Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet Sienna

One of my favorite girl's names is Sienna. I have tried and tried to get Jason to let me name one of my girls - Sienna, but I have obviously failed. He told me on girl #4 I could. I don't think I will make it to girl #4. So I guess I have to name my new van Sienna.

We traded in the Kia for something HOPEFULLY much more reliable. So far - it hasn't been true. We got this 2006 Toyota Sienna is Moline. It is has the essentials for us (DVD player, power doors, moveable seats etc) and some more - leather, sun roof etc.

On our way home something happened and tada - we have a flat time. I was driving and don't remember anything on the road. Jason said that it was the easiest flat tire he has ever had to change. I hope I don't ever have to try it myself!

Ally's Cabin

We dropped off Ally yesterday afternoon at camp. She got the top bunk. Her counselor's name is Cara. Cara is from Cedar Rapids, but is a student at ISU and goes to Cornerstone.

She is in a cabin with her cousins - Hannah, Malee and Abby. I am sure it is not a quiet cabin. I wonder if they got any sleep? We pick her up on Wednesday late afternoon and I am sure we will hear all about it!

As we were there it was fun watching other parents walk in and realize that hey I worked with them. I went to camp with them. It's that great of place to send your kids! Anyone want to join Ally next year?

I think that Drew misses his playmate - mommy just isn't the same.

Swimming Lessons

I am trying to document our summer activities. We just finished swim lessons. I think they were in too low of class but oh well they had fun and learned a few new things! One thing that I love with swimming lessons (a selfish thing) is that I get to chit chat with moms from school or church. We never plan with anyone when to take them - we just ended up there at the same time. Love it!

It was hard to snap any pictures since I was typically trying to entertain a bundle of wiggles. Drew is on the end in the lime green shorts. He was so good for his teachers even though the other little boys were ALL over the place!

I think that Ally had just jumped into the pool as I snapped this one - oh well.

Three Months

Can't believe our little twinkle toes is 3 months old already! She is so much fun. She is starting to talk or babble or screech. Whatever you want to call it - it is NOISE. Oh the noise that will be in our house in the future. Who will win? I am sure it won't be Jason or I.

She is batting at toys and starting to grab them. Her pincher/grabbing reflex isn't very accurate yet, but she is changing so much every week!

She is quite the smiler and has very sweet eyes. She is wiggling around and spinning when we lay her on the floor. She loves to arch her back and look backwards. I think that she would roll if she was interested in getting a toy.

Corn is Here

The start of summer means lots of corn on the cob. So here is the annual corn on the cob picture. It isn't ready in the fields yet, but sometimes you can get a good batch in the grocery store.

The kids are getting better about eating it in an orderly fashion. Even though Jason and I think that you should eat it in rows instead of around!

Next year we will start Tana and I am sure she will love it as much as the rest of us do! But what will I do we won't have enough cob holders or plates!

T-Ball is Over

T-ball is over. It was a rainy season with many games getting cancelled, but we had fun when it wasn't raining! This year they were both on the same team which made it nice. Next year we will be there all evening on Tuesdays and Fridays since they will be in different leagues. I guess supper will be on the consession stand those nights. Hope Tana likes to play in the dirt!

Drew is our hard hitter! He is very coordinated and can wam that ball out there. He can throw and catch fairly well for a 4 year old!

Ally is also a good hitter when she is paying attention.

She isn't as good as thrower, but has improved greatly from last year! At the end of the season she finally figured out how to catch the ball over-hand. She is excited to be on the BIG girls team next year - so she practices every night. Oh boy I can see lots of CCA softball in our future.

Grizzlies shaking hands with the other team.

Guess Where My Kids Have Been?

It was HOT last week. This week not so much this week. The temp of the pool is already down at least 10 degrees! Ally & Drew were out almost everyday for two hours or more. One day they got in a 10 am since we were going to be gone that afternoon. They have a blast. One day Tana and I got in with them, but she isn't much fun in the pool yet and shouldn't have that much sun on her fair skin.

Typically she sits in her bouncy seat or swing in the kitchen and I wander in and out to the deck to watch the kids. I really do put (and reapply) sunscreen on them. We do it at potty breaks and icy breaks.

