Friday, April 27, 2012

April Round-Up . . .

So many pictures, so little time.  Here's what we've been up to lately . . .  

Lots of beautiful days in April.  Lots of outdoor time.  (Including this park and duck pond day with my brother Andrew and family.)

GraMelissa finally, finally came home from San Diego.  hehe.  The kids were so excited to see her when she came over the morning after she got back.  It was cute.  

Sleeping pictures.  Anna doesn't usually end up on the floor when she sleeps, so this was pretty funny.  And Caleb.  Oh Caleb.  I love that sweet, peaceful, chubby, sleeping little baby face!

Anna was reading to Caleb on the couch, and I thought it was so cute I had to take a picture.  Then Benjamin wanted to get in on the action, of course . . . so I had to take a whole bunch more pictures.  And yes, Benjamin loves playing with his belly button lately.  There are four more pictures I didn't include with him playing with his belly button.  hehe. 

Caleb went to the nursery at church for the first time in April.  He isn't officially nursery age until the middle of May, but we're trying to warm him up to it.  He loves snack time, and likes it fine . . . if there's someone he knows in there with him. 

Sometimes I let Anna stay up later than the boys . . . she is almost 7.  It's really fun having alone time with her (Ethan's usually doing something else).  I love girl time with my sweetest pea!  We were doing some crafts this night, but mostly we just snuggle and chat, or watch a movie.  It's usually just once a week or so, and it's priceless. 

My mom occasionally walks Hudson over when she's babysitting him.  Sometimes she calls first, sometimes she just shows up . . . either way, the kids are always excited to see their cousin!  We're excited to start meeting at the park, or just play outside, but this was a chilly April day.  

This was General Conference * * weekend.  We watch on our computer, so there's lots of lounging and snuggling. 

Our eight, EIGHT!, year anniversary is on April 30th, but we decided to celebrate our love and marriage a little early.  We went to Chicago last weekend, and it was so perfect.  We left Friday afternoon and got back Sunday night.  We have never gone away for more than one night before since we've had kids.  So this was a BIG step for us.  We spread the love around when it came to "babysitters" too.  My parents had Caleb the whole time, and stayed at our house since theirs was in disarray.  (They were getting new floors put in on Monday.)  We stocked the house with some of their favorite foods/snacks, and called the set up good.  Ethan's parents and sister KC had the other two for the weekend.  (And my sister Beth entertained them for a bit on Saturday too.)  Anna and Ben-Ben were really looking forward to being babysat, and were excited for us to go on a trip. How nice of them.  And thanks for making it possible everyone!  I did end up feeling some anxiety with the length of time we would be gone, and how far away we would be.  (I know many of you reading this will think that is silly. . . and I don't care.  :)  But everything went well for everyone.  So, next time I think we should go away for a week.  And leave the country.  hehe. 

Ethan and I had a lot of fun . . . even the 7 + hour drive to and from Chicago was fun.  We talked a lot, listened to music, listened to some books/comedy on CD, took pictures of the beautiful farm land (Ethan doesn't call it beautiful. . . .weirdo), and found fun and funny places to stop. . . like the Mars Cheese Castle.  We went to a Temple session and after, took a minute to pause and look at the sealing room where we were married almost 8 years ago.  It is heavenly.  Beautiful.  We stopped in and visited with my cousin and fam . . . who we hadn't seen in forever.  (Love them!)  They took us to the Chicago Botanical Gardens, and it. was. beautiful!  Perfect activity for a day sandwiched between two big driving days.  We shopped and got some awesome stuff and deals (always a good feeling . . . especially since shopping options are so limited here in Marquette).  We ate at some super yummy places.  We just had a great time.  ***And for anyone who may not know how much I love and appreciate Ethan . . . dig through the blog archives.  It's all there.  I can't write it every year.  hehe  

Final thing.  I got a new camera!!!  Happy anniversary to me! :)  I've wanted a new one for a few years now.  It's a pretty cheap camera ($100), but I LOVE it.  And it's a big improvement over our old camera (which was about twice as much when we bought it 5 years ago . . . 5 years makes a big difference in technology).  I love that it's so much smaller too, and doesn't take batteries.  Maybe it's just me, but the first picture looks so much better, and real color (our table is not orange . . . like the second pic would lead you to believe), and clear.  Each is taken with the opposite camera in the automatic setting.  So, here's to lots more picture taking to come!  Have a beautiful weekend!     

