Monday, February 28, 2011

Birthday Fun!

And the theme this year was: Princess
Kiera picked this castle cake to make.

How fitting that her boy cousins came over and loved playing with her princess castle!
The VanHulzen clan helping us sing to Kiera at her b-day supper
Daddy and Kiera working on one of Kiera's gifts from us. Kiera had 3 friends over for a princess party. We played all sorts of princess games. They had lots of fun. Here they are working on a craft while we paint their fingernails.
Kiera blowing out her candles

Kiera having an ice cream cone (only one girl actually had cake at the party...go figure)

The highlight of the party was playing the game "Getting ready for the ball". Ryan's mom brought a bunch of her Mary Kay samples and the girls got to get makeovers and their nails done. They absolutely LOVED this!

Kiera got to sit on the throne whenever she opened her gifts.
Our Princess and her cake
Kiera playing with a strawberry shortcake clubhouse she got.
Our sweet girl kindly letting her brothers help open her gifts.
The three cheesers
Totally unrelated: Last night Joel fell and smacked his nose on the coffee table. We don't think it is broken, but he is definitely swollen and black and blue. Poor little guy! We can tell them apart now!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

To My Precious Daughter...

I dedicate this post to my precious daughter Kiera who turned 5 today. We will try to get pictures up of her birthday in the next few days.

It seems like just yesterday that we were walking around the Almond Blossom Festival eating as much fried food and getting as much exercise as we could to try an induce labor. The next morning we headed in to the hospital. After being sent home twice and dilating to 10 at home, Kiera was born within 20 minutes of being there. She is still often in a hurry and wanting things done right now!

It isn't very often that Kiera gets the spotlight in a post. Over and over again the boys overshadow her, but today we are focusing on her. She is my little ray of sunshine! What a bubbly happy girl she is. She is always smiling and giggling. We like to call her "little miss Giggles". She loves to tell knock-knock jokes and thinks her are always the funniest! There are very few days that I can remember her being grumpy. She has such a positive outlook on life and on people.

Kiera also is my never ending talker. She started talking at a very young age and hasn't stopped since. Her vocabulary is amazing and I so often chuckle at the grown up things she says to me. Some days I wish she would just take a little breather and rest her voice, but I love to listen to her take on life and constant questions. I will definitely miss her chatter (especially since I have 2 boys who rarely talk) when she starts Kindergarten this fall.

Kiera is such a people person. She loves to socialize with her friends. Story hour is the highlight of her week since her class right now is all girls. What a giggly bunch! Kiera is very tender heart and is quite sensitive to other peoples feelings and is quick to please and make someone else feel better even if it means she goes without. She loves to go places and be where people are.

Kiera loves to mother her brothers. Because we had twins, Kiera was forced to grow up very quickly. She spent many hours helping me feed bottles and put pacifiers back in. She is so quick to pitch in and keep the peace between her brothers. She quite often will give up a toy just to make them stop crying knowing that she'll get it back in 30 seconds. I am constantly amazed at how grown up her thinking is in negotiating with her brothers and entertaining them. She is so good with them and always has time to share her toys with them. They love playing Strawberry Shortcake and Princesses with her and she is learning how to tell them what to do and say.

Kiera loves to learn and has been lots of fun to teach preschool to. She has really mastered her letter writing and it is so fun to see the light turn on when she grasps something new. She loves to do crafts but prefers to do them with someone else. She has a very active imagination and plays make-believe so well. She can spend hours in her room playing Barbies by herself and I love listening to her talk her characters in whatever it is she's doing. She can be so girly-girl and into princesses one minute and playing trains and cars the next.

God has definitely blessed us with a beautiful daughter who has brought us joy in so many different ways. Her love for Jesus is so evident in the songs she sings, the care she has for others, and the actions she shows in her willingness to help out around the house and obey the first time. These past 5 years have gone way too quickly, and I am amazed at all she has learned and the person she has become. I pray that God will continue to give us wisdom in raising this precious child to love and serve him with her whole heart and to become less dependent on us and more dependent on Him. Thank you Lord for this precious child you have lent to us. We pray for many many more years together. We love you so much Kiera and couldn't be prouder of you!!! Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun with the Nelsons

Levi had a cooking party for his birthday
The kids having a little R & R after naps.
Tori and Kiera were inseparable. They had so much fun together. Even had to dress the same!

Having an older boy cousin is awesome when he builds tracks like this!
Kiera and Tori showing us what they learned at ballet

Ryan had a youth retreat over President's weekend so I decided it was time to visit my sister. We headed up to Duluth to see my sister Tami and family. We had a fun time just hanging out and laughing a lot! We were able to celebrate Levi's 9th birthday with him, Kiera got to attend ballet with Tori, the boys had fun confusing Elli (who's their same age) who liked to call them "elab", and the adults got some great games played after the kids went to bed. It was very relaxing and so nice to spend time with my sister. We even got to extend our stay when a snow storm blew into the midwest and made driving very dangerous. So we just hung out a little longer and laughed some more! Thanks so much for a fun weekend!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I can't believe a month has gone by since I last updated. Yikes! January was full of snow and very cold temps. We tried to plan lots of things that would keep us from getting cabin fever. Here are some highlights from our month:

~Wednesday coffee break/story hour. The boys started attending the Little Lambs at the beginning of the year and LOVE it. The funniest time was when they made a fruit loop necklace and when I picked them up, all they had was the string. They spent the whole class eating their necklace!

~Play dates with friends

~Playing outside on the few days it hit 30 degrees

~"Helping" daddy shovel snow

~Trips to the Library and Target (to eat popcorn and look at toys)

~Going to the Children's Museum

~Playing at Xcite (the local business that has giant inflatables)

We had a fun month just looking for ways to stay warm! Ryan and I were able to enjoy a date night on his birthday. It was a rare treat and we had a great time!

Here are some snapshots from January:

The boys playing in Kiera's room
The oompaloompa's shoveling snow
Playing Lego's with Daddy
Here's a great shot for down the road...they love to wear Kiera's tutu's
Reading books