Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The good life

I think the girls have a pretty good life. Sometimes I'm jealous.

They get to sit around with adorable chubby cheeks, cuddling with Grandma in cozy clothes.

Someone holds them while they snooze whenever they want to.

They get to watch Praise Baby as a special treat.

They look adorable no matter what they wear or how they look. That smile will melt your heart.

They play so hard until they both fall asleep.

Ah, the good life.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Into my heart

Kaden: Mom, I love Jesus.
Me: You do?
Kaden: Yes. I asked him into my heart when I was sleeping.

Is there any other better conversation to start your day?

After this conversation we proceeded to read his Bible that he got from church when he was baptized and had lots of conversations about the stories. I love his genuine curiosity in his faith. Precious.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The little things that matter most

The more time I spend with my family, the more I realize that it's the little things that matter the most in life. Little things like...

Reading together in bed...

Hanging out on the couch with sleeping babies, a 3 yr. old on an IPAD, Grandpa and Daddy...

Beautiful sleeping babies...

and Grandma with her girls.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Brotherly love

Some days I don't know what I'd do without my little buddy around. He is such a good helper with his sisters. He helps put their laundry away, he gets clean burp cloths when his sisters spit up on the old ones, shows his sisters their toys, holds them, and talks to them in the sweetest little voice. At least once a day when I'm feeding one of the girls, I'll ask him to go and talk to his other sister, who usually gets impatient and wants her turn to eat. He changes his voice to a high-pitched soft tone and says, "It's okay, sister, big brother is here." His sisters instantly smile and giggle when he talks to them. Kaden's response to their reaction is usually, "I think they like me, mom." No, Kaden, they love you.

Holding Makenna- who happens to have matching PJ's! :)

Talking to Makenna and rubbing her tummy to make her feel better

Showing his sister a toy (while watching TV himself)

Holding the toy up by his face as he talks to Makenna to make her smile

Monday, January 16, 2012

Celebrating God's blessings

The girls were baptized on Sunday, January 15, 2011. We invited all of our close friends and family to join in what we called our baptism celebration. We wanted to celebrate the double blessings God has given to us, and we are overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving with these undeserving gifts. I tried not to think too deeply about what the day meant as I went through the motions that morning. I know that sounds funny, and I certainly understand and treasure what baptism means. However, if I really thought about how thankful I am for these girls, I'd be an emotional wreck all day. When the girls were born, I had my moment with God (and many others since then) when I, with deep emotion from the bottom of my heart, gave thanks to him for the health of the girls. Few moments in life have brought me to this level- my marriage, the birth of my children, my pleading with God to cure my mom's cancer, etc. God chose me (yes, ME!!) to be the mom of two beautiful baby girls and a handsome boy, and I can't thank him enough. When I doubt myself and wonder if I can handle it on some days, I keep reminding myself that he chose me because he knew I could do it. He gives me grace and mercy when I mess up as a mom, he gives me patience I never thought I had, and peace about the little things that would normally make me nuts. He knows what I need when I need it, and I'm thankful that I could promise in front of our church family and friends that as for our home, we will serve the Lord. No matter what. So, today, we celebrated. Celebrated blessings from above. Celebrated with our church family as they also promised to help raise our children. Admitted that we can't do it on our own, and that with all of us together, we will raise our children to know and love the Lord.

Enough heavy stuff. One thing I wanted to make sure I documented was the story of the girls' dresses. I'm not sure where I had this idea, if I had seen it somewhere or read about it, but I was interested in having the girls' dresses made out of my wedding dress. We have a girl baptism dress in our family that my mom wore when she was a baby, and since then many people have worn, including myself. However, when you have twin girls, that poses a bit of a problem. So, after thinking of lots of options, I decided to look more seriously into getting the girls' baptism dresses made out of my wedding dress. I found a woman locally who hand sews baptism/christening dresses, and she was willing to do it for me with only a little over a month's notice. The dresses turned out more beautiful than I ever could have imagined! Every piece of the dresses and their bonnets came from my wedding dress. This was also a huge part of what made the day special for me. In order for her to make the dresses, I had to take my wedding dress out of preservation, and it wasn't really that hard to see her cut it apart. I'm guessing the girls weren't going to want to wear my dress when they got married, and that this would be a treasure for them to keep forever. Maybe these dresses will get passed along in their families for many generations to come. Maybe not. However, it meant the world to me to share my wedding dress with them on their special day. It was worth EVERY.SINGLE.EXPENSIVE.PENNY.

