Sisters, friends, blessed.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dance Weekend

The girls had a blast this weekend taking in their cousin, Brooke's, dance competition right here in town.  A whole slew of Andersons made the trip down to join us in cheering her on.  As always, she was a delight to watch and really impressed Hadley & Piper.  It was a day full of music, dance, good company, and even a surprise.  Auntie Kara and Grandma & Grandpa A snuck a little surprise into their van for the girls... their cousin, Ava!  Hadley had a great time playing with her in our playroom after the competition, and Piper kept telling anyone who would listen, "I can't believe Ava came!" 
Got a little Grandpa A snuggling in first before heading off to the competition.
Piper, Hadley, & Grandma A watched with wide eyed attention.
Much anticipated playtime for Hadley & Ava, while Pipey took a quick nap after the competition.

And finally a picture with the dancer!  Nice forced smile, Piper...

That's better, well, sort of.  We appreciate your enthusiasm though, Piper.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Redneck Neighbors

I saw the craziest thing out my front window the other morning, redneck neighbors driving a four wheeler around our suburban cul-de-sac with the children flying behind on a sled! 

Alas, it was just my husband & daughters that were the redneck-ers out there!  Redneck, but pretty darn cute!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A New Cousin

A new girl cousin, to be exact!  Nathan & Heidi welcomed a beautiful baby girl early last Monday morning, 01/17/11.  And we finally got our hands on sweet Kenzie Caroline this weekend!  
We popped in to Mike & Jill's house first for a noisy but fun pizza party on Friday night!  It was a great way to get out of the cold, and was so nice to finally see where they live.
I was lucky enough to be Kenzie's 'baby nanny' later that night!  Her newbie parents were in desperate need of a little catch-up-sleep, so I got to stay up with her in the wee hours of the night and brought her into Heidi when she needed to eat.  It was a great night of proud Auntie snuggles and...a lot of poop! Kenzie had not done so since the hospital, but managed to mess 6 diapers for me that night! She is a beautiful baby, and looks a striking amount like her father did at that age! I was just 5 when Nathan was born, but I truly thought I was his mother, and can still see him in the same basinette Kenzie is sleeping in (or not sleeping in, hehe). Kyle, Grandma & the girls came in to see her the next morning (that is Piper, above, traveling to meet her new cousin!).
Upon arrival, Hadley tossed her coat, barely acknowledged Nathan & Heidi, and headed straight for the stairs in a mad search for her new cousin.  Kenzie was actually swaddled up right there on the couch, and you could see Hadley's face immediately soften when she finally caught a glimpse of her.  It was love at first sight for both girls; Hadley is still talking about how warm and soft Kenzie was when she held her & Piper is still talking about how teeny tiny Kenzie was.
Back to Grandma's for a little root beer float action!
Hadley 'helped' Grandma & Grandpa teach Sunday School the next morning, while we packed the truck and got ready to head in for Kenzie's babtism.
The babtism was lovely.  Kenzie was joined by all 5 of her Graham cousins and both sets of her Great-Grandparents!  Hard to believe the last time we were in their church was for Nathan & Heidi's wedding, and Piper was less than 2 days old!

And this just might be my favorite picture from the weekend. Even though I know Jeremiah's scowl has everything to do with the fact that he had already taken 17 other pictures, I like to think he was really scowling because he is still the token boy cousin!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


As the snowflakes continue to fall around our warm little red house outdoors, the girls continue to find new ways to entertain one another indoors.  I have to admit, this time of year, January especially, kind of scares me.  It is the time of year that feels most dark (probably because it is, duh).  But I have been pleasantly surprised already this month at how much the proverbial sun seems to still be shining on us.  I know it has much to do with how well the girls play together, and how much fun they have going outside to play in the snow too.  The three of us girls have gotten pretty efficient in suprising Daddy with a clear driveway after a snowfall, finding icicles, making snowangels, getting Piper's boots unstuck from the baby swing she insists on swinging in the backyard, sledding down the hill in the front of our yard without scratching our faces on the neighboring shrubs, and trying to go to the bathroom before we get all 27 layers on! 
Back inside, Hadley has gotten quite good at creating her own ensemble for 'dance recitals' (could she be wearing any more clothes? Note the socks stuffed through the flip flops!).

