The Best of 2013!

Thursday, January 2, 2014
Wow. This post has been many days in the making. Thankfully, I actually sat down to do this, as it forced me to realize and work on ALL the pictures I had left/forgotten and otherwise not had time for. Not good folks. Not good. 2014 will be a better year in keeping up with personal pictures and this blog. I blogged very very little this year and it makes me sad.

Anyway, grab a cup of coffee if you actually intend on looking at this whole post! In an effort to make up for the lack of posting all year, this is the biggest.post.ever. By far. Enjoy a look back at our 2013.

The first photos of the year were from our trip to Frisco Square to see the lights. They have all the buildings decorated and synced to music (which you flip on a certain radio station to hear). Ryan and I were pretty much in disbelief over being outside on January 2nd.
    




One of our first weekend outings was to the Dallas Zoo (thanks to Auntie Liz and Uncle Adam for the membership!). As you will quickly see, if anyone's changed this year, it's Claire. Holy.cow.












I took both kids out for Claire's 15 month portrait. What I got was an awesome keeper of Henry. The one of him is still canvased on our living room wall.









Shortly before my birthday, we announced that moving to Texas wasn't our only adventure in 2013. We were going to be adding to our little family of 4. Baby Sefkow #3 was due August 6th!!



I enjoyed a day of shopping at the Allen Outlet Mall on my 28th birthday and had yummy cake at home that daddy and Henry made.  I remember we even had the sun roof open in the van.









Ryan and I had a little mini photo shoot with Gina Zeidler again, who was briefly in town.









Claire turned 16th months! This one is also hanging in our living room. It's really easy to see the giant scar she had on her lip when she took a fall on the coffee table in our then apartment. It's since gone away pretty well.





My idea for valentine photos was a bit of a bust.




We enjoyed early spring/late winter days at the parks. Claire started to rock her mullet.














We make silly faces at breakfast. All in all, I think I was a little better about capturing every day stuff, as you'll see throughout. Glad one goal from last year was reached!




My belly was getting bigger!




Claire was 17 months, and we had cute Easter clothes. She made these tough.














Shortly before Easter, we found out our little baby was going to be another sweet little lady! Norah Caroline was officially revealed as her name! And to refresh your memory, our photographer hid strawberries in the yogurt, and Claire fed Henry (eyes closed on everyone) the bite. "Aww, not strawberries" is what we heard.



















We colored Easter eggs!





Bumpa Dale and Grandma Karen sent an awesome little playhouse!




We got some fun outdoor toys from the Easter bunny!



It was our very first holiday alone. Despite convincing my mom we had eaten at McDonald's, I managed to pull off this delicious meal. I hope my husband can attest to 2013 being the year that I really learned how to cook and enjoy cooking. Or, at minimum, the year I really figured out how to read recipes!





Claire decided she'd get a head start on 2. We endured many, many tantrums during 2013.




As a now Texas photographer, it was mandatory that I take pictures of the kids in the famous bluebonnets. Some of my favorites from the whole year!



















In April, Claire bear took her first plane ride when we all went to Disney World for a few days. Oh, how I love that place. Freaking love it. Can't wait to go back when Norah's older!






















































The day after we returned, it was daddy's birthday! He began his last year of his twenties. Remarkably, I somehow managed to figure out, bake, decorate and make a banner coming off vacation! Ryan got a Keurig and it's probably the most coveted material object in the house.



That very same day some of our favorite people in the world showed up, Chris and Kelly! We took them down to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Saying we miss having them next door is a complete understatement.




















Chris and Kelly's trip was quickly followed up with Grandma Karen and Bumpa Dale's first trip down to Texas! We baked, played, saw Southfork Ranch, and Bumpa Dale and Ryan spent many, many hours building the kids a new swing set.









We also took another trip to the Dallas Zoo!













Just a few weeks later, we were off again! This time, a road trip to ABQ to see Auntie Liz and Uncle Adam!




My belly was getting bigger.




We did some mini golfing on Mother's Day!





Did some hiking and climbing. Look at how proud Henry was!!



And then took the tram up to the top of the Sandias! Henry loved it!




















The weather started heating up in Texas. Outdoor water toys became a necessity. We used them often.




We had our official maternity pictures taken! I also experienced chiggers for the first time. I've since experiences them for a 2nd time. I truly hope there isnt a third. Worst thing ever.
































One day later the kids and I were off to Minnesota (I had a couple weddings to still shoot) while daddy left for a business trip to Germany a few days later. Flying solo with two young kids and a giant pregnant belly was a little crazy, but we made it there and back!

Minnesota weather proved to be Minnesota weather, of course. Rainy and cold most of the time we were there. We did manage to hit our old neighborhood park a few times though!









We went to a Children's museum with Grandma Karen, Uncle Josh and GG














The people that bought our old house were kind enough to offer the old swingset for the kids to play on. Definitely bittersweet. For those that don't know/remember, daddy built this from scratch.




We took a trip with Chris and Kelly to our favorite old place--Tommy's Malt Shop!









Daddy came back from Germany just in time for Father's Day!




The belly continued to expand.




More everyday stuff. Claire started getting into dress up, especially with her princess stuff.




