Monday, February 29, 2016

February Book Review

Well, I had big plans to read 3 books this month, but between being a mama, working, helping take care of my 98-year-old grandmother, and getting ready for baby #3, there just aren't enough hours in the day.  But the two books I did read were good ones!  My goal is that by the time I post my March book review I'll be caught up on my pictures.

To see my January book review, click here.

I loved this book (which is no surprise because I love Jen Hatmaker)!  It was the perfect blend of humor and wisdom.  I found myself laughing out loud one minute and then willing myself to remember her wise words the next.  I finished this book feeling so encouraged and empowered.  I loved the line that said, "Be kind.  Be you.  Love Jesus."  Such a simple, yet all encompassing mantra to live by.  I would definitely recommend this book!

I read Winter Street last month, Winter Stroll this month, and now I have to wait for the final book in the trilogy to come out near Christmas time the end of this year.  These books are super easy reads.  I like how there isn't traditional chapters, but that the story bounces between each character's perspective.  I again loved the Christmas setting and festivities on the island.  I will be looking forward to finding out what happens in the final book!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Christmas Festivities & Haddie's Baptism

Little Explorers Christmas party December 18th ~ singing Christmas carols

blue-eyed beauties

Ainslee, Clara & Amelia holding hands :)

making salt dough ornaments

So much fun getting to celebrate Bryan's 30th birthday with him!

ready for Clara's Christmas program at church

Clara and her buddy Matthew before their Christmas program

I can't even say how fun it is for me to watch my baby girl up on stage.  It's the most adorable thing ever.

We raced from Clara's program to our niece Haddie Jo's baptism that same morning.

precious baby girl

my big brother Billy and his beautiful girls

We drove through Luminary Lane that evening before heading to the Van Roekel's Christmas party.  I  big puffy heart love white wooden front porches.

Such a fun (and yummy) night at Char's!

We got to play with Cali and Cohen on the 22nd.  Love these four babes!

I mean, is there anything better?!

We stopped by Billy & Heather's that night to see my family.

Uncle Daniel was home from Florida!

Family selfie :)

Every year we put our jammies on, grab some hot cocoa and candy canes, put on our favorite Christmas music, and drive around to look at Christmas lights.  It's such a sweet time with little ones.

We're so excited and we just can't hide it!

First stop, the light show at the mall!  The kids stood still long enough for me to snap a picture, but the rest of the time they were running and dancing to the music.  They loved it!

Next we drove through Falls Park. <3

And we ended the night driving through a few of the themed lanes. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Happy 5th Birthday Clara!

Our sweet Clara turned FIVE December 15th.  We can't even say how much we LOVE her!  She is such a joy to have in our family and we are so grateful and blessed.  Clara is very thoughtful and is always thinking of others.  She is the best big sister to Davey and is always watching out for him.  I'm so excited to see her with her baby sister.  Her favorite thing to do is color and make crafts!  She started changing clothes multiple times a day a few months ago and likes to pick out her own clothes.  She loves playing outside in the snow and would stay out till she was literally frozen to the middle. ;)  She likes to help me bake and she is such a good helper in general.  I love to hear her sing and she often makes up songs that flow surprisingly well.  She's loving her ballet and tap class and I am so looking forward to seeing her perform at her first big recital in May.  She really enjoys her Classical Conversations community days each week and loves learning at home.  Her sweet childlike faith is so beautiful to see.  I am so grateful for Clara's life and five years in, I still have moments that I can hardly believe she's mine and I get to be her mama.  Clara is our treasure.  Her nicknames include Sissy, Clarie, Clar-bear, and sweet girl.

I started asking Clara the same questions on her birthday each year when she turned three.  Here are her answers this year. :)

How old are you? "five!"
What is your favorite color? "pink, blue, purple, orange, and green" ;)
What is your favorite animal? "a horse and a duck"
What is your favorite book? "The Gingerbread Man"
What is your favorite tv show? "Paw Patrol 'Pups Save Christmas'"
What is your favorite movie? "The Mistle-Tones" (I'll add Joseph The King of Dreams and The Prince of Egypt)
What is your favorite song? "The Nutcracker songs, Jingle Bells" (I'll add Holly Jolly Christmas, All I Want for Christmas is You, and Laurie Berkner's Party Day CD)
What is your favorite food? "broccoli, celery, carrots"
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? "rice and chicken" (Silly girl! For sure donuts and fresh fruit)
What is your favorite drink? "apple juice, orange juice and water"
What is your favorite game? "matching game, Frozen games"
What is your favorite toy? "Calico Critters doll house, Ariel, Rainbow Dash"
Who is your best friend? "Davey, Celia, Amelia, Kya, Kellen"
What is your favorite thing to do? "play dress up" (I'll add coloring and crafting)
What is your favorite holiday? "Christmas"
What do you sleep with? "pillow, blanket, and Ducky"
Where is your favorite place to go? "church, all of our friends' houses, The Nutcracker"
What do you want to be when you grow up? "artist"

To see Clara's Rainbow birthday party click HERE
To see Clara's 4th birthday and Cinderella party click HERE
To see Clara's 3rd birthday answers and a few pictures click HERE
To see a few pictures from Clara's 2nd birthday click HERE
To see a few pictures from Clara's 1st birthday click HERE

watching a science experiment at CC December 14th

practicing their tin whistles

Every week Clara and her classmates all give presentations on various topics.  She was telling them about her favorite storybook at the time here--The Gingerbread Man!

While we were eating supper that night I said something sentimental about it being our last night with our 4-year-old so Clara asked if I wanted to take a picture so I could remember. :)

These two. :)  Davey was being silly and said he wanted to wear some of Sissy's pajamas to bed that night.

Clara's 5th birthday morning!  I put up her happy birthday banner and Clara wanted to add the decorations underneath it. :)

We had big plans to take the kids to the Children's Museum in Brookings for the first time for Clara's birthday, but the roads were icy so we decided to stay home and rain check the museum.

Ready to open gifts!

We got Clara a table and chairs for her room for crafting and playing with her Calico Critters house.  We love it!


We had all of her small Calico Critters pieces in the drawer.

She also got Ariel and baby beds for her critters.

Michael and Clara coloring in her room. :)  I got a white strand of rainbow colored lights after I took this and I should have moved that fan, but you get the idea.  My little girl's room!

Clara loves her jumbo coloring book from auntie Em!

I can hardly believe this sweet girl who made me a mama is already 5!

Clara had been wanting to make our gingerbread houses so we decided to do them on her birthday since we had to stay home due to weather.

love her

I love his little tongue sticking out while he concentrates. :)

our little village :)

Clara and David wanted to eat theirs right away. :)

We decided to go to Pizza Ranch for supper and played some arcade games.  Jackpot!

Such a nice day with our birthday girl!