Friday, June 27, 2014

A Very Special Daddy...

When God gave us Daddies, he gave us one of the best!

He gave us a Daddy who is a kind, patient, hardworking, family man.

He gave us a Daddy who wants nothing more than to spend time with his kids- they are his #1 priority, and he knows they grow up too fast.

He gave us a Daddy who pushes swings every night, and pitches baseballs for hours on end.

He gave us a Daddy who grows the biggest garden ever just to feed us healthy food.

He gave us a Daddy who snuggles babies, and reads story, after story, after story......

He gave us a Daddy who makes sure teeth are flossed and brushed each night.

He gave us a Daddy who makes sure we make it to church each Sunday morning.

He gave us a Daddy who hunts frogs and toads with us at night.

He gave us a Daddy who kisses all of our owies, and makes it all better.

He gave us a Daddy tickles us and makes us laugh.

He gave us a Daddy who makes us popcorn and watches Disney movies with us on Friday nights.

He gave us a Daddy who instills in us great values, and the idea of hard work.

He gave us a Daddy who loves us more than anything in the entire world.

He gave us a Daddy who we would never, ever, ever trade....He is one of the best!

We celebrated our Daddy with a day at the lake doing exactly what we love.  We gave Daddy his Father's Day gift, and he loved it.  Just what we thought!  We were all pretty proud of what we put together for him.  It has a special place on the wall in our home so everyone can see how much we love our Daddy right when they walk in our door.

We took Daddy out for a special Father's Day dinner, and had lots of laughs at the mess little Ruby made of the table, and herself, and the floor!

Happy Father's Day to all those Daddies.....Especially our Very Special One!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ruby Lauren. 1 year old.

We had a fun day celebrating our little girl.  It was low-key and mellow.  She didn't even open her gift from us.  I don't think she knows the difference.  She ate 2 cupcakes, cheese, mashed potatoes, and steak.  All some of her favorites.   She went to brother's baseball practice, and ran errands with Mom.  We spent time at the cabin with friends working on our 4th of July float.  They brought cupcakes which she squished between her fingers.  Then we watched sister play t-ball, and sweet friends brought her a gift.  She came home and had one more cupcake, and called it a night.  I rubbed her head as I nursed her last night, and took in everything about her.  I was a little teary-eyed as I snuggled her for just a bit longer than normal before laying her in her crib.  I want to soak up and savor this perfect time in her life.  I love this little baby beyond words.  She is special, and she is beautiful, and she is a true gift from God.

I cannot believe a year has passed....I'm so glad I have photos to go through and enjoy each stage of her.  From the surprise in my belly to where we are today.  Here are some of our favorites of Ruby....

I'm happy to have these pregnancy photos documented....When you think you can bear the belly no longer, and you just want that baby in your arms.  You are tired, and big, and it hurts to move....but now, I think back to the wonderful feeling that it was to rub my belly and feel that little life inside.  I truly do miss it....just a bit.

Big Brother and Big sister loved her already.  They were always kissing my belly, and would giggle every time baby would give a good kick!

We couldn't wait for this tiny little one to join our family.

Don't let this fool you...she truly was a surprise.  I have pictures with our boy name also:)

And then on June 25th, 2013 she made her appearance.  I was sure we were having a boy.  I've been wrong on all 3!  The surprise was wonderful....a beautiful little girl.

This is Ruby just 5 days old....

Ruby at 3 months old....

Ruby at 6 months old....

Ruby at 9 months old....

And we are in the planning stages of her first birthday party.  Friends and family will gather around and celebrate our beautiful little girl with us.  We are looking forward to a happy, exciting celebration for our precious one.  
We love you, Ruby Lauren!  We are so glad you are ours!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ruby Has Grown!

As I sit here on her first birthday reflecting on the past year, my heart is overflowing with love and thankfulness for the beautiful little girl we have been blessed with.  She has a wonderful personality, a constant, contagious smile, and is always entertaining us with new words and tricks she has developed.  One of the things about her that constantly melts our hearts is how she always leans in for everyone, and everything.

I have to admit, I'm a tiny bit sad.  Time just goes way too fast.  I just can't believe my little dolly is 1!  But, she's happy, and she's healthy, and today is a day to celebrate.

Here is Ruby....A year in review!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Our Summer So Far....

Awwwe....These sweet days of summer.  We are living them up and enjoying each and every one of them.  Our school year gets pretty busy and hectic, so I've been loving the laid-back schedule that we are enjoying.  We have the kids involved in a handful of activities...but we try to keep that to a minimum,  if we can.  My favorite days tend to be those that we can just be at home and do whatever we please.