Piper has been working hard to make her 'initial' as she puts it.  This is a new experience for me, as she seems to be a lefty on most days, which makes it a little trickier for me to help her hand over hand.
They have also taken quite a liking to their new scooter & hooking their hopper balls together with a sash or a rope.  Piper has only crashed or been tangled or been trapped a hundred or more times, but the laughter that ensues is seemingly always worth the trouble.

Mostly, I am just so thankful for the sunshine that the simple presence of my kids brings to my life, even in dark, dull January.  I think that they must feel that same way about one another too.  Hadley brought this project home from school just this week; it was made back during Thanksgiving time.  Her teacher had asked her, "What are you thankful for, Hadley?"  And she had just one simple but specific word for her response.  You can see it below her handwritten name & handprints in quotes...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Graham Family New Year

In an effort to avoid the predicted slippery roads, we headed to Southern MN a little early this past New Year's weekend.  The girls were thrilled to be on a nighttime adventure to surprise Grandma & Grandpa, and my mom's look of awe did not disappoint.
We awoke the next morning to a lovely breakfast whipped up by Grandpa (he's the guy that used to make me breakfast in bed when I came home from college!), and then we headed off to visit with my grandparents - Hadley & Piper's greatgrandparents!  We were treated to delicious treats, generous gifts, and lots of love at both homes.  Great-Grandpa Jerry & Great-Grandma Joan were our first stop...

Followed by Oma & Opa Steck...
By New Year's Eve evening, my parent's house was truly hoppin'!  My brothers and their families came out to help ring in 2011 and celebrate Christmas together. The frog backpack Uncle Nathan is helping Piper into was a real hit. (Note the ruby slippers that Grandma just happened to have in each granddaughter's size.) As was the ballerina costume from Uncle Mike & Auntie Jill, but very much unlike the doll that Grandma & Grandpa gave to Piper... When she opened the very real like doll, she said quietly but oh so seriously, "I don't want her." The ever polite child, we were astonished as we tried to keep our snorts and heaves of laughter in so it wouldn't scare her even more!  She has kept her distance from the doll back at home too, and told me very quietly the other day that, "She has too much hair, Mama." 
Despite the extra excitement, we were able to get all the kids down at a reasonable hour that night. All of the adults were anxious to sneak gifts into their Secret Santa's stocking (a 24 year old Graham tradition) but also to play the first ever 'Graham Game.' What a seriously lame name, but no one came up with anything better!  (Think Jeopardy meets Trivial Pursuit meets Joey on Friends.) Each couple had prepared 24 questions to fit within the categories Mike had organized; complete with game boards and a lightning round (love you, Mikey!).                                                           (Hadley Wii bowling for the first time with Grandpa & Brooklyn's encouragement).

Apparently we were overzealous in our question prep, as the entire game lasted FOUR hours and into 2011.  And though I couldn't seem to drink enough coffee the next morning, I could not have imagined a better entry into the new year than laughing hysterically with my family.  I would be remiss not to mention that Kyle & I nearly doubled the points of each couple and were clearly the winners. Sound familiar?  I belive we were the undisputed water volleyball champions this summer too?  Hmmm.

The doctors of our family, the most competitive of our family, the most likely to butt heads in our family, aka...the babies of our family. (Don't worry the long standing love/hate relationship always ends on the love side, just don't get them started on Favre.)
My dad was so sneaky that day, he managed to slip an inscribed book under each of our pillows wishing us a Happy 2011!  I was, however, apparently the only 'block head' who slept the entire night with my book under my pillow (if that says anything about how late our trivia game went!).  The rest of the weekend was spent playing with cousins, eating more of my mom's delicious stroganoff, and even getting in some play-doh time with Grandma before heading back to WI.
We are back at the regular routine now, and enjoying every moment of 2011 already.  But the very best part of 2011 is just around the corner though...Perhaps weeks or even days, as I await the day my baby brother becomes a dad!