Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Alivia-Maternity Pictures

I was always a little sad that I never got any maternity pictures taken.  At the time, you feel so big and ugly, but now I remember the beauty and pleasure of carrying my precious boys inside of me.  I wish I would have documented it better.   In comes Alivia.  I have known her for a few years now and she is just one of the nicest people you will meet.  You know the thing I really love about her, you can tell that she really loves her kids.  She is a GREAT mom.  Now, she is getting ready to add child #4 to her wonderful family.  I have been wanting to do some maternity pictures for a while, and now I have done it!  Alvia was perfect with her skinny little body and her cute round belly.  She makes a really cute pregnant lady!  We had a great time chatting and taking pictures and rearranging her room to get it just right for the pictures!  They turned out really cute!  Take a sneak peek of Alivia and her new baby coming in just a few weeks.

Thanks Alivia!  It was so fun to be with you.  I can't wait to get my lens on your little girl in a few weeks.  For more pictures, check out my facebook page.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ericksons Take Two

So, a few months ago I took pictures of our friends, the Ericksons.  They have two cute (but active) little boys.  It was really hard to get a shot of both of the boys together and the family ones just didn't turn out very well.  So, we did a re-shoot.  It was TOTALLY worth it.  I got some amazing pictures this time around.  Instead of one okay one of the family, I got about 10 really great ones of the family.  I even got several good ones of the boys together!  Feast your eyes on this beautiful family!

Thanks guys!  It was a great excuse to get together again and to get some great pictures of your family!

Monday, February 6, 2012

One Year Ago....

One year ago today, we stepped on board, what is now affectionately called, "the Mickey Boat".  My parents have a wonderful perspective on retirement.  They want to enjoy their hard earned money.  And how do they like to enjoy it?  By spending time with their kids and grandkids.  Why save all of your money and then have it be willed to someone else later?  They are using their money to make MEMORIES with us.  Priceless!  I would much rather have spent time with them now than have an inheritance later! 

So as part of this plan, they have chosen to take all 12 of us on a fun, week long, vacation every other year.  In 2009, they surprised the kids with a trip to Disney World.  They went all out and we stayed in a cottage at the Wilderness Lodge just on the other side of the lake from The Magic Kingdom.  We had so much fun.  The kids were AMAZING, especially because they ranged in ages from 9 months to 7 years old.  That was 6 kids under the age of 7 and they all did SO well.  It really was the happiest place on earth.  It was the coldest February on record in Florida, but that meant the crowds were really small and we rode SO many rides.  The highlights of the Disney World Trip, in the kids own words: Noah (7)-Thunder Mountain, Mission to Mars and Test Track.  Josiah (5): Splash Mountain, meeting Tigger and the hotel water slide.  Makai (5): Meeting Donald Duck, Space Mountain and Test Track.  Tanner (3):  The BIG HILL (Splash Mountain) and Mickey.  Adah (almost 3):  Seeing Tinkerbell and the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique.  Jameson (9 months):  He loved it all.  He just smiled his way through the park!  You also should check out this video where Aunt Julie was making Jameson cry by making a funny face.

So then my parents had to figure out a way to top that trip!  And I think they did.  They booked a 7 day Mexican cruise on board the Disney Wonder.  Disney knows how to do it right!  If you are looking into a cruise, don't look anywhere else.  The service was amazing, the food was amazing, and the kids loved seeing all of the characters.  We didn't tell the kids where we were going.  We just showed up at the airport and when we got to the gate, they saw we were going to L.A.  They just thought we were going to hang out in L.A. for the week.  When we got into the airport shuttle the next morning, they had no clue where we were going (even though they saw the big Mickey ears on a HUGE boat go right past our hotel early that morning).  When we pulled into the dock and saw the GINORMOUS boat in front of us, they all started screaming.  It was so fun!  The next 7 days included eating, a pirate adventure, eating, the pool (or polo as JJ called it), eating, hanging out at the beach, eating, shows every night, eating, seeing several different movies (in 3D for free, including Gnomio and Juliet which wasn't even in theaters yet), eating and enjoying time together as a family!
The gluten free, dairy free, egg free special dessert the chef made for our high maintenance allergy people!

Pirate Adventure!

Run Josiah!

It's too bad he's not having any fun!


Napkin fun!

Jameson's favorite place on board.  In the Mickey pool.


Characters everywhere!

