Monday, June 29, 2009

He's a big boy now!

Elijah is officially potty trained! My baby is a big boy! Just a few months before he turns three! This is yet another bittersweet milestone for me. I LOVE that he is diaper free, don't get me wrong, but it also means he really isn't so little any more. This is hard for me to chew on. I can't believe how much he has matured and grown over the past few months. It has been fun watching him blossom and become the little man that he is. He is very strong willed (not sure where he gets that) and has a mind of his own. He doesn't seem to care about what others think of him or worrying about trying to please others.

He is not easily influenced either. This made potty training rather difficult. I wasn't sure it was going to ever happen after he would go for a week at a time accident free and then walk by with underwear that was cold and wet with poop in it and not seem to care. I am not sure what finally made him decide it was time, but we are so thankful. It finally happened while we were in St. Paul visiting Clint and Katy. It might have been partially related to the fact that he did not want to be a "baby" like Isaiah. He told me he was a "big boy like Jonah because he didn't wear diapers like Isaiah." Either way, it is marvelous, magnificent, and miraculous.

Potty training required numerous bribes, incentives, and rewards. Think what you will, but it worked. The grand prize was a new robin toy.

His original Robin was lost in Lowes a few weeks ago. When it was lost I told him I would buy him a new one if he was all done with diapers and pooped and peed in the potty all the time. (If you are an avid blog reader you appreciate this reward just as much as he does. Elijah has been Robin since last October and has taken this little man everywhere since he opened it at Christmas time.) It was no easy toy to find and I had to search high and low on the internet for it. Thank goodness though, because I did find one. I am a little disappointed as I think he might be defective (his arms won't go down), but this hasn't been an issue yet.

Way to go Elijah! I am proud of you little buddy! You really aren't my baby anymore!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trip to MN Part 3

Our final day in St Paul happened to be Father's Day. The boys made Richard some cute cards with their hand prints in them. He opened his gift at home (when we got home) but I think had a great day being loved by us all.

Sunday was my 26th birthday as well! Richard surprised me with a card and tickets to see Cirque du Soleil's Kooza! They are going to be in St Paul the month of July. I was so shocked and excited that I started crying! It is definitely one of the best presents he has ever given me for a few reasons. First, because he knows how much I want to go to this show and second, because these tickets aren't cheap (remember how my hubby is frugal). It will be a blast! My mom graciously agreed to watch the boys so we can go kid free. We are going to stay with Clint and Katy again (thanks guys) and maybe even sneak in a date with them and shopping on the way home!

We had a very nice relaxing day with Katy's family. We headed to church that morning and returned for a BBQ with her grandparents, mom, brother, aunt, uncle, and cousin. It was fun to meet more of her family and it worked out perfectly that we were able to feed the kids, put them down for naps, and enjoy a nice relaxing lunch. Isaiah was up before the boys, so we were able to enjoy his sweetness while they slept.

All three boys looking cute before church

Sweet little Isaiah

Isaiah and Grandma Linda

Richard and Paul

Three amigos: Paul, Richard and Clint

Katy and Elijah playing BINGO

One more attempt at a picture of the three boys

Katy reading to the boys before bed

Jonah and Isaiah

Our last evening with our dear friends was filled with pizza, fellowship, laughs and a surprise birthday cake from Dairy Queen for me! It was so special to share the day with the Hawthornes. It was such a blessing to be able to spend that time together. We are so grateful for them allowing us to come visit after only being in their home for less than a week! We look forward to making many more memories together and hopefully more visits! It was so hard to leave and I was able to keep the tears in until I pulled away.

Thanks again Hawthornes!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trip to MN Part 2

Trip to MN continued...

Friday June 19th we had the pleasure of spending the evening with Bill (Clint's dad), his brother Bob and son Josh. Bob and Josh are doing a cross country motorcycle trip from Virginia to California and back. Sweet huh? Bill joined them for part of the trip and was returning home to Iowa after stopping in MN. Richard got there Friday night as well. It was a marvelous time and after delicious chicken on the grill and root beer floats the adults were able to visit while the kiddos watched Transformers. One of the highlights of the day for Jonah was a little ride on Bill's motorcycle!

Jonah was so excited and can't wait until he can have another ride!

Saturday morning the cycling trio took off and the rest of us headed to the beautiful St. Croix River near Stillwater, MN. Katy's grandparents live in Stillwater and she grew up visiting this beautiful area and was gracious enough to be our tour guide for the day. We packed a picnic lunch and found a perfect spot to enjoy yet another beautiful day on the river.

