Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Only 10 more days!

I'm currently working on our Christmas card and hoping to not break my record of December 21st and getting it finished this weekend and out! Meanwhile, you can check out the latest girly girl photos here and if you want a little more Tidd, check out our video page here.

Hope this finds you filled with peace and joy, with all your cookies baked, presents bought and travel plans arranged!

Love,

Gary, Christie, Anna and Izzy

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where did November go?

Well, I apologize for my delinquency. For whatever reason, I've put this blog to the back burner but have plans to revive it now and at the start of the new year. Here's a run down of how the Tidd's are fairing this late fall.

Izzy: She is 10.5 months now! We had her 9 month check up where she was over 10 months by then and she tipped the scales at 18 lbs. 2 oz. and about 27" long. She's in the 25% for her weight and height but her head is in the 95%. The first time a Tidd girl got anything in the 95th percentile! She's an eater, she'll eat as long as we give her food. Well in recent days, she starts to sweep her hands rapidly over her food, letting it fall to the floor. We consider that done. She'll eat anything we give her from fish, steak, chicken, broccoli, any fruit and crackers. Almost done with that darn baby food! We thought she'd never have any teeth at this rate, but just last night I felt a little pearly white poking through. I only swept my finger in her mouth because she was doing that "theres something that's different with my mouth b/c my tongue keeps flicking it" movement that I remember Anna doing. So finally, she cut her first tooth as of November 30! For a couple months already she's been standing on her own, more recently walking around furniture and repelling only one step to something else. But last night, yes another milestone, she took her first few unassisted steps! Again, I thought she might lolly-gag and wait till after she turned 1 but she may just beat her sister out with only a week or so to spare in the walking department. She also learned how to climb the stairs last week. I guess I would say, another milestone, but I could have gone awhile yet before she figured that one out.

Story: Gary and Anna were racing their cars down our long hallway from the stairs into the kitchen one night. As with most events not originally featuring Izzy, she found her way over to them near the stairs. Gary and Anna were playing and Gary just so happened to turn to catch Izzy falling from the 3rd stair! What a little stinker! So we let her climb both sets to stairs to declare her victory.

She's becoming quite the character. She'll scream with Anna, jabber on and on by herself or in sister language, she'll race over to snatch the toy of the minute from Anna only to find herself tackled or poked or hit by Anna followed by a trip to timeout stair. Oye. She smiles the biggest goofiest smile and lays her head on your shoulder (awww...!). She whips her head around from side to side so she won't miss a thing. I'll have to snag a video of that someday - too funny! She'll even wave on command now. The whole clapping thing.... nahhh.... She needs tricks to pull out later.

I can't believe in less than 2 months she's going to be 1! What an unexpected surprise she was to us and we can't imagine her not in our family anymore.

Anna: Our little 2 year old. Two. Wow. We have a 2 year old. Where did all that time go? It wasn't that long ago that it was just Gary and I. Now we have 2 kids in less than 2 years! Crazy. Anyway, Ms. Banana is developing so many words, phrases and sentences every day. She says words I didn't even know she knew. And she says them with such clarity! She puts a person (Mommy, Daddy, Uncle Alex, Papa) with a feeling (hurt, fall, read, eat) and a thing (leg, book, chicken). When we're driving down the road, something that happened months ago pops into her head and start rattling off who was there, what happened, what she saw, etc. Her stats are 35" tall and about 25 pounds. Her head is in the 75th percentile and the rest, you guessed it, the 25th. So Gary and Christie make giant headed baby girls. :)

Story: Driving home one day, she said Munga (grandma) hurt leg. Munga fall. I wasn't with when this happened, but a few weeks back they all went out for dinner and Grandma fell outside. And she remembered that. She also remembers that she bit someone. "Bite Jayden. Anna timeout. Anna naughty timeout chair." Not the best thing to recollect but she did. :)

She likes to tattle on Izzy. "Mommy.... Izzy touch." I tell her I'll take care of it and walk over to where Izzy is (by the receiver near the TV) and Anna's going "No no Izzy!" with a firm voice like we do. Oh boy. She loves music and loves to sing. She sings herself but loves it when "Mommy sing Jesus" or "Daddy sing spider" which sounds more like farmer. She sings along or fills in the word. She bops her head to music anywhere and sometimes she gets us all to dance together.

She loves to wear hats, mittens and shoes when they are laying around. She loves "runnin'" around in circles. She still loves reading and the occasional puzzle. She still would rather eat fruit all day long if we let her.

She's had a couple milestones of her own. First, we converted her crib into a big girl bed just over a week ago. The front part of the crib comes off and the little half rail takes it's place. We bought her new sheets and a comforter to go with it. She took to it just fine but doesn't care for all the covers quite yet. We don't think she knows she can get out of bed on her own yet as we haven't heard extra playtime post 8pm but only time will tell. Her second milestone is that we started potty training again. Ding ding ding, round 2. Our daycare provided felt she was very ready and wanted to feel it out last week and she did so well that we continued it over the holiday weekend. She had a few accidents here and there, but overall she's really doing well! No tantrums when we bring her to go potty every half hour, will actually try to go and not just say all done like she had been doing this summer. She's still in diapers for nap and bed but that's fine by us! Our goal is have her completely trained by Christmas! Merry Christmas mom and dad. :)

Parents: We are totally enjoying being parents. We get to see daily what strides they made that day, their new actions or words, being more confident in something they struggled with a week ago, their sicknesses (which is the worst) and their joys. We are blessed with beautiful little girls who keep us moving and keep us wanting to be better parents, a better couple and better individuals.

Our jobs are going well. Certainly very busy all things considered, so for that we are very thankful. We're in the process of cleaning out the basement some more and getting ready for trim and doors hopefully in the next few months. We (well I) am ready for it to feel a little more put together and a place for all of us to be. I have a lot of crafty/home projects I want to work on so maybe with the slow down of side work for the time being, I can fit that in.

We've also both taken to a newer, healthier lifestyle. Back story: Gary went in for his yearly once over with Dr. D. and finally did his bloodwork that he had set up since last year this time. Well it came back with his cholesterol a little high (which runs in his family) and his triglycerides quite high. This kind of hit Gary realizing that maybe what he thought was healthy wasn't so healthy. So when Gary gets something in his head, he runs with it. Literally. :) I've been trying to get him to do some working out or something active for awhile and was always quite tired at night. So with this news, we changed almost instantly. We bought all new food with a ton more fruit and vegetables as snacks instead of packaged anything. We started packing really good hardy sandwiches, baked chips, tons more water and lots of exercise! Gary started working out at Calvin 3 days a week with plans for a family workout on Saturdays. I've been doing a class at GVSU once a week since the semester started but needed more if I was going to drop the weight too. So I started working out at home and I have plans to join the gym very soon to keep up with Gary and his mid-day workouts that I can't do. We're inspired each year by the Biggest Loser but this year really hit us both. For me, being a mom now, things hit me like they never have before and I want to be the fun mom, who plays with her kids and can climb stairs without being winded. I didn't want to be the mom who sat on the couch for her kids to come play near me. For Gary, he knows there are some things that run in his family that need to be addressed now, to stop being so tired at night and to just be more active. So far, Gary's down about 10 pounds from his average weight, but 5 pounds down from when we weighed in first. I'm down 3.5 pounds since our first weigh in and have never known to be this low ever! So we're very excited about what we're doing together, individually and for our family. We're getting ready to start our blog to document our progress and a whole host of other things.

We hope this finds you full from Thanksgiving and thankful for all the many blessings and preparing for the most spirit-filled and joyous time of the year!

Love to all,
Gary, Christie, Anna and Izzy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In the meantime....

While I whip up a new post, here are some pictures for you to enjoy of the girly girls this fall. Check out the side bar for new videos!

This fall!

Love to you all!

Gary, Christie, Anna and Izzy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

She's 2: Two under 3 begins!












Get all the latest photos here!

