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And the family keeps growing and growing and growing...

Friday, December 11, 2009

No more Christmas whale

When we moved into our house, my mom gifted a lot of Christmas decorations to me to get us started. One of those was the treasured advent calendar that my mother had made when we were little.

The calendar has been an essential part of our Christmas decor for the last three years. This year, we stored it in our closet under the stairs on the floor leaning up against the wall. When I pulled it out to hang it up, I noticed some of the ornaments looked funny. Our little mice friends had decided to eat the "low hanging" ornaments and take what they couldn't eat as makings for their nests. So they stole all the fur from the stockings & Santa hat, ate the Christmas bulbs and I'm so sorry to say, completely destroyed the Christmas Whale. (why a whale ornament on a Christmas calendar you ask. well my mother states that there are only so many things you can make out of grey felt. so of course why not a whale!)

If you are observant, you may notice that our friends did not touch the mouse ornament.
Don't worry I was able to make more ornaments and even made stockings for Phil, Tula & Natalie to hang on it as well. The advent calendar lives on!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hockey Fun!

A few weeks ago Phil randomly called into the local radio station on his way home from work and won 4 tickets to the K-Wings hockey game. So we invited our friends Randy & Liza to go with us to the game.

We took Natalie with us to the game and she had a great time. She cheered, played, puked all over Randy and then slept. She even slept through the multiple goals scored, after which they play every single noise they have in their computer to celebrate.

Afterwards we went to dinner with Phil's dad. Although the K-Wings lost, it was still a lot of fun!

My favorite part about this picture is the look on Randy's face and the puke on his hand, Priceless!
Finally a good family picture!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Play Dates

So I know A LOT of people who had babies right around when Natalie was born. Recently we've been trying to be better about making time to get the kiddies together for play dates (now that they are big enough to interact and start making friends).

We had lunch with my long lost friend from high school, Dawn, who actually lives just down the road from us and has a little girl (Lydia) who is about 3 months old. It was super fun to catch up and nice to meet Miss Lydia. Although they are 3 months apart in age, the girls were about the same size.
By the time we got around to taking pictures, Natalie was pretty tuckered out.

Next, we had dinner with my college roommate/friend, Amy and her daughter Juliana. Ju is 3 (almost 4, I can't believe it!) and was in love with Natalie, well everything except for the puking part. Ju was a lot of help changing diapers & clothes, but when we were getting ready to leave, this was our conversation:

Me: Ju, can I have a hug before we go?
Ju: But you have throw up on your shirt
Me: .... (*pause*) Oh.... well maybe a side hug?

Then to top off our string of fun, we had my other college roommate/friend, Kelly and her daughters Tessa (2) and Taylor (6 mo) over for a visit. Taylor was the queen of rolling over (which Natalie had not done yet) and Natalie was little miss sitter upper (which Taylor was still working on).

We spent most of the time trying to get the girls to learn from each other... and that they did! Only a few days after their meeting, Natalie was rolling over like it was her job and I've heard rumors Miss Taylor is now quite the sitter. Although now that she is rolling, I'm wondering why I wanted her to do that in the first place... life was much simpler when she stayed put.

Here are all the girls together (trust me, this was the best picture we got!)

Now comes the string of our attempt at a picture of the two little ones... which sort of looks like some baby UFC. (don't worry mom, no babies were harmed) They were, to say the least, not very cooperative.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What? No Monster Mash?!?

Halloween festivities started early this year. We celebrated with our annual pumpkin carving party at Nona’s (Phil’s mom). She went all out and had a scary hand punch, Frankenstein cake, pumpkin pizza and even hotdog mummies. We picked out our pumpkins at Gene the Pumpkin Man (who only owns things that are bright orange, including his car). Then we spent the afternoon eating and carving to our hearts content. They all turned out great. Phil even carved Natalie her own pumpkin, which she was really into.