We enjoyed lots of time outside!




Tried out the brand new splash pad in Frisco on one ridiculously hot day. Being pregnant in the middle of a Texas summer wasn't exactly planned.










Claire took her first swimming lessons! She was mostly interested in hoarding ducks.




The kids love playing mommy's piano.




Norah's room was finally complete with a month to spare! (She wouldn't end up sleeping in here until the beginning of November though.










Henry Dale turned 4! We began our day with his favorite breakfast, sprinkle donuts. Anything for the birthday boy! GG was in town visiting too, which was very nice. We took the kids to a jump house place and went bowling to celebrate!








Henry's big present was his red Ford Mustang.














A store bought cake for the actual birthday. Funny story. This cake was originally a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Only, those melt when you put them in a freezer that's not plugged in. Hence a Kroger chocolate cake it was. I totally made up for it with the party cake though. :)




Just 5 days later, Norah surprised us all and came a few days earlier than we had anticipated. Her arrival completed our family. (Side note:: if you want to hear a ridiculously awful and sad story about these birth photos, ask me. I'll tell.)










I think you can say the kids were in love. As were we.
























One of my favorite pictures Ryan has ever, ever taken.













































I took a lot of newborn photos of her from day 4-13.





























Somehow got this epic sibling shot with the help of Grandma Karen.















And at just 17 days post partum, it was time to party for Henry's birthday! Despicable Me was obviously the theme. Thankfully I was smart and had almost everything made/prepared before Norah was born.























































Henry started back up for his last year of preschool. He's now in a regular classroom getting minimal support from a speech and language pathologist. He's made leaps and bounds this year. Most importantly, he has a core group of friends he says he plays with every day. We couldn't ask for anything better.










Norah quickly grew.





A few weeks late, but I took Henry out for his official 4 year portraits. He was a ham!















Norah was quickly 1 month old, and as you can see, still very sleepy.















We went to the Celina Balloon festival. It was somewhat of  bust since not many balloons went up, but the kids sure loved it anyway.

























































Claire and I went out for her first round of official 2 year portraits. I stepped on a fire ant mound.




Henry started his first sport, soccer! We had games every Saturday from September-November. On his second to last game, he scored two goals in a row!!






Norah, two months.





Claire and I went out again for some more 2 year portraits. No fire ants this time.

























We visited a pumpkin patch. Pretty disappointing crop of pumpkins. We'll be going somewhere else next year. Kids loved the maze though! and Henry loves feeding goats. Check out his faces.































It was time for another birthday. Claire Bear was already 2! Minnie Mouse pancakes started our day! I took her to the park and out for frozen yogurt. She now always asks for the "froggy ice cream" (the place is called Sweet Frog). Claire got a new kitchen set for her birthday.




















Next up was our big double celebration weekend with Norah's baptism and Claire's birthday party. Claire ended up getting sick, which sucked, but both events went on as planned. So thankful for all the family/friends that made another special trip out to be with us!





























The big day! Claire's Minne Mouse party! She was asking for a Minnie cake for months!

















































Halloween was the best ever. Henry and Claire both had so much fun. If you never watched my video, take a look back and watch it. I can't wait for next Halloween (Henry's already mapped out his costumes for the next 3 years).











































We had our fall family portraits taken by Rachel Meagan Photography. Claire wouldn't listen as usual, Norah vomited on my two or three times and Henry was hyper. Can you tell!?!























Norah was 3 months!





We put up our Christmas tree probably before any one else did on November 6th. and it's still up. lol.



Henry had his last soccer game. He got a cookie and a trophy. I love the little things in life. He was so excited.



He had his first little school program. They sang a few turkey songs and we had "lunch".



Baking is always fun in this house!




For Thanksgiving, we surprised Grandma Karen and Bumpa dale by driving all the way up to cold Minnesota.












Upon returning, an epic ice storm pretty much such down our area for nearly a week. Henry had 3-4 "ice days".


Norah was 4 months and for once, Claire wanted in on the action.







I knew Christmas would be crazy, so I took a bunch of Christmas photos in front of our tree early.














And then there were these! I'm of course, still finding the snow.
















We saw the big guy. Claire was pretty hesitant, but after she grabbed her own candy cane, she sat on his lap. Henry, was later relieved to know that Santa would indeed be bringing his Shark helmet.

"Phew. That was a close one. Santa didn't say he COULDN'T bring my shark helmet".



We enjoyed a few nice days before Christmas.









Norah tried her first bites of rice cereal.




And then it was Christmas. Baking and cooking and messes, oh my!!










We took a break from all the baking to go to the Dallas World Aquarium. Henry seeing the sharks was probably a highlight of his young years. He's been obsessed with sharks lately.











And then it was present time!!



Henry has the best present faces ever.




























2013 was good to us. We obviously added to and completed our family, settled into a new state and home, and went on many traveling adventures.

Ryan continues to love his "new" position, and my business, much to my initial disbelief, didn't really miss a beat, as I rounded out the end of the year busier than I ever was in Minnesota. We have so much to look back on fondly, and so much to be thankful for.

Here's to another happy, healthy and fun filled year. Bring it on 2014!



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