Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Special Play Date

We have been anxiously waiting for our friends to bring home their sweet little girl from China.  We feel so blessed that we have such close friends that we have walked this road with and now we can support and encourage each other as we raise our little Asian cuties.  I love the fact that Max has the opportunity to be around and play with someone from his own race and culture.  I love that we can find ways to bring their culture into our families.  I for see many  Chinese dinners and Chinese celebrations in the future with our friends.


Isn't she a cutie?


Max and Sam quickly noticed each other.  Max helped Sam into his little car.


He then proceeded to push her around the yard.


A little stop for a chat and to make sure she was doing ok.


Then he was back at it and I love the fact that she is telling him which way to go already!  We are thinking an arranged marriage might be in order!


Another stop to check on his Samantha and then move on to lunch.


Max and Samantha shared their first gourmet lunch of Mac-n-cheese, bananas and pudding for dessert. They were so cute as they would look at each other and share their food with each other.


But as you can see Max is not the only McDonald boy that is pretty smitten with Samantha.  After Samantha went home Shane said he wanted a little sister too.

What a fun day with friends! 

A Family Portrait


I love this family portrait Shane painted.  I am just not sure why I am the only one who is red?  When I asked Shane he told me it was because it was his favorite color!

Keeping It Real

Here is a "Keeping It Real" posts.  I love being able to use my blog as a scrapbook of memories for my family but as we all know there are some things that happen that don't include the picture perfect trip to the zoo or the park.  It is those days that as a mom you would love to push the pause button and rewind and start again.  I don't know why but most of those days include someone throwing up.

The girls had a great end to a great school year so we decided to head to Applebees to celebrate.  Eric was out of town so I decided to brave it at the restaurant with 4.  This was the first time I had gone to a sit down restaurant with the 4 kids by myself.  We were seated in a cozy booth and looking over our menus when Alexa proceeded to throw up all over.  The poor thing was mortified and looked around a little stunned and then went into mommy clean up mode.  So we got her cleaned up, the table cleaned up and I tried to carry Max out while helping Alexa walk out with vomit all over her.  Emma and Shane were troopers and tried to help as much as they could.

Alexa rested on the couch for the rest of the evening and we were thankful it was an uneventful evening after our Applebee's experience.  I tucked the kids in bed and took care of some stuff around the house.  Around 10:30 I heard a noise upstairs and opened the girls door only to feel like I was having a really bad nightmare.  Alexa was projectile vomiting off the top bunk.  It was crazy and there was vomit everywhere.  She managed to get it on the bookshelf and wall clear across the room.  She also took care of her bed and her sister's bed right under her.  Luckily the last day of school backpack and tons of papers saved the carpet but a lot of their papers and books weren't salvageable.


The damage was significant as I had 8 loads of laundry to do.


File boxes, backpacks, step stools, papers, cubbies .... you name it ... ended outside in the garage because it had been hit.  Many items actually found their way to the dump because we couldn't get into the nooks and crannies.

We will chalk that up to a memorable night that we hope never happens again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Girls Day Out

The girls and I had a special afternoon out! 


I surprised them with tickets to the play Annie.


They love the movie and so they were more than excited to see the play.


We headed downtown to the Orpheum Theater.


They loved the play and thought Miss Hannigan was so funny! I love spending time with my girls.  It is fun to see their relationship continue to grow as they get older.  I am thankful for the bond they have and the fun they have together. I am thankful for times that I am able to slip away with just my girls. I just can't believe how fast they are growing up.  I hope in the years to come they still think it fun to do things with their mom :)! We finished our afternoon out with a stop for ice cream.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tip Toe Through The Tulips

The kids look forward to Tulip Time every year.  The Tulip Festival is an annual celebration in my home town.  The kids love going back for the parade, scrubbing streets, fun food, time with cousins, staying at papa and grammy's house and of course the carnival rides. 

On Saturday we woke up to a picture perfect day for scrubbing streets.  Our morning consisted of doughnuts at the downtown bakery, riding bikes and playing outside at papa's and grammy's and lunch at in town.  Then it was time to get our costumes on and get ready to scrub the streets.  It was quite the process to get everyone ready.

We headed downtown to the park to take pictures and meet up with our cousins.


I love seeing all four of my little ones together.  Last year I remember anticipating having our Chinese little Dutch boy home.  What a special addition God has blessed us with.  One of my friends asked me often how I get my kids to look at the camera and get them all smiling well I think those days may be over.  It does get a little more challenging as our family grows.  Max was all about taking his hat off and Shane was into watching his brother's every move.  Alexa is my little squinter at the slightest amount of sun light.


My beautiful brown eyed girl is growing up right before my very eyes.  Where is the time going?


My darling little blue eyed Dutch girl fits the part perfectly.  She too is growing up way too fast for this mommy!


Then there is my Shane. Doesn't he just look like he loves life and that he keeps me on my toes? Oh how he has spiced up our life.


And how cute is my baby? Love those big brown eyes!


