Tuesday, May 31, 2011

memorial weekend...

was relaxing, reflective (for me), and wonderful. we spent lots of time at the lake with my family (the blanchettes- the whole clan) eating, cooking, laughing, swimming, and just loving being together.

***many thanks to cecily for the the pictures of my kiddos. i love them. :)***

and i was convicted time and time again throughout the weekend of the incredible gratitude i have for the brave and courageous men and women who serve in our military.

i tried to explain to these two precious children how we are to be grateful for those that have served in the past, like their great grandfathers in world war 2 and their gramps in vietnam. i hope they respect and remember those that have died in combat protecting our country and our freedom. i told olivia how we don't even know them but their indescribable sacrifice needs to be remembered and honored. and i hope they learned that we are to be grateful for those that are serving and protecting us right now.

happy memorial day!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

jack's REAL birthday day...

was so much fun!! we celebrated our big 3 year old boy with just our little family on saturday, his real birthday. jack picked the agenda, but we all had a fun day.
our birthday boy. 3 years old!

the day started at krispy kreme donuts. jack LOVES sweets, so donuts for breakfast are a favorite for him. he also loves machines, so watching the donuts being made on the krispy kreme assembly line machine makes this extra special. we had a fun morning at the donut shop.
jack with a glaze mustache and daddy being silly wearing the hat.
j and o looking cute in their hats.
while we were there we planned our next stop. since jack received a toys r us gift card from uncle mark, (thanks uncle mark!) we decided that we should stop by toys r us and pick out a new toy. after about 45 minutes of walking the aisles and pondering what to choose, jack and mark ended up with a new train set. i say jack and mark because i think mark might be just as excited about the purchase.

then it was time to head to the mall. a few weeks ago jack and i were at the mall running some errands and as a reward i let him go into the disney store for a few minutes. while we were playing in the store he discovered their "build a car" section of the store. he wanted to build one that day, but i suggested that we come back on his birthday. well he did not stop asking about building his own car, so today was the BIG day. he had lots of fun picking out which car body he wanted-- lightening mcqueen, of course.
then he chose the tires and rims and put those together.
finally it was time for the power tools. he was so excited to screw the chassis into place. (i did not even know this word until saturday. it is basically the "insides" of the car.) he got the whole thing together and was so proud until he realized that it had no power. we were trying to save a few dollars and not do the remote control version. jack was not pleased with this decision. we were suckered into changing it out for the remote control version, so we got to build the car all over again. that was fun for jack!!
then it was time to try to it out. it was fun and fast. he was a very happy boy!!
and of course we had to get at least one family picture...
while we were in the disney store jack got another surprise. our helper gave him a happy birthday button and then asked us to go into the center of the store. they put jack's name up on the screen and everyone in the store wished him a happy birthday. it was so fun!! i love that disney is all about the little details. jack was a little overwhelmed and nervous with all the attention, but i know he felt special. :)
it was lunch time after our disney store adventure so we went up to the food court and had a little lunch before heading home for a good afternoon nap.

it was a great day celebrating our jack-jack. he gets funnier everyday and always keeps us laughing. i can't believe he is 3!!! happy birthday sweet boy!! we love you! mommy, daddy, and olivia

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

olivia's last days at ccdc...

were so sweet!! it has been the perfect preschool for her. i feel like god answered my prayers when olivia was given a spot in the baby room 5 years ago. ms. stacy and ms. sharon cared for her in the sweetest ways. they encouraged her to crawl and even walk that year. then she moved up to the toddler 1 class. ms. pam and ms. melissa always had a fun story to share about how olivia talked all day and made them smile. her first year of "real" preschool brought ms. anderson and ms. lacy into our lives. they made learning so much fun! you never really knew what crazy hat they would be wearing or what the room was going to be transformed into for the week. they also loved olivia for exactly who she was. her 3 year old preschool year we were once again blessed. ms. cavenaugh and ms. goreshi gave olivia the perfect environment for her to gain a passion for learning and school. they also taught her so much about jesus through the songs they sang, and stories they shared, and their example. and that brings me to this year's teachers- ms. clark and ms. bosch. these ladies are so special and that is exactly how they make olivia feel, like she is the most important student in the class. her days this year have begun and ended with GIANT hugs and smiles from each of them. ms. clark has challenged olivia in all the right ways and encouraged her to be the child god created her to be. ms. bosch has connected with olivia and her love for learning. i know she has spent so much time nurturing her. this little school has the most encouraging and loving staff. each of olivia's teachers have been such a blessing and helped shape her love of learning and the little girl that she has become.
on tuesday of last week we (the parents and families) were invited to a celebration. olivia and all the 4 year olds sang several of their favorite songs they have learned through their years at ccdc. olivia LOVES being on the stage and singing, even though she gets nervous. :)

then after the singing and dancing, each child was called up to get their award and a cross necklace for completing preschool. they don't really call it graduation, but i guess that is what it was.
waiting nervously for her name to be called.
she walked so fast that we didn't get a picture of the award or necklace exchange. :)

the fun then moved out to the courtyard where we had a big family picnic with all of her friends from her class, their families, and of course ms. clark and ms. bosch.
o and ms. clark
o and ms. bosch

it was a special day. the last two days (wednesday and thursday) were filled with lots of fun and soaking in all the friendship, laughter, and love that olivia has experienced over the last several years.

