Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016.

We spent Thanksgiving in Des Moines with my family, and it was a great time! We were originally not going to come, as we were going to go on a trip with my family over Christmas, but now we can't go because it's too late in the twin pregnancy. Bummer! But, I'm glad we were able to come for Thanksgiving and I'm glad the rest of the family is still able to go, because it would be silly for everyone to miss just for me. 

Norah is eating up her time as the only grandchild and loves all the attention from family. It's so fun to watch her enjoy coming here and to watch her love family so much. She was so excited to pack her suitcase to come, and wheeled it around all day while we were packing!

We celebrated Christmas, of sorts, while we were here too because my grandparents and uncle/aunt were here and we won't see them at Christmas either. And it was fun to see all my mom's decorations too!

Last Thanksgiving/Christmas as a family of three!

Belly kisses. 

Much to be thankful for!

Thanksgiving dinner. Norah's favorite is definitely green bean casserole.

Grandpa reading the Christmas story.

Opening a few presents!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! So very thankful for family and all that He has blessed us with.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Funny links.

Company is coming- I've seen this multiple times, but it always makes me laugh, especially during holiday cleaning.

Things you'll say as a parent- Kley and I had a good laugh over this one too. It's funny lines from movies, but spliced out as things parents say to their kids.

Garbage can takes out kid- This is sort of sad- poor kid- but also hilarious. That crazy wind!

Trying to put baby in crib- I am pretty tall for a girl, but I actually tried to duck down and mimic how this could possibly happen on Norah's crib. I don't know, but it's funny.

How did people in infomercials even survive?- I sent this in a group text to my family. I love watching weird infomercials.

Jimmy Fallon loves Gilmore Girls- Who's excited for the Gilmore Girls revival? Jimmy's a fan too!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My two-year-old love.

Oh, Norah. We love you so much. Norah is really and truly two- it's sinking in. She's growing more independent and wants to do things by herself, like climb into her carseat, take off her coat, put her pants on, etc. And don't you dare push the automatic door button on the van- that's her job. Ha.

As with most two-year-olds, the intensity is rising, on both ends. She is usually a pretty good listener, but can of course have her moments. The other day she threw a fit through the parking lot and almost all the way home because I wouldn't let her ride the horse (that you put a quarter in) at the front of Wal-Mart. She kept crying, "Ride horse!" and even started yelling, "Turn van around!" which surprised me and I thought was funny (though not funny enough to actually laugh). By the time we got home, she had finally stopped, but then had to re-cry about it when she saw Kley and tell him all about it.

But, thankfully, the intensity swings both ways, and way more often than not, she is the sweetest girl ever. She will kiss all of Kley and I's "owies" whenever something happens, loves to give hugs, and sometimes tells me I'm pretty or just says, "Hi Mama" to me for no reason and just lovingly looks at me. She has also recently started kissing my belly, saying hi to the babies, and loves to tell them to, "Come out and rock-a-bye" because she wants to hold them. I love it so much. She loves to play with her baby doll and she will walk around shushing her and telling her, "Don't cry, mama's here." Those are my two favorite things she says right now. She's also very sweet to her friends, and loves to tell them it's okay when they seem sad and give them hugs and kisses. (Sometimes she's more loving to her friends than they want to receive and then she looks confused like she can't understand why someone wouldn't want a hug right now.)

She's started using more positional words and longer sentences, like the other day she said, "Daddy play guitar at church." It was the first time hearing her include "at" in a sentence. She is a very good communicator and very rarely is there a time where I can't figure out what she's saying. Many people have commented how good her language skills are, which makes me happy! She spells her name NORH and loves to try to write it. She can draw circles, and identifies more shapes, like circles, diamonds, stars, triangles, and squares. She loves to have "group time" with Ainsley where we learn letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. She can count to 13. She loves to sing and can sing almost all the ABCs. Her current favorite songs to sing are "Old McDonald" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." She loves to go to Kindermusik class and talks about it often, and the last time pointed out all by herself that the ceiling tiles were shaped like squares. Kley says she's taking after me in the cleanliness department, because she loves to help clean, whether that's wipe counters, dust things, sweep the floor, etc. She is pretty good at cleaning up her toys and even sorts them into the right buckets. That's my girl! We started putting a blanket and pillow in her crib a couple months ago to help prepare her for the transition to a big girl bed, and she's recently become attached to her blanket. Not a specific one, but just the one that's currently in her crib. She sometimes asks for it and likes to carry it around. When she gets iPad time, she requests to sit on the couch with the blanket covering her legs. It's pretty cute!

Here is a picture of Norah at the park with her best pals! It's so much fun to watch her make friends. She talks about them often and enjoys seeing them!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Recent reads 11/21/16.

