Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in Michigan...Part 2

After being in Reading until Tuesday we were headed an hour away to Blissfield to see my parents.  Also, Auntie V and soon to be uncle Evan were flying in from Vegas!!!  So we were excited to get there.
It has become a sort of tradition for Grammie and Clare to decorate the tree when we get there on Thanksgiving.  Before we gave hugs Clare had her coat and shoes off and left in the middle of the floor and was waiting patiently in front of the tree. 

I love this picture of her decorating.

While we decorated Elle entertained herself with other decorations ;)

After a good nights sleep this is how Clare spent EVERY morning...reading LOTS of new books.

And as son as breakfast was over Clare was BEGGING Papa to take her fishing!

By evening everyone started rolling in.  My aunt Tina, uncle and their 3 kids stayed Wednesday night with us so it was a full house.  It was so fun to have everyone together getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Aunt Tina is a preschool teacher and brought lots of crafts for Clare.

And of course...more reading before bedtime....

AND a puzzle with Papa!

Elle also got lots of snuggles with Papa

This year we were feeling adventurous and decided to see both families on Thanksgiving.  My sweet friend Teresa made these turkey shirts for the girls...and they came out SO cute. 

Back at the Jacksons we finally got a four generations picture!!

And it was a FULL house for Thanksgiving dinner.  I think there were 20 of us!

By Friday morning Clare was ready to head back out to fish!

While Elle stayed inside and enjoyed new toys!

My older sister Debbie surprised LD with THREE Michigan tickets to the big Michigan vs Ohio State game on Saturday.  We were supposed to be having our big family Christmas but we worked around the game day schedule.  LD took my dad and was planning on taking his dad, but he came down with a cold so a college friend met them at the game.

And Saturday evening we all bundled up and headed to the Blissfield light parade.  Here Clare is with Auntie V and Uncle Evan.

We left all the little babies at home.  Here is Elle with her sweet cousin Joseph.

And here's our crew awaiting the parade.  It was really nice out and so nice we weren't all freezing.

Can you tell Clare was having a hard time patiently waiting?? ;)

But the end result was seeing Santa, so whats better than that??

When we got home we took a family photo.  Yup, this is my immediate family!!  I LOVE when we are all together and love the chaos of all the kiddos and conversations.

We celebrated Jayden and Anthony's birthdays before we celebrated Christmas.  We aren't together often so we had a LOT to fit in!!

And then we celebrated Christmas!!

Everyone was so sleepy.  This is my sweet nephew Joseph.  Don't you think a little boy looks good on me??

Man, we packed a LOT in to our week!  We really did have a great Thanksgiving and are so incredibly blessed to have a loving and supportive family.  It is hard being far away, but it makes being together incredibly special!

Thanksgiving in Michigan...Part 1

I think LD and I both agree this is one of the best trips we have ever taken to Michigan.  It was just great all around!!  We headed out the Friday before Thanksgiving ready for our big adventure.  I have to admit I have gotten pretty good at packing us and packing our van to have everything we need for the trip.  The girls handled the 12 hour drive with ease and were great!  We arrived early evening in Reading at LD's parents house and set up shop for the first half our trip.

We got to spend a lot of our time in Reading with our sweet great nephew Tyce.  He will not be one until December, but he is bigger than Elle as you can tell and all over the place.  They had so much fun together and it was incredibly sweet to watch them play.

On Saturday evening LD's sister, Lei and her husband Greg treated us all to dinner.  There was a big group of us with lots of kiddos at a nice place, but everyone did great.

That night was our neice Kara and nephew Evan's semi formal dance at school.  So we got to see them at the restaurant all dressed up and ready to head to the dance.

Then we had a big treat and got to visit Greg and Lei's house and their farm (Gunthorp Farms). Their farm has turkeys, ducks and pigs and has grown a TON in the last few years. This year they butchered 4,800 turkeys!!! LD was incredibly into wanting to see all the insides of where they butcher and things and the girls and I had no interest in that..haha.  Their fam is all free range, organic and they sell to a lot of high end restaurants in Chicago and Detroit.  LD and I are both so proud and in awe in all they have accomplished! It was so fun to be able to be there.

But, our big highlight were these incredibly cute and sweet blue heelers.  There were 8 of them and they were so fun.  They all run around the farm like pros and hop in with the pigs and the turkeys.

Here are the many many turkeys.

And this is where the chicks live.  It was in this little building and Lei told us not to go in because it was so smelly, but LD insisted and I wanted to see too.  We got Clare in there and after one gag she announced she could not stay.  We are definetely city girls who were on an adventure.

