Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Elizabeth's 3rd birthday, Melanie's wedding, and more

I was pretty sure I would have more time to post on the blog after I had graduated, but somehow we've been just as busy. Here is a picture of some reading time with Grandma that must have been taken sometime in April!

Here is a picture of Elizabeth when Grace came to visit and brought the dress that Elizabeth loves to wear best when we visit Grace's house!

The girls playing dresss up with Grace. Ah, the joy of dresses!

We've recently been harvesting the carrots that we are pictured planting here. Yep, I need to keep up better with our pics!

Vanessa decided one day to dress up like her daddy, complete with glasses, hat, button-up shirt, and belt.

This picture is from Easter. (Hey, at least it's not from as far back as Christmas!) You can see some plastic eggs with special treats, Elizabeth's new Totoro book, and some Winnie the Pooh Duplos that were some of their surprises that morning.

Aunt Heather and Uncle Terry brought some triple color-changing cars. They change one color when they get cold, and they change a third color when they get hot.

They pretty much played with these cars for an hour or so! In fact, they liked them so much that I decided to include cars like these as part of Elizabeth's birthday party later.

Just some cozy bedtime storytime with Daddy!

How cool is it to open a present bigger than yourself? Thanks Grandma K and Grandpa K, for this dollhouse castle!

Elizabeth spends some time with her Grandpa on her birthday. Elizabeth has been getting very particular about making sure she gets enough Grandpa hugs lately.

Hannah was super helpful in getting my house ready for a party, and here she is pushing little ones in the swing during the party. Is it really possible for someone to be so helpful and fun in just one person? I can't wait to see Hannah again when she visits soon!

So, those color changing cars are making a reappearance in this picture. I got lots more of them! Bridget is rolling one down the big ramp, while Sabi rolls one down the little ramp and Keren waits for a turn. My dad made a couple of awesome improvised ramps at the last second because I decided I wanted some.

Elizabeth said she wanted a strawberry shortcake, so she got one! Made by me and decorated by Nana. Elizabeth did a great job blowing out the candle!

Paige and Caroline enjoy some cake!

Just some simple marker time with Paige and Tess as the party started to wrap up.

Well, actually, it was unwrapping time! Many birthday parties wait until afterwards to open presents to limit the chaos a little, but actually, I think it was pretty fun to do it this way, and I know Elizabeth liked it too!

Aunt Joanna was able to make it to the party too! And here are Vanessa and Nana, of course!

Uncle Zak giving a superman back ride! It's a good thing Zak has so much energy because Elizabeth never seemed to tire of this excitement! I seem to remember Aunt Heather also giving a good number of adventurous back rides to Vanessa and Elizabeth that day.

Vanessa gets a back ride from Grandpa K.

A big family picture! James, Mary, Zak, my Dad, Hannah, and me across the back, with Vanessa, Donna, and Elizabeth across the front.

Fast forward a month or so to Melanie's wedding in Michigan! Here are Grandpa, Aunt Kalena, Uncle John, and Angelique.

Grandma Lou and Grandpa Phil arrived by horse and carriage! So sweet.

Here are Brian and his Grandpa, seeming to enjoy the music and stunningly beautiful weather that day.

Elizabeth couldn't be happier to see her Grandpa!

Vanessa gets a hug from Uncle Brian!

Here are James's Great-Uncle Gordon and Great-Aunt Jean.

Cousin Cynthia with her boyfriend Mike.

Time for a Mommy and Elizabeth cuddle!

Melanie and Derek, the happy couple!

I and the girls got a lift back to the reception in the horse-drawn carriage. What a treat!

A little daddy-daughter dance time!

Vanessa is dancing near the very young ring bearer Landon and his daddy, cousin Philip. What a cute and well-behaved ring bearer Landon was!

A very sweet daddy-daughter dance!

Vanessa danced many of the dances with her second cousin McKenna, the flower girl.

Me, Elizabeth, McKenna, and Vanessa!

Here are James's cousin Matthew and his daughter Clare.

Elizabeth also had a turn dancing with McKenna!

And she had a turn dancing with Aunt Joanna!

On our way back from Michigan, we stopped for a couple of nights at Niagara Falls. Here we are with the falls in the background.

My turn to take a picture! Everyone say Niagara Falls! We also went behind the falls through the tunnels, and enjoyed a closer and mistier view of the falls.

The girls are looking out of the window in our hotel room to see how the falls glowed at night.

We stopped by my friends Sara and Lee's house in Pennsylvania on the way back from Niagara Falls. Here is their littlest daughter Adalyn carrying around a grown-up purse. My girls had so much fun running around in all the lovely open spaces in the house.

Elizabeth standing in front of some of the riding toys she tried out while we were there.

I was so glad that Vanessa and Aryana got along like two kids who have been friends for a long time (which I guess they have!) We went to a theme park called Dutch Wonderland the following day, where all the girls enjoyed merry-go-rounds, sky rides, train rides, and even roller coasters for the bigger girls. Pictures to follow if I can get around to posting some!

So here is one thing that has been keeping us super busy lately -- home renovations! We hired some contractors to help us tear up the carpet in the basement, and had our shower retiled upstairs. We are glad to get rid of that old carpet and tile, and we are enjoying our new spaces! We've also been repainting all our rooms, and the girls room is bright pink now!

The girls are in Spanish camp this week, and I am pleased to say that they are enjoying it (although they are definitely worn out quite a bit each day). Grandma just visited and helped entertain the worn out girls on some very hot days good for playing inside. She brought new 18-inch dolls and hand-made doll clothes which the girls have been enjoying immensely.