Spring is here!!!

The snow has finally melted and the kids are so ready for the weather to be nice enough to go out and play!  I am starting to realize that I am going to have to find a happy medium on how much freedom I will give Tayden.  He sees the big kids out there running around and going from place to place, but I am just not ready to allow him to do that!  I fear that will cause some issues as we fall into a system!  Evalyn also thinks she can do what her brother is doing!  At least I can keep her inside the gates of our backyard, so my worry at this point is making sure she doesn’t fall off of the steps for the play set!!!

We have had a busy past month with 2 (yes 2!) trips to Colorado and Easter.  After being away from home for almost 2 weeks in the month of March, we decided we wanted to just be at home for Easter.  We were to happy to celebrate all that Jesus has done for us at our church before my family came to enjoy a nice meal with us afterwards!  I have been singing at the 10:45 service quite a bit so we usually get Tayden to Sunday School at 9:20 and then he’ll come to church with us at 10:45.  It can prove to be a long morning, but he does okay with it! (I mean, as far as 4 year olds go in church… could be better/could be worse!)

Colorado was great!  We skied with Seth’s mom, Todd and Zach while the kiddos stayed at my parent’s house. We stayed right at Copper Mountain and the weather was amazing with fresh powder one day and great ski conditions.  We drove home on a Sunday and then headed back to Colorado to meet Seth’s dad, Sandi, her daughter Allison, and her boyfriend Marty.  Tayden came with this time while Evalyn stayed back with Sheree!  The trip was a bit different this time what with the 4 y/o dynamic!  There wasn’t as much skiing but we definitely enjoyed a beautiful day at the Denver Zoo and took Tayden tubing at Copper Mountain.  We tried to take him skiing but that didn’t go nearly as well as we had hoped!  There’s always next year… or maybe even the year after!  He was really not enjoying the idea of not having control of his feet!!!

It was a busy month and we are finally getting back into the swing of life!  I am taking advantage of my time home with the kids and we spend most mornings at the gym as I’m training for a half marathon (amongst a few other races) this summer.  So I will either bring both kids or just Evalyn (while Tayden is at preschool) with me to the gym so I can do a class or run on the treadmill if I was unable to get a run in the night before.  This South Dakota weather is just frustrating!  It’s either cold or so stinking windy and I’m just a wimp when it comes to running in less than 45 degrees or more than 20mph winds!  I usually take a Tuesday or Thursday off to get groceries in the morning while Tay is at preschool since bringing both kids with me to the store is just not as easy!

Just a perspective – this is a typical day in our house!
6:20/6:40 Tayden and Seth wake up.  Tayden will watch a cartoon while Seth showers and gets ready for work.  I really wish I was a morning person as I’d love to be the wifey who gets up before the family and makes breakfast and coffee for everyone but I’m just not… not sure if I ever will be!!!

7:15/7:30 Evalyn will wake up.  This usually happens just as Seth is leaving and I’m getting up.  I will fix the kids breakfast and we’ll either get ready for preschool or to go to the gym/grocery store.  Out the door by 8:45/9.

11:45 get back home from errands or picking Tayden up from preschool and prepare lunch.  The kids will usually play upstairs or out in the backyard while I fix something.

1:15/1:30 would be nap time for Evalyn and rest time for Tayden.  Evalyn is still a great napper and Tayden will probably only nap 3 out of the 7 days!  He always has to take a rest though!  I use this time to quick clean the toys and kitchen.  I will then throw a load or two of laundry in, maybe grab a shower, mop/sweep, fold laundry, change bedding, clean the bathroom… but not all in one day!  Before I know it, it’s 3:30 and I may have been able to catch a 30 min break to actually sit down to fold a sock or two and start an episode of The Voice, Grey’s Anatomy, DWTS, or Scandal when the kids wake up (or get tired of reading books or watching a movie on the ipad).  We then play/read/puzzle/bike until …

4:30/5 I will start supper so it’s ready around 5:45 for when Seth gets home!

I teach lessons one night and if I sing on Sunday will go to Worship Practice another night.

7:00 baths

7:30 books

7:45 Eva in bed

7:45 Tayden in bed but his witching hour is just getting started so if he’s napped, he may play or sing or talk or read or…. for another 45 minutes.  If he hasn’t napped, he may fight bedtime and be really cranky and demanding and stubborn for another 45 minutes until he passes out. :-)   We cannot always guess how it will go!  Tonight he was super tired and went to sleep right away, we lucked out!

