Thursday, July 30, 2009

My very own Backyardigans

One rather chilly April weekend Chris, Uncle Andrew, Kate and I set out to build a swingset for Alyssa and Evan. It came in a million unlabeled pieces.

So we measured, identified and labeled each piece.

It was a rather tedious and lengthy process.

The finished product!

Evan was only two months old when we set up the swingset. Alyssa has spent many hours playing on it, but Evan has just now begun to join in the fun. Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day. After Evan woke up from his nap, we decided to head outside and swing for a bit.

The joy on her face in this picture is what I was hoping for as we built the swingset so many months ago.

Big sissy pushing "my wittle brover."

Evan eating up every second of attention that she gives him.

What I didn't anticipate is the joy I would feel watching the two of them interact. There is something amazing about watching them form a bond that will last a lifetime. It is so sweet and pure and soley based on giggles right now...I love that.

(Monica, I'm thinking of you as I write this. I pray you will soon experience this feeling yourself.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame!

I love baseball games. Very unlikely, but true. Chris and I discovered this shared love while living in Toledo. Our first year in Ohio we lived in an apartment complex where the players from the Toledo MudHens lived. We became friends with one of the players and his wife and went to many many baseball games with them. We sat in the family seating and watched fireworks afterwards from the dugout, it was a great introduction to the game I came to love.

This is Charlotte and me at a MudHens game in 2004.

We were so sad to leave the MudHens behind...BUT...Midland got their own team: The Great Lakes Loons! While the MudHens will always hold a special place in my heart (I still wear my MudHens sweatshirt and drink from my MudHens cup) the Loons are quickly becoming our team.

Tonight, thanks to Nana and Papa, we went to a game.

At the beginning of the season, Alyssa was terrified of Lou E. Loon. However, after he gave her an autographed baseball she began warming up to him. Tonight she ditched the ice cream line and bee-lined it for Lou E. when he came into sight.

Her new friend.

Alyssa and Papa sharing peanuts.

Who wouldn't smile. She had a hot dog, peanuts, an ice cream sandwich and an ice cream cone.

A night at the ballpark...I love that!

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's a Wrap

I know the cute pictures of the kids are the main draw for most of the people reading this blog...but alas, there is more to me than those kiddos, so today is about me!

I find immense satisfaction in organizing and tidying up disorganized spaces. In my dream world I would have endless funds to buy cute baskets and labels and every little thing would have it's own labeled spot. Instead my far from endless funds buy diapers, trains and swimming lessons. (That is not a complaint...just a fact).

Our guest room has served three different functions since we moved here two years ago. First it was the office, then as Alyssa grew so did her toy collection and the office became the playroom. Our family then grew and the playroom moved to the newly finished basement and the guest room moved to the playroom so that Alyssa could move into the guest room so that Evan could move into the nursery. Make sense? Good! The point is, the closet in that had items from the office, and items from the playroom and items that needed to go to Salvation Army. It was just a mess. Today, Alyssa had a playdate at Grandma's, and Evan took an incredible nap, so I tackled the closet. If I were a more experienced blogger you would now be seeing a photo of the before, but I didn't take one. My apologies.

I am only showing you half of the closet because the other half is now empty. Yes, guests can now hang their clothes in the closet...novel! Behold the other half of the closet.

Doesn't it look great?! This is home to all things wrapping. It is also the home to my sewing machine and other sewing neccesities. Notice the hanging items where clothes would normally hang.

Yes that's right... those are all gift bags organized by size. Shame on me for ever going and buying another bag at the store. If you're local and in need of a gift bag...come on over...I think I may have something you could use.

The peace that comes with knowing everything is in it's place...I love that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


One of the things I love most about being a parent is being able to do things that I still find joy in but without a child at my side would look a bit silly doing. I find immense pleasure in singing "Deep and Wide" and "Praise Him, Praise Him All Ye Little Children" many many times a day - even in the aisles of Target. I like to walk through sprinklers going over the sidewalk as we go for a walk. I like coloring with sidewalk chalk, and building with Duplo blocks. Turns out i really like to play Thomas the Train too! This weekend, in the name of Alyssa (read MB), we headed to Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. Chris and I had visited this zoo on one of his weekend trips to Kalamazoo during college. We both have fond memories of the day and wanted to share it with Alyssa and Evan. Grandma (my mom) came over Saturday morning and we packed up her car because it has a third row and off we went.

