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Fourth Festivities.

Our fourth of july weekend was one of the best weekends we have had in a while. Even though it was busy, it still somehow felt relaxed.
Elijah has developed an obsession with fireworks. He even asks for them in the middle of the afternoon. Thankfully the neighborhood fireworks have slowed so that we can hopefully, fingers crossed, get back into the normal sleep routine. IMG_3035
Friday we went to our friends’ annual barbecue. We ate tasty food and had fun with friends. And our little pyro thoroughly enjoyed the fireworks that were continuous all afternoon.IMG_3900IMG_3893IMG_3013IMG_3003IMG_3045
Saturday we had nothing planned, so we decided to spend the morning at the zoo. It was way less crowded than I thought it would be on a beautiful saturday. We saw all of Elijah’s favorite animals. The tiger was running laps so he had a blast watching the tiger run as I nursed Emaline on a nearby bench.IMG_3922IMG_3068IMG_3917IMG_3927IMG_3070 IMG_3083 IMG_3915
Then Saturday evening we met my parents at the mall for dinner (and some clearance shopping for mama at the Gap.) They always have live music on Saturday nights in the summer, so we hung out there for a while and Eli danced. He wanted me to dance with him in front of the stage, but since there were exactly 3 people dancing and about 100 watching the band, I convinced him to dance in the back.
He also decided to play in the fountains. Daddy’s silliness gave Eli some courage, so he ran and hit the fountains. And got completely soaked even though it was barely even warm out.IMG_3086IMG_3944IMG_3951IMG_3947
Sunday we spent the day at the cottage. Eli got to watch RJ water ski and he played in the sand 75% of the time we were there. And of course he ate some snacks.IMG_8735 IMG_8606 IMG_8625 IMG_8672 IMG_8675 IMG_8694 IMG_8599 IMG_8718 IMG_8660
I think the cottage has become one of Elijah’s favorite places to spend summer days. (all cottage photos taken by molly grunewald)

Easy 4th of July Shirt for Monkey.

I am big on buying tees for us to wear on the 4th.  I found RJ, Emaline, and I shirts at Old Navy this year, but the one that I wanted for Eli wasn’t in stock in his size.  So I decided to do some DIYing with the monkey.  I am not nearly as crafty as I would like to be, but after a little looking around Pinterest I had a few ideas.

"I paint that shirt!"

“I paint that shirt!”

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The Best Daddy to My Monkeys.

I started this post with intentions of posting it for Father’s Day, but packing for our vacation and spending time with my babies got in the way.
It is easy to forget how lucky I am to have a husband like RJ. He is such an amazing daddy to our babies. He loves Jesus and loves our family. He gets down on his knees every day after work so that Eli can run right into his arms; and it melts my heart each time. He reads to us from the children’s bible every night and sings to both Emaline and Elijah before tucking them in. He gives our babies tubs more than I do. He knows the importance of spending time with the monkeys and changes diapers whenever he is home. He is silly with Eli and sweet with Emmy.
I always knew that he would be a good dad, but I didn’t realize that watching him being a daddy to our kids would make me love him so much more.
RJ’s sister Molly took some photos of Eli and RJ in matching La&Ca Bowties for Father’s Day. Here are my favorites:

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Adventures on Friend-cation.

Last week, we were in Houghten Lake with a bunch of friends. We started going to Houghten Lake every June the summer after we were married and it has been an annual thing ever since.
We basically just hang out on the pontoon boat on sunny days and let the kids create chaos in the house when it rains (only two days out of seven this year). We eat too much and play games when the kiddos go to sleep. Elijah loves getting to see his friends all the time, even if having 9 kids under the age of 6 in one cottage is slight insanity.
Here are some pictures of our fun week (in a completely random order):


Elijah is so happy because he does not know how cold the water is going to be.

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Designing a Nursery Monkey Can Grow With.

One of my favorite parts of planning for a new baby is designing the nursery. Both my babies nurseries are Disney-inspired (shocker, I know…) and I love them. Elijah’s is changing a little as he gets older and opinionated, but we haven’t done any major changes to the space. Today, my good friend Jennifer Eicher wrote a guest post about designing a nursery that can grow with your little one. Jennifer is an interior designer who currently resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, James, and their 6 month old, Michael Winston. She is enjoying being able to stay home with him. Every day is a new adventure.

Little ones are a great blessing who bring us much joy! The problem is they won’t stop growing. Of course we can’t wait for them to reach those developmental milestones, but they progress swiftly leaving us wishing the time would stand still—at least for a little while.

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Disney with an 18-month-old.

Doing Disney with a toddler is so different than doing Disney without one. But good different. When we went to Walt Disney World last summer, I was in my first trimester and super sick all the time, so the planning was lacking on my part. It was still one of my best memories with the monkey, even with all the puking. planningdisneyHere are some things that we did that worked out with 18 month old Elijah:
Let the monkey make the decisions. Waiting in line for 45 minutes, even if it is a ride you know your monkey will love, is not the best idea. Toddlers are short and can duck and get out of lines super quick, while a human over 3 feet tall probably can’t.  So if your monkey sees something that he wants to look at, watch, touch, or just hang out next to, let him.

When we were leaving the park for nap, we ran into the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, and it was one of the best parts of our trip.  Minnie blew him a kiss and he danced with Mickey.

When we were leaving the park for nap, we ran into the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, and it was one of the best parts of our trip. Minnie blew him a kiss and he danced with Mickey.

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Elijah Said That.


Elijah: “Tee!  Tee (TV) on please!”

Mama: “What do you want to watch?  Frozen?”

Elijah: “Nooooo!”

Mama: “What do you want on the TV?”

Elijah: thinks for a minute.  “Frozen!  Elsa!  Frozen on Tee.”

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Donuts Make Us Go Nuts.

Happy National Donut Day. What? You didn’t know today was a holiday?IMG_2340
In our house, we like to celebrate every holiday that involves food. Especially if we can get donuts for free.
Thank you Tim Hortons!IMG_2350
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Dear Baby Girl

Dear baby girl,
You’re almost 4 months old, and I can’t believe it. I feel like I just brought you home from the hospital. You are so not a newborn anymore. You have your own little personality. IMG_1973You are such a strong, chubby girl. You smile whenever you get your eyes on your Daddy and let him know if you just want his attention. You are in love with your big brother. You love to just watch him play near you and “talk” to him when he comes up to give you cuddles or kisses. Eli is also the one who first made you laugh and I love hearing that sweet little giggle of yours. IMG_1985You laugh when mama sings to you or when papi gives you raspberries on your tummy. You are such a good baby. You’re happy and content most of the time. I can leave you on a blanket next to your brother while he plays legos and you are happy as can be. You even wake up happy. photo-5You’ve been sleeping in your crib for a couple weeks now, but still love to be in bed with mama and daddy. As I type this, you are cuddled up on your side next to me in bed. Sound asleep. And I love it. I love when you sleep on me or next to me or when you are content to just cuddle me. You started rolling over before you were even 3 months old, and now you roll like a champ—back to tummy to back again. If you’re on the floor and I leave the room, you will always be in a different place than I left you. IMG_3555You love bath time. You are happy to just sit in the warm water and kick your legs. You had your first bath with Elijah this week and he liked having you in there with him, I think you liked it better too. Elijah adores you. IMG_1958He always wants to cuddle you, kiss you, make you laugh, bring you toys. He is so sweet to you, his baby girl. It makes my heart so full when I catch him being sweet to you. IMG_1833You take his “cuddles” well, too. Since his “cuddles” sometimes are just him laying directly on top of you. IMG_3524You are my sweet baby girl, Emaline Rose and I love you to the moon.