Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Sadler!

Happy 3rd Birthday to this handsome boy! I'm so thankful that God chose me to be his mom! Sending love to his birthmother today, and always for choosing life for him. I can't imagine our family without his sweet smile!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

WINNER!

Holly Heeres! 
You are the winner of the scarf, I didn't see your email so send me your mailing address to katielubbers@hotmail.com and I'll be heading to the post office on Monday!
Congrats!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

{DIY} Finger Chain Infinity Scarf

I've gotten a few questions about the scarf I'm wearing in this picture. I did make it!

I learned how to make these at MOPS, and just loved how it turned out, so I made the one above along with my mom and sisters when I taught them how to make them! 

 (this is the first one I made in MOPS, its a Grey Metallic)


I found a youtube video that explains how to make them way better than I ever could! 

I didn't know about the end part where you tie the tails together so I just cut mine off, but that would have been great! I also used the entire ball of yarn so mine is a little fuller. 

I used this type of yarn (the Aqua one I have on in the picture isn't metallic though)

It's so easy and only took 10 minutes! Trust me if I can do it, you can too! Such a cute Spring time craft.

I have an aqua one just like the one I have on here to {giveaway} to a lucky reader (Thank Sadler for this! He took apart an extra ball of yarn before I had the chance to return it!)
All you have to do is leave me a comment (don't forget your email address if it's not linked to your account) and tell me what you are looking forward to doing this Spring!
I'll pick a random winner on Saturday!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Insta Catch-Up

The night we got back from our cruise we watched Frozen at the Roelofs'. They missed each other so much!
Jovie had a weight check the following day, she only gained a half a pound in a month so we had to increase her calories in her bottles. She also had a head x-ray done. We noticed a protrusion in the back of her head shortly after she was born, her pedi was keeping an eye on it and decided it was time to get it checked out. The concern was that the bones in her scull had fused together too quickly, which would result in surgery. Thankfully, that was not the case! She'll probably just grow into it. 


Waiting for her x-ray with some drinks at the coffee shop nearby with Aunt Mindy. 



Breakfast at the cafe with this handsome date before meeting friends at the library for story time. 

Crafts after story time!

Robb was out of town a couple days so me and my mom and sisters enjoyed hibachi at Kobe and a night of shopping. 

Friday night we had a pizza party at Grandma's and waited for the guys to get home from Kentucky.  Sader was reading about tuna sandwiches from the Bible ?
Lazy Saturday!

Lunch for the boys made me Robb, love it!

Perfect ending to a Saturday!

We took Jovie on her first stroller ride outside Sunday afternoon. 

short sleeves and snow, crazy Michigan kids! :)


Jovie and I hanging out while the boys watched the Michigan game!

Fun at the park while Gray was in school on Monday!

I had my gallbladder taken out on Tuesday morning, everything went fine other than finding out I'm allergic to morphine! I was able to go home that afternoon. 

I spend Wednesday watching the Food Network with my ice pack, and sleeping! Thanks to the Grandma's for watching the kids!

Grayden worked so hard on this puzzle while we were at Grandma R's house on Thursday. 

We spent Friday being as lazy as possible, as I was still pretty sore. Baths just because!

Saturday night Robb and I went out for dinner and fro-yo! First time this year!

And date night wouldn't be complete without getting a few groceries!

We all stayed home from church on Sunday because the boys both have bad coughs, thankfully they act and feel fine, but they sound horrid! Grayden loved being able to help make our chili for lunch. 

sleeping beauty

It was a gorgeous day and we all needed some fresh air, so we headed to the outdoor discovery center to explore. 

Enjoying the quiet on the front porch Sunday night, while the boys were with Grandpa and Grandma getting fro-yo, and Jovie was napping. 

This little sweetie always waits to poop until she's in a fresh diaper! Love her!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Cruise {Q&A}

~Mary Ann asked where I found my tankini suit.

I got this one, and most of my other suits from Target a couple years ago. 

I looked real quick online and came across some really cute ones from Target if you are looking for a new one this Summer!




including this adorable plus size one:


and this oh so cute maternity one:



~Anonymous wondered how we booked our trip a rough idea of cost.

