January 23, 2012

2011 in pictures.

Before moving on to 2012 I feel like I need to do a quick recap of 2011.  You know the saying, if it's not on Facebook or Twitter or on a blog IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!  And I can't have my kids one day asking me what happened to the year 2011.  The questions they would ask!  Mom, were we abducted by aliens?  Did we just sit in our rooms for 12 months?  Were we in a coma perhaps?  I can't have this.  2011 did exist.  2011 was busy and fun and good.  2011 slowed down in some ways, and took off in others.  2011 was a year of blessings, and the best of all, a precious baby girl.  So here we go!  Without further ado, Acklin Army Highlights of the Year 2011 (drum roll, please):

George turned 6.  As I write this 9 months later, he already looks twice as old.  They grow too fast.
Teddy turned 5.  He invited all the little troops from his pre-school class to the house for a military-themed celebration of his birthday.

At around the same time, George brought his uncle Dan to school for show and tell:
Uncle Dan was a huge hit.  Now whenever the boys are allowed to bring something special to school they always want to bring their uncle.  Here's uncle Dan in Teddy's class:

The boys played together for the same baseball team - the Greenfield Muckdogs.  They were both fantastic.  I love baseball.  Baseball was designed with mothers in mind.  We also enjoyed many days cheering on our Bucs at PNC Park.  (I have a good feeling about 2012 . . .)

We spent Easter week in South Carolina with Nonnie, Papa and Aunt Mo.  We got our beach "fix".  George and Teddy also traveled with their Kekes and Pap to Florida later in the summer for more beach fun.
Sullivans Island, South Carolina
Ft. Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina

Okay.  Football.  Oh, my.  I thought I had more time before jumping head first into the southwestern Pennsylvania world of football moms, but it has already begun.  And it was a full time job from late July to late October.  George played QB and Teddy was a lineman.  The experience for me ran the gamut of emotions.  In fact, I cried (from fear, mind you, not happiness) at their first game.  All I remember is seeing Teddy hit the ground, tears coming to my eyes and Kevin asking me if I needed to go for a walk.  Go for a walk?  I wanted to scoop up my baby and walk right home!  But we held it together, and we all toughened up as the season wore on.  Okay, so I  toughened up as the season wore on.  The boys did great.  It was a huge commitment and they made us very proud.
Ted - #8
George in action

The boys also participated in a Steelers-sponsored football camp in July.  I cried here too, because it was so dang hot.  I mean it too.  I really did cry.
You can just see the haze in the distance.  I'm sweating just thinking about it.
Hot!  Hot!  Hot!

Kevin was sworn in to the United States Supreme Court Bar.  We took a trip to DC for the occasion.  Here is a group photo of the attorneys sworn in that day.  Kevin is the tall guy on the right side, and Justice Sotomayor is in the red suit.
Do I pay my children to behave themselves?
No, no, no, no, of course not.
Well, sorta.  Let me explain.  During the actual swearing in ceremony we were ushered into the Supreme Court chambers where all 9 justices were present.  Children were not allowed inside the chamber, but I begged (pathetically) to make an exception.  The scary guard said to me, "Are your children well behaved?"  I said, "Oh, God, yes.  You won't even notice they're here."  That's when I pulled out the cash, along with some very serious threats.  Something along the lines of being sent to jail if we make even the slightest noise.  We couldn't bring cameras inside the chamber, so I have no pictures of poor Teddy so petrified of being sent to jail that he just closed his eyes and fell asleep in my arms.  No one will be asking me to write a parenting book anytime soon, I'm sure.
Here is Chief Justice Roberts in the reception room area saying, "Erica, I would really like to know your opinion on . . ."  Oh, wait, I forgot.  He was actually telling a story about a painting behind me.  You can see Kevin behind him.  I was so proud of Kevin and so happy the boys and I were able to witness this occasion.  Oh, and if I had half the hair the dude to Kevin's right has, I would be one extremely happy woman.

July was Baby Moon time!  Kevin and I traveled SOLO to Bermuda for a few days in July for our 7th anniversary.  It was interesting being 6 months pregnant and on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but thankfully I was feeling great and we really enjoyed it.  Two things I learned about Bermuda.  #1) British accents make anyone sound classy.  #2) Knee socks, dress shoes and shorts look shockingly cool on a man.  You don't believe me, do you?  It's true!  It's the dress code there, and it sorta wore on me by week's end.  Bermuda was so restful and peaceful and serene . . . I want to go back.  Like, now.  Kevin's knee socks are on standby.

Knee socks!  We need to bring this look to the states.
Did we shimmy our way onto a cliff to watch a sunset?  Why of course!

Just had to share these pictures of the boys' first day of school.  My little boys are getting big!
I think, no, I know this is how I'll see George even when he's 30.
He'll get married someday and this is what I'll see on the alter.
When I took this picture I was starting to get a little teary-eyed.
At this point the tears are totally welling up in my eyes.
And now I'm bawling.

Then Kevin and I walked down the hall to leave, but not before peeking into George's classroom (which is next door to Teddy's).  And this is when I got my comic relief':
Apparently parents are very embarrassing.

Then came the baby!  Miss Caroline Mary Candace.  October 13th, 2011.  8 lbs, 15 oz, 22 inches.  Referred to as an "amazon" by her pediatrician.  I'm sure she'll really appreciate that someday.

The night before she was born.  We were so excited!
First picture of many!
The boys were really, really excited! 
George's class made Caroline a card that he brought to the hospital.  I know that both boys felt enormous pride, and felt so special themselves.  It was by far the most exciting thing to happen to us.  And she sure is one lucky little girl.
When I came home from the hospital Candee had tied pink and white balloons to our lamp post, and mom and dad helped the boys put this welcome home sign on the front door.
For a Thanksgiving project at school, Teddy wrote that he is thankful for his new sister.

Caroline's baptism day.

Our annual trip to Flemings Tree farm always includes a picture in front of this growth chart.
Caroline's Christmas dress.  First thing I bought when I found out we were having a girl.

Christmas 2011.  The before.

Christmas 2011.  The after.  Kevin took the boys shopping for me and Caroline a few days before Christmas.  He told them to pick out anything they wanted - anything they thought she and I would like.  So the boys decided on a little red dress for Caroline, and ballet flats and knives for me.  I'm raising some good (thoughtful) shoppers!
Just a few more pictures:

Apparently George is not claustrophobic.  Nor does he have an issue with bad smells.

They're nuts.  This is when we start yelling, "JUST STAND STILL FOR TWO SECONDS FOR PETE'S SAKE!"
Another action photo.  Here it's a rainy summer day.  I guess the weather sorta brought out the animal in George.  Makes me think of doing an entire photo montage of them in this blurry state.  It's pretty acurate to what I see at any given moment.  Just a blur.

Love hurts, Caroline.
Speaking of smelly.
And finally, after many days of fidgeting with a broken TV I finally blurted out, "I could seriously take a baseball bat to this darn thing!"  Well . . . off it went to the basement for a beating.

Okay, I think that about covers the year 2011!

See kids, 2011 did exist and no one was abducted by aliens. 
Love, Mom