Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Big Kids

Our children are getting "bigger". They don't say they are getting "older" or "wiser" or "more capable" or "more independent". They sum up all of these things by letting us know they are getting "bigger", just ask them. Elin will tell you she is a "big girl". Luke will explain that he can do certain things because he is "bigger" now. And they are right. They are both very much "big kids" now. Elin is resembling more of a little girl than a baby/toddler these days and there is nothing toddler-ish about Luke anymore.
We celebrated Luke's 4th birthday a few weeks ago. He's FOUR! We had a great time celebrating Luke with friends and family.

Matt got his first baseball glove from his dad on his fourth birthday so it was extra special that he got to give Luke his first baseball glove on Luke's fourth birthday. Luke thought it was pretty cool that he was just like dad! 

 SO excited about some presents!!!  

Luke requested a "Sports Party" for his birthday party this year. (No big surprise there. The kid LOVES sports). It was the perfect idea. We simply set up all of Luke's sports stuff throughout the yard and let the kids run around and play whatever they wanted. We had a soccer goal, golf club/balls, basketball hoops, baseball tee, and I even made a 'Luke, the Football Player' out of poster board for the kids to throw to. We had 'sports themed' food out for everyone to graze on - chips and nacho cheese, pretzels, mini hot dogs, super ropes, gatorade, and of course, sports decorated cupcakes. 

As expected, the dads got into the sports action as well (probably more than the kids if we're being honest.) I didn't get any pictures but there was a pretty intense game of basketball on the little hoop in our driveway at one point. :) 

  Matt and I are so thankful for so many great friends here. Most of who are raising their own incredible kids alongside us. It is so fun to watch our children develop friendships and play so well together.

Luke had a blast! He was only slightly worn out at the end of the day... 

... and obviously, he wasn't the only one. :) 
Thank you to all our friends and family who helped to make Luke's birthday extra special for him. We are so grateful that you all are a part of his life. 

And we can't leave Elin out of the whole 'getting bigger' theme. We'll be celebrating her 2nd birthday already in just a few days. She is talking more and more, putting together complete sentences, and wanting demanding independence - "I do it myself" is a phrase we hear a lot.  Last weekend we made the rather impulsive decision to put Elin in a 'big girl bed'. She'd been crawling into Luke's bed with him at bedtime, wanting to sleep with Luke in his big bed. We tried it out a time or two but it's no shock that it didn't go over very well. The transition into her own big girl bed, however, has been fairly seamless. The first night she kept getting out and trotting down the hall to find me. But after cuddling with me in the rocker (I was relieved that she would still let me rock her after being told she was such a big girl all day) she went right to bed and stayed there all night. Every night since has been a breeze - even easier than when she was in a crib in some ways. 

She's getting to be such a big girl! 

Still a thumb-sucker though. In some ways I don't want to wean her of this habit. (is that bad?) I find it so cute and feel like it's keeping her a baby in some ways that I'm just not ready for her to not be my baby anymore.  I know, I know. I'll pay for it later (literally when an orthodontist comes into the picture) I'll cross that bridge when we get there. :) 

Friday, April 5, 2013


Matt and I were sitting in our backyard the other night, enjoying the beautiful evening weather, watching our children chase each other and tackle one another to the ground, when Matt made the comment, "there is a lot of sweat in the ground back here". And he's right. There was a lot of sweat, a little bit of blood, countless blisters, and maybe even a few tears put into our yard but it was worth it. SO worth it! It's been fun for us to look at the 'before' pictures of the house and compare that view to now. We shake our heads a little at what it looked like when we bought this house and think about all the stages and changes since then. Although there is still work to do, it has been fun to see our vision become a reality. 

Home Sweet Home
The Front Yard - June 2011

July 2012

Side yard looking into the back yard - 2011
 Oct 2012 (picture of when the grass was just starting to fill in)

closer view-  March 2013

View of the patio 2011

Patio 2013

Back yard 'upper level' 2011

'upper level' March 2013

'Lower level' 2011
(we believe that this was where the previous owners had an above ground pool)
View to the left

