Happy Birthday Squeaky McGee!

Category : Isabella

So I’m a little late for a birthday shout out to my littlest lady but it’s better late than never!

Happy 3rd Birthday to our cuddly, neat freak complete with all doors and drawers need to be fully shut and toys in their place, Little People playing, just needs some alone time, food lovin’, excited to be a big sister (and continue to be the little sister to the leader of a big sister) this month!  You were an wonderful surprise and addition to our family 3 years ago and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Izzy-beller is a spit-fire and fun along with stubbornness but we are so excited to see what this next year brings for you as you transition to the middle child, sharing a room with your not so neat-nick sister, hopefully finish this potty training stuff and take on the ranks in the fall as the big sister of the house.

We love you baby girl!

Daddy, Mommy & Anna

Isabella Clara – the wee one born in a blizzard

I am one!  And more hair than my sister!

And why are interrupting me eating my birthday cake?  I’m two today!

I am 3 years old today!  And I look like a little kid now instead of a toddler.  Sniff sniff.

The New Decade

Category : Christie

Happy first day of school parents kids!  In the social networking world, I can see parents rejoicing that the start of school is here and the busyness that it brings.  For me, it starts a not only a new chapter, but a new book in my life.  My dad loving calls it my retirement, but today begins my first glimpse of being a stay at home mom and freelancer.  Seeing that it’s only 1pm, I can say, it’s a fine balance.  :)

Gary and I like to do wild and crazy things around our 30th birthday.  Gary’s 30th birthday brought us his college undergrad graduation, signing on our first house and me being 4-5 months pregnant all without him having a job.  No stress, really.  But the Lord gave us the ability to buy a new home with minimal work to be done, an extended internship and finally a job at Calvin around Thanksgiving time and an easy labor and delivery with Anna!  For my 30th birthday, we decided to have me quit my job, buy a pop-up camper and try my hand at building Unity Design Group as my job all while maintaining the house, cooking and working on my patience spending quality time with the girls.  :)   Again, no stress.  In all reality, this is what I truly want in my life right now.  To be able to keep the laundry piles down, to keep the dishwasher loaded, attempt to make healthy and delicious meals, to take the girls to visit daddy on lunch, ride bikes, do crafts and domesticate them (we have kids to do dishes and laundry, right?).  I want to expand my freelancing to more clients, maybe get into the wedding world with invites, sell some crafts online and at craft shows, be apart of MOPS at church, use the talents God has given me in different ways rather than just at a desk job.

This past decade was filled with a lot of firsts, life lessons, joys and heartaches.  In my 20’s, I lost my mom to leukemia but gained new parental relationships and siblings that have blessed me beyond measure.  I fell in love with a man that I never dreamed of but has been more than I dreamed of, he’s my rock, my best friend, my partner.  I reached my highest weight of 267 (maybe more than that even) but have lost 81.5 pounds of that with a lifestyle change and I’m not done yet!  I had 2 beautiful baby girls who are the light of my life but have lost 2 babies that just weren’t fit for this world.  I’ve lived in dorms rooms, an apartment and now a beautiful home.  I’ve seen friends move away, lost friends but have gained so many more.  I’ve been challenged in my faith continuously and am looking forward to more challenges.

I’m taking on my 30’s with a hitch in my step.  To live it healthier, to be at my goal weight, to see my kids off to school each day, to support my husband in his dreams, to make our house a home, to love my family deeper and to become closer to our friends.  I’m so ready for this new decade and all it’s uncertainties.  So thank you 20’s for molding and preparing me for this new decade.

Izzy-bella Care-la turns 2!

Category : Isabella

Sorry, dear daughter, that it’s taken me a month and a half to blog about your birthday.  I know you won’t mind as I’ve kept up with it in my first Blurb book for our family!

Like the title?  That’s how the wee little one says her name.  Isn’t that the cutest!  She does it each time with a big grin.  I love it.  This dear sweet girl turned 2 on January 13.  These little years have such milestones!  She’s moved from a booster seat at the table to standing up like her big sister to eat (our carpeted dining room floor thanks you).  She finally has a mouthful of teeth!  At her first birthday, she was the two-toothed wonder and now she has all but her 2 year molars in.  She still surpasses Anna in the eating without fighting category.  Not only does she eat just about anything or at least try it, she’ll eat tomatoes by the slice and requests water to drink.  Her vocabulary is quite extensive and she babbles out stories only to really recognize the last couple words but she’s trying!  She loves to sing, especially “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad”, “Jesus Loves Me” and “Twinkle Twinkle.”

