Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Spirit of Christmas

Okay, let's face it, sometimes when you hear about a free "family-friendly" holiday event you wonder........what am I getting myself into? Is this just going to be a cheese-fest with one dude dressed up as Santa on a stage strumming a guitar and playing a harmonica?!?!? Or, is it going to be an event done in excellence, celebrating the true meaning of Christmas with tons to do and the opportunity to make some family memories.

Well, I am so glad to share that The Spirit of Christmas @ TWU was most definitely the latter. A fantastic, FREE, family event with tons to see and do. And did I mention FREE?!?!?! We enjoyed a beautiful snowy Saturday afternoon taking in all the Trinity had to offer: crafts for the kids, free snacks (oranges, popcorn, candy canes, hot chocolate & apple cider), musical entertainment of all sorts, a petting zoo, a parade of trees & a live nativity scene.
We made the most of the day and spent a better part of four hours wandering around & with everything covered in a blanket of white it made everything feel that much more festive.
Madelyne getting her face painted as a lion.

The boys and the kidlets attempting the zoo!

Crafting it up - Matt & Madelyne make a snowflake crown.

Daddy and Emma-Bema! (the pink marshmellow)

Madelyne enjoying the bunnies at the zoo (This is my new favorite pic of Miss M)

Let's Celebrate! MB Style

Our first event to welcome in the Christmas season happened to be Matt's Christmas work party. For the most part, Mercedes does a huge sit down dinner in a ballroom with live entertainment, gift give-aways and dancing.....but not this year. This year found us at the Marriott hotel downtown Vancouver enjoying a more modern lounge style reception. The room was sectioned off into a few different zones all comprised of different food and various styles of seating.

Here's a few pics:

At one end we had: roast beef, buns & the fixin's, a mashed potato martini bar & a pasta buffet. The middle of the room had skewered chicken and lamb (with dipping sauces), assorted fine cheeses and crackers & fruit kabobs. The other end has Asian inspired dishes...sushi, spring rolls, spicy shrimp in pita bread & a few other appys. And last, but not least, my personal fav......the dessert buffet.....really, who could ask for anything more. Who needs dinner when you're got every kind of dessert a girl could every want?!?!

Even though we didn't walk away with any great prizes, it was a great date night with delicious food, a fun reason to get dressed up and a night out WITHOUT kids.

Showers of Blessings

With only days to spare before Auntie Jo was heading "up the creek" for pudding season, and only days after Cole's arrival, we were celebrating with a shower of blessing for Shawna and Baby Cole.

It was a fantastic night of great food, games, cuddles with Cole and lots of girl talk. The house was full of a wonderful group of ladies who all love Shawna and value having her in their life. Cole was blessed by his multiple "aunties" who hopefully will keep him dressed in style for the next little while. And Shawna's baking supply was bumped up as guests were asked to bring some holiday baking to help stock her freezer (and ease the holiday to-do list!).

Thanks to all who came to bless Shawna and celebrate the safe arrival of the newest Laderoute Lad!!!!

(I must share...the banner in the photo on the top right was made by Baker&Baker Creative Co. That's right ladies, my husband and I crafted it together - how 'bout that for a date night at home!!!!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mommy & Me Movie Night

As Madelyne gets older the things we can do seem to get that much more exciting!!!!!! Being that most of the time she has energy to burn, it's not too often that we find ourselves being able to relax and watch something on TV or even a movie. Just in the past while has Madelyne actually been able to sit still enough to watch an entire, one Saturday night early in November Madelyne & I had the first of many....

"Mommy & Me Movie Night"

The feature for this occasion was Charlotte's Web, which Madelyne and I both thoroughly enjoyed. Madelyne was careful to make sure we both had a buddy and a blanket with us on the couch. It was a night full of popcorn, fun, giggles, wide eyed wonder and a few cuddles (snuck in by mom here and there!). What a great way to spend the first part of a cold Saturday night.

I love you dolly, thanks for a great date!

