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S: This Year Has Given Me

BC: Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a game, play it. Life is love, enjoy it!

1: A lot has happened in the last year. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house in November, then celebrated Christmas in December with just the five of us for the first time. To close out the year, we welcomed Aunt Karis to the family ~ WAHOO! ~ who married Richie on New Years Eve. We had a wonderful time in Texas and a great memory was created. From there we carried the celebrations over and partied down for Norah's first birthday in January. Can you believe it's been a year since our baby was born.....and even better I'm still not pregnant! In February I decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone and signed up to run a half marathon in San Diego and raise money for the cancer society with my dear friend Kristin Fuhr. March is our second month of birthdays. Ashlyn wanted a Rapunzel party in the park, which was rained out so 25 kids ran around the Edeen household and enjoyed piñatas, presents and ice cream sundaes. April was Easter and seeing Will only on the weekends while he started working his knew job from Maryland. In May we took our first extended family trip to Disney World. Truly the happiest place on earth. One week after being home from this vacation I was ready to go back. Oh, how do I start with the month of June. First, I traveled to San Diego and ran the entire 13.1 miles I had signed up for, an experience I'll never forget. Then I flew back to Atlanta and celebrated my handsome boy, Paden, turning 3, with a family outing on a boat - tube and all. Then I jumped right into packing and wrapping my brain around the fact we were leaving the home I had built in Georgia. It was a crazy month. By July we were in our townhouse in Frederick, Maryland trying to learn our way around. Thankfully August was spent in Colorado visiting family. I truly believe this time helped my sanity with the move. I didn't have to worry about the kids being bored or not having any friends to play with because they were to busy playing with their cousins and staying with Nonnie, Papa, and Grammy. We even saw Richie and Karis while we were there! Special thanks to Aunt Ali and Uncle Robbe for hosting the Un-Birthday party, so we all could celebrate being together and to Nonnie for planning so many activities to keep us busy. September was the month of "new." New school, new routine, new clubs and new friends being made. In October we visited some pretty neat farms and I discovered we really are right in the center of farm country. I didn't know we had so many right around the corner. It also brought us snow, sledding and, of course, costumes and candy. It's weird to think so much has happened every month this year and I try to keep reminding myself that as the kids get bigger, it will only get busier. Another year down and many more memories to make............

2: Yellow River Game Ranch We loved visiting and feeding the animals at the ranch this year. Always an up-close experience. | This is as close as Norah wanted to be with the animals. No one is afraid of bunnies.

3: Outdoor Fun | Norah is trying hard to walk. at 10 months old.

4: Getting Ready For Thanksgiving | Showing off their artwork for the season. | Ashlyn's class had their own Thanksgiving "brunch", complete with feathered hats. (almost)

5: Norah's Idea of "Helping"

6: Lots of family came from Colorado and Texas to spend the holiday with is. We were all so thankful to be together. | Norah's First Thanksgiving She never really got into pureed food, so a large turkey dinner was heaven for her.

8: Riding Atlanta's Famous Pink Pig | The Pink Pig has been a popular Atlanta Christmas attraction since it first spun around the top of Rich's downtown store in 1953. From its debut as a children's ride at the downtown Rich’s, to its brief stint at the Egleston Children's Hospital Festival of Trees. For over five decades Atlantans have ridden the pink pig into the holiday season.

9: Decorating the Christmas Tree

10: Norah at 10 months enjoying her apple DeJa Vu Ashlyn is 8 months old in these apple loving photos

11: Festivities at The Forum

12: Holiday Fun Bethlehem Morning - PCBC | Ready for Ashlyn's School Program | Rudolph (Bob Fuhr) stopped by to pay us a visit. | Showing off their matching hats from Nonnie

13: Ashlyn's 3 Year old Christmas Program Paden's Class Photo Peachtree Corners Baptist Church | Paden's Gingerbread Man - age 2 1/2 | Ashlyn's Snow Globe - age 3 1/2 | Ashlyn's hand print Snowflake - age 3 1/2 | Paden's Snowman - age 2 1/2 (love the upside-down hat

14: Setting out cookies for Santa There are even presents outside Christmas Eve

16: Showing Off Our New Clothes

17: Dress Up Fun

18: Playing with our new Christmas toys outside. Paden loves his ball net (and mommy loves that she doesn't have to chase the balls down the driveway.)

19: Paden and Ashlyn have become very used to sharing a bed. | Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX | We spent New Years Eve in Texas celebrating the marriage of Richie and Karis. Such a wonderful couple and beautiful wedding. So glad we were part of the festivities.

