We Love You, Fall!

We have really been enjoying the cooler weather and are thankful for all the fun activities that this season brings along! One of the highlights has been a trip to Center Grove Apple Orchard with some friends. We went on a beautiful day and got to enjoy all the orchard has to offer; the corn pool, pedal tractors, the gigantic slide, jumping pillow, amazing donuts, and a tractor ride around the whole orchard! So much fun!

Here are some pictures from our fall so far!

 

We are having another… BOY!

In November, we will be welcoming another bouncing boy into our family! We are so excited! Max is so great, he has begun suggesting names and likes to talk to his brother through my tummy. Gwenyth’s love for babies has not dwindled in the least and we know she will be so happy to finally be able to hold a baby on a daily basis.

Summer always seems to go by so fast and it is hard to believe that we are already past the 4th of July. We have kept very busy with many outdoor activities including a few trips to the splash park, bike riding, farm trips, and visits to many local parks.

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My three loves at the fireworks; blurry but the only one I got!

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Gwenyth at the splash pad!

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Arriving to the splash pad in style.

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Making the big leap!

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Big boy on a big bike!

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Mommy, Gwenyth, (and baby boy!) at the parade!

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Zoo train selfie.

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Enjoying a frosty on a summer afternoon.

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Visiting the animals at Grandma Karen’s.

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When it gets too hot, you can find us at the library!

 

This year, my hands are very full whenever we visit parks. Max is so great at trying new things and enjoys climbing and jumping. Gwenyth enjoys doing whatever big brother does, so this means I am constantly walking around with my hands up in the air ready to give a boost or catch when needed.

Here are the two of them going down some slides.

We are looking forward to the rest of what summer brings and then will welcome the fall wholeheartedly as it means we get to meet our new little guy!

Christmas

We had a great Christmas! When the holidays come around, Jason and I are often reminded of and thankful for the fact that we are able to live close to both of our families! We don’t have to sacrifice and get to see everyone! Thanks, Lord!

Our first Christmas was with the Rude family. We enjoyed a dinner, crafts for the kids, presents, and of course great memories! We are a pretty large group, so this year, we rented some space at a local park shelter and were all able to be in the same room at the same time! (Thanks for the pictures, Rachael Hall!)

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The Whole Gang ;)

The Whole Gang 😉

Our next celebration took place on Christmas Eve with the Stopek family. We went out to eat at a very traditional Christmas dining establishment (aka On the Border… 😉 ) Then, we went back to my parent’s house to open gifts and hang out. Celebrating on Christmas Eve is a long standing Stopek tradition.

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On Christmas morning, we were able to sleep in (how many more years can we count on that??) Max, after he finally woke up, helped me complete the homemade cinnamon rolls and we enjoyed those as we opened a few more gifts at home.

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We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is enjoying the new year! We are currently experiencing -8 degree high temps around here, lots of indoor time to make some use out of those gifts!

Our 2014 Christmas Card

Our 2014 Christmas Card

Max is Three!

Max Robert Rude is three years old today!! I am so thankful and so happy to be his mom. He is such a great guy! Some of my favorite things about Max are:

  • His Kindness: He often shares his favorite toys with his sister, even when he isn’t asked. When she cries, he always wants to know why and tells her that it will be ok.
  • His Sense of Humor: Lately he has really started to comprehend when things are funny or a joke. He will say something and then follow up with, “Just joking, mama.”
  • His Love for His Family: He always wants to be with his family. He will say he wants to go places and then list the people he would like to join us. The way he says his sister’s name is “Gwen-it.” She is often included in this list.
  • His Bravery: He will go into dark basements, help me kill bugs, climb to the top of playgrounds, and likes to meet new friends. I admire him for this!
  • His Desire to Learn: He loves when we work on school work. He gets excited to learn new letters and will point them out throughout the day. He is also doing an AMAZING job MEMORIZING verses for the Awana program at church! He has said every verse so far and when he hears a past verse repeated during church or at Bible study, he will say, “That’s my verse!”
  • His Memory: He remembers everything! He likes to tell stories when we go through photo albums and will always remember where a missing toy is!

There are so many other things that I love about this little guy and even as I am typing different, fun stories are coming to mind. I meant to only include a couple pictures of the last three years, but I couldn’t choose between all of them! Here are some of my favorite moments of being Max’s mom!

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Max on his “birth” day. Those long fingers and sweet old man face had me falling in love the moment I meant him.

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One of my favorites. All his chunk on display.

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This boy still loves a good nap in mom and dad’s bed.

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This picture captures his personality so well. “Dump a bucket of cold water on my head. Its all good.”

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Displaying his “Max” face.

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His first purchase at Target!

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State fans.

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and Drake fans.

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Day Out with Thomas

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We surprised Max on Sunday with a trip to the Boone Railroad to see one of his favorite characters… Thomas! As we got close to the station, we began to hear a train whistle. Whenever Max hears a whistle, he always says it must be Thomas. We got out of the car and heard the whistle again, Max was still convinced it was his pal, Thomas. After rounding a corner, there he was in all his Thomas glory. Max could not believe it!! He was so excited and began jumping up and down immediately when he saw him! To Jason’s and my delight, Gwenyth started pointing and smiling too! Who knew she was such a big fan as well??

