Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Brrrr!!!! It's cold AGAIN!

We just recently got in from Washington DC and upon our arrival we had an update that there was a freeze advisory in effect and most likely snow.  What?!!!  Yeah, you heard me right.  Here we are in the middle of April with possible snow!  So in honor of more cold weather, I thought I would post about our January trip to the outdoor rink that I never got around to posting.  We visited one of my favorite locations in St. Louis....Steinberg ice rink in Forest Park.

I can remember that it was a BEAUTIFUL day and not blistering cold like it had been.  This was Ansley's third time to grace the ice and second time to Steinberg.  Charli got to join in on the fun this time too.  She didn't do much, but it was good to get her out there and see what she could do and watch her big sis!
Ready to go!  If only the sun wasn't so bright!
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Charli too.  She did pretty good at walking around in her boots.
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My mom and dad usually join us if there's anything to do with skating and the girls.  It's just like old times for them!
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I started off just trying to get Ansley to march with her skates on.  Unfortunately, the outdoor rink doesn't have any skating aides for the little ones, so the job of helping her around was mine.  It was a little daunting at times on the old back and arms, but she finally got the hang of it!
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She did LOTS of falling, but she learned how to properly get up and after a little bit she was doing it all on her own.  Have you ever seen a newbie skater trying to get up and falling all over themselves?!  Yeah, it can get pretty dangerous sometimes, so there's a right way not to hurt yourself AND the others around you.  
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Charli and Daddy got some snuggle time in watching Ansley.
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Eventually, she was rocking and rolling!
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Danielle made the trip too!  She was a lot of help when my arms and back were getting tired and she took most of these pictures of us.  She's a skating natural too.  :)
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We had a wonderful day and our next trip will most likely be Ansley's 5th birthday party!  She is adamant about having a Frozen themed skating party, so we will most likely do it.  How can this skating momma say no to that?!
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Construction Has Begun!!

AHHHH!!!!!  Construction has begun here at the Bandermann abode!  
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This whole process has been in the works since last year (talking and discussing plans) and we've finally begun (3/19/14)!  We've already had some major delays....snow, rain, freezing temps, and more rain!  We've actually had water in our basement around 8 or 9 times since Christmas because of a crack in our basement wall that decided to flood everything and NOW we have water coming in because of construction to the house.  Oh the JOY!  We've spent countless hours vacuuming up water, ripping up flooring, shifting all our stuff, and cleaning off water logged items.  Thankfully we've had help because it's been a mess!  BUT we are thankful that there is an end in sight....now if we can just get some good weather!

Here's the front plan and renderings of the house.  We are adding on a dining room, foyer, bumping out the girl's bedroom (all in the front), and adding two closets/sitting area in our master bedroom.
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This image shows the master bedroom closet addition
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Our floor plan.  The areas with dark black lines will be the addtions

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Here's a picture of the side of the house before demolition.
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He's placing drain pipes in the front and sides of the house to help some of our water issues.  
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Here are the big slabs of concrete from our sidewalk!
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And here's little Charli meandering around the job site while my dad is sealing the basement wall. 
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Our house with the front porch railing tore off
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And then our whole porch came off!  This stage was a little hard for me knowing this is really happening and that our house is getting ready for a facelift.  Can you tell I don't do well with change?!  Ha!  
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This is the construction team pouring the footers where the house will set.  Jason is a little devastated about his beautiful lawn.  He's still shocked over the damage that a lot of rain and just being under construction can cause. :(
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A look down at the footers
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We do a lot of this...
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And as if house construction isn't enough....our solar panel project is finally underway (we've been waiting since October for this to happen).  The panels will be going on our barn in the back.
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The plan is to have no electric bill!  Let's hope that really happens.  
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So as you can see....lots of work going on here!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happenings Around Here

I've been awful about posting our everyday happenings, so I thought I'd post A LOT today. Ha! Be prepared.  I'm so far behind.


Here's just a typical day here.  Princess outfits and umbrella!
We saw Peter Pan at the River Campus recently.  It was so great!  Unfortunately, Ansley wasn't feeling right and told us "she was going to try not to throw up" while we were in the front row.  WHAT?! Thankfully, I had a plastic bag in my purse and was prepared to use it just so the Orchestra pit didn't get vomit on them!  Geez!  Life is never dull!  
She made it and at this point, she was feeling much better!  Whew.  And she got some pictures with one of the stars!  Libby played the part of Jane!  She did so great!
Next up....Father/Daughter dance!  Jason mentioned Friday night that he might want to take Ansley to their first dance on Saturday night.  We didn't have any plans, so Saturday I went in search of a dress for Ansley.  I didn't want to spend much on it, so I went straight to the clearance rack and found one for $5 at Macy's! It was purple and because of that....I knew she'd love it.  It was a hit!  