All in the Name of Love

Okay, so I have a confession..........
Don't get too excited, it's not that juicy! Most of November found me planning, scheming, organizing, shopping, stashing and preparing for a big surprise:


Set to happen just over a week before his actual birth-day I was fairly confident that he wouldn't suspect anything.

But how would I get him to take care of the girls the morning of the party so I could go prep food at Paul & Shawna's.....tell him I'm off to a Kids Swap and pray he doesn't ask if I found anything.

And how to get him to the church on a Saturday night.......well plan an "Amazing Date" with clues that lead him to the church on a hunt for the next clue box.

How do I get him to rearrange bedrooms of furniture to accommodate his mom and sis who were flying out from Ontario as a surprise.......tell him we're getting more international students.

How do I communicate with people about the big party.....FACEBOOK! And monitor it daily to make sure no one has made any comments that may be visible to him.

So after months of planning it all paid off. We had a fantastic time with family and friends. Enjoyed a great spread of food and soothed our soul with some sweet tunes from Jim Bugg on the sax.

As I said at the party, Matt lives in a HOUSE FULL OF FEMALES.......he needs a man's that's exactly what he got: a week long canoe trip through northern BC for July 2008.

Thank-you to all who contributed to the group gift, as well as to those to worked hard setting up the party on my behalf.

Here's a few pics from the evening:

Ah Ha! I KNEW IT!!!

~ IT'S A BOY ~
Everyone screamed as Cole Robert Laderoute made his grand entrance into the world on Thursday, November 1st @ 11:57pm.

Weighing in at 8 lbs 13oz & 22 inches long, Cole was beautiful and Shawna did amazingly well.

Being that both my girls were born via C-secion it was a special treat for me to watch my future son-in-law enter the world. I was in awe of the process and walked away wondering how someone could not believe in our mighty creator after watching a woman carry a child and give birth.

CONGRATULATIONS to Paul, Shawna & Jacob

WELCOME to Baby Cole

We love you all and can't wait to enjoy life together.....we'll bring the pink, you bring the blue!
Baby Cole only minutes old

Happy Halloween

Well, I can most definitely say that Madelyne's Tinkerbell costume got a lot of wear......she wore it to a birthday party, party day at school & Halloween.....not to mention numerous days at home.

This year we (as in our family as well as Paul, Shawna & Jacob) decided to gather at Shawna's parents - Auntie Jo & Uncle Bob's. After serious calculation we decided that their neighbourhood had the greatest number of homes in the smallest walking distance - this is a crucial fact when toting THREE kids ages THREE and under!!!!

It was a great time had by all, Auntie Jo had the best candy to snack on, the kids looked super cute in their costumes and Shawna & I stayed warm and dry inside while the men-folk took the kids around the 'hood.

Madelyne was Tinkerbell, Emma was a lion cub and Jacob was a chicken!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Congratulations Lance & Treena

On Saturday, October 27th Matt and I had the honor of attending the wedding of Lance Rourke & Treena Stewart.
* * *
We know Treena from CLA, her and I led a cell group together before I got married and she also lived in the basement suite of our first house here in Langley.
It was an exciting and special day as all God's promises for both Lance, and Treena, finally came to pass. God is so faithful to give us the desires of our hearts - I mean HE puts them there to begin with so HE may as well give them to us!
* * *
A huge CONGRATULATIONS to Lance & Treena - it was a beautiful day.
(for some reason Blogger will not let me add a few pics...I'll try again later!)

Whoot Whoot ~ Party Day, October 2007

The last class of every month at preschool is party day. Parents, friends, grandparents and even aunties are invited to join the class for the first 30 minutes. The class performs the songs and poems they have been working on and we get updates on all the happenings for the month ahead.

October party day found Wind & Tide Newlands with a race car driver and a TinkerBell that were too cute for words.
In true October - Thanksgiving - spirit their song for the month went something like this:
Give thanks everyday, for everyday things
Give thanks everyday, for everyday things
Give thanks everyday, for everyday things
Be thankful (echo: be thankful)
For the day you are given
Be thankful (echo: be thankful)
For the life you are livin'
Give thanks everyday, for everyday things


Alright, I'm not going to try and waste precious blogging time apologizing for the lack-o-blogs as of late. Life gets in the way and no offense, but the blog gets left on the sideline sometimes.

