Nov 3, 2013

16 months

Dear Kenya,

I have been missing writing you letters on this blog - it's been too long!  You are taking a Sunday afternoon nap (a very rare moment) so I thought I'd sneak on here and see how much I can write you!  Maybe you're sleeping cause your dad and I forgot about daylight savings time and got up early and showed up to church an hour early - oops!! (not the first time for us either - last time we went an hour late though) 

Life has been a crazy whirlwind since I wrote you last!  Teaching has turned my life upside down since August.  The kids are awesome, I love all of them a ton - they are so sweet and compassionate and always a blessing to me and so many others (they love to donate to help the kiddos in the Dominican Republic which I love).   And while I do love teaching (though it's taken me a while to get used to speaking in Spanish all the time again), I sure do miss you and our time together more than you could ever know.  It's been a tough transition for both of us and I think sometimes it's hard for you to understand why I'm not around all the time like I used to be.  It's hard for me too, but I definitely treasure all my moments with you now more than I ever did since I don't get nearly as many of them as I used to.  Some of the special ones lately have been celebrating Halloween together (you were a duck since you are OBSESSED with them lately), going on a hay rides (which your dad did not appreciate as much as I did), eating Daddy's Saturday morning pancakes (topped with tons of yummy fruit) and just any other random adventure we can squeeze in on our nights and weekends.  I love the hugs when I get home from work, and playing and reading stories before bed.  Really I just love any time I get to spend with you! 

Some new things about you.... You LOVE ducks, they are your favorite thing ever (besides Santa).  I get jealous that Daddy gets to take you to feed them all the time while I'm at work.  He even built you a toy duck out of wood - he is so talented.  You are also still obsessed with the train and want to go running to see it every time we hear the whistle (you get bummed out more now when it's too cold and we have to watch it from the porch).  You are saying lots of new words - your favorite words lately seem to be "hot", "ice", "duck" (big surprise), "dog", "cheese", "more", "no" (more like "mooo" which you point and say to Santa), "eyes", "nose", and a lot more.  You have become a much more picky eater which is making your daddy and I crazy and you are always throwing food on the wall... I decided to bring butcher paper home from school to stick on the wall so you can decorate that with food instead!  But you do love cheese, chicken, watermelon, apples, corn, and a few other things.  You still hate sleeping.  I think I've read about every book, article, and internet forum there is to read with no luck, and spent a lot of money on every product that claims to help.  It has been 16 months now (or more) since I've really had a full night of sleep, but you are worth the exhaustion.  My students always make me laugh when I screw up my Spanish first thing in the morning and they ask me "How many times did Kenya get up last night Sra. DeYoung?" or tell me to drink my "cafe" before I continue teaching. ;)  Well I think I better post these photos of you before you wake up, but just wanted to take a quick moment to write you this note....

Dinner date to Olga's

chasing ducks

out at Art prize

in Mommy's costume

in your costume

out at Calvin "Light in the Night" - it was a very rainy night

Well I think that's all I have time for today but just wanted to write to remind you how much I love you and how much you mean to me.  I am thankful for the miracle that you are and for the the joy you continue to bring to my life everyday.  Oh and one more funny thing I wanted to tell you... we went out to a Mexican dinner with your grandpa last night and there was a mariachi guy serenading you and you were eating it up!!  You kept running back across the restaurant to see him.  You crack us up!!  Love you baby girl, to the moon and back!! xoxoxoxoxo

Love, Your mama 

Aug 12, 2013

12 months and beyond...

Hey Kenya Kay,

It's been quite a summer, and quite a year!  Since this is technically my 12 month post, I can talk all about you being one and about the past year, but you have been one for a while. ;) I could blame this late post on you cause check out your 12 month photo... no matter how many times I tried your photo you just tried to pick your sticker off your onesie like crazy as soon as I put it on there.  But I'll take the blame on just being behind as always...

Since so much has happened, it is going to be hard to sum up the summer (since my last blog in June) and really this past year in one blog.  So here are some of my favorite summer memories with you...

Your first birthday.... your pretty dress, lots of friends and family, your first cupcake, lots of DIY decor (Mommy pinned about 1342789304879 things for your first bday ;), a photo booth with costumes, gifts galore, and tons of pink!

Your first times at the beach... playing in the sand, hating the water at first then jumping in like a daredevil and get tossed in waves, making friends, walking the pier, stealing balls and frisbees from anyone not looking, and (your absolute favorite) chasing seagulls!

Our first family vacation... to Chicago! (the place where mommy met daddy ;)  Seeing your great Uncle Jim and Aunt Jan, going to Taste of Chicago, riding the train, looking in the Bean, losing your shoes, and playing in the Crown Fountain. (the battery died on our phone so we didn't get any photos til the rest stop on the ride home)

Weddings... cousin Andrew and Kailyn's... Auntie Johanna and Tyson's.. and Grandpa and Grandma's - everyone thought you were a doll in all of them.  And you were very good at screaming to nurse and pulling down the front of my dress during the most convenient times (ceremony, best man speeches, etc.)