Drew is a ton braver than last year. It was hard to get him pried off the ladder last year and now he is FLYIN' in. He is starting to get the hang of swimming across - doggy style of coarse.

Ally has figured out how to dive and can swim across using the crawl. She isn't incredibly strong yet, but it will come with practice.

Soon they will be better swimmers than daddy. Drew did try to "leap" in over the side like daddy but failed. He needs to be a couple feet taller!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Packed for Camp

My baby girl (okay Ally isn't a baby anymore, but wow has 6 years FLOWN by fast) is packed for camp. We had to talk about everything in the suitcase and several situations - like there are underware in there and you HAVE to change them. Here is your hairbrush - have your counselor help you with your hair. I wonder what she will look like when we pick her up on Wednesday night. I will take a picture.

She is headed to East Iowa Bible Camp. She will have fun. She will meet friends that she will have forever. I wish I could list all of my great friends from camp. Ahh why should I list them - many are on my friend's blog list. I can't wait to see the friends that Ally makes from camp. Those are my friends that are still around - not my high school classmates.

Pray that God will work in her heart and teach her more. I pray that she will become a woman who fears and loves God with all of her heart. I pray that she will be greatly used by Him.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Birthday

For a few months I can harass Jason for being another year older than me. Today he turns 33! I could say all the wonderful stuff about him that would make everyone gag. We know he has a servant heart. He is a hard worker and trust worthy friend. He loves his family more than anything - except God. I could say I am look forward to the next 33 years, but I would rather say that I am looking forward to the next 100 years!

Tana is now our earlier riser (gooness what were we thinking we were finally getting to sleep in again!). She greeted him this morning with some smiles....

After a scared frown - I think she saw his hair!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sleep Walking

We heard some noise tonight as we were sitting in the office. Sometimes we hear Ally get up and head to the bathroom for a drink. We have a guest staying with us and at first I thought he was coming up for something.

Finally we heard a squeak - litterally. I walked out to see Drew standing at the banister. All he would do was squeak. Finally he came down the stairs and gave me a hug and said that he loved me. Then he laid down on the steps and fell asleep. As any good mom would do - I grabbed the camera to take a picture for the blog. Then gave him a hug as Jason took him back up for bed.

Don't think he was conscience and probably doesn't remember the sweet lovin.

First Swim for Tana

The kids are having a blast in the pool - well except Tana. Her first experience was not so positive. She is not fond of cool water. The water was about 80 degrees which was really nice for the hot days. Jason knew that her time in the pool would be short so he put her in right away to get a pictures of all three of them on the side of the pool. He wanted to get her before she started screaming. Didn't work.

Then he tried to easy her in a talk to her. Not happy.

Finally calmed down, but she is very mad at her daddy.

Day 2 - it is almost boiling out and we took another try at the pool. She did much better and even smiled at me. Much calmer when you SLOWLY work her into the water. Hopefully tonight we can go to the NL pool and play.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Apple Bottom Jeans....

Big Girl Tub

Tana took her first big girl bath tubbie. She loved it. She loves the warm water poured on her tummy. She was full of smiles and kept turning her head back and forth feeling the water on her cheeks.

Iowa Storms

Storms are fun. Now don't get me wrong the kind that don't cause damage or harm are the fun ones. Tonight just as we were getting the kids in the tub the sirens went off. Great. There goes the early bedtime for the Willis kids. We all got our shoes and headed down to the "tornado closet." All evening the sky was showing God's amazing artwork. Not much came out of tonight's storm in our area. I guess some pigs an hour from us lost their roof on their building but that is about it.

Friday night we got A LOT of rain in one hour. We needed a new rain gauge - it's an Iowa thing to have one. It is the first question our of many people's mouth if they new you got rain. It was never reported in weathercasts in STL. Due to the error of someone that mowed the lawn last year our rain gauge was no longer holding water. Jason and the kids bought a new one. I was quite embarassed by its HUGENESS. In my mind, I picture a old guy with no teeth standing next to it, but I can see how much we got from my window. Friday we got a little less than 2 inches in 1 hour. Now that's a lot of water.

Our neighbors had a lot of water sitting in their yard. The storm sewer got back-up.

