Tag Archives: Grandparents

Back to Life!

20 Jun

My MIL left a few days ago, so the kids have to adjust back to the life they had that didn’t include super-fun things all day, every day! Actually, we all have to adjust back, because while Nana was doing fun things with the kids, I was able to catch up on naps, reading, and other things of such importance.

It was nice having a smaller adult:child ratio!

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The kids have been waiting for MONTHS to go to Vikings with Nana. They have a free-birthday-buffet, so had to wait until June to avail. I love doing buffets with the kids. We make them eat a wholesome entree, and then they are allowed to get after it at the dessert area.  Get after it, they do! I’m always half-way nervous that they will toss their literal cookies all over the table. Mackenzie kept going back and forth. She started with sushi, then dessert, then salad, then dessert, then entrees, then more sushi, then dessert, and so on. She outlasted all of us, including Josh!

Nana was brought her own personal birthday cake, in addition to all the cookies, pastries, ice cream, crepes, cakes, and mousses!

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The kids all had their list of things to do with Nana while she was here. Deacon wanted to bake sugar cookies with her. In the 3 weeks that she was here, the kids baked about 6 dozen cupcakes, Wookiee cookies, sugar cookies, tie-dyed cake, and apple pie!


The girls also jumped on the opportunity to learn Dutch Blitz! They did pretty great! And since Aunt Michelle wasn’t there, I got to win! =)


Jennifer stayed in a different condo, so every night, she would take some kids down there to sleep with her. They alternated girls and boys each night. They’d usually play games, and then listen to Sandi Patti’s Friendship Company until they fell asleep. It worked out great because then the other kids would sleep with me and we watched movies late into the night. (Josh was usually busy with the visiting ministry team until 11:00pm or so).

Here is Bella reading to the boys before she headed down to Nana’s.


I have no idea what this pic is about. One of the things on the girls list was pedicures with Nana, so we headed there and brought Caleb with us. He played on the ipad while we got our tootsies done, so I guess that’s how this pic came about?


When Jennifer first arrived, Sim wasn’t crawling. By the end of her visit, he was not only crawling everywhere, but also pulling to standing, and even creeping. He even stood alone for about 2 seconds, but I don’t know if that counts….


He really needs 2 baths a day, if not 3, because he gets so sweaty and dirty from being so active!


It’s fun to think that the next time we see Nana will be in the US next summer, when we go for a whole year!


Where to Start??

16 Oct

Pop some popcorn, get a big glass of soda, and cuddle under a warm blanket (if you’re in the US) or turn on the AC and then get under the blanket (if you’re in the Philippines). This post has a lot of photos, but not even a fraction of how many photos we’ve taken over the last month!

Bottom line – Simeon is awesome. Since he was 11 days old, he’s been sleeping 6-7 hours at night!! He nurses like a boss and has put his birth weight back on. At 2.5 weeks, he’s definitely trying to smile. We’ve won both volleyball games that he’s been to, both of which we were the underdogs, so he’s been a bit of a lucky charm! (Don’t speak to soon – we have two big tournaments coming up!)


So my last post left off with our homecoming from the hospital. Bella and I gave him a bath. He wasn’t a fan.

First, a big sister playtime.


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Deacon has been obsessed with Sim’s umbilical cord! Everyday until it fell off, he asked if it was still there.

Another big sister cuddle with Kenzie.


Milk buzz photo shoot!

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I love when I hold him up for a kiss and he latches on to my nose!


One night, we watched A Dolphin Tale together. Piling all 7 of us on the king-size bed took some fanageling, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!



Simeon spent most of his 4th day in the gym, cheering on Josh and Mackenzie in a 4 v 4 fund raiser tournament. Josh and a recent alumni teamed up with two middle school girls and Mackenzie and they won the entire thing!!! Sim = good luck charm.

My parents flew back into country after 3 weeks in other Asian countries, visiting their missionaries. Sim was exactly one week old when they met him. It’s always so great to have grandparents around who are happy to change diapers, snuggle, play with the older sibs, and do all the other awesome grandparent-y things.

…including mani/pedis with Grandma!


The next day, Josh and I went to parent-teacher conferences. It’s always fun to hear how the kids are doing in school and friendships, and get pointers on how we can help them at home. (Thank the Lord for math apps on the ipad!)

