Monday, November 25, 2013

a day in chicago

Does anything get you into the holiday spirit quite like strolling around in downtown Chicago... bundling up for the cold, with snowflakes falling, saxophones jazzing out Christmas music, lights twinkling in the trees, in the skyscrapers, in the storefronts....  What better way to kick off the Christmas season?!

We love Chicago so much!  I don't know what it is... maybe the fact that both Jordan and I were born and raised in a 5-10 mile radius of where we're living now?!  Honestly, Jordan and I frequent downtown Chicago more often than Grand Rapids!  And now we've been acclimating our kids to the 'big city' too!  They've all been there a few times already (this was Emmy's second trip!).

We surprised the kids in the morning when Natalie thought we were bringing her to school.  When we were about 5 miles out of the way, she finally spoke up, worried about when we were going to get there.  They were excited when we told them that they weren't going to school that day, but to Chicago instead!  We stopped to get gas and candy before starting out.  We ate once we got there and then headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  We were thoroughly impressed and we'll definitely have to go back once it's warmer although we were still able to see most of the animals.  We were in the zoo for a few hours!  Then off to the Mile.  First stop: the Disney Store.  Of course, we love that store and the kids' were throwing out Christmas gift suggestions left and right.  And then, they saw them.  Merida and Rapunzel dolls.  And everything they had just feasted their eyes on was moot. Seriously, their eyes filled with little tears as they reached for their favorites... they wanted these dolls in the worst way.  Jordan and I conversed through a stare, we were already planning on buying these dolls for Christmas.  But how could we say 'no' now?!!  They were so excited when we told them that they could have an early Christmas present!!  Ruby wouldn't even let me bring her Rapunzel up to the counter to pay for it without her.  She wouldn't put it down.  A store worker opened it for her right away.  Yeah, that was pretty much the highlight of the trip!

We thought the American Girl store was going to be a big deal but as we strolled through, the girls were still obsessing about the Disney store!  Phew!  We weren't about to buy anything from this store and luckily we didn't have to say 'no'!  We shopped some more but our tummies were hungry.  So we headed to Giordano's (yum, yum!)  And then we headed home!

When we go to Chicago with the kids (which really isn't that often since we prefer to go with just the two of us), we have to go in just having the mind-set that we'll be taking it slow and taking breaks.  But we were surprised at how much walking the kids were able to do that day.  They kept up with us just fine!

We haven't had much family time (to say the very LEAST!) due to lots of work!!  So this was such a refreshing time to just BE together without having an agenda!

diy wrapping paper

Brown craft paper + paint + little fingers = wrapping paper!
String of lights.
Easy, fun, kid-friendly, lovely.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

emmy ellamae turns one

It happened.  My baby turned one.  What a fun age but it's a little unsettling how fast that happened!  She is such a delight.  The most easy-going baby you'll ever meet!  Always happy, always dancing, always singing.  I love her so much!  She was not in our 'plan' but once again God has proven to us that He knows best.  So glad that He can overcome our ideas of what we think is best for us!

Emmy had a fun birthday with her grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and siblings.  And all of her new toys have kept her busy ever since!

modeling her new slippers

I am humbled over and over again when I think of how undeserving I am to have these kids!

Emmy Ellamae, can't I just snuggle with you forever?  You are my sweet baby girl today and for always.  I love you more than you (or I!) could ever imagine!  So grateful to be your mom!


Can I just say how much I love this little guy?  He is hilarious, adventurous, loving....  He's always ready to have a good time.  He's always willing to help us out.  I had to take some pictures while he was 'helping' me rake the leaves!