Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Letter 2014



2014 was another big year for our now not-so-little family!

On January 6 (during the "polar vortex"), we welcomed our sweet twins, Kaylee Noel and Cambree Rose, into our family. Although doubling the number of kids in our family has definitely made things busier around here, having them has made us learn and grow in ways that we needed to, and has added so much sweetness to our lives.

In March, Travis' parents came out to meet Kaylee and Cambree and were here for their baby blessing. It was so special to have both of our father's be a part of Kaylee and Cambree's blessing, and for the babies to be wearing homemade blessing dresses from my cousin Lori.

In August, we went on our first big road trip as a family of 6 to Nauvoo, IL for the Holloway Family Reunion. It was so fun to have everyone meet Kaylee and Cambree, and also meet our new niece/cousin Addy. We had a great time seeing the sights of Nauvoo, and spending time together as a extended family (which included Travis' aunt Betty and uncle Paul who were serving a mission there).

In September, Grace stared Kindergarten at the elementary school just down the street. It's been hard to believe Travis and I are old enough to have a Kindergartner, but she's doing very well and enjoying it.

In December, Kaylee and Cambree experienced their first Christmas. They slept through most of the presents being opened and were a little confused about the whole situation, but it was still fun to experience the holiday with them. Bethany also started potty training in December, and did fabulously, having only a few accidents the first day. It's surreal to be washing and putty away panties for her now too, but like she says, she's a big girl now. :)

Travis is currently in his second year of podiatry residency here in Youngstown, OH. As a second year, he's able to do more clinical work and surgery that's related to his field, which he enjoys. We feel so blessed that he is surrounded by wonderful doctors and fellow residents in his program, and for the family friendly schedule that he enjoys. Travis still loves trail running, and ran two ultra marathons this year, the Buckeye Buster 50 mile in June (his 3rd 50 mile race) and the YUTC 50K in September (his 10th ultramarathon, and third time running that race). He is currently training to help pace his brother Brandon (for Brandon's first 100 mile attempt at the end of January), and is hoping to complete his own first 100 mile run at the 024 race in May (and do any other races that he can squeeze in :)). He was recently released as a counselor in the Elder's Quorum in our ward, and will be getting a new calling this next Sunday. :) He also likes to bake bread and make pies when he has the time, which we all love. ;) We so appreciate Travis' hard work, and his ability to successfully balance work, Church, and family responsibilities.

I (Jenny) am still blessed to be able to work as a stay-at-home mom, which I am so grateful for. I also just began a position as a substitute Zumba instructor at a local gym. It has been a long road to get to this place, and I am happy to finally be an "official" instructor and excited for the possibilities ahead. I am currently serving as a counselor in our Ward's Primary Presidency, and although it can be a bit overwhelming at times, I love having the opportunity to teach and be with the primary kids each week. My calling is helping me learn and grow and depend on my Savior, and I am grateful for that. When I have free time, I love to go to the gym, out on dates with Travis and the kids, read, and spend time with friends.

Grace, 5, is our big kindergartner and CTR 5. She LOVES to draw, and was thrilled to get an art kit for Christmas. She draws almost daily, and frequently shares her creations (pictures of Jesus, princesses, her family, houses, flowers, hearts, and monsters) with us and her grandparents. She also loves to play learning games on the computer or kindle, read (which her teacher agrees she's a rock star at), learn scripture stories, go to primary, sing, play card games, dance, and play pretend. She is a thoughtful and kind big sister, and is learning to be a great helper around the house.

Bethany, 3, is our quiet sweetheart. She loves to snuggle, play pretend with her Wonderpets and Little People Princess toys, paint, play with kinetic sand, dress up as a superhero or princess, sing Frozen songs, watch Peppa Pig & Frozen, swing, go to Grammy's house, and play with her family. She just became a Sunbeam at Church, and we're curious how she will feel about that. :) She is also a great big sister, and makes sure Kaylee and Cambree stay out of (too much) trouble.

Kaylee, almost 1, is our little softspoken sweetie, with the sweetest little smile. She loves to read books, watch Signing Time, crawl, dance, stand, take a bath, be sung to, chew her toothbrush, and cuddle. She also loves to say her first word, "up," and can also sign "more," "milk," and "all done."

Cambree, also almost 1, is our determined little one. She loves to do the same things as Kaylee, as well as explore, play peek a boo, "fly,"and be chased. She can say "no" ("na") and can sign the same words as Kaylee. She has the biggest smile and keeps us on our toes. It's hard to imagine that they'll both be walking, talking more, and going to nursery at Church this year!

