when family comes to town

Sarah, Drew and Joel got in late Thursday night (of the weekend before last, because I'm always prompt at blogging) and we spent Friday doing not a thing at all, which was glorious. We traded babies/toddlers (also glorious because we obviously got the better (read: quieter and calmer) end of that stick) and both Deric and I fully enjoyed napping with baby Joel while Drew and Sarah kept up with Jake. We did venture out of the house for frozen yogurt that night which was Joel's first trip and Jake's first bowl of his own. Milestones!

Mom and Dad got in late Friday night and we spent Saturday playing more rounds of pass-the-babies in between hitting up Jet's for lunch and making sushi for dinner (complete with Japanese music in the background thanks to Deric's quick Pandora search). We packed so much into Saturday that thankfully our weekend felt much longer than the one day we all had together. Sarah and Drew left mid-morning on Sunday and unfortunately Mom and Dad had to leave earlier than they planned because of a winter storm headed our way (but not before Mom got Jake to color with her for a solid *hour*). Of course, said storm didn't blow in on time but its always better to get home ahead of bad weather and I'm glad the storm didn't ruin our weekend entirely. Every time family comes to visit I can't help but think of how fantastic it would be if everyone lived in town. Thanks for the fun-filled weekend, everyone! (And especially thanks for driving to us...wink!)


Galentine's Day

We celebrated Galentine's Day last Wednesday with our middle and high school girls' Life Group. Heart-shaped pizzas, fondue, eighty-some sugar cookies and loads of frosting made for a messy but fun night (and a packed two-hour time frame!). Some seriously impressive cookie decorating skills made their appearance while others used sheer frosting volume to make up for a steady hand. (I won't tell you which category I fall into, but my cookies definitely wouldn't make the photo cut.) In honor of Galentine's Day, we talked about the qualities of a true friend and asked the girls to both evaluate themselves to see if they possessed those qualities (trustworthiness, positivity, respect, etc.), and then to think about their current friendships to decide if their friends are true friends. The eighty cookies were decorated and (hopefully not eaten on the way home) given to their friends at school to encourage and express their appreciation to their friends. They're no 5,000-word essays or cross-stitched pillows, but I think those cookies were pretty loved by our girls' friends. I'm already looking forward to next year!


January recap

Let's run through the photos snapped throughout January that didn't make the cut for Instagram but are good memories nonetheless. January wasn't exceptionally exciting--no major milestones for Jake or fun trips or whatnot--but as I think back over the month it was full of quality time at home, lazy weekends (a nice change from our usual "weekend warrior" attitudes in better weather) and rearranging a lot of areas in the house to make every room more useful since we can't be outside.

Deric is the master of forts around here and in the mornings when those two are up before I am (which is often), I can almost guarantee a new fort will be set up somewhere. This fort was on our bed to keep Jake occupied while we both got ready. Jake loves to climb on our bed.

Deric spent a long weekend in Gatlinburg with the students and while he was gone, I got desperate enough for two uninterrupted minutes that I actually put something from Pinterest into play. It was almost not worth it....all that corn was outta the pan in no time. 

I've started stockpiling puzzles because Jake's finally able to complete them without throwing pieces in frustration. They're a perfect activity for us to do together since I lack the imagination it takes to play pirates for more than one minute. Also a very easy way to reinforce colors/numbers/letters and its funny to hear him answer "What's this color?" with "boo", usually before I can even finish the question.

Killing time at a car dealership while a friend dealt with car repairs. Jake won't be fooled anymore, he knows good things come in brown and white cups.

Bathtub fingerprints from the dollar store provided us with exactly one dollar's worth of activity. Worthless paint, but toddlers aren't exactly art critics.

Shopping for new books at McKay's. Even with rotating books in and out, and with frequent trips to the library, Deric and I are still so tired of all the books we own. How is that possible?

Breakfast with a view, as mentioned in the last post. That was the quietest breakfast we've experienced in a while. Snow is definitely magical!

A perfect platform for a tiny climber, and never neglected on our treks to and from church.

 Finally, some decent help around here! I don't know if its normal for toddlers or not, but Jake loves to help with chores. He gets mad at me if I start to vacuum without him, so I gladly pass it off and let him wander around the house vacuuming. I found him vacuuming under our nightstands so I pulled the furniture back and let him really get at the dustiest corners of the house. He also gets (too) excited to throw things away in the trash and to wipe off his tray after eating. He's also enthralled with the sponge so I've showed him how to wipe off the cabinets. You better believe we're riding this train forever. Toilets are up next, bud.