10/11 is our bedtime!

Anyway, that’s enough for now.  Here are a few pictures of the past few adventures!!!

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

We went bowling!

First trip to Colorado with The Kellers!

Back in CO with Tayden!

Ready to ski ... or not!

Family Tubing!!

Learning how to play pool with Grandpa Marc

Headed home with a Tiger for Eva!

Dying Eggs!


He LOVED coloring the eggs!

She's taking over the lawn mower this year!

God blessed me with a girl just so I have someone's hair to beautify!

Lucky and Blessed!

It’s almost February!!!

So much has happened in the past few months!  Thanksgiving was spent at the farm and it was a great time!  There was turkey, pie, 4 wheelers, and dune racers!  Christmas came and went, as it does; and we were super busy!  We all came down with Influenza 2 weeks before the holiday so that made trying to do all of the traditional baking a bit difficult!! We finally felt better to celebrate Christmas at the Farm the week before Christmas, do some baking and then head to Spirit Lake on Christmas Day after Santa came!

We celebrated the beginning of the year when my great college friend Amber and her kiddos came to visit for a few days while Kris, her husband was off on a retreat!  It was so nice to see her and let the kids play together!  There were 6 kids under one roof and it honestly felt like we were cooking, cleaning, cooking, fighting naps, cooking, cleaning, and then crashing!  It was a blast!

Now it’s almost February and I don’t know where the time has gone!  Evalyn is almost 19 months old!  She is such blessing!  We are definitely noticing the difference between a girl toddler and the way Tayden was when he was younger!

Here’s a bit about Evalyn:
*Still doesn’t talk much
*Yet she has occasional days where she will say 10+ words followed by a day with no words!
*She will point to the radio so I turn the music on so she can dance!
*LOVES Duplo blocks and will stack and re-stack them for extended periods of time!
*Loves My Little Pony and will seek out her stuffed animals when we turn an episode on.
*I just weaned her from nursing in the morning and we are now down to only nursing at bedtime :-(
*Tries to dress herself and will take socks and shoes off and put them back on repeatedly
*Helps me sweep, mop, feed puppies, dust, etc…
*Favorite foods are: PB&J, Mac N Cheese, Yogurt, Chicken Nuggets, Fruit, … normal toddler food and not much more!  My great eater kind of turned into a picky toddler – bummer!!

*She is generally a happy and energetic little girl who loves her brother SO much!  We thank God every day for her!

Tayden the 4 YEAR OLD!
*Is doing great in Preschool.  He’s making friends and looks forward to going on Tuesdays and Thursdays!
*He is Super into Legos!  He doesn’t quite build things just yet, but loves to play with the things that we have built for him!
*Loves Transformers and Autobots!
*He would go ride his bike or scooter every day if it wasn’t too cold outside!
*Still refuses to dress himself and would be perfectly content to run around in his undies all day long!
*He is starting to recognize letters!  He can pick out a letter that goes with a name or word!  Ex. “this Q is for the word Queen!”
*Is starting to be more respectful of Evalyn’s personal space and doesn’t always need to be pulling her over and hugging her!!
*He is still super picky and could honestly go a day without eating a meal!!!

As far as life goes, we are keeping busy here!

Entertaining a new Kitten!

Getting excited for 2 ski trips in March!

Here are a few pics of the past few months!

Celebrating my Birthday


Tayden turned 4!

My Grandparents came over on Christmas Eve!

Matching Jammies!

Bonding while shopping!

With Amber and Ava

I'm surprised the matching mittens aren't on too!

Meet Princess Luna Stormtrooper McQueen the 3rd! (Luna for short)

Wartburg Homecoming

This past weekend was my 10 year reunion at college.  It’s so hard to believe it’s been 10 years!  So much has changed!  I’ve moved across the country, gotten married, traveled to Jamaica and Hawaii, lived in 11 different places, welcomed 3 animals, and last but CERTAINLY not least, had 2 babies!