Jonah checking out the scenery.

Jonah again by some sweet trees.

The boys checking out the water...

trying so hard not to get wet (that is Wisconsin on the other side).

Enjoying our lunch in the shade.

There was a sand bar and small island the "big boys" swam to and explored leaving Katy, Isaiah and I behind to enjoy the water.

We were able to get a group photo thanks to a sweet lady who happened to be strolling near by. (She was a woman after my own heart and snapped three pics not just one)

Katy and Isaiah enjoying the cool water.

After spending some great time relaxing in the river, we headed to a well known local ice cream shop for a "small cup" of ice cream. Luckily Katy instructed us to get a kiddie cone and not anything bigger.
Here is my "small cup" of ice cream!

A group shot outside the ice cream store.

Jonah getting ready to dive in. I was quite proud he almost finished it all! We all know where he got that gene!

Poor Elijah missed out on the ice cream adventure. Don't worry, Jonah made sure he was aware of this when he woke up!

After our "little" treat, we headed over to Katy's grandparents house and picked up her brother Paul who had driven up for a quick visit from Des Moines. We were blessed with Paul's friendship while we lived in Iowa City and are so thankful for the time we were able to spend with him. It was such a special treat to see him, even if it was for less than 24 hours. Thanks Paul! That night the guys enjoyed some fellowship together and Katy and I were able to enjoy some more wonderful time together and some great laughs (she had no idea I was a infomercial junkie) while we got ready for the big Father's day get together. It was bittersweet to say the least. I tried to just rejoice in the moment while it lasted and not think about how soon it would be over.

Paul and Isaiah.

There's more to be shared, but I must head to bed! Check back soon for the final leg of the trip. Good night!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Trip To MN Part 1

Wednesday June 17th the boys and I headed down to St. Paul, MN to visit our wonderful friends Clint and Katy. "These people" are very near and dear to our hearts and we were blessed to become great friends with them back in Iowa City. We met them when I was pregnant with Jonah and have shared in so many things together. Clint and Katy just moved to MN as Clint just started his residency in emergency medicine down there. We couldn't be more proud of him and ecstatic God led them there! Closer to us!

Despite a minor delay on the way down (a broken windshield wiper during a downpour outside of Fargo that was quickly repaired thanks to my dad's car dealer connections), we made it to their house in 6 hours. They boys were great and I enjoyed some great conversations with my toddler boys on the way down...

Jonah: Mom where are the nuggets in the chicken?
Elijah: Hey!
Me: What Elijah?
Elijah: Mom, Hey!
Me: Elijah I can't look right now I am driving, what are you talking about? (a truck is passing me and I hate interstate driving when I have to pass a truck)
Elijah: No, mom look...its Hay!
(The truck passing us was full of bales of hay!)
Jonah: Mom are you going to take a nap on the way there too?
Me: No honey, Mommy has to drive. I am a little sleepy though.
Jonah: Oh, why don't you stop and get a Java Chip Frappuccino?
(I guess I go there more than I thought)

We spent the first afternoon and evening relaxing with the Hawthornes and enjoying their new home! It is beautiful! They also live right by an elementary school so we were able to go to the park just a few steps away. Clint had lots of work to do for orientation so Katy, Isaiah (her 1 year old son), the boys and I were able to spend some great time together catching up, playing, chatting, and just being together. It was so wonderful and felt just like old times. It was fun to watch the boys playing together. Jonah and Elijah were challenged by a one year old stealing their toys and climbing over them, but they sure miss that little guy!

Here is a fun picture from the next morning...

Thursday we went to the Como Zoo with the boys. Not only is it a great zoo, but it is free! It was bloody hot, but so fun to watch their faces light up each time we saw a new animal! We packed a delicious lunch of pb&j, carrots, apples, and chips and ate our picnic at the zoo. It was Isaiah's first trip to the zoo and since they only live about 15 minutes away, I think he will be there again soon!
Our crew before our zoo adventure began...

Isaiah and Katy checking out the monkeys.

The boys watching the sea lions swim around.

"Fire Power" (from a Night at the Museum 2)
After the zoo we headed home for naps, and attempted to cool off. When the boys were awake Katy got out an adorable Elmo sprinkler for the boys to play with. It was a nice way to cool off on such a hot day.

Isaiah checking out the grass. Isn't he adorable?

