Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Natalie's 4th birthday party

Last night Natalie had her birthday party with her friends. We had a Strawberry Shortcake theme, the girls made necklaces & bracelets and also did a strawberry craft! We enjoyed pizza & muchies for dinner. Natalie love all of her birthday gifts (she told me after that opening gifts was her favorite part!) We finished the evening with a delicious cake. The girls all had a wonderful time and Natalie is ready for another party she said!

p.s. I used the same cake pan that my mom used for my 4th birtday party. I plan to frame the pictures side by side!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I know what you're thinking... "Where has this family been? I've been checking their blog and no new posts." Life has been busy around here. But I am making it my new years resolution to post one new blog every week (and now that I am publishing this, you can all hold me to it!)

So, what has been keeping us busy? I know you are wondering. We have finally gotten all the boxes unpacked in our apartment. That didn't actually take too long as I made it my goal to get settled as quickly as possibly before life here started moving- and moving it does! We have had many interesting experiences trying to find stores and shops, navigating the roads (parking in a city), and many other daily chores for me are now much more adventurous now that I am in a foreign country! For example, grocery shopping... alwasys a unforgetable experience! Think Walmart, but everthing in French and items that are completly new you have never seen before. Also, there is a huge fresh fish area and Natalie always scrunches her nose and says "its so stinky!" We also have wonderful smaller grocery stores in our neighborhood that the kids and I often walk to during the week as well as a outdoor market (3x a week) that has fresh produce and goods!

I have recently joined a online group for English speaking moms and families called Message Paris. I am excited about this new avenue and way to connect with other English speaking moms. They organize playgroups, coffee times and community activities. I am going to my first moms night out this Friday and hope to build some new friendships. We are always looking to build relationships with the English speakers here in hopes that we can introduce more and more people to the Bridge.

Stephen has been busy doing numerous things. His role is to connect with the students that are interested in the Engage internship program, as well as constant contact with with the MA's on our team, coordinating the setup at our new facility and connecting with people that visit the Bridge website.

The kids are both doing well! Natalie just had a birthday. She is now 4! She is in a constant state of pretend...she loves dressing up and is always pretending she is sleeping beauty, cinderella or some other princess. She often tells me she is not Natalie she is sleeping beauty or a ballerina! She has a very big immagination! Landon is such a content little guy! I am not sure I could have handled 2 busy Natalies. He has begun really playing with his toys. He is so happy just to sit and move animals and blocks from one container to another. He has yet to crawl on his knees (hoping he will get this soon as his first birthday is coming up) though that hasn't stopped him from getting around. He has mastered the "army crawl" sitting on his bottom. Its very amusing to watch, but he gets where he wants to go doing this. He has started trying to pull up to things too! He is such a happy little guy... always smiling and excited about everthing. We are so blessed to have two amazing kids.

Last week we went to Paris to explore the Christmas market they have set up. I have attached some pictures of our outing! Enjoy! I hope to post again before Christmas, but if not, I'll see you again after as I have now committed myself to a weekly post (what's your new years resolution?) Love to all of our friends and family this holiday! We pray you have a wonderful Christmas and blessed new year!

Click on picture to enlarge...might be a little fuzzy (sorry)!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our First Week In Paris

I am not sure I could even begin to blog about what our family has learned and experienced in our first week in Paris! From the cultural things like learning to eat with our fork in the left and knife in the right to parking in very small tight parking places, learning many new French words, observing cultural things and enjoying tasty foods like pastries, coffee, and French bread.

A few fun high lights:

-Natalie thought the VERY small sink in the Bradford's bathroom was super cute and wanted one in our house!

-Soon after we got to the Eiffel Tower Natalie had to go potty. So we went searching for restrooms only to discover there small "restrooms" that you go down under the city to use. There is a small charge to use these toilets. We decided it was a fancy port-a-potty restroom that was actually clean...and worth the change!

