Thursday, January 5, 2017


We hope all of our friends and family have enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year! This year was our first Christmas on our own. We had a lot of fun coming up with new traditions and visiting fun activities in the area, but, we also missed seeing our family and friends back in Utah.

We have been so blessed this year in so many different ways. As the year came to a close it was fun to reflect back on all of the fun times we've had, the lessons we have learned, and some goals we want to work on in the new year.

We loved getting a live tree this year and decorating it. We decided to get one ornament per year for the kids representing something monumental that happened that year, and one for Rob and I whenever something big happens. Since this was our first year we had to do a bit of backtracking. This Eiffel Tower ornament is one of my favorites. It represents our engagement.

Charlotte loved all things Christmas tree. She would try to eat all of the ornaments, or I would find her just sitting next to it and clapping. It was so fun to see her reactions and excitement for Christmas this year.

James and Charlotte both loved Santa Claus. James asked him for some "toys" and Char just smiled at him. 

We visited the lights at the National Zoo.

And had fun seeing Santa again at the Ward Party.

Charlotte and her bestie, Sephora

James got promoted to a big boy bed after he came out from one of his naps wearing nothing but his underwear. haha. The new bed has been a struggle but we are all starting to adjust.

We had fun visiting Busy Bees, a playroom in Arlington. Now that Charlotte can crawl, she has really enjoyed trying to keep up with James.

We had a Chinese food picnic in the living room and watched Mickey Mouse's Christmas Carol. It was all fun and games until an entire container of sweet and sour sauce ended up on my rug.
Toddlers are the best.

Charlotte and James decorated cookies for Santa. 
Hopefully he likes a little bit of cookie with his sprinkles.

Delicious chocolate peppermint cake for Christmas Eve

We spent Christmas Eve with friends. We had a delicious dinner and then a little program where we each presented something. James sang his wonderful (and loud) rendition of Jingle Bells. 
It has been a favorite around our house recently.

We came home and the kids opened their first gifts of Christmas-
Charlotte caught on to the whole unwrapping presents thing pretty quickly.

And after everyone was all snug in their beds with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads,
Santa came.

This year James got a "code a pillar" and some music toys and Charlotte got a standing music toy.

On Christmas morning I woke up before the kids. Surprisingly they slept later then they normally do. All of a sudden on the baby monitor I hear James wake up and shout "Santa came Char! Santa came!" and then Charlotte started laughing. That made my Christmas. 
It was so fun to see their excitement!

We had our [not so] traditional American-English (and this year, a little French!) Christmas dinner, complete with Christmas hats. (unfortunately I don't have pictures of that).

On Boxing Day we did LOTS of boxing. I started a massive spring cleaning of the house. (which I proudly just finished, by the way.) By the afternoon we all needed to get out and so we visited the Postal Museum. When Rob suggested it I laughed. It sounded like the most boring place on the planet. But, it is actually one of my favorite museums now. Plus, James loved all of the trucks and trains. I think we will be going back soon!
It also doesn't hurt that Shake Shack is across the street. haha.

Charlotte has really started to hold her own against James.
As you can see here:

We also had one day in the 60's and so we hurried over to spend some time at the park!
Charlotte loves to swing! The moment she sees the swings she lights up and starts kicking her legs like crazy! James enjoys the sandbox and all things involving mud.

Charlotte starts getting cranky around 5 pm. Exactly when I start cooking dinner. haha. So she has become my new helper in the kitchen in order to keep her entertained.

2016 brought us so many awesome things. First, we got to spend the new year in Canada with Rob's family, skiing and snowmobiling in Lake Louise. We had an awesome visit from my mom in March and of course welcomed baby Charlotte that same month. We moved to our new apartment (yay for 2 bedrooms...) and bought a new car. We've enjoyed picnics and BBQs, and in June we had fun adventuring around DC when Grandma and Grandpa came to visit. Rob gave Charlotte a sweet baby blessing, and James enjoyed spending a few weeks at grandma's summer camp. Chelsea had a fun visit to Utah and loved seeing family and friends. We wanted to pull our hair out while we potty trained James, and have been covered in Charlotte's spit up for 9 months straight. We spent the summer poolside and enjoyed lots of playdates with friends. We've visited Fredericksburg, Great Falls, Rehoboth Beach, and Philadelphia. We've worn out our National Zoo pass and visited many parks all over the metropolitan area. Rob had his last first day of school and James started co-op preschool. We enjoyed a visit from Auntie Ruth, visiting the Capitol, Amish Country and Gettysburg.  We've probably spent too much money on ice cream and Chick-Fil-A, and had one too many visits to doctors offices. We've laughed until we cried, and sometimes have cried until all we could do was laugh. And at the end of it all, we look back and smile. Sometimes I think 2016 was not so good to us, but then I remember the blessings that have continually flowed out upon on heads, that there was not room enough to receive them. We have been so blessed this year and know that a large part of those blessings have been fulfilled through family and friends. We are looking forward to 2017 and can't wait to see what this new year has in store for us!

Happy New Year!
Love, The Starlings