Friday, December 30, 2016

Recent reads 12/30/16.

Here are a few of my recent reads. I'm pretty proud of myself that it's been just over a month since my last recent reads post, as opposed to about six, like it's usually been. I do really enjoy reading, but I'm not good at making time for it because I always feel like there's something more pressing I should be doing. I'm not very good at relaxing.

The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life by Melanie Shankle- This is the second of her books that I have read, and I really enjoyed this one also. She has written three books, about parenting, marriage, and friendship, and this is the one on marriage. She writes in a very honest, real, and hilarious way. She shares a lot of stories, and I always love hearing other people's stories. This isn't like a small group Bible study type book, but it's great for an independent, quick, enjoyable read. I would recommend. (She's also the author of Big Mama blog, which I haven't read, but I bet I would enjoy if I did.)

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan- This book was definitely different than my usual reads, but I enjoyed it. It's a true story about her "month of madness," when she started showing unusual symptoms, such as psychosis and seizures, and the struggle to figure out what was wrong with her. There is a whole month she does not remember at all of her hospital stay. She wrote this story herself, using her own memory (what she did remember before and after), journals written by her while she was sick and journals by her parents, doctors notes, etc. There were times where it was a little too medical, but not too often. She ended up being diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, an autoimmune disease, basically where your body attacks your brain. It wasn't my favorite, but it was definitely interesting and I'm glad I read it once.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling- This was one of the books on my reading list that our local library actually had! Part of my struggle with reading books lately has been getting ahold of the books I want to read. While our local library is pretty impressive, I think, for a small town, it still doesn't have a lot of the books on my "to read" list. I primarily make up this list from other blog recommendations, so if anyone has any fabulous books, let me know! I also have the OverDrive app, which is really cool, where if your library participates in it you can rent books online, so I can get them on my kindle. The only problem with that is that all the popular titles have about 20 holds, so it takes forever to get them, and then once you get it you only have it for two weeks, and it's hard for me to finish a book in two weeks! Anyway, this book was pretty good- not fabulous but not bad. It was funny and entertaining, and I enjoyed it for that.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016.

Merry merry Christmas! Hope you all had a wonderful one. We had a great Christmas; it's so fun to watch it through your children's eyes! While we were sad to miss a trip with my family to Aruba (doctor said it was too risky this far along in a twin pregnancy to leave the country), we got to do a lot of fun things here. 

First off, my best friend Stephanie came to visit us! While it was a short visit, I treasure it and I am so glad we got to see each other. She lives in DC, so we only get to see each other a couple times a year. The last time I saw her was when we went to DC, and I told her we were pregnant. That was before we even knew it was twins! She was very excited to see my baby belly. Love you Stephanie! It was also very fun to watch her and Norah together- she loves her!

We had a two part celebration with the De Jongs on Christmas Eve and Christmas. I am so thankful to have married into such a wonderful family. 

Norah has such wonderful grandparents!

Merry Christmas from the De Jongs!

Norah sure loves her Uncle Brett and Aunt Elizabeth too. (And how awesome are their sweatshirts? Kley's family watches National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation every year, so the sweatshirts are perfect, and probably the best quote from the whole movie.)

Norah opening her presents from us! She was more excited than this picture lets on. She loves opening presents, but didn't really know how to respond because she wanted to open what was in each present after, and got overwhelmed opening all at once, but overall she enjoyed it!

Opening presents with the family.

Norah got some shape matching cupcakes.

Showing Aunt Elizabeth.

Probably Norah's favorite present- a shopping cart! She loves to get her own cart at the grocery store, and she pushed this one around all night. She even cried when they were putting it in the van to take home because she thought they were taking it away. She had to physically see it before going to bed last night to be sure it was there, and she also wanted it right away when she woke up! Too cute.

Norah got some Bitty Baby accessories and was checking them out.

Norah and I both got irons! Ha. I really needed a new one, and Norah got a play one to go along with the washer/dryer set she got. She was also washing her doll's clothes and ironing them all night.

Kley was pretty pumped about his gifts too! He got some guitar project things and woodworking tools. He literally had to explain what some of them were to me, but he was pumped!

Norah opening her washer/dryer. It goes along with her play kitchen that she already has. So cute!

Getting to work right away.

Watching Home Alone. This picture was taken at the perfect time, because they just discovered they left Kevin at home, and here is a great Uncle Frank quote saying that he forgot his reading glasses too, as if those are the same things. Ha.

Norah is buying some groceries. And she started to smile on command for the camera! Not always, but sometimes. I'll take it.

Playing a game. I think it was called Codenames. It was fun! (Perfect for me, because it didn't take a lot of intense concentration and it wasn't very long, because it's hard to focus with your kids around!)

Merry Christmas to all! So thankful that God sent His Son for us!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas in Des Moines.

Here's some more pictures of our Christmas weekend in Des Moines! 

Saturday morning we went to the winter farmer's market downtown, and Norah got this amazing Santa balloon. I love her expression!

It was almost as big as her!

Norah usually isn't super bold, but it was funny to watch her walk through the skywalks. She walked with her hands on her hips, twirled around and danced, and sang songs. It was pretty adorable. This was in the middle of Wheels on the Bus.