A few days later, my parents left for their mission retreat. This was the reason they came over here in the first place. It was just God’s timing that Simeon was born at the same time! Mackenzie and Bella were going with them, and at the last minute, Sim and I decided to join them. It was a fun and special time with my family. My dad was the speaker, so I got to listen to his Bible teaching a lot, which I always love.

I took this pic mostly to show my brother and sister. The hymn book at the retreat was the black book from our childhood!


While we were gone, Josh sent me this pic of the party going on at home. They all shaved their heads and wrapped a python around their shoulders at the nearby ministry center!


Sorry, can’t help but take those milk buzz photos! So sweet.


While we were there, his cord fell off. I was bummed that Deacon wasn’t there to see it!

Another great perk of being with Grandma – she holds the baby so I can eat!


Mackenzie is completely smitten with her baby brother! She comes in and gives him a kiss every morning before school and she is constantly playing with him and snuggling him. It’s so precious!

She also shows him her favorite apps on the ipad.

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This is my favorite pic to date. I was just walking back to our cabin and he tucked his chin on his folded arms and just stared at me. I can’t get enough of his focus, I love it!


Oops, one more post-feeding shot.


I also love a good swaddle pic!


Speaking of being a good luck charm —- the Royals just clinched the pennant and are headed to the World Series! We’re all very excited. Mackenzie was a newborn when we cheered the Red Sox on to their first championship since 1918. Now we get to do the same for the Royals!


Whew, and we’re spent.

They’re Here!

14 Mar

On Tuesday of this week, my parents arrived for a nice, long visit! We’ve all been so excited, and the kids have especially been anticipating their arrival! They arrived around 11:00, so we brought the boys with us to the airport. Then we all went to school to pick up the girls together. They didn’t know what time Grandpa and Grandma were arriving, so they were shocked and so excited when they were there after school. It was so fun to see their little faces light up as they jumped into their grandparents arms. Would’ve made a great picture….

Anyway, we’ve been busy reuniting and having a blast together. They brought the kids each a special present, so they have all been playing non-stop. Mackenzie got roller blades, Bella got a Lego Friends Pet Shop, Deacon got a Star Wars Lego Jedi Interceptor, and Caleb got a play-doh set.

Mom came bearing gifts for me as well! In addition to the usual cheese and peanut butter etc, she brought me a Vera Bradley purse, which is my love language (I took the test and everything!), and this fantastic piece of pottery that my sis-in-law’s mom made. Isn’t it brilliant? The holes around the edge are for earrings and the dish is for my rings. I love it!


The last time Caleb and his grandparents were in this condo together, Caleb was just a few days old! Now he loves having Grandpa around to run and jump around with. It’s so fun!


On Wednesday morning, I had some friends over for brunch. My friend who just had the baby has her mom also visiting for a few weeks, and we’ve all known each other since last century, so we jumped on the opportunity to party together!

We had a Belgium waffle bar, with sausage, butter, syrup, powdered sugar, peanut butter, Nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream. Whew!


Fresh mangoes, and homemade ginger-lemonade!


Sausage links and a strata that just had loads of cheese in it, another love language of mine! Both of those dishes are only possible with the arrival of someone from the US, bringing the ingredients!


It was so fun being together! I got to snuggle with Jeremiah while he napped. Here is a pic of us friends and the mom’s who took care of us during countless sleepovers in the old days.


So far, those are the only pics that I’ve taken. We’re heading to the beach next week for a little getaway, so hopefully, I’ll get my act together and snap some more!

‘Rents Visit

12 Feb

We had a terrific few days with my parents. They had been at a conference in IA for the week, and rather than fly directly home, they added a quick stop here for a visit. Josh and I picked them up at about 10:15 on Wednesday night. We tried to wake the girls up when we got home, but they just groaned and rolled over, so we decided to save the reunion for the morning.

We had Parent Teacher conferences on Thursday morning, so after an Eggs Benedict Casserole, we all headed to the school so that we could meet with the teachers and the rest of the crew could hit the book fair.

We had to wait almost 20 minutes for Mackenzie’s teacher, so I decided to scope out Mackenzie’s locker while we waited.

I love that she keeps a pic of her #1 fans in her locker. (sorry Caleb, we’ll get an updated one printed soon!)