20: Edeen - Hopf Wedding. December 31st 2010

21: The cutest flower girl and ring bearer ever!!! Ashlyn was soo excited to participate in the wedding, it was all she could talk about for weeks. | The Happy Couple | Flower Girls

22: SNOW IN ATLANTA!!! | Paden's sledding wound.......didn't slow him down for one second.

23: Norah's 1st Birthday Celebrating on Nonnie & Papa's arrival

24: Birthday Girl | Celebrating with a Spaghetti Dinner and a couple close friends

25: Since her first birthday, Norah is always up for a party. Thanks to her sister and brother, she gets to tag-a-long to her fair share of celebrations. We love you party girl!!!

26: The Year of Norah

27: Norah was able to spend some alone time with the adults before papa had to head back to Colorado. Then it was time to pick up her crazy brother and sister from school. I love this group shot........it explains a lot.

28: My Budding Craftsman and Artists!!

29: Ashlyn's painted heart - age 3 | From My Hands to Your Heart Paden - age 2 1/2 | 6 months into the school year. Look how Paden's grown | Paden's fingerpaint | Ashlyn's lion in the grass | Paden's tiger, painted with marbles | Ashlyn's first drawing of a princess | Ashlyn's Valentines Poem | Paden's Heart Man

30: We went to see our first Barnum & Bailey "Funundrum" Circus. The kids had a great time, especially the motorcycle cage and trapeze artists. Ashlyn's class put on a circus for all the parents. Complete with lions, elephants,strong men, clowns and the tight rope walkers, which Ashlyn loved being because of the outfit. | A Week of the Circus Although, I swear every time we leave the house, we put on our own circus act......me being the ringleader.

31: Donuts With Dad Ashlyn loved having daddy visit with her at school

32: Visit to the Firestation The kids thought this visit to the firehouse was very exciting. They loved sitting behind the wheel, touching (and hugging) the fireman, and just climbing in and out of the trucks.

34: Playing at The Forum | The kids were suppose to get their pictures taken with some bunnies for Easter. Well the photos didn't go well, but the pictures of them playing outside came out great.

35: What......who hasn't heard of a superhero pirate. | My too cute two shoe girl. | Playtime

36: Happy 4th Birthday Ashlyn!! | Ashlyn celebrated turning four with classmates at a Rapunzel Ice Cream Social. Filled with personalized cupcakes, pinatas, and presents. Such a lucky lady!!

37: McDaniels Farm | The kids and I visited a wonderful farm which contained a petting zoo where I couldn't pull the kids away from from the bunnies | When we first walked up to the bunnies, I couldn't get Norah into the fenced area. After about 30 minutes of watching Ashlyn and Paden, Norah was all in and I started to worry about the rabbits being squeezed to death.

38: Springtime Creations | love Paden's placement of the bunnies eyes | Paden's Bee - age 2 | Paden's delicious Watermelon - age 2 | Ashlyn created Moms favorite flower - Age 4 | Ashlyn - age 4

39: Look who has discovered chocolate pudding

40: MOMS Club Easter Egg Hunt at Jones Bridge Park. Once Norah found out there was candy inside the eggs, she wanted to open and eat each one she found instead of gathering all she could.

42: Peter Cottontail Stopped by the Edeen house. The kids loved having their own hunt in the backyard. Even Norah worked really hard to get one particular egg.

44: We're Going to Disney World!

45: Let the fun begin!

47: A Few of My Favorite Photos | Dad and I were asked to volunteer on stage during the back-lot tour | Donald kisses and rocket riding | Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen were wonderful to meet. They spent lots of time with the kids, and were happy to pose for multiple pictures. Even making sure the entire family was in one of the shots. (and Papa had to shove his way into the photo to stand next to the princess) | The sheer joy on Ashlyn's face while riding the teacups says it all

48: Paden couldn't wait to get on this ride! | The entire family experienced the race cars multiple times. The kids loved them because they could drive, and the parents liked them because their wasn't much of a line. | The kids even received their Mickey Licenses

49: A Couple More of My Favorite Pictures | Officially the Longest Ride on Earth. We hopped onto "It's A Small World" and seconds after taking off, Ashlyn decides she has to go to the bathroom. By the time the ride was over, she had the entire boat worried about her, as Daddy picked her up and ran her off the boat . Happy ending, as painful as it was, she held it until she made it to the bathroom. | Are we there yet?

50: Look At All The

51: Characters We Met!!!