These were some of the photobooth pictures they came home with.  So great!
My friend Kristen (who lives in St. Louis) had asked if I wanted to meet her at the zoo on a Monday recently.  It was supposed to be our first 70 degrees and sunny day, so of course I said yes!  I mentioned I was going to take the girls to Heather one day and she said she'd come along too!  Yay! We piled in my car and headed for the city.  It was quite a bit of work with 1 year old's in tow, but we did it AND we had fun!      
I hate that we missed Maeryn and Natalie in this picture!
Thankfully, Charli fell asleep in Maeryn's carrier (on Heather's back) and Maeryn got to ride in the stroller pushed by all the kiddos.  Of course, everyone wanted a turn pushing!
My only attempt at getting a picture of the kids and an animal.  Fail.
As if we didn't have enough going on in our lives....we picked up and went to see our favorite group, All Sons and Daughter's in St. Louis.  They were AMAZING, of course! We were all glad we made the trip!  Here's a picture of us in front of the pallets and lights covered stage.  We loved it!  Too bad we didn't get a picture of the entire group. :(    
That's enough for now!  More to come soon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 3: Epcot

Wow!  I can't believe I'm JUST now getting around to posting this.  FINALLY (it was only from December :)! Epcot was next on the list of parks!  We rode Soarin', Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Nemo and the Seas, and Test Track. We ate lunch in Mexico at a quick serve spot, La Cantina and then headed to a show, Journey Into Imagination with Figment and another round of Soarin'. The fast passes allowed us to get on certain rides several times, which was so great. We loved Epcot for many reasons, but most of all because of the World Showcase.  It was so exciting to step into each country of the world and really FEEL like you were there!  It was an incredible experience.
Here are the kiddos enjoying the aquarium after the Finding Nemo ride
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In the mouth of the SHARK!
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Yes....this is my child lying on the floor in the middle of the crowds.  She clearly liked the feel of the carpets
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That evening we ate dinner in the World Showcase at Akershus Banquet Hall.  We met all the princesses while we ate a very yummy meal (I ate some delicious pasta with cream sauce-yummo!).  The girls were so excited about the princesses and followed them around the entire banquet hall.  After dinner we used our fast passes to ride on the Maelstrom, a Viking boat tour.  It was awesome!
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Missing Adler

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This weekend was just as difficult as I expected it to be. Today is Adler's due date and instead of tears of joy for the arrival of our beautiful baby boy....there was weeping at his graveside yesterday. As I sat there staring at the wilted flowers from October 20th on Adler's burial plot, my hopes and dreams for this little life were hushed by the sound of the wind in the trees. As I sat there sobbing over of all that COULD have been....I couldn't help but think of this one simple truth. Can you imagine willingly giving up your son for the benefit of others? Can you fathom coming up with that VERY idea....to sacrifice your son? I can't. I'm still struggling with giving my only son up to my Heavenly Father in a place that is full of absolute beauty. I know how silly that sounds, but the honesty of it is this....I would selfishly LOVE to have him here. To squeeze him, to kiss his sweet cheeks.  Oh, to have those sweet moments with him.
I could linger in that thought and excitement for so long, but the fact is....He doesn't want me to. I know there are reasons unseen why our precious Adler was taken from us so soon and I'm trusting in His promises regardless of how difficult it is. We have hope and a future with a God that loves us more than we could imagine. One that would give up His son just for us. That's pretty amazing and I'm going ALL IN, regardless of my circumstances here, for a God like that.

We also planted a Weeping Cherry tree in our backyard in remembrance of Adler and I'm so glad we did.  It'll be a sweet little haven for the kiddos to play under and a nice memory for all of us. I love that the girls will always know it as "Adler's tree".    
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Can't wait to see how his tree grows!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Charli Suttyn:20 Months!

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OH GIRL!  You are so FUN!
 
*You're babbling and talking a lot! We can't understand much except for the two of us (meaning you and I). I can usually understand what you want because I've learned Charli speak, but it's not easy. You like to say "dat" and "more" a lot and sometimes it's a complete guessing game, but hey....you've finally mastered momma and daddy! :) 
 
*You may not speak a whole lot, but your receptive language is amazing.  You know exactly what we're saying and you get your point across with or without words.  You are a smart little cookie.