View to the right

wider shot of the view to the right

View to the left 

view to the right

closer view to the right/garden area

Looking back toward the house/ 'upper yard'- 2011

Looking toward the house/ 'upper yard'- March 2013

Matt and I did 95% of the work ourselves. We had a service come cut down the dead trees and grind the stumps but that was the only thing we didn't do on our own. We took down fences and sheds, tore out overgrown shrubs, vines, and bushes. We laid the paver patio and walkway. Matt taught himself (thanks to youtube and other internet sources) to install an underground sprinkler system which we put in ourselves (during the hottest week of the summer = LOTS of sweat). We shoveled load after load of dirt, stomped it out, rolled it flat and level, planted the grass, watered, and waited. Now all that hard work has paid off. No more kids complaining of prickers in the feet after running around barefoot. No more dirt EVERYWHERE. No more worrying that a heavy wind will bring down the dead tree onto our roof... I could go on and on.  We have a few more projects that we'll tackle in the yard eventually but for now, we're going to sit back and enjoy. :)

The Farmer

The Dutch translation of DeBoer is 'The Farmer'. In the past, connecting the word farm, in any way, to our family would be a stretch- a long one. Matt is not an animal-lover, or even really an animal-tolerater if we're being totally honest. Our kids are interested in animals (Luke is actually pretty obsessed with animals these days. I attribute that to watching Go Diego when Elin naps. It is in no way an influence of his father.) Elin points out any puppy she sees or hears but the fascination fades as soon as the dog gets close. 
We are not great with plants either. I love the idea of having a lush garden with both beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables. I have attempted this almost every summer and almost every summer I end up with nothing to show for it except dead plants. I am not one to give up, however. In fact, I'm usually too stubborn for my own good (just ask Matt). When we bought this house there was a section of the backyard that we assume was used as a dog pen or something like it by the previous owners. Immediately I envisioned my dream garden going there, once we cleared out all the mess that is. 
This is the garden area pre-clean up. 

And post-clean up.... 

Matt built me raised beds and filled them in with the dirt left over from last fall when we did a major backyard overhaul. He also planned out raised sprinkler heads for that area and laid them in when we put the sprinkler system in over the summer. This way we can program the system to water the garden everyday so I don't have to remember or find someone to come take care of it when we're out of town. 
We bought some seeds for 20 cents a package and went for it. Luke and Elin had fun helping me dig out the rows and plant the seeds. Since then they've been great little farmers - helping water (Matt has to fix some sprinkler heads so we're watering by hand for now) and weed. 

Our Garden

We've already seen some success! It is so fun to go out there each morning and see what new seeds are sprouting up. We planted tomatoes, zucchini, squash, snap peas, green beans, carrots, green peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet basil, cilantro, strawberries and watermelon. So far, we have at least two of each plant growing fairly well. So at the very least we're hoping for one decent salad by the end of the season. Who knows, maybe farming is in our blood after all! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Elin has been talking more and more lately. It has been so fun (and slightly frustrating at times) to watch her as she starts to grasp the English language. Like most toddlers, she has put her own unique spin on several words. She often requires an interpreter, especially if she's trying to communicate with someone she doesn't talk with everyday, but she's getting there!

She really is saying "Luke", or at least her version of "Luke". If I'm totally honest, the first few times I heard her say this I was worried she was saying another SH word spelled with a different vowel. I was envisioning her calling out to her brother loudly at church, the grocery store...any public place and would cringe. Thankfully, that isn't the word she's saying. But we're working on the 'L' and 'K' sounds nevertheless. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Games We Play

 We play A LOT in the DeBoer house. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, given the ages of our children and the goofy-ness of their father. ;) What may surprise some is the type of games we have been playing lately...

Ultimate Hide-and-Seek

Indoor Basketball
complete with warm-up music 

 Sega Genesis
Yes, Luke and Matt have been playing old school Madden and Sonic the Hedgehog. 

Our kids are at an incredibly fun age. They are so imaginative.  Luke will play with his dinosaur and animal figures for hours - lining them up for a race or a fight or some other sort of activity he has conjured up. Elin spends most of her time caring for her babies. She pushes them around in her stroller, puts them down for 'night night' in her crib and insists they wear diapers (putting a size 4 diaper on a baby doll that is smaller than the diaper itself is a tricky task, but it can be done). 

They also play together extremely well... most of the time. They will race up and down the long hallway in our house. Elin hasn't mastered running just yet. She has developed this quick speed-walking type of move. It's pretty impressive how fast she can go without actually running, not to mention fairly entertaining to watch her go.  She'll get the hang of it eventually. 

Needless to say, we are very much enjoying this stage our kids are in right now.