Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

This Christmas season has been so much fun already!  Both the kids are super excited and are really understanding what Christmas is all about this year (Ike told me it was Jesus' birthday yesterday then mentioned something about cake, haha!).

We have been getting into the spirit with lots of activities this past week!

The boys with our kindness moose.

Dave's figures he has gotten from his Lego advent calendar so far.

So, the kindness moose decided to cook up a project where we were supposed to make "bird seed ornaments" to hang outside for the birds.  Little did I know that the main component of these ornaments was actually rendered beef fat (suet).  Yuck!  It was a messy, disgusting project to say the least!!  Here's a video of Dave describing the project.

Dave's reaction.

I pretty much felt the same way  :)

So, we powered through and finished the ornaments, which involved having to bake them-because who doesn't love the smell of baked suet??  Did I mentioned it was cherry scented?  Then we attached the ribbon and hung them in the trees outside our windows.  And I figured they would all immediately fall off and that would be the end of it.  Well, I was wrong!

The birds love them!

This guy was really digging them.

Ike and I spent about a half hour watching different birds come up and have a snack this afternoon.  So, moral of the story-this project, while being completely disgusting, was totally worth it!

Ike helping make some cookies for staff on duty last weekend.  Here's a video I took of Ike the other day.

Tonight, Dave had his school Christmas program.  He got to portray Joseph and he did such a good job!  

He is so grown up!

Dave and his buddy Alec after the show.

Our outside lights this year-Josh even got on the roof to put up an extra layer!

I have been working on these button ornaments for lots of my family this past month.

Mine is made from my Grandma Ruby's and Grandma Colleen's buttons.  It was such a fun project to do and I really found it interesting to think about the clothes that went along with all of those buttons! (Those of you who got an ornament from Grandma Colleen's side will notice the lack of color in yours...I guess Grandma Colleen only saved tan, black, or white buttons!)  Also, I have lots of leftover buttons if anyone didn't get an ornament and wants one.

So, as you can see, we have kept pretty busy this week!  We are heading down to Evansville this weekend to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family.  The boys are so excited to see everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dave's 5th Birthday!

How is it possible that my baby is 5?!  The past five years have gone way too fast!  He has grown up so much in just the last couple of months, and now he constantly reminds me that, "Mom, I'm a five, so I can do more stuff now!".  He also took it upon himself to be the one who unloads the silverware from the dishwasher from now on.  Not arguing with that!

We had a little party for him on his birthday.  I made him a Deadpool cake, which looks incredibly creepy but he loved.

His new bobble head (courtesy of his friend Alec) posed next to his cake.

He was definitely excited about the pile of presents  :)

Ready to blow out his candle!  When he poses for pictures now he always tilts his head to the side-so weird!

Some of the kids chowing down.

He received all kinds of cool stuff for his birthday, the most popular things being anything that is Lego or blind bags.  We also got him a bunk bed, which we put together while he was at school on the morning of his birthday.  He was so excited to see it when he got home!

Family picture in the bunk bed!

About Dave at 5.  He is completely independent and has to do things in his own way and preferably in his time frame (which tends to get him in trouble!).  He is working on learning to read (kind of) and is able to write almost all of his letters and numbers-still working on a couple tricky ones!  Dave is obsessed with blind bags, and is usually either pestering us to buy him some to open or trying to watch videos of other kids opening them on youtube. Hopefully we will have a video of him opening blind bags soon!

He loves playing video games with dad and helping me cook.  School is going really well for him this year, and he has made lots of friends in his class, which I hope will turn into long-lasting friendships!  Dave doesn't know a stranger and will talk to just about anyone he comes into contact.  And he always says, "My name's Dave, what's your name" to random people when we are out and about.  Dave and I basically have the same personality in a lot of ways, so we are constantly butting heads.  He is definitely helping me to grow as a person and parent as we work through problems together.

Here is a video of Dave take right after his birthday.

His school picture!

Posing with his Christmas tree.  (Notice Deadpool keeping watch up in the window!  haha)

Oh man, what will the next 5 years bring us with this kid?  Scary to think about, but also so exciting!  Here's hoping he at least is sleeping in his bed all night and sleeps in past 6 AM when he is 10!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving and a New Cousin!

Lots has been going on around here lately-somebody turned 5, Josh's sister brought a new baby into the family, and we have had 2 Thanksgivings!  And lots of other things thrown in the mix with all that.  In all that, I didn't take a lot of pictures (I think I needed a break after vacation!), so here is what I have.

Right after we got back from Puerto Rico, we had Sievers Thanksgiving.  We all got together at Josh's parents' house and visited and ate!

Diane, Jordon, Josh, and Ike.

Grandma Mary and Grandpa Dave with their kiddos!

We had a bunch of snow one day that the kids insisted they had to go play in...that lasted about 3 minutes.

Dave was so excited about the snow!