Norah and Daddy! This is the face she pulls when you try to get her to smile. Thanks for the effort, Norah.

Love my family! Standing by the biggest Christmas tree.

There was a violinist playing and Norah was entranced. She really loved it and sat so still listening until she was finished.

Selfie with Uncle Keaton! (Almost every trip they try to take my camera when I'm not looking and fill it up with at least 10 crazy pictures.)

Opening presents.

A new train table!

And another Bitty Baby! She had gotten one for her first birthday from my parents, but they got her another one so she could have her own twins. She loves it!

Merry Christmas! (We missed you Zack and Karlie!)

Norah is so loved, on both sides of our families. So thankful for involved and loving grandparents and aunts/uncles! (Norah is currently the only grandchild/cousin on both sides, but not for long until these twins come!)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas train and Santa.

We were finally able to make it to Des Moines! We missed coming last week due to sickness, and then of course there were winter weather scares, but we made it and I'm so glad! Friday was my mom's birthday and Tuesday is mine, so we got to celebrate both of our birthdays, and Christmas too obviously! We will not see my family over actual Christmas, so I'm very thankful we got this time.

We had briefly talked about riding the Christmas train at the mall with Norah over Thanksgiving, and it stuck with her! She brought it up several times over the next weeks, so we headed to the mall when we got there, and she could barely wait through dinner to get on that thing! It was cute. (I'm still a tiny bit upset that I remembered to bring my camera to Des Moines, but then forgot to take it to the mall, so I had to settle for phone pictures.)

Norah thought this reindeer on the bench was funny. (She's also not super great at smiling for pictures, so you get a lot of blank stares.) Here's Norah with Grandma, Aunt Kayla, and family friend Whitney.

Family Christmas shot! (The best one we could get. I'm also 25.5 weeks in these photos!)

Norah has the best grandparents! We are very thankful for two sets of grandparents that love her so much!

On the train!

Riding with Aunt Kayla! Norah thought she was really driving it. :)

Visiting Santa! That morning she happened to see Santa at the doctor (for my OB appointment) and he gave her a candy cane, which was a good warm up. She would walk up to the general area, but did not want to touch him, so we got a family shot! She's arching her back to get away from him, but I'll call it a win because it went so much better than the Easter bunny. Then, she went upstairs afterwards and was waving, "Hi, Santa!" to him through the glass, so I think she secretly liked him.

Trying to get her to give him a high five. It was a no go. (And I know I'm carrying twins, but woah, check out my stomach!)

Grandma trying to get Norah to look, but she was watching the train!

It was very fun! Being with family, celebrating Christmas, and letting your kids do special things is so great!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Better to give.

The Other Christmas Gift

I'm pretty confident I've posted this video before, but it's so good I have to do it again. This is a video of low-income children from the Metro Atlanta Boys & Girls Club. They were asked what they most wanted for Christmas and what their parents most wanted. They were then presented with both gifts, but told they had to choose only one.

It's a tear jerker. Enjoy! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Quiet days.

I don't feel like I have a lot to blog about right now, since we were supposed to go to Des Moines last week to see my family, and because Kley had tax school there (like work training hours), but my mom was very sick so we didn't get to go. Kley still went, but that left Norah and I home alone for three days. I was pretty bummed! I had grand plans of people to see and fun Christmas things to do, but we tried to make the best of it here. Thankfully Kley got back on Friday, so we still had the whole weekend together, which was nice.

I tried to do some fun things with Norah while Kley was away, like make hot chocolate, play with play-doh, watercolor paint in the tub, Christmas stamps and ink pads, and basically play with loads of toys and books. We also had her usual events like Kindermusik class and Babygarten singing time at the library, and we went indoor swimming Friday morning, so I'd say we crammed a lot of fun in those days! We had a pretty quiet weekend, as we had no plans since we thought we would be gone, but it was nice to relax together. We went out and looked at several different Christmas light displays and got some ice cream too. Norah had a fever on Friday night (thankfully it was short lived), so she also chose to watch Curious George Christmas on Netflix, which she enjoyed as a treat as well!

Here are some of favorite phone pictures from recently.

Norah is prepping for twins quite nicely- holding two babies!

Norah was "helping" me fold laundry, and she was so proud of this. It was hilarious. She put on my tank and Kley's underwear, and she thought it was so funny she had to wait until Kley got home from work to show him.

(The alignment is getting off because these are phone pictures and not from my camera. I don't know how to fix it, so oops.) The above picture is Norah's favorite house to walk by on our street. They have quite the impressive display! Norah's absolute favorite is this reindeer mowing the lawn. She talks about it often.

Kley got the cutest pictures of Norah and one of her best friends, Savannah, at church!

Norah moved into her big girl bed recently, and we are so proud of her! She was very excited for it and has done amazingly well! This was a trip to the bakery for a donut to celebrate successful nights in her bed. She was excited, and no surprise that she chose chocolate with sprinkles!

Play-doh! We had cookie cutters out, but Norah just liked to cut it up into tiny pieces with her plastic knife. Ha.

Helping Daddy shovel the snow with her new little shovel!