Max was obsessed with taking his hat off the minute I got it on.  Shane was entertained watching his brother.


Eric continues to claim he is not Dutch so will not be sportin' the Dutch Costume so he gets to be the photographer.  The rest of us were ready to go!


My parents had new costumes made this year for themselves.  Aren't the looking pretty classy?


The tulips were beautiful this year.  You never know if they will be almost finished blooming, just starting or picture perfect.  It all depends on the spring.  This year all the beds were picture perfect. We had to capture a couple pictures of the kids smelling them.



Bailey and Max were so cute by the tulips together.


I love Max's little folded ear.  He was all about going after those tulips.  The only problem is there is no picking tulips.  There is a heft fine for picking them.  So we had to keep our eyes on Max's little hands.


Shane was so excited to have his brother by his side this year.  He couldn't wait to show him the ropes for scrubbing those streets.


I love this picture of my dad and my boys.  A proud papa and a proud big brother.  We weren't sure if papa was going to have his work cut out for him?  The boys did great.

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The street scrubbing is to prepare the streets for the queen and her court.  Every year a group of local high school girls try out for the Tulip Festival court and one girl is crowned the queen.  The streets are scrubbed before every parade for the queen and her court.  The mayor inspects the streets to make sure they are ready.  Shane had fun doing his part in getting water out on the streets.  Max took it all in.


This picture of my parents and some of the kids show what  picture perfect day it was.  The kids were having so much fun.

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The girls came behind and worked hard scrubbing the streets to get them in tip top shape. It has to be the cleanest city in Iowa.

After street scrubbing we got everyone changed and cooled down with a smoothie.  It was then time for the much anticipated rides.

Recently Updated103Who do you think is having more fun on the Tilter Whirl, papa or Shane?  The girls had fun twirling around together.


The kids had fun going on all kinds of rides with their cousins.  They all finished the day with a ride on the Carousel.

It was Max's first Carousel ride. He had the same "nervous but I like this look" that he had on the swing the first time!

We had a fun day at the Tulip Festival but on the way home Eric and I decided we were tired out! The kids crashed on the way home sleeping with mouths open and drooling.  That just means it was a good, fun-filled day! We all hit our pillows for an early bedtime.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Signs Of Spring

I love all the new signs of spring and what it means.  It is always a breath of fresh air to see and experience signs of spring after a long winter. 


The grass goes from brown to green almost overnight. 


I love seeing sweet little bare feet in the blades of grass.


The trees and flowers begin to bloom. 


The smell of our lilac tree by our front door is overwhelming.


The kids throw out blankets to lay in the heat of the sun.


There is reading and drawing as the kids lay on blankets in the backyard.


Play dough becomes a staple on the picnic table.


The sidewalk chalk creations are never ending. 

Oh how I love the signs of spring!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shane's Preschool Celebration

Shane had a great year at preschool.  He loved going and I saw him grow in so many ways during the year.  It was so fun to see him embrace learning, explore and have tons of excitement about new things he was learning. 


On his last day he had to dress up in his beach gear for a beach party! He pulled out his shorts, hat and sunglasses on a chilly May day for some beach fun!


He requested McDonalds for his lunch.  We laid out beach towels and enjoyed our McDonalds on the beach.


It was then time for a little music and dancing.  Do Re Mi Let's Play were there to do a fun little program with singing and dancing.

All my pictures of Shane and his buddy Max dancing look like this.  They didn't stop moving and were having way too much fun.


What a great way to end the year.


Shane loved his teacher Miss Molly.  She is also the director of the preschool and has done such an amazing job and has developed an amazing preschool program.  She will be the first to say it is the good teachers that makes her job easy.  It is truly a special place.  I was a little sad as this preschool has been a huge part of our life the last 4 years.  It is a little crazy thinking we will not be there a couple times a week.


Miss Tracy was Shane's other teacher.  He loved Miss Tracy and she has such a gentle, loving spirit.  Shane has been in her class the last 2 years.  We are both going to miss her next year.

It is hard to believe my little boy is on his way to kindergarten next year.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pudding Time

The boys love their pudding time together!


The both dive in with both hands. 


We do various things with pudding around our house.  Shane loves to practice his letters or numbers in pudding. The girls love to practice their spelling words in pudding. 



One thing that research shows is that kids who have been institutionalized struggle with sensory weakness because of their lack of sensory stimulation.  We have tried to be proactive in this area.  Max spends time in tubs of rice or beans to work on touching and playing with various textures.  It was good to see him explore in the grass the first time outside.  He will touch and feel various textures in books.  You can tell he is very aware of how different textures feel.  One of the things we try to do once a week is his pudding time.  The first couple times he was a little more hesitant to put his hands ALL in but as you can see he loves it now.


As you can see he is loving it!


For Shane at times pudding time is serious business. 


For Max it is a party!


Both of the boys love how yummy pudding time is. 


But when pudding time is over ......


this is the face I get! 
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