-Parking seems to be a matter of seeing a spot and taking it. Even if you park on the opposite side of the street in the wrong direction. If your car will fit, take it! Stephen's truck would have never fit down some of these amazingly small streets. And Stephen is getting really good at zipping in and out of the round-a-bouts and tight corners. I plan to stick to my "back seat driving" and give him directions a little bit longer!

-We have explored Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This is the district that we are looking for an apartment in, mainly because of its location to the bus stops and RER (train system) to the center of Paris, but also because so many internationals live in the area. What an incredible opportunity we have as a family to live in a area where God has brought the people of the world to live so close together! We have also observed that there are many students in this district and we are excited about the opportunity to reach out to them.

On Sunday, we attended our first core meeting! It was so great to finally meet the team members that we had been facebooking, hearing about, and praying for this past year or so. We had our team, plus a few other people from the city that want to join the core group and help begin the church. What an amazing morning it was! Natalie jumped right in and loved playing with her new friends and Landon enjoyed all the attention he was receiving!

We are excited about all the new things that are ahead for our family in the coming weeks and months! Below I have posted some pictures from our first week. Enjoy!

1. Natalie at the Eiffel Tower- she was SO excited to see it!!
2. Stephen and Natalie enjoying a baguette
3. City Street
4. View of Saint Germain

5. Natalie & Stephen in front of the Chateau de Saint-Germain. Yes, Natalie was excited to see a real castle, and wanted to know where the princess and her carriage was!
6. Landon and I looking out over La Defense (business part of Paris). The Eiffel tower is just to the right, but did not come out clear in the picture.
7. Stephen demonstrating the very small parking space in the parking garage. Its important to line up just right as we found out today, so that you don't hit the brick walls that divide each space.

8 & 9. Eiffel Tower pictures
10. Flower shop in Saint Germain

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dance Me Daddy

A month ago I purchased the book Dance Me Daddy for Natalie. Her and Stephen have been reading it every night. It has now become her favorite book. We often hear her quoting the book but the other night she read it from memorization- the whole book. Today I asked her to read it to me and I got it on video.

so enjoy Dance Me Daddy, read by Natalie.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where did my summer go?

Summer has just flown by, like I am sure it has for everyone! We have spent many days traveling, visiting with family & friends, and speaking at churches.
The kids are both growing and getting the opportunity to experience new places, sights and even foods! Natalie has tried and loved shrimp and salmon, while Landon is learning to like his veggies!
Here a a few pictures from our summer so far!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy 6 month Birthday Landon!

6 months ago today I was waiting for your arrival!  Waiting to see your tiny toes and beautiful smile!  I can't imagine my life without you in it!  You have brought so much joy to our family and I can't wait to see what the future holds for you and how much you will grow!  

Love you lots!  Happy 6 month birthday!

new favorite food

French bread sliced thin, warmed + Nutella spread on top + sliced strawberries = just about the best thing I have ever tasted!

Try it tonight!  You just can't have one slice!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's official...

I think that at 3 1/2 years old Natalie has FINALLY gotten the hang of going on the potty! Yeah! Tonight, after playing outside with sidewalk chalk, we decided to go get ice cream. So we went inside, made one final trip to the bathroom, before going on our first outing in big girl undies. We loaded up in the car and drove to our favorite place for ice cream (the spotted cow- if you're ever in Adrian this is a must). We waited in the incredibly long line, got our ice cream and began eating. Two licks into mine and "splat", mine ends up on the ground! After waiting in line again for another cone, we finish and head home! As we were pulling in the driveway I declared "it's official"! Natalie is a big girl!

We may have some accidents here and there, but I think she has got it down. This is the hardest thing I think I have ever had to do in my life and I'm just doing the training! So now I'm taking volunteers to train Landon when the time comes... anyone up for the challenge?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Disney Trip

Disney was fantastic! I am so glad we were able to take the kids!

Natalie's favorite parts were "seeing the princesses, the castle and watching Tinker Bell fly from the castle and fireworks". She also loved riding the roller coaster(in Mickey's Toon Town). Without Stephen prompting her, sitting in the front car, she immediately put her hands in the air, and loved every minute of it! She was mesmerized by the parades and shows. And loved seeing all the characters!