Fall is in full swing here in West Michigan. Where did the summer go or even fall for that matter? It's gotten down into the 20's some nights with a fresh layer of frost greeting us the next morning. Needless to say, the orange impatiens I left out front have gone to mush and my tomato plant couldn't take the cold anymore.



We visited the local farm a couple weekends ago to gather the harvest of fresh hot spiced donuts, cold apple cider and our hoard of pumpkins. Earlier in the day, it was beautiful and sunny, somewhat "warm". I dressed Anna in a long sleeved shirt and hooded sweatshirt and soon found out that wasn't the best idea. Soon followed the runny nose and red cheeks, oh yeah, blue lips. I felt like I won the "worst mom of the year" award at that moment. But the trooper that she is, kept plugging away at the coloring pages, hay piles, barrel rides and the "spitty rain" wagon ride to the pumpkin patch. I guess to compensate for my failure in Anna's attire, Izzy sat snuggly in her car seat, warm clothes, sweater and her blankie piled high. We did have an enjoyable time when we were there, just wished we waited a week. :)













This past weekend we celebrated Anna's 2nd birthday! We had a fun little party with family and close friends. Anna was greeted from her nap with 25 people looking at her, so she was a bit shy at first. But soon she saw her loot and was quite happy in helping daddy pick out which one to open next. She made out with a ton of new winter clothes (thank you family!), lots of art supplies/crafty projects and lots of Cars stuff (favorite movie these days). I, as usual, wanted to try something new and a little time consuming for the birthday treat. Enter cake pops!











They took a while to get the hang of but boy were they good and big hit! We had a lot of fun seeing family and friends again and glad they could be a part of Anna's big day.












Miss Isabella is certainly holding her own and making sure she's a part of everything Anna does. She crawls with great speed, pulls herself up on anything (picture getting ready for work and the wee little one holding on to your leg to stand) and certainly loves being in the daddy/Anna wrestling action.

Here's a story of the week. Place: Main floor of our house. Time: After dinner, daddy's gone. Izzy: In the kitchen with me, unloading the dishwasher. Anna: Living room wanting to sit by the table and color. Me: Hears Anna's cries for help (yes, everything to her is dramatic) to sit in her rocking chair by the table with her paper and box of crayons. I go to help her get situated and leave Izzy in the kitchen. This is what I see when I return to the kitchen:


So that's a good visual of Izzy's personality thus far. What a stinker!











For the last few weeks, I've been going to a Kickfit (think Tae Bo but with a bunch of skinny college girls) on Wednesday nights and it's been awesome! I've been so inspired that I've been trying to do one work out at home with Gary! It was fun the one time we did it and hope to make more of a habit doing it. Hehe. :) I was on Weight Watchers for a year and a half before I got pregnant for Anna and lost about 45 pounds. I've been able to maintain that and a little more through both girls and now that we have the pregnancy thing under control, I'm trying to get back to working out more. It's hard doing it on your own so I'm glad I have Gary on board somewhat and my friend and I are doing the class together - one step closer! :)


Our jobs have been crazy busy in the last few weeks - job security! Close to wrapping up some side work - yes, this is really going to happen this time! Yay! Doors and trim, here we come. But over all, we're doing well. No one has been too sick as of yet, we get to wear sweaters (!) and we're moving in to the holiday season (I still would like to know what happened to summer). We can't complain a whole lot - no one would listen anyway. :)

Here's to a wonderful but rainy and cold weekend!
Love to you all,

Gary, Christie, Little One and Wee Little One


Friday, September 25, 2009

Where have we been?!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I touched this blog. So sorry followers! We are still alive and kicking, I promise! Here's pictures of late summer fun!

The month of September has come and gone. The Lord gave us a little summer after school was back in session and now we're seeing the leave start changing beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. The air has a little bit of humidity and little bit of a nip to it. The honeycrisp apples are eaten like candy and the canning of peaches already took place. The making of plans for a trip to the orchard and preparing for Anna's 2nd birthday party are underway. This year has flown by and probably won't stop there.

Nothing terribly exciting going on in the Tidd house. Izzy started full fledged crawling and is everywhere now. We started giving her some table food along with her baby food and is handling it really well (no gagging episodes as we experienced with Anna way too many times). She says "mamamama", "babababa" and "dadadada", but not really putting them with what they are yet. She's taking a lot of mental notes while watching big sister run around the house and gearing up to take over eventually. She continues to be our little cuddle bug as this week she got the flu and stayed home with mom and/or dad for a few days. She enjoyed napping on us and maybe got too used to it as naptime in her own room was a struggle from time to time. She loves being kissed on her cheeks and just melts right into you. Her hair is getting longer and she looks like such a little person now. 8 months old already! Crazy how big she is now - about 16.5 pounds (with wet diaper). Still a peanut by many other baby standards but smart as a whip. :)

Miss Anna still tries to rule the roost with her pleas of "ouchy" even when the said "ouchy" is a week old or barely there or her need to watch "Cars" everyday. It's gotten to the point where Gary and I analyze the movie, like what's the names of the sports cars or was the way McQueen headed back to find Mac actually the right way? Oh my. Well we had such a positive first week of potty training and it ended another week later with Gary and I barely thinking or talking about anything else other than what we were doing wrong that she stopped telling us and just going in her pants or when she was going to pee next. It was the most frustrating things we've gone through as parents (I'd take a screaming infant over PT anyday)! So we asked her if she wanted to go back into diapers and she let a clear "yes". We felt defeated and like failures for awhile. At first she wasn't sure about the diaper again but she soon was fine with it once again. Then she started saying potty again and she'd go! Then we went to not telling us or saying dry when we knew she was pushing. And now we're slowly getting back to her staying potty to us and she's associating going potty with a cookie now, so at least she's starting to get it and doing it! She's also starting to talk is almost sentences, associating what is hers and other people things, being more specific like we have a van and a car, instead of just car or mommy's or daddy's. She sings her ABC's almost fully and such a joy to hear her little voice sing it (note to self, video that!). She likes mommy to sing all the Bible songs in her little lullaby book along with the never ending song of "The Wheels on the Bus". She's starting to say names very clearly, her "s" are very clear and she just started putting the "n" on the end of things that were once a little airy.

The two of them together is only something sisters know. They both get excited when they see each other in the morning. Anna shares her blanket with Izzy from time to time. She wants to help feed and burp her on occasion, too. Izzy follows Anna's every move from stair climbing to hoisting herself up on near her chair. I can only imagine the bond they will create with eachother as the years go on.

We are doing well in our own right. Certainly we are busy with dinner plans, running errands, housework and of course, keeping up with the girly girls, but we are happy, healthy, fed, clothed and warm. What more could you ask for? These girls teach us to slow down sometimes and just cuddle, to involve them in bigger things, to take in their soft baby skin and their little hands and feet, to be better parents, to be a better couple and to love more than you know you can love. It's certainly amazing what happens each day in our family when you look at it, we just have to slow down or stop and take it in because before we know it, they'll be flitting off to college.

I'll post more of what's going on with us soon, but since it's been a month I figured an Anna and Izzy update was the most important. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

7 Years

Crazy how long 7 years goes by and yet the thoughts and memories seem like just last week. Crazy how much one can grow, physically, mentally, spiritually in just 7 years. Where once we were young adults or just a teenager trying to make sense of it all to being home owners, parents, college grads and newlyweds.

7 years ago this morning, I got that awaited phone call from dad telling me the Lord took her home that morning. It was about 3 weeks that I knew that phone call would come, but knowing didn't ease the heartache that would follow that day. That now her body would be lowered and her spirit would soar. Not for us to see anymore, but only relive in our memory, in pictures, in stories, in beautiful quilts.

