I thought I'd end the year with a recap of some of the excitement experienced by the Stopper Family in 2005 - this replaces the "Christmas newsletter" that I failed to complete and send to all of my family and friends.
January - We started off the year slowly. We were preparing for Samantha's 8th birthday party (which I convinced her to have at home, thinking, erroneously, that it would be LESS work for me). I had recently been diagnosed as Gestational Diabetic, so I had started extra appointments with an OB specialist for the last couple of months of my pregnancy. We had Samantha's Lizzie McGuire birthday party and it was fun. The next day, I was placed on bedrest because it was discovered that my amniotic fluid was extremely low. By the end of the month, after numerous trips to the specialist and one trip to the ER with contractions, I was admitted to the hospital to raise my fluid levels.
February - The OB let me go home from the hospital about 4 days after I was admitted. I was thrilled!! As I said to the OB, the hospital was just "bad food, bad TV and bad allergies" (they were doing construction on the maternity floor). I was discharged with the understanding that I would return to the hospital EVERY DAY for fetal monitoring and bio-physical profiles. That continued for a couple of weeks, and Emma finally decided that she had enough, and on Feb 16th, the Doctor decided it was time for Emma to be born. So, at 4:56pm on Wednesday, February 16th, Emma Grace Stopper was born via c-section!
March - My sister Emily brought her kids to visit at the beginning of March for their Spring Break. Since Emma's due date was March 7th, she thought her timing *would* be perfect - but alas, she visited a 2 week old baby!! Emily was amazed at how much Emma ate - she had a growth spurt OVER NIGHT while Emily was here. Emma has finally started putting on the weight and we began settling into a new routine with a newborn in the house.
April - Soccer season has started up again. Both Samantha and Michael are playing soccer - thankfully, Michael's soccer is just games on Saturday with no practices.
May - May is always a busy month for us. It always goes so quickly. Michael's 5th birthday was celebrated with friends this year at the local Fire Station. It was such a great party. I had called the Fire Department to ask if they could bring a fire truck by our backyard party (they will do that if they aren't on a call). Because it was their annual "Open House", all of their trucks were planned for, but they invited us to use their party room for our party, and enjoy their free hot dogs, moon bounce, fire truck rides, and everything else they had planned. What a perfect birthday party. Michael always seems to get "lots" of birthday parties, because we actually gave him gifts from us on his actual birthday, and then we went to Smith Mountain Lake and had another birthday cake (Lemon Cake, of course) with Granny and Granddaddy!! We also took a trip to Norfolk in May to attend Samantha's dance competition. She really enjoys dance and had a great time at the competition.
June - School's Out. We were all looking forward to school being out and summer vacation. Samantha's dance recital in June was, as always, quite nice (and getting more efficient every year). However, our summer plans were thrown a wrench when 3 days after school let out, I fell and broke my foot. I knew the minute that I fell that it was broken!! I spent the rest of June (and into July) in a cast and on crutches. Thankfully, I have some great neighbors and friends who helped out with the kids and dinners during the hardest time.
July - After Mike returned from his business trip the last week of June, we all headed to Smith Mountain Lake for July 4th. The entire trip was challenged because I was unable to drive or carry Emma while on crutches. My sister Emily and her kids drove us back to Northern Virginia from the lake a few days later, and Samantha, Michael, and Emma got a few more days to play with their cousins. I also got my fiberglass cast off and a walking cast, which helped me become more mobile and able to DRIVE!!
August - Summers always seem hotter in Northern Virginia, and 2005 was no exception. It was extremely hot this August, and we didn't make many trips to the pool due to my foot, but the kids had their annual swimming lessons. They are both quite strong swimmers and Michael is becoming more comfortable in the water where he can't reach.
September - Schools In!! Michael and Samantha were both pretty excited about the new school year - Michael starting Kindergarten and Samantha in 3rd grade. School started 10 minutes earlier this year, so we all stumble through the morning bleary-eyed to get the kids to school at 7:35am when the doors open. Those extra 15 minutes to get unpacked and settled really help get the school day moving well. Fall sports have also started and Samantha is back into soccer while Michael is giving T-ball a shot. If you have never witnessed the chaos that is 5 year old T-ball, consider yourself lucky. We would by NO means have Michael playing this young if he weren't so athletically talented.
October - Following Samantha and Nancy's trip to New York City over Columbus Day weekend, we embarked on some of our favorite fall traditions, including visiting Cox Farms pumpkin patch, the South Riding Halloween Parade, and Trick-or-Treating for Halloween.
November - November felt especially busy this year. Nancy got to meet many of her internet online friends in REAL LIFE while attending a Scrapbook retreat in Pennsylvania. We decided that we would spend Thanksgiving at home since we would be seeing Nancy's parents the following week. It was nice to have a quiet Thanksgiving at home.
December - What a wonderful way to start off December - with a trip to Walt Disney World!! After 8 days in Orlando, we realized how quickly Christmas was upon us. We spent a nice Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at home, and then headed to Roanoke to visit Nancy's parents and siblings, Emily and Larry, and their kids. We ended the year with a visit by Mike's Dad and step mom and Mike's Grandmother on New Years Eve. What a nice ending to the year.
Now we are ready for 2006!!