Monday, November 26, 2012

Remembering Grandpa Chris

November 26, 2012 would have been Grandpa Chris’ 60th birthday. Although there isn’t a day that goes by that we do not think about him, today especially, we reflect and celebrate his life.

On Thanksgiving day we lit a candle in memory of him on our first big holiday without him and his laughter, good appetite and faithful heart.

Evan and Jaden today were happy to wear their “Grandpa Chris’ gym outfit” that Grandpa Chris gave them for their 1st birthday.

This was the last photo the boys took with Grandpa Chris.
Although we cannot physically hug Grandpa Chris, we can let his positive outlook on life and his love for Jesus Christ live on through all of us. His faith truly made him strong and a great role model for Evan and Jaden.

I think it’s time for some German Chocolate cake:) 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Thanksgiving!

 We have so much to be thankful for. And I know with the hustle and bustle of not only the holidays, but of the semester and of following two 1 year olds around, I often forget to ‘stop and smell the roses’ as the cliché goes. (Maybe that’s because I’m smelling too many dirty diapers…hmmm….). Anyway, last year I started what I will now term a ‘tradition’ of having a Thankful Tree as the centerpiece on our table at Thanksgiving. Last year we began our Thanksgiving meal by writing on a paper leaf what it was that we were thankful for. This year I decided to cut out more leaves and have other people who stopped by our house this month write on a leaf. I just read through all of the leaves…..and was amazed at all of things to be thankful for. Obviously friends and family won the majority vote, and I agree after this past week.
My week of thanksgiving started out with a night get-away at a spa in WI, where I met up with a friend from MN.  I did get to relax (and got an uninterrupted night’s sleep!), while I also finished grading all of my Food Science research papers! The boys survived the night with dad, or I should say dad survived the night with the boys! Sorry, this is not Thanksgiving dinner at my house!! This is a pic of the amazing food at the spa-- scallop salad, baked brie, hummus, and yes, creme brulee for dessert! 

Grandma Pam, Grandpa Al and Aunt Laurie all arrived Wednesday noon to spend the weekend playing with the boys! This is a picture of Jaden helping me bake a pecan pie. I was glad I had an extra set of measuring cups and spoons!

The boys love to read books. Evan is more patient than Jaden and will listen to a whole book.
Aunt Laurie had fun playing a game with Evan--Evan puts his arms in the air with his hands in fists and yells, screams actually. He doesn't quite grasp the concept of 'shhhh, we're in public be quiet! As you see here, Evan got to venture out shopping with us Thanksgiving afternoon. 
There's this (annoying) Thanksgiving song that we listened to one night and Jaden just had a blast 'dancing' around......marching really. Evan has his own little dance moves, too!

And the highlight for the boys this weekend was having Grandpa Al as a troubleshooter who figured out that if he tied a rope to the train, the boys could ride around and around and around and around the house! And that they did!
The boys even tried sharing the train and road together---but that often ended with one or both of them on the floor! I should also mention that after eating Thanksgiving dinner, the boys had to change into elastic waist pants as their 12-month jeans were a bit too tight!
Saturday night we attended a friend's wedding with Dan and Brooke.

 We were grateful to my family for watching the boys for much of the day and night Saturday. They all got to come swimming at a hotel Saturday and Sunday. This is Jaden looking at the hotel's decorations. Both of the boys love Christmas lights......they look but don't touch---for now!

 Sunday we took the boys swimming. Cold water, but they had fun splashing around!

It was sad to see Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Laurie leave this morning! The boys sat on their train tonight, wondering where the rope is and why no one was pulling them around! Thankfully, Christmastime with family will be here before we know it! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A House Full of Helpers

It’s easy to look around the house and see all of the extra work that kids create. Like sweeping the kitchen floor every day (or after every meal!) – Washing extra dishes/bottles – Washing one (or two) more loads of laundry every week – you get the idea. But if I focus on that, all I would be doing every day is 'work' around the house!

So instead I’ve decided that Evan and Jaden are my little helpers around the house.

Evan and Jaden help with Laundry

Evan and Jaden help clear tables - really anywhere in the house. 

 Jaden helps pick up recycling around the house. And then actually repurposes the items. 

Evan helps sweep the kitchen floors. 

They are also pretty good helpers at making me smile every day. 
Evan and his little ‘fish face!’

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Fun Part II

Evan, Mason, Jaden

I finally uploaded pics from my camera—I get so used to having my phone around and using it to take pics, that I forget to frequently upload actual ‘camera’ photos. So, I needed to create a ‘Part II’ to my last Fall post. Ironically, I could write the same thing today as last week! Jaden is like a clock…….I would love for you to post comments of any tips you have to help kids transition with time changes. Evan has done just fine with adjusting to the new time---so it appears more of a personality thing, than a parenting thing……..hmmmm….something I have been fortunate to observe with many things.

Feeding the boys and getting them to eat is one of those things. Inevitably, one of the boys will love what I feed them for supper, while the other one will carefully and deliberately throw the food on the floor. In those moments I have to focus on the one who actually likes what he is eating and know that tomorrow the roles will likely be reversed!

Naptime is another area I’ve noticed that can be more personality than parent based. Yesterday, we had a relaxing Saturday – without much planned. The boys ate a filling lunch, and then I put them down for naptime like always. Well, Evan just wasn’t having it. He wasn’t tired and tried to keep Jaden up. Since Jaden gets up so early, he is consistently a good napper. I finally took Evan out of their room – so he got one-on-one time playing until we wore him out for a later naptime.
This is in lieu of naptime! 

Jaden playing outside during Evan's naptime!

I could go on about stories where if I just had one baby, I would think I had ‘failed’ at parenting for a specific task, but luckily, one of the boys typically cooperates……and that’s what keeps me going! Well, that and my morning pot of coffee!! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Fun!

I used to think that the extra hour we got when we turned back the clocks was for sleeping…….I do wish it was. But Jaden is like a clock, and I guess we didn’t read the manual correctly last night when we told him to make sure he sleeps in today. He was up right on time……unfortunately that time was actually 5:30 instead of 6:30. Oh well, extra time to post this blog today, do laundry, and of course, drink coffee!

Here are some pictures from the boys’ fall fun!

Jaden painting pumpkins at daycare.

Although we did not go to the popular 'Rader Farms' to pick pumpkins, pet horses, and go on a hay-rack-ride, (I found it silly to pay a fee to go to a 'Rader' farm!), the boys did get to pick out their pumpkins at church. 



Evan deciding what he's making for dinner on Halloween!

Thing 1 & Thing 2

Helping pass out treats

Halloween was definitely more successful than last year!!

Hope you have enjoyed your fall festivities!