We booked the cruise directly through Disney Cruise Lines,  we chose the cruise we wanted online and then called to make the reservations. I also booked the flights and hotels myself. However, if you haven't cruised before or making your own reservations makes you at all nervous, I would definitely recommend using a travel agent! It can be overwhelming and very time consuming to work everything out. Cruises are priced per person, so it will obviously depend on how many people are cruising. Our kids were all a discounted rate based on their ages, it will all be broken down for you when you book it.  It also varies on how many nights you cruise and what ship you are on. We opted to book 2 conjoining rooms to accommodate our family of 5 versus a suite for additional savings.
The thing we like most about cruise vacations is they are all inclusive. You have everything paid for ahead of time (you can even pre-pay tips) and there are no surprises so it's easy to budget and save for when you know the exact cost. I love walking out of the dining rooms without paying ;) I'm sure time of the year also factors in to price, we chose not to go over Spring Break due to price increases. We also chose to fly home on Monday rather than Sunday because it saved us a few hundred dollars. These are all things a travel agent would be wonderful at helping you with!

~Anonymous asked if kids 10 & 8 were too old for a Disney cruise.

Absolutely not! I would say the majority of kids there were pre-teens. They had tons of activities geared to all ages.


~PPR asked if I had any tips on making a cruise like this more affordable.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are many 'steal of a deal's going on for Disney cruises like we sometimes find on other cruise lines. Although I can't say it's a 'once in a lifetime trip' for us as we do plan to go again sometime, this isn't the type of vacation we can take every year. That being said, when you factor in your entertainment, lodging, and all you can eat food for 4 people it didn't seem that outrageous to us. We put a value on the convenience of having everything planned for you so we didn't have to come up with things to do, and places to eat like we would have done on a weeks stay in Florida.


~Anonymous wondered if Jovie needed a passport.

She did not! We didn't get any of the kids passports. From my understanding, you do not need them to cruise as long as you are leaving from, and returning to the U.S. If your cruise leaves out of another country then you would need them for everyone. They did need their birth certificates.



~Melissa wonders if I have any tips on making extra cash to spend on her kids.

Robb and I are both savers by nature. It seems like there is always something we are saving up for. My advice (not that I think you should take financial advice from me, I am no Dave Ramsey, but since you asked ;) is to come up with a feasible amount you can put away each month to save up for your trip and when you reach that goal take your trip and celebrate! This might not be the type of vacation you can decide to take next month, it might take some budgeting and planning ahead.


~Mrs. Gable wondered if we took a stroller aboard and if we had a pack n play.
We did take a small umbrella stroller along and we are so glad we did! Jovie spent lots of time in it chilling in the shade or to sleep in. We put her in there during dinner since she's too small for a high chair. We also had many times we'd push Sadler in it when he'd fall asleep after the shows. 


The cruise line provided a pack n play and also the bed rail where Sadler slept! They also had a diaper genie for us in our room and in every public restroom. They truly thought of everything and were so accommodating to us.

~Rachel asked if the kids ever had any melt downs and if I have any tips on flying!

Let's see, I don't specifically remember any major melt downs, Sadler had a hard time sitting still on the plane that lead to a few outbursts, but nothing extreme. Going into it we knew were would need some extra grace with them, and I think the fact that we were relaxed about it helps a lot. A plane ride is not the time to be uptight!
I think the trick to flying with kids is to keep them busy. I packed lots of snacks and treats for the boys. We also brought the iPad, and a portable CD player along with some new books on CD that was a big hit with Gray.  We brought playdoh, lace up cards, coloring books and markers. etc. We had a layover both times which wasn't ideal, but ended up being nice to take a break to run some energy out before the next flight. Our kids are used to sitting quietly in church for an hour every week so it went pretty good. We also tried to schedule the flights during times they would likely fall asleep and that worked great! We got lots of compliments on how well they traveled. We are very proud of them!

~Anonymous wondered how it went on vacation, overall, with an infant, toddler and preschooler!

Really well, actually! But, we were BUSY! It was not a very relaxing trip, but we had so much fun!