driving the golf cart at Auntie Johanna's wedding in Chicago
And lots of other randoms.... Parks, picnics, and splashpads.  Seeing the animals at the zoo.  4th of July parade and fireworks.  Lots of babysitting days with your grandmas and cousin Beth.  Meeting lots of new friends and reuniting with old ones.  Breaking all the rules at the library (it's quite a scene).  Decorating your bedroom (which you still hate to sleep in)  Night time family walks around the neighborhood.  Playing with friends at the Leche League meetings.  Family dates out and family night at the Children's Museum every Thursday.  Play dates with the neighbor kids (Sevyn is your bestie) and sitting on the front porch at 5:00 p.m. checking cars for dad.  Singing, singing, singing (mostly Patty Cake and Puff the Magic Dragon).  Backyard barbecues.  "Helping" in mommy's new classroom.  Teasing Santa (it never gets old).  Curious Buddies and doing the Shake a Rama (that one never gets old either).  Helping Grandpa in his vegetable garden.  Our new church "Nueva Esperanza" where we get to practice espanol and everyone says "que bebe mas bella!"  Going shopping with mom (where you basically do everything I always swore my child would never do and get "the look" a lot)  Using your very own potty that sings to you when you pee (you're becoming a pro!)  And SO MUCH MORE....

And looking back at this year.... you know I could write a 20 page blog about that ;)  So I'll just say this... it has been a rollercoaster year of ups and downs and joys and pains, but I wouldn't have wanted anyone by my side but you and your dad (and Santa... most of the time ;) and I still am in awe of the miracle you are and that God allowed me the honor of being your mom. We have been so blessed by you, and by all the people who have poured out love and support on our family this past year.  I am blown away just thinking about it.  Your testimony is one I tell over and over and over.  You bring your dad and I so much joy every day and we love being surprised by you and watching you change and grow.  Okay, time for bed.  I think from now on, I'm going to cut back on the monthly blog updates (cause I obviously can't keep up) and just post here and there.  Oh and you start daycare THIS MONDAY.  AH I am feeling nervous about that - they are talking about curriculum and centers and Spanish lessons - I'm not ready to let you grow up!  My whole Bible study prayed for you the other night and that all would go well there.  I will definitely miss you like crazy, but being the social butterfly that you are, I know you'll do great and love making lots of new friends.  Okay that's it for real now.  Love you baby girl, to the moon and back.

Love, Your mama :)

P.S.  With work and daycare starting up, it would be great if you would start sleeping through the night, pretty pretty please?

Jun 12, 2013

10 and 11 months!


Dear Kenya,
I know I say every month (or every other month) things are so crazy and that's why I haven't been blogging... but this time it is REALLY true cause things got REALLY crazy busy.  We moved into a new house in Grand Rapids (finally on our own after almost a whole year of living with different family), after several interviews Mommy took a teaching job for fall in Jenison, and to keep up my teaching certificate now I'm in grad school online.  All these changes happened in the same week!  But even though things are busy, I'm still having lots of fun with you and there is so much happening.  Here's a peek at what you've been up to these past couple of months....

Things you're doing:now:
  • WALKING!!!!!!!! (all by yourself all the time!!)
  • Blowing kisses
  • Giving kisses (lots of big open mouthed ones)
  • Pointing at everything you want 
  • Giving hugs
  • Imitating us (wiping my face off, putting my shoes on your feet, talking on the phone, etc.)
  • Cleaning up your toys by yourself
  • Throwing, chasing and kicking balls
Things you like to eat:
  • Brocolli
  • Pizza
  • Blueberries (frozen ones)
  • Cheerios
  • Spaghetti
  • Peaches
Words you're saying:
  • Nya nya (Kenya)
  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Anta (Santa)
  • Bah (ball and bye) 
  • Nana (Nurse)
  • A whole lot more I'm just not sure what they all mean yet :)
Things you don't like:
  • Sleeping in your own room/bed (you finally have your own room for the first time and you hate it!)
  • Being told no or having something taken away
  • Teething - you look like you're in pain!
  • Being left alone to play - you are very social and want to be with people all the time!
  • Meeting new people when you're not ready
Places We've Been Lately:
  •  Grand Rapids of course, because we moved here!
  • Jackson for Auntie Melissa's birthday at Olive Garden
  • Holland for the Tulip Festival with Great Grandma DeYoung
  • Owosso to meet my former students and teacher friends there who supported you
  • Waterford to stay with Grandma B for a weekend and to meet Auntie Tracey's new baby
  • Beverly Hills to visit Grandma and Grandpa there and celebrate my birthday
  • The Detroit Zoo for Mommy's birthday with Uncle Bradley, Jenna, Grandma and Grandpops
  • Lansing to PF Chang's with Auntie Melissa for my birthday
  • Milford to spend a girls' weekend with Auntie Katie
  • Kalamazoo for Memorial Day (Mommy had to stay home to write a research paper, no fun!)
  • Jenison to meet Mom's future students and check out daycares (this makes me sad but we found a really good one with Spanish immersion!)
  • Rochester Hills for Katilyn Ward's graduation (we missed most of it because we took a break to see the swimmers at OU and you chucked your shoe way over the bleachers and almost into the pool so we were on a shoe hunt for most of the ceremony)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And some photos.....
At the Tulip Festival....

The Detroit Zoo...

At the graduation....

With Auntie Megan...

And one of many taken by your Auntie Katie during our girls' weekend.. (more to come)

 Celebrating Auntie Melissa's birthday...

 A picture of our new place...

Your very own room for the first time (the before picture)....


 A handful of others... 

There are a million more I could add, but this is all for now... and last but not least the video of you walking!

Now I'm off to work on birthday and nursery decorations - your party is this Saturday!!   Love you baby girl and can't believe you are almost 1 year old!!!  

Love, Your mama