We're grateful for our sweet family and the place that we're at in our lives, and look forward to more joy and growth in this new year.

Hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season and that this new year also brings you joy and peace!

Love,
Travis, Jenny, Grace, Bethany, Kaylee, and Cambree Holloway

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bethany turns 3!

Our sweet Bethany turned three this past weekend on November 8th.
Here's one last picture of her as a 2 year old, from the day before her birthday. (She wore this Superwoman costume for Halloween, and loved it so much that she has asked to wear it everyday since (and only grudgingly takes it off for meals and bath :) )). I have asked her many times this past year if she would promise me to stay two forever, since I wanted to keep her as sweet and pure and innocent as she is now. But, grow she must, and we're looking forward to getting to know Bethany as a 3 year old too. :)
 
 

Since Bethany loves superheros and princesses right now, we decided to throw her a Princess party.
Here was the schedule for the day (filled with all of her favorite things), and she "checked" them off with stickers as we did them. She was SO excited to get to do all of her favorite things, and it melted my heart.

She woke up early and came into my bed, and I savored snuggling her sweetly for several minutes. Then we started her birthday...with balloons! Balloons are one of Grace and Bethany's favorite things about birthdays, and they had a lot of fun playing with them before breakfast.






Kaylee and Cambree weren't entirely sure what to think of the balloons at first, but they came around. :) (Kaylee here)

Bethany was SO excited for her birthday breakfast of "birthday cake" (coffee cake), and excitedly dug into it. :)




After breakfast, we played hide and go seek, then got dressed and did princess manicures, makeup, and tattoos.
This shirt is so perfect for her! She loves dogs and is obsessed with sunglasses right now, so a dog wearing sunglasses? Perfection!




Travis was sweet and did Grace's nails:



Makeup time:
 

She loved looking at herself in the mirrors:

 
One of Bethany's favorite games is Elefun, so that was up next:

Then we had a quick princess tea party:
 

After playing, we had lunch, and Travis and Grace had a date here while I took Bethany out for her birthday date. She and I went and played at Toys R Us (where we got the traditional birthday balloon and bouncy ball), then we went to Burger King (one of her favorite places to play) for some fries and time in the play place.

After that, we came home and hung out for a bit before our pizza movie party.

Bethany wanted to share her birthday cake with my parents but they were at a youth temple trip, so we decided to do a cookie cake on her birthday and have her real birthday cake the next day when my parents could be there.

She and Grace were very excited about the big cookie. :)

And she loved blowing out so many candles.

Then it was present time! Grace used some of the money she's earned from doing chores to buy a gift for Bethany. Here they are opening it together:
 

The traditional Holloway "heavy heavy hangs":

A new "princess" outfit from me and Travis:

This outfit was so perfect--so princess and ballerina-y, and purple, which is her favorite color right now.

And of course, a new princess tiara:

She had LOVED this when we saw this at the store a couple months ago, so I knew I had to get it for her birthday.
 

Grace's party favor was a new crown too:

And the big gift--a Little People princess castle:

It was a definite hit! Grace and Bethany played with it non-stop until bedtime, listening to all of the princess phrases and songs. :)
 
The celebration continued to the next day.

The girls in their new princess skirts and crowns for church:

I thought they looked SO cute!
 
That night, it was cake and present time with Grammy and Poppy.




She LOVED the cake, and exclaimed "Yum, yum!"

(A scene from making the cake the night before)

(I thought a rainbow cake would be fun since she loves colors, and it tasted just like the rainbow cookies from Giant Eagle which she loves as well. And we of course had to add her beloved m'n'ms and sprinkles. :) )
 
Bethany, as a new 3 year old, you are sweet, thoughtful, kind, sensitive, a GREAT big sister, fun, silly, and more. You love princesses and super hero stuff, Wonderpets, Curious George, and Elmo, playing with Little People Princesses, dancing, ballerina books, and doing what Grace does. You like to eat cinnamon toast (current fave), mac n cheese, pizza, oatmeal, chicken nuggets, cereal, strawberries, grapes, raspberries, apples, canned fruit, cheese sticks, and gogurt (and of course cookies, chips, and candy). You are our baby angel and we are SO glad you are a part of our family. We love you big girl, and loved celebrating you on your birthday!