Jovie was the easiest! She's still so good and sleeps a lot, so she was a breeze! No complaining or running off from her! She was the youngest sailor aboard the whole ship and got lots of attention everywhere we went! Lots of people thought I was carrying a little doll around, which is cute and kinda creepy too :) I even had a crew member ask if I gave birth on the ship! They were not used to seeing such a little one!
The only issue I recall Grayden having was before I 'gently urged' him to go down the AquaDuck slide with me, when he said he didn't want to! :) I knew he'd love it but he didn't quite believe me!
We knew Sadler would be the most challenging on our trip, and we had lots of talks with the boys before hand on our expectations of them on a cruise. And they did awesome! We've always noticed that the busier they are, and the more fun they are having, the more they get along! Which is our biggest issue at home...fighting!  We didn't have that problem at all on the ship. We also struggle a lot at home during bedtime but that also wasn't an issue on vacation, they were so beat every night!

~Anonymous asked if we wished we had more time on our cruise.


I always wish vacation lasted longer! :) But, we purposely chose a shorter cruise (3 night cruise with 2 additional nights in Orlando) just to test the waters and see how the kids would do for their first cruise, and our first trip as a family of 5! We also didn't want Grayden to miss more school than he already has this Spring. Ideally, we could have used one more day on the cruise, there was so much to check out and we couldn't fit it all in! I think our next cruise will be at least 4 nights.


**I think that answers all the questions, if i missed anything or you think of more, leave them in the comments section and I'll answer them there!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jovie's 3 month {photo shoot}

I had some fun earlier this week snapping a few pictures of Jovie! She's such a happy and photogenic babe, it only took about 5 minutes to get these cuties!



I've gotten a few questions lately about who she looks like so I thought I would quick address that now.
It's been fun to compare our baby pictures to see who she resembles!

We hear different things all the time, but I think she looks just like Robb's baby picture!
{he's on the left, I'm on the right}

but I think she looks more like me at her age now. 
me at 2 months


I also see a little bit of Makenna, and a little bit of Peyton (my sister's daughters) in her
 
{makenna}
{peyton on top, jovie on bottom}

 And oddly, even a little bit of Grayden as a baby!



So there's your answer! Ha! She seems to be just the most adorable mixture of us =)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

{Disney Dream} Cruise ::Days 4, 5 & 6::

Saturday morning we woke up in Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. 
We had breakfast in the Enchanted Garden dining room, we had come to realize that was easier than doing the buffet with 3 small kids in tow.
Then we headed to the island where we spent the morning at the beach. It was so quiet when we first got there so we were happy we got off the ship early like we did!







Jovie's first dip in the Ocean.

We had lunch on the island and then went back on the boat to enjoy some more pool time. At that point everyone was on the island so it wasn't busy on the ship at all! 

Robb had a chance to ride the AquaDuck, there was only a 10 minute wait, versus the usual 45!


We had the mini golf course all to ourselves, the boys loved that!



And we got even luckier when someone asked us if we wanted to finish up their session in the sports simulator. They prepaid for an hour but only used 30 minutes! So fun!


watching Aladdin on the big screen. 

We packed a lot into that day! 
One last thing we wanted to do was go to the open house at the Oceaneer's Lab, the kids club that Grayden went to the night before. During the open house parents and younger siblings could check it out. It was so fun in there! 

  
We had dinner at Animator's Palace, which was our favorite dining room! 





The highlight of the dinner was when Crush, from Finding Nemo, came to talk to us on the interactive TV screen. 


We met Mickey Mouse after dinner and the boys played shuffle board before the show started. 






Sadler fell asleep again during the show, so we all headed to bed once it was over.

We woke up Sunday morning back in Florida and we were all off the ship by 8am. 

The Disney bus was waiting for us and took us right to the airport, where we waited for our hotel shuttle to pick us up and brought us to the hotel. 

We spent the day at the hotel pool, it was so nice and quite compared to the cruise pools!




We walked to Chili's for lunch and the boys rested in the room while I spent some time laying out. 
For dinner Robb grabbed Carrabba's take out and brought it back to our room. We all went to bed early for our 5am wake up call the next morning!
We were back to GR at 1:30 Monday afternoon after another successful day of traveling.

We had such an amazing time, and are so thankful for the opportunity to share our love of cruising with our kids. They did amazing and we are so proud of them!