Monday, December 14, 2009

natalie 2.5

Tonight I gave Natalie her first official haircut. I think it turned out cute. Natalie has very thin and wavy hair that has a mind of it's own and many different personalities - just like Natalie! She has had a very thin but long mullet going on for way too long. So I cut about 3 inches off. She looks even older now. So here are before and after pictures:

What else is new with Natalie.... Well, Jordan taught her to say 'Yes, sir' and now she adds 'sir' onto many other phrases. She also knows how to joke with us and say 'just kidding' since we pretend to not know that she's joking. We watched the movie "Elf" with Natalie just recently and do you know when Will Ferrell burps for an abnormally long time and then says 'did you hear that?!' Well, Natalie says that now after she or Ruby burps or toots!!
Natalie's current favorite song is the 'boom boom Jesus song' a.k.a. 'Little Drummer Boy'. She's been doing really well with potty training still, woohoo!! She's having less temper tantrums but still can be little miss attitude. We were at Jordan's aunt's house the other night, and Natalie went in the basement, looked around, didn't see anyone she wanted to talk to, and turned around to the stairs with her chin up when they tried talking to her. So Jordan's cousin says real quietly, 'she can have such a little attitude' and whether it was coincidence or not, Natalie whipped a plastic toy at her. It's funny and sort of cute but I really hope that someday she will just humor people and not give them attitude! And yet she can be so overly polite and so loving the next minute! Natalie is like a box of chocolates, you never know what yer gonna git (that's from one of the best movies ever made: Forrest Gump for you sad people who didn't know that!)
When we put Natalie to bed, we have to go through all these rituals: she needs milk, she needs a kiss, she needs a hug, she needs the fan on, and she's got some kind of order that she needs to do it in because sometimes we need to give her multiple hugs and kisses! But it's always worth it to hear, 'I love you' at the end. And she crawls into bed with us later and kicks us with her constantly flailing arms and legs. But only occasionally do I bring her back into her own bed. I like it when she crawls into bed with us and cuddles up. And a few times, I'll wake up to her stroking my face or kissing me and telling me she loves me! My theory is that she won't be sleeping with us when she's ten, right? It'll stop eventually ;)

Natalie is coming up on her half birthday making her two and a half. And in spite of the tantrums and the occasional bad attitude, Natalie we love you more than we thought possible. You are such a ham and a spit-fire. It's been so fun to watch you learn and grow. These two and a half years of life with you have been a BLAST and we look forward to a lifetime with you!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

grandma quotes

I just found these two quotes on grandmas and I thought they were so true. Holidays always make me miss my grandmas even more than I already do. Is that normal? They've been gone for 4 and 5 years and I still miss them like crazy! It's just selfishness because I know they're happier in heaven. Anyways, I really love these quotes:

A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend. ~Author Unknown

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete. ~Marcy DeMaree

Here's to my grandparents who get to spend another Christmas in Paradise!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Tonight, Jordan and I were invited to go shopping with friends. I decided to stay home because I knew we wouldn't be able to find a babysitter. Jordan couldn't make up his mind: he felt bad leaving us but really wanted to go.... he flipped a coin and the coin said to stay home. And now we know why: a BAT flew into our basement!! Gary chased it back and forth, I put my hood on, Jordan hid under a blanket and we both screamed like little girls. After I whipped the blanket off Jordan and demanded that he 'be a man' he caught the bat under the blanket which was on top of me!!! (Which reminded me of that Office episode when Dwight catches a bat with a paper bag on top of Meredith's head! Ever see that one... you've gotta!) So, if Jordan would have gone out tonight, it would have just been me and the bat! Seriously, I don't know what I would have done!


....{another shudder!}

Monday, November 30, 2009

our november

Where did November go?!?! I cannot believe how fast the days and weeks go especially during the holidays. A couple of weeks ago, Jordan got the h1n1 virus along with a small case of pnemonia. He was down for a week and I was so certain the rest of us would get it so I sanitized repeatedly and thankfully, we didn't get it. Us girls have gotten vaccinated since.

