April 17, 2010

A day at Gagi and Papo's

Our future gardener
There is always some time for cuddling
And working with Papo
Planting lots of strawberries
We don't have strict clothing regulations in the country... cool enough for a coat but not pants??

April 15, 2010

Toys R Us

It's easy for my to admit, taking the kids to Toys R Us would never have been a choice for me. Just go to Toys R Us and hang out??? Who does that? Who risks the battle? It's all what you make of it. And my husband has no fear. He's a kid in a man's body. It sounded like a great idea for a play date on a rainy day. So a couple years ago (or maybe only one) we went there for nothing more than play time. And I must say, it went smoothly. It has gone smoothly every time we have gone (more than I can remember, I've even gotten used to it). I have grown to appreciate that our kids get to see so many things, and they don't throw a fit for us to buy something. It wasn't until recently that I think they even knew that we could buy something. Our famous words of influence? "If you're a good listener then we'll come back another day". So now when we go and Nathan wants to buy something we say "well, why don't you find some things that you can do to earn some money and then you can come back to get that". Lucky for us he only asks for simple things, and we make it easy for him to earn $$. If something costs $1, then he has to earn 4 quarters. If it costs $5 then he has to earn 5 $1's. I'm sure someday he'll catch on to this and we'll have to adjust. For now we appreciate how proud he is to earn money and make a purchase.

On our last trip I took a moment to appreciate how cute it is to watch my family walk together. It's fair to take a moment to point out that Natalie is in her "jammies". She would be in them every minute of every day if I let her. Which I do, sometimes.

If you drive by and see our car in the parking lot, you'll probably find us right here, at the train table. It's always the first and longest stop. Then it's off to the toys you can ride.

Bubble gun fun

Every once in a while a gift comes into our lives that is pure joy. Auntie Melodie nailed it with the bubble gun! The kids LOVE to play with bubbles, and this toy allowed them to have fun together. I even remember some good sharing going on!
If you have noticed that my kids always have dirty faces, don't worry, I've noticed it too. Life is too short to avoid the camera because I haven't wiped their faces. Although I would be lying if I didn't admit that I wish there was a little fairy who would come by and wipe them clean so I could take pictures without acknowledging this short coming of mine. I'm over it though... this is the way we live... play time and snacks and pictures. I have enough clean faced pictures to remember what they look like in 20 years.

Can you feel my heart melting???

Maybe they were finding shapes in the clouds? Whatever it was, the moment was full of love for all of us!

April 4, 2010

Easter dinner

Easter was a long holiday weekend for us this year, filled with so many wonderful experiences. The best part was helping Nathan to understand that all the celebrations were in honor of God. There is a lot more to explain to him as time goes on, but he is solid on the basics. He knows, and fully believes, that God made each of us just the way we are. It's very touching. And sometimes humorous. "Mommy, look at that purple car. Why is it purple? Is it because God made it that way?". "Yes Nathan, I suppose God did make it that way", sometimes I clarify and say that God gave us the choice to make it that way. But mostly I figure he has a lifetime ahead of him to get the specifics.

I've decided that I could give up the focus on candy that seems to overwhelm all holidays, but I wouldn't give up the time with friends and family.

Natalie knows where the good stuff is, she's a great "helper!"

We were so grateful for the guests who enhanced our Easter dinner. We always enjoy our time with the Spencers, and this year we were so excited that Amy and her mom joined us! It was so exciting that Amy wanted to join us even though Mike is in Australia. And what a treat to meet her mom!

April 3, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt at Charlie's Safari

Every holiday continues to be more fun. Quite simply, kids enhance the experiences of life. To see the excitement and wonder expressed on their faces is wonderful. LOVE IT!!!

Best friends!

Nathan is growing so quickly. He was so excited to see the Easter bunny! (makes me more excited for Disneyland!) Last year we could not get Natalie away from the Easter bunny, this year we couldn't get her near him. :)

Our darling girl being coached through her egg hunt. So glad Daddy is a prepared egg hunter! He always has an egg in pocket to throw down in front of the kids (no broken hearts in his presence!).

Natalie was happy with the first egg, she just wanted the candy. It hasn't started to compute: more eggs = more candy.

Nathan graciously gave up eggs to the younger kids (honestly!)... he definitely exceeded the limit.

Getting a tatoo... just like his Papa!

Gagi's happy place, with a grandchild in her arms.

April 2, 2010

Dena is 33!

Was it Dena's 30th that we had those great shirts??? I might have to find a picture to add to this blog.

Could we have a celebration for Dena and not have a great time? Happy Birthday my beautiful friend, thanks for giving us a reason to celebrate our love for you AND show off our dancing skills!

April 1, 2010

Easter Egg Fun

What a fun impromptu get together! The Riccobene's and the Duerr's came over for some egg dying fun. I still have the dye in the crack of my table... we live in a state of priorities, and lifting that heavy glass to clean up has not hit the top of the list. We're moving soon, we'll get to it. ;)

A rare moment... Trever and me in a picture together! See, we really do love each other! Nathan sometimes asks, "can we go to Daddy's house?". So sad, but that will change someday soon.
Because what easter egg doesn't deserve some red sprinkles?

Darling girls! Anna Duerr and Gianna Riccobene, Natalie's future partners in crime and fashion!
Natalie remembers the big kids eating in this area on the floor when it was her birthday, she was quick to head down there for dinner. So many signs that she is watching and excited to be "big".
The finished products. I'm so thankful for friends that are willing to throw things together, unplanned and not really prepared. We asked Vinny to run to the store for more vinegar, in true form he came back with two bottles! Love that guy! I'm so thankful that my kids are surrounded by wonderful "cousins" (including those that weren't here for this occasion).