Saturday, January 20, 2018

thanksgiving fun

Thanksgiving this year was super fun, and totally different than usual.  Since my family all lives so far away, we almost never spend Thanksgiving with them.  Bart's parents are the only family that live close, and they are often traveling for holidays, so we rarely spend Thanksgiving with them either.  We have been lucky to have lots of friends that we can celebrate Thanksgiving with on any given year, but most of those friends have since moved away.  I was wishing that we had more family close by, and I realized that my closest relatives are two cousins and their families that live in Minneapolis. I haven't seen them in years, but when we were growing up, I saw them all the time. So, I decided to invite ourselves to Minneapolis to spend Thanksgiving with them.  Janessa and Jeremy were such great hosts and it was fun to see Vance and Annalisa too.  Our kids all got along with their kids and it made for such a fun holiday.  Plus, it was the 3rd time that Everly and I traveled out of state in the month of November, so that made it interesting!

 After playing at a fun indoor playground, and eating at a delicious pizza place, we all headed to the movie theater to watch Coco.  I wasn't expecting it to be very good, but it was amazing and we all loved it!  Some of us may have even cried more than once.  The kids have been singing the soundtrack ever since.
 The next morning was Thanksgiving morning, and we got up bright and early and headed to the Mall of America where we were involved in a walk to end hunger charity event.  Basically we all just got free shirts, walked around inside the closed mall, and stopped at fun booths for things like balloon animals, glitter tattoos,
 crown making,

 face painting,
and more.  It was a fun, memorable way to spend the morning, and it made me want to go back to the Mall of America sometime when I can shop and go on all the fun rides!

 We managed to get a fun picture of all the kiddos

 My kids had a blast playing with their kids and their kids' toys while the grownups prepared the Thanksgiving feast.
I brought this fun turkey craft for the kids to do, and Krew is one of the few that actually finished theirs.  No surprise here-he takes this sort of thing very seriously.

 All of the food was incredibly delicious, and it was fun to catch up with my cousins and their spouses and talk about their siblings and mine, as well as reminisce about our childhood memories.

 The kids table
Vance, me, and Janessa

 Apparently we are super funny when we get together.  Hopefully we will be able to visit them again soon!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

remembering grandpa bob

In November, Bart's grandpa Bob passed away, so we all went to Iowa for his funeral.  I'm finding that funerals for grandparents are such a mix of happy and sad emotions.  It is wonderful to get together with relatives that you haven't seen for a very long time, and funerals cause you to reflect on so many happy, wonderful memories.  Of course there is sadness for the fact that you will never see or hear that person again in this life, but I'm grateful to know that we will be together again in the next life.

One great thing about being able to go to the funeral, was seeing Bart's brother, Bret, who we haven't seen for more than two years since he and his family moved to Germany.
Clearly the boys were excited to see him!
After the lovely service, we mingled with friends and family and ate some yummy food.  The best part were the Dutch Letters we all got to eat.  Whenever we saw Bob, he would give us a huge bag of the delicious letters.  They will forever remind us of him.  I love that Ky and Kade realized how special the letters were to them too.
We tried to get a few pictures of the family that was all there together.  The basement florescent lighting wasn't ideal, but I'm glad we got the pictures that we did.

The kids made sure to give lots hugs Grandma Dot.

The Miller brothers
The Miller Men

The following are some of the pictures we have of Grandpa Bob over the years.  We are so lucky that we got to have him in our lives as long as we did!

This picture was taken when we went to Pella for Tulip Time.  I was having horrible back pain and could only walk for a couple minutes at a time.  So, Bob drove me all around on his scooter.  I was so grateful for the ride, and for the time I got to spend just the two of us.  He took me to the bakery where they make the Dutch letters, and showed me the back where they bake and package everything.  It was so fun.  Also, this may have been his first selfie! ;)
Grandpa Bob and all my boys dressed in their Dutch costumes riding in the Tulip Time parade.

We love you and miss you Grandpa Bob!  Until we meet again!

Friday, January 5, 2018

everly and mommy go to utah

In November, Everly and I left all the boys at home and went to Utah to visit my family.  It's kinda a necessity that I go back every now and then to cure my homesickness and make it easier to live so far away from my family.  
 We enjoyed a few days of warmth and sunshine when we got there, which we made sure to soak up.  Everly enjoyed a tractor ride with Grandma.

 Laughed (a lot) with Grandpa.

 Met her newest cousin
 Saw her great grandma
 Held the baby.   Seriously one of her favorite parts about the whole trip.
 Played some more with Grandpa.

 My mom, sister-in-law and I went to Pinners Conference for a day.  It was fun to learn about family history, holiday traditions, hand-lettering, photography, and do some shopping.
We got to visit with friends

 Everly held the baby some more 
 She had a lightsaber fight with Jack and uncle Daniel

 We went the the Puppy Barn and snuggled with puppies.

 Did a little shopping.

 Went to the Bean Museum and saw some animals.

 Held the baby again.
 Sat with uncle Andrew.
 Played with Grandpa some more.
 Helped Grandma with her puppet show and the library.

 Ate at Chick-fil-a.
 And cried when we had to leave to fly home.