With the kids left safely at home with Grandma Sheree entertaining and chasing after them, we headed on out to Waverly, IA (about 5 hours away).  On our way there, we couldn’t decide what excited us most: seeing old friends, dining out without children, or sleeping in.  We then realized that I agreed to meet up with everyone at the parade on Saturday morning so our sleeping in dreams were taken away from us (at least for Saturday).

It was so much fun to be back on campus to see all of the things that have changed and all of the things that have stayed the same!  We snuck in to our old dorms, visited where we spent the MAJORITY of our time… The FAC  (Fine Arts Center), watched the football team dominate their homecoming game against The Dubuque Spartans, and ate very expensive croissants!

Engelbrecht Girls

Galena Girls +2

We were blessed with such a beautiful day so sitting through a great football game was a lot easier that we thought it would be at the beginning of the day when the temperature was in the low 40′s!  Before the football game, all of the alumni gathered in a tent to enjoy a very expensive croissant with veggies and apples while sharing our memories of days in the past.  It was almost like the past 10 years never happened and we could just jump back in to college mode.  It was so much fun!

Renee and I at the Game








Since we were SO far ahead in the game, we decided it was ok to head on out for supper!  Back in the day, we’d go take a nap for a few hours before heading on out for supper around 8!  BUT, our 10 years older bodies liked the idea of supper at 5 instead!  Renee really wanted some good Mexican food and I wanted Queso Blanco so Britta made sure to find just the restaurant!  Los Cabos in Cedar Falls was the pick and it hit the spot beautifully!  Margaritas and Sangrias all around for this group!  (But don’t worry, nobody had more than 2 as that’s all our parent induced tolerance allowed – except for Britta and Tory – they don’t have kids yet, so they can tolerate a bit more than us tired parents!)


Back at home…

Max ~ Tayden ~ Will

The kiddos seemed to be having a great time!  Grandma Sheree met up with Grandma Teresa (who was also entertaining her grandkids because their parents left them for a Pearl Jam concert!  I’m thinking Seth probably would have preferred to be with his cousin in the Cities at a concert instead of good old Waverly, IA… but he didn’t ever complain!) and Aunt Neen and they had so much fun!  They made Halloween cookies, a ghost family which currently resides in our kitchen, went to the zoo and played outside.  We were anticipating arriving home to some very happy, yet tired kiddos!

Now, back in Iowa we had finished up our supper and decided to convene back at the hotel for after dinner drinks.  I mean, back in the day, we surely would have headed to Joe’s or something to dance the night away, but that was in no way going to happen tonight!  As the night wore on and the clock neared 10pm we started yawning.  We managed to make it until around 11pm before we called it a night!  That’s late for us parents, you know!  We finally got to sleep in the following morning (you know, past 7am) and met at Ihop before departing in our separate ways for our homes to be reunited with our adorable kiddos!

All in all it was a great weekend and we look forward to our 15 year reunion!  We hear that we actually get to eat our reunion meal inside and might actually get served food on real plates!  Wahoo!

Tayden and Evalyn were so happy to see us when we got home and I’m sure Grandma was ready to go sleep in her own bed again too!

Evalyn is still enjoying the swag I brought back for her :-)

Future Wartburg Cheerleader?

Evalyn is 15 months

As I sit here writing in Eva’s baby book, I’m a bit sad to realize how fast this past year+ has gone!  My little baby girl is already a bit over 15 months old and she’s showing us new tricks every day!  In the past week we have heard her vocabulary go from 4 words (uh oh, hieee, mama and uh uh) which she’s been using for a good month to 9-10 words! (add in ‘gama’ (for grandma), puppy, kitty, ‘yeeyee’ (for Lilly), owie and ‘ah duh’ (for all done).  She’s also grasping on to the meaning of sign language and loves to use the sign for “all done”, “more” and “please”.  Surprisingly enough, these signs all revolve around anything happing with food!!!

We are starting to notice such a difference between having a daughter and a son!  She seems to show such an interest in dancing and music!  She is also drawn more to animated musical things on the tv screen.  She has a love for ponies and balls which leads us to believe we’ll have a sensitive athlete!!!  Tayden was more interested in toy animals and cars at this age.