Landon had a great time too! He is so easy going. He enjoyed the bright colors, smells and sounds! He rode his first ride- The Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride in Magic Kingdom! It's in the dark and actually has a bit of a down hill drop. His eyes were huge but he never cried!

Hope you enjoy seeing the pictures! Oh, and have a MAGICAL day!

Natalie seeing the castle
for the first time!
Landon on his first ride...
look at his eyes!
Natalie and daddy
enjoying the parade!

Landon catching a nap
during the day in his stroller.
Landon's first time swimming!

Natalie with Cinderella!

Natalie in her princess crown.
So cute!

Stephen enjoying one of his
MANY shrimp from
Ohana Polynesian Restaurant.
Our family at the
Magic Kingdom after the fireworks!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's Next...

Watch this clip!

We have been potty training Natalie off and on for the last year. It has been a struggle for us. Probably one of the hardest things I have had to do as a parent so far. There have been days that her and I have both been in tears and I thought she would never go. We have tried giving stickers, tootie rolls, prizes, you name it-if she would just go potty. After booking a service in Orlando a few months ago, we decided to go to Disney for a few days. We thought that maybe we could use that as a potty training "reward". So I have been telling her that Cinderella did not allow pullups at her castle and that she needed to go potty like a big girl.

Today-almost one week to the day (we leave next Tuesday) she went potty!! I am sure that in the next few weeks there will be some accidents... but I can say that Natalie Courtney will be going to Disney World in her princess undies, with her head held high, and her pants dry!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

kids say the funniest things

we were getting ready to leave tonight; Natalie had not been feeling well today, and so she had stayed in her pj's all day. Stephen was on his way to the hotel to pick us up and get some food with some friends. I said to Natalie "lets throw some clothes on you so you can be ready when daddy gets here." She replies "Momma, thats not being very nice to the clothes, they won't like that..."

every time we leave our room she asks "I want to push the button for the ella-gator."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Milking it!

the setup:

Its 10pm. Getting ready to leave from District Council.

Natalie and I were exiting the bathroom, opening the door together when "ouch"!

Natalie stubbed her toe. Actually it was more like tears pouring, loud screaming and blood all over my (new) white shirt...I had picked her up.

I sympathize and say something like "oh, honey... so sorry. Are you okay?"

"NO!" (still crying and screaming) this point I didn't see the blood.

We enter the hall and are headed to daddy and friends who are talking, when my friend points out the blood. Looking down I see that half of my daughters toe nail is missing and blood is pouring out (okay, that may be a little dramatic). I scoop her up (tears and screaming still) and return to the bathroom.

My friend gets her a band-aid and we get her cleaned up. We return to the hall and get our stuff gathered up (still crying).

Daddy carries her to the car.

Once in the car we decide to stop at Starbucks, Natalie asks for a kids milk (she still has tears)

We stop at Starbucks, feeling guilty for what happened I return with a CHOCOLATE kids milk!

Need I say that she milked that injury for all it was worth! And she says "mommy this is good!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

getting bigger...

everyday I look at my kids and think "where did the days go?"

both of them are doing new things each day. Natalie is doing many big girl things and Landon is learning to sit up and roll over. Landon is cooing while Natalie is talking about what it means to be a missionary.

Daily I wish that I could stop the clock and keep them from growing. Yet growing is part of the fun... its what makes me laugh everyday. Like when Natalie smears pizza across her face when learning to pick it up rather than eat it cut up or when Landon splashes water everywhere during his bath because he gets so excited. And it makes me smile when I see Natalie being a great big sister reading to Landon on the floor!

So instead of stopping the hands of time, I am just going to savor each moment, everyday...

here is some pictures and videos from the last few days of fun.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

i'm following the leader...

as I am writing this i'm thinking "I am not a writer, so why am I doing this?"

one reason...

everybodys blogging! So I thought if everybody's doing it so should I!

So yes, I admit I am follower.
I am following my husband as he leads our family in the journey GOD has for us, and following JESUS as he leads my life... I just pray that my children learn to be followers too!