Monday, October 29, 2018

McDonald's and swimming- Norah's perfect birthday evening.

We let Norah pick whatever she wanted to do for dinner and activity on the night of her birthday, and she chose McDonald's and swimming. No surprise there! It was a really fun night celebrating our girl and so fun to watch your kids have fun. Aunt Kayla and Victoria (our cousin/Kayla's roommate) got to come too!

I wonder how many times the McDonald's workers see someone take a family photo there. Ha, but when it's your 4th birthday dinner, you do. Norah got that birthday crown from preschool and loved wearing it.

Love this smile!

Ellory is slower to warm up and was very serious sitting on the slide at first, but then she loved it! I bet both her and Lucy went down at least 30 times each. They loved it!

Love this picture of Victoria and Norah going down the slide!

Happy happy birthday, my sweet Norah. Being your mom is one of my greatest blessings and my most favorite things.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Norah's 4th princess friend birthday party!

Norah is four! In the past, we threw a fairly large party- open house style- and invited lots of friends and family. Now that Norah is getting older and we are learning her personality more and she can express what she wants, we did a smaller friend party this year because Norah feels more comfortable in smaller groups. It was a good decision and it was fun to watch her have a good time! We had a neighbor friend, some friends from preschool, and a few friends from church over. I figured a couple wouldn't be able to make it, but all 9 that we invited were able to come. How fun! 

Norah had said for months that she wanted an Aurora party, and then recently threw in Snow White too because her dress has dark blue on it (her favorite color). Thankfully I was able to convince her to have a general princess theme, since there isn't anything with just Aurora and Snow White on it. I think it turned out super cute! My SIL Rose made these great posters and they were perfect!

I ordered some supplies from Michaels awhile back on sale- win!

I also ordered this balloon pack from Amazon, and I didn't realize that the castle balloon was that big. It was worth the extra helium charge because she really loved it!

My mom found those great princess bubbles as party favors.

One of my favorite yearly traditions is making a birthday board of favorite photos from the year. It's so hard to pick favorites, but such a good problem and it's a great way to reflect on the year and remember all the great moments. (And it will make high school graduation easier because I'll already have pictures ready, but we aren't going to think about that for a long time!)

I ordered this shirt off etsy too and it was so cute!

Party friends! I let Norah pick the whole meal and she chose Frozen character macaroni and cheese, green beans, grapes, bananas, strawberries, and doritos. 

Singing happy birthday!

We had all our princess toys out (princess castle, legos, and barbies), and we also did a princess coloring page and sticker craft. 

Happy 4th birthday Norah! We love you so much!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 Fall Family Photos.

We did a quick family photo session (Kley's aunt was kind enough to meet us and snap some on my camera), and these are the best ones. Always glad we did it after it's over! Love my family!

It was pretty chilly. Norah's body language is hilarious in this picture I think. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Recent reads.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng- I heard this recommended by a couple people, so I was excited to read it. It's about a "perfect" town and a well to do family with four kids and a single mother/daughter who live in their rental condo and how all their stories intertwine. Each chapter focuses on a different character and reveals a deeper part of their meaning in the story. The beginning of the book is in the present where the well to do family's house is on fire and then goes back in time over the last year telling how they got to that point. It was entertaining and interesting. The ending wasn't my absolute favorite, but it seemed to fit with the story, if that makes sense. (After typing this, before posting, I also heard a couple people say they didn't like it- that it was too hard to get into and there were too many characters. It wasn't my favorite book, but I did enjoy it.)

Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions by Tim Keller- Our life group at church did this book over the summer, and I really enjoyed it. Each chapter examines a part of Jesus' story and His encounter with someone in the Bible, like an outcast, skeptical student, religious insider, Mary, etc. He dove deeper into many stories I've read in the Bible before but hadn't studied in depth, and he made many great points that I hadn't necessarily thought about or explored before. Some chapters struck me more than others (as with probably many books like this), but overall it was good.

Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer- This book was on my (very long) reading list, which means that I got it from some blog recommendation somewhere, and I ended up reading it because it was the first book that my small local library actually had in stock at the moment. I do love our library way more than I thought I would when we moved here, but the selection isn't as great (obviously) in a smaller town, so sometimes I have to wait awhile before getting a book. I really enjoyed this. I looked forward to reading it and it was a very pleasant, easy read (though there were a couple racy parts that weren't my favorite). It's about a wife who's husband suddenly passed away and she's left with two younger kids, and about the year after his passing as they are grieving and moving on. (Hint- there's some romance later on in her moving on. :)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Great grandparents and morning on the green.

It was homecoming weekend at Northwestern, our local college, and we are always excited for "Morning on the Green" every year! It's basically like kid paradise with inflatables, games, and prizes. Now that we've lived here for almost four years, it's so fun to have yearly traditions and fun things to look forward to each season.

The girls had a great time in the inflatables (well, Norah and Ellory did, Lucy didn't love it so much), and enjoyed suckers and popcorn (a big treat!). You can see Lucy sitting right beside the entrance hole and that's all she did. (Normally, I would think she would love this, but she's been extra clingy/crying this week and we aren't sure why. Doctor said she looked fine.)

Ellory loved it!

Norah's smile says it all.

This was her favorite game, where you throw toilet paper rolls into the toilet. Ha.

My grandparents were also visiting for the weekend, which was fun to see them! We only get to see them 1-2 times per year usually, so it was nice to have them! They hadn't seen the girls in seven months, so it was fun for them to see how they'd changed and fun for everyone that they could spend time together. They definitely colored many pictures, read lots of books, and played round after round of games!

All three girls voluntarily sat down in the same place together, so I had to take a picture! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pumpkin patch and Thomas the train.

We had a fun weekend in Des Moines! We got to celebrate my sister Kayla's birthday (The big 2-0! We joked that we have three months together in our roaring 20s, as I turn 30 in December.) We also went to a pumpkin patch and rode Thomas the train!

It was the most beautiful fall weather and it was so great to be outside! I picked this pumpkin patch because it was the closest to my parent's house, and it thankfully turned out to be amazing! We had such a great time. Love family photos!

Norah is almost 4! What a sweet girl she is. She loves these horse swings. (Our local pumpkin patch has one too.)

Our niece Jorie! Such a cutie. It's so neat to see her blue eyes because our three girls have brown.

Kley and Kayla trying to figure out this two person bike. Love Kayla's face. It was actually pretty difficult!

Norah found a tractor swing this time too!

Norah is getting so much braver with going near the animals. She even fed a couple some grass!

Ellory loves animals. All animals. She will probably grow up to be a veterinarian. She has no fear and walks right up quite excitedly.

They had this giant inflatable pumpkin that was so fun! I just watched everyone run and jump and enjoy each other and the beautiful weather and it was such a special moment of thanking God for my family.

Ellory loved it!

Lucy jumped for a little bit, but unfortunately had a bit of a rough weekend. She is naturally a daddy's girl, but was very out of sorts and cried much more than usual. She only wanted Kley, so just she and him walked away from the crowds for awhile to calm her down. 

I am so grateful that both of our families are so involved and interactive with our girls. What a gift.

Norah also had a great time!

It was such a special day and I love taking way too many pictures (is there such a thing?) to remember it. 

They had this bathtub tractor ride that was so fun! Each tub had a different name.

It was actually quite relaxing to ride around in the bathtub! It was funny beforehand that Norah asked if her sweatshirt would get wet, like she thought they would be full of water. Ha.

Norah thought it was quite funny that the driver took a turn that ended up being tight (our tubs were at the end), and my dad's tub ran into a tree. We were going very slow, so it wasn't a problem, but we had to get out and detach his tub and reconnect it. Oops.

They had lots of bunnies.

Norah enjoyed some apples and caramel. She ate the whole thing and said it was incredible and so so good, which is kind of funny because I've offered her caramel dip before she didn't want it and she also always likes the skin cut off at home. It was so cute to watch her love it so much.

We also went to A Day Out with Thomas and it was fun! We got to ride Thomas the train and take a picture by him, meet Sir Topham Hatt, get a tattoo, play with the train tables, and jump in the Thomas inflatables. Doing special things with your kids is the best! What a sweet season this is of watching our girls learn/grow so much and enjoy the world around them.

Ellory really loves babies and it's so sweet to watch her with Jorie. She is so careful around her and pays so much attention to her. 

What a fabulous weekend; hope yours was too!