Those feelings I felt that day only sneak in when I least expect it now. Only a handful of times. God has never left our side, from the day we found out it was leukemia to this very day, he has sustained us through the hard times and has given us hope, strength and love despite it all. Hope knowing that we'll all be where she has been celebrating for 7 years and knowing love can be found through brokenness. Strength when thoughts of childbirth and pregnancy are scary because you feel alone or when you wonder how he feels in those moments he feels a need to talk to her. Love in knowing you were loved by her, with all her being, knowing we are still loved, love that's shared and passed down.

Thank you for giving all of us that, mom. Someday, we'll tell you all about it. But for now, know that we're doing awesome.

Love and miss you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Potty Training Success!

So I am making and breaking records this year with my blog posting. I typically only post when major events happen in my / our lives. This being my 3rd post of the year means that we have now had 3 major events in our lives to date.

1. Isabella born 1-13-09
2. Frank Hall passes 4-19-09
3. Anna becomes free from the bonds of the diaper! 8-23-09

Yup that’s right Anna is no longer bound by diaper, she is officially a big girl who uses the potty! Christie and I spent the last 3 days in an intensive effort to potty train 22 month old Anna.

A few months back Christie came across a link to an online book titles 3 Day Potty Training. We began to do research at that point to see if the product was what it said it was. We found that the system while similar to some popular methods advertized for free, it had some aspects to it that made Christie and I believe it was worth the money.

After spending 3 days using the method I can assure you that it is worth every cent. My sister who has her bachelor’s in early childhood development read the book (we were allowed to send her a copy of the PDF because she closely assisted us with training Anna today). Her take on the method was that it made a lot of sense and it did not surprise her that the system worked as advertised.

The basic gist of the method is to switch to big girl panties / big boy underwear and never turn back. The system teaches you how to turn accidents into positive learning experiences. By the end of the book the author has taught you how to potty train your toddler by being patient, consistent, loving and wholly devoted to just that task for 3 days.

Saturday morning we got up and changed Anna’s diaper (giving her the last clean diaper she would ever have.). We then got ready for the day, took showers – ate breakfast and began the day late but totally relaxed and ready for the task.

At around 10:00 A.M. or so we got down on Anna’s level, looked her in the ye and told her, “you are going to wear big girl panties now and go potty on the toilet! Anna, you are such a big girl now!”. From there we took off her diaper, put her in panties and never looked back.

We began pumping her with liquids (ok – not pumping, but we had a sippy cup ready and waiting at all times – the more liquid going in – the more opportunities to sit on the potty!). We also began asking her to remember to tell us if she needed to go to the potty, we did so a million times over, to the point where she began to ignore us, but that was the point. We wanted this to be so ingrained in her head that telling us became habit. We also kept asking her if she was dry, each time she answered us we would praise her for being a big girl.

It was not perfect form the start but we had no illusion that it would be. We expected and wanted there to be accidents. The accidents were not a bad thing but a chance to teach Anna how to respond to what her little body was telling her. By 11:30 A.M. we had gone through about 8 pairs of panties, one of daddy’s shirts and mommy’s ankle (Christie rolled her ankle sweeping Anna off to the potty one time – she is fine but it hurt for a while).

Slowly but surely we began to have some success, times where we caught Anna in the act of starting to pee, swept her off to the potty, got down on her level and lovingly teased her about how she made yuck in her panties and how we wanted to do that in the toilet. The more we did this the more Anna began to connect the dots and realize that she needed to let us know when she had to go. Of course there was a reward of 2 M7M’s for going Number 1 in the toilet and 4 M&M’s for going Number 2 in the toilet.

By the end of day 1 we had gone down for a nap and woke up dry, made it into the potty quite a few times and made it in the potty just before bed. This was quite a successful day if you ask me.

Day 2 began with a wet bed in the morning; we did not make it through the night. This was to be expected and we treated this the same as we did with wet panties and it went over just as well. Anna has some resistance to the potty first thing in the morning. We knew not to push her but she began to pee on the potty while sitting on it and crying, when she got the loads of praise everything changed. It was like she remembered form yesterday that going on the potty was a good thing to be rewarded for and from that point we never looked back.

For all of day 2 we went through a total of 5 or 6 pairs of panties, compared to the 15 or so on day 1. She never really verbally let us know she had to go to the potty until the end of day 2, but the body signals were there. I think this success was a combination of Anna connecting the dots and Christie and I being calm and consistent with our methodology. Basically Anna started to learn what to expect and what was expected of her and we began to learn how to read Anna better.

SUCCESS!!! Day 2 ended with Anna verbally telling us she needed to go to the potty and going both Number 1 and Number 2!!! This was a huge milestone for Anna and for us too! We were so proud of her that we made speaker phone calls to all grandparents to be sure they knew how big of a girl Anna was!

Day 3 (Today) was just more of the same success. She began the day with a clean bed in the morning (she got up once in the middle of the night and told us she needed to go to the potty and we got her to the potty first thing in the morning when we got up – she went both times!). Anna came into her own, letting us know when she needed to go to the potty. He continued to go Number 1 a lot and she had another Number 2 – continued Number 2 success if a very encouraging thing for mommy and daddy! We went through 2 pairs of panties today, but neither of them were Anna’s fault, she let us know, we just did not get her there in time.

Day 3 ended with a trip to the restaurant for a dinner out; after 3 days cooped up in the house focusing on potty training we all needed to get out! This was a success once again; she went to the potty 3 different times while we were there! His was just another sign to us that she gets it now and the method worked as it had said it would.

That brings us to now, Anna sleeping soundly in her bed, in big girl panties, another milestone reached! Tomorrow Christie and I head back to work and Aunt Sheila begins her normal schedule with Anna. I am sure some minor setbacks are in order, but again we expect it and are prepared to deal with them.

To anyone who has a toddler to potty train, I cannot say enough how awesome of a method this is! You can get the book at http://www.3daypottytraining.com

Another more standard update form Christie will come again soon!

Love Gary, Christie Anna & Izzy

Thursday, August 20, 2009

7th Month: Two under 2

Well I've tried to type a post out a few times already but I was having a writers block, not that I'm truely a writer but nothing was flowing the way I wanted it to. So here I am for another try. :)

Izzy: This little girl has gotten to be so big in the last month! Just over two weeks ago she started to climb; on us, up onto furniture, onto toys that weren't so stable. That was quite a feet for her and she was so proud of herself! So two weeks ago today (6th) I came home and thought, ya know she's been pulling herself up on things, she's been army crawling for quite some time, lets see if she can sit up on her own. Sure enough, I sat her down and she wobbled a smidge, but she stayed up for a while on her own! I was so excited (and Gary wasn't home!) that she could do this, I told Anna to sit next to her while I got the camera. There Izzy sat all very proud, Anna sitting so very nicely and seemly proud of her sister and I got their first picture not sitting on the couch, not on anyone's lap, but next to each other as sisters. Say it with me, aww.....!


Since then, she's been climbing up onto chairs, our legs, doors, the door of the fridge, her sister and everything she does. So Anna's pay back is shortly coming. She's starting to actually crawl - Gary noticed last night that she was doing it more consistantly. I'll let you know when we're full fledged crawling! Shes almost 16 pounds as of her 6 month appointment, 26" or so long and her head in the 90% percentile (the rest under 40%). So really, we produce giant headed kids. :) She was amazing with her shots, more of a trooper than Anna was and that's saying something! She's onto the 2nd foods and we've been giving her soft thing to try. She loved stuffing, not so much the puffs. Hopefully she's not too picky! She's really evened her temperment out since her first few months of life. She's very happy, has a smile for everyone, sleeps through the night (except when the pipe goes missing) and just loves being around everyone (she doesn't get as mad if you leave her in another room b/c she can come find you now). She's definitely our cuddle baby and we don't mind one bit. :) Her first words would be "mama" and now we have added "baba" and "gaga" to the vocabulary. She seems to be our go to bed early, get up early girl. Hopefully she'll rub off on the rest of us! She's just an absolute joy to have in our family.