At work, my team dressed as hillbillies (although I think my costume looked more like a cross between a trucker and a train conductor!). No matter what we were, we looked great and were about the only ones with any Halloween spirit.
Halloween day, we convinced Jon and Erin to go to the Zoo Boo at Binder Park Zoo with us. All the workers dress up in their costumes and the entire place is decorated in scary d├ęcor (not too scary as it is geared towards children). We had a great time. We trick or treated at different booths throughout the park, saw some cool animals and even went on a hay ride.

After the zoo fun, we went back to our house where we were joined by our friends Randy and Liza and some other stragglers throughout the night. We ate a lot, played some games, watched a movie and of course football. Before the night was over, we all had too much sugar and too much food.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sisters/Cousin Weekend to "the island"

This past weekend, my sisters, our favorite cousin, Natalie and I all made a road trip up north to visit Mackinac Island (pronounces Mackinaw for those of you not from around here). It is about a 5 hour drive, but it's beautiful and has many fun things like: fudge, no cars, lots of horses, fudge, the Grand Hotel (which someone told me is in a movie with Keanu Reeves), tandum bikes, oh yeah and FUDGE!

Of course the road trip is part of the fun, so we got up early Saturday morning and made our way up the state. It's always amazing to me that you can drive for 5 hours and still be in Michigan. The colors were very pretty and the traffic was light so we made good time. We took the ferry (which was basically a giant speed boat run by a rather cute young man that we attempted to hook up with my single cousin) over to the island where we headed straight for the bikes. We rented 2 tandum bikes and a Burley (which is a little cart that pulls behind the bikes) for Natalie. The men at the bike rental place were just a little worried about our sanity because as we were getting onto our bikes, the heavens opened up and a hurricane (or at least it felt like a hurricane) struck us. The winds were whipping the rain in our face and making it very difficult to bike. Somehow we survived the 8.3 mile trip around the island without crashing. Natalie had a nice nap in her Burley where she was snug & warm and completely oblivious to the weather outside.

After assuring the bike men that we were still alive and their bikes were in tact, we headed to our hotel to get some dry clothes and warm up a little. We ventured out later that night to have dinner downtown at a little restaurant. Annie & Staci were in awe of the "islanders" so it was just our luck that our waitress was a native to the island and still lived there year round. They had many questions for her about the island. So much so in fact that she even gave us a little book that a group of the "islanders" had written answering these types of questions. We of course purchased several copies and got many autographs to go with them!

Sunday morning the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. So we decided to take a little adventure around the island to see the Grand Hotel and the village where our new friend Melissa (the waitress) lives. We stopped at St. Ann's cemetary for a photo op and just enjoyed the beautiful views. Next was breakfast at the Chuckwagon (a very narrow restaurant) and then wandering around the town to do some shopping and stock up on fudge.

We caught the afternoon ferry back to the mainland (that is what us islanders call Mackinac City), where we attempted once again to make a love connection for my cousin with the same ferry coordinator. Then we made our way back down the state, stopping in Lansing for some Linner and making it home rather late Sunday night. Although it was a quick trip, it was full of great memories and I can't wait until the next sisters/cousin weekend!

Annie, Natalie & Staci waiting for the ferry

Our tandum biking... this was just before the rain & gale force winds.

Baby in her Burley, doesn't she look comfy?

St. Ann's Cemetary
The Grand Hotel

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


This weekend, my long lost friend Jess came into town to visit. We sent Phil packing to Angola to help work on Jon's house (it had some recent fire damage). So Friday night was just the girls hanging out in Richland. Saturday we got up and around and headed out to Battle Creek to pick up some Papa Murphy's pizza for lunch at LaKnoll (this is the name of Traci's parents farm that was our old stomping ground). We found Papa Murphy's too easy so we knew it would be much harder to find LaKnoll from there. After 10 phone calls, 3 U turns, lots of laughing & also some confusion and half a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups later we made it! What should have taken us 20 minutes took us over an hour, but what fun would it be if everything went smoothly all the time!