*You've got the most beautiful curly hairy. It's thinner than Ansley's has ever been, but some days I feel like it's curlier. We usually rock the front ponytail (the front fountain), but it can also be put all the way up and it's adorable!
Watch out if you happen to see her right after a nap.  This girl can crank out some bed head like no other!
 
*You've started this new thing....you alarm me of a dirty diaper.  It's pretty funny really. It goes a little something like this.....you find me IMMEDIATELY to be changed and hold yourself UNTIL I change it.  Usually, there's several "UH OH's" that follow. You're such a mess.  Smart, but a mess.  Now, if I can get you to tell me a little earlier!

*We have most of our teeth now! Bottom canines and all of your molars...or whatever they are!

*You like Barney, Dora, and Minnie Mouse shows. You'll really watch them for a little longer if it involves snuggle time on the couch with Daddy. For whatever reason, you'll sit still if the situation is exactly that. Otherwise, no way!

*Your favorite thing to do, by far is read books. You are hooked and so very studios! Ha!
You could literally sit in my lap and listen to me read or go through your picture board books for hours if I could do it. You LOVE the tab books where there's a surprise on each page. Your sweet squeals of excitement after every page is the most precious thing-even if it's been 20 times.

*You have mastered cow, duck, horse, and dog sounds. Whew!
 
*You love to do somersaults! And rocking and rolling all over our king sized bed. You go from one end to the other giggling and falling wildly. Scares me silly!
 
*We've noticed you're quite the nail picker.  It seems so strange that at this age it would bother you so much to have a hang nail, but it does! When I've noticed there's no sign of Charli anywhere and she's become quiet....it's because she's found a hang nail somewhere!  She's either investigating her nails or her toes.  No hang nails allowed for this girl!
 
Love YOU, sweet Char!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 2: Magic Kingdom

 I wasn't sure how Day 2 could get any better, but it did!  Magic Kingdom was Uh.Mazing.  I felt like I had a pretty good feel for the Fast Passes and this day we used both our bands and our room keys for rides.  So total, we had 6 Fastpasses which made everything quick and painless really (it took more work figuring out who would stay with Juliet while the rest of us rode, but a lot of rides she just stayed in Laura's carrier.  Usually we did 2 shifts for the rides (if Juliet couldn't ride) splitting my mom and dad up sometimes, but we mixed it up a lot.  We got to the ride and basically got right on....that and the fact that most of the parks were a 2-3 out of 10 (a crowd rating) on the days we were there.  Score!  We started off with the Adventures of Winnie Pooh, Dumbo, the Mad Tea Party, Tomorrowland Speedway, Barnstormer (Ansley's favorite rollercoaster), Ariel's Grotto, Peter Pan's flight, The Haunted Mansion, and more! We watched Mickey's Philharmonic 3D show that the kids adored and while we were near the Barnstormer, we hopped the train. 
It took us all around the park so we could get a better idea of where things were at (not to mention the kids loved it).  We ate lunch at Be Our Guest, but couldn't stay long because it was off to the Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for our fast passes!
Here they are on Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. 
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Jason was pretty amazed too :)
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Flying Dumbo with the girls.
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Tea cups with Dad! Charli and her runny nose....we had several pictures like this. Ha!
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Then it was time for some racing!
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We passed everyone!
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Clearly Ansley has a lead foot!
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Our relaxing train ride
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Lunch at Be Our Guest.  Yummy!
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Love this picture
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Charli was set with her sweet ride!
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Can you tell Jansen didn't want to stop for a picture? :) These outfits were coordinating thanks to Aunt Laura. 
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Cutie patooties
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My mom and dad with Ansley outside of Ariel's Grotto
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That evening after a FULL day of fun, we ended the evening with dinner at The Crystal Palace.  We ate a yummy buffet and the kids met all of the Pooh characters. This was the cherry on top of the day.  Those kids BEEMED and SQUEALED when the characters came out and LOVED parading around the restaurant with them!  Jansen was beside himself as his favorite lovey greeted him (he carries a Pooh bear everywhere).  Our cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much!    
I think this was Charli's favorite part of the trip!
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The girls just kept loving on them!
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Parade time!
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This sweet little girl helped guide Charli
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After dinner, my marathon eater wanted some more snacks so we took a seat during the Christmas party and had a few goldfish.
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This was the best family pic we could get.  I think Charli was still looking for food. :)
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Magical Day #2.....check!