I wish there wasn't such a gap between these posts (meaning I would love to read more books!), but alas, it is what it is. I love to read, but taking time away to read is hard for me because I always feel like there's something else I should be doing that's more important. I know taking time for yourself is important too, but it's so easy to not make that a priority.

Anyways, here are my three recent reads!

1. Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker- This book is about what stirred in their hearts to inspire Brandon and Jen to start their own church (Austin New Church in Texas). She writes a lot about their church's vision, what they want it to look like, etc. I have heard Jen say that this is her personal favorite of her books, but it wasn't my favorite- still good, but I liked her other books better.

(I've always really liked Jen Hatmaker, but she recently came out in support of homosexual marriage, which made me sad. If you're interested, you can read what her husband said about it here.)

2. The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes- This was about an older magazine editor who came back from a six month medical leave to find her magazine turned into a website/app, and her previous young assistant came back and was hired as another editor. She was very difficult to work with and had unfair expectations on employees, which really changed everything, both in presentation of the magazine and the work environment. It showed how technology is playing a bigger and bigger part in today's world. The end all worked out nicely, as you can probably guess. It wasn't my favorite book ever, but was definitely a good read that kept me entertained!

3. Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy- Somehow this book took a huge turn for me. I loved it in the beginning, but then quit reading it at 26% on my kindle. I loved the language- it is beautifully written. That's what hooked me at first, but the main character is basically retelling the stories of their hard childhood to his sister's psychiatrist because she tried to commit suicide and is very mentally troubled, and I think the darkness just got to me and I couldn't keep going. I felt for the characters and it was written so captivatingly, but I just couldn't keep going with the story of their hard life. I also felt like I just kept reading and reading and never getting anywhere, which makes sense because I just looked it up and it's 576 pages. Wow. Also, I didn't know that this book was also a movie until right now when I looked it up. I wouldn't tell you not to read it, but obviously can't speak that highly since I didn't even finish it. I don't like quitting, but if I have so little time to read, I want to enjoy it and look forward to it when I do, and it wasn't happening for me with this book anymore.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


The pool in our neighboring town started their winter "parent/tot swim hour" and we went last week! I even said no to something else, because I really wanted to make it a priority. Norah loved it last year, and I really want to do as many one on one things with her as I can before the twins come. (Also, most of my doctor appointments are on Fridays too, so I want to go when we are able.)

Norah was a little hesitant at first (I think because there were a bunch of older ladies in the dressing room that were talking to her, which scared her a little), but warmed up once she saw the pool. She didn't get as wet as she did last year, but I think she'll warm up even more if we keep going.

She found this watering can and basically spent the whole time pouring water from the pool to the hot tub and vice versa. Ha.

My little cutie!

Norah, I love you and I'm so glad we got to go swimming together!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Norah's 2-year-old birthday gifts.

Here are some of the gifts that Norah got for her birthday and is enjoying!

(Again, I just want to point out that my idea behind these kind of posts is to be a resource for other parents of toddlers/preschoolers. As a former preschool teacher, I love researching educational toys! Norah has a generous family, and is still the only grandchild/niece or nephew on both sides, which is a blessing, but no one ever has to get their kid a certain amount of stuff or at a certain price point to be a good parent. Loving your kids and spending time with them is the best present!)

1. Learning Resources New Sprouts Style It Playset- Norah has recently been loving to brush my hair (sometimes her own hair), and to try to put ponytails in, which is super cute, and I don't mind having my hair played with. When I taught preschool, I would sometimes have a "salon" in the dramatic play area, and the kids loved it! (I had old hair dryers/curling irons/straighteners that had the cords cut off and the curling iron barrel taped shut so hair couldn't get stuck in it and old, empty spray bottles, and we didn't have combs or brushes for lice protection. Boys liked it just as much as the girls!) Norah has been loving it!

2. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Doctor Set- We got this for Norah to hopefully prepare her for doctor visits better. She did much better at her two year wellness check than I thought she would, but going to the doctor certainly is not her favorite thing. She likes playing with it, especially checking blood pressures, heartbeats, and taking temperatures! It's a pretty nice kit, with lots of tools and nice that it fits to store easily in the sturdy case.

3. KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage with Furniture- I love this dollhouse and think it's so adorable! Norah got this KidKraft kitchen for Christmas, and it's very nice quality, so I knew their dollhouses would be nice too! If you are considering one, just be check to measure your space availability. They are big! This one is actually considered one of the mini ones on their site, and I still think it's pretty big. It comes with all the furniture, which is nice, but you have to buy the people separately. They also have an African American family and a Professionals doll set. (It's not big enough for Barbies or bigger dolls to fit in it. Some of their dollhouses are, but not this one.) It seems so inviting! I loved playing with my doll house growing up, and hope Norah does too!