Last week Monday, Natalie decided to go potty all on her own and has only had accidents during naps and at night. Before that, she had only gone pee on the toilet a couple of times but she basically quit diapers cold turkey. She's such an entertainer. She's always got to make us laugh. But she's still in the 'terrible twos' stage. She can change her mood instantly which is not fun.

Ruby is walking really well and talking a little more. She's always been so much quieter than Natalie ever was. This morning, I was changing her diaper and saying 'you stink' over and over and she spit out her pacifier and tried to say 'stink'. She had her 1 year appointment and is 22 lbs + 11 oz and 30 inches long. Ruby is just so much fun. She loves to get chased and loves to mock us when we tell her 'no' by shaking her head at us while laughing and smiling at us. She loves to sing and dance, it's so cute!

We had a good Thanksgiving weekend. We have soooo much to be thankful for: our health, our girls, each other, our families, that Jordan is keeping busy at work, and so much more. We had fun shopping on black Friday, Jordan with Luke and Brad and me with Sara- we've gone for 11 years now.

So now we welcome December, my favorite month: we usually have a ton of parties to attend throughout the entire month and I love the first snow and all things Christmas. My goal for this month is to really embrace what the Christmas season is all about. I have been struggling with my devotions lately, as in I haven't been making God my #1 priority. So this month, in celebration of Christ's birth, I am hoping to give more devotion to the reason that I have so much to be thankful for and the reason that there is any joy in my heart at all.

Wow, what a long post! If you made it through this entire reading, I am honored :) Have a good week :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

sir gary barkel

I love my dog but I don't usually like him. And my dog, Gary, is unlike other dogs... he's more human-like. He can ring the doorbell and open the front door (which some of my friends can't even open!) and all day long, I'm letting him outside, then inside, then outside (who knew this about dogs?!) because he has to be social. He's so high-maintainence! Maybe it's why I get annoyed of him.... he's such a baby and I don't have the patience for him. But Thursday, I discovered that I really do love the dumb dog.

Gary ate almost an entire bag of chocolate chips on Friday. And though I've always known that chocolate is bad for dogs, I didn't really think much of it. I just spanked him, threw him outside and went on my merry way. About 4 hours later, Jordan called and I mentioned it to him and he freaked and told me to call a vet. So I called one and she freaked out when I told him how much he ate and told me that 'this is a medical emergency and it's gonna cost you a few hundred dollars' because they probably would have hospitalized him. I told her I was going to discuss it with my husband before bringing him in. But before calling my husband, she wanted me to pour as much hydrogen peroxide down his throat as I could get so that he would throw up. So I did that and it worked! At this point, we decided that we didn't want to bring Gary in if it was going to cost us an arm and a leg and if he was going to be throwing up in our car. I looked all over the internet about dogs eating chocolate and everywhere I looked, it seemed like he could have ate twice as much chocolate as what he did before he entered the 'toxic' level. He is fine and I'm soo happy we didn't bring him in but I had no idea how toxic chocolate is for dogs. And did you know, there are agents in grapes, raisens, onions, and garlic that can also be toxic for dogs?!
Moral of the story: no matter how much you think you don't like your dog, you realize how much you really do love him when you think he could go into a coma and die. So take care of your pets :)

Monday, November 2, 2009


We went to the grandparents' houses with the girls on Saturday and I think they got much better pictures of them. These are the ones I was able to get of Natalie and Ruby - they were both crabby and ready to go to bed so I didn't even try to get better ones!

We had a costume party later that night with our closest friends. The vote for best costumes went to Jeremy and Crystal, a.k.a. Fred and Wilma Flintstone!
Jordan's costume started out as my 1970's prom date but it transformed into a woman's costume by the end of the night. He's got lipstick on in this picture (and a woman's blouse from Salvation Army to match!)
And, of course, we had lots of goodies to munch on!
Next party theme.... the Tacky Christmas Sweater Party!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why won't this picture rotate?!?! Oh well, here's my lil one year old:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ruby turns one

My baby is one today! I have such mixed emotions! Time goes way too fast. I wish she were a newborn all over again and yet I love seeing her grow up and mature!