Evalyn has this immense LOVE for the dogs and her and Lilly really seem to have a special relationship; this is why I’m not surprised that “yee yee” is one of her first words!  She loves her naps and lays down so nicely.  She still appreciates to take 2 naps a day (knock on wood) and will go pick up her blankie and stuffed giraffe when I ask her if it’s time for a nap.  She’ll then walk to the gate and wait for me to open it to go downstairs.  My favorite part is that when I walk her to her room, she lays her head on my shoulder.  Bless her heart!  I’m hoping she always sleeps this well as Tayden is the exact opposite when it comes to sleeping!

Eva always seems to be happy and loves her family.  She enjoys ‘trying’ to play with her brother and her favorite thing is confiscating his ipad to play with the piano app!  We need to be careful with these two kids!  They will soon become more efficient with the technology than … well me, as it’ll take some time before they surpass their daddy!

Our sweet baby girl is such a delight and we couldn’t be more lucky!

Orchard/Pumpkin Patch trip

For the past few years, we’ve managed to make it out to the orchard to pick some apples and or find some pumpkins!  This year, we made it out there twice! Once with Grandma Sheree to pick apples and once with our great friends Dan and Cathy!  We are enjoying to get to know Cathy (Dan’s girlfriend) better… and if she loves our two kiddos half as much as Dan does, then she’s welcome in our house anytime!  :-)

When we went to look for pumpkins, they were quite picked over, but Tayden managed to find his perfect pumpkin. (To add to the multitude of pumpkins we brought home from Grandma Sheree’s pumpkin patch) We plan to paint and carve our pumpkins a bit later, so we’ll have to keep them nice and safe until then!  When I say safe, I mean safe from the little hands that like to play catch and such with anything that will roll or bounce!
It was fall festival at the Harrisburg Apple Orchard which made Tayden super stoked to partake in all of the activities.  Evalyn was content to watch her brother play, but definitely had to get out of the stroller to check out the animals.  She is a lover of all creatures furry!

Climbing to the top of the slide!

Waiting for the train ride!

Haystack Jumping!

Checking out the Chickens

Tayden the goofball

We had the opportunity to watch the neighbor boy Alex a today because his mom was at a meeting at his big sister’s school so what do you think we did?  We made Halloween cupcakes, of course!  The boys were so excited to help make them too!  I think the hardest part for them was waiting for the cupcakes to bake and cool!  Tayden kept coming up every 3 minutes asking if they were done yet so they could frost them!  I finally had to explain to him that if he keeps coming up to ask me that question, I’ll never get the frosting made for them to decorate the cupcakes with!  :-)

Making the cupcakes

Tayden’s friend Alex is quite picky so when I gave the boys the beaters so they could lick the batter off, he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to try it!

Checking the recipe

After the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I had the audacity to make the boys eat lunch!  Can you imagine how hard that was?!  Who wants chicken nuggets and *gasp* veggies when they can have a freshly frosted cupcake?!  Haha!! Unfortunately, I never got a picture of the boys frosting and devouring their cupcakes but I did manage to snap one of Evalyn testing hers out before she smeared the frosting all over her face and high chair!

Once Alex left with his cupcakes to share with his family, it was time for us to clean up.  Of course we had to do some laundry and Tayden finally figured out that he can be a great helper when it comes to laundry.  I’m so glad…

And with that folks, I’m headed off to the store to grab a gourmet cupcake.  I hear Hy Vee has some delicious ones!

30 years of Service for Dad

So, when I was 5 1/2 we moved from Sioux Falls to Spirit Lake, Iowa for my dad to manage the Hy Vee Wine and Spirits store.  It was a great opportunity for our family but it was a hard move for my mom.  She loved Sioux Falls and she was 9 months pregnant.  She wasn’t excited to move to a small town where she didn’t know anybody.  Fast forward 3o years and my mom would tell you she’s so glad they took that chance and so am I!  I loved growing up in Spirit Lake.  I loved the small town feel.  Our school was great with a fabulous music and athletic program.  I had enough opportunities to grow into the woman I am today and realize what I want in my life in regards to how to raise our kids and what values we would like to incorporate.  I always find myself trying to figure out how we are going to provide our children with the same opportunities we had as kids yet not overwhelm them.