She still throws little tantrums and has become the little sister who swipes something from big sister and holds it till they roll on the floor for it.  But she’s also the comforter who brings blankies and babies to sad sisters.  She loves to help clean with her broom and a wet cloth, she’ll help clean up toys or the bathtub without much prompt all while singing “Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share….”.  She also still lets mommy and daddy smoother her in kisses (who can’t with those chubby cheeks!) and rock her for a few minutes before we lay her down each night.  She says “lub you” without asking and gives hugs to anyone.  She’s a goofball who likes to tickle, pull funny faces when talking to G&G on Skype and will mimic Anna all day long.  She still runs the gate yelling “Mommy! or Daddy!” when we pick her up each day.  She loves to read books over and over and over again….  :)   She jumps up most mornings when we wake her with a big smile on her face (where she got being a morning person from, we’ll never know).

She was an unplanned mommy and daddy little one but she’s certainly an amazing gift from God and we can’t remember life without such a cuddly, spunky, beautiful little girl.

Happy Birthday Isabella Clara!  I hope your next year is full of even more exciting milestones!  We love you!

For the rest of the pictures from her birthday and party, check them out here!

Somebody turned the Big 3!

Category : Anna

We have a 3 year old!  Anna had not just a birthday but a birthday week!  This is the first time her birthday fell on a weekday so we kicked off her birthday on October 18 with her favorite meal, spaghetti!  At first it was peanut butter toast (p-toast as she has abbreviated it) and I wonder where she gets that from……?  So I said no a real dinner (who gives their kids toast for dinner….err…) so she picked spaghetti which she surprisingly says correctly.

Let me back up, she started out her day with bringing treats to Ms Michelle’s house and she was quite excited to pass them out.  It’s amazing what happens between 2 and 3 years old.  Last year, she probably didn’t even get that it was her birthday.  This year, she totally gets it.  She had a great day at daycare and then we started out the night with dinner.

On the way home from daycare, I told her what we would do.  We would eat dinner, then open presents.  Usually eating spaghetti takes a bit of time as 3 helpings is usually in order.  This time, she knew that the faster and the sooner she said she was done, the closer we were to gifts.  So we wrapped up dinner and headed to the living room where she discovered her gifts before dinner, behind the couch.  She was anxious to rip out the tissue paper to reveal all the gift ideas she gave us in the weeks prior.  Her first one was a united states puzzle.  I know, I know.  She’s only 3.  But this year we’ve talked and went to Colorado for vacation, daddy went to Florida for work, Grandma and Grandpa Tiemens live in Chicago so we thought it would be great to show her what it all means.  She loved it naturally b/c it was a puzzle but when we sat down to show her those couple things, it started to click a little.  Then we went back to matching state shapes to the puzzle pieces.  :)   Her 2nd gift was her very own digital camera.  We were going to get her an actual camera that took nicer pictures, simple of course but we decided that the imminant death of a nice camera over-rided nice pictures by a 3 year old.  :)   So far, she’s like clicking the button taking fuzzy pictures, pointing the lens at her nose and just listening to the noises.  Perfect.  :)

We ended the night with a birthday cake and ice cream with some birthday wishes from both grandparents.  She had a great day and a great night!

The weekend brought her birthday party with more family, more cake and more gifts.  We had a great time and once again realized that cake and coffee may be a better choice than dinner and dessert for all our family.  It’s exhausting!  Either way, had a great time seeing Anna open all her gifts (even if she got really overwhelmed with all the people staring at her) and catching up with family.  She got lots of awesome clothes (thank you!), new books, dot paints,  games, sock monkey, lace cards, dress up doll, kitchen sink, Wii game and the piece de resistance, the shopping cart.  The shopping cart wants to be brought to every room and every floor, hidden from Izzy and filled to the brim with whatever she can fit in there.  Too funny.  It’ll go well with the kitchen we’re making them for Christmas along with pots and pans, food, aprons, etc.  Can’t wait to show you the kitchen!

Anywho, the weekend ended great, celebrated little girl who’s had a big year and is ready for another year of growing. (I’ll get pictures up soon, too!)

Happy Birthday to the Anna Banana!


Gary, Christie, Anna and Isabella


Enter Sandman

Category : Projects

Remember that song mid to late 1990’s friends?  Anyway, Metallica didn’t come visit nor did finally complete our Guitar Hero collection, but…!  But Anna took full advantage of her carpenter grandpa and requested a sandbox for her birthday.  Ok, she really didn’t but grandma and grandpa came up with the idea and said so in her birthday card in October.  So as promised, G & G Tiemens came up last weekend to build her (and Izzy) a 6′ x 6′ sandbox in the space we’re now making into a little play area for the girls.  I forgot to take play by play pictures of the construction but as you can see the air was filled with happiness and the crushing of Uncle Alex’s sandcastles which both girls delighted in for some weird destructive reason.

Anywho, thank you grandpa, daddy and Uncle Alex in the making and filling of the new sandbox!  This will be a wonderful thing for years to come and hopefully we can leave most of the sand in the box and not in our pants.