Has it really been a year already?  We still talk about the Mickey boat at least once or twice a week.  We all wish we were going back right about now.  There is already talk of our next trip.  Might be a trip to San Diego, LegoLand, Disneyland and the beach.  Any other ideas for fun, family places to go?  Come on 2013!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Perfect Weekend

On the radio the other day they were discussing the movie "Ground Hog's Day".  They posed the question, "if you could live one day of your life over and over, which day would you choose?"  You couldn't choose the day your children were born or the day you got married.  I had a hard time coming up with a day that I wanted to live over and over.  What does your perfect day look like?  Well guess what?  Now I can answer that question.  I would want to live this weekend (especially Friday into Saturday) over and over and over again!

A Little Background:  Do you remember the HUGE Blizzard of 2003?  We started a tradition that year.  My dad was working out in California and we didn't want my mom to be stuck at home by herself during a blizzard.  Also, Julie and I were both pregnant and thought it would be best if we were all together.  So in March of 2003, the Luebckes and Lords all headed over to the Coombs' Party Palace for the duration of the blizzard.  It was AWESOME.  We got over three feet of snow over a several day period and we had fun playing games, watching movies and shoveling (done by the boys of course, the girls played the pregnancy card!).  Ever since then, when the forecasters predict a big snow, we pack up and head over to the Coombs house.  Of course now there are 5 more kids than in March of 2003!

So what did we do on Friday morning as soon as we heard school was canceled?  Yep....packed our bags and headed to Nana's house.  The kids were so excited to play with their cousins and have a sleepover.  It is so fun to create these memories with our kids!  I am so thankful that my family lives so close.

What did my prefect day look like?  We started the day by hanging out and chatting.  The kids played some wii and did some electrical experiment with Bapa.  Chris had to work, but the rest of the adults played The Settlers of Catan (Cities and Knights version-which took about 2 hours).....and guess who won (yep me.  I am EXTREMELY competitive so this again adds to the perfection of the day).  Then we all headed to the hot tub, complete with dares to go and run around in the snow.  We had an amazing dinner together and then settled in to watch a movie.  The kids played in the basement so we were actually able to watch an entire grown-up movie (I wanted to type adult movie, but didn't want you to get the wrong impression).  I can't tell you the last time the 6 of us watched a movie together that had more than a G rating.  We watched Red (PG-13).  It is a really funny movie.  I just love Bruce Willis.  The night ended with a stroke of genius on my part.  We introduced the kids to the game of Sardines.  We turned off all of the lights and I headed out to hide.  The other family members paired up (so none of the kids got scared) and tried to find me.  Once they found me (hiding in the secret room behind the TV), they got to hide with me.  It was so fun being all squished together trying not to giggle until the last pair found us.  We repeated this several times until it was bedtime.  The kids had a blast, but I think the adults had even more fun.  I am sure that this will be a new Blizzard Tradition. 

The next morning, Chris and I headed out for a morning run.  We never get to run together and it was so nice to be able to spend time together in the beautiful, quiet, snowy morning.  Definitely a highlight.  After the run, Chris headed out to Best Buy with Dad to pick out a new TV for the kitchen for the SuperBowl and Nana and I took the kids sledding.  The sun came out and it was a blast.  Then we came back to the house for another quick hot tub.

Alas, it was time to head home.  But the fun didn't end.  We relaxed (after shoveling our driveway) and then I got to go out with the "Corner Girls".  We had a blast having dinner out together and chatting about motherhood and life.  It was a great time! 

What a great weekend and it wasn't even Sunday yet!  Sunday consisted of church, more sledding and a Super Bowl party at......you guessed it, the Party Palace.  All in all, an amazing weekend of fun and family.  Here are some pictures of our weekend.
Experimenting with Bapa
"The Office"

Catan Anyone?  Watch out, Lisa is competitive!
Bare Feet?  On the way to the hot tub!

Too bad they aren't having any fun!
When you need refreshment, you need refreshment.
Wearing cousin Noah's, hat
Dan drew the short straw of climbing on the roof and clearing off the Dish
Awww..a nice picture with Nana

Hey Nana, what are you doing with your right hand?

Oh, that's what you were doing!


Check out the Gnome hat!

Look how high that snow bank is!

Sledding buddies

Sledding buddies

I have heard of heads in the sand, but heads in the snow?

I had to get out from behind the camera for a second

It was REALLY hard to get back up again!

Measuring the snow for a school assignment.  13.5 inches at 5 pm on Friday.  By Saturday Morning it was up to 17.5 and it had already melted a bit.

Tanner's eyes are almost always covered by the hat.  How does he see anything?

Oh, the chunky

Makai catching some serious air!

Walking home from the sledding hill

JJ didn't really want to go down, but laughed all the way down (until he got a face full of snow at the bottom)

So he got carried back up like this while crying.
Getting a football hug from Uncle Dan.
  I hope all of you had a GREAT weekend too!