But, back to my dad!  It was fun to hear all about the Hy Vee corporation and what they are doing now to grow.  Apparently they are moving into The Cities (MN) and I think that’s awesome!  I had the chance to work for my dad during the summers when I was home from college and I wouldn’t change that for anything.  I helped my relationship with him and to be honest, having him as my boss helped me to respect him more.  I was able to see him in action and I think he does such a great job with his store.  He knows how to manage his accounts so as to keep them happy with product in their restaurants/bars and the promise of his service whenever needed.  You can ask that man anything about wine, beer or liquor and he can answer it (something that came in quite handy when I was newly of drinking age!)  I just had so much fun working with him and I honestly think that most of his employees do too!

My dad was probably the best boss I’ve had!  I’m assuming he probably won’t work for Hy Vee much longer but I think he will agree that he is super lucky to be a part of this company!  He deserves recognition for the service he has given to Hy Vee!


Block Party

A few of us in our neighborhood got together to plan a block party and it was this past weekend!  It was fun to get to know some neighbors a little bit better and meet some of the new ones!  I just learned that a new family that recently moved in is from Marshall, MN and I worked with their son in the marching band when I was there a few years ago!  It’s such a small world!

Quite a few people got up early on Saturday to play golf and enjoy some adult beverages.  Those of us that stayed home got the snacks ready and watched the kids play in the giant inflatable water slide (which was a hit!) and bouncy house.  Once the golf teams got back and the winners flaunted their trophy, more adult beverages were shared and the grills were started. Kids played. Food was consumed. Drinks drank. People mingled. Bags were tossed. And more drinks were drank!  It was a fun day and I’m glad our neighborhood was able to do this and I definitely look forward to next year!

Hi Again!

I see that I haven’t updated my blog for quite some time!  A lot has happened since then! I think the most obvious change is that our family has increased by one!  Evalyn Olivia has most definitely made our lives much more exciting, and as of late, busy!  I definitely embrace the saying that once they start walking, there is no stopping them!

Tayden is doing great too!  He starts preschool next week and is looking forward to it.  Seth and I are a bit nervous as he is a very ‘energetic’ boy and loves to express his feelings, loudly. :-)  It should be good for him though as he will be able to learn new things and socialize with other kids his age.  He will be attending Peace Lutheran preschool; it’s coincidentally where I went when my family lived here before we moved to Spirit Lake!  It’s hard to believe he’s already preschool age!  My little baby is growing up!


Well, there you have it!  A quick little update on the kiddos!  I would like to try to keep this blog more up to date, so we’ll see how that goes!  Here’s to a new type of school year for me as it’s the first of many with my children attending!

We went on Vacation!

For the third year in a row we headed to The Dells as a family so Seth could attend That Conference. While we played at the Kalahari water park, Seth would network and attend sessions (and occasionally meet up with us for a trip or two around the lazy river and a ride down the water slide).  We were lucky enough that my mom was able to come with to help out with the kids which was so great because then one of us could stay back with Evalyn while she napped and the other could go out to play with Tayden.  We also met up with one of my college friends, Renee and her two boys Jackson and Max as well as Seth’s Dad and Sandi.  That’s what so great about our little vacation in The Dells!  We have family and friends so close!  Each year it also gets to be more fun because the kids are older and able to enjoy the rides more!  Tayden even finally realized that when you put tokens into a machine, you can actually play the game!

Evalyn, our sweet little 13 month old baby girl is FEARLESS!  She went up and down the slides without abandon and got water in her face like nobody’s business.  We were so proud of her as Tayden cried during his baths up until – who am I kidding, he may still cry if he gets too much water in his eyes! (Sorry, these pics are blurry – they were the best we got!)












There was a day where the local zoo brought animals in for the kids to pet and Tayden loved that!  He was up in the front the majority of the time (unless he was following the tortoise around) trying to pet the animals and listening to what the zookeepers were saying!  It was adorable!  It just reminded to him that he really did want a fox birthday cake!  It seems to be all he can talk about whenever his birthday is brought up!

Petting the tiger

Grandma Barb and Evalyn

Makin' music on the tree!

Our trip to The Dells sure was a fun one and we cherish all of the memories we made!  There were water slides, lazy rivers, dippin’ dots, pizzas, musical turtles, hot plates meals, cool neighbors, vanilla lattes, tigers, beach balls and so many more! We look forward to our 4th annual trip next year!  Tayden’s wish is to take a Duck Boat tour!

Underwater swimmer

Tayden got an owie

Eva and Petey Boy

Renee and her boys!