We had wind blasts that were strong. It ripped off our playhouse cover. Notice in the back the river running through the backyards - that isn't usually there. That's a lot of water.

In the front yard, there was so much water that it was running OVER the curb. Do you remember a couple years ago when Jason was driving through this with his truck?

Friday, June 19, 2009

tana smiles

Tana spent the last few weeks of school at different friend's houses. She got to spend a couple days with the Sterners. Hannah is one of Ally and Drew's favorite babysitters. They love playing with all the Sterner kids.

Carrie takes some marvelous pictures. She captured some great Tana faces. She is such a happy little banana when she is full and had her naps! This week she has found her hands and figured out how to grab at toys. She is spinning on the floor some too under her toys. She has a STRONG head and when on her tummy she looks everywhere - this is a problem at naptime.

Swimming is Here!

It hasn't been that warm this summer and we finally got the pool up. It is a mere 70 degrees. Jason had to get in earlier this week to fix some holes. Everyone would have been thrilled if I could have gotten pictures of this adventure but I got the look of death when I told him I was going to get the camera. All I have is eyewitness accounts from our friend Val. We were both rolling on the ground - especially when he put the kids' goggles on to go under the water.

The kids got in on Wednesday afternoon and evening. I can't wait to get in but it is a little chilly for Tana banana so I have had to sit it out right now. Tana got her feet wet. She didn't mind it, but the sun in her eyes was more than she could handle.

We started swimming lessons this week. Both kids have had a blast and are little fish. If I could handle another session I would but this 2 week stint might be all I can handle with the morning crazy routine!

Drew has definitely got more confidence this summer and isn't connected to the ladder all the time. He still stays fairly close and like to hang on it but will swim out more.

Cannon Ball!!!!

Ally fights to get on the ladder so that she can dive it. We are working on putting her head down so that she doesn't belly flop every time. It doesn't seem to hurt the first 5 times, but after that we get a belly ache.

Practicing gliding.

So if you want an afternoon of fun - come join us or let us meet you at the pool!

Sweet Sayin's

Oh the joys of summer are here and it is fun to listen to the kids talk. Some great ones from the last couple weeks...

After coming in from eating an icy
Drew: Ally - you want to read the (kids) Bible with me?

Talking with Ms. Val about coming over to play with her kids sometime.
Ally: We can come over while mom & dad go on a date. A date is where they go out for supper and then kiss in private.

Where does she get that from? I will blame Mari!

Another from Ally as we were drying her hair one night while watching a Cards game. Albert Pujols was up to bat. If you don't him he is one of the best players.
She looks up and says - Mom, Is that Chuck?
B: No - that is Pujols.
A: Man Albert Pujols looks just like Chuck.

On going funnys that they learn from their Dad....
Either one: I am going to have a meeting. (as they head to the bathroom)

Who can't get enough of this little sweet face. I will post more of her and some more summer fun soon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Instant Yard

One of our many projects this summer is fixing the grass in the backyard. Originally they sodded the first half and front yard. We seeded the back in hopes to save some money. We slightly regret that - but know that we have done some reworking to get it to drain correctly. After much driving on it with the skid loader, tiling and retaining wall stuff, we got around to INSTANT pretty yard. It is quite soggy though since we have to water so much.

We are very thankful for Andy & Michael that came and played in the mud with Jason. It poured the night before. We had the sod machine coming already and 10 rolls of sod waiting to get down. Thus yuk mud for the job.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun Days in North Liberty

What a year it has been! Last year at this time they cancelled fun days due to a lot of water surrounding us and taking up everyone's time. What changes there have been in a year. On Thursday night we took the kids to the carnival. None of the rides look extremely safe (or the people running them), but we paid $12 for unlimited rides for the night. It was well worth it. Ally and Drew had so much fun. They didn't even need Daddy to ride with them on the big kid rides. They are growing up!

Tana was such a good little trooper. She was content to sit in her stroller the whole evening. If you have been around Tana lately you would know that isn't her favorite place to be. I finally picked her up just because. She did get a little hysterical at the end, but it was WAY past her bedtime. She is swaddled for bed - thus to make her feel "normal" we swaddled her in her seat. We really aren't mean parents!

