Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter Break and beyond...

We had a relaxing winter break. Mark had the whole second week off with us and it was so nice to just hang around the house together. 
Mark and the boys watched all 6 Star Wars movies. 1 each day and then he took Nolan and Heath to see the new Star Wars movie in the theater. They are OBSESSED! 

For New Years Eve we partied at the Leensvaarts house! They sure know how to throw a party! 
The theme was "Drinking around the World". Each couple had to choose a country and then plan food, drinks, and entertainment for their location. 
We had the BEST time! 
We started with the Leensvaarts in Italy. We had delicious angel hair pasta with sausage and peppers and garlic bread. We drank Cianti and Prosecco. 
Mandy had music playing for each country we visited. Mark shared a slow dance with Nora in Italy. The romance was in the air. 
And then we chose partners to see who could create the tallest spaghetti and marshmallow structure. 
Mandy and Mark won! 
Rick and I were the least successful. Ha! We each built a structure and then we were going to connect them at the end. Only time ran out and when we put ours together, they didn't match up so well. But we got an A for effort. 
Meanwhile the kiddos were all partying down in the basement! They had a movie marathon and played with just about every toy in the house. They have the best time being together! 
Next…we headed to Japan. 
We picked up sushi and sake and Japanese beer for our meal. 
 Little did I know that Mark had planned to transform into the Karate Kid for this stop. 
He taught us how to count form 1-10 in Japanese. 
This is an important skill to know when doing Sake Bombs! Ha! 
Ichi, Ni, San! 
And we did some Karaoke too! 
 After Japan we traveled to Mexico with the VanEps' next.
We ate delicious chips and a salsa/queso dip and had margs! 
Gotta love a good marg with glowing ice cubes! 
I sent this pic to my BFF Rowan! Olè!
We played a drinking dice game called Mexicali! At this point in the night I don't think that many of us could focus on the rules too carefully. But it was FUN! 

Our final stop of the night was Germany with the Krauths. We had "German" American chocolates..hee her! We drank a warm German wine and played this traditional Christmas game. 
You roll a die and if you get a six you have to put on a hat, scarf, and mittens. Then you have to use a fork and knife to try to cut open a bar of chocolate that has been double and triple wrapped and taped in newspaper. 
The die gets passed around the table and anyone who rolls needs to suit up and give it a try. If you got to chocolate you had to quickly eat it. It was very funny! But no one wanted to win. We were all so full at this point. But we laughed a lot! 
And then it was midnight! I was happy to usher in another new year with this handsome fella! What a Rockin' New Years Eve. 

We spent the night and then woke up the next morning and headed to pick up McDonalds for breakfast. Gotta love a good greasy breakfast after a night of indulgence! The boys love a good McDonalds breakfast every once in awhile too! 

Here are some other randoms from life lately...
Dave & Busters Night with the Kakos & Warren clans! 

A sweet little writing assignment that Nolan brought home. 

Testing out his new sleeping bag! And shooting me of course. 

Dino Discovery Eggs from Uncle T and Auntie Laura...
Oh man. These were VERY fun but also VERY messy! We were not expecting what these little eggs entailed. 
They were all very focused as they dug in. It took quite a while. 
Nolan dug his out first! 
Then Brooks got his out next. 
 And then finally Heath. 
They loved this fun project. And don't worry Tyler & Laura…we will be returning the favor someday. Just wait. 

The boys also did a lot of Legos over break as well.

They are so independent with Legos now which makes it nice for Mark & I! 

A little surprise from Mark! They were SO beautiful! Costco has the BEST flowers! 

A random selfie with my big guy! 

Target run with Brooks! 
He is my shopping buddy! 
We also worked on his birthday thank you notes over break. If you zoom in on this pic you can see the funny words he came up with to describe his gifts and his loved ones. He was so thoughtful in choosing the perfect words for each one. They made me laugh. 

One night before bath time this crazy kid made us LOL! He had put on 2 pairs of undies that day and didn't realize it until bedtime! Love him! 

And then before we knew it...
We were back to school! I had an extra day off, so it was nice to be home to send them off to school that day. I got a lot of things done around the house and planned for my week back in the classroom as well. 
I sure love these squirts and treasure any time off that I have with them. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Eight is GREAT!

Nolan Bradley turned 8 years old on December 30th! It's kind of hard having a birthday so close to Christmas, but it's also kind of awesome always having the day off of work and school to be able to celebrate! 
It was a BB-8 B-day! 
He loves this new little droid! 
And he LOVED all the little details that made his day even more special. 

He raced downstairs as soon as he woke up that morning to check out his chair. 
And then we started off his day with Star Wars movies and donuts! 
And then we headed to the pool! 
This was our first visit to the newly renovated Parker Rec Center Pool. It was awesome and so much fun! 
Here's Nolan swimming through the Lazy River. 
And they LOVED the slide! It starts inside, twists around outside, and then shoots you through rainbows and back inside. 
Heath was finally tall enough for a body slide! He was THRILLED! 
This kid is JOY! 
Playing around and watching Daddy attempt the Rock Wall. 
Brooks was so proud of Mark for climbing the wall. He was clapping and cheering him on! 
Kisses for Daddy! 
He was having the best time and was so happy! 
He loved the splash area! 
Power Rangers in the pool! 
Slip Slidin'
Look at his cute body here! 
Squirting water...
The pool was the perfect birthday activity. 

Later that night when Grandpa got home from work we Skyped so that Nolan could open the presents they sent him. 
Happy to finally open a gift…he had to look at them all day! 
New Bad Kitty books! 
And the game SORRY! Thanks Grandma & Grandpa! 

Nolan had very EIGHT YEAR OLD birthday requests- burritos and ice cream! 
We met family at Chipotle for a delicious dinner! He can put down just about a whole bean burrito now. He puts a bunch of toppings on it and gobbles it down! 
The whole crew happy to celebrate our sweet boy…and eat some delicious food. 
After dinner we headed back to our house to open more gifts! 

 He was thrilled about every thing! 
 All of our family must know Nolan very well. They all picked out very funny, punny, witty cards for him! 
And he got such a kick out of reading each one! 
Auntie & Flobby ordered him a BB-8 alarm clock! 

He got a Hover Ball from his brothers! 

 $8 and another funny card from Oma & Opa! 
A Target Gift Card too! He was so excited to go pick something out. 
Slippers! He loves anything cozy. 
 Thanks Oma! 
 Thanks Opa! 
And while we were opening gifts…this one was being a ROYAL pain in the booty. 
I don't think he was liking all of the attention being on Nolan. 
Opa tried to tickle the ornery out of him!
He got Minion Operation from the Sloothaaks! Thank you awesome friends for always remembering our boys.
 And finally, a gift from Mommy & Daddy...
Reading his message from us. 
Some books and Science stuff! 
 After presents, we headed over to Coldstone for dessert! 
He had fun making quite the sweet creation. 
 It was delicious, but BOY were we stuffed at the end of the night! 

It really was the perfect day for my sweetheart. 

And here are a few last birthday photos for his birthday WEEK. Birthday WEEKS are the best right?! 
His birthday chalkboard. 

When his BB-8 clock came in, Auntie & Flobby stopped by to see it. He happily sets his alarm now for 7:15 each morning. And he stays in his bed until then. It's great! 

The birthday cupcakes he picked out to bring to school to celebrate with his friends and classmates! 
Loved being able to celebrate our boy and a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make his day super special!