i was really fine on the last day. no tears or anything. i credit this to several different things. first, jack is going to be there again in the fall so i don't really feel like i am closing this chapter completely, yet!! i am a super slow processor. it will probably hit me in about a month the reality that olivia is going to school 5 days a week and we are moving from one "stage" of life to another. and finally, she is so excited and ready for kindergarten!! i know she is going to LOVE it!!

so another milestone is met, this one like so many of the others, with joy in my heart and gratitude that i have been given the priviledge to be called mommy by this special little girl and get to experience all that her life is right along side of her.

Monday, May 9, 2011

cousin love...

"To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. "
~Barbara Bush

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mother's day...

mother's day was a special day for me and for the multiple generations of great mothers that i celebrate on this day.

the day began as most sundays do at our house, mark wakes up SUPER early and gets ready to go to church to begin band rehearsal at 7:00 am. he usually leaves the house around 6:45. later the kids and i make our way out of bed and start getting ready for church too. while we were in the middle of our "typical sunday morning routine" my first surprise of the day-- mark came home with breakfast tacos for everyone!! yummy! then surprise number 2-- he stayed home and helped get the kids ready for church and we all rode in ONE car to church!!! i know this doesn't seem like a big deal, but this was the best gift for me. thanks babe!! before we all got in the car he took a few pictures with kids and i. yay for surprise number 3!! i never think to take pictures WITH my kids. :)

then after church we {our little fam of 4} had a lovely brunch/lunch on the patio. it was a perfect sunny afternoon and so relaxing. the food was pretty good too. i loved being together with all my favorite people. surprise number 4!! (sorry no pictures!)

then we were off to celebrate with my family for the evening. we had a low-key afternoon hanging around the house and then about 4:30 the grandmothers arrived. olivia and jack played in the pool, we sat around and chatted, and the guys {my dad, mark, and my brother} made dinner. i am pretty sure my mom helped with the meal too, but the guys did most of the work.

me, gram lois, gram millie, and mom

my mom and her mom. (i love this picture and all that it represents to me.)
olivia and uncle sean. (just a cute pic of them after o got out of the pool.)

we sat down and enjoyed the yummy lasagna dinner around the big dinning room table. we thanked god for the His many blessing especially the moms sitting around the table. there were 4 of us- me, my mom, my dad's mom, and my mom's mom. i am so blessed to have each of these woman in my life. each of their examples have played a HUGE part in the woman that i am today and especially the mother that i am to my children. what an honor to have them in my life and to celebrate with them today. after dinner there was dessert and a few gifts exchanged to each of the mom's around the table.

what a great day! after we got to my parents house, i stopped counting the number of surprises because there were too many. i am so grateful and blessed. :)

i can't end this post without a mention to my mother-in-law, marsha. we did invite her to spend part of the day with us, but she and danny had the chance to go to the maverick's game so it didn't work out. i am so thankful they went because they were able to witness the mavs beat the lakers in a 4 game sweep. it was a great game!! all that to say, my MIL is the BEST!! i truly feel like a daughter to her, not a daughter in -law. she is an incredible mother. i am so grateful to have her wisdom and example as i raise her grandchildren. she always has an encouraging word to give and you always leave her presences knowing that you are deeply loved. i think that was her secret to raising such great children herself. today i thought about her often and celebrate the fantastic woman, mom, and friend that she is to me. love you b!! :)

to all of my friends that are mothers, i hope that you were pampered, loved, and honored today. to those of you who are missing your mom today, i pray that today was not filled with too much sadness and you were able to recognize the numerous ways that she impacted your life and the person you are today.

happy mother's day!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

center stage...

olivia took to the stage once again for her dance recital. this year she has been in a combo, tap and ballet class, so she was in TWO dances at this year's recital. same costume, just a quick shoe change from pink ballet shoes to shiny black tap shoes. she had a BLAST! it is so much fun to watch her on the stage and feel all the love and support from her BIG ol' family.

she LOVES to get all dressed up in her costume and put on her stage make-up.
it is becoming a tradition that we do make-up and hair with kk at her house and then ride down to the theater together. just another fun memory they get to make together. :)

she and kingsley were getting excited as we entered in the theater for dress rehearsal.
i think it is really neat that they have the recital downtown at the Magestic Theater. it feels so special and very new york inside.

a few of her fan club members waiting for the show to begin.
christman, jack, and abby.

