Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vacay Goodness.

We just got home from spending six whole days in sunny dreary Florida with Jake's Grandparents.  Both kids traveled like champs - we had several people on both flights gush over how well behaved our two kids were.

(We know they are.  We can't take any credit.  They just happen to be awesome kids.)

Yes, the weather was dreary. We had one whole day that was warm enough to ditch the sweatshirts and head to the beach.  

It's okay! Don't feel bad for us! We were together.  It was good.

We spent some time at the Naples Zoo - Carter was disappointed that there was no 'zoo train'. But his disappointment quickly disappeared when we told him that THIS zoo had a Monkey Island Boat Ride. 

Both kids enjoyed it. 

And, can you tell they're sibs?



The giraffes wanted nothing to do with the big leafy greens that were offered to them, but Carter enjoyed watching them from afar.


We spent one afternoon walking the Naples Pier & Beach.

We were chilly, but together.


And, of course:


Mama could get used to this.  I think Carter could, too :)



Here, you'll see what we did on our one nice, sunny day:


Macy took a few minutes of observing the sand before she was okay with it.

But then, she was all-in.


And here you'll see Mr. Independent - no Dads necessary.  This guy can fill up his own bucket with water.

Unless there is a bird nearby.  Then:
1. Throw Bucket
2. Run to Your Mommy


It was so fun to watch Carter fill this little bucket with water, dump it in his 'pool' (made by Dad), and play like a little boy should.



Remember our last beach vacation?  Here's our chubby little 4 year old from 2013:


And now, our brave, independent, strong 7 year old:


How did that happen? Waaaah.

We had lunch on the beach. OF COURSE.
(lobster roll & mahi sandwich, thankyouverymuch) 

Since we knew this would be the one and only nice day (have I made it clear yet that we only had one nice day?) we decided to get in some pool time.


It turns out, Macy is a little fish. She loved the chilly water, and was all smiles with her Daddy.


Carter, on the other hand, was happy to sit on the step and play with boats and squirt guns.

And spit water.

And lounge in the hot tub.  Kid knows how to vacation.


Throw in a little shopping, some crab (in the form of legs and cakes) and conch fritters, and lots of special memories with the 'Greats' and you have a perfect vacation.

Thanks, Grandpa & Grandma, for welcoming us into your home! Thanks for putting up with the toys and the crumbs and the fridge full of kid-food and only having one vehicle and your guest room looking like a tornado went through it and having a sleeping baby in the office....whew.

All so we could have a week together.

One Thing I Know For Sure: We were together - and together is good.


Friday, January 08, 2016

Top 15 of 2015 (aka 'my fave post of the whole dang year')

I started this tradition of spending the first week of the New Year looking back at the previous year in 2012. Carter had been home a few months and, being a new mom, I wanted to remember where we had come from before moving forward.  

So here I am, again, sharing my favorite 15 photos from 2015. 

In chronological order, some with blog posts to go along with the photos. Grab your coffee, pick the coziest spot in your house, and remember 2015 with me.



|  1  |


Here is our sweet kindergartener - just a few weeks left of being considered an only child. Our OT would cringe if she saw how he was holding the pencil (Hi, Kathy! Oops!) - but he was in a phase where writing was fun, and it's all he wanted to do. 

Squinty eyes, dangling bare feet, tongue-sucking...all so very good.




|  2  |


Love at first sight. I will never, ever forget this day. Macy was just 9 or 10 hours old, and I couldn't breathe as I watched the new big brother peek at this little bundle. 

This was the very beginning of something beautiful and special. 




|  3  |


Our first 'outing' as a family was a walk on the Wiouwash trail near our house. Jake pushed the brand-new baby and Carter showed off his independence by running 50 steps ahead, then turning around to run back and give high-fives. 

Sunshine boy is happiest when he can be wild and free. 
Not encumbered by walls or doors, but free to run and roam.




|  4  |


I no longer remember Macyn being this small, even though it was only 8 or so months ago. Carter loved to watch her as she squirmed and wiggled. Not interested in touching her (like he is now) - he was content to keep his distance. 