I'm back and bloggin' it get ready to catch up on the PINK BAKERS and our life!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm One and Having Fun

"Littlest" as she's often referred to.......otherwise know as Miss Emma, is having tons of fun being one year old. Just around her first birthday she got her four top teeth, she's been crawling/furniture walking for months and just yesterday finally started taking around 8-10 steps at a time all on her own. She boogies up the stairs in a flash and loves to do anything that her big sister is doing.

All that fun and then, the downside of being a big one year old: immunizations. Today I took her for her 12 month shots and I think everyone in the entire doctor's office heard her sing. She was not happy and I felt so bad for holding her there for not one or two needles but FOUR - talk about torture! She cried for about an hour after we were finished......and I have to admit I was almost ready to join her.

After a good long nap this afternoon she seems to be recovering just fine from the morning's I guess it's my turn to recover.

At the Patch!

Last weekend we had the pleasure of enjoying a beautiful sun-filled Sunday afternoon outside.....and what a better way to spend the day than with great friends at the pumpkin patch - or should I say "patches."

We ventured out to Art Knapps in Surrey with the Laderoutes to ride the train out the pumpkin patch - who could pass up this deal for $2 per person?!?! Much to our surprise, the patch was actually a big patch of dirt with pumpkins all over it. Decorated for fall with lots of potted mums, a big tractor, and a peek-a-bo scarecrow you can pop you head in for a fun picture, it was great for the kids. The perfect size, easy to get around and lots to explore. Pumpkins on the other hand were weighed by the pound, which equals expensive. So, after enjoying Art Knapps we hopped back in our vans and headed to a U-Pick Pumpkin Patch Matt had seen signs for on 32nd Ave. And what a deal we found!!!! Pumpkins ranged from $1 (for a small) to $4 (for an extra large), the field was huge and there were TONS of pumpkins to choose from. The kids had a blast exploring, getting dirty and being outside. The dads had just as much fun and we ended up with six great pumpkins between the two families.

We had such a great time, and as the kids get older it can only get better. What a perfect fall tradition.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dream Verses Reality

Alright...I don't seem to really understand why but the mystery camera "glitch out" virus seems to be attacking more than just our house! I have heard of numerous friends over the last couple weeks who have suffered at the hands of the camera "glitch out" virus - and let me tell you: IT'S NOT PRETTY!

So, after borrowing, and borrowing some more, and trying to investigate all the options we have on our video camera (which by the way is just back up and running too!) we finally had to break down a buy a new digital camera this weekend.

This is where the dream vs. reality comes in........

Dream: The Canon Rebel XTi (can't you hear the angels singing!)

Reality: The Canon PowerShot A550
Now, I'm kind'a an all or nothing girl, which in times like this makes life difficult. I'm working on changing but for now let's put it in the "still in process" file. In this case all or nothing was a difference of $1000 bucks - which at this moment is for sure out of our price range. So, I had to choose "something" over "nothing" and this is what I ended up with.......the Canon A550 a great point & shoot camera that's super light, has a fantastic zoom and I can tote around with me to document life.
So for those of you out there who need a new camera - check it out! Oh ya, and I haven't forgotten about the Rebel - it will come......eventually!

~ Let's Party ~

Madelyne is thoroughly enjoying preschool. Everyday she comes home with new stories to share. One special part of preschool is the last class of every month is Party Day! Parents and grandparents are invited into class for the first half hour to watch the kids perform the songs they have been working on that month. For September the color of the month was RED and the theme was APPLES, so all our songs and crafts were focused around those two ideas.

Above are a few pics of Madelyne's first PARTY DAY at the end of September....with new babes coming left and right and the woes of camera glitches (thanks to Auntie Roo for lending us her camera) it has been hard to get all the pics I've wanted and to get them up here to share.

