Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Mini-Soda

When we went to Minnesota to visit family, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were with us.  For those of you who don't know what this means I will fill you in.  They are both great photographers so when they are around I usually don't take too many pictures.  I was able to get Kara's pictures from MN off of her camera the other day and had a few more shots from our time there that I wanted to share.

Jack wasn't so crazy about the pink things he had to endure while in a house full of girls (minus Uncle Chris of course)
Our brave girl
Grandma was in her glory having all of her grandkids in one place.
Just before taking off, the girls got one last good hug in.  They have such a great time together.  I hope that they grow up to be great friends too!
Kaitrin LOVED Jack and the feeling was mutual. Kaitrin loved making silly faces at Jack and he always obliged with a big laugh.

Monday, April 11, 2011


 For spring break we didn't get to go to the beach, but we did get some nice weather.  We headed to Minnesota (also pronounced mini-soda by Caroline) to visit Uncle Chris, Aunt Jill, Kaitrin and Juliana and Tia Lindsey.  Daddy had to stay home and work, so we went with Grandma and Aunt Kara.  The ride there was long, but we stopped in Chicago and stayed at Nana and Papa's to break it up.  It was fun to see them for a little while at least. 

Our first day there was spent playing outside in gorgeous weather.  Caroline and her cousin Kaitrin rode in the burley, rode bikes (this was Caroline's first time on a non-tricycle) and played at the park. Caroline was super brave climbing on things at the park - but she did great!

 The next day we braved the children's museum.  They have a great museum there and the kids all had a great time.  Caroline quickly found a princess cape and wore it around as long as she could.

 Caroline and Kaitrin cooking up some good food in the restaurant.

Jack hanging out with Aunt Kara.  He just started standing while holding on to things and now refuses to sit.  Stubborn kid!

 Our last day there we went to the zoo.  Again, Mini-soda did not disappoint.  The weather was a little colder than what we had been hoping for, but we were thankful for no rain.

Jack ready to take on any animal he finds.

 Caroline couldn't go to the zoo without her bird that she got in her happy meal the day before.

Caroline took this nice picture of me so I wouldn't feel left out.  Do we have a future photographer in the making?  Her grandma would like to think so :)

 One of the first things we saw was this bunny.  Caroline was very excited to pet it.  She's quite the animal lover. 

 Jack just hung out with Tia Lindsey who joined us for the day.  They were good buds!

We then found ourselves by the sharks and dolphins and a great water exhibit.  Caroline loved being almost splashed by the rushing water.

The other really cool thing that we saw was this tiger.  He came right up to the glass and walked back and forth.  I really wish that I had taken a video of Jack as we pushed him up to the glass.  His feet were kicking a mile a minute and then he saw the tiger, his feet stopped and his head just followed him back and forth for a few minutes.  His eyes never leaving the tiger.  

 This was me trying to lean the camera in front of Jack to see what his face looked like as he watched the tiger.  I think he was a little distracted by my picture taking.  "Get that thing out of my face Ma"
I didn't take a ton of pictures since we had Grandma with us, and she usually had us covered, but we had a great time in Mini-soda seeing family and friends!  It was a long drive, but totally worth it.  The kids are troopers in the car.  We drove through the night on the way home and that seems like the way to go.  I was wiped when we finally made it home, but the kids slept almost the whole ride which made for an easy drive.  We were glad to get home and see Daddy.  Where shall we go next?

March - we're really truckin' now!

 March started off with Scott out of we headed to Meijer Gardens with Aunt Kara.

 It's rare when we can get her to sit and smile for a picture

Jack loving on his sister
Me and my kiddos

Super excited to see the butterflies

Jack and Mommy

I love his little sideways glances

Not sure what she was actually doing here, but it looked like she may have been praying for more time at the Gardens :)

Oh if only I could be a real butterfly...

A few days later, Nana and Papa came to town and surprised Caroline with tickets to see Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes.  It was her dream come true!  When they first told her that she was going to see real princesses she responded with, "But I'm a real princess!"  It didn't take her too long, though, to get excited about seeing some of her favorite "friends."  She came home with a program and has slept with it ever since.  Unfortunately she now knows that there is a place called Disney where all the princesses live and I'm pretty sure we're going to have to go and visit sometime soon. 