Anna: Not only is Izzy getting bigger, but this little one is gaining a vocabulary at great speeds! She definitely tries most words (when she's in the mood) that we ask her to say or as a greeting (like "see you in the morning" is "morning" or "have a good day" is "day" said in the cutest sing songy way). She sings the alphabet song, well some of it, but she knows the tune. She still just as passionate of reading books and doing puzzles as she's been so much so I get new books and puzzles from the library to switch it up along with Aunt Sheila making her a bunch of match games. She loves being outside and likes to take peoples fingers, pull them to her door and says "shoes on" or "Anna's shoes" and "side" to take her out. She's still an avid rock collector as we find stashes in buckets to strollers. She's cut all but one eye tooth and her 2 year molars. I think the 2 year molars are right around the corner b/c we've had some cranky days and lots of biting on fingers and other things.


The biggest news for Anna (and she doesn't so much know it yet) is that we're potty training her this weekend. We found a 3 day potty training system online that has proven successful for many parents, even with kids that have autism have been taught using her system. Now some people may not agree with it or don't think it's necessary to buy this PDF booklet, that's completely fine. To each their own, we've just found things we've read and tried to be very successful with both our girls and Anna is hitting all the cues of being ready. So we're taking Saturday, Sunday and Monday as days to focus on her. The process is all very positive it just involves seeing those cues and staying attentive. So we'll report back and hopefully next week she'll be in these itty bitty Elmo panties and diaper free!

For about 3 weeks now and for another 2, Aunt Sheeya has been watching the girls and have been having an awesome time! Full of art projects, playing outside, learning and just having a great time! We wish she could always watch the girls, but they'll be heading back to their daycare after school starts up again. Thank you Aunt Sheeya!


Gary and Christie: We've done a lot lately, some physically, some financially, some mentally. We've really cleaned out our garage with all the basement stuff (throwing out, 2nd handing them, and putting it back downstairs), painted our "new" 2 drawer filing cabinet a beautiful shade of green apple to match the color scheme (first pattern of navy blue, two shades of turquoise and green) we decided on. We're hoping within the next week to reclaim the garage back and then start tackling the basement!


We've also started doing Dave Ramsey's zero based budget where all of our income is accounted for. We've been doing Dave's "envelope" system for a long time on our bank's website by taking a quarter of the amount for each constant bill and putting in their own account so when the bill comes we don't have to scramble. There are exceptions like gas and electric, but the over/under amount we have in each of those seems to level it out throughout the year. This has helped us tremendously. But we found we made a lot more that we could be saving and didn't really know where it was going. So we started to account for everything like our 3+ month emergency fund, clothes, expected gifts, household items (lightbulbs, a new pillow), etc. If we don't enough in the clothes fund, we wait to buy those items till we have enough. If we don't have enough in groceries, we cut back on buying that pack of steaks till next week. Things like that. So we're saving a little right now, but we're not having to dip into our money market to buy things. Along with all that, we're snowballing all our bills like school loans, car payment and then our mortgage. I'm already over a year ahead in payments on Gary's small school loan, so when that get's paid off, that payment (which already had my small loans weekly amount added in) will go towards the next biggest loan. So we're hoping by the time the girls are in middle school, we'll have everything along with the house paid off (with our current income that is)! We're quite excited. It's these types of things Gary and I will be writing about on our joint blog.

Mentally we're trying to figure out how to simplify our life in terms of living, things in our house, our goals, where we want our side work to get, etc. It's not always very clear cut but each day we talk about these things and see where we can head together, as a couple and as a family. It's so exciting and know God has given us the tools to get to where we're at and will continue to do so.

Pretty heavy stuff, but we're up for the challenge! More pictures and videos to come this weekend (I hope)! :) Here are the picture links from the last post: The Girls and Beaver Island.

Love to you all,
Gary, Christie, George and Bob

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mid-Summer Fun!

I haven't had a chance to write a blog (been busy and the internet keeps going down on us at home). But here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

Mid summer fun - A:21/I:6


Beaver Island 2009


Love,
GCAI

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Changes are a-comin'! Month 6: Two under 2

Well I had most of a post typed out last week and somehow it didn't save any of it. Bummer. So here we start again. Changes, I say. Are we pregnant again for the 3rd summer in a row?! Heck no. Hehe. Are we moving? Nope and I really don't want to for a long time. Did either of us lose our jobs? Nope, thankfully we're holding our own. It's not that dramatic I suppose, but in the nearer than farther future, we're going to be switching blog locations to a place that may host images and videos a lot easier than this one. It'll be an easy name change, so no worries to my followers. Gary and I are also going to start our own blog featuring things from finances to parenting to product reviews. Pretty much all things that encompass our daily lives. We have a lot of ideas and things that we truely believe in, so what better way than empty our brains than into a blog! I know, it's another thing to add to our never ending lists of projects but we're shifting gears and finalizing other projects in the near future, so stay tuned for that possibly starting up in the fall.

More summer pictures of the girls!

The girly girls are doing well. Miss Izzy is a droolin' machine, saturating a couple bibs a day. She's well on her way to her first tooth. I don't see any yet, but they are workin' their way up! She began her crawling just over 2 weeks ago and today, she's army crawling like a mad fool and getting up on all 4's with the cute little rock babies do - working her way over to wherever Anna is and wanting to eat whatever toy she's playing with. I can imagine those 2 in 2 years whispering secrets and running up and down the stairs, giggling the whole way. Can't wait! We began more solid food this weekend for the Izmeister - squash to start and on to peas! We got a screwed up face the first bite, but after that, loved it! After we get through all the veggies, we'll start fruit. I'm sure she'll love it just as much as Anna does. She's been sleeping good at night but usually cat naps during the day, so that's alright - she doesn't like to miss anything! She's still our little cuddlebug - her morning naps on Sunday are in the arms of mommy or someone else. Love it.

Ms. Anna has an ever expanding vocabulary which now entails parts of the alphabet (jklm), parts of 1-10, calling her clothes "cute", knowing what belongs to her, mommy, daddy and Izzy by pointing at a vehicle (which the van is Anna's), "glasses", "anana" for banana, "flower" and the other day I heard her say one of her friends names Owen, she goes "Ooooowwwwwwehh", so cute! Her poor little mouth is going through a growth spurt again of her 4 eye teeth. We had a few days of Tylenol and hearing "piiiiieee" (which is pipe) for comfort. But one has broken through so hopefully it'll be a little easier on her. She still loves to read her books (especially on the potty and the potty book at that!), her new thing are these 2 little babies that you can put hats and clip on clothing along with feeding them a "ba-ul" (bottle) and putting them to bed. She has 2 and usually shares one with Izzy, so she can eat it of course. She's a great, big sister and loves to make sure Izzy has the same thing she does, like a blankie or book or baby. She loves it when Izzy bats at her face or eats her nose. You can see the bond they are making already.

Mom and dad are doing well. We've hit the beach a couple times now (when summer decided to show up), had a picnic in the park, finishing up some freelance projects and in the midst (still) of putting our basement back together. We're enjoying watching the girls play and grow each day, trying to remember all those little things they do now and will slowly fade away as time goes on, making our marriage even stronger, our financial situation that much better and encouraging each other to be better parents - can't get much better than that! We're headed up to Beaver Island in a couple weeks and we're so excited for this mini-vacation. A long weekend of relaxing (or me finding little projects to work on), swimming and enjoying the beautiful views.

A few updates of the basement


Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Gary, Christie, Anna and Izzy

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer pics!

Summer is finally here! Here are some pics to enjoy of the girly girls!