We enjoy having breakfast on the deck, we enjoy playing on the swing set and in the sand box, we enjoy weeding the strawberry patch, we enjoy watering the flowers, we enjoy the slip 'n slide and sprinklers, we enjoy hunting for asparagus, we enjoy checking for new shoots in our vegetable garden, we enjoy hanging laundry on the wash line, we enjoy picking eggs, we enjoy when Daddy walks through the door at 3:45, and we enjoy being together.

They caged the dog and are picking dog ticks off!  In her princess gown, nonetheless!

Owen comes to visit us on Mondays when his Mommy and Daddy are at work.  We love getting these 2 together!

Lots of frog-catching going on!

Owen is just 5 days older than Ruby...His birthday is today!  These 2 are little buddies already!

They are best friends!

Reading stories outside.

Breakfast on the deck!

Playtime on the deck in the morning when the weather cooperates!

Loving up this sweet little dolly.

She's getting so big!

He has been such a great helper with his little sister!

The best little playmates.

They were making a plan for picking flowers across the fence....

Everywhere she goes she leaves a mess behind!!

We love watching the chickens...they are great entertainment!

Our weekends are spent at the cabin....we wouldn't want it any other way.


Having fun with cousin Elizabeth.

Cousin Nathan took Beanie for a jet-ski ride.  The faster, the better for her!

And who knew laundry baskets could be so much fun!?!  They push Rue around the house like a car and she loves it!  Lately the Bigs have been cruising down the stairs in them, though....and that makes me a little nervous!

We are looking forward to many more days like these this summer.   Just getting the van loaded up for another weekend at the cabin.  Forecast is looking wonderful....we are hoping they are right!  Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Eliott's Kindergarten year!

Sending our oldest off to Kindergarten was quite an emotional event for this Mama.  I couldn't believe the time had come to send him out into the real world and leave him in the hands of someone else.  Eliott has been in daycare since he was about 3 years old, so I knew he would adjust well.  He does well around people, he is very socialized, and respectful of others.  Still, I think it was more the idea that my baby is old enough for school!  Where has the time gone?!   He was ready, he was excited, and this was exactly what we knew that he needed.

Eliott would be turning 6 on September 13th, so we knew he would be one of the oldest in his class.  Along with this comes the maturity.  Being a Kindergarten teacher myself, I truly understand the benefits of what a few more months can do.  I was very happy that he would be one of the oldest in his class. 

He went to school reading.  I wondered a little bit how this would go.... He wasn't just picking out a word here and there...he was truly reading.  Now, I am a Kindergarten teacher, but understand that I did not spend every waking moment drilling this child on his letter names, sounds, and sight words.  He literally picked this up on his own.  Yes, we read to him every single day, and we have more books scattered throughout this house than some libraries, so that could have helped him along a bit.  But luckily for him, it just clicked.  I knew this was going to start his school year off on the right foot already having these skills tucked under his belt.

Knowing where his skills were at, I was the teacher-Mama who made a request on which class I wanted him in for his first year.  I know that I won't be doing that every year, but I knew this first year he was going to need a little extra, and I needed to make sure that he was in a classroom where he would get that.

The whole family went in for Open House to meet his teacher and look around his room.  His teacher is a wonderful, sweet lady, and we left there confident that he would bond well with her and have a wonderful time.  We also learned that he was in the same class as 3 of his little friends....all girls:)  They stuck together pretty tightly and built some cute friendships!

Ms. Dalstead sent him home from Open House with the story....The Night Before Kindergarten.
We made sure to read it to him the night before his first day.  Is it sad that this made me a little emotional?!  I do this every single first day of school, but on the other side of it as the teacher.   Here I am as the Mama.....and man, it's tough!

He was all ready to go that first night.  School clothes picked out, and tucked into bed early!

He got up the next morning, and Daddy stayed home to help get him ready and out the door on a good foot.  Of course, we had to spend some time doing our obligatory 'First day of school' photos!

Have you read the 'Kissing Hand'?  It's a great story about the first day worries.  We made a heart saying 'We Love You' for him to tuck into his pocket.  Whenever he was sad and missing Mommy and Daddy, he could just reach into his pocket and remember us, and the kisses and hugs we sent him out the door with.  He used his heart for about the first week.  Then he was confident enough to leave it at home:)
We went outside and took lots of photos of the little guy.  This was a pretty special day for our family!