4. Learning Resources Counting Cookies- Norah loves cookies, and has also been practicing counting, so what could be better? She can fairly consistently count to 13. I like these because they gave the numerical number on the bottom, and the top has the corresponding number of chocolate chips, so they can count and order them in multiple ways (comes with 0-10). The storage cookie jar is pretty cute too! And it's pretty small, so very easy to store and doesn't take up a lot of room.

5. Fisher Price Little People Farm Animal Friends- Norah got the Fisher Price Little People Animal Friends Farm for Easter from grandpa/grandma, and her aunt/uncle got her this coordinating animal set to go along with it. The farm only comes with a couple animals, so this was perfect! She loves farms and farm animals and has already enjoyed playing with them several times.

6. LeapFrog Learning Friends Adventure Bus and LeapFrog Learning Friends Owl & Parrot and Hippo & Panda sets- This was another aunt/uncle gift, which was amazing because this too coordinates with what she already has. As a previous gift, they had given her the LeapFrog Learning Friends Preschool Playset, and these are the add-on pieces. I love that this gift (and the last) build on something she already has and loves! The school actually models what "real" school will be like someday, with different school activities and routines. Each animal has it's own "personality" and makes it's own sounds and stories when you put it on the noise circle. The bus has different settings and noises too, and changes depending on which animal you make the driver. I like this because Norah struggles with separation anxiety and I think she will have a hard time going to preschool, so this is the perfect introductory toy to that!

7. Pottery Barn Kids Baby Doll Carrier- My good friend sent this to Norah for her birthday and it's so adorable! She sent her a note about how she can carry her baby like I will carry the twins. She loves her Bitty Baby Doll, so this will definitely be a fun accessory!

8. Bitty Baby Snuggle Sweater Outfit and Bitty Baby Lambie PJ's- Norah got these two adorable outfits for her baby too!

9. Minnie Bow-rific Bag Set- My parents had this old play purse that Norah found and was dragging around at their house, so another aunt got her this play purse! She also likes Minnie, so it's perfect!

10. Dot to Dot for Tiny Toys Wipe Clean Activity Book and Wipe Clean: Starting School Activity Book- I chose these two books for Norah because I thought they would be good church/long car ride activities. They come with a dry erase marker and each page you can just wipe clean. How handy to have so many activities in one small book! She's a little young for them now, but I'm excited for her to grow into them. They aren't that expensive, and very educational!

11. We're Going on a Bear Hunt, God Gave Us Two, and Little One, God Made You Special- I love to give Norah books for gifts because I love reading, I love reading to her, reading is so valuable, and I want Norah to love reading. We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a fun one that was a preschool favorite when I taught, and Norah didn't have it yet. I bought God Gave Us Two before we found out it was twins, but still a really neat book, and I love the Christian aspect. She already has God Gave Us You. She also already has Little One, God Loves You, and it's such a cute book, so Little One, God Made You Special goes along well!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

My sister, the Red Raider.

While my family was here for Norah's birthday, we went to Northwestern (the college in our town), to watch my sister sign to play volleyball! I am so pumped! Not only because I'm excited for her future and we're praying she loves it there, but selfishly we are excited because she will only be a couple blocks from us. 

So excited for you, Kayla! Can't wait to buy our season pass and come watch you play as a Red Raider, and to see you more often most of all! We love you!

So official!

It will also be great because my parents will visit more (both to see Kayla play and it will be amazing because they can help with the twins/Norah!). 

It was special that we all got to be there to watch!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Halloween 2016.

Happy Halloween! Norah was the cutest butterfly this year. She enjoyed wearing her costume and was excited to put it on, but got sick of it at the end of the day (which I don't blame her for, because we put it on several times for different things). 

It was fun this year because it was her first year of really understanding how to trick or treat. In our town, all the businesses downtown open up for trick or treating in the afternoon. It's perfect for young kids because it's all on one street and you know that everyone is participating. We practiced saying "trick or treat" all morning and she carried her basket around all day. Norah did so well! She was very serious while doing it, but I think she liked it. She walked right up to their candy baskets, said "trick or treat" to a lot more people than I thought she would, politely took one piece of candy each time and put it in her basket, and only asked to eat one thing (M+M's- her favorite). I was pretty proud! (She definitely asked to eat several more things at night, but during the trick or treating only asked for one!)

Kley unfortunately missed it because he was at work, but we went out to the grandparents' houses at night and he got to come for that. All in all, I think Norah had a great Halloween and she was so proud of her candy bag!

Norah's best pal, Ainsley.

Not a great photo, but Norah loved going with her friends, Lottie and Ainsley!