Wednesday, May 20, 2015

House Rules

You know those signs with "House Rules" on it that say inspiring things like "In This House, we do Hugs"?  Great aspirations but can we get a reality check, please?  If our "house rules" were based solely on the "rules" that have come out of my mouth today, the list would look more like this:

  • Do not feed the non-marshmallow part of your Lucky Charms to the dog
  • Do not get dressed in full view of the front picture window
  • Do not eat your socks (okay, she's 6 months, we'll cut her some slack)
  • Do not spit up all over Mommy's pants 2 minutes before it's time to leave for work (again, unintentional, but still, it should be a law)
  • Do not use a coat hanger to stage an epic battle of Hook vs. Pan
  • Do not put tiny Legos in your mouth
  • Do not believe the public TV add that claims blending up a frozen banana for four minutes tastes like ice cream. They sleep on a bed of lies. 
  • Do not growl at me when I ask you if you want a muffin
  • When I say "Don't touch the pan, it's hot", don't check how hot it is...with your finger
  • Do not punch your brother in the face while we are praying
  • Do not claim that it wasn't his face, it was just his cheek
  • Do not keep your eyes crossed the whole time I am lecturing you 
  • Do not leave your chair or talk or move or make any sounds for three minutes while I wash the chocolate off your brother's fingers and figure out what to do with you.
  • When you promise you will not bother Dad when he's mowing, don't attack the mower with a snow shovel every time it goes past.
  • Do not roll marbles under the stove and then cry because they are "wost"
Is it bedtime yet?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tulip Festival 2015 - Scrubbing Streets

After 3 years of being resident observers, we decided to dive into participating in the Tulip Festival this year. Some of it was prompted by Cohen and Adam's role in posing for the art commissioned for this year's festival, the fact that it was the 75th festival, my relatives who are in charge of various aspects, and just making a conscious effort to create some fun traditions with our kids.  We had costumes made for the boys to match the one in the painting, Adam rented, and Avonlea and I borrowed dresses. It's amazing how well all our costumes went together! We had a little dress rehearsal before the big day, just to see how long it took to get all of us put together!




The first parade we dressed for was Friday's afternoon parade. It had been raining steadily and we made a last-minute decision to actually go for it, so it was a big rush to get ready, then a long wait at the parade route as everything got pushed back. It was fun to see everyone in their different costumes. After the wait, Cohen and Avonlea ended up falling asleep in the stroller right as the parade began...but I think it was a great way to ease into the activity.


 
Collins, Cohen, and Ryan




We skipped watching Friday night's parade and got in full gear again on Saturday for the biggest parade of the festival. It was warmer that day and had a great crowd. This time Cohen actually walked for part of it, pouring his little bucket of water on the street. Ryan hung back with the ladies so he wouldn't get caught in the little-boy water fights, then they enjoyed watching the whole parade with Grandpa and Grandma (and eating a shaved ice-bribe for being agreeable during the parade).
Budweiser Clydesdales in the background.






Despite a few mishaps (like Ryan ripping the entire sleeve off his new costume the first day and Cohen needing an emergency trip home for new shorts one night) and meltdowns (like Ryan running away and hiding after getting upset about rides), we overall enjoyed getting involved and participating in the festival. It's fun to join together with many of our friends and neighbors to showcase our Dutch heritage. I hope you'll join us next year!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tulip Festival 2015 - Parade and Rides

On the first day of Tulip Festival, it rained in the afternoon, so street scrubbing was canceled. We headed downtown in late afternoon and tried out a few rides, then watched the parade with Adam's parents.  The boys also did a few rides the other nights of the week.
Watching the POD band

Curious George, representing the library's Summer Reading program, was a big hit!

Snuggling with Grandma

Grandpa's turn!

Our friend John waving from his place of honor.
Cohen and Adam trying out the big slide.

Cohen hesitated at first but then did the motorcycles a total of 3x!
Ryan still loves the motorcycles too.

Cohen was carefree on his carousel horse.
Ryan asked if the horse came with a seatbelt.

Driving cars in circles, just like the pros.
Bumper cars!
Last ride...carousel with Mom!






Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tulip Festival Painting - "A Faithful Walk"

Every year, the Tulip Festival Committee commissions a piece of art to be made to commemorate that year's Tulip Festival. This year, for the 75th Anniversary of the festival, they selected my friend and co-worker, John Vander Stelt. As he was developing sketches and ideas for his painting, he needed a father and son(s) to pose as models and our family came to mind. A week after Avonlea was born, we all headed to the library at Northwestern College to take some photos. It was sweaty, exhausting work (and that was just me trying to keep the boys from scratching the floors with their wooden shoes) but he was able to use some shots of Adam holding a yolk with Cohen looking into the bucket.  Read Part 1 of the painting process on his blog, including pictures from our photo-shoot day.

As he worked on the painting, I would occasionally receive Snapchats of little portions of the painting, but never the overall picture. I was SO excited to see how it would turn out. One cold day when it was finished, John invited our family over to his house to preview it before the official reveal. While Ryan went to go play toys with Jack, the rest of us went up the staircase to his studio where we saw the painting for the first time.  We.were.stunned.  Not only was the painting a beautiful depiction of Dutch life with many hidden bits of significance, but it was a museum-quality, can't-believe-we-know-someone-this-talented work of art. I could recognize Adam immediately even with only a portion of his down-turned face showing and the depiction of Cohen is spot-on down to the dimple in his chin. We really could hardly believe how amazing it was. Read Part 2 of the painting process on John's blog, including how he got the warm glow of color to come through.

Later, there was an official "reveal" at the Extravaganza and the painting was received so well by everyone in attendance, including my parents and grandma who were there enjoying the Dutch food and Queen's court costume reveal as well.  The festival sold numbered and signed prints, regular prints, and canvases (which various members of our family will have hanging in their houses). I can't wait to get our canvas framed. It will have a prominent place in our house and we can never say thank-you enough to John for choosing to include us in his project.  Read Part 3 about the reveal on John's blog including the meaning and inspiration behind the painting.




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cohen: 2 years, 5 months

Cohen is all ready to play his role of little Dutch boy in the Tulip Festival this month! Here are a few of his recent "favorites"
Breakfast: key lime Yoplait yogurt and Lucky Charms
Meal: chicken, brats, corn
Book: Curious George and the Costume Party, Curious George's Dream, any Little People lift-the-flap books
Playmate: Avonlea...just look at these two!

Outdoor activity: run around/away at Ryan's soccer games, ride the Plasma car down the street, play with the sand/water table.
Indoor activity: coloring, fishing game, following Ryan around, swatting flies
Bedtime routine: bath, picking out his own pajamas, showing his pajamas to whoever didn't dress him, brushing teeth, locating his blue blanket and "Monkey", reading a few books on one of our laps on his bed, then asking "you lay down by me?" He doesn't want a CD on and is usually asleep by the time Ryan goes to bed.
Morning routine: Once in a while, he's show up in our roomin the early morning hours, sometimes getting to snuggle with us if it's within 30 minutes of alarms and I'm too tired to bring him back downstairs. Otherwise, he comes up with Ryan, toting his blanket and monkey and asking for breakfast.

Cohen loves going to nursery at church and plays well side-by-side with other kids. We see a few glimpses of "terrible two tantrums" now and then, but generally he's a pretty agreeable guy! We love our silly cocoa bean!






Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Mother's Day weekend was full of family gatherings. We had Adam's parents over to grill on Saturday night and grilled at Abbie's with my parents on Sunday. We are lucky to have our wonderful moms close by!
5 kids age 5 and under...only 1 crying isn't too shabby.

Grandma B!
Grandma B!



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Avonlea: 6 Months Old

 Our little flower child is 6 months old already! It's cliche to say the time has gone fast, but it is honestly hard to believe. I feel like she's grown up a lot in the past month, pushing into 9 month clothes, pushing her self way up during tummy time, playing with toys, and giving us lots of smiles and laughs. Since I haven't had a lot of time to update the blog between monthly "updates", I'll post some of my favorite pictures of her from the past month here. We enjoy our sweet pea so much!
Flare jeans and flower child shirt.


Flower headband
Big bow for a little girl!

Look at me! I can push myself up!
Loves laughing at herself in the mirror!
Loves stroller rides, especially if you talk and smile at her.

Her little "floof" of hair at the top 
Had to get her a pizza shirt.

Never want to forget what she looks like when she falls asleep in my arms.
Sitting on the bed, helping me fold laundry.
Sunday dress.