Then Mommy had to race off to her first day of school with her new Kindergarteners.  Daddy took the little ones to daycare, and stuck around to see him off onto the big school bus!  I made sure he had my camera and would take lots of pictures for me!

He made sure to give his sister a big hug.  You can see in his face, he's a bit unsure of how this would go, but he made us proud!  No tears, he did well!


He was heading to the bus like a big boy....

Oh, but then, he decided that he needed to come back for one more hug.....

He got one more hug from Daddy and sister....

And then he was brave, and ready to face his exciting day....

His year went well.  It went exactly as I had anticipated that it would.  He had a great relationship with his teacher, and she was always communicating with me.  We had a very positive experience our first year, and that makes me so glad!

We would often catch him reading...

And then he quickly moved into chapter books.  Eliott spent a part of each day in a 1st grade classroom for reading.  This was a bit of a discussion at the beginning of the year.  I expected it.  I knew it was a unique case.  There was a meeting that they talked about just moving him to 1st grade.  I was opposed to that idea.  Yes, he can read....but he is 6.  He needs to be with his peers.  The teachers and administration agreed, and his year turned out to be very successful!

We found this sweet little note he left on the table for Daddy one day...

I originally didn't think I needed to order school pictures....Heck I've got a sister-in-law that takes pictures for us multiple times a year.  But, hey, who can resist the traditional school pictures?!  I ended up ordering after I saw how adorable they turned out!

Daddy took him to his first Vikings game on a Thursday evening.  I was the teacher-Mama that still didn't let him skip school the next day, even though they got home at 2 a.m.!  He only missed one day all year, and that was because of strep.....I think that daycare exposure helped him build up his immunity!  He received a very nice certificate in the mail the other day for his outstanding attendance...something we take pride in here!

This spring he really got into the Junie B. Jones series, and would start those books, and then couldn't put them down..

In about April his teacher was teaching the kids about bugs and insects.  She gave Eliott a project to research tarantulas, and then he got to present it to his classmates on the Parmetheon board in the classroom.  He was so excited, and SO proud of himself!!  Not quite as proud as I was, though!!!

The Kindergarteners had their spring show about 2 weeks before the end of the school year.  It was so fun to watch them....They sang, danced, recited stories, and did some sign language.  It was a cute little performance!

All four classes participated in the Kindergarten show.  They came skipping into the gym to the song "Looby-Loo".  It was so cute!

He's on the left side with the khaki pants on.

My nephew, Wesley is also in Kindergarten.  They were not in the same class, but spent lots of time playing together during recess.
Wesley is on the left with the turquoise shirt on.  He wore 'white shoes' for Pete The Cat.

Love that big smile!  Eliott is right in the center.

Takes some courage to get on the microphone in front of a big crowd!  His class recited 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish'.  His teacher gave them the adorable shirts...So sweet!

Both Papas came to watch!  Eliott has a very, very special bond with both of his Papas.  He is their little buddy.  I feel so blessed that my kids have such wonderful Grandparents!

There he is with his friend, Delilah!
 Of course, Adi had to get in on the action!

Eliott and his wonderful teacher, Ms. Dalstead.

Grandpa Loren, and Grandma Pat.

Papa Neal and Grandma Linda.

I wanted a family shot, but we couldn't track Adi down at the moment....

Then we grabbed her...kinda hard to get everyone looking and smiling with all the action going on!

He's still our little guy....Even if he is a big (almost) 1st grader!!!

Ruby got to snack on her first cookie after his performance.  She kept saying "Mmmmm....Mmmmm"!

The Kindergarteners went on their class fieldtrip to the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls.  They invited the parents to come for a picnic lunch, and to play on the playground for an hour before they went on the zoo tour.  I'm so lucky to have such a family-oriented, supportive principal.  He covered my class for me so I was able to join the little guy!

Eliott and his friend, Delilah.  Her parents are friends of ours, and recently purchased a cabin about 5 doors down from ours.  Our kiddos spend LOTS of time together, and we were so excited that they were in the same class this year.  They hung pretty close to one another all year:)

Living in a small town, I know most of the kids in Eliott's class.  It was fun, though, to go and meet the ones I didn't know, and to see how he interacts and plays with his friends:)

And just like that, with a snap of our fingers, the year is done....

That baby face has turned into a big boy right before our eyes.  He has a year under his belt, and is excited to be a first grader next year!

And this was him on the first day of summer vacation!  Great year, Buddy....we couldn't be more proud of you, or more excited about what your future holds!  We wish you all the best, and are so blessed to have a son like you!

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