finally time to take the stage to perform.
i love the smirk on her face. so proud, excited, and having fun and yet a little embarrassed all at the same time.

after the show the WHOLE family was waiting for the girls as they came down the stairs. here they are greeting their fans!!
this might have been the best part for them. the pictures do not capture the giggles, smiles, and joy they had at this moment.

and they LOVE all the flowers.

and then we headed off to dinner at mariano's to celebrate our dancing clowns!! such a fun night!!

thank you to...

nana and gramps
b and pop
and the rest of the fifer gang for supporting our little dancer and making her feel so special on her big night.

olivia, we love so much and are so proud of you!! your "toothless" smile shined so bright on that stage. it is such a joy to watch you have fun and make such fun memories.
love~ mommy, daddy, and jack

a visit from the tooth fairy...

well, our not even kindergartener has recently received a visit from the tooth fairy. actually, the tooth fairy has come three times in a little over a month!! i just can't believe how fast the teeth a falling out!!

it all started on spring break when olivia's middle bottom tooth came out while she was eating a granola bar. this one took me completely by surprise. she had been telling me it was loose, but i had no idea it was that loose!!

then about a week ago the top ones started getting really wiggly. of course, she didn't stop touching them so those babies were ready. sunday night she pulled out top tooth number one. :)

the tooth fairy was very generous when she made her visit to take this tooth. $5!!! she was so excited and came running out the next morning to share her loot!!

after the first top tooth was out the other one loosened up very quickly and became a snaggle tooth for a few days. then on thursday morning at school, olivia let her teacher pull it out. 2 front teeth out in less than a week!! the tooth fairy's budget did not have time to recover and left her $2. i thought that was great, but she and daddy were both disappointed. geesh!!
it has been really fun to hit this milestone and relive the excitement of visits from the tooth fairy. this is the beginning of so much transition that is on our horizon. kindergarten in the fall and now her appearance, as well as her attitude, maturing from a little girl to big girl. a part of me wants to be sad and hold on to my little girl, but i know that god has great plans for her and the woman she will one day become, so i am thankful that i get a front row seat and have the opportunity to be apart of her journey.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


i know wrote a post similar to this about olivia when she was around 18 months old. jack is just now getting his moment (at almost 3 years old), but i guess that comes with the territory of being the second child. ha! :0) my mom mentioned the other day that i needed to blog about the funny things that jack says so that we will not forget them. let me first say that jack says something funny about every hour, so there is no way to record them all, but he has a few "phrases" that he has coined that i never want to forget...

(if you are not family, you probably don't care or think these are nearly as adorable as we do, so feel free to stop reading now.)

"i can't like it!"-- rather than saying "i don't like it." or "no thank you!" jack says "i can't like it!" he has been saying it for quite awhile now. i think gramps might like this phrase the best, he has worked it into his vocabulary, but we all think it is pretty funny.

"la-la"-- his nickname for his sister, olivia. it is so sweet to hear him say it and really he is the only one who calls her that, which i love. olivia has a ton of nicknames which i am sure will start to fade away, but i hope jack never stops calling her "la-la."

"mr. the king"-- the veteran race car from the movie CARS. jack is slightly obsessed with the movie and all things related to CARS. he never leaves home with out a car, preferably lighten mcqueen in hand and knows almost every word of the movie by heart. i thought that all of the characters in the movie referred to this character as "mr. the king" but apparently not! to everyone else, he is "the king" to jack, our little family, and mater (the funny tow truck in the movie) he is mr. the king.

walking backward-- this goes with the obsession of CARS. this is not something that jack says, but rather some he does. he walks backward, like mater (funny tow truck) and quotes a line from the movie, "Ain't no need to watch where I'm goin'; just need to know where I've been."

"clause it!" or "closet!" -- this is used instead of the word "pause" when he is watching a show that he would like for me to pause while he runs to the other room for a moment or comes to the breakfast table in the morning.

"do you LOVE _____?"-- this is a phrase i hear at least 10 times a day. when ever i am doing something jack walks into the room and asks, "do you love making the bed mommy?" "do you love holding me?" "do you love driving your car?" "do you love cooking dinner for us?" i don't have any idea where he got this, i am sure i say it and don't realize it, but i know i don't say it that often and not for doing chores!! it is sweet that he is always concerned about how i am feeling about things. :)

"squareheads"-- probably the newest jack-ism, discovered just days ago while he was having a snack at nana's house. she was giving him quaker oatmeal square cereal. after finishing his portion he looked at nana and said, "nana, can i please have some more of those squareheads?" now he refers to all square shaped cereal as "squareheads."

i know there are more, but those are the ones that i have thought of for the moment. as i write this i am so thankful for the joy, energy, sense of humor, and the happiness that jack brings to our family. thank you god for allowing us the gift of having him in our lives and to watch him grow.