Monday, August 27, 2012

Iowa State Fair

This Summer's temperatures have been hot.  And by hot, I mean---almost unbearable to be outside most days.  With temps well into the upper 90s, and 100s, with a heat index at 110+ degrees, I didn't know what the Iowa State Fair weather would bring.  With two little guys, and one being way too young to tolerate the heat, the weather was going to be our sole decision making factor as to whether we would make the trip or not.

Needless to say, the weather was amazing pretty much the whole 10 days that the fair took place.  We decided to go the second day, on a Friday--in huge hopes to avoid the massive crowds that the weekend would bring.  It was about 60 degrees when we got there, and about 80 when we left later that afternoon.  It was a beautiful day, and one that we could truly enjoy.

Aside from the "Iowa State Fair" being on our Summer List of things to do, and the fact that we both fight over who can be the first one to check something off of our list, we both enjoy spending a day on the fair grounds.  This is one of Carl's most memorable childhood memories, and their Family "vacation" every year.

Carl and I were both excited to try a few different things "on a stick."  Ya know---what the Iowa State Fair is most famous for.  I kid you not when I say....we weren't 50  feet into the fair grounds, and Carl had a porkchop on a stick in his mouth.  He was rather eager to get a check beside his name.  He also had it gone in about 1 minute.  Long enough to share a bite with Carson, and woof down the rest.  I later had the guts to ask him...."Did you really enjoy the porkchop enough to spend $7 on it?!"  He glared at me in return.

We decided to try the "Little Hands on the Farm" activity with Carson right when we got there, while it was still cool outside, and before Carson was tired.  I had never done this before, and I was thoroughly impressed.  It was so neat, and I think all the kids enjoyed it

A basic outline of Little Hands on the Farm:  You pretend to be a farmer for the day, and you go through different scenarios. pick the corn- and feed the corn to the pig

.....plant vegetables in a garden-and pick them later

.....pick the soybeans-and feed the animals

.....sheer wool off of the sheep

.....pick apples from the apple trees

.....pick the eggs that the chickens laid

.....pedal your tractor around the farm-drop off hay to feed the cows, and put fuel in your tractor

.....milk the cows

.....and at the very end, you turn in all of your things from your basket, get a dollar, and buy something from the store!  The store had so many different items you could buy.  From rice krispie treats, to chocolate milk, fruit snacks, to ice cream bars.  Carson chose chocolate milk.  No shocker there.

It was such a delight to watch Carson do the different activities.  Weston had fun, too- and was along for the ride.

After Little Hands on the Farm, we met up with G&G Brouwer, and had some lunch.  We chose to go the sandwich route, and had a pork sandwich.  It was very good.  I also had a Strawberry Smoothy, which is my favorite.  Full of has to be good, right?!

After we met up with G&G, we did some wandering around the fair grounds.

In and out of the different barns to look at the animals, and made a long stop in the building that housed the fish.  Yes, fish.  We spent a long time looking at the big and little fish swim around.  I love seeing Carson's face light up in excitement.  And I think my favorite part of the whole entire day is seeing Carson enjoy himself.  He loved every minute of it, and we had to do some major convincing to get him to move to the next stop.

We then ended with a look at the horses, and the sheep.  Grandpa had fun introducing Weston to the sheep!

Carson was very intrigued that this sheep was getting a 'haircuck'-- as he calls it.  He is rather obsessed with his 'haircuck' and it makes me smile everytime I hear him say the word.

We all had such a fun day at the Fair, and the weather was gorgeous.  Both boys were pooped (along with Dad and Mom) after the long day outside.  And that to me is a huge indication that the day was a success!

I am lovin' all of the Summer activities that our little family is engaging in this year.  As Carson grows older, it is so much fun to see him enjoy these same things that we do.  I hope that all of these memories are being stored in Carson's memory bank, as they are with us.  We are truly cherishing these fun times spent together!      

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I am not a morning person, and I struggled to wake up this morning, as it was still dark in the room.  I had Carson's legs pretzeled around me, his feet in my face, and I could faintly hear Weston breathing from across the room.

