Day 4! I say part 1, but this is going to be the bulk of the photos. We went back in the afternoon to explore the dairy barn and I have some photos from that outing that I'll share in the next blog post. Cayden felt right at home today with tractor toys, pedal tractors, cows and farm equipment. Pretty far from "home" but this was close enough for him! This day got brought up a few times during our trip, even once we were back in Paris, Cayden was wondering if we could "go to that place with the pedal tractors". I guess we'll have to go back next time we are in Holland!
Taking the high-speed train from Paris to Rotterdam Everywhere Cayden goes, he finds tractors
Opa and Oma's house (again, the tractors)
The farm where Erik grew up was recently changed into a massive park. This was my first time being to the farm since it didn't have cows. The first image is the original front of the barn, and off to the right side of the image below you can see part of the house (which is now offices). It was rather sad to see the farm like this, even though it is going to be a beautiful place for people to walk, job, bike, etc. The few times I have been to Holland were all spent on this farm and it is sad that it is no longer. I can only imagine how the Erik and the rest of the family feels about all the changes.
As today was our first day in Holland, we just went to "The Park" briefly. It was raining and everything was closed, but I wanted to make sure I got here to show Cayden (although, he was less than interested). We DID get back on our last day, so there are more pictures to follow!
Averianna, today you turn two years old! You are still so young, but we can see the girl you're becoming each and every day. You have so much joy, love and spunk within you, and somedays we wonder how full our hands are going to be with your strong-willed attitude! You know what you want, and you sure let us know! You love coming to the barn to help with chores, and being active on the farm. You get right into the sandbox (and sometimes the mud puddles) and love to be outside. You love your brother, and he loves you, and if you guys have the chance to be together, you will be. Your talking is developing every day, and it amazes me how many words you know now. Your bunny is still one of your favourite things, alongside that binky! You love colouring, making 'ice cream cones', doing puzzles, reading books and being really active! Lately, "Goodnight Moon" has been one of your favourite books (although, I'm sure you'll have new favourites every month or two), and you love finding the moon in the sky (day or night!). We go to gymnastics every week right now, and the balance beam and trampoline are definitely your favourites, and I see you improving every week with your skills! There are so many more great adventures to come for you Averianna. I love you (and so does your Daddy and brother), and I am so happy that we get to be a part of watching you grow. I am excited to see what next year brings, but at the same time, we are having so much fun right now and I can't believe how fast the time is going. Enjoy your special day, we love you "to the moon and back"!
Bunny on the luggage cart
Cayden meeting his "newest cousin"
Different kind of pick-up line at school
OK I need to put a disclaimer on this photo. Our life with kids is never this perfect!!! It's always run, run, running everywhere, chasing, yelling, yelping, squealing, crying, (Mommy crying), fighting, everyone being grumpy, scraped knees, sweaty, stinky, manure on the hands...and well, you get the point. Tonight we had help with chores, so I was trying to get this picture for well...about 2 hours. Between sweeping the floor up, grabbing a fresh camera battery, changing lenses, changing clothes...and that doesn't even get into the whole struggle it was to get both kids to cooperate!! HOWEVER -- the stars aligned for 30 seconds, Averianna and Cayden sat together perfectly (well, I sat them together and they magically stayed), and if Averianna didn't put her head on Cayden's shoulder. Those 30 seconds made the whole fiasco worth it and there is no way I would trade all that other stuff ^^^^ in for the world!!!
Today my Mom and I took both kids to the Children's Museum and they had a blast! Averianna was to wrapped up in what she was doing in each room to move on to the next, but as soon as we could show her the other cool things to see and do, she was more than content again. This was the very first room, the dinosaur room. They went into the little sand pit to search for buried dinosaur bones. They loved every minute and were not thrilled when it was time to go home, even though they were also exhausted from their busyness.
Smile :) How can you not with that little grin!? Absolutely love this girl to the moon and back. <3
Last year Cayden got to pick a goat to come live with us, and he named her Goat. I know, it's very original. I'm slowly trying to give him some other options, but he hasn't been overly receptive. I'll keep you posted how it goes.
Cayden, you're four! Four years old today, where did those years go? I am sure I'll say this every year, but it seems like yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital. You have the most wonderful sayings and ideas, full of innocence and curiosity, trying to figure out how the world works. You light up our lives and the lives of those around you! Some of your favourite things include playing with your tractors (and riding in the real ones!), your Disney Cars, puzzles, Magnatiles, reading books, singing songs, riding your bike, being at the barn, blowing bubbles and playing in your sandbox. But most of all, you love being a big brother and playing with your sister. if she's not around you miss her and ask where she is, and you do everything you can to make her happy! You're starting to have some go-to friends at pre-school, whom you look forward to seeing each day you go. And speaking of school, next year it is "big school" you'll be going to, junior kindegarden. You've already told me that you're going to go on the bus and that it's okay, you'll wait for the bus all by yourself. (Sorry, that's where I draw the line, Mommy will be out there with you waiting...to get on the bus and off). I'm so excited for the changes that are coming for you, you are so ready! I love you, Cayden, and I know your Daddy and sister do as well. I wish you the happiest of birthdays, and I thank you again for tolerating my yearly photographed portrait! <3 Love you forever!
Just some daily happenings around our house. I swear, it doesn't matter how many times we tell the kiddos not to climb on the coffee table, they still think it's part of their play ground. The sad thing is, I think Cayden gets it...it's Averianna that is the bad influence! After they were both sitting in the toy bin together, Cayden came out and Averianna tipped over. But she couldn't get out on her own...she was just laying there, sitting in the bin, but actually laying down. Of course Cayden didn't think he needed to help!
But they really are best friends. They want to do everything together. What one is doing the other one wants to do too. I'm not sure who went to the window first, but the other was soon to follow. Averianna climbed up the top of the couch, so Cayden had to as well. Their sibling bond is strong, I can only hope that they continue to be life long friends.
The last year has been a bit of a blur in a lot of ways -- clearly we have been very busy. We have made a lot of "life changes" from spring 2014 to now, all for the better, but it has definitely taken its toll on my available free time to do any extras. However, I really miss taking and sharing my photos! I've still taken a lot of images this last year, many of which will never be fully edited just because other things need to be prioritized at the moment. But moving forward, I am going to be a little more intentional with my photography again and share some of our moments. I feel like the focus will shift slightly -- to more "every day" moments rather than anything elaborate or staged. I just want memories of how life is each day for us now -- in all its messy glory! I'm sure some artistic captures will find their way out occasionally. Averianna is coming up on 18 months old, and Cayden is about to celebrate his 4th birthday. The farm is only a couple months away from the start of another "season" of busyness (which lasts 3 seasons, and that's OK!) We still have a lots going on and more often than not I wonder where the weeks and months have gone. Life is a bit of a blur with two kids, and I have no idea how Mom's with 3 or more function haha!!
Last weekend we were "dog sitting" for a friend, and the kids had a blast with these two little extras running around. I've always been so drawn to human and animal interactions, so I also had fun photographing them while they were here. And while we did love the extra companionship, house dogs are not in our near future! Perhaps they are in the distant, not-so-near future though...maybe Erik thinks I'm crazy.
We love Cayden's spiky hair, and have probably called him a "Spikey hair dude" a couple of times...but now, he refers to himself as the "Spikey hair dude"... It makes my day!