Hands folded, eyes full of curiosity - can you see why I like this photo?!



|  5  |


Itty Bitty Baby - just one month old, and a mommy who desperately wanted to slow down time.



|  6  |


This picture perfectly represents my days at home with Macy.  With Carter being in school all day, we had lots of free time. This was Macyn's demeanor almost 24/7...what can I say.  She's pretty awesome.



|   7   |


It's still hard to believe that we have a seven year old. A first grader.  He may be getting older and more independent, but those lips of his have not changed much over the years!




|   8   |


I really enjoy taking a photo, and thinking to myself "I think I will treasure this photo for the rest of my life." - this one is a keeper. 



|   9   |


Bye-bye pavlik hip-harness! Hello pool!




|  10  |


This shows the budding relationship between our two Gibson babies. Carter was enjoying some iPad time when Macy figured out how to scoot her way over to him :) That was the end of that! Now Carter does iPad on the table!



|   11   |


Blowing his beloved train whistle on vacation in St. Germain - dude melts me with the eyes. This photo represents so much hope for us. Carter had recently gone through a very dark phase. Prior to vacation, we made a few tweaks to Carters routine and lifestyle.  Slowly - s  l  o  w  l  y - the 'old' Carter began to peek through. Smiles returned. Eventually, even the big-belly laughter came back - and has not left us since. 

But this picture - this was the start of Carter's 'awakening'.  Hope. Tons of hope.



|   12   |


If I could sum up Carter's 2015 in one word, it would be 'Independence'.  Carter has grown in this area so much. Here he is on the boat in St. Germain - no longer needing to sit next to mom and dad, or squeeze someones neck. 

Because, guys, he's seven! Seven year old boys do things their own way. Duh, guys.




|  13  |


Anyone that knows Carter will understand this picture. Carter is very enthusiastic about trains. For NaNa's birthday gift, we went to the Milwaukee Zoo. Carter was there for the train :) We only rode it twice - but Carter would have been happy to ride it all day long. 



|   14   |


The only thing better than kisses from a seven-year old boy, are kisses from a seven-year old boy on Christmas Morning.  In Santa jammies.  With quiet Christmas music in the background.  And cinnamon rolls in the oven. Yes - our Christmas was THAT good. 




|   15   |


Have you enjoyed watching their relationship blossom in these 15 photos? Me, too.  This is where we end.  This explains the love they have for each other, perfectly. Macy might be 7 years younger than Carter. Carter might have a hard time showing affection to others (LOL FOR DAYS). But guess what? They are brother + sister.  It's obvious they love each other. What else matters?


++++++++

This is possibly the first year that I haven't shared extra photos. My first instinct is to feel bad about it - because, WHERE ARE ALL THE PICTURES? 

But then I realize that I spent more time being part of the memories, instead of just taking photos of them. That's a good place to be. 

2015 was full - 2016 looks like it might be even fuller.  More full.  Filled more.  I'm going with more full.  

One Thing I Know For Sure: "We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone."

Want more?

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Christmas 2015

Our Christmas, in Photos.

::CHRISTMAS EVE::

Possibly my favorite night of the whole year.  Two little siblings, dressed and ready for church.



"Silent Night, Holy Night. All is calm, all is bright."

::CHRISTMAS MORNING::

"Carter, let's go wake up sissy!"


We were able to spend our Christmas day relaxing.  It was so special to have this quiet time together. Carter read us books, Macy snuggled in laps, and we were able to hold off on the gift-frenzy until 10am.





Both kids seemed to understand that it was a different kind of day. Both gave us the best gifts ever: tons of snuggles.


Carter's snuggles were filled with jokes and laughter. As he grows and changes, so does his personality.  His sense of humor is developing into something all his own.



Little Miss got this push-walker.  Well, actually, she got 4.  Everyone had the same idea in mind - and it has been the perfect gift for our wannabe-walker.