Here's LD and Clare with a few of the pups

Then on Sunday we went to the church where LD grew up and also where LD's mom and grandma both go.  It was fun to be able to be in church with them.

And after church we had our first Christmas of the season!!

Clare got a Noah's ark and this is where she sat for the next two days.  Seriously!  She loves her Noah's ark and has spent a lot of time with those animals!

Another picture of such sweet and cute cousins!!  Love them.  Elle doesn't realize how blessed she is to have a cousin so close in age.  I have no doubt it will be a highlight to see Tyce every year when we go to Michigan as she gets older.

At the Jacksons the girls share a bedroom.  I have to admit, I was incredibly nervous about how this would work since they have never shared before.  You can see at the bottom of the picture Clare's big girl bed is right up against the crib.  The first night was rough because Elle kept touching Clare's hair through the bars.  But by the last morning I woke up to sweet giggles and walked in to find Clare, her blanket, and her pillow all in bed with Elle.  It was so sweet to see them playing in bed together.  And also some encouragement that they will be able to share a room down the road.

More to come......

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Young Love

I've been thinking about this post and somewhat dreading it for about two months.  The second family we had to say farewell to tonight was our great friends the Ho Family.  Kimmy and I met at our mutual friend, Jenni's baby shower in the winter of 2009.  Our children were two months apart and we instantly hit it off.  I thought the best way to describe what our families have been through together in our short friendship was through pictures. 
Clare and Ayden have grown to be sweet little friends and watching their friendship has been one of my very favorite things.  Here is how it all began ....
This was our very first "playdate".  We went to ImaginOn and thought it would be fun to take the light rail uptown.  All was great until we were on our way back and a man decided to CHASE us with our strollers and babies!!!  Yes, fully CHASE! We are protective mamas and it was incredibly scary, so we did what any sane mother would do....called the police and stopped traffic on a major road and asked a sweet lady to wait with us until the police were there.  Yes...that was our first time together and I'm amazed Min ever let Kimmy hang out with me again!!!

This was before the scary chase when we were safe inside the library. 

This was our next playdate where we went to an indoor swimming pool at the Y.  So fun!!

Sweet friends playing at our house together!

One of my favorite pictures of the two of them.  They had been playing outside and their clothes were all they just hung out in diapers :)

And Clare got her first kiss ... haha

Fourth of July Parade in Indian Trail...I mean what else do you do on the 4th of July?!?

For Clare's 2nd Birthday the Ho family went with us to Lazy 5 Ranch to celebrate!  As you can tell I was very pregnant.  Kimmy is also pregnant, but not quite so far along....or so big!

This began the hand holding...its so cute...and it continues :)

They were sleepy after a big day at the Ranch so they snuggled!

Then....Elle was born!!  And we hung out on Halloween at Trunk or Treat!

Sweet as ever...
Kimmy, Min and Ayden spent Christmas with us last year, which was a huge blessing.  With their family in California and ours in Michigan it meant so much to spend such a special day with them!

And Kimmy made Clare and Ayden these super cute shirts!!

Clare LOVES Mr. Min.  It is going to be hard for her to not have him around :)

Then sweet Azariah was born!!!!
And we were invited to spend Easter at the Ho's house....another HUGE blessing!

I remember shortly after Azariah was born a few weeks went by that we didn't see Ayden.  Clare was having major withdrawls.

I totally remember this day, meeting at the park and it was like the two of them had so much to catch up on now that they were both older siblings.  Clare was just laying it all out there.

And here we are back celebrating the 4th of July at the Indian Trail Parade!!

In September we went to the zoo and Clare and Ayden got to ride horses!

And we celebrated Clare's THIRD birthday! 

When Clare had her first ballet recital Ayden showed up all dressed up....bearing sweet flowers for the ballet dancer :)  It was seriously one of THE sweetest things EVER!!

Kimmy grabbed this pictures of Ayden and Clare on a rainy day before we headed into a craft or story time...its one of my favorites and is on Clare's wall.

Then we celebrated Aydens THIRD birthday!!!

And our two little peanuts, Elle and Azariah had such a fun time playing together!!  Aren't they so cute???  I think one of the saddest things for me is that they won't have the sweet friendship that Clare and Ayden share.

So now you can see the difficulty our family is having with the Ho family moving to California.  In our short friendship we have experienced a LOT of life together.  We are so blessed by their friendship and have no doubt we will remain great friends (thanks to Skype!).  Tonight we had a final dinner them and shed a few tears (I shed a lot on the way home), knowing and trusting God has ordained this new journey.

We love you Min, Kimmy, Ayden and Azariah and you will forever hold a dear place in our hearts!  Ayden will always be Clare's first sweet friend (and first love...shhh!)