The Boles Family