Carson ended up in bed with me in the middle of the night, as that is becoming routine these days.  Since I sleep alone, I am usually okay with throwing him in bed with me, and cuddling with him-- as his little body fits perfectly with mine.  But as this is becoming more regular, I am finding out more and more things about sleeping with a toddler who is all over the place.  One thing I found out about myself is this:  I don't and can't share a pillow.  I need one all to myself, and Carson doesn't allow for that.  Not a good combo.  And also; toddlers kick in their sleep, and they kick hard.  Also not good.  So, we are trying to find a happy- medium.  A little more room for each individual.  

During the night, Carson woke up as the storm rolled in.  He was frightened as he stumbled into my room, and stood by my bedside.  He managed to mutter the words "I'm scared" and I immediately snuggled him, and tried to make him feel safe.  We laid there and listened to the thunder, and watched as the lightening reflected through the windows.

When I finally managed to pry myself out of bed, I walked to our sliding door that overlooks our deck and backyard.  There was standing water on the deck boards, which is an obvious indication that we had a good rain.  That is something that I think we are all thankful for these days.  I think my flowers were perking up a little extra high this morning, and if they danced--I think they would be doing a happy rain dance.  Along with the grass.  But I am almost thinking that it doesn't even stand a chance these days.  Not even the rain will help it grow green....but we will see.

This week has seemed to be more crazy and busier than most.  And with that being said, I am ready for it to be over because of that reason.  Carl and I haven't really seen or talked to each other much this week, for the mere fact that we seem to be on the go all the time.  So we are trying to find a happy medium.  A good mix of both.  A little bit busy, and little bit relaxing and enjoying our time together.

The one conversation Carl and I did manage to squeeze in un-interrupted, we talked about just that.  How this week seems to be busy, and we don't have much time at home to just hang out.  And then we both asked each other---would we have it any other way?  What if we weren't busy--- then we would be "bored," and wish we were more busy.  There is a lot of truth behind that.  We are human after all, and we always seem to want what we don't have---in some way or another. 

That was a little mental reminder to myself---to not take any day for granted.  Find a happy-medium before things get too busy, and out of hand.  Yes, we may be busy, and always on the go.....but just go with it.  We are busy with our two wee lads, family and friends, and that is an amazing thing.  We are surrounded by loved ones, and that's a blessing in itself.

That brings me to the next topic: our always seemingly disastrous house.  Another happy-medium we are trying to find, and fall in love with.  Our home is supposed to be show ready at all times right now, and most times---it is so far from that.  There are toys strung throughout the house, clothes everywhere, dishes in the sink, stickers in places you can only imagine, and Carson's little knick-knacks hid in corners of the house.  But that can also only mean one thing---our kids are happy, healthy, and love to play.  If they weren't, we would long for them to be just that.  So we will take the messy house, and go with it.  Toys all over now has a new meaning, and vision in my head.  It means there are children whom live within the home, and that brings joy to this world.  Yes, a messy house is a joyful house.

I feel like the "happy-medium" ness will always be around.  For one thing or another, we will always be battling to find a comfort zone to live within.  And it's different for each and every person.  Suitable to one's own needs and wants.  Whether it be "us" time, kids, messes, work and play, time alone with your spouse, figuring out the difference between your dreams and reality, or just everyday life---I challenge you to find a happy-medium that you can live with that works best for you.  But if you can make that dream become reality---go for it!  And go big, because that's the only way to go about things.  

I'm feeling tired as we near the end of this busy week, but feeling blessed beyond measures.  We have a busy weekend in store, and I am excited for it!  Bring it on :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

These pictures are just too precious not to share.  I smile at these pictures, because it describes their relationship to a "T."  They are inseparable, and it makes me so happy to see the two of them bond together.  Carson loves his Daddy, and this picture is exactly what I have always dreamed of.  Only now, my dream has become a reality---right before my eyes!

This is seriously how they were napping one day.  Both cashed out on the couch, watching Toy Story together.  They were supposed to be "winding" down in preparation for a nap, and apparently just that took place. 

Melts my heart, and makes it grow even bigger for the love of my husband.  He is the best Daddy a little boy could ever ask for.  Thank you, Carl, for making my dreams come true. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Beautiful Baptism

It was a day that Carl and I had been talking about for a long time.  It was a day that had come and gone a few times in our church, until we finally made it a reality.  Having our children baptized as an infant/toddler is something that we both decided we wanted to do.  For them--and for us, too.  I truly believe that baptizing an infant/toddler is probably more beneficial for the parents, than the infant themselves.  Only because they are obviously not old enough to know what is going on.  They don't know why water is dripping down their head into their eyes, and Mom or Dad doesn't wipe the water away.   

