Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holland, MI

For the past 3 years we have visited a different part of Michigan. This summer we chose to vacation for a long weekend in Holland. Michigan is so beautiful! I wish we would have started this tradition sooner. The drive took us about 3 hours and the kids were happy eating snacks and watching movies. We drove straight to a little amusement park called Michigan's Adventure, which is actually in Muskegon and around 30 minutes away from where we were staying in Holland. Our kids aren't daredevils by any stretch of the imagination. We did the ferris wheel together then we split up. Nick took Maya on the "Wild Mouse Ride" and I took Josh and Cora over to the kids area. An hour later, Maya and Nick come find us and Maya looks completely terrified and states she doesn't want to go on anything else. The amusement park was kind of a bust, but I did get Josh to go on a rollercoaster with me. He was so brave! We stayed another hour or two after that.

Our fearless leader checking out the map

After the park we took off for the hotel. Cora was being an absolute stinker and was crabby/mean because she didn't get a good nap in. She fell asleep in the car but it was nearly long enough! The kids were excited to stay in a hotel. We got settled in for an hour then decided to go check out Lake Michigan because the next day was going to be rainy. The lake was gorgeous! I couldn't believe we were still in Michigan. It felt like we were near the ocean -- such soft and clean sand, and the water was clean and fun to play in. I wish we could have stayed a bit longer but it had already been a long day and we still needed to find something to eat for dinner.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel then we went swimming for a few hours in the pool. Poor Josh had a terrible reaction to the chlorine and ending up with itchy hives on the back of his legs. It looked so awful! We gave him some Benadryl and Nick bought some cream which seemed to help him right away. Cora needed a nap so Nick took the big kids to this little shaved ice hut and they went back to the beach while it was clear out. Later that night we walked around downtown Holland and let the kids pick out a toy at the local toy shop. What a cute area! After dinner at Red Robin we went to a frozen yogurt place that offered, not one, BUT two dairy free alternatives! Josh was thrilled he got to "go out for ice cream". It was his first time. We had some great family time on our trip. It's not easy traveling with little ones, but I'm grateful we decided to go and make special memories together.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fund Run (September)

Maya and Josh's school do a yearly Fund Run to raise money for the school. We like to participate in this fundraiser because the money goes directly back to the school. The kids each raised over $100! Thanks to everyone who donated!

They let the kids go one grade at a time - 4th went first, down to the kindergarten kids last. It was fun to see Maya running with her class and laughing and waving at us as she went by. We saw a bunch of kids from Josh's class, but I didn't see him anywhere. Finally, we see him running with the last group of kids with huge crocodile tears streaming down his face. He was running like he was being chased by an axe murderer. Turns out he was afraid of getting ran over by kids who were running behind him. I felt bad he got so worked up over something like that. The next lap around I couldn't find Maya but after a few minutes I saw that Josh and Maya were together. She had gone back to help him and make him feel comfortable. She can be such a sweet sister sometimes and I am grateful. I love their red faces in these pictures!

Baptism Day

Maya's big day was on Sunday, October 19, 2014. We were happy that Grandma and Papa could come and support her on this special day. We know all of our family would have been there if they could have. One of the big downers of living this far away from everybody, but we made the most of it with our wonderful friends and ward family. I kept Cora home during the first part of church so she could get a nap in. After church we had a few hours to set up everything for the baptism. I learned that I don't handle stress and pressure very well. I also learned that I have a wonderful and supportive family and great friends to help me when I need it.

Once we were ready to start I could feel all of the pressure and tension melt off as I sat back and enjoyed the service. Maya asked me to give one of the talks and I spoke about baptism. I used some of the ideas from the "3 Bears of Baptism" talk that is floating around the internet. As I introduced the topic, I pulled out Maya's teddy bear that her great-grandma Giordano gave her as a baby. Her eyes lit up and I think it helped her focus a little more. After my talk Maya played, "Love One Another" plus a little song she composed on the piano. She was amazing! She only practiced it a few times on a real piano (we have a keyboard) and I thought she might decide to back down because of how many people were there. I was so proud as she marched up there and played like a pro! We then proceeded to the font and watched as she was baptized. It was an amazing thing to see -- Nick did great and I could hear his voice crack a bit. It was so sweet to witness. Aubrey, our awesome babysitter, gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. She did a wonderful job! Then Maya was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost. It was such a great service! I'm thrilled she made the choice to be baptized.

Our great friends, Mary, Jonathan, Sasha, and Sadie came to support Maya. We met through preschool and elementary school a few years ago. They are such awesome people! We were so glad they came.

Me and my girls. I love my sweet little family. We are proud of you, Miss Maya!

Maya's Birthday Party

Last spring we won a free Jungle Java birthday party as a raffle prize, so we saved it for Maya's birthday. She had a great time running around with her friends!

I have to say, we have such wonderful friends here in MI. We are so blessed to have them and we were grateful they could help us celebrate Maya's birthday!