Monday, July 15, 2019

4th of July 2019.

Happy 4th of July! Very thankful for my family and to live in the USA! We had a very laid back holiday this year, which turned out to be really nice. We started off with the big Ver Steeg celebration (Kley's mom's side) in a nearby town on the 3rd. We went to the celebration there where the girls enjoyed some bounce houses (can't get enough of those!) and a train ride and then we headed to his aunt/uncle's house to eat with everyone. The rest of the weekend was low key, which was nice because all four of us girls had colds and Kley threw his back out. (I threw mine out about two months ago and now Kley did! Unbelievable and so painful. Welcome to our thirties I guess!) We saw the De Jongs a couple times, but didn't do big celebrations because Brett was busy studying for his med school boards.

How cute are these girls!? (I was actually quite please with how it turned out, because in past years they've all had cute 4th of July outfits, but I dropped the ball on that this year- oops! Thankfully I found a few old dresses in my clothes bins and everyone found something to wear. Norah and Lucy's dresses were a size too small, but could squeeze in for one day.)

Three beautiful girls!

They are getting old enough to just begin to smile on command more, which is adorable!

We never tire of bounce house pictures. Isn't is just great to watch your kids light up because they are having so much fun? :)

Train ride!

Lucy and Ellory are seeming so grown up this summer!

I always think it's fun to look back on posts from previous years and see how the girls have changed and grown. Check out 4th of July 2018 here and 2017 here

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Three pool sisters!

Everyone seems to love to ask, "Are you going to the pool a lot this summer?" and for us, that answer is a big fat no. I can totally see how that would be fun for older kids, but I don't feel comfortable taking the girls by myself as they all need a lot of attention in the water. Our pool also doesn't open until 1:00, which is our nap/rest time, so whenever we do get the chance, we love to wait until evening when Kley can come too! We were able to make it to the pool on a Saturday, and everyone had fun! 

Neat God story- we were doing respite at the time for a 6 year old girl, and we had talked to a friend from our church who was also doing respite that week and said how it would be fun to do a play date. We found out later that our friend was doing respite for her sibling and they don't get to see each other often, so we did get together and they got to see each other! (With the proper okay from all parties involved, of course.) How fun! We met at the pool and had 3 adults to 5 kids, and it still felt like a lot of work to keep eyes on them all and keep everyone afloat, but we did it. We take water safety very seriously, which is why I don't take the girls to the pool by myself! And speaking of water safety, I was only able to have my camera out for a moment before I had to get into the water to help, but managed to sneak these three adorable shots! Love my girls!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Strawberry picking 2019.

The girls and I (well, mainly me as they are still pretty young to understand) made a summer bucket list of fun activities we wanted to do and strawberry picking was for sure on it! We really wanted to go when Kley could come, but it didn't work out with work schedule. We went Friday instead of Saturday because Saturday was supposed to be hotter, and it was prime picking time, so we didn't want to wait too long and miss it. (Here you can see strawberry picking from 2016 with just Norah and 2017 with Lucy and Ellory along too when they were babies! We didn't make it last year because we were on vacation.)

The girls did well picking! Lucy was the most into it. They only needed a couple reminders to only pick the red ones and not green or with brown spots, and they caught on quickly, though definitely ate more than they picked. 

Picking away!

It's nearly impossible to get all three to look and smile at the same time. Oh well! :)

We were doing respite at the time as well, so we had an extra friend with us too.

Love this picture! This has been a fun summer so far as it's getting easier as the girls age to do more adventurous outings by myself. 

They had the biggest sandbox I've ever seen and the girls loved it! They also had animals too, but the girls were more fascinated with the sandbox.

What a fun morning! We shared strawberry donuts and shake too for lunch. We weren't planning to stay for lunch, but it was really busy and everything took longer than I thought and then Lucy and Ellory just napped in the car on the way home. Another benefit of getting a little older is that it's easier to be a bit more flexible with the schedule. It's also fun to have lived here for years now, so we look forward to doing annual traditions each season!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Dairy Farm Tour.

The girls and I got to tour a dairy farm and it was so fun! I think this is going to be such a fun summer. Lucy and Ellory are sleeping so much better than they used to be in their big girl beds, the hardest parts of potty training are behind us, and it's getting a bit easier to venture to bigger outings solo with all three. What a great feeling! It feels extra sweet because the last couple months were hard in the parenting sense with so much time in the bathroom and difficult/long bedtimes. The sun is shining (literally and figuratively)! :)

The dairy farm tour started off with a bang because we had to park at a nearby event center and take a bus to the farm, which the girls thought was amazing. We stayed for an hour, which was the perfect amount of time for the girls to admire the calves, stare in amazement at the giant cows, watch one be milked, get a tattoo and cow hat, and enjoy some free ice cream!

They had this practice cow to try your own hand at milking, which was a big hit as well. They got the hang of it pretty quickly!

