December 30, 2017

2017 Traxel Year in Review

Because of confidentiality laws for our foster children, we cannot publicly share the link to our photo book this year, so here is a quick re-cap of 2017.


  • Rang in the new year with popcorn and sparkling grape juice at home
  • Theo moved into Lily's room and it became the kid's room
  • New foods and no more purees for Theo
  • Possibly too much time playing inside away from the cold weather


  • Walks during an early warm snap
  • Started swim lessons with the kids at ISU - Lily LOVED them and Theo kicked his feet by the very last week. 
  • Nelson family reunion in Albert Lea


  • Mike took his first of 4 trips to Ohio for work
  • Family and Theo's 1st birthday pictures with Jenn Lee
  • Everyone got the flu
  • Celebrated Theo’s 1st birthday with a Peter Pan party - "All children, except one, grow up"


  • Easter travel including cousin Boyd’s 1st birthday
  • Mike’s birthday 
  • Uncle Tyler’s baptism!
  • Theo’s first steps on the 28th 


  • Mike finished the basement at the old house and we went to an open house the same day, putting in an offer 3 days later. 
  • The kids stayed with Grammy and Grammy while Mike and I went to Washington DC for Aunt Melissa’s grad school graduation. We walked a ton and saw a lot. 
  • While at Grammy’s, Theo learned to walk, just like Lily did. 
  • During the trip and the following 2 weeks we had 22 showings and a major plumbing repair on the old house. Lily, Theo and I spent a lot of time at Target or driving around campus to watch the construction, or even sitting in the van watching Mickey Mouse. 


  • Accepted an offer on the old house!
  • Hosted Courtney’s wedding shower and Grandma’s 80th birthday party 
  • Time in MV while Mike was in Ohio again
  • Lily’s 3rd birthday was a wild one - with a Party Animal theme. 


  • We went to MV for the weekend before the 4th so Nana could watch the kids while we went to Cousin Sarah's wedding and then headed back to Ames for festivities with friends
  • Mike had 2 more business trips during which I packed. A lot. 
  • Moved into the new house and had it unpacked in time to head to Cousin Courtney’s wedding in Minnesota 4 days later! Then we played an epic round of Car Tetris to get home from Ikea with a sectional AND both kids!


  • Worked on the house for our anniversary - paint and new bookshelves
  • Lily and I went to the Cyclone Volleyball scrimmage - she struggled with the folding seats at Hilton but was otherwise just sad she didn't get to PLAY and only got to watch. 
  • We had a family BBQ with the families in my book study where instead of sitting WITH or BY his friend Hannah, Theo decided he wanted to sit ON her. 
  • Reiman Gardens and Bowling as fun activities


  • Lily started 3 year old preschool and absolutely loved it from day one, crying when she had to leave.
  • Friends trip to the zoo with the big kids - 4 moms and 7 kids 4 and under! 
  • Kicked off our connection group with 8 new members
  • Theo and I went to the Berry Patch farm/orchard on a field trip with Lily’s class
  • We went to SkyZone for Cousin Ben’s birthday and Theo loved it once there were fewer big kids to take him out. 
  • Bev (Grammy) diagnosed with uterine cancer
  • Finished my Weasley Sweater and started 2 more as gifts


  • Aunt Jenny’s baptism
  • Family pictures with Lori (LE Photo Design)
  • I went to 2 showers for Aunt Melissa’s upcoming wedding, and skipped 2 because of our foster placement. 
  • Celebrated Papa's birthday and then attended Annie and Eve’s wedding in Mount Vernon
  • Mike had to shave for work, so he took off the beard... but kept a mustache. 
  • We went to Des Moines for Bev’s surgery and then again to visit the next weekend after she was home and recovering. 
  • Took our first full time foster placement on the 26th - an almost 4 year old boy (P) and his 2 month old baby sister (A)
  • Halloween - P was a Ninja Turtle, Lily was Tinkerbell and Theo was Peter Pan


  • Lily and P both got the flu while Mike and I scrambled to figure out how to help 2 puking preschoolers with 2 "babies" also needing our time. 
  • Visited Mount Vernon as a family of 6. 
  • Lots of time spent settling into life with 4, 4 and under
  • Spent a weekend in Des Moines awaiting a new water heater after ours quit working 
  • Lots of travel for Thanksgiving
  • Met my online mom group friend Kim and her family while they were in Iowa for Thanksgiving


  • Took Aunt Amanda out to dinner for a birthday celebration while P&A visited their extended family. 
  • Lily got stitches after falling at preschool
  • Theo came down with impetigo on top of his eczema and a cold. Poor boy was absolutely miserable. 
  • But we all survived for Aunt Melissa and Uncle Joe’s wedding! The kids made it successfully down the aisle and through pictures before Theo got sick on Mike during the "Hot Choc-tail" hour. Lily was devastated to miss the dancing... that she was already going to miss. 
  • P&A got to go home forever on the 19th, a situation we are very happy about, especially because we got to attend P’s belated birthday party at his house the next day. 
  • Then we spent the next 6 nights travelling for Christmas, including DeWaard family pictures and a relaxing few days with the Grunder side. 
  • And now we'll wrap up the year thankful for new toys and a big house to play in while we avoid the frigid temperatures outside - or at least bundle ALL the way up for grocery runs. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!