Saturday, December 31, 2011


Today marked the end of an era.
Our favorite bagel shop of 8 years closed. I have been going there since my sophomore year at Drake. My Junior year, and what would have been my senior year, I lived a block away with six other girls who loved Iowa Bakery as well. And when Dan and I got married we moved less than a block away. Needless to say it was our favorite breakfast spot. I went there for a bagel at 6am the morning of our wedding to just be before the days chaos began.

My children have grown to love it as well. We used to put Quinn in the stroller and walk down the street. We would go and eat bagels and talk. We met some friends there. We were pregnant at the same time and after seeing each other regularly we became friends. After moving a couple of miles away our kids would scream, "BAGELS" as we pulled into the parking lot. They loved getting bagels with daddy.
So we enjoyed our last family breakfast at Iowa Bakery Cafe today. Quinn kept reminding us that it was the last time that we were going to have bagels there. Poor Titan will never get to experience the delicious bagels with honey cinnamon cream cheese on them. It was funny seeing all the people come in this morning ordering huge boxes of bagels and treats. I think many people will miss the bagels.

So thank you Iowa Bakery for the hundreds of wonderful conversations and some of my favorite family breakfasts.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Day

Christmas day was so much fun!

Dan spoke at the Christmas Eve service so Christmas day was pajamas, presents, coffee, food and family time! I LOVED every minute of it! It was the perfect family day. We got to be in our pajamas until 4:30 when we went to the Rude's house to celebrate some more.

My children are now skilled present openers and although they were showered with gifts by both our families we decided since we would be home on Christmas it would be really fun to have some things for them to open. We have not been home on Christmas since we have been married so it was fun to come up with some of our own traditions.

My happy wee ones in front of our tree.
We had much success on craigslist with some of their presents. My kids love the movie CARS and CARS cars are a favorite toy around here. We found a whole bunch of them unopened on Craigslist for so cheap! So I excitedly wrapped each one and they excitedly opened each one. It was funny because there were all these little presents that were exactly the same size and they still didn't know what was in each one. I love kids! Titan just loves being around his siblings and they still adore him!Do you think they look alike?My attempt at a picture with all of them!Rex was nominated to open the first gift. I love Myla's face in this picture. My kids did a really good job of being excited for each other and taking turns with all their new toys.Myla needed a headband on to open gifts...We took our time opening gifts. After each gift we would open it, put it together (if needed) and enjoy it before opening another. I love opening gifts that way. This was after they each opened their first present. We probably could have stopped then. They were so pumped about their new car. The boys shared a big present. A really awesome pirate ship to go with their Imaginext toys. We love this! Dan was probably just as excited about it as they were.Myla insisted that baby Hailey open a gift so then Quinn thought the Hippo should help too. This also played a role in our leisurely morning. This was probably my favorite gift. Growing up I had a few American Girl Dolls and I had a lot of their clothes, a table, and beds. I am anxiously awaiting the day when I can give Myla' her first doll. I absolutely loved my dolls growing up and took great care of them so they are all ready for Myla. I was told (and I suppose I agree, I'm just really excited) that she was too young for a doll but I did bring one of their beds home for her to use for her babies. So baby Hailey and baby Molly, as well as my boys dogs now have a place of their own to sleep.

Oh it is just so cute!We enjoyed cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and our family favorite, hot sandwiches for lunch. But the best part was just being together, playing with their new toys and enjoying the excitement on their faces. After some earlier naps we were off to the Rude's house for more fun and festivities. Nine out of ten children were there with their spouses and 11/13 of the grandchildren were there. I think it goes without saying but it was quite the party. We enjoyed Chili for dinner and good conversations. Despite all living the the Des Moines area it is hard to make everyone's schedules work together so Christmas day was the perfect time to celebrate. We are so thankful for the large and growing Rude family. My big kids with their cousin Hudson. It was just a wonderful day. Loved all the memories made.
I am so blessed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Arkansas Christmas

Our week in Arkansas was a blast!
It is one of those trips where you feel like you just unpacked and then you're packing up again. It flew by! We enjoyed all of our undivided Nana and Papa time with our usual activities. It is fun having so much to do at my parents house, we rarely have to leave. I love having so many things to do within walking distance.

We helped Nana bake cookies. Amazingly they each only ate the one Hersey's Kiss they were given to eat and then they unwrapped the rest. Aunt Dana made Rex and Myla super cute aprons. Unfortunately they had not unwrapped them yet otherwise they could have looked even cuter. Titan LOVED his first trip to Arkansas. Although he seemed to eat a lot more and sleep a lot less he sure basked in the extra attention and love he received. We did go on one adventure in the car to go to the light exhibit at the garden center that my parents belong to. It was well worth the twisty drive. I tend to get carsick very easily so Arkansas roads are not a friend of mine. My children were in awe of all the beautiful lights and the weather was perfect for walking around outside. Our family of 6Papa, Nana and the big kidsI hope I look like my momma when I'm a Nana. Isn't she lovely?Attempting to get a picture of the whole gang but there was a train going around behind them. Wednesday we excitedly welcomed Aunt Dana, Aunt Kelly, Uncle Ry and my Aunt Mary Ann to join in the festivities.

Check out this good looking family!
Dan, Rex, Titan, Me, my mom, Myla, Quinn, my sister Kelly, my Aunt Mary Ann, my brother in law Ryan, my sister Dana and my dad

My mom and her girls.
Kelly, Mom, Dana, MeMy family. How wonderful they are.The rest of the week was filled with lots of playing, visiting, eating, snuggling, playing, visiting, eating, snuggling...Uncle RyRy is always a favorite of my kiddos.I practically had to pry Titan out of my sister Dana's arms. She adores the baby stage.Quinn and PapaMy sister Kelly and NanaWe celebrated Christmas on Thursday morning. We started upwrapping gifts a little before 8 and finished about 11:15. One present opened at a time, clapping, opening the toys, passing things around. It was a wonderful time. I love getting to buy gifts for everyone and my kids loved keeping what was inside of them a secret. Quinn enjoyed watching people shake their gifts from us all week and then he would remind them that he could not tell them what was inside!Still waking up...My children didn't touch the presents all week. I was so impressed that they didn't get anxious and rip into them. So when Christmas morning arrived they were ready!

Myla modeling her new backpack, new shoes and a new book.Rex got a backpack too and some new movies and of course he had to try on his new shirt.We enjoyed our traditional Christmas dinner of fondue and fettuccine. I'm pretty sure that I ate until I felt sick. Then it was down to the basement of my parents for running and wrestling. Everyone participated in stealing socks from my wee ones and helping them exert all of their energy. I think they could run for days.

I love getting to share life with my family for a week. It's always fun to reminisce about growing up. It was so fun having my Aunt Mary Ann celebrating with us. At one point I looked at my sister Kelly and said, "Is this what we're going to sound like in 30 years?" referring to my mom and my aunt talk about their childhood. So many fun stories of memories and so many memories made. Kelly and my Aunt Mary AnnI don't think Titan got left alone for a minute! And he LOVED it!My dad was in heaven sitting with all four of his grandkids after they woke up.And I think this captures how everyone feels being around my kids all day...We loved our week. We love our family. We love getting to share life together. We are totally blessed.