We spent the day hangning out at LaKnoll with Mare & Traci. Played cards, ate pizza (and the remaining peanut butter cups), went for a Gator Ride back to see the beaver dam, watched the boys paint a barn and played with the barn kittens.
Here's Mare & Traci on the Gator.

Jess, Natalie & I in the yard.
Mare & Natalie (notice the majorly drooled on shirt? maybe some more teeth?)
Natalie meeting the kittens.

It does sort of look like she's trying to strangle this one.

**No kittens were harmed in the making of this blog.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Notre Dame Weekend

Two weekends ago, we hauled ourselves and all of our stuff (which seems like it is exponentially increasing now that there are three of us) down to South Bend to our friend's Jon & Erin's house. We had a sleep over Friday night and then we "tailgated" (that is only in quotes because we never left their house, we enjoyed our tailgate in the comfort of their home with their indoor plumbing). We still had a fabulous time, with lots to eat and good company.

The boys watched the game on the big screen while the girls entertained ourselves on the new deck. It truly was a beautiful day for football.

Randy and Natalie (they have a special bond since she puked all over him the other day).

The ladies.

The boys (plus Kala & Natalie)... oh and Liza peeking from the background.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I spy baby's first teeth! Yup, it's plural!

Friday night we discovered two little white specs showing through Natalies gums on the bottom. After some careful investigation, we discovered two (count 'em TWO) teeth had decided to grace us with their presence. She is such a good baby that we didn't even no she was teething! She was drooling a lot (but that is par for the course with her) and chewing on everything, but no crankiness or extra sleep. Let's hope that is the pattern for the rest of her teeth.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Labor Day in Ludington

Labor Day weekend (after our first tailgate of the season), we decided to end our summer with a trip up to Ludington to see Grandma Amsterburg and Lake Michigan. Phil's dad made the trip up also and met us there.

We did some fishing (although no fish were actually caught), some sight seeing, a lot of eating and some visiting. The weekend was full of beautiful weather so we decided to stop at the beach along Lake Michigan on our way home. We had a beautiful, peaceful walk along the shore while Natalie napped in her sling. What a nice way to end the summer!
Grandpa, Phil and Natalie doing some fishing.

The happy family along Lake Michigan

Natalie enjoying her first trip to the beach.

Testing the waters...she actually liked it. Too bad it was WAY too cold to swim!
I just love this picture, look at those cute little toes.

We also tried out the swing at a nearby playground. This was about as excited as she got. Maybe next summer!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baby's First Tailgate

Last weekend marked the start of everyone’s favorite… College Football season! As many of you know Phil and I purchase season tickets to the Michigan State football games each year. We have a tradition of tailgating before the games with our favorite Aunt Laurie & Uncle Jeff, along with a host of others that come and go sporadically. This year we obviously had a new addition to our tailgating crew, our little princess.
Saturday morning, we woke up to a red faced little baby. She developed some sort of rash overnight (which we still haven't been able to peg to anything specifically). It started off sort of splotchy and got worse throughout the day. She ended up with little blister like spots all over her face & her bald spot, but no where else. It was very weird, but the nurse was not concerned, and Natalie did not seem phased by her new look so we went about our day as normal.
She had a fabulous time at the tailgate and spent the game with her Aunt Jenni, while Phil and I went into the cheer the Spartans to victory. It was a beautiful day (albeit a little hot, but we’re not complaining) to kick off the season with and we were even graced with the presence of my cousin Ross (a former MSU student who now lives in Minneapolis). And to top all that excitement off, our Spartans were victorious which always makes the day better! GO GREEN!

Dad & baby

Chillin with dad's shades on.

Poor little baby, she looked so sad. But as you can probably tell, she didn't mind at all!
Aunt Laurie & Mom

Tracy (cousin Staci's friend), cousin Staci & cousin Ross.

This was her favorite part about meeting cousin Ross (yes, she's licking his arm hair).