For Liz we ate a funnel cake and Ally got her cotton candy. Oh the sugar that was running through her blood for several days afterwards it seemed! We didn't end up going to the parade since it was raining - who wants to sit in the rain to get candy we don't need??? Well some people did - not us!

We didn't get to enjoy much more of the activities due to our sod project and Mercy's family picnic on Sunday. They are already asking when Fun Days are again. I guess Jason and I aren't fun enough for them!


Lots of feet in this picture. Notice that not ALL of them have pink on their toes! I pray that someday these feet will carry the Good News all over the world!

Just Plain Precious

Wow - couldn't have gotten a better picture of the three of them. Well if Tana would have smiled that would have been perfect, but I think that she realizes that she is not in the safest position with the crazies holding her!

If Ally could she would carry her around all day long pretending that she was a doll - a real doll. She kisses her sister way more than this mommy would like but I guess she loves her. I am sure I will be wishing in a couple years that Ally would be happy with Tana following her around.

They love staring at her, kissing her, feeding her and SOMETIMES changing her. She doesn't have many dirty diapers so they don't get grossed out - yet.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sweet Face

My little twinkle toes has a cold. I think she is on the mend, but her little cough sounds so awful sometimes. She is a growing though. When we headed to the doctor to make sure that the cold hadn't spread into her lungs, she weighed in at a whomping 14 lbs 4 oz. She isn't a chunker since she has some good length on her.

This week she is started to discover her hands and feet. She isn't playing with them, but I have caught her a couple times staring at them. She has figured out toys on her bouncy seat or playyard. She enjoys watching them. She also has gained a new friend in a pink fuzzy blankie.

Here I think she is staring down the butterfly hoping he won't attack. Or maybe she is staring him down to pounce on him at just the right moment.

She is a really good baby if she takes her naps and stays on her schedule. She still hates her carseat and cried all the way to Rachel's house last weekend. It makes for a LONG ride (in the truck) for all. Ally & Drew have just resorted to yelling over her. Thus Jason and I had headaches.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

If Tana Could Speak

What do you think she is thinking only wishing she could get the words out!

Dad - are you crazy? He is an animal. AND he keeps taking the bottle out of my mouth. Please take me back!

Really am I related to these two. Dad is trying to take a decent picture so this girl will stop talking and HE budges in. Goodness.

Squooshing my head silly. If I could only do it to you - you just wait til I am bigger.


Wow - where do they get these beautiful eyelashes. Poor Ally has nice eyelashes, but not nearly as long as her brother and sister.

I don't think Drew has figured out the power of his eyelashes yet, but he flirts those toward anyone and he melts your heart!

We knew that Tana had long eyelashes, but they were very light, but in the last 2 months they have gotten darker and darker. They are almost as long as Drew's. They add to her beautiful HUGE blue (arghhh - I wanted brown) eyes.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Last Day

I haven't felt so giddy to be done with school. I am so excited to be at home and hang out with my kids doing fun things. I am looking forward to swimming, Wednesday Kids' Days at church, walks, bike rides, t-ball, lunches with Daddy, hanging out with friends. I know that Ally was a little sad that she will be leaving all of her friends for a new school next year, but she is excited that there will be some familiar faces to greet her. I am also excited that it is possible that Drew will have Ally's preschool teacher and kindergarten teacher in the future. Both teachers were so special and made huge impacts on Ally.

I finished up at school before lunch on Friday! Our middle school is moving to a "new" building to us next fall. It is only about 10 minutes from our house. Packing all the boxes was quite the chore - there were 41 boxes plus about 30 random furniture things. The girls headed out to lunch and enjoyed adult conversation.

I picked up the kids from their favorite babysitter - Hannah's house. I asked on the way home what their favorite part was, in unison they both said EVERYTHING. Thank you Hannah (and the rest of the Sterner fam) for playing with my kiddos.

Picnic on the Deck

First summer picnic on the deck!

I love to grill - it doesn't have to be summer to grill at our house but it is much more fun to go out on the deck when you don't have to freeze your tootsies off! This picnic was enjoyable also since Tana was napping instead of crying through another meal.

I am sure that it won't be the last.