Friday, May 29, 2020

Starting to see friends and family again!

This post makes me super happy because we are starting to see some of our loved ones again! Hip hip hooray! Due to COVID-19, we didn't see anyone for a long time, and now that some restrictions are starting to slowly lift, we have seen some family again and it's amazing!

My parents and my youngest sister (who is at home on summer break from college), came to visit us for the weekend, and it was amazing to see them! Many things still aren't fully open yet, but we had all been quarantining and we hadn't seen each other in three months! We went for a couple walks and just hung out at our house, but it was so great to see them again. The girls were loving it! I know there are some out there who go much longer in between seeing their family, but I am so thankful to live fairly close to all of our family, so three months was the longest in my entire life that I hadn't seen my parents!

No Tulip Festival this year, but we are still grateful for the beautiful tulips!

Our parks are still closed, but it was fun to walk around together still!

Our good family friends have lived in the area for the past couple years, and it was such a joy to be able to watch their daughter on Tuesdays this past year. It was seriously a highlight of the week and the girls were so excited every time she came. They are moving away, so this was their goodbye. We will sure miss you, Audrey!

We also have gotten together with the De Jongs a couple times recently too. So great to be back together again! The girls missed Papa and Amma, and so fun to see cousin Will (and Uncle Brett and Aunt Elizabeth too) again! Also, please take note of one of the top best movies ever playing in the background!

 It was so fun to go on a walk with cousin Will one day and check out the windmills and tulips!

Hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy!

Friday, May 22, 2020


We are bummed that Tulip Festival was cancelled this year, but we are trying our best to have positive attitudes! We have a lot to be thankful for and it's such a game changer for our spirits to focus on what we do have and can do. I'm so proud of how our girls are handling this COVID situation. They are missing family/friends and activities, but they are doing a great job (mostly) of staying busy and happy at home. We are thankful for warmer weather- getting outside more helps us all! We may not have Tulip Festival, but thankful we can still go look at the pretty tulips!

My three beautiful girls! Nearly impossible to get them all to look and smile at the same time. This is the best we got. ;) I had wanted to go when Kley could come with us, but it didn't end up working out. One sunny night this week Kley was mowing, and he will be gone some this weekend practicing/filming for the worship team for online church, and the other nights it was raining! I didn't want to wait too long and miss the prime time, so we went on a bike ride just the girls and I, which was still fun!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mother's Day 2020.

Happy Mother's Day! So many things to be thankful for! I am very thankful for my grandmas, mom, and MIL (and many other influential women) who have given me a wonderful example of how to sacrificially serve your families with His love. I am incredibly grateful that Christ entrusted me with three of His precious girls. Being a mom is teaching me so much and my heart just swells with how much I love my family. Also praying for the many out there today for whom Mother's Day is difficult. Hope all the mothers today can feel His grace and lavish love on you- none of us are perfect mothers, yet we are so intimately and unconditionally loved by Jesus!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Norah's preschool and Kindermusik "graduations."

What a wild end to the year! Norah was in 4-year-old preschool this year and also the Move & Groove Kindermusik class. Since COVID, they have been doing both of those things online. It wasn't the same as in person, but we are so thankful for amazing teachers who did a great job all year round and made the online learning special in the end. Norah learned so much this year! She learned a lot about the music scale, notes, note counts, and learned to play numerous songs on the glockenspiel and even transferred a few songs to the piano! She learned so much about letters, phonics, and writing in preschool this year too. They focused on a letter each week with lots of fun activities to go along with. Kids really are like a sponge! Norah learned and grew so much this year and we are very thankful for our beautiful, growing girl! Can't believe she's going to Kindergarten in the fall!

Here's Norah with Mrs. Heidi, our Kindermusik teacher. Norah's been taking classes with her for four years! She stopped to deliver a special graduation hat and cupcake to Norah for the last class, and they had a zoom call together where they sang their favorite songs from the year and each played two songs on the glockenspiel or piano as a solo. Grandparents/family could log on to watch too. Norah did great! She played "Bell Horses" and "Hot Cross Buns" as her two songs.

Other than an early ending, Norah had the best preschool year! She loved going to school and it made us so happy that she was happy there. Mrs. Lang and Mrs. Groendyke were seriously amazing. They did such fun activities and Norah grew a lot socially too and had some great friends! We are so thankful for her preschool and the wonderful beginning to Norah's school experience! Her teachers stopped by to drop off her graduation certificate, a grad balloon, and a special DVD of highlights from the year. How special!