Attempt #1 of a family picture with the girls wearing their bonnets

Mommy and Makenna

Mommy and Makenna again

Daddy and an unhappy Maya

The grandmas setting up for the party

Just the girls with Mom and Dad

Attempt at another family photo- this one wasn't so bad!

Maya Grace Rysdam

Maya's baptism- with the podium blocking the view. She cried after the water was placed on her head, perfectly on cue! :)

Makenna Anne Rysdam

Makenna's baptism. She also cried perfectly on cue after she felt the water.

Our family of 5!

We shared this special day with 2 other families. God is good!

I love this picture. I love it for a few reasons. First, because it captures an unposed moment when Andy was kissing Maya. I also love it because it shows Jamie Ring in the background on the stage. Jamie was one of my former students from my very first class at CCES. She has the most beautiful voice, and I found an awesome song for her to sing. I was honored that she could share this day with us, too!

The food all ready. If you know me, you know we had enough to feed at least double the people we had. Lots of variations of tacos and enchilada casseroles in the past week! :)

Another picture of us with the girls (who were much calmer now that they were sleeping)

The girls in their seats with my MIL and her friends

Love these babes.

Picture with the cake- notice that Kaden is already eating the dessert

My parents with the girls

My parents with all their grandchildren. I'm so thankful they could be there with us to celebrate this special day!

Andy's mom with the girls, who aren't looking too happy! :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snow much fun

We finally got some snow around here! It didn't feel like much of a MI winter without the snow. The snow happened to arrive at the same time my parents came into town for the girls' baptism, so they got to see Kaden enjoy the snow, too. Kaden has been dressing up in his snow gear inside for awhile now, and when he woke up from the sound of the snowblower outside, he yelled and screamed with delight. "Mom!!! There's snow on the ground!!" He couldn't wait to play outside in the snow with his daddy. It's a little difficult getting outside during the day when I'm the only one home because I don't want to bring the girls outside and he wants someone out there with him. Saturday morning was perfect for some fun in the snow outside with daddy. One of the only times of year that a sloped backyard comes in handy is in the winter, and Kaden had a blast sledding down our hill- free from injuries and other crazy sledders! :)

Walking back up the hill with Daddy

Getting ready to sled down the hill

1, 2, 3.....go!

"That was awesome, Mom!"

So excited to sled down the backyard again!

I love snow pictures of my kiddos. Awesome natural lighting, a plain white background, and rosy cheeks.

Daddy helping Kaden sled

I don't know what it is, but there's something about this picture that I just love. The snow falling? The crispness? Andy looking at Kaden? The joy Kaden has from playing in the snow?

So fun!

Full of snow and loving it, rosy cheeks and all.

Making snow angels with Daddy

The girls prefer to have snowmen on their shirts, all warm and cozy :)



Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year's

We had a blast celebrating New Year's Eve with some friends from church this year. We tried to keep the kids up and then get them all to sleep in their sleeping bags while watching a movie, but I think they were too wound up and overtired. We, of course, were wide awake since we're used to being up late with the girls! :) At 11:30pm (we were SO close to making it until midnight!) when all of the kids started having meltdowns, we all packed up and headed to our own homes to watch the ball drop. We got Kaden in bed and turned on the TV just in time to watch the ball drop. Of course we celebrated by trying to get the girls to bed and finally settled down for the night at 1:30am. Awesome, huh? :)

Kaden clearly enjoyed Just Dance on the Wii. I think we need to add this game to our collection. SO fun!!

Quite the dance party

This kid sweats SO easily- he takes after his daddy.

Makenna just chillin' in her New Year's shirt

Maya celebrating

Mommy and Daddy with the girls

Mommy and Makenna

Last year we started the tradition of answering 10 questions on New Year's Day. We asked Kaden the questions, and Andy and I each answered them individually. You can read Kaden's answers from last year here. It was fun to compare Kaden's answers from last year to this year. This year he clearly understood the questions better. This year we also decided to videotape Kaden answering the questions from now on. It will help us visually see how he changes from year to year, too. Take a look at our video from this year here.

When I looked back at my answers from last year and then this year, I was struck with how faithful God has been to us this year. Last year I wrote about seeking God's guidance for a job for me this year, for another child, and financial security. God answered those prayers more than I ever could have imagined a year ago. Not only did he give us another child, he gave us TWO beautiful twin GIRLS. He has continued to provide us with a job for Andy so he can provide for our family, and gave me peace about taking a year off from work to raise our precious kiddos. My heart overflows with thankfulness. I wonder how God will bless us in 2012?!? We're hoping he has other things in store for us besides more children- haha! :) All in all, we know he's got more planned for us than we ever could imagine.