Here's some of the words to one of the songs they were learning:
I'm going for goodness through and through
I'm going for goodness through and through
I'm going goodness through and through, from the inside out, from me to you!

One of the great things about Wind & Tide is that they provide the families with learning materials on CD so we can keep up with what Madelyne is learning - which means, we're all "going for goodness" all day long!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

~ It's A Girl ~

Monday, October 1, 2007 at 7:39am,
our friends Grant & Jenn welcomed their third child into the world...

Elise Lucia Lynn Van Harmelen
~ 8 pounds 11oz ~ 21 inches

Elise was born on her Grandpa Van Harmelen's birthday, a sweet moment for the family since Grandpa has already passed, so her middle name - Lucia - is in honor of her Grandpa who's name was Luke.

Congratulations to Grant, Jenn, big sister Lauren and big brother Luke on the newest member of your family. You have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

~ It's A Boy ~

Fall 2007 is sure to be a busy one! We have three couples that we're great friends with all due to have babies within FOUR weeks of one another!

The first CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Amy & Jason on the safe arrival of their second son:

Jeremy Alexander White
Born September 28th, weighing 8 pounds, 11 oz.

Mom & babe are doing great and Amy is home recovering from a C-section.

Our warmest congratulations to Amy, Jay and new big bro Elijah, may life always be full of joy, laughter and tons of blessing from above.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Let the Celebration Begin! - Emma's Birthday Continued

We celebrated Emma's birthday with an apple themed dessert buffet which included:

Caramel Apple Cheesecake, Apple Struesel Pie, Caramel Apple Bars, Homemade Apple Pie, Social Apple Betty w/ice cream or whipped cream, and last but not least a #1 shaped birthday cake adorned with apples.

In addition to all those treats, all our friends that came to celebrate with us got to take home bags of homemade caramel corn with a recipe card attached.

Emma's day began with a few presents, an activity table from Grandma and Grandpa Baker and the cutest pair of brown shoes from Uncle Aaron, Auntie Martha & Cousins Blake and Seth.

Emma LOVED opening all her presents and especially eating all the envelopes and tissue paper. She had lots of friends close by to help her out when she got a bit tired and a couple crazy aunties (who will remain nameless) who were dressing her up in all the new clothes she received.

Thank-you to all those who celebrated with us. It was a memorable evening and we were so blessed to have you be a part of it.

Let the Celebration Begin! - Part 3

Would the cute girl celebrating her FIRST birthday please raise her hand!!!!!

~ Happy 1st Birthday to Our Littlest Emma ~

Let the Celebration Begin! - Part 2

Our weekend of celebrations continued Saturday morning as Madelyne had been invited to attend Caleb's third birthday. The theme was dress as your favorite superhero, when we asked Madelyne who her favorite superhero was she said she wanted to be Tinkerbell.
(I think she just ignored the "superhero" part and saw this as her chance to get a fairy costume!)
Except for the masks the other kids were wearing she had a fantastic time - even a little pizza in her wings didn't stop her from buzzing around at 100 miles per hour.
Funny thing is...she happens to respond better when I call her "Tink" than when I call her "Madelyne" - so, if you happen to be within earshot and hear my call my daughter Tink, don't think I'm crazy.....understand that my motives are to get a three year old to listen to her mama.

Let the Celebration Begin! - Part 1

This past weekend was a marathon of celebration after celebration...
  • Friday night, Rhonda and friends hosted a birthday party for a friend of ours - Tony. It was a great night full of good friends, fun times and some interesting conversation (for those who stayed till the end, you'll know what I mean!!!) Madelyne got to hang out for the first half of the party - then she had to say goodnight. Here's a few pics of the party girl!
Madelyne with her Transformers party hat for Tony's party!

Madelyne as the DJ working the iTunes on Auntie Roo's computer!

" Thousands Elsewhere "

Okay, so Madelyne LOVES music. She loves to sing, dance and get her groove on & every once in a while there will be a song she hears that sticks with her. She remembers a few lines and its in her head for a long time. Such is the case with with a worship song by Matt Redman......

