Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Annual Big Girls Little Girls Weekend

Every summer Elizabeth and I drive the girls down to Ohio to see our bestie from high school and her two girls.  This year Elizabeth was pregnant so Brandi drove up from Ohio, her mom still lives in my town and her and I drove to St. Joe to see Liz.We were hoping for a beach day but it was pretty chilly.  We went out for Pizza - on the beach - it was possibly the best pizza ever.  Wish I could remember the name of it, it is the pizza place right on Silver Beach.   Then we went swimming in their club pool and then it was off to Dairy Queen for ice cream.  This was the first year I didn't get any good pictures but here's a couple I managed to snap...
 Goofy and Goofy

Always Running Behind

Happy New Year!!  2015 is off and running already!  We had a truly great New Years!  Ella went to a friends house for a sleepover and Taylor was with a BOY.  Brendon, Ally and I went to our dear family friend's house like we do most years and we had such a great time.
This year was extra special because we are in the works of something huge!  We will have our house listed on the market by very early spring and then we will be buying my parents house!  All very exciting and wonderful news!!  Currently paying for two houses though is the downside.  But we hope to sell quick!  So as if I didn't have enough excuses to neglect this blog, now I have added cleaning, painting, moving, organizing and a billion other things to that list!
My husband said the sweetest thing the other night and I really wanted to share it.  Alyssa still likes to sleep with me and it's no longer the coming in at 6 am to snuggle sleep, since we have moved it's the 'must start out in mom's bed' kind of sleep. After a couple of weeks I insisted she sleep in her OWN room.  She has her own room now!  Of course she did not like that idea.  I insisted for 15 minutes she tries to stay in her room.  She cried the entire time and by the end she was so adorably pathetic I invited her in mine.  Sure enough as I am reading she curls up against me and falls asleep almost instantly.  Awhile later Brendon came in the room and I apologized and feeling exasperated I told him I didn't know what to do.  And you know what he said?  The sweetest thing ever.  He said, "Just enjoy it" and kissed me.  I love that man!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gingerbread House With Grandma Ina

Our Annual Gingerbread House with Grandma Ina
I do not know why some of these flipped....they show upright in my photo album.  Sorry, you will have to turn your head!
 This has become a tradition that the girls look forward to every year.  We do it either on Thanksgiving or when we celebrate Brendon's birthday.  I think this is the 5th year, Uncle Jim does the construction and the girls and grandma decorate, while mommy relaxes with a glass of wine.  :)
 The finished product.  This year it was an "Elf on the Shelf" Gingerbread house. 
I will tell you that the very next day Ally had half the candy eaten on the roof.  Currently, it is a sad under-decorated, half eaten house.  Nothing like this picture.

Al Sabo Hike

Two days after Halloween it was beautiful!  The sun was shining and it was in the 50s.  Which was just unheard of since Halloween was freezing cold.  Halloween was so cold this year that it was the first year I didn't go out with the kids.  Brendon took them and they only lasted about 20 minutes.  It was below freezing and the wind was roaring, it was absolutely awful for trick or treating this year.  We've heard that this winter is going to rival last, which was off the charts, record breaking snow and cold.  We ended up with 11 snow days last year!!  And so far this school year we had a snow day BEFORE Thanksgiving.  We actually had 14" inches of snow a week before Thanksgiving this year - it was crazy!!  Anyway, so the Sunday after Thanksgiving we went out to play with mom's camera again.  I sure have a lot to learn, and no time to do it.  I don't understand angles and lighting and all the dials on the camera confuse me.  So I left it on auto for the most part.  Sure wish my mom was in Michigan to teach me!  (Hint, hint...time for a visit mom!!)
 This girl....
 Ally was dracula for Halloween and Tay did her make up for me.  Well she had so much eye make up that it didn't come off for three days!  You can still see some of it!
 Beautiful girl
 Love this one of Ella, such a beauty

Fall Photos

I may never catch up on this blog but I refuse to give up on it!!  Here are some photos I took at home with my new to me Canon Rebel!
Pumpkin Carving Time!  Which sadly this day, we only had time to scoop out the "guts" - the carving came later and with dad!
 Goofy Nut!
 I love this face!
Sadly, I never did get after pictures this year!  The kids used the stencil templates.  Ella did a cat and Ally did a witch.  Taylor did hers by hand - it was one of the animae characters that she likes.  They did such a great job on them!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day at the Zoo

