Friday, February 26, 2021

Butterflies and breadsticks family date.

What a fun family date! Last summer, Norah won tickets to the Butterfly House & Aquarium from our library's reading program (she was so thrilled to win!) and we finally made it happen to go! We would have made it sooner had it not been for COVID, but thankful for a fun indoor activity to do on this incredibly cold winter week!

Neat to be in a special little paradise for a bit! The girls loved seeing the many butterflies flying all around.

They thought it was so funny that one landed on Kley's head!

Norah had won five tickets, which works perfectly for our family, and we really wanted to wait for an open Saturday so Kley could join us and it was worth the wait! The girls really love Kley and it's well deserved- he's the best! :)

It was interesting to see the different feeding stations they had set up.

The aquarium portion was neat too! 

The girls loved this little bubble thing you could go in. I think Ellory will be a marine biologist or something like that when she grows up at this rate. The few times we have gone to aquariums in her life, she has absolutely loved it. She asked tons of questions and got excited over every display and tank. So precious! (And yes, Ellory still wears glasses, but they fog up so bad in the winter with a mask on and she hates that. Otherwise she usually wears her glasses really well, but for this activity we just let her take them off so she could enjoy it. If anyone has any tips on mask/glasses wearing without fogging, please let me know!)

We made a quick trip to Target and then had supper at Olive Garden! We had an OG gift card and we really wanted breadsticks. :) We are grateful to have had a very healthy winter as a family so far! We definitely haven't done as many activities as usual in the last year due to COVID, but we are gradually doing a few more yet also trying to be as careful as possible while doing so. I'm thankful we could have this time together on a super fun Saturday!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Donuts and swimming Valentine's date.

This day was a special day- I'm so thankful to be home with my girls and to be able to do things like this. I know that before long we won't have all day everyday together, so I'm trying my best to treasure it! We went on a Valentine's date with Elizabeth and Will (my SIL/nephew) to the bakery for a donut and then to the indoor pool for kid swim hour. The girls had such a good time and it was so fun to watch. Will wasn't sure about the water at first, but he warmed up in the end. The girls are such great cousins to Will, even a bit overprotective at times, like this morning when I had to convince them that we didn't have to bring a knife along to the bakery because we needed to cut Will's donut so he didn't choke. :)

We love you Will!

Norah is such a great swimmer- a fish!

Lucy and Ellory were going down the little slides solo with confidence!

The hot tub feels mighty nice when it's below zero outside!

Being a mom is a joy. So refining and challenging too, but the best privilege and blessing.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Florida trip 2021.

Kley and I got to sneak away to Florida for a few days! What a gift. I'm so thankful we were able to go. We were originally going to go to Cancun, we had it booked and everything, but then we realized my passport was expired and there wasn't a viable way to get it renewed in time. We were going to go later, but then a new COVID rule came out that you had to test negative before boarding a plane back to the US, so we decided that was too risky. So, we ended up booking this trip only a week and a half before we left, which is quick for my planner self, but it worked out very well! Norah stayed with my parents and Lucy and Ellory stayed with Kley's parents. We had no snow on travel days, everyone was healthy, and everyone had a good time. A big blessing!

We stayed at The Don CeSar hotel, which was very nice! One of the reasons we booked so quickly was because prices were going way up because lots of people were cancelling abroad trips and trying to stay in the US instead, so I'm very thankful we were able to get in quickly at more of an affordable price for our budget. It was a very nice hotel- we enjoyed our stay and would recommend it!

We stayed five nights, so we had two travel days, and four full vacation days. It felt so luxurious! We don't take for granted what a blessing this was and are thankful we could have some quality time together. It had been years since Kley and I had gone on a trip together, so it felt amazing! So thankful for my husband!

The first two days we were there it got up to 70 and it was sunny, which was amazing! The first day we basically just sat by the ocean and relaxed, and then we ate at the fanciest restaurant that the hotel had, which was quite the experience! Kley had duck and I had lobster. They gave us some sort of crab brûlée to "cleanse our palette" before we ate. Definitely not how we usually eat, but so good and a fun experience!

The second day we ventured out and went on a dolphin watching cruise. We didn't see many dolphins, but so nice to see the sun and be on the water! We got some taffy to bring back to the girls. We ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp, found a t-shirt store to get a shirt for us all, and found the most delicious custard stand. 