Having Carson and Weston baptized at a young age is very important to us.  We are making a commitment, as parents, to raise these two precious souls in a Christian home, and do our best to teach them about His word.  We will do our best to preach to them, and make sure they both have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I was raised as a Baptist, and Carl as a Methodist.  We are now members of a Reformed church, but they don't necessarily consider themselves any "one" religion.  I love that about Orchard Hill Church.  All are welcome, no matter how you were raised or what you believe.  We are all there for one reason, and that is to learn more. 

Baptists do not do infant baptisms.  The first time I was baptized, I was about 12 years old.  You have to go through a 6-week course, and prove to the church, in writing, as to why you want to get baptized and become a member of the church.  After that takes place, you are then allowed to take communion when it is offered the first Sunday of each month.  But not until then, are you allowed to take a piece of bread, or a cup of juice from the plates being passed through the pews.

I wore all white on the day of my baptism, and was dunked under water.  Carl didn't believe me the first time I told him that.  You sit in a big tank of water that is located in the front of the church, and the pastor tips your whole body back, until you are completely submerged in the water.   

The description of my boys' first baptism is a lot different than my personal story.  As a parent, I am okay with that, and excited to start their journey.

Sunday was perfect.  It fit the image I had in my mind perfectly.  This was an important day for us, and we had so many people there to support our family.  That meant so much to us.

We took up three rows at church, and our family members filled the seats.  Grandparents, Aunt/Uncles, Cousins, and even Great Grandparents were there to witness these two precious souls get baptized.

Weston did so well when it was his turn to be handed over to Pastor Ed.  Ed trickled water over his head, it ran into his eyes, and he didn't even make a squawk.  Phew, one down, one more to go.  Carson was a totally different story.  Carl held him in his arms and Pastor Ed started with the water.  Carson was not happy about it, and ended up pushing Ed.  Yes, he extended his hand, and pushed the Pastor.  I was so un-prepared for that, and it completely caught me off guard.  But, Ed was very good about it, and enlightened the mood a bit after our time was done.  Carl and I can now laugh about it, and we will forever remember the morning the boys got baptized, and will smile when we think of Carson.

After the service, we all gathered at our home for a delicious lunch, in celebration of the boys.  It was a big day, and we all had fun celebrating.  We had lunch, cake and ice cream, and opened gifts.

The boys got some very neat gifts on Sunday, and I am excited to put some of them to good use.  One book in particular that I am anxious to dive right into is Carson's devotion book.  It's geared towards toddler boys, and they have interactive activities you can do to teach a particular story from the Bible.   

Carl and I are both committed to raising Carson and Weston in a Christian home.  Do I know everything about the Bible.  No way.  But, we are willing to all learn more as a family.

What a gorgeous day, and amazing celebration we had.  Carl and I pray every night that the Lord guide us as parents, as we have the opportunity to teach these two amazing little boys more about His word.  The Lord has blessed us with a beautiful family, and I am so thankful to Him for that.

Mark 16:16 ---"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved..." 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

3 Months Old

Our precious little Weston is three months old already.  That just doesn't seem possible to me.....but then again--neither does the fact that it is August already.  I actually told Carl this weekend that I was going to start buying Christmas gifts already.  No joke.  The mere thought of that is truly mind boggling, and yet I am so proud of myself for actually thinking that far ahead.  But now I need to follow through, and actually start to buy them.  We will see how far I get.  Ha.

Ok.  Back to the littlest of handsome guys that I live with.  There are three to choose from, you know!

It is so fun for us to watch Weston grow, and develop a little personality.  There are things he does like, and things that he doesn't.  Things that he prefers, over those he doesn't care so much for.

-Weight:  13 pounds, according to our bathroom scale.  Equipped with the cutest double chin 'round.

-How much is he eating now:  We have moved Weston up to the big bottles, and he is now drinking 5 ounces every 3 hours or so.  The bottles are a lot bigger, and it is taking some getting used to, as Carson reminds us during every feeding..."Weston's big bottles!?" 