First Taylor's new 'do!
It is so cute on her!
After taking Ella to the zoo to meet up with my old friends, I decided to buy a zoo membership.  We used to have one when the girls were quite a bit younger and Taylor still enjoyed the zoo.  As long as we use it twice, we have justified the cost.  Well it is now mid September and we used it once as a family.  So we need to squeak in one more this fall or spring.  We really like John Ball in Grand Rapids because the kids like the penguins and sting rays.  I also want to go to see the new bear exhibit and the cable cars!
Anyway, this time we went to Binder Park Zoo and Brendon was able to go with!  He rarely does, so it is always a little more special when dad goes.  Happy faces..
The carousel is still a favorite.  It took them two go-rounds to find the perfect beast to sit upon.
Feeding the giraffes is mom's favorite
The goats are definitely dad's fave, but it always brings back great childhood memories for me.  Some days I wish I could raise the kids on a small farm like we had growing up, but the sensible me knows that I would never find time for barn animals.  We will stick to petting zoos.
Play ground fun!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Great Train Robbery

Earlier this summer I bought a Groupon to go on a themed train ride up in Coopersville.  (which is about a 1 hour and 20 minutes north west of here)  Brendon and Taylor were busy so I took the little ones.....who aren't so little any more...
Anyway, we had so much fun!
Upon arrival we bought cowgirl hats to get in the mood! :)
Sisterly Love
 We were given money and jewels, an actors (which were all volunteers from the County's Mounted Division and local sheriffs and their families) had stories and played their parts so well!
 A real sheriff on and off the train
 The story was we had all just gotten paid after working in a town 50 miles from our home town and were on our way back home.  However our train was stopped by bandits with guns, they ran by our windows and shot at the train.  They put on a cowboy horse show out the window and me even kid napped one of the main characters.  Then they boarded our train and demanded all of our money and jewels!
 Ally, of course, was not going to give up her cash for anyone!
 When one of the robbers hopped on to our train car, Ella yelled for the sheriff!  And luckily, the sheriff was able to arrest this bandit and others and all was restored back to normal.  For a nice quiet train ride back :)

With one of the main lady actresses - she was fun to watch because it was obvious that she loves doing it!
 On the caboose, saying goodbye to the train!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer In Review Part One

Let's do an infamous photo montage!
After doing The Color Run downtown Kalamazoo in April, the Run or Dye was a bit of a disappointment.  It was really warm that day and they had no water stations, or bottled water at the end for that matter.  We walked around a dirt track at the fairgrounds and they really had nothing 'fun' for the kids.  But we still made the best of it and enjoyed it!  It was the girls first color run.
 Both the girls were signed up to do the mud run with me, but they had a soccer game that morning and their dance recital dress rehearsal was at the exact same time as the kids mud run.  So I went out and did the run while my mom took the kids to their activities.  I flew home so quickly, showered and took off - managed to get to the auditorium before either girl had practiced their first dance.
 After the recital
 Girls Night Out at Happy Our Art, we were the only party they had that night!  
Ally started a Random Acts of Kindness club and cut out sweet sayings, taped them to licorice and handed them out during the last week of school.  "You are smart!"  "You make me smile!"  "Cute shirt!"  Among many other sweet nothings :)
Taylor cut and dyed her hair, although by now it is much shorter!
 First day of school.....last day of school
 Last day of 1st and 3rd grade
 Last soccer game
 Cousin Britnie married her high school sweetheart and the kids were excited to be there!  (We all were!  What a beautiful wedding it was!)
After all the years I have been to Shipshewana, IN I found out there is an animal park there that is run by an Amish family.  They are very nice people.  Admission includes a horse drawn ride through the park with your own bucket of food for the animals.
 Where else can you hold hands with a monkey?
 Believe it or not two seconds after I snapped this photo Ally was laughing.  She was in shock the first time she touched the monkey and screamed.  Then almost immediately got a case of the giggles!