A week ago she took a few steps and now she is taking 5-10 at a time. She is still the happiest baby I've ever known. Even when she's upset, you can still get her to smile. And when she does smile, her little eyes squint just about shut and her little nose crunches up... it's cute! And when we feed her with a spoon (she hasn't learned how to herself yet!) she opens her mouth as wide as she can while smiling and showing all her 10 teeth, she tilts her head back and resembles a little birdie waiting for her momma to reguritate some food for her! Ruby absolutely loves to dance and sing! It doesn't matter what kind of mood she's in, if I'm holding her and I ask her to dance, she's about jumping out of my arms! And of course, she is into everything! Everyday, I have to restock our bookcases with our books and movies. And just this morning, Ruby took the cap off of the baby shampoo and was emptying it onto the bathroom floor! Ruby can also be a cuddler if she has her favorite blanket. And if you're lucky, she'll give you an occasional kiss (that is, if you don't have facial hair!)

Ruby is such a blessing to this family. If I'm feeling impatient or preoccupied, all I need is a smile from Ruby to reel me in! We love you, Ruby, and we thank God that he chose us to be your parents!

Happy First Birthday, Rue Lou!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

our fall in pictures....

Not much is new around the Barkel household.... I thought I'd post some new pictures from the last time I posted some:

All summer Natalie would help herself to cherry tomatoes from our garden.

Ruby enjoying a chocolate muffin from the last flea market.

Zeeland Pumpkin Fest:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

our vegas trip

Ok, so the previous post is not true :) I don't think I fooled anybody, either!

Last weekend, we spent 4 days in Las Vegas. Mom and Dad Barkel took Jordan and I and Jeremy and Jess, Jordan's sister and brother-in-law (Jordan's other sister couldn't make it). This was actually Jordan's and my 2nd time going, the first being 5 years ago, and it was just as fun. There is just so much to see and do. We stayed at the Bally's Resort. It was right in the middle of the strip. It was really great hotel! We had a good time just laying out by the pool, walking up and down the strip, and gambling (of course). We gambled a lot (time-wise) and had a lot of fun doing it and when we finally called it quits, we came out $10 ahead. Whoopee! We discovered a place with $1 Margaritas, really good food, and cheap beer, called 'Bill's' and it kind of became our hangout place. We had such a great time!

It was the perfect amount of time away from our girls. Our friends, Aaron and Heidi and Katie and Matt, my sister and brother-in-law, took good care of them. Aaron told us that Natalie crawled into bed with them one night and asked him a couple of times, "daddy?" and Aaron would correct her and say, "no, Aaron." But now, we've had it a couple of times where she'll point at a male stranger and say "my daddy?" and she's been calling her own daddy "Jordan"..... I'm thinking there's more to the story that Aaron told us about her asking if he was her daddy! What did he tell her? :) Natalie has been talking about Aaron and Heidi and Matt and Katie everyday since we've been home. I don't think our girls missed us at all!

Here are some pics of the weekend:

Thanks, mom and dad, for another great and memorable family vacation!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

summer '09

Where did the summer go?!! I thought this was an awesome summer; I loved the comfortable weather! Today, Jordan and I took a bike ride with the girls from Beechwood Reformed to the beach. The weather was amazing and the girls did really great. We pull them in a burley behind us. I think this has been the first bike ride that neither of them got bitten by the other and there was no fighting! I'm so regretful for not doing more things like that this summer. We made ourselves way too busy this summer. But it was still a great summer.
Ruby is 10 months old now! She can say a few words and she's still as happy as can be. She loves dancing and music! She can't not dance when someone sings or when music plays. When I sit her by the piano, she just pounds away... she's going to be a pianist, I just know it! She still has quite the appetite as well (like her mother!). She enjoyed her first of corn-on-the-cob the other night - so funny. I just can't believe how fast time has gone with her.
While Ruby is our overly happy and content sweetheart, Natalie is bi-polar! No, I'm just kidding, I hope!! But she does have many different personalities ;) Sometimes, she is just soo sweet, caring, and playful and literally the next minute, she's rolling on the ground throwing a fit. AGH! This parenting stuff is getting tricky! Ruby goes to sleep earlier than Natalie, so when we bring Natalie into the room sometimes Ruby wakes up and starts crying. And then Natalie yells, "Ruby, STOP CRYING!" And things go downhill from there and we've got two screaming children probably waking up the neighborhood since their windows are usually open. But what a fun age at the same time. She's talking constantly and some of the things she says are so funny. And hearing 'I wuv you' never gets old (especially when I'm so sure throughout the day that she doesn't exactly like me).