-Wears size 2 diapers.
-How long does he sleep at night:  Weston has done really great in this department, up until about 3 nights ago.  He has recently decided that he needs a bottle in the middle of the night again.  I am trying to strongly convince him otherwise, but he just hasn't caught on to my gesture yet.  He sleeps on his belly during the night, and he will occasionally roll over on to his back, which in return makes him very upset.  Apparently he can't sleep on his all.  But, he is human after all, and has preferences just like the rest of us, right?

-What size of clothes is he in:  He fits so nicely in his 3 month clothing, but I have just recently put him in some 6 month outfits as well.  Only because he has so many cute 6 month clothing waiting in his dresser for his handsome little body to display.  So, I am trying my best to display them, without him drowning in his clothes from them being too big.  He is also wearing most of Carson's sleepers, and we have recently moved him up to the 3-6 month size.  It is so fun to pull out the sleepers that Carson wore as a baby, and remember all of the memories we had with Carson when he was this age.  A trip down memory lane is enough to get me teary eyed!

-Facial Expressions:  This little guy of ours is full of them!  It is so funny when you talk to him, and he responds by raising his eyebrow, or a big long "OOOOO", which produces the cutest little face with his lips pursed up.


-Learned anything new this month:  We have a roller!  Weston rolls from his belly to his back very easily.  He has only gone from his back to his belly a few times, but he doesn't spend much time on his back to get much practice.  He would much rather prefer tummy time over laying on his back.

-Is Weston a good traveler:  I feel like this is a question I could answer on a day-to-day basis.  Some trips are great, and others are long and grueling.  Because let's be honest, hearing your little babe scream in the backseat for 30+ minutes, while there is nothing you can do---isn't necessarily music to my ears.  So we hope and pray for good and quiet trips each time we get into the van.

-Did Weston celebrate any holidays this past month:  Weston celebrated his first 4th of July!  Along with our first annual Slip n' Slide party.  Which reminds me---I still need to post about both events.  I am behind, big time.  I am hoping to get caught up, and deliver the fun details about both events very soon.  And trust me when I say they were fun!

-Recognize anyone new:  I think Weston recognizes our voices, along with Monster Brother Carson's voice.  You can almost see his face cringe when he hears Carson's voice get closer and closer to his little ears.  Because I am going to be brutally honest---he has every right to cringe.  Brother now refers to kissing baby "Wetin" as a head butt.  Not good.  We are working very hard on that issue.  Other than that, he loves it when people talk to him, and almost always responds with a big smile.  His smile is so precious, and will turn a frown upside down in a blink of an eye.



Turns into this in a matter of one second:

-Anything else:  Weston prefers belly over back, and Mom over Dad (for right now!)  He loves to listen to the music his swing plays, and look at himself in the mirror--whether it be the big wall mirror in our bedroom, or his play mirror on the floor.  When he sees himself in the mirror, he lets out the most adorable belly laugh you will ever hear.  It is contagious, and I can almost guarantee you can't not laugh or smile when you hear him laugh.  It is the sweetest sound, and my heart instantly smiles.

He prefers being held in your arms over laying on the floor, and bouncing on a hip over his bouncy seat.  He is quick to flirt, and slow to cry.  Is very tolerant of his Big Brother, but when enough is enough, he will let you know.  And truthfully, I can't blame the little guy.  Carson is sometimes so good with him, and other times pushes his limits---too far.  Weston has been having great reports from daycare, and that is so re-assuring to a worried Mama, who misses both her boys dearly during the day.

Weston prefers standing over laying down---anytime.  He is so strong, and we are constantly amazed by his strength.  We remember Carson being the exact same way, and I think we have another tough little guy on our hands.

He has recently been awarded the happiest morning baby I have ever met award!  No, seriously.  I haven't quite figured out how a little human can wake up with instant smiles from ear to ear, and how a constant coo can be generated at such early hours in the morning.  And by my description, you can only assume he doesn't take after his Mama in this area.  Ha. :) 

A fist can also be spotted shoved in his mouth at all times these days.  He is constantly sucking on his fingers and fist.  It does make for some cute noises!
You are so precious to us Weston, and we love you so much.  You are truly our littlest gem in the family, and we all can't get enough of you.  Happy 3 months, little Hunk ;)