Better is one day in your courts
Better is one day in your house
Better is one day in your courts, than thousands elsewhere

Somehow this chorus got locked in her brain. The other weekend we're speeding through Wal-Mart trying to pick-up a few things. Madelyne's in the cart because she was not cooperating and with no inhibitions she's loudly singing this chorus - over and over and over again.

Earlier this week we were in the van and a great song came on a radio so I turned it up a bit. Madelyne promptly instructs me from the back seat, "No mommy, thousands elsewhere!!!"

~ Thousands Elsewhere it is ~

Thank-you Lord that your word touches even a three year old, in its most basic form your Word takes root and can not be shaken from an innocent heart. Help me be a mum who encourages Madelyne to learn your word. May it always land on good soil.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mother of Many!

Okay, so if you have more than five kids you can join a mom's group called, "Mothers of Many." Personally, I don't know if I could ever handle more than five kids - but this week I am - at least part time anyways.

Our great friends, Grant and Jenn, are expecting the arrival of their third babe anytime now. In fact, Jenn has had some major contractions for the last few days. All of this adds up to two false alarms, one Sunday and one today.

So right now I'm a part-time "mother of many" - here's the list:
Madelyne (mine biologically!) - age three
Emma (mine biologically!) - days away from being "1"
Lavonne - our ESLI Trinity student
Lauren - age 6 (belongs to Grant and Jenn)
Luke - age 3 (belongs to Grant and Jenn)

So I've been coordinating university, school, preschool, gymnastics, ballet and transport to and fro all these things for all of the people above.

Oye vey.......

I applaude those true "mothers of many" - you are amazing!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

When You Stop By, Please Say Hi!

Greetings from Blogger-Land!
I'm thoroughly enjoying my new project (this blog) and I hope you are too! If you check out my blog please let me know you were here.
Regardless of whether you are a blogger or not you can add a comment to anything I have already posted. At the end of the post you will find a "comments" link, click on it and add your two bits, or bites, which ever you prefer. You can sign your name or be anonymous - and voila - your comment will be added to my blog.
Look forward to hearing from you soon!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Adventures In Applesauce

Today I embarked on making applesauce on my own for the very first time. I'm sure there are some expert canners out there, but not I. I don't recall my mom doing much canning when I was growing up, so, I am not well versed in the art of canning. And let's make it clear - it is an art! A couple years ago Matt and I tried making jam, so I knew I had all the tools I needed for today's adventure so why not give it a shot?!?! The process was actually very simple - the most difficult part was cutting, peeling and slicing all the apples.
I guess that just means I have a reason to buy a few more Pampered Chef tools to make my next applesauce adventure that much more efficient :-)

My Favourite Time of the Year

Okay, so anyone who knows me even remotely well can attest to the fact that I love fall! I am a turtleneck girl through and through and the fact that the air is getting crisp, its been a tad foggy in the mornings and the leaves are starting to change all gets me pumped for FALL. I love it when the air is crisp enough for a great sweater, but the sun is still shining enough to warrant sunglasses. Ahhhh, it's delightful!
Last week I hosted a Spa Party at my place so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get out my fall decorations and make the house feel a little more cozy.
I can almost smell the pumpkin pie in the oven.........doesn't it just make you feel good inside?!?!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Apple of Our Eye

Another exciting event this month is the first birthday of our "littlest" girlie - Miss Emma! On September 23rd we will be celebrating her birthday with a delicious dessert buffet. Emma's birthday theme is apples and our buffet will be full of various apple treats.

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Slim in September

Well, September is here and rushing by at a rapid rate. I have to admit I love September. It means fall is almost upon us and things go back to regular routine. This September brings the Bakers a new routine: preschool, ballet and gymnastics for Madelyne, more one-on-one time for mommy and Emma and a "new year's resolution" of sorts for me!

Time to burn off the baby weight that has made itself quite at home here on my, when September hit I went full steam ahead, with the goal to loose twenty pounds and keep it off. I went back on my SureSlim eating plan I did before having Emma and I have already noticed results.

In my first two weeks I lost 7.5 pounds (I