::CHRISTMAS EVENING::

Macy got her first baby doll, but I won't say which of our two kids plays with it more :)



::DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS::

Yes, our Christmas celebrations extended past Christmas Day!


Tummies filled with Grannies brunch, kids got spoiled with more gifts.




One Thing I Know For Sure: Such a special Christmas. Feeling so thankful.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Christmas Post.

These days, calendars are full and hearts are fuller.  So we condense and smoosh and mix in order to make room for more.

This is the first-ever condensed version of Gibson Family Christmas Happenings.

All the Christmas Cheer, smooshed together.

We got our tree.  It was nothing like our tree-cutting day from last year.  This one was filled with laughter and friendship and love.





It was so fun to see Carter be so independent.  He loves his role as 'big brother' and takes it very seriously.  He loves to help, and this year he pulled the wagon with little help.



Let's just forget about the fact that those darn tree stumps wouldn't move, and the wagon tipped over. With a baby inside.  But the baby was strapped in and she didn't even know what hit her.



Remember when I said our time was filled with laughter and friendship and love?

This is the friendship part:



Brett, Amelia, Mable, and one-week-old Levi joined us!
Or, if you're Carter: Butt, A-la-la, Bable, and Luh-va.





We are grateful for the many people in Carter's life who understand him.  I'm not just talking about his speech.  I'm talking about understanding who he is.

This picture is a perfect example.


Carter loves to whistle. 

Brett knows this about Carter.  Brett understands Carter.  Brett whistles with Carter.

Do you know how it feels to be understood by others? 




It feels amazing.

It also feels amazing to have a huge Christmas tree in your living room, and a little boy who looks at it with wonder.

"Pretty Christmas tree! Pretty lights! Presents? Santa?"

Okay, fine.  Yes.  Santa.

++++++++

A few days after cutting our tree, Santa came for a visit!

He rang the doorbell and Carter knew just what to do.  He opened it, yelled "SANTA! Ho-ho-ho!" and grabbed his white-gloved hand to pull him inside.

  

Of course, Carter loves Santa. But he also knows that when Santa comes, we get presents.

Dude is no dummy.


We had to tell him "First, smile nice - then, presents!" and this is what we got:



It's his "I smile because I have to" grin.  And I love it.  I looked back on our Santa pictures from last year, and I remembered the struggles we were facing.  Carter was like the tazmanian devil.  Always on the go, never wanting to be slowed down, couldn't stand still for a second.  

This year was different.  He's older, more independent, and really - he's not such a little monster.  I mean that in the most endearing way. We always loved our little monster, but now we like him a whole lot more.  

What changed? Well, mostly Carter changed.  As he matures, we notice so many good things happening.  

We also see this happening a whole lot:



A brother + sister, doing what siblings do.

As you can see, Macy enjoyed the Santa visit, too! She is the happiest baby, and although Santa came way past her bedtime she totally rocked it.





A few more things from our Christmas Season, thus far:
+Our family round robin - just imagine lots of food, laughter, getting in and out of the car 15x, and a Packer game.  That about sums it up.
+Cute handmade first grader Christmas crafts, decorating our walls and doors.  It's the best.
+Our 12 foot Christmas tree, tipped over on its side, with a little boy standing next to it. Much remorse and many tears, with questions of "Christmas tree garbage?".  No, dear one.  It's not going in the garbage.  Accidents happen.  Don't feel bad, it could have happened to anyone.
+Our 12 foot Christmas tree, tipped over on its side, 5 minutes after picking it up.  This time, falling on a baby.  No babies or ornaments were harmed.
+Much excitement and glee from the backseat of the car every time we pass a house that has Christmas lights outside.
+Carter's Sunday School Christmas Program - thanks to the advent candles that had just been lit, Carter was convinced it was someones birthday. "Candles! Blow! BLOOOWW! Birthday! Presents! Presents???". We laughed at our silly, quirky, literal boy.

There it is.  Our Christmas Season in a nutshell.


I can hardly believe that in less than a week we will be waking early with two precious babes on Christmas morning.  We are rich.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Merry Christmas!


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