Alyssa all snug in the third row.

Evan and Grandma getting ready to go!

The drive to Battle Creek is loaded with childhood memories for me because it is the same drive we used to take to get to WMU when my brother went to school there and it is the drive I used to take to get to WMU. First you pass Greta's Kitchen, a little diner that probably doesn't serve very good food, but I always loved eating there. Then you pass a junk yard where my brother and I stopped to look for a hubcap for his car one summer after we visited Western together. Next you'll find Uncle John's Cider Mill which does serve AMAZING food. The apple bread is to die for. Finally you come to exit 41 on I-69 and there it is, the sign for Cornwell's Turkeyville. This was stop number one on our trip. I have been going to Turkeyville since I was Evan's age. It was the place where I first met my Aunts and Uncles on my Dad's side. Again, amazing food and it certainly did not dissapoint on Saturday. Chris had the Sloppy Tom which was always my Dad's favorite. Mom and I had the Turkey Hot Plate, and Alyssa had the Turkey Biscuit.

Evan had squash.

We picked up some cinnamon rolls from the bakery and loaded back in the car to finish our trek to the zoo.

Trying to find the snow leopard.

Happy little guy!


There was a WMU Bronco and a U of M horse, and she picks the Spartan!

Feeding the giraffes. So cool!
Worth the $5 for 6 pieces of lettuce!!

Are we still in Michigan??

...and he's done!

We all felt like that by the time we were done, but it was a great day spent making new memories at old places.

Remember days past and making new family memories...I love that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

All by herself...sort of

Alyssa has had a tricycle since last summer however, to this point she has not been able to figure out pedaling. Last week, we went to the store to scope out birthday presents, and she hopped on a tricycle set up at the end of an aisle and began riding! So we came home and tried ours, and she did it, proudly stating "I can do it all by myself!"

After dinner and a trip to the grocery store we decided to head to the park for a little fun. Alyssa donned her tricycle and off we went.

Thank heavens for that handle in the back because she made it about two houses down and was done with pedaling.

Evan was quite interested in what Sissy was doing.

Alyssa had a good time at the park. Such a good time that she didn't stop to tell us she needed to go to the bathroom. Whoops! Home we go!

Adventures in parenthood...I love that.

New Trick!

Look who's sitting up on his own!

I realize it's not the best picture, but it's still pretty cute. He held this pose for about a minute before tumbling backwards. What a big boy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why ...I love that?

The prospect of moving to Texas along with the great and ever growing distance (in miles) between family and friends was the motivation behind starting this blog. I have long been a lurker on several blogs (see sidebar), but just recently began desiring a blog of my own. I want to be able to share all of the wonderful things that are happening in this family of ours with all the people who matter most. This desire began several months ago, but did not come into fruition until now because...I'm anal! I wanted the name of my blog to mean something AND I wanted the web address to be the same as the blog title. Sounds easy enough right? Wrong! Every name I came up with right down to the boring "Alyssa and Evan" had already been taken. So one night out of sheer frustration I got out all of the cards Chris and I have ever given each other. I was reading through each and every one looking for inspiration. I found it on a card Chris gave me not too long before I had Alyssa.

I was in the last month of pregnancy and looking like this:

Let's just say I wasn't feeling the most attractive. Chris was sweet enough to give me this card...which I totally didn't believe, but sweet none-the-less.

Thank you for the inspiration Hallmark. This time, the $2.29 was totally worth it.

Husbands that care enough to lie...I love that!

Yay for Daddy!

Everyday about 11:30 Chris walks through the door to the excitement of both Mommy and Alyssa (Evan is working on it). I'm exicted because, well, I love to see Chris, but it also provides a bit of a break in the middle of the day. Alyssa is excited because she will soon be on the basement floor playing something with Daddy that Mommy never plays; Imaginary dragons just aren't my thing! Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day so we switched things up a bit and went to a local garden for a picnic. We set up camp next to a babbling brook which quickly became much more imporant to Alyssa than eating lunch. We were both certain the brook would win and she would go home soaking wet, but after a few VERY close calls, she remained dry...well, mostly.

The setting for our picnic.

Alyssa checking out the water before Chris scared her into believing the "fishies are going to bite your toes."

Oh the giggles!

Chris checking it out for himself.

Evan checking it out...

...and deciding it's too cold!

Thanks for meeting us for lunch Chris...I love that.