Best of the group photos. ;)

They have 250 cows and each one gives 10 gallons of milk a day! They have this milking machine where the cows can also choose when they want to be milked. 

What a fun summer adventure! We may not have a lot of big city life things, but touring a dairy farm is a pretty sweet small town experience.

Here you can see when Norah and I went for the first time in 2016.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Recent reads.

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin- I heard this recommended on a blog I read and was one of the ones on my reading list that didn't have a long waiting list (yay!) at our library, so I snatched it up. It's about two best friends, Zadie and Emma, who work in the medical field (a pediatric cardiologist and a trauma surgeon). A former coworker back from their medical school days moves back to the area, which resurfaces a lot of memories and a huge secret, and then the timeline moves back and forth between past and present. It was an entertaining read, not completely captivating in the "can't put it down" sense, but good.

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson- I got this book from my MIL and it had been sitting on my shelf for awhile, so it was nice to get it read! I love having some books in person waiting on my shelf for times when I don't want to worry about when I need to return it to the library. I had never heard of her before, but this was a sweet, light, funny read. She is a Christian and talks about God in the book, but it's not a Bible study book or anything, it's more stories of her life. I enjoyed it and appreciated her humor.

Spilled Milk by K.L. Randis- I found this book because I somehow got an amazon credit but it had to be used from an "amazon good reads" list or something like that, so this was one of the choices that was cheap enough to use the credit. The story of how I found it doesn't make it sound so promising, but I actually read it in two days on vacation and really loved it. It's a very sad book, as it's about a girl who was abused by her father, but I was captivated by her story and her vulnerability and strength. It was a mix of sexual and physical abuse, mostly sexual to her and physical to her siblings, but I was really interested in her thought processes behind it and how she overcame to live a healthy and joyful life, despite her family not doing so. She ended up coming forth and sharing what was happening and they went to trial and she testified against him, and grew up to be a counselor for similar situations she went through. She is doing so much good despite going through so much hurt! I was really intrigued by her story because we are licensed for foster care/adoption, so I enjoyed it from an educational sense as well to learn more about the topic of abuse and why she didn't tell for so long/how she chose to tell and when/how she overcame. I would definitely recommend, though be aware of sensitive topics included.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Celebration weekend/Father's Day 2019.

We had lots to celebrate this weekend! We were in Des Moines for Jorie's first birthday party (our niece/cousin), and Sunday she was dedicated at their church, and it was also my dad's birthday and Father's Day! We had a fun time celebrating. Spending time with family is the best!

Jorie's party was so cute, look at the adorable background sign! 

We love you Jorie and pray you grow up to love and serve Jesus!

We also drove my grandparents to Des Moines for the weekend too, which was very special and they were so happy to be there. (They live close to us and can't drive that far alone anymore.) So fun to watch them enjoy it! My grandpa says often that he wishes he could get on the floor and play with the great grandkids but he just can't, and I think it's so sweet that he really wants to.

When we drove home on Sunday, we were able to have supper with Kley's family. I always love getting to see both sides of the family in the same day- doesn't happen often!

Practicing our golf swings! Kley's parents live on the golf course, so this is their backyard!

Hardly ever get one on one shots with the girls, love it!

Practicing with Papa and Amma.

The best family shots we could get. Happy Father's Day to you, Kley. You are a wonderful dad and I am so thankful to parent with you. We all sure love you!!

Very fun to see Brett, Elizabeth, and Will too! (It was also Brett's birthday!)

Friday, June 21, 2019

Florida 2019- Ocean, Jorie's birthday, ice cream, pictures on the beach.

We went to a state park close to where we were staying and enjoyed the beach there. We saw lots of shells, everyone enjoyed the waves and sand, and we even saw dolphins in the distance and several stingrays super close to shore! So cool. Someone at the beach even said there was a hammerhead shark sighting, but we didn't see it and tried to downplay that since Norah would have freaked out. (Before the trip, she said she was scared of the ocean because of sharks.) I've never seen stingrays so close to the shore like that before!

It always takes my camera a minute to get used to the humidity, so the first couple look hazy.

I could take ocean pictures of the girls for days.

I love this picture of Lucy and Ellory! They were enthralled and so entertained.

This is a favorite of Lucy too!

It was so sweet to celebrate Jorie's first birthday while we were in Florida too. Happy first birthday Jorie, we love you!

Lots of attention for the birthday girl. :)

I love this picture of all three blowing out her candle!

Little cutie.

We found the most delicious ice cream truck called Shoobie's and went there multiple times throughout the week. It was seriously good!

The girls agreed. :)

We took some family photos on the beach! The girls did so well with no complaining. We got some great all family ones, but I can't post those because those are reserved for my mom's Christmas card later.

Love this family shot!

Beach babes.

Grandparent/granddaughter shot.

All the girls!