It was the summer of..... 2009!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fifth Month : Two under 2

First off, I'll post pictures soon, I promise! Maybe tonight. :)

We're in the 5th month of two under 2. Crazy, that Izzy's almost been here for half a year already! We couldn't imagine our family without her anymore. She's scooting, yes scooting, across the floor using her little feet to push her to where she wants to be and she's ony 5 months old! She sometimes gets the hands to work with her feet, but they usually work independently right now. She smiles at you from across the room, dimples and all. She's been on oatmeal for just over a month now and is slowly figuring out how to use her tongue to eat. In a few weeks we'll start introducing veggies - we'll see if she takes to them as well as Anna did. We also did the "cry it out method" about a month ago and it only took a few nights and she's been sleeping through the night ever since! Lovely for mom and dad, for sure. She flails her limbs when she gets excited, loves Grandma Tiemens hair as she giggles from her toes, she rolls all over the place and loves to find all of Anna's puzzle pieces to chew on. Teething for sure. She squeals when she gets to play with Anna (or rolls near her) and just follows her every move. I think Izzy is going to do things even earlier than what Anna did. She's very passionate about her bottle as even when we carry her up the stairs with her bottle in our hand, she grabs it and pulls to to her mouth ready to eat. If she even sees a bottle, she stares at it as if where going to float over to her. So cute. She's certainly a happy baby.

Anna is amazing us each day too. She studies every move we make, like how something opens, what button to push, how to use a napkin or how we say a word. It's like every moment she has, she wants to learn. She say's her ABC's really well, is starting to put 2 words together and has lessoned her "no" and timeouts lately. I'm sure that'll go in waves. She loves taking our finger and walk us over or pull us down or tells us to sit where she wants us. It's so cool that she's starting to really communicate with us and she's remember things we did a few days back. Like last night, she pulled me over to the stairs and patted the step for me to sit down. She brought over a catepillar car. Then I remembered we did that the other night where I rolled it into the kitchen and she'd bring it back to me. Smart girl. Or she's grab our finger only to walk a couple steps and then pull for us to sit down by a puzzle to do with her. Then last night was great! Gary brought out her beanbag chair and she flopped down in it. He picked her and the chair up to drop it back on the floor and she'd giggle. Then she'd said "again"! Hehe, that was awesome. She's having the typical toddler issues with dinner by not always eating something she's like a week ago, so we've been telling her that that's the only food she'll get tonight. She doesn't seem to mind, but we give her a snack a little later and tell her she got on b/c she ate dinner good. So far dad's a lot better at dealing with that than I am. :) I have guilty mom syndrome. She loves being outside, sometimes bringing us her shoes and saying "side" as she walks to the door.

We're trying to enjoy outside when it's not over 90! The sprinklers have been turned on a few times - Anna likes it half the time. Weird. We planted a small veggie/herb garden to see what happens. So far the tomato plant is huge but some of the others have had their leaves eaten. Most of my flowers are planted - still trying to find the time to spray paint my pots again to get the remainder on display. A few new bushes and perennials have been added this year. In the fall, some dividing and transplanting will be in order. We're looking to get some rock for the sides of the house (since the house didn't come with gutters!) yet this summer. We're hoping to finishing painting the basement this weekend (guest room: fresh day, living room: starless night and pure white) so we can start moving stuff back down there... oh, and we can't forget the 52" tv that has to go on the wall. :) We'll just have some little projects to finish up this summer, the rest can wait till fall/winter (can't believe I just said that). In the meantime, we're going to try to get the beach and the lake whenever we can. At the end of July, we're heading up to Beaver Island for what seems may become a yearly event. Fine by me! It's awesome up there.

We're all healthy, cool and thankful for our jobs and life. It's busy at times (well most of the time) but we wouldn't want it any other way! Here's to a wonderful summery weekend!

Love,

Gary, Christie, Anna and the Izmeister

Monday, June 8, 2009

5th month: Two under 2

We're in the midst of basement refinishing, with the mud and taping finishing up today! It looks great, dirty, but great! We're going to get the spare room painted this week so when the fam comes up this weekend, they'll have a semi-private and clean room to sleep in. With the sale of the truck, the purchase of the longed for TV's and all the special wiring and set up in the living room of the basement, I've decided to decorate the spare room with no direction (except that it'll flow with the colors of the living room and carry the chair rail through the room) from Gary. Not that one or the other gets the ultimate say over room, it just defaulted that Gary put a lot of thought into his networking and surround sound, so I declared the spare room mine. :) So with my cronic blog reading, I've been inspired to do the room in a beachy, coastal decor. Very soft, washed out colors, with all of the accessories repurposed from the thrift store and a homemade headboard. So excited! As with everything with 2 little kiddies, it'll be a process, but at least I have an idea to work with. The living room will have a 3/4 chair rail with the bottom being white with trim to create some dimension and above the chair rail will be a deep shade of navy blue. With all this, built in desks and cabinets (all still to be determined as we keep finding new inspiration for what we realy want to do with our all purpose living room), a living space, plenty of storage for all our crafty, computer, kid and house stuff. Yay!

As for the kiddies, they're doing great! Izzy is getting better with sleeping through the night, but only one time still works for us if that's the way she is. She sleeps like a little frog with her legs on the sides of her as opposed to Anna's method of butt up in the air. Both extremely cute. Izzy started on oatmeal a couple weeks ago and seems to love it! Although she doesn't quite get how to take food off her spoon other than using her tongue like she drinks her bottle, but most of it makes it in her mouth! So we thought Anna was a quick learner, Miss Izzy has figuring out how to use her legs or leg rather to scoot herself closer to whatever she just lost or wants. She's only 4 3/4 months old and she's starting to figure out the whole crawling thing! I'm going to video that this week. She's getting to be a big girl, looking more like a baby than a newborn. Her little giggle and bright smile is always something to brighten up our day. It does go by fast, but I'm glad to still have an itty bitty thing around the house. :)

Anna is growing up more and more each day. She's learning new words every day, seems to know what a sentence is but doesn't have the right words to put it all together yet. She's adding new animal sounds with the latest being a tiger, lion and bear all growling the same way, but so cute. She does a monkey, snake, horse and sheep really well too. She can repeat the alphabet very clearly except for a few letters. She's taken to what sound like singing these days. Love it. She still loves "no" and seems to get frustrated with little kids and tends to bite to get our her frustrations. So immediately mom got the book out "Teeth are not for biting". Hehe. But we found she bites herself and starts bawling. Don't get it. She gets "ouchys" a lot and needs them kissed a lot. So with all that said, we've started working in timeouts and that's seemed to be quite effective. She gives hugs and kisses (when she wants to) very well, helps out with giving Izzy her pipe back, giving her the small Elmo to play with while she plays with crazy Happy Birthday Elmo. :) She likes to play with Izzy, but then it turns into what can I get away with by stepping over Izzy, stepping on Izzy's limbs, ramming her pipe in her mouth and pulling her hair. She doesn't know her own strength but knows that timeouts follow if she continues mauling her poor little sister.

Gary and I had our first kidless weekend (Izzy's first time overnight somewhere else)! We headed to Detroit as neither of us had spent much time over there. We got a river view room in the Marriott, walked the riverwalk, did some shopping, relaxed and hit up a Tiger's game and a great dinner at Detroit Beer Co. A well needed, rejuvinated weekend for the parents while the grandparents and Aunt "She-ya" enjoyed spoiling the girls over the weekend. Back to reality, but excited to start painting the basement and getting ready for family this weekend!

Hope everyone had a wonderful, rain free weekend! Hopefully summer will start soon! I'll post more pictures soon (and maybe find a better way to get pictures up faster)!

Love to you all,
GCAI

Friday, May 22, 2009

Enter Spring: Two under 2

Spring pics of the Tidd's!

Oh man, have I said before that we're a busy family? We are. With 2 little girls sending my worry up and down with sickness or pain, parents with full time jobs, family and friend get togethers and just life in general, I feel like I forget to breathe sometimes. I know someday I'll look back and wonder where those days went, but in the midst of it all, my head spins sometimes. I really don't mean to start each post speaking like we don't enjoy our life, because we do so much! Despite the busyness, we have such an amazing time together as a family.