I was a preschool teacher before we had our girls (and I loved it!), so I know what it's like, but it's different being on the other side and sending your own kids. Teachers do so much for their students, and having three of the greatest investing in our daughter this year was such a blessing! Thank you so much to all you teachers out there working so hard!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Lucy and Ellory recently.

Lucy and Ellory loved turning three! They had a great time at their Frozen party, and have thoroughly enjoyed the release of Frozen 2. That soundtrack is a favorite! At their three year wellness check, Ellory was 32 lbs. (64%) and 38” (73%). Lucy was 27 lbs. (13%), and 38” (73%). On March 6, Lucy's bottom left permanent tooth started coming in! The dentist said it could come in early since there was a hole (last fall her and Ellory bonked heads just wrong on the slide and Lucy's bottom left tooth was super loose, so we had to pull it). About a month ago, they switched to 4T clothes. Ellory just switched to size 9 shoes, and Lucy is still wearing size 8. Ellory got glasses right before Christmas, and has been doing super well wearing them! It took a couple weeks to get used to them and she would sometimes take them off, but never really fought us on wearing them and for a long time now has been wearing them consistently with no issues. I think she realizes they help! We were able to meet their new cousin, Murphy, back in January, which was awesome!

I have now quit calling nap time nap time and now just call it rest time. It's hit or miss if it's good or not- usually one is good, either rest time or bed time. Though, it's not too bad at all when I think of when they first switched to big girl beds- that was a hard few months. Even if they aren't sleeping, they usually do a pretty good job of not being too crazy or loud. Not always, but usually! Another update is that we took the baby gate off of their door and now they sleep with the door closed. This transition went amazingly well! Lucy still naps almost everyday, but not as long usually as it used to be, and she either takes longer to fall asleep or wakes up earlier because her and Ellory are playing. Ellory is maybe 50/50 for her naps? She definitely doesn't take one everyday. Ellory is still my rock night time sleeper, and Lucy still somewhat frequently wakes in the night, though thankfully goes back to sleep easily. When everyone except me had the flu back in February, that threw off Lucy's sleep for awhile and she was up multiple times a night, but thankfully has been doing better lately, even somewhat regularly in the last couple weeks sleeping through the night! Lucy has been doing super well with being dry and is dry almost every morning, and I don't put a pull up on her during rest time anymore either. Ellory has just recently started being dry some mornings, but even when she's wet, it's not near as wet as it used to be. Ellory still naps in a pull up (just to be safe) because we are still working on pooping for her. She saw a pediatric GI specialist in Sioux Falls back in March (because of long term constipation issues), right before social distancing started, and we've tried two colon cleanses to hopefully clear her out and make her poop regularly soft. I feel like it's still too soon to give a complete update of how those worked. It has made it softer, thankfully, but still working on other aspects and independence in that area.

We are currently in the middle of COVID-19, which has been so wild! What a different, unprecedented time. We have been practicing social distancing since March 16. Lucy and Ellory have handled it quite well overall. They don't quite understand, but do get the basics that we can't go places or see people because of the virus that makes people sick. They are missing family/friends and activities, but in a different way than Norah because they are younger. They have been enjoying virtual Kindermusik, library videos, and have really enjoyed watching Norah's virtual preschool videos. We started doing a preschool workbook with them too, just for practice and to get ready for preschool (like tracing objects, color identification, etc.- beginning preschool information), and they love it and think it's so fun to have their own “big kid” work. They are both very excited to go to preschool in the fall and talk about it often!

Everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and Lucy and Ellory love playing outside. Ellory still really loves chalk like last summer, and she loves her scooter and the water table and sand table. Lucy recently learned how to ride a 12 inch bike with training wheels and we are amazed at how she zips around! She is so determined and has incredible stamina for a 3 year old. We have tried to teach Ellory how to ride a bike, but she's not very interested. She will pick her scooter first every time, and loves to go for family bike rides (which we have been doing a lot of lately), but is totally fine riding in the Burley while Norah and Lucy ride their bikes. We will keep practicing, but also don't want to force it. Lucy loves to make sand/mud creations outside with Norah with the sand and kitchen toys.