 Her best princess smile...we may have to teach her to tone it down a little bit :)
 While Caroline was gone, Jack got to try kiwi for the first time and couldn't get enough.
 And if his sister is going to play the stereotypical girl role, than he should get to be all boy.  Just a side note about the hat - Grandma gave this to him in the hospital because it is a "newborn"'s still a little big at 8 months because apparently our children have the smallest heads in the world.  They take after their Aunt Shawna.

Right before Nana and Papa came for Disney on sister and brother-in-law had their first baby.  Levi Timothy Mertens was born on March 10 and we couldn't wait to meet him.  But we did...we waited 8 days until his bris.  It was a beautiful day and as we waited for Aunt Shawna, Uncle Tim and Levi to get to Nana and Papa's house, Daddy taught Caroline how to fly a kite.  It was the perfect day for it.

Then we were able to participate in Levi's bris.  This was a very special time and we are so glad that we could be there for it. 
 Meeting her new cousin for the first time...he wore the same outfit that Jack wore at his bris.
 Shawna looking a little unsure about the whole thing
 Caroline was very curious as she heard Levi crying a couple of times.  
Caroline - "Why is he crying?"  
Me - "Because it hurts a little bit."  
Caroline - "Then why are they doing that to him?" 
Me - "Because it is what God told us to do."  
Caroline - "Oh ok.  Don't worry Levi, Papa's with you and he'll take good care of you"

If only we all had enough faith to know that if God asked us to do something we need to do it, even if it's uncomfortable.  And I love how much she loves her Papa and trusts him and I know that Levi will feel the same way about Papa someday.
 Caroline got to hold Levi all by herself and she took the job very seriously.

We rounded out March with another trip to Chicago while Daddy was in Colombia. 

Our very own Snow White.  Thanks for fixing it for us Nana!

 Jack was able to meet Mark.  Crazy that I used to babysit him when he was Jack's age.  Makes me feel old, but so glad that this can happen. 
 And Mark's sister Emily.  Such a special young lady who I have gotten to watch grow up as well.  Jack is already in love.


 Here is a quick re-cap of February:

Caroline, Grandma, Auntie Kara and I headed to the ballet one Saturday morning. It was great "girl time" as Caroline put it.  She was so excited to be at a real ballet and as soon as one song ended there was a quick, "what's coming next?" from Caroline.

 I'm pretty sure she was telling the kids in the ballet that she was a real ballerina too.  It took her a few minutes to work up her courage, but she went onstage after the ballet and got autographs from most of the ballerinas.  She was in her glory and of course cried when we told her that we had to leave so they could get ready for their next show.  We're already looking into ballet classes for her. 

Our small group from church got together to do a murder mystery.  We had a great time dressing up in our 50s outfits and playing our different parts.  This will definitely be something we do again.

We also went to Baltimore in February for our annual D.R. reunion.  The kids were great car travelers and this is good since there will surely be more road trips in our future.

 On our way to Baltimore we stopped at our dear friends Brian and Bethany's house for the night and got to meet this sweet little lady.  Couldn't get much cuter than this!

Our Baltimore group grows every year and this year we had 12 adults and 8 kiddos in one house.  It was crazy, but it was so much fun to all be together.  If we can all fit next year it will be even more fun as the kids are older and start to remember their "D.R. friends"  We attempted a group picture with the kids (we weren't smart enough to get one of all of us) and here is what ensued:

 Maybe next year we'll get all of the kids on the couch at the same time :)
 3 of my favorite people in the whole world! 
 We also got to celebrate our good friend Erin's birthday.  Her husband always does a great job of celebrating and we are lucky to be included. This year the theme was "crazy hair."  We borrowed a couple of wigs from Scott's mom.  Caroline had to try mine on.  Looks especially nice with her princess dress and bib.  And that's one good looking male Goldilocks!
 Caroline snapped this picture of Scott and I.  Not sure about my face.  I think I was trying to make the hair look better by making a weird face.  Who knows...

And no post is complete without our girl in her favorite garb...yes, that's a slip, but she likes to call it her princess/ballet dress.  We did inform her that it is in fact underwear and can't be worn out of the house.  She was disappointed by this fact, but she has so far complied.