Ike had to ride his scooter of course

I mentioned above that Josh's sister had her baby a couple of weeks ago (11/18).  When she had Brooklyn, his mom brought up the two older kids to hang out for a couple days.

Ike, Sophie, and Spiderman Caleb.  He wore that costume the whole time he was at our house!

Here's baby Brooklyn!

Proud big brother :)

So, that's what we've been up to.  We also went to Grandma Bertie's for Thanksgiving day and saw some of Josh's aunt and uncles and Dave got to hang out with some of the cousins.  I still have to post about Dave's birthday...been putting that one off since I don't want him to be 5 already!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Last Day-Beach Time!

Our last full day we spent most of the time lounging by the beach.  We went to the Balneario Monserrate (a really nice public beach that you pay to get into) for the morning and then to the kiosks for some lunch.

Ike trying out the boogie board.

Riding in a wave.  This beach was super calm and had a swimming area.

Dave practicing his surfing.

This beach was so nice!

After lunch, we headed back to our condo to check in for our flight and then we were back out to enjoy the beach (La Pared) for the rest of the afternoon.  The kids really liked playing in the waves, but they were usually a little too strong for them to be out in for very long.

The kids repeatedly did this to watch their hands disappear in the surf.  Here's a video of Ike at the beach.

Lots of laying in the waves as well.

The kids are still doing the "water bucket challenge".

The next day we flew out at 4, so we went to the beach in the morning to soak up some last minute sunshine.

We caught a crab!

Last picture in Puerto Rico...wishing we were back on the beach now!

One last video...Ike playing with a coconut and a view of our beach.  So that's it!  Our trip really felt like an adventure and I think the kids enjoyed it.  It was really cool to hear them trying to speak to people using Spanish (they were good with saying please, thank you, yes, etc.).  I heard Dave tell one of his teachers this morning that vacation was "great! and we played at the beach!!".  I told Josh that I would love to go back when the kids are older so they could take surf lessons and we could visit the western side of the island (we missed that whole side and most of the south).  I highly recommend this as a great way to experience the Caribbean without needing a passport-and it's a pretty reasonably priced beach vacation.

El Yunque Rain Forest

On Monday we went to visit El Yunque, which is the only rain forest in the United States.  It was so beautiful there and unlike anything we had seen before.  We bypassed the visitor center and went straight on to find some of the waterfalls.  First up was Coco Falls, which was right on the road.

View of the falls.

Have I mentioned the humidity in Puerto Rico?  Made it hard to take pictures sometimes!

We found the trailhead to La Mina Falls and started off.  And it was about 3 times as long as I thought.  Oops.  The kids were troopers and Ike did a pretty good job, but Dave complained about 75% of the hike.  Oh well, I really wanted to do it and sometimes kids just have to suck it up right?  Anyway, we hiked and hiked and hiked until we finally got to the falls.

Trudging along.

We frequently stopped for breaks.

Feeling how cold the water was.

Looooong trail to the falls!

I think it was worth it though!  Had to work hard to get this picture without people in it.

Dave trying to swing on a vine that was hanging by the trail.

Ike kept scampering off the trial to go on adventures by himself.

After the hike, we treated ourselves to some pinchos and rellenos at a stand along the road.  We ended up really enjoying the morning we spent exploring the rain forest and hope we can get back someday to do some more of that hiking!  :)  But seriously, I read the book Wild (the one about the lady who hiked solo for 3 months) while we were in Puerto Rico and now I want to go backpacking...maybe when the kids are older?


One of our favorite parts of any vacation is eating.  We love to try new things and introduce the kids to them as well.  Puerto Rican food was amazing and we tried all kinds of new foods!

We stopped at numerous food truck type places and roadside stands that served things like pinchos (meat on a stick essentially), rellenos (stuffed mashed potato balls), and fried plantains.  The kids liked all of that stuff pretty well since it wasn't too far off the norm.  We also sampled some carne fritas and mofongo (like a plantain cup with fried meat on top of it).

There was a surf competition going on right next to where we were staying and a couple of food trucks set up shop there.

These stuffed tacos were crazy delicious.  Ike loved them, Dave not so much.

Sunday night, Josh and I went out to sample different foods at the kiosks.

Josh had to pose in this little alcove that was on the floor of our condo.

At the Tattoo Tavern.

Josh and his pizza.  He just can't stay away from it!

We also tried a great burger place while we were out that night called El Jefe.  We liked it so much that we brought the kids back to it a couple days later.

You can kind of see the beach behind us-this is the back side of all the kiosks.

Dave chowing down on his burger.

He got to write his and Ike's name on the wall!

Eating pinchos in the rain forest.  Can't beat that view!!

We also had Wendy's (Josh had to order completely in Spanish-that was interesting) and ate frequently at the bar and grill that was next to our condo.  Oh, and we ate Church's Chicken at the airport, haha.  All in all we had great experiences out to eat and everyone was very nice considering we didn't speak Spanish and had two not-so-patient kids with us!