53: Meeting Rapunzel On the last day of our trip, we decided to head into the Magic kingdom and go straight into the line to meet Rapunzel. We had no idea that getting into the park ten minutes after it opened meant we were already at a three hour wait to meet her. Thanks to Nonnie who toughed out the long wait while the kids rode rides until the last second when it was finally our turn. It was a wonderful finale to end a wonderful week. Ashlyn was so excited to be meeting the newest princess.

54: Leaving the "Happiest Place on Earth" the proof is in the pictures | Our trip wouldn't be complete without smiles, a set of mouse ears, and sparkly princess shoes

55: Loading up for the car ride home. Norah is ready with her princess purse. | and Paden has his new set of character cars to bring home.

56: Driveway Fun With Bubbles and Bikes | it was pretty chilly playing in the driveway, so the girls came inside and cuddled together to get warm. They are so great together!!

57: Ashlyn's Last Day of School Class Picture

59: Strawberry Picking at Washington Farms | This year Nonnie was able to join us at the farm. We picked (and ate) a lot of strawberries. It's always a treat for us. The kids love bringing the buckets home to eat fresh strawberries everyday and love the fruit desserts we indulge in.

61: Happy 3rd Birthday Paden!! To celebrate Paden turning 3 we rented a boat and spent the day at Lake Lanier; tubing, enjoying a picnic on the water, resting, then eating cake and presents of course!!

62: San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon June 5, 2011 | The Starting Line | Action Shot | Waiting for the start - showing off our tshirt designs | 3am at the hotel | Staying warm...with a garbage bag | and we're off...... | THE FINISH LINE!! | We did it!

63: After running together for a few months, Kristin and I decided we needed a goal to reach for. Kristin's father-in-law has lived with leukemia for many years so we decided to look into the marathons put on by the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. After we decided to sign up with Team in Training (an organization set up to help with fundraising and training) the hard work was ahead of us. We had 6 months to raise $2900.00 each for cancer research and build up our endurance to run 13. 1 miles - much further than the 3 miles we were used too. As laid out in the pictures, we did it! and I'm proud to say Kristin and I ran the entire way. We were able to have a girls weekend in California, meet a wonderful group of people, become inspired by survivors stories, and surpass our "workout" goal. I cannot thank Kristin enough for talking me into signing up for this. It is a weekend I will never forget. | Kristin and I decided to relax by the pool after our run, and her beautiful family greeted us at the airport with a wonderful sign to welcome us home. | North Atlanta Team Photo

64: Hiking Around The Fish Hatchery Leadville, CO August 2011

65: Fishing at Hayden Meadows Reservoir Well, we didn't catch much except seaweed until a family friend, Delmer, came by and caught two fish the kids could reel in. It was still a great time playing outside and picnicing. The kids enjoyed reeling in their fish to close out the afternoon.

66: Boom Days Leadville, CO August 6th & 7th Conveniently the Long family reunion always falls on the same weekend as Boom Days, so many of my dad's brothers and sisters drive up to Leadville to watch the parade and do a little shopping. I hadn't seen many of my relatives for over 10 years. It was wonderful to catch up, meet some of my cousins for the first time and watch all the generations play together. It was a great day. | Ashlyn and her second cousin, Alexy are the same age......they had fun playing together | Cousins | Watching the Parade | Posing with Grandpa Long

67: Fun in Vail The kids and I had a great time in Vail. We rode the gondola to the top of Vail mountain where they had bungee trampolines (I think the kids jumped 3 times each). Pony rides, where Paden fell off, but got right back on, and after all the fun in the sun, Norah discovered Calamari at lunch. She couldn't eat it fast enough. We also saw deer up close, and many beautiful flowers around the Betty Ford Gardens. It was great to show the kids all the fun things Colorado has to offer in the summer. | Gondola ride to the top of Vail Mountain, and playing in Ami's backyard | First time bouncin' on the bungee trampolines | Watching the doe walking down through Ami's backyard

68: Exploring The Heavy Machinery at ASARCO

69: Papa even let each kid take a turn driving the Front End Loader. How many kids do you know, who not only get to climb all over the construction equipment, but get to ride behind the wheel of one. My kiddos are so lucky!!

70: PaPa's 60th Birthday Celebration A day on the property, four-wheeling, s'mores, cake, presents and family. What a fun celebration

71: Tiny Town On our way to Denver to stay at Aunt Ali's house, we stopped at Tiny Town to let the kids see what it was like to live in a village where they were the giants.

72: Denver Zoo And one popular Carousel Animal. Paden chose the same one 2 years later.

