Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Mandy invited us to join her at the Denver Zoo last week. She had some guest passes that she got with her membership, so we ended up all getting in for FREE, which was super nice! The weather was perfect and the kids have so much fun together. 
Waiting out front for Auntie Mandy, Jack, and Nora the boys decided that they wanted to take a picture by every statue. 

After all grabbing maps, the boys decided we would head to the right first. 

Checking out the sleepy Black Bear. 

The Brown Bear was awake and active. 

Heath proclaimed the stinky Flamingos were his favorite. 

We always love this funny Monkey every time we come. He always gets up close and puts on a show. 

The Great Apes were so fun to watch. 

Then we headed over to the Lorakeet Adventure to feed some birds. Heath was the first to give it a GO. 

Despite Nolan's fascination with birds, like with most things, he was hesitant to feed them at first. So was Auntie Mandy. So they did it together! Then he was confident enough to do it on his own. 

Heath was the Bird Whisperer! He was able to get many Lorakeets to come down to eat. 

We always have to stop to JUMP! 

We had lunch while waiting for the Elephant Show to start. 

Billy was an amazing elephant and the boys got right up close. 

He went for a swim. 

And my BFF, Nora Grace, thought he was pretty cool too! (Sadly, this was the only pictures I got of her during the day! Thanks for sharing it Mandy!) 

Checking out the Seals swimming. 

These two cuties were on their best behavior! All the walking they did was good practice for Disney World they decided! Ha! 

Measuring ourselves against a Polar Bear. 

Checking out the Felines. 

Exploring a cave to find a Porcupine. 

The Giraffes were Nolan's fav. 

Auntie Mandy and Nora waited outside while I took the four boys into Tropical Discovery. Nolan was happy to find the Poison Dart Frogs! He did a research project on them just last month. 

Jack and Brooks loved the "fishies". 
He was making me take his picture by every tank. Silly boy. He's either SO into pictures or SO NOT into pictures. 

They LOVED seeing the crocodile too. 

After Tropical Discover, the Leensvaarts were ready to take off, but Nolan was set on seeing Bird World. His favorite. I tried everything I could to talk him out of it or to distract from it, but he really NEEDED to see the birds. Ha! For some reason, he is really intrigued by birds- I blame Opa's Bird Book, because to me, birds are a bit creepy. So we said our goodbyes and thank yous to Auntie Mandy, Jack, and Nora, and then we trekked back across the zoo to Bird World. 

I finally got Brooks to agree to ride in the stroller a bit, so it was actually quite manageable even though we had already walked for 4 hours. So we ended up taking our time and checking out a few more animals along the way. 

The Elephant Passage is so cool! 

A Selfie with my Monkey! 

The Hippo Statue is always a great spot to snap a pic! 

And we FINALLY made it to BIRD WORLD! 
We love watching the silly little Penguins. 

Nolan was excited!
After the birds we started making our way back out of the zoo. We had hit up every area possible! 

It was a great day and made me feel like I am really turning the corner in parenting. I now have 3 pretty self sufficient, manageable, children. I can take them to the zoo ALL DAY by myself and handle it. (Mandy and I did make a pretty good tag team though I must say!) Of course I miss the baby snuggles and cute little faces, but their independence is really nice! It opens the door to so much more freedom and fun! And I SO LOVED my day with my sweet boys and super fun friends! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Father's Day 2015

The boys and I worked hard to prepare a special Father's Day for Mark!
Nolan and Heath worked all week on this book! 

It was so sweet to hear their ideas. 

I love what a good writer Heath is becoming! 

Sports, of course, seemed to be a theme. 

And his DISLIKES were SPOT ON! 

They both adore their Daddy and think he's the BEST! 

This page was so sweet. We had to use White Out to erase the word 'a' after the word 'like' so that Nolan's sentence would sound right. His idea was perfect. 

I love Heath's fingers and toes! He looks like Wolverine! They really took their time coloring all of the pictures and borders too! It gave us some quiet time each day as we prepared. 

Father's Day morning Mark and I were still downtown for our Anniversary get away. So as soon as we had breakfast and spent some time sipping coffee and walking around downtown, we headed back to Bruce & Barb's to pick up the boys! They were ready with smiles and "Happy Father's Day" wishes and hugs for Mark as soon as we walked in the door. 

We headed back to our house to spend some time Skyping with my Dad and watching him open his Father's Day gifts over the computer! We got him a nice Calvin polo shirt and a McDonald's gift card- that is always the boys choice gift for their Grandpa. They want him to be able to get his coffee and think of them! 
I love this pic of Bob, my Dad, and I from T & L's wedding. My Dad is the life of the party! He's a dancing machine and always keeps us laughing! We are so grateful for the family he has created for us! Love you Dad and hope you had a great Father's Day! We can't wait to see you so soon! 

After Skyping it was time for Daddy gifts! 
The boys and I spent a shopping day earlier in the week together. They were so well behaved and patient as we zipped in and out of stores. The only hiccup was Heath's unexpected escalator fright. Imagine a very tall escalator, Nolan riding down, Heath, Brooks, and I at the top, a huge wooden sign underneath one of my arms and a 3 year old in the other. Heath gets on and decides he's scared so he tries to climb back up to me, falls, and is crying as he gets a few stairs down. I reach out, grab him, drag him back up, scraping him along the way. Now he's terrified. And Nolan's already at the bottom. People are lining up behind us. So now I just push Heath on, he stumbles, I grab his arm and I stumble on with Brooks and the sign too. We fumble unsteadily but eventually recover about half way down. I'm sure we gave the other shoppers quite the sight and sound. Heath is no quiet kid. Ha. Life with 3 littles is unpredictable and not easy. But we did it all for Daddy. 

Daddy opening up his card and Brooks muggin'. 

Look how sweet they all are with him. 

Nolan picked out a Pirates hat for Mark to wear since his baseball team this summer is the Pirates. Mark likes hats so we knew he'd enjoy any team. 

Next they gave him their book. I love Mark's smile in this picture. And I love how he is looking up at Nolan. He's a keeper. 

Heath gave Mark the infamous sign. Only fitting after what we had to go through to purchase it. We thought he could either put it in his office or use it to start filling the walls in our bare basement. 

And Brooks gave Daddy some frames with the latest portraits of the boys to hang in his office. This picture cracks me up because Brooks is holding it in front of his face but smiling behind it. 

After presents we hit up Tagawa Gardens to let Daddy look for some more plants. We found one pretty purple one for our front bed and we found a fun little something for Opa too. Brooks enjoyed his ride around the garden center. 

Next, the whole family gathered at Grandma Inge's pool for a Father's Day celebration. 
The kids all have so much fun swimming together. 

Opa sure is fun in the pool! 

We are quite the sight when all together! 

Heath jumping in and trying to catch the football. 

We had pizza and fruit and veggies and chips and drinks. It was all delicious! 

Then we gave Opa his presents. 
New boat shoes are on their way. 

And the boys picked out this glow in the dark owl lawn ornament too. They said it was perfect for Opa because he's a "wise old owl". They helped him pick out the perfect place in his yard for it as well. We love you Opa! 

We had such a fun day celebrating all of the amazing Dads in our lives. Fun and strong men who serve others, work hard, and love well. We are blessed.