Friday, December 13, 2013


First, I feel the need to address why my child is wearing a short-sleeve shirt and shorts in the middle of winter.  He's warm-blooded.  That's all I can come up with.

Our Advent activities were pretty simple this year.  I was feeling convicted about filling up our holiday season with a bunch of busy activities that really didn't have anything to do with preparing us to celebrate the birth of Christ.  I was trying to do too many Christmas/Advent things, and felt I was doing none of them well.  So, I simplified a few days into December.  We've done a Christmas book a day for years now, and the kids always enjoy that.  Each year I wrap up 25 of our favorite Christmas books and we have the kids open up one each night and read it aloud as a family.  Every year I add a new, special book on Christmas, and we get to add to our collection over the years as well.  I plan on doing this tradition until the kids beg me not to read them Christmas books anymore at the age of 40.

I also made an advent calendar, which had a simple activity for each day.  Some days there were scripture verses to read, some days we enjoyed the blessings of the season, some were more special.  We baked cookies, shopped for children who weren't as blessed as us, sang Christmas songs, watched Christmas movies, and enjoyed the simple blessings this year.  Once we simplified things, it felt so nice.  We could truly celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Decorating the tree!

We decorated the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving this year.  It felt late to be doing it then since there were only 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.  However, I still refuse to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving is over, so it had to wait.  We took an afternoon and set up the tree and ornaments with the kids.  The girls really got into it this year and loved hanging up the ornaments in random places on the tree.  For the most part we left them in the spots they put them.  If you took a picture of our tree for each day in December, you'd notice that it slowly started to change.  The girls figured out how to take ornaments apart, particularly ball ornaments, and we had more than our share of ornaments breaking and hooks on the floor.  So, we would slowly move ornaments up to the top.  By the time Christmas rolled around, most of the ornaments were on the top of the tree.  I wish I had taken a picture of it.  I feel like our tree tells the story of where we're at in life.  We went from a real tree to a fake tree when we knew the twins were coming, we used to keep the tree in the basement when Kaden was little, and last year at my mother-in-law's we had the tree on the porch so the girls couldn't get into it.  Each year the tree tells our story.  Of little hands, of helping hands, of a family that celebrates together.  No matter where we are in life.  I treasure those memories.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Toddler beds!

My goal was to keep the girls in their cribs until January, and then switch them over.  Mostly because they had to sleep in pack n' plays in NJ during Christmas, and I wanted to wait until life was more back to "normal" again.  Well, as has been the case with most things and these girls, they forced me to change things up.  Maya had pushed a spindle out of her crib, and Makenna was regularly climbing out of hers.  So, Thanksgiving weekend, since my parents were still around, the guys took the cribs apart and out of the room, and in came the toddler beds.  The girls seemed pretty excited and it was more of a luxury.  Their first time sleeping in it (nap on Sunday) went strangely well.

I wish I could same it's been a wonderful experience.  To be honest, it hasn't, and I still wish I could have waited.  The first week allowed for no naps since they'd keep each other awake and run around the room.  So, since then we separate them for naps- whoever is the most tired sleeps in their bed in their room, and whoever needs more time to settle down sleeps in a pack n' play in our room.  It's not ideal having a pack n' play permanently set up in our room, but it works perfectly for nap time.  Nights are getting a little bit better.  At first they thought it was fun to run around, jump on each other's beds, turn the light on, grab the iPod from the sound dock, etc.  We're turning into sleep police lately, though.  We're firm with them when they go to bed, we have a solid bedtime routine, and a gate in the doorway to keep them in.  Being firm and non-verbal when we go back in there to put them back in their beds has helped a ton.  Hopefully things settle back down to "normal" again soon. Having them in their beds is also causing them to wake up during the night again, too.  I'm not sure how much lack of sleep I can really handle anymore.

I'm getting the push from some people to start potty training soon (I think they're becoming more and more ready), but to be honest, I can only handle one issue at a time.  And, I'm not going to feel forced to make a change faster than I want to this time around.  So for now, I'll spend a ridiculous amount of money on diapers and contribute to our world waste problem. Boo.

Maya demonstrating her skills

Last time in the crib!