73: I personally love the Denver Zoo and try to visit it every time I go to Colorado. I also love how much my kids seem to enjoy as much as I do.

75: Fun at The North Pole Colorado Springs, CO August 17, 2011

76: Because all the cousins are never together for their birthdays, Nonnie and Aunt Ali decided to put on an "Un"-Birthday party celebration. The party was complete with piñatas, flamingo croquet, a tea party, and a water balloon fight. Everyone had such a great time, I'm sure the next time we are all together, another "un" birthday party will be in our future. | A Very, Merry "Un"-Birthday

78: All Together | The boys had a lot of fun together. (getting into trouble) | Ashlyn thought she'd try her hand at getting some pictures. Pretty good shot of Aunt Ali and Uncle Rob if I do say so myself.

79: Heritage Square Our last big outing before flying back to Maryland. The kids rode enough rides for a year, but loved every minute of it.

80: 1 Year Old | 2 Years Old | 3 Years Old

81: September 9, 2011 | Headed to their new school. Church of Brethren Learning Center

82: Spring Ridge Soccer | Paden's 3 year old soccer clinics were not quite a smooth as Ashlyn's team. They spent a lot of time looking at the ball wondering who was going to kick it first. Often, poor Paden was the only one on his team still playing. So proud of you Paden for playing hard in every game!! | Ashlyn did so well this year at soccer. She ran hard every game, always worked to get the ball, and scored a lot of goals. Loved watching you play!!

83: Award Ceremony

84: Horseback Riding at COBLC | During the first month of travel club, Ashlyn's class studied America and had the opportunity to ride horses. The kids and I went to watch and take pictures. | Her teachers were nice enough to let Paden go for a ride. I was impressed he got back on a horse, but he did cut his ride short and asked to turn the horse around early.

85: Ashlyn designed a map in travel club, complete with a peg-leg pirate and a crows nest on the ship. Will and I were pretty impressed with her detail. | Paden had "pet shop" month at school and created a dirty dog, hamster and his own set of dog ears. Ashlyn studied the body and created a replica......complete with a balloon heart, sponge lungs, noodle spine, and yarn for a brain. | Ashlyn studied the Statue of Liberty during Travel Club. | Norah was able to go to "Orange Day" in Paden's class and made her own pumpkin hat | More Artwork

86: Gaver's Farm Mount Airy, MD

87: We were invited to spend an evening at our friends parents house. The kids loved exploring, the John Deer rides, hot dogs, and as always, s'mores | Paden's favorite part of the evening was throwing black walnuts into the creek and watching them float under the bridge. He even recruited Katherine and Ashlyn to play. | Always beautiful Norah | That is one big leaf | A Visit to Westminster, MD

88: Class Fieldtrip to Summer's Farm Ashlyn and her friend Cleo had a great afternoon running around the pumpkin patch......and Norah spent the afternoon trying to keep up.

89: Decorating Halloween Sugar Cookies | I read somewhere online using paintbrushes to frost sugar cookies works great.......Well the three kids decorated these cookies in about 30 minutes, leaving none for me to decorate. It was a great idea and a lot of fun. I have to say, Ashlyn's bucktooth ghost was my favorite.

91: Paden's class did a re-take on their class picture. I personally like the first one better......it always makes me laugh.

92: Back to Gaver's Farm The kids and I had such a good time we decided to go back and show Daddy.

93: Our kids LOVED the slide called "White Lightning". Long lines or short lines we were there for 45 minutes.

94: Halloween Party at the Cochran House

95: Will and I had tons of help this year carving pumpkins. Ashlyn wanted to design a face, and Paden actually helped pick out the seeds for roasting. I liked that they both got their hands dirty and dug into the pumpkin. Norah enjoyed being in the room, coloring on her pumpkin, and designing one of the mini monsters.

96: The Northeast was hit with a freak snow storm on Halloween weekend. Lucky for the kids we had just bought snowpants and boots for them so a snowman and some sledding was much warmer | The kids came out and played with our neighbors, Katherine and Clare. It was really wet snow, perfect for snowmen, so the kids enjoyed themselves.

98: I tried to convince the kids to dress up with a theme this year......mentioned being star wars characters, a set of garden gnomes, but Ashlyn would not go as anything other than a princess. Then I tried to persuade Paden to be a knight or a dragon, but once he saw the Thor costume with the muscles and hammer, my themed Halloween was gone. I have to say, they loved the costumes they chose, so that made me happy. Maybe next year we can dress up together!!!

99: Happy Halloween

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  • By: Stephanie E.
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  • Title: Blank Canvas
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