Check out some of our pictures of the girls over this summer:

At the beach with my sister, Katie and all of the kids!

Natalie and Briella put lotion on each other :)

I feel like I could write a lot more on this post, but I am very sleepy from the summer sun and the girls are asleep, too.... I feel a nap coming on :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

story of my life....

Just watch (pause the music at the bottom of this page first):

Multiply that by two.

Enough said.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

getting my priorities straight

This afternoon, I was sitting in the sun. I have not done that hardly at all this summer because I've been too busy working on the house, or mowing, or blogging :).... While sitting outside, I began to think about God's marvelous creation. I've been so busy with ME, the girls, and Jordan (and probably in that order, too) that I haven't left (or made) time to be with God.

I think God has been trying to reveal it to me that I need to make Him number 1. Our sermon on Sunday really spoke to my heart. It was about partaking of all that God has to offer us when we actually have a relationship with Him. There's so much more to this life if we just give God the reigns. And last week, Jordan showed me a youtube video that shows a black speck in space actually being another universe. God is AMAZING!! We humans have not even begun to see the vastness of this creation. We are less than miniscule beings on this earth and in this life and yet God considers us His greatest creation! He knows the number of hairs on our heads! How can that be? And Jesus gave himself up for us? How humbling.

We were made to praise Him but He has not been the priority in my life, lately. This creation is so gigantic and God is even bigger and yet I put Him in a box and take Him out when I need Him or when I have the time for Him. And I praise Him often for our health, our girls, our marrige, family and friends, and even for blessing us financially. But sometimes the devil gets in my head and I subconciously believe that we deserve all these blessings, that we don't need God.... UGH! When I consider God's creation, and then look into my heart and see that it is black with sin and that what I'm deserving of is hell, then I can't believe that God chooses to love me still. I love this phrase from the song 'Here I Am to Worship': I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross. That's so true - we have no idea....

God created us to praise Him and we are to make Him priority number one. I have been so selfish this summer, always working on the house, or running errands. or dot, dot, dot and those things have to be done but it's September and I just finally 'smelled the roses' (literally, too!). It's time for me to praise God first and let everything fall into place after that.

If you want to see the video I'm referring to that Jordan showed me, click here. It's pretty cool!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

beach day

Jordan had last Thursday off so we headed to the beach for the first time this year. So it was also Ruby's first beach experience. We had so much fun. We all lounged on the water's edge. The water was perfect and it was a gorgeous, sunny, not-too-hot day.

Ruby was a little unsure at first but got used to the water real fast. Ruby is just about 10 months old already which is exciting and sad to me. She is so fun. She says mama, dada, and bah (which sometimes means 'bye'). She crawls so fast all over. And she's still super smiley and very happy. This past week, she became very clingy to me and she always wants me to hold her. Sometimes, it gets old because I already have my hands full but most of the time, I love it. She can sort of give hugs and I just love that she loves me so much :)

Natalie is talking all the time. Everyday she shocks me with some new sentence. She is a little defiant these days, too. She just has such a hot temper when she doesn't get her way or when something goes wrong. She recieves a daily spankin', that's a given. But now she always teases us and says, 'I'll spank your butt'. There was a while there where she was really being naughty all the time but it's definately getting better already.

I could definately use some more beach days but I think it'd be a little too much work for me to go by myself. Hopefully Jordan will have some more days off so we can go :) Check out my beach babes!

I hate to brag but is that not the cutest bikini babe, ever? Look at that pose!!

This is quite the pose, too!