It's so fun to watch them together. The twin bond is something really special. Of course, they bother each other sometimes, but most of the time they get along quite well. All three play together often as well, but there's something different about Norah being older and having things that are just for her based on her age. We miss Norah while she's at school, of course, but it's neat to watch Lucy and Ellory play together during that time too. In public, Ellory usually participates in activities more, like at the library or Kindermusik, and Lucy stays closer to be, but they totally flip at home. At home, Lucy is on the move and louder. She goes and goes. Ellory likes to take quiet breaks sometimes and will play by herself a bit more or just lay in her bed for a couple minutes to recharge. They both amaze me with how sweet they can be to each other and Norah sometimes. One of my favorite things is hearing them sing worship songs- so sweet! We love you so much, Lucy and Ellory! You are so very special to us!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Norah recently.

Norah recently turned 5.5! We didn't make a big deal of it, but we told her it was her half birthday and what that meant, and then I later heard her tell our neighbor's mom that she was 5.5 when she asked how old she was. Norah is looking and acting more like a young girl sometimes instead of a little kid! I am excited for her to go to Kindergarten- she is ready and it will be good for her- but I'm really going to miss my sidekick! She talks about Kindergarten like she is excited and says she is looking forward to recess and eating lunch at school. A favorite activity now is to ride bikes past the elementary school, just so she can look at it.

We are currently in the middle of COVID-19, which has been crazy! We have been doing “social distancing” since March 16. Overall, I am incredibly proud of how well Norah has handled it. Some days were harder than others, but she didn't complain too much and did a good job of staying busy at home. I know she really misses family, friends, and regular activities. We've talked about how this will be an important event talked about in history, and how Norah will be able to talk about it and remember it. They have been doing virtual preschool, Kindermusik, and library videos, which has helped it feel a tad more normal and nice to have a routine and something to do each day. We are all ready to go back to normal! Norah's last day of preschool was today, and she has her last Kindermusik on Monday. Norah has learned so much this year in all areas. She grew in friendships and social skills, and learned so much about letters, phonics, writing, etc. Her preschool teachers were fabulous this year and had great things to say about her at her conference, which is always great to hear as a parent! Way to go, Norah!

Norah has taken off so much on her bike now that the weather is getting warmer! We are all loving the weather so much and the girls love to play outside! At the end of last summer, Norah learned how to ride without training wheels, but didn't have much stamina (as in she could barely make it a couple blocks before getting tired), but this summer has been loving riding and has rode for miles! She is quick! She has been playing a lot with our neighbor friend, Elizabeth, which has been so nice for her to at least have one friend around (we share backyards, so it's really hard to keep them apart, and they only play together outside without hugging or anything during this time). Elizabeth is three years older and is super sweet and a good friend to Norah.

Norah switched to a size 12 shoe last month, and is still wearing 6/small clothes. Norah has been excited to break out some capris and shorts on the really nice days. Norah still isn't a big fan of taking her vitamins and needs several reminders everyday. Both of Norah's bottom 6 year molars are coming in- one is all the way in and started a few months ago, and the other is about halfway in. In my last update I mentioned how great it was that Norah started going to the bathroom by herself in the night, but that took a big regression after having influenza B and then shortly after that getting the throw-up flu. Yuck! Poor girl was super sick for a month. For a good while, she was up a couple times every night, and thankfully we are just starting to get back on track again. We were able to sneak in visiting her new cousin, Murphy, in between sicknesses back in January, which was great!

Norah loves to color and make crafts, which I love. I prayed for daughters who loved to color, and I'm so grateful God answered that request. I love watching all of them sit and color together. Norah loves to play babies, both doll babies and pretend babies where she's the mom and Lucy and Ellory are her babies. She likes to go golfing with Kley, guide her sisters (a nice way of saying boss- usually it goes well, at least in the beginning, but sometimes gets out of hand- typical oldest child), try to write words, pretend cook (her and Kley watch cooking shows), and make sand/mud creations outside with our sand and kitchen toys. Norah does a great job of staying in her room during rest time and playing quietly. She took naps again for awhile back when she was sick, but regularly does not nap.

The greatest news of all time that we have to report about Norah is that on March 5, Jesus came to live in Norah's heart! We are thrilled and so happy that Norah loves Jesus! We love you so much, Norah, and being your parents is a great blessing!