These pictures are from the first two days, the sun and water were so nice! The last two days were colder (like 40s) and super windy, which changed some of our plans, but oh well. So nice to still be able to get away and have a break from parenting for a bit. I absolutely love being a mom, but having a few days with just Kley was so nice too! We were able to get a couples massage (oh my word, so relaxing!) and do an escape room, so we still found some fun too even when it was colder. All of our meals were super great too, so that was amazing to eat good food and not have to cook or clean up for a few days!

Very thankful for this trip! Nice to get away and nice to come home- we have a good life!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Valentine's Day 2021.

 Happy Valentine's Day from our three lovely ladies! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Lucy and Ellory recently.

Oh, how Lucy and Ellory are growing! They will be four soon! We are planning to celebrate in Des Moines with the Schut side, at home with the De Jong side, as a family, and have a friend party with a few girls from preschool/Sunday school. Ellory wants Paw Patrol and Lucy wants flowers, so we will have a Paw Patrol flower party! They are looking forward to it.

At the beginning of the school year, Ellory switched to a 10 shoe and Lucy to a 9. They both just went to the dentist last week and did amazing! Sat so very well and were very brave and let them do everything they needed to. In early January, they both switched to 5T clothes. I was originally going to wait until spring to switch, but they are growing and were ready. Fun to get some new outfits! They wear Norah's old clothes, but also need some new ones too to fill in the gaps and because there's two of them!

Lucy and Ellory had a big fall! They started preschool, which was a big endeavor as that was their first time really going anywhere without us. They are doing well and we are so happy about that. Occasionally one or both is clingy or cries a bit at drop off, but their teachers are so great and they say they are fine after a minute. They seem happy when I pick them up and say positive things about preschool, so we are glad they are enjoying it! They also were able to start the 3s Sunday school class, and on Monday mornings they go to Kindermusik. They've been going to Kindermusik for years, but this is the first year they are old enough to go all by themselves. They are enjoying that too! It's so fun to watch them be happy with their activities and doing well. We don't take that for granted and we are very thankful. It's so neat to watch them progress in coloring/writing and practicing their name.

Lucy loves to sleep with two of her stuffed animals that she calls Teddy and Leo. She falls asleep quickly, and usually is the first one awake. She occasionally wakes in the night to go to the bathroom or just wants us, but is doing much better than before and usually sleeps through the night, yay! She's a daddy's girl. She likes to be a leader and helper. She loves doing special jobs and is orderly- she's very good at cleaning up (when she wants to be), and knows where everything goes, helps remind me of things, and likes to set up her toys in an organized way. She has excellent verbal skills. (Just recently we have noticed a stutter sometimes, but are hoping that's just a phase, as we have never noticed that before.) Lucy is sensitive and reacts to hardships or being upset with tears. She loves to make crafts, which is basically just creating all sorts of things with colors, stickers, paper, scissors, and glue sticks. Her favorite shows to watch are probably Peppa Pig, Caillou, Daniel Tiger, and Butterbeans Cafe. She loves to play restaurant and family, Hot Wheels cars, playing outside, and she loves this building construction set she got for Christmas. She recently learned how to change her doll's clothes and loves to do that, and enjoys trying out her new bike.

Ellory loves to play and have a good time, but also loves to have her alone time too. Sometimes she likes to play alone or rest in her bed for a bit. Ellory is good at giving compliments and noticing things about people. Ellory is content being a follower- when they play family she always likes to be the baby and is fine doing what Norah and Lucy tell her to do. She has excellent verbal skills, but sometimes needs reminders to use them. She reacts to hardships with anger, but is usually incredibly sweet. She loves to pretend she is different animals, usually a dog, cat, or nice lion. She loves painting, magna-tiles, playing outside (but not when it's too cold), trying out her new bike, and reading books. Her favorite show to watch is Paw Patrol. She did well at her eye check up in December and was excited to get new purple glasses! She wears them well. Ellory sometimes takes a bit to fall asleep, but is a solid night sleeper and is somewhat often the last one awake.

Two other fun highlights were that Lucy was a penguin and Ellory was a cat for Halloween, and they got to meet their new cousin Averie over Christmas. They both recently tried ice skating for the first time and loved it! Lucy and Ellory, it is so fun to watch you grow. You play so well together. Being your parents is one of our greatest blessings and we are so very thankful you are our daughters. You are full of light and joy and we love you deeply!