Happy New Year from our family to yours!  I thought it would be fun to do things a little differently this year.  Instead of doing my annual blog recap, I decided to share a more personal update…

The first two pictures are from our family Christmas card shoot with Kate.  Apparently Knox had his own agenda because he had a different silly face in almost every picture.  My family and I got a good laugh going through all the pictures, but these two were my favorite.  We didn’t use them for our Christmas cards, but I do love how they capture this phase of our life.  This one is definitely going in a frame!

This outtake was from the Knapp’s family pictures and I love how Kate captured Knox trying to get Andrew to smile for the picture.  Tickles always work, right?

Speaking of tickles, this was shot the day of our family pictures and the boys were not in the mood.  We were tickling the boys here to get them to smile and I love how this picture turned out!

Kate took this picture the day of the Harper family pictures.  She came armed with giant suckers and the boys were on their best behavior to earn those suckers at the end.  Highly recommend this tactic if you have family pictures with young kids. 😉

Photographed by Kate Robinson


Knox Box is four going on fourteen.  He is a true first child that loves his routine, believes everything has a place and never forgets a thing.  And we are typical first time parents that still believe he (well both of them for that matter) is the cutest, smartest, funniest little boy who ever lived.  His obsession right now is his calendar and knowing everything he has to do that week.  He loves checking off each day and counting down to the next activity / holiday he is most looking forward to.  He is writing his name, adding and subtracting without even realizing it and he loves building and creating.  Knox loves his cousins, neighbors and friends and is always up for a playdate, but is also quiet the homebody.  After a little fun he will look at me and tell me he is ready to go home.  He still also loves his Abby (the puppy he sleeps with every night), horses and super heroes!  Knox is a sweet, protective big brother for the most part.  And when he isn’t, Andrew let’s him know. 😉


Andrew really grew into his own little person this year.  Going from one to two is full of so many major milestones – learning to walk, talk, and keep up with big brother, for starters.  He is such a happy boy who is obsessed with doing everything on his own these days.  Everything from getting in and out of the car to putting on his shoes is ‘Andrew try’ or ‘Andrew self’.  He loves books, cars, trains, Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol.  But more than anything he loves his ‘blue blankie’, ‘ba ba’ (bottle) and Knox.  We let him have his evening bottle long after we should have taken it away, but he was too passionate about it (and I was too big of a wimp) to tell him no.  It’s funny how things that mattered with the first child don’t seem like as big of a deal the second time around.  Andrew started a MDO two mornings a week this year and they called him the social director of the class.  Other than the first day, he never misses a beat when we drop him off.  His laugh will make your heart want to burst and his sweet nature and cuddly affection could turn any frown upside down.  But his love for his big brother might be my favorite thing ever.  Andrew request two of everything, one for him and one for Knox.  When he wakes up in the morning the first thing he ask is “Where’s Knox?” (he is our early riser.)  I know these two will have their challenges ahead, but right now I am embracing their love for each other and for the way they take care of each other (for the most part).  Andrew still has to manage with eczema and food allergies (eggs and sesame), but we learned A LOT this year and for the most part, it stays pretty under control.  (Traveling usually causes some challenges with flair ups and he has been caught sneaking cookies / cake when we weren’t looking at birthday parties on a few occasions, but overall we can’t complain.)


We added Rosie to the family last Christmas and for the first six months of the year, I questioned my sanity.  Adding a puppy to the mix with a three-year old and one year old felt like adding another baby / child, at times.  I remember picking up the phone one Saturday and calling Pecan Hill Kennel when Rosie had playfully knocked Andrew over (he couldn’t walk well yet) for the last time.  I dropped her off the following Monday and it was the best decision I ever made.  She is still a puppy and she still gets excited when new people come around, but for the most part she is so well-behaved!  We joke now about how we were starting to think we didn’t like her before she left and now how much we love her.  I know a lot of this was our fault for being so busy with our children and my husband’s travel, but it was definitely the best thing for our family.


2017 was a year of adjusting to changes and challenges for us both.  Fred took on a new job with more responsibility and travel, and I was challenged to find and accept help at home and with the blog because I finally realized I can’t do it all and do it well (or stay sane). I am going to do a separate recap and goals post for HOUSE of HARPER so I will get more into this later. 😉

But on a more personal note, it was also a year of getting our groove and simply enjoying this phase of our life.  Other than Fred starting a new job, we didn’t have any major life altering changes in 2017 – no new babies, no cross-country moves and no new house purchases or major renovations.  We ‘finished’ our house and shared it with you all on PaperCity + the blog.  It’s amazing how much more at peace and productive you can be in a home that is organized and isn’t under construction!  (Although I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I am always dreaming up our next project!)  

It has always been our plan / dream to have three kids and to have them close in age with just two years between each one (like we did with Knox and Andrew).  However, when the time came to think about baby #3, our little family just simply wasn’t ready.  Andrew still seemed like our baby, and I was still trying to figure out how to adjust to life with two kids, my own small business and a husband who travels for work while still maintaining important relationships, giving back to the community and prioritizing our faith.  I am not sure I will ever have it figured out, but we do still pray our future holds another little blessing.  And we are so happy that we took this year to enjoy the two angels we have at their precious ages. 

Fred and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this year which sounds pretty crazy.  It’s weird how you can both feel like you’ve been with someone forever, but at the same time feel like you are still 25 and newly weds.  We have lived in three cities and four apartments so making our first house a home and getting truly settled in a city we plan to call home for a long time has been a wonderful phase for us.  Fred’s job doesn’t allow him to be around much during the day when we are shooting content for the blog and he has always prefered to stay out of the spotlight, but I hope you get enough glimpses to know how lucky we are to have this man as our husband / dad.  He is so supportive of everything I do, he is a dedicated father and he is the ultimate example for our boys.  They have big shoes to fill.


Since starting this blog almost seven years ago, you all have become our friends and supporters in a way I never imagined.  I am forever grateful for every visit, like, comment and message.  I love how together, we have created this community of conversation between young moms and women who are always so supportive and uplifting.  I can remember one (one!) hurtful comment in 2017, and I think that is pretty incredible when you consider the hundreds of thousands of visits, likes and comments received in the past year.  I am so proud of our community of loyal readers who genuinely care about our family, home and what we are up to.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being one of them.  I know every blogger doesn’t experience such grace and it isn’t lost on me how lucky I am to have this amazing community.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!


For fun, let’s take a look down memory lane!  You can check out past recaps here: 20162015, 2014, 2013, 2012