I had to put them in there one last time for a picture :)

Helping Daddy take the cribs apart

Hanging out during the take-down process

Makenna tests out her sister's bed

Oh, yeah.  We're cool now.

Maya in her bed

First nap time in her bed- success for Maya!

First nap time in her bed- success for Makenna!

Sometimes, they find the floor more comfortable
Makenna clearly likes to find different places to sleep

Monday, December 2, 2013


My parents came to MI to visit us for Thanksgiving this year.  We had a nice, quiet day together with our little family and them.  Steve & Kelly were with her parents, Brian & Kelli were in Iowa, and Trudy was sick, so it was just us.  We had a very relaxing day together celebrating the many, many blessings we've been given.  We've been blessed not only in this past year, but in our lives.  It seems like it's just not enough to take time to thank God only one day out of the year.  We are thankful for God's goodness to us each and every day!

The rest of the weekend was spent doing some Christmas shopping (Mom and I went out for some midnight shopping), decorating for Christmas and relaxing as a family.  As always, we were thankful to be able to spend the weekend with family!

Kaden watches Grandpa carve the turkey

Curious girls

Daddy and Makenna

Mommy, Maya and Kaden

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

There's just something I love about this...

I don't know what it is, but there's something about this picture that I just love.  The childlike wonder staring out a new snowfall, kids in pjs in the morning, each of them on their own chair.  Whatever it is, it warms my heart.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eating snow

We had a fresh snowfall this morning.  Kaden opened the slider door without me knowing it, and proceeded to fill up a bowl with snow.  The girls followed him, and I came out into the kitchen and noticed all 3 kids eating snow.  Their real breakfast pushed aside, and snow had taken over as the meal of choice this morning.  You want to eat freshly fallen snow for breakfast kids?  You just go ahead and do that.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Order among the chaos

I was changing the laundry in the laundry room, and when I came out, I noticed this developmental activity happening.  The girls had decided to empty the washcloths out of the drawer and spread them out in the kitchen.  When they were done, they folded them up and put them back in the drawer.  Completely unprompted.  It's amazing what these two can figure out on their own.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crazy kids

As I mentioned in the last post, I love the ordinary, everyday moments we spend with each other.  I'd also like to add that my kids are pretty crazy :)

Modeling their new jewelry

Kaden modeling the girls' headbands

Maya is quite the climber

So much for Mommy's lunch!

Nice hat, Kaden!

The girls figured they'd help me vacuum the mess they created by eating my lunch

Monday, November 18, 2013

Everyday moments

When people tell me I must be super busy, I tell them that our schedule isn't necessarily busy, but our kids keep us busy.  Our days are filled with ordinary, everyday moment.  Ordinary, everyday moments that bring us joy.

I love seeing our kids play together and enjoy each other.  Those are the moments I need to remember when they are fighting and I'm ready to pull my hair out :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Early literacy

Kaden is growing SO much in his literacy skills.  It makes this literacy coach especially proud.  Since I'm always making lists, I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I found this sitting around :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Upward Flag Football

Kaden played flag football this year through the organization Upward.  I love that they are a Christian organization, aimed at teaching students the skills of the game through Christ-like principles.  They pray at practice/games, have a lesson at half-time, and the kids are encouraged by Christian coaches.

Kaden is a pretty laid-back kid and not really competitive.  However, he loves the chance to play with a team, burn off some energy, and work together with other kids.  He had a great time playing football this fall, and we were thankful for his great coaches!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ready for winter

Even though the snow hasn't arrived yet, I think they're ready for it :)

Ok, well, I guess you could say that the snow has arrived.  They're mesmerized. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chris Tomlin concert

Andy and I got to go on a date- yes, a real date, without kids!  Best of all, we got to go to a Chris Tomlin concert.  I got a great deal on the tickets way back at the beginning of the summer and had been looking forward to the concert for quite awhile.  We had been to a Chris Tomlin concert a few years ago and loved that it was such an amazing time of praise and worship.  I love how the entire concert felt like a worship session.  There's just something amazing about thousands of believers singing "How Great is Our God" together.  Oh, and something equally amazing about having a dance party together on God's Great Dance Floor.  We even got to take home a large Chris Tomlin beach ball as a souvenir for the kids (after deflating it a bit to fit it in Andy's car- haha!!).