We hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. We had a lot of fun over here with a 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 year old. It was neat to see Caleb start to understand the meaning behind Christmas. The second picture shows Keith reading the Christmas story before we open our gifts. Each of our children received 3 gifts (like Baby Jesus) from us and 1 from each other. Caleb picked out a mommy bear and a baby bear for Alanna since she likes bears. He was sooo excited for her to open them. Her response to the gift? "Grrrrrr" (like a bear).
To get in the spirit of Christmas we took a trip up to Meijer Gardens to see their Christmas Trees from Around the World display. There are probably about 20 trees decorated according to various countries. The Auntie Cami, Alanna and I enjoyed seeing all the colorful decorations. Caleb just wanted to see the train. There was 1 train and 2 trolleys that would travel back and forth between the various rooms. Caleb would run between the rooms to follow the train.
After having many friends have their basements flood, we figured our's was going to happen next and it did! Last Friday morning, I walked down the basement steps and my feet were greeted with soaking wet carpet. I go into the storage room and see about an inch of water. What a mess! AND what makes it worse? See those floating "pellets?" That's dog food! An entire bag of dog food split open and spilled into the water. See that plant pot next to the freezer? That's the dog food that we "raked" up. It was a soggy, disgusting mess!
Fortunately, nothing was really ruined since everything was in rubbermaid containers. The only item "damaged" was the dog food...which we'll claim, and a box of REALLY old books that I didn't care enough about to put into rubbermaid containers. But, the adjuster said to claim it--how much is an old Hardy Boys book anyway? or an old childhood book entitled Nitter Pitter....?
Keith's favorite part of the experience? Noticing that the drain is located at the highest point in the storage room---nice!
"Mooooo! Trick or Treat!" "Da da da da da!" That's what we heard a lot of this Halloween night! I wanted to coordinate Caleb and Alanna's costumes and decided that they would be a cow and a sheep. Caleb's costume turned out cuter than I thought (I liked his horns), but Alanna's...not so much. Her hat was a bit bigger than I wanted and by the end of the night, the cotton balls were coming off and she was a balding sheep. Still though, it was a lot of fun trick or treating with a 3 year old and a 1 year old.
I took Alanna to get her hair evened out so that I could continue to grow it out. Little did I know she would end up looking like Lloyd Christmas (think Jim Carey from Dumb and Dumber). I'm not really sure what the hair cut lady was thinking when she cut the bangs. They're definitely short and kind of choppy. Oh Well!
Keith and I got a chance to get away for the weekend. We decided to drive up north and see all the fall colors. We ended up stopping off at the place where Keith proposed---10 years ago! It was neat to see the place again AND to see our initials carved in the wood from 10 years ago. You'll notice that we had to "freshen up" the S.T., but you can totally see the K.R. After our drive up north, we stopped off in Grand Haven and spent the night in a really cute Bed and Breakfast. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Ritsema, for watching Caleb and Alanna!
We visited a local farm/pumpkin patch. The farm had animals for the kids to see and "pet." They also had pumpkins of various shapes and colors for the kids to choose from. Yes, that's a green pumpkin in the wagon. Caleb insisted that that was the one he wanted. No matter how much we told him that he should find a big, ORANGE pumpkin, he refused.
Caleb, Alanna and I spent the morning at Binder Park Zoo with Auntie Nicole and Cousin Jake. It was quite the drive down from Grand Rapids, but well worth it. The best part of the zoo are the giraffes. The kids, especially Alanna, LOVED feeding the giraffes some crackers. It was very easy to spend $10 on giraffe crackers. Another great feature of the zoo are the roaming peacocks. As you're going from exhibit to exhibit you will come across peacocks. Again, Alanna loved "chasing" them. What a great age to be at the zoo!
This past Saturday we spent the day at Klackles, an apple orchard about 40 miles north of Grand Rapids. Caleb and Alanna played in a giant sandbox, played on some inflatable bouncy things, took a ride on a "barrel train," and petted some goats. Later on we took a wagon ride out to the orchards and picked apples from a variety of trees: Galas, Jonathons, and Courtlands. It seemed kind of strange to have us all in shorts and Tshirts while picking apples, but that's the Michigan weather for you! We all had a great time. Alanna especially loved being able to eat her own apple.
Awww Man! So this is what happens when you put a jar of peaches in the water and you hear a sort of popping sound. I didn't know what the sound was until much later when I went to lift the jar out of the water and all the peaches fell out the bottom of the jar...I'm not really sure what prompted me to take a picture, but I did think it was kind of funny to see all those peaches floating in the water.
In August, the whole Ritsema family traveled up north and stayed at the Boyne Mountain Resort. We spent our days going down water slides and swimming in the pools and spent our evenings talking and playing with family. Caleb and Alanna had a great time with their cousins, aunts and uncles! In the second picture, Caleb is with his Auntie Nicole, the next picture shows Alanna sliding down with Auntie Cami and the last picture shows Caleb floating down the lazy river with Auntie Cami.
If I haven't said it enough...my daughter has crazy hair!!! I am really not sure what to do with it. Today it was put into a little ponytail on top of her head, but once she discovered that she had a hair tie in her hair, she pulled it out...leaving her hair like this!! I'm tempted to spray it multiple colors and just go with the 80's mohawk look!
Alanna is starting to enjoy walking. A few weeks ago, she would walk between Keith and I, but didn't really have any desire to actually walk on her own. Now, she's realized just how much more enjoyable walking can be. She'll stand up on her own and start walking. When she falls, she picks herself back up and continues to walk. I love it!