Last Monday (5/11), Izzy rolled over that we saw with no help from her back to her tummy. Well Thursday (5/14), she was rolling all over the place, back to front, front to back, she's got it down. Then at G&G Tiemens house, Grandma got her to giggle for the first time on Sunday (5/17)! I knew the time was coming and I was so looking forward to her little giggle. Just as adorable as Anna's and a little deeper than her sister's. What joy she's brought to this family. Her watching your every move, making sure you aren't too far away. Her smile and big blue eyes. Her cute head of hair, that is currently thinning and getting a little lighter. Her love of sleeping on her tummy/side, her contentment of watching TV with daddy and snuggling with mommy in bed. Her needing the touch of mommy and daddy - she loves holding our fingers. Her excitement when big sister plays near or with her - such huge smiles and flaling of limbs. We had her 4 month appointment last night - all is well, even with her cronic spit up problem. Doc said "wouldn't you have something to spit up if all you had was liquids and you laid on your back most of the time?" Point taken - worry somewhat removed. :) She's a whopping 12 pounds, 7 ounces and almost 24" long. Our 2nd little peanut.

Little miss Thang...er...Anna is doing well too. She's quite selective in her food choices these days. She likes things one day, but the next, nope. She'd rather eat fruit (I know that's good) than anything really, but we're trying to break her of eating what's put in front of her. Dad's better at dealing with that than I. She's learning new words daily, even hourly. She can say hi (whomever's on the phone), love you and bye bye on the phone with people. So cute and little human like! Her hair is getting longer, not thicker, so I'm able to do more things with her hair which is fun (and challenging)! She loves digging in the dirt with her shovels, doing puzzles, reading books and exploring everyday. She amazes us and frustrates us in a matter of minutes, but we can't imagine life without her.

Gary and I are still very thankful for our stable jobs, being able to provide for our family, pay off all our lingering baby bills/home improvement bills with our return on top of doing some fun things for us too. We're still working on getting the basement finished, mudding and tapping next week! So this weekend will be basement emptying weekend. Yippee! With all the craziness of life with the girls, we're taking a mom and dad weekend in a few weeks to Detroit. We're looking forward to that!

Hope this find all of you well!

Love,
Dad, Mom, Anna Lynn and Isabella Clara

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sweet Anna and a sleepy Izzy

Driving to daycare/work this morning, I sneezed. Just me and the girls in the van. Without hesitation, Anna goes "blesss yoouuu.....". Twice. We say that to the girls and to eachother, so it was only time when she would do it back. I thought that was the sweetest thing. Then she smiles with her toothy grin and chubby cheeks. Love it.

Doesn't matter where we are, if she finishes all of her Fruit Loops, we take the last bit off our plate or take the final gulp of milk in our glass, she opens her arms and says "alllll goonne....".

She doesn't do this as often, yet, unprompted, but we say "love you" right to her and she goes, with her lips all pursed "lloooovv yooouuu...." and sometimes with a "too" at the end. So cute.

We drive by two sets of cows each morning and afternoon. The one farm has just a couple cow statues by the road and before I even realized they are there, she goes "cow". And the 2nd farm, before we even see the cows now, the silos high in the sky, she know's there are cows and declares it. I tell her they are eating breakfast or dinner.

Also this morning, Gary was right in front of us as we turned our opposite ways. She knew that was him and said "bye daddy" and waved. What a sweet girl she is (despite our "uh oh" reports from daycare on a couple biting incidents - she gets a little fiesty with the kids sometimes or she's just defending herself).

And our dear sweet little Izzy slept from about 9pm to 6am this morning. I woke up at 6 and said to Gary, she slept through the night! I went to check on her, picked her up and moved her into our room and she stayed sleeping! I know I keep saying this, but maybe we're on to something!

Just wanted to share the joys of the Tidd house for the week. :) Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

4th month: 2 under 2

Little Miss Izzy is starting to come into her own these days. We altered her sleeping schedule to go down with Anna and she'll wake up around 2-3am to eat and back down again. We've been putting her in her bouncy seat after she eats, but as of last few nights, she doesn't like it anymore. I think she's too confined and wants a bit more freedom. So now, she sleeps on her side between padded bumper things, as peaceful as can be (except last night when she started to get my cold!). This morning she slept until about 3:30.....are we heading to a full nights sleep? I hope so!

She's really starting to develop her personality too. She's a smiley little girl that absolutely loves to talk up a storm! She might be our "mom, mom, mom.... this is what I did today..... mom, mom, mom..... can I have this." Hehe. She can roll on her side from her back and may have rolled over on to her tummy on her own the other morning. Here's the story: Anna's playing in the living room while we start to get lunches ready for the morning. Izzy's on the floor near Anna (she loves watching her play) with her little rattle around her wrist on her back. We're making lunches and I hear Izzy struggling a little, so I go peak my head around the corner to see Izzy on her tummy, Anna standing next to her, holding the rattle up in the air... that's still attached to Izzy's wrist. Poor Izzy, her little face was in the carpet trying to turn over while Anna just stands there, knowing she's doing something she shouldn't be. So we're not sure if she rolled over and then Anna took the rattle or Anna took the rattle which flipped Izzy over.

She's blowing bubbles and usually wants to stand up rather than be craddled now. Gary and I talked about that last night, how big she's getting already! As much as we're ready for her to be on the same schedule with Anna, we sure do love seeing her little personality come to life and learn all these new things. Her little face is getting fuller (and that really makes her almost no neck disappear - poor girl!). She's eating 6 ounces usually and sometimes with rice cereal, so she'll be our "chunk" as in bigger than Anna but still a peanut.

Anna's testing the waters of what to eat and what not to eat. We had a crying episode the other night at a burger joint in town. We got her a hot dog, which she'd been eating the last week or so, she took one bite and saw our fries. We gave her one. Then we tried reasoning with a 1 year old with take another bite of hotdog and you can have another fry. Nope. Endless crying. A few things stopped her from crying, but it carried on until we got the road where we would turn to go to a furniture store we wanted to check out. Gary decided that we weren't going to let that stop us from going there. More crying. At the store, guess what, she was a perfect angel. Blah. With that, the next morning I heard a lot of rumbles in the tummy of the small child. Someday we'll win the war (prolly not), right now, we're trying to win just one battle once in awhile.

We're know back down to only 2 vehicles at the Tidd house! At the Grandpa Tiemens Car Lot, we sold the beloved blue Dodge Dakota. It spent it's first 10 years of life with Gary and now it's on to be someones beater. Oh well, Gary's happy. This money was already spoken for long ago by getting his coveted flat screen TV's. So money in, money out by the weekend. :)

Well that's the current state of the homestead. We're hanging in their constantly trying to find the balance of life. :)

Hope everyone is having a good mid-week!

Gary, Christie, Boog and Izzy

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another week of two under 2


If I could change just one thing right now, I would love love love it if Izzy could sleep until at least 5:30am every morning. She gets up every morning between 3:30 and 4:30. In this instance and I try not to say this too often, but why can't she be like her sister?! That way Gary and I could get some decent sleep to function throughout our next busy day. I'll take the spit up, the teething, hissy fits being thrown b/c she doesn't want to come inside, Cheerios all over the floor for just 1-2 more hours of sleep.

Ok. I'm done whining.

On a happier note, the girls keep growing! Izzy is getting heavier (I know this b/c of the weight of her in the car seat seems to surprise me now and again). She's up to 6 ounces every 4 hours or so. She talks to us a lot - maybe more than Anna did and gives us cute smiles. She still has maintained her curly hair with a tinge of red color. So cute. She's doing really well on her tummy, lifting her head for more than a couple seconds now (she'd rather suck on her hand or arm) and almost ready to roll over from her tummy to her back and her back to her tummy. Genius I tell you! She's still battling a cough, that we treated for 10 days with antibotics but hasn't gone away completely yet, that sometimes she coughs so hard to throws up. Kind of scary but she just doesn't know how to clear her throat or stop coughing without calming her down again. We may visit the ole doctor's office again.