After dinner that night Katy and I decided to head to IKEA with my boys while Clint studied at home and Isaiah slept. Fortunately they only live about 20 minutes away from IKEA also! How sweet is that? We made it there an hour before they closed and checked the boys into the fabulous play place and we enjoyed a whole hour of perusing, shopping, talking, and dreaming. This was definitely one of the many highlights from our trip! I picked up some great items we needed and Katy treated me to a super cute reusable shopping bag on the way out for my birthday! It was so relaxing and enjoyable to be there when it wasn't busy and without two little balls of energy (aka my boys). Hurray for play places and potty trained boys!

Friday morning we headed to Lake Phalen which is also only about 10 minutes from their place. It is surrounded by some beautiful trials that we'll have to check out our next trip down. We had another delicious lunch of pb&j, fruits, and veggies. The lake wasn't too busy and it was a beautiful day for it! Jonah headed right in, but Elijah wasn't so sure. After much prodding, pleading and eventually dragging him into it, he loved it! He was even the last one out!
The boys in the lake.

Another adorable shot of Isaiah enjoying the sand.
The boys watching a little batman (shocking I know)
Check back soon for Part 2 of our trip! It was just to fantabulous to fit into one blog post! This one is even a little too long for some people's liking (Richard), but I didn't want to forget anything.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dear Jonah

Dear Jonah,
I am writing to tell you how proud I am of you!  Our lives have been quite chaotic lately, so I have held off from writing this post, but no longer can I wait.  Almost a month ago (May 23rd), your dad taught you how to ride a "big boy bike" in only 3 days!  Our wonderful neighbors gave us Mackenzie's old bike (after making it more masculine with black spray paint) for you to use.  It is perfect!  Your dad decided to do this when I was busy helping get ready for Aunt Laura's graduation so I missed the first day trial run.  I was a nervous wreck initially and honestly wasn't so sure going straight from a tricycle to a bike, bypassing training wheels, was such a good idea for my 4 1/2 year old little guy.  
However, you and your dad have proven me wrong!  This milestone has been a tough one, but I am able to practice trust in the Lord and practice letting go.  I still get teary eyed watching you ride with your head held high beaming with confidence like you have done it for years.  You have had some great wipeouts since, but have gotten back up every time to try again.  You haven't complained about wearing your helmet (too much) which makes me breathe easier.  

We have been taking some family bike rides on the bike path and it has been so fun watching you become more and more comfortable riding by yourself!  I will always remember the first time we all went together and you rode from our house all the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Every time another pedestrian, whether on bike, foot, or rollerblade, came cruising by you flew into the grass and fell off your bike for fear of being run over!  The wide bike path was great to work on riding on the right side of the path while allowing others to pass!  You made it all the way though and have been riding your bike all over town with dad since!  

This past week you were able to start on your own and have conquered "coasting" and getting off by yourself also.  I am so proud of you son. I love you so much and hope you will remember this milestone as well.  Keep your chin up and keep up the excellent work!  I pray you are able to tackle life with the same enthusiasm you have when you are learning something new.  You will not regret this approach.  I pray that God uses this enthusiasm and confidence to bring glory to His kingdom.  Way to go little man! I am so proud of you!

Love always,
This wouldn't be complete without a few pictures...

Learning how to get going with the pedals just right!

  Day 2 of bike riding dad was already letting go!

***I will add some more recent pics soon***

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Road construction" up ahead

This is what the boys room looked like when we were looking at the house. 

These are pics from August when we first painted. 

My sister Laura doing a little "road construction" on the wall

On the road again...

The completed road ;0)

Finished room, complete with trim and just needs a little artwork on the wall! 

Beach House Bathroom

I finally painted the upstairs bathroom.  I hadn't painted it yet because I ran out of steam when we moved in and the white was just fine.  Until I needed a distracting home project to keep me busy.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I LOVE IT!!!!!  The color is called beach house and although we don't have a beach house, it is pretty relaxing.  If you go in there and close your eyes and pretend you are standing in the sand (instead of on a rug), and hearing the waves crashing into each other (instead of my boys) and smell the sweet salty air (instead of ????) you will think you are at the beach! 

In case you forgot what it looked like before here it is... 

(This is a picture from when we looked at the house a year ago. I forgot to take one before I painted it, but it was just white)

My beloved shower curtain, that is reversible (with stripes on the other side)

Those are pictures of the boys from our trip to California last April.

This is an amazing picture my sister Laura drew of Jonah from our Mexico trip back in Dec of 2005!

Doesn't it look great!  Come over and see for yourself!