Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentines Love

Valentines day was a little different this year, yet oh so special!

For the last several years, Jeremy has always come up BIG by cooking a gourmet dinner. Things like hazelnut crusted halibut and crab quesadillas have been on the menu in the past... My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Each year, Harper and I have been given the royal treatment with fresh flowers and amazing desserts to top it off. And Bentley has been learning from the best ;)

This year, the man in our life was down south on Valentines Day, so the kids and I spent the day with another love of ours - Mimi!

The kids woke up to some fun Valentines treats waiting for them at the breakfast table.  Art and books were the theme for Valentines goodies this year.  I know most people do a box of chocolate hearts, but this year found me completely caught up in the dollar store ;)

Mimi was so sweet and got up early to make sugar cookie dough so it would be ready for the kids to cut out, bake and decorate when we came over.  But first, Bentley had to get his snuggles in.

Harper calls herself an actual baker these days since she has gained so much confidence this year cooking at home, with Mimi and at school.  Our kids will cook anything if it means getting a lick or a taste of something delicious!

My actual Valentines Day kiss this year ;)

Mimi is terrific with the kids and is an expert at improvising with ease.  The kids wanted to do the icing with their fingers... so of course Mimi says "go for it!"

Some for the cookie... a spoonful for me.

After cookie decorating, the kids had to go out to the field behind Mimi and Baba's house and feed Abby and Bambi, the cows.  This little ritual has offered many moments of entertainment and snapshots for the memory bank.

A push on the tire-swing is all this boy needs to smile.  He looks so grown up to me here.

Busy, busy in the sand box.

Since daddy couldn't be with us on Valentines Day, he sent Harper and mommy a special delivery... fresh roses.  Harper was BEYOND thrilled.  She was glowing when she read the card addressed to "Bug".  I've never seen her glitter like this before. It was as though she truly realized her daddy was thinking about her from so far away!  ***Side note: Since Harper turned 4, it's been absolutely heart melting to watch her relationship with her dad bloom even more.  She adores him and knows how much she needs him in her life.  Whenever he's been traveling, she's been talking about him in such a grown up tone, with grown up thoughts about the whole thing.  I love their bond.

My handsome little hot chocolate date while Harper was at school celebrating Valentines Day.

The kids at Harper's school had an absolutely fantastic Valentines Day party.  Bentley and I got to join in for the last few minutes of it when we came to pick her up.  The kids all exchanged sweet little Valentines and ate cupcakes.  Harper was in seventh heaven!

Harper and Mrs. Stillinger at their Valentines party.  We couldn't be more thankful for Mrs. Stillinger and the impact she's had on Harper this year.  Couldn't be more thankful...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You Are Loved

This is the constant reminder I need during these days of Swift chaos. I might have a mind to hang this year round...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fun with Little Man

I just melt when I'm with Bentley. This age of two is amazing. As long as we're not in one of our "battle of the wills" moments, he just kills me: his squinty-eyed smile, his laugh, his determination to be big even though he's still got his pudgy toddler look... All of it is precious.

A few of my favorite moments with him recently have included: our mommy-tot gymnastics class, a hot chocolate date, riding the carousel together, him playing dress up with Harper, his complete love for potty training (not kidding!)... And my favorite: finding him in our playroom, reading my Bible with a flashlight.

You are a tenacious joy Bentley! We are cherishing you right now at not even two and a half ;)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Paci Hoarder

You wouldn't think that our little guy is almost potty trained. Since we started talking to Bentley about using his paci less, he's been proving to us he really does have an addiction. He's become a paci hoarder!

Every morning he refuses to drink his milk for at least 30 minutes after we've given it to him... Why? So he can keep all his loves close by for a little longer!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Harper's Friday School Birthday!

It's almost been a month since Harper's 4th birthday on January 15th.  I've been wanting to post her various birthday photos... but we've experienced double ear infections (Harper), daddy traveling more, and my computer crashed unexpectedly (heart attack city with all the writing in front of me).  Sometimes life just takes over for a bit!

Harper's teacher, Mrs. Stillinger, does an excellent job with the kids' birthdays.  She makes them feel so special.  When Harper arrived at school, a few days after her actual birthday, she was greeted with a giant banner in the entryway with her name on it!  All her classmates were beyond excited it was her day (especially because it means a fun day for all ;).

I was blessed by my mom taking Bentley for the day while I took Harper down South for school (we drive quite a distance to go to preschool once a week).  I dropped her off, spent a few hours writing at a coffee shop and then was able to head back over to school to help out a bit on Harper's special day.

I got the privilege of helping out with the kids cooking session.  They made gingerbread cookies.  It was so much fun to watch how well they listened, followed instructions and measured and stirred with skill ;)  I loved watching each of the kids cook with delight... and of course eat lots of dough!

While I got Harper's birthday party ready in another room, Mrs. Stillinger read the kids The Gingerbread Man.  

To the kids' surprise, she had made a giant gingerbread man and hid it in her house. After her story, she took the kids on a treasure hunt to find the Gingerbread man who had run away!  They ran all through the house, screaming with delight each time they cracked a clue!  It was a complete hit!

My favorite part of the day was during Harper's little birthday party.  Harper got to share about herself through the birthday "all about me" poster we filled out together.  She was so proud that she wrote her own name on it!  

Mrs. Stillinger is so wonderful at getting the kids to share what they love about the birthday child.  I melted to hear what these four year olds had to say about Harper.  I got it on video and it's just precious.

Of course I stopped the video when Mrs. Stillinger asked me what I loved about Harper as her mommy.  I told Harper I love the joy she shares with everyone through her smile and laughter.

Through this experience of being able to peek into what happens at school... I feel overwhelmingly blessed that Harper's first school experience has been such a positive, beautiful one.  She is experiencing an excellent teacher, a small class with wonderful families, and learning with emphasis on God's truths.  She has grown so much and I am so thankful.