Ms. Anna is extending her vocabulary and motor skills daily. "No" is quite popular but she says "love you" and even tried "love you, too", "ready to go", "bear", "ball", "eye" and a lot more that I can only remember when I run through all that she knows. She knows what a birdy says "tweet tweet", car goes "vroom vroom" and about a quarter of the alphabet in Zoo Phonics (sounds and motions). Some things we don't need to prompt her to do like doggy, cow and ball. She got some small puzzles for Easter and mastered those that day - who knew! So we busted out the puzzles Aunt Sheila got her for Christmas and did really well with those too. She is loving being able to go outside and play on her "side" (slide), collect rocks and rake in the dirt. We got her a scoot around bike (no pedals) and she likes it, but doesn't always get it. Don't think Izzy's the only one reaking havoc - Anna is starting to only eat certain things and will learn that she'll get what we put in front of her or she doesn't eat. Tough love, I know. She drops when she doesn't like something or hits. She's hitting the terrible 2's, still teething and learning how to express herself to us. I know it's all typical and we handle it fairly well.

The 'rents are holding their own. Work is busy for me, show time! Gary's job is going well, too. So for that, we are thankful! We have a nice stream of side business, trying to kick start Blossom Studios and revamp Paper and Ink. Hopefully it'll be a means to an end - for me to stay home! We've (meaning me) started seeds inside and some already had to go back into the earth (peas and beans) as they got too big for their britches and my lack of watering didn't help. But the others are all manageable and eagerly awaiting the outside. I have all the plans in my head ready for the girls bathroom - something a little more girly b/c I know we have girls! Hehe. I'll post pictures of the projects and the room itself once I find the time. With my cronic blog reading, I have many DIY projects I'd love to do, but again, time is the enemy and I have none. So once the girls get on the same schedule, I'll have some more time to work on these things.

Thank you for all your prayers and cards in the passing of Gary's grandpa. It means a lot to us and the family. We're starting a new tradition by having Grandma Tuesday's. On Tuesdays, Gary's picking her up and having dinner at our house, then bring her to the store for groceries and back home again. She enjoys being with family and seeing the girls, so it's a pleasure to do it!

We're also keeping busy with doing fun stuff outside, like taking walks, bike rides, trips to the park, trips to Frederick Meijer Gardens and in the next couple months, the beach! Anna loves being outside and the fresh air doesn't hurt either!

Well, that's us at the moment. :)

Love to all!
Gary, Christie, Boog and Izmeister

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Anna's videos!


Anna loved to put on Gary's gloves and with a smooch to boot!


Never a dull moment with Uncle Alex - crusin' in the container!



Now it's Anna's turn to pull Uncle Alex!



Our first Easter morning egg hunt!



Stay tuned for Izzy vids soon!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Frank H Hall - June 23 1929 - April 19 2009

Photos:

Click here to
view pics of Grandpa


Obituary:

Click here to view the obituary

A Lasting Impression:

Well here I am again, one of my rare appearances on our blog. Well I say our blog but let’s be honest, it is Christie’s blog chronicling our lives. The reason for this posting is both sad and joyful, sad because I have temporarily lost a very important person in my life, joyful because he is now in the presence of the Lord and he feels no more pain. In the coming paragraphs I hope to be able to paint a picture of my grandfather for those of you who did not know him. For those of you who did know him, I hope this will bring back memories that will not only bring a tear to your eye but a smile to your face.

My grandfather, Frank H Hall began life in Southern Illinois in a small cabin with a dirt floor. There is some debate as to how many brothers and sisters he had but we know for sure that he was at least 1 of 15 siblings born to at least 3 different wives of his father. Both of his parents were of significant Cherokee Indian heritage which could be seen in his features. Grandpa eventually made his way to Grand Rapids when his older brother, the man I knew as Uncle Earl came to town.

Once in Grand Rapids Grandpa attended and finished High School at Union High, joined the Army Air Corps and in 1949 married my Grandmother. After earning several medals during the Korean War he came home to be with his family. I remember grandma saying that my uncle Frank was something like 18 months old by the time they made it home. They lived for a time in Waco Texas but made it back to Grand Rapids which is where they would remain.

They had 4 children, Frank, Dan Ardis (my mother) and Steve. From there they ended up with 8 Grandchildren, Andrea and David born to Frank and his wife Berta, Daniel and Derek born to Dan and his wife Trema, Gary & Sheila born to Ardis and her husband Gary (my parents) and last but not least, Anthony and Jeremy born to Steve and his wife Kris. The family grew even more when they began to have great grandchildren. Connor and Ethan, born to Andrea and her husband Jacob, Ryan and Kylie born to David and his wife Liz, Alex born to Daniel and Anna and Isabella born to Christie and I.

Grandpa was a man of quiet confidence. He was one of those men that led by example and who commanded respect just by his presence. Grandpa never had to say much to get his point across. You knew with just a look whether he was proud of you, disappointed in your actions, happy, sad or mad. Grandpa had the patience of an angel. My mother fondly remembers playing cowboys & Indians in the living room, running and screaming around Grandpa’s chair while he read the paper as if it were dead silent in that room.

Grandpa was a teacher who taught in the same way that he lead, by example. Many of life’s lessons were learned without him uttering a word. Others needed some words applied to them but they were always spoken with a quiet confidence that served to say, “Trust me I know what I am doing”.

Grandpa was known for his ability to fix anything. It did not seem to matter what you brought him he would find a way to fix it. From bracelets to toys, to washing machines, pools or even mopeds, Grandpa could fix them all. Grandpa no doubt honed these skills during his tenure as a member, and eventually Foreman of the maintenance department at Country Fresh Dairy in Grand Rapids.

Grandpa worked for Country Fresh for 39 years and retired when I was 14 years old. I have vivid memories of class trips to the dairy where Grandpa would walk us all around and show us how things worked. The tour would conclude with a free ice cream treat. I would always choose a Nestle’s Crunch Bar.

Retirement was good to Granma & Grandpa. They were able to spend their time doing the things that mattered most to them. These included their church family as well as the family that they had built. Grandma and Grandpa attended what is now known as Grand Rapids First. I always knew it as First Assembly of God. Grandma & Grandpa were saved and born again in the early 80’s. I remember there being a significant change in them at this point in their life. From this point on they became wholly devoted to the Lord and they grew in that faith and devotion every day.

During Grandpa’s final days on this earth we all gathered around his bedside daily. His last words to me were, “I thank the Lord for you and those kids”, referring to my 2 daughters, Anna & Isabella. Christie reflected on the vision of all of my uncles and one of their cousins gathered around Grandpa’s bedside in the living room of their condo in Georgetown. She marveled at 4 big burly men standing around a once large and burly man who has now become frail, weak and small. She commented on how it felt like a torch was being passed on. On further reflection, I had to agree. So my final words to my Grandpa on Sunday were, “It is OK to go Grandpa. You have taught us well, we will take what you have taught us and pass it on. We will Take care of Grandma; there is no need to worry.”

From there Christie, the girls and I went to Church. The entire time during our worship I kept praying that the Lord would take him. Just as the pastor began his sermon, my phone rang and I just knew what it was. Upon exiting the Sanctuary I got the news that I had been preparing myself for, Grandpa was gone. When we got back to his condo, I went to his bedside and thanked him for letting go and thanked the Lord for taking him to a better place.

As a tribute to our Indian heritage, my mother’s Cousin Larry, the son of Grandpa’s brother Earl, posted the following poem to Grandpa’s online guest book.

An Indian Prayer

I give you this one thought to keep,
I'm with you still I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone,
I am with you still,
in each new dawn.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand there at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

Author Unknown
Earl Hall's Tribe
Cherokeeson@sbcglobal.net
Apr 20, 2009 Wayland, MI

Grandpa did not die; he is alive in Christ, watching over us as we continue our Earthly journey. He is now in the place that we all strive to be. Grandpa is alive in us as well, through our memories and our habits and idiosyncrasies’ learned from him. Grandpa has passed the torch to all of us who knew him, it is our turn to teach, lead, guide and love.