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The day included not only a ride on Thomas, but fun activities like meeting Sir Thopham Hatt and getting a wheel with all the Thomas and Friends characters on it.

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Max continues to talk about riding “Big Thomas.” He says he would like to do it again. Good thing both him and Gwenyth are now certified Jr. Conductors!

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Daddy and Max with some of their friends!

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Max and Daddy waiting to meet Thomas.

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Gwenyth loved the train ride and even stuck her head out the window a couple of times…

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Such a fun time! I love getting to do something fun with my whole family! What a treat it was!

Stories with Max

At a little over 2 1/2 years in age, Max is really coming into his imagination. He loves to be told stories. Books are great, but he really loves what he calls “talk-a-me” stories, or talk to me stories. These are stories that I tell him from memory, usually involving something from my childhood or when he was a baby.

The best thing is that Max has begun telling me stories! I was lucky enough to catch some good ones on video the other day! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

 

Our Little Gal is ONE!

We just put down our baby girl to sleep for the last time as a baby! She will be one tomorrow! Am I the only one who feels like even though I spend all day with my baby, that in this whole year, I still feel like I am just now getting to know her?

She is so sweet and understands so much of what is going on around her. She loves her daddy and has learned many things from him such as clapping and blowing raspberries. She will often dance (bouncing on her bottom) when she sees Jason walk in the door after a long day at work. She has quite the admirer in her daddy and melts his heart on a daily basis.

She loves her big brother and her kitty. Toodles, if allowed, chooses to sleep with G. I have woken up to G’s giggles at 2am, knowing she discovered that her precious feline friend is in her crib. Gwenyth wants to do what ever it is that Max is doing. She loves his shoes, toys, blankets, cups, and even underwear… :/ Max does a great job of tolerating his little sister getting into everything, even when she sits on his train tracks.

Gwenyth is now standing up by herself, even in the middle of the floor with nothing to hold on to. She has been creeping around on couches for quite sometime and I feel like walking will come any day now! She has her two front teeth, two bottom, and more coming in. Her two front teeth are big for her mouth and make her toothy, drooly grin absolutely irresistible. Her hair is so blonde and well, lets just say that it hasn’t quite filled in yet. 😉

There are so many more things I could say about Gwenyth Nancy. She is a joy and delight to our family. She loves me and lets me know it. When she is happy she makes sure everyone knows by shrieking and giggling. When she is sad or offended, she also lets others know. Jason and I lovingly refer to her as our little piglet because of her heavy breathing, squealing, and her healthy eating habits.

It has been such a wonderful year being the mom of two wonderful kids. I am truly a blessed woman to have such an amazing family. Two sweet kids and an outstanding, hardworking, loving husband. Thank you, Lord!

I was going to select a few of my favorite photos, but I couldn’t choose!

 

30 Years! Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my parents! Tomorrow marks thirty years of marital bliss! Thirty years ago, they tied the knot outside of Cleveland, Ohio and today they are living the married life in Adel, Iowa. It is so exciting to think about thirty years! In that time, they have had three kids, and now have four grandkids! They have lived in two different states and have had too many pets to count.

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Mom and Dad on their wedding day, July 20, 1984

It is such a blessing to live close to my parents and to be able to see them often! It is wonderful for our kids as well! Max loves going out to the farm. The last time he was there, he got a tractor ride with Grandpa Bob, and the time before that, Grandma Karen let him ride several horses! What more could a kid ask for!

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The “Fab Five” circa 1990

My dad works close to my house. About a month ago, the kids and I were able to go to lunch with him. Now every time we pass by grandpa’s office, Max asks if we are going to eat with him!

Often times, Max will want to call someone on my phone. Grandma Karen is always a good candidate and cheerfully answers! She has even facetimed with us on occasion!

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Dad, Mom, Brody, and Hailee on Brody’s “birth day”

I am so thankful for my parents and the example they have set with their 30 year marriage! They have loved on us kids and now our kids and their love for each other has always been very evident. They are such a wonderful pair!

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Mom and Dad with all of their grandchildren on Easter Sunday 2014 (Also Dad’s 50th birthday!)

Congratulations on 30 years! Excited to see what the next 30 brings!!

Toodles

Meet the newest member of the Rude family, Toodles.

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Toodles on her way home from the Adel Vet Clinic.

Toodles has been with us for almost two weeks now and she is making herself right at home! Both the kids enjoy her, probably a little too much. It will be a great opportunity to teach them how to be gentle. I also look forward to teaching Max how to feed, water, and clean out her litter box. It will be nice to teach him some responsibility (and also not have to do those chores… 😉

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Max and his new pal.

She has been such a good kitty but my only complaint would be that she can be a little too friendly. When the kids go to bed, Toodles likes to snuggle up to me or Jason. She really has sought out Jason on many occasions and purrs while circling around his neck and licking his face. I guess she knows who she needs to impress. 😉

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She has been found more than once in G’s crib. Mixed reactions from G have led me to keep Toodles behind closed doors during nap and sleeping times.

It is nice to have another four legged friend around the house.

If you are wondering about the name, you have not seen Mickey Mouse Club House as much as Max and I have. “Oh Toodles” is very fun to say! 😉