Her cousins, Joey, Kylah and Norah, will be happy to know that Mackenzie gets to see their happy faces every day!


Mackenzie’s conference went fine. We got her standardized test results back and it says she’s reading at a 6th grade level (bring on the Sweet Valley Twins!) and her math is at 4th grade level! She scored better than 92% of other 3rd graders nationally on reading and 88% on math. We’re pretty proud of her. She and Josh are both working their way through the Harry Potter series. (Does that mean Josh is reading at a 6th grade level as well?)

Mackenzie has been involved with some 3rd grade drama this quarter, so it was a good reminder for us that she isn’t getting any spiritual guidance at school the way she does in the PI, so we need to stay on top of those heart issues!

Bella got all good remarks, both academically and behaviorally. We’re proud of her! She’s doing well with her reading and writing, although she tends to write some numbers backwards and and reversed (51 instead of 15). I’d like to say that we’re working on it every day at home, but I usually only think about it when Bella isn’t home or is asleep!

While we were at their conferences, my parents and Josh’s mom took the kids to the book fair, where they lavished the kids with fun books. Mackenzie is into the American Girl series, Bella got some animal books, and Deacon got a super hero one and a Mater one. We spent the next 30 minutes driving to KC and the kids were all quiet the entire way, looking through their books!

We spent the day in Kansas City and had a blast! We started out at Hallmark’s employee discount store, where Grammy can get us in. It’s the best place for seasonal decor, gifts, gift bags, and party stuff. We all stocked up and left with smiles on our faces!

After Hallmark, we ate at a KC classic, Jack Stack. I was so excited for my dad to try some KC BBQ and it didn’t disappoint! He and Josh split a crown rib something-or-other. It came with gigantic ribs that can make one feel like they are feasting on a small dinosaur.

This is the only pic I took there. Isn’t it sad? Poor little guys lips were trembling!


Then we hit the historical Union Station. It is such a beautiful building! We walked around a little and eventually stumbled upon a train exhibit. It was really fun to see all the trains and the teeny tiny details. And of course, Thomas was there!



They also had an exhibit of model roller coasters that have been retired from Worlds of Fun. Josh loved seeing roller coasters from his childhood and the kids loved telling their Nana and Grandpa that they saw roller coasters from when they were teens.

After Union Station, we headed to Crown Center for some more free fun! They always have some fun stuff for kids there and as far as I know, it’s always free. We went a couple of times during our last furlough, so I recognized some of the sets.

It was a great place! Perfect for kids imaginations and “what I want to be when I grow up.”


Then my parents treated us to one of my first loves, Sheridans. We all hung out in the Crown Center lobby while we chowed on our frozen custard. It was wonderful! We had big plans to go ice skating that day, but it was still kind of cold and windy out, so much to the kids disappointment, we decided to save it for a warmer day.


The next day I reserved for shopping with my mom. It’s one of our favorite things to do together, so I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time! We went to the Legends and immediately went to work dissecting the clearance racks at TJ Maxx. They were having their final clearance, so they were practically giving stuff away!

Meanwhile, Josh and I my dad were walking around with all the kids. I’m sure that was an interesting sight. We met up with them at Panera for lunch. Josh, of course, brought Chipotle take-out for him and the kids.

That night, we did some smoking. Of meat, of course. Josh smoked some ribs and chicken for dinner. My dad’s conclusion of the meal? “How do you not eat these three times a week?”

While we were getting dinner ready, Jennifer had to rehearse an accordion duet that she was performing at the church Valentine dinner the next night. My mom didn’t let her put it away until she had a go at some polka hymns.


My facebook status that night was, “How many kids can say that both of their grandmas play the accordion?” It’s pretty crazy and fun that my kids can say that!

We’ve had an on-going Rook match with my parents for about 12 years now! We played before we were married, we played in the delivery room after Mackenzie was born, we played many nights when we both lived in the Philippines, and we try to play every time we’re together. We managed to sneak in a couple of games that night, but I wish we could’ve played more!

The end of their visit came way to quickly! We thought that the blizzard in the Northeast would keep them here with us for a few extra days, but nope. The airline got them there on time, without problems. So I guess that’s a blessing…. but we would’ve liked a longer visit!

What tricks can you do on ice skates???