Thank you all for your words of prayer and support on Facebook, they are truly appreciated.

Love

Gary, Christie, Anna & Izzy

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ebay Auction

Our church is doing an Ebay auction to raise money for 3 local charities. There are some really cool items on there like trips, hunting equipment and other items. Gary and I donated a computer package and a graphic design package along with Blossom Studios having a package on there. Check it out and see if there's anything your interested in!

Fairhaven Ministries Ebay Auction

Thanks for looking!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Week 12-13: Two under 2

Spring is here! (Can I say that so soon?) We're hitting the 50's and 60's this week, so we're well on our way to warmer days. This year wasn't too bad for me anyway, I was in the house most of the winter on maternity leave with the girls. I recommend having babies in winter - good excuse to stay in. :)
For all of you who just like to look at pictures, here's the latest. :)


Let's see, what have we been up to... Last Saturday we had a busy day of a baby shower for our friends, Steve and Rebecca. She's having a little girl, Olivia, next month! In our neighborhood, we've set a requirement that all girls should begin and end in vowels (Olivia, Anna, Isabella, Alyssa and Asha) and boys (Ethan) start with a vowel. Too funny! I made my first diaper cake as a gift, which I think turned out pretty darn good.
We rounded out the weekend with church and dinner with Gary's grandparents and parents. His grandpa is doing ok. He's quite weak and tired these days. If you could pray for him and grandma, they'd really appreciate it.
Gary flew out Sunday afternoon for a conference in DC for a few days. He went with a few co-workers and his boss. He went to a bunch of seminars and participated in a panel discussion about making academic offices paperless, making them rely more on technology than paper. He got us all a souvenier and took some camera phone pictures. Alex and Sheila took turns staying with me to help me get out the door on time each morning - thank you! We gladly welcomed him back home Wednesday night.
Friday afternoon we headed to Chicago for an overnight trip. We hadn't seen Ryan and Angela since Christmas and they had yet to meet Izzy, so it was nice to get out there a little earlier. Saturday morning was a shower for my cousin Katie who's getting married in June. I'm glad we were able to make it! I was able to help Katie with her invites (which turned out beautifully!) and have loved watching her bring her dreams to life. Makes me want to redo my wedding day stuff (not the day!). Saturday night we were back in MI to get ready for Easter Sunday.
Sunday started out good with Anna finding her eggs from her bedroom door to her Easter basket in her seat for breakfast. She did good for awhile but got bored after a bit. Soon after breakfast started, Izzy was coughing so hard, she threw up. She's been sick with a cold for awhile but she started not eating well the last few days and coughing. So we called the on-call service and said we were doing all the right things. Monday (this morning) we wanted the doctor to look at her and he gave her the all clear, she just has a cold in her head and her way of clearing her throat is coughing. So hopefully the next few days bring us a more restful Izzy. Poor girl. We did nursery Sunday morning and had lots of beautiful kids with pastely clothes on. Too cute. Dinner was at Grandma and Grandpa's again. We had a nice time where the girls got baskets from G&G Tidd and we were able to help Grandma clean out her fridge and help Grandpa to bed. So needless to say, it was a draining day!
Hopefully the next week will bring us good health, sunny days and new experiences. We're doing well despite minor set backs. We're thankful for our jobs, our little girls, our marriage, our families and for the death and resurrection our Savior!
Hope this find everyone well, getting their gardens ready and planning summer vacations!
Love to you all,
GCAI

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weeks 9-11: Two under 2

Sorry about the delay! Man, these girls sure keep us on our toes. I'll try not to start out each post with saying how busy we are, but time does fly by! It might be kind of hard to remember all that's gone on in the past few weeks, but I'll see what I can dig up.

Pictures of the girls (I'll get more posted this weekend I hope and send out a new link of pictures):

Anna (17 mo) and Izzy (2 mo)
Month by Month

Izzy: We had her 2 month appointment a couple weeks ago. She was still 10 pounds 2 ounces seeing as we were in just a week prior. She had her first rounds of immunizations and did really well! No fever or sleepless night and didn't cry more than 30 seconds. She's just as much of a trooper as her big sister. She's 22 1/4 inches long, so at the same timeframe her and Anna were about the same length but Izzy's almost 2 pounds heavier at this age than Anna. Izzy's been smiling a lot more when we talk to her, especially when Anna is near her. We try to tell Anna that she loves it when you're around her, that she loves you, making it a positive thing. She does pretty good. She's also become quite a chatty little girl too - especially after her baths. Cooing, trying to find her voice and seems so proud when she does. She's still our little cuddle bug, sleeping the best when being held or at least near someone. I can't wait for the day when she grabs her blankie and just wants to sit on your lap for an hour. She sleeps till 5am most nights, sometimes a little longer. With our doctor's suggestion, we're trying her nighttime bottle with some rice cereal, but she doesn't seem to sleep any longer. Who knows. :) It's so fun to see her develop who she is and to sit back and think of what these 2 are going to be like as sisters. Izzy also had her baptism on March 15. We had a wonderful time with family and fawning over Izzy. :)

Anna: I swear she'll be talking in full sentences in weeks. She tries to say the last word or 2 of everything we say. She repeats "sentences" like she knows what she wants to say, but can't say it yet. It's amazing. On the way home from daycare each day, we practice saying and doing everything she knows and then add in a few extra things. We know what a lot animals say, kitty is our new one, with her cute little "meow". She knows where most of her body parts are from her pigtails and eyes to her knees and "belbows". We practice saying all of her aunts and uncles names (Sheila is "ee-ya", Alex is "ee-esch", Ryan is "ee-yan" and Angela and Libby are difficult yet), grandpa is "papa", grandma is some babble, mommy and daddy said loud and clear, and Izzy is "baby". :) She's said Izzy a couple times, but when we say, say Izzy, she says baby. Too funny. She is learning the joy of a bubble bath, she collects rocks with her neighborhood friends and is a bit on the crabby side yet b/c of teeth and being almost 2 I'd guess. She's certainly growing up and we're just amazed at all she does already. I know she loves her little sister, it's just hard to share the attention sometimes.

Mom and Dad: Gary had a oral surgery last week. He had an infection at the tip of the root where a root canal wouldn't get to it. They had to cut his gum and drill through the bone to get to it. Talk about goosebumps. He's healing up nicely and pain free. Work is going well for him and keeping busy for sure. I'm doing well, working on getting our new business venture, Blossom Studios, up and running. We had a successful craft expo a few weeks ago and have been spreading the word and people are excited! Our prelim website is http://blossomstudios.shutterfly.com and I'm working on an actual site design. So anyone in West Michigan, NW Indiana and south side of Chicago, let us know if your intersted! Work is going well for me - I think we'll make it through the downtimes alright. It seems as we won't struggle for business, just making a profit this year. Which is better than most can say. The basement is on hold I suppose, until we have a free weekend or motivation to move on to the next phase (mudding and taping). We have a room where people can sleep, so that's the main thing we needed for right now. We're ready for spring, to get out for walks, bike rides, trips to the park, gardening and soon after that, the beach! I'm also taking on the venture of starting my own seeds for a garden. Three days in and we already have sprouts!

All in all, we're doing well. We're all happy, healthy and thankful. Please keep Gary's Grandpa Hall in your prayers as he's been in and out of the hospital for dehydration and possible pneumonia. He'll be getting in home care now. Keep Grandma in your prayers as well as she cares for him.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Love,
Gary, Christie, Anna and Isabella

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some mid-week girly Tidd action

Anna plays the Wii Anna-style


Anna loves playing on the slide at the mall - we go there just to play now, not just shop!



Izzy doing a little tummy time!


Grandpa taught Anna how to fold her arms - too cute!


Anna found some shipping tubes and decided to get silly.