Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We've been spending more time downstairs playing lately.  There's just more room for the girls to crawl around, and less things for them to get into.  I love watching them play together.  I also must admit that I laugh when I watch them fighting over a toy.  One will grab it, then the other one will try to take it away and they both end up crying.  Early lessons on sharing over here :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

31 years of blessings

The day we packed up and left the cottage at Big Star Lake was my 31st birthday.  It was another ordinary day- cleaning the cottage, packing, unpacking, lots of rain, and just hanging out with my family.  I try not to have high expectations for my birthday anymore.  It's usually the ordinary activities that remind me of the blessings I have.  Not everyone is blessed with an "ordinary" day, spent with 3 little blessings from above.  Not everyone is blessed enough to spend an "ordinary" day cleaning (which means I was blessed enough to go on vacation for a week), and not everyone is blessed enough to get Troutarama shirts from Baldwin, MI for the whole family on their 31st birthday.  Aren't we a special looking group?

My family has this thing for crazy t-shirts.  Last year we all went crazy over the $4 t-shirts from the local hardware store in my parent's town in NJ.  This year, it was the troutarama shirts from Baldwin.  We almost went to the casino in these that night- good thing that didn't work out! :)

Group photo (minus Steve and Kelly who were at work and couldn't show off their awesome shirts.  Theirs were the same as Andy and I's)

Kaden and my parents

Andy and I.  Please don't look too closely.  I hadn't even had a chance to shower yet since we had just gotten back from the cottage.

So apparently you could customize your shirt how you wanted.  You could choose the design, color of ink, t-shirt color, etc.  My Dad and brother went to pick them out, which was probably the first mistake.  Somehow I ended up with this amazingly fabulous rainbow trout on the back.  I'm still wondering why my brother didn't choose to have this amazingly fabulous rainbow trout on the back of his shirt?!?!?

We ordered take-out from Buffalo Wild Wings, one of my favorite places.  My mom got me an ice cream cake, also another favorite.  It wasn't such a bad day after all!

The next day I got some Starbucks, did some shopping with my parents, and went out to lunch.  I decided I would just pretend that was my birthday instead- those are more typical things I like to do on my birthday! :)

Andy and I got to celebrate on Saturday by going out to breakfast and doing some shopping at a local vintage/antique store in town.  It was the perfect way to celebrate.  I guess not everyone can say that they were blessed enough to celebrate their birthday 3 days in a row- haha! :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A week at Big Star Lake

I apologize in advance, because this post is loaded with pictures.  I just didn't have the motivation or time to separate it into a few posts.  So, picture overload in this one.  And to think that these are only a small sampling of the pictures from our week together!

We were blessed to have the opportunity to rent a cottage at Big Star Lake from Andy's aunt and uncle for a week.  My parents and brother drove out from NJ, and my brother Steve and his wife Kelly were able to join us for a few days, too!  When people asked me how my week was, my response has been, "well, we just moved the chaos from one location to another."  That's pretty true.  The girls are at a hard age- crawling and getting into everything, trying to pull themselves up, eating EVERYTHING they see, taking several naps a day, etc.  I spent most of my week inside the cottage with the girls.  It was nice seeing everyone else get a chance to relax a bit, and my most relaxing time was probably at night when I didn't have the duties of home calling my name.  We got out for a boat ride every afternoon for happy hour, which was probably a highlight as well.  Once we docked, we just let the girls crawl around on the boat, and everyone was happy.  We of course spent time playing games, hanging out around the campfire, walking to get ice cream, and just catching up with one another.  Kaden was in his glory- fishing, time outdoors all day, a ride in the rhino, and getting lots of attention from his uncles and grandma and grandpa!

Enjoy the pictures- no captions, I think you can figure it out for yourself! :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Kaden turns 4!

I can't even believe that our little man turned 4 this month.  Time really does fly.  While it makes my heart sad to think about him growing up so quickly, I'm also so excited for him as he gets older and looks forward to preschool this fall.  I love his curiosity, the crazy ideas he comes up with, his creativity, love for life, enthusiasm, and the ways he makes us laugh.  Kaden, you are SUCH a blessing to our family, and we love you SO MUCH!

Kaden was asking for a "Go Blue" birthday party, so we went with that theme.  It was a bit crazy getting everything ready since we were in the middle of trying to sell our house and leaving for vacation the next day.  However, not a detail was missed at the party.  Most of you know that when I do something, I go all out.  There's no in between for me.  Maybe it's a bad thing, maybe a good thing, but it is what it is.  We had a great time celebrating Kaden's special day and are thankful we could share it with family and friends.  He's asking for a "Go Cubs Go" party next year, so I've already started thinking of ideas- haha! :)

Kaden had his 4-year checkup on his birthday (thankfully no shots), and here are his official stats:  Height: 3' 9.25", Weight: 45 lbs

Family photo- the requirement was you had to dress in "Go Blue" attire.  MOST people listened.  I'll let you guess the reason for those who didn't dress appropriately.

Kaden was too busy playing with his friends to take another photo, so we snapped this one of us and the girls :)

Daddy and the birthday boy

Opening up his presents

Maya thought it was pretty cool to play with the paper from his gifts

"A new Nalgene water bottle!!!!  This is what I was asking for, Mom!!!"  (Thanks, Grandma! :)

Makenna enjoying the festivities

The girls with their grandma's

Trying out his new present from the grandparents- a powerwheels jeep!!

Pretty cool stuff!

Checking out the jeep.  At first he was a little bit apprehensive about it, but since then he's figured out how to go in reverse, and likes the highest speed the best.  He takes after his mom.

I really wanted to make a MI football cake for Kaden's birthday, but I knew with the crazy week it just wasn't a reality.  Instead, I ordered a football cake from Costco (crazy good deal!), and added our MI football guys to it.  Not bad! :)  Oh, and notice the chunk of icing missing in the bottom right-hand corner?  That would be Kaden's doing.

Party decorations!  Lots of Go Blue themed stuff! :) (Thanks to good deals after football season this year, second-hand finds, and some crafty projects! )

More decor :)

Go Blue!

Me and my girls!  We had to put one in each color since their MI outfits for the fall were still too big.

The girls hanging out in their outdoor play yard.  I love this thing!  We helped them feel included by putting the MI blanket out for them! :)

Makenna making a silly face- probably screaming a happy scream at that moment!

The Batts' boys being so good and eating their dinner so calmly :)

Part of the crowd in their MI gear

Go Blue cookies!

Singing to a sweaty birthday boy

Kaden and his best little buddy Benjamin