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter, Spring, Sunshine . . .

Well, I have TONS of pictures from Easter weekend.  It was such a sunny, and perfectly spring-y couple of days, I just had to take pictures of it all.  And it's not every year that you can have outdoor Easter egg hunts . . . unless you want to wear winter gear, and look for the eggs in the snow.  So, this year was just perfect! 

A couple of our friends planned an Easter egg hunt for a handful of families.  It was a lot of fun for everyone.  When we got there, the dads hid the eggs (and there were hundreds of eggs!), and the kids played and decorated their Easter baskets with stickers, ribbon, flowers, pipe cleaners, etc.  And the mommas helped get the snacks ready.  It was a great yard to have a hunt in - lots of woods.  They even had a pinata after!  Good friends, good fun, good food, good Saturday morning activity . . . but I feel like this raised the kids expectations for next year.  hehe.

We colored Easter eggs after I finally remembered to get vinegar from the store.  Always a hit with the kiddos.  We traditionally save them for the Easter Sunday dinner.  It makes for a pretty center piece . . . and a yummy part of the meal (if you like hard boiled eggs). 

This year the Easter bunny left a note on Saturday (this is when we do baskets . . . Sunday morning is too busy!  And we try to focus Sunday just on the resurrection of the Savior, and not all the other stuff.  Three hours of church always helps with that focus :).  The note said the Easter bunny hid the kid's baskets in the back yard.  The bunny usually leaves a handful of clues, but since Benjamin had just had the pirate party/treasure hunt the weekend before, the Easter bunny probably knew to keep it simple.  I've been trying to do less candy in their baskets, but still want to make them special.  The last few years, I put in some pj's (matching for the boys, awww), and did that again this year.  I also put in a sheet of Easter stickers, and some bubbles I found three for a dollar.  The bubbles were a big hit.  Anna and Benjamin love it, and Caleb just laughs and laughs at the funny things floating through the air.   

The traditional Easter Sunday pictures!  I kind of lucked out this year, as far as buying the kids Easter outfits.  Or not buying them outfits really.  When I was talking to Anna about an Easter dress, she asked if she could wear this fancy one she LOVEs that her Auntie Meghan got her last year.  Since Anna hadn't wore it all winter, it felt new and exciting to her.  So, didn't need to buy a thing for Anna's Easter attire.  Caleb wore a pair of Ben-Ben's old pants, a white shirt GramMelissa got him at Christmas, and I bought him the tie.  Benjamin wore the white shirt and khaki pants GramMelissa got him for Ashley's wedding, and I bought him a matching tie.  So, really a $4 dollar tie is a bit of a splurge (to me), but when you're not buying anything else, it seems like a great deal!  And hello, matching little ties on your two little men - ADORABLENESS! 
I think Anna looks just beautiful in all these pictures.  She just looks like she's full of sweetness and goodness to me.  And it's true.  And I wish I took the time to curl her hair more . . . it only takes a few minutes!  (Her hair is pretty straight/flat otherwise.)  I don't know if it's because the kids are all dressed up, but these pictures are really reminding me how fast they are all growing up.  Especially Anna.  She just seems so grown up all of the sudden.  Oh my.....   

Okay, the final pictures are of our Easter dinner dessert.  We ate at Grampa Chuck's house (but GrammaM and KC were still out of town), and we had my parent's come over too.  My momma did ham and cheesy potatoes and a fruit salad.  We did green salad and rolls.  Chuck was in charge of dessert, and above is the deliciousness that he ordered from the Marquette Baking Co.  The kids LOVED it . . . until Anna requested the head for her piece, and then it just seemed a little sad.  hehe. 

A fun, sunshine-y, happy Easter! 
(PS.  Notice some construction in a few of the backyard pics . . . more on that project soon!)