Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year in Review

So back when I first started this blog, I wrote a lot. It's very strange, back when my girls were babies, I had more time to write. I guess they took more naps than I thought? Or perhaps, I just needed a place to decompress and get my thoughts out. And of course I needed a place to share photos of my babies. Over the past two years, my blog has evolved to less of a daily accounting/ diary and more of a photo album. Which I am okay with, but I do miss being able to go back and read about the daily going ons of our life. So my New Year's resolution for 2016 is to write more. Not every day, but more. I also would like to continue making the blog books, I only made the first two before I got distracted. I'm not quite willing to make that an actual resolution, but perhaps I will get year 3 published.

Another resolution is to complete the quilt that I promised my sister-in-law over eight years ago. I had it almost finished, made a HUGE mistake and had to take the entire thing apart. Dear Sis, it has not been forgotten, it has been worked on over the years, and one of these days, hopefully before you make it to an old folks home, I will get it to you.

Lastly, I resolve to laugh more, love harder and be present.

Now, to start my first resolution of writing more, I'll do a year in review, something I did at the end of every year for the first couple years of my blog. After going through this year, one big theme jumped out at me. Friends and Family. This year, my life was rich with both and for that I am thankful. We had some happy highlights and some very sad times, but through all of it, friends and family were there to share it all.


January- It's always so cool when you can have  "FIRSTS" when your kids are seven. The "Firsts" come less and less frequent as they get older. Well, Maddie and Izzie's first time to go bowling was this year. We had a really fun time!

February- We hosted a super fun Valentine's Day party. As the kids were leaving they asked to be invited back next year, looks like I have a Valentine's Party to plan again in a couple of months!

The girl's bathroom got a remodel. There was carpet in the bathroom, which is never a good idea. Chris and I, ripped it out, and replaced it with laminate bamboo. It came out looking terrific! I also painted the walls a pretty green color.

March- The paint was barely dry in the girls' bathroom and we were remodeling the kitchen! I was SO very happy to get rid of the four inch white tiles. I hated those grout lines! I love the stainless steel backsplash I choose. And while, I have not kept my kitchen pristine all year (Uh, hello! A busy mom who cooks 2-3 meals from scratch pretty much everyday!) when I do go to give it a good scrub down, the granite countertops are so much easier to clean.

- Maddie's resolution for 2015 was to go training wheel free and she accomplished this in April. Way to go Maddie!!

Daddy took his girls to a Father Daughter Dance. One of the few memories I have with my Dad is a Father Daughter Dance, so I'm glad that my girls get to go to them with their Daddy.

May- Mother's Day was especially fun for me this year. I took my Mom and my daughters to a fancy tea at Myrtle's Tea House.

Every summer, I've been adding to the girl's outdoor space. Summer's are so awesome here and the girls usually spend hours and hours outside. This year, with the help of Chris, we refashioned my old bathroom sink into a fabulous outdoor mud making sink.

June- June was a BUSY month! First off was the fun day trip that we took with Nanna and Popo to The Enchanted Forest.

Then there was the super amazing family trip that the entire Dittlinger Clan took to Disney World for Jackie and Tom's 45th anniversary.

Next was a week at Rewild Portland Daycamp.

June was rounded out with a Girl Scout Overnight Trip to the Newport, OR Aquarium to sleep with the sharks.

July- We had a pretty fun Fourth of July celebration in our cul-de-sac.

Day camps didn't end, because in July the girls' had a Girl Scout Day Camp.

August- We spent our second summer at Millersylvania State Park with the Imes family. The trip ended with Nanna and Popo, when due to a communication failure, the Imes left a night earlier than I had planned. It all worked out in the end.

We started Second Grade Homeschooling.

September- Maddie and Izzie had their first Horseback riding lesson with Cathi Wright.

We participated for the second year at The Not Back to School Campout.

On a very sad note, our Nanny passed at 93 years old. Not the best thing to remember about the year, but she will be remembered and stay with us in our hearts forever.

October- Another busy month. Starting with a trip back to Texas to attend Nanny's funeral.

John and I got a long overdue romantic weekend away at a Bed and Breakfast.

And I went above and beyond on two sweet girl's halloween costumes.

November- I got to ride a horse with Maddie and Izzie, while John came to watch.

And we had to say an incredibly hard goodbye to our furbaby Ripley.

December- We hosted an Ornament Making Party with our friends.

And my girls turned EIGHT. We had to reschedule their birthday party for January 2nd, because of a fever, so the party will have to go on next year's countdown!

Lastly, we had a quiet Christmas with Nanna and Popo.

On the Eve of 2016


 Izzie working on her New Year's Resolution. She wants to read the first two Harry Potter Books by the end of the year.

 Maddie wants to learn four songs to play on the piano.

 Maddie showing off her Resolution.


 I bought this banner that says, "Merry Christmas" on the other side in a permanent chalkboard font. I removed the hangers from back and added eye hooks to the top and chalkboard contact paper on the "back." Now I've got a year round banner.

 The hummingbird feeders froze solid and I had some angry little birds flapping at the window until I thawed them out.

 This little guy (to the right and above the feeder) is named Humphrey. He's been hanging out and guarding three feeders for about a week now.

 Christmas stuff is all put away.

 On New Year's Eve, Mom and Chris bought some Beef and Barley stew over and then after dark we went outside and lit sparklers for a few minutes. It was about 27 degrees outside so we didn't stay out long!

 Nanna and Popo.

 John came out in his jammies did one sparkler and then ran back inside. Brrrr.

 Jake had the right idea to curl up on the new quilt and stay warm!

Hanging out fireside was a nice way to end the year, too.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

 Santa's been here!

 Izzie and Maddie coming down the hall.

 Maddie, Daddy and Izzie.


 Daddy, Izzie and Maddie.

 Nanna, Popo, Daddy and Maddie

 John showing off the quilt that my Mom made him for Christmas. She made an extra tall lap quilt!

 The haul.

Izzie and Maddie playing Roominate. This toy is so cool, but mostly because it reminds me of one that I played with when I was a kid. Mema bought an old toy at a church garage sale for the grandkids to play with. It was these plastic pieces that fit together to form a loose representation of a home. The furniture and style of the set was all set in the 1960's so it was so retro cool to me and my cousin. We'd spend hours designing different configurations to houses. This is almost the exact same thing, except it's a bit more open ended than the set that I played with. I wish Mema hadn't gotten rid of that set, it was SO cool, but she threw it out one day when she thought we were done with it. (Which we were NOT.) Just so she knows... Anyway, I'm glad my girls took to it right away, it was so cool seeing them play with this!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

 Daddy making Christmas cookie with the girls. We opted to do chocolate chocolate chip instead of the more traditional sugar or gingerbread cookie.

 All dressed for Christmas Mass. Amanda, John, Maddie and Izzie.

 After church, we came home and had a fabulous cheese tray spread with Nanna and Popo. We also watched The Polar Express.

 Maddie and Izzie making some reindeer food. They told me it was oats and glitter for magic. Sounds good to me!

 A few Christmas Eve Pajama photos. Grandma and Grandpa sent them these cute pj's. Izzie and Maddie.

A big hug to Nanna before bedtime. Nanna and Popo spent the night so they could be here first thing in the morning to see what Santa brought!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Madeline and Isabelle turn EIGHT

Izzie and Maddie on their EIGHTH Birthday. 

 As tradition states, Nanna and Popo took the girls to Chuckie Cheeses for Pizza and games. I've got to look it up and see if the tradition started on their second or third birthday. Surely it was three, two seems young for Chuckies. But they've gone every year on their actual birthday since their first time, and so far, it's the only time they ever go to Chuckie Cheeses.


 Popo and Maddie

 I made some cupcakes so they'd have candles to blow out on their birthday.

 Maddie showing off one of the fancy barbies we got them along with the Choose Happy shirt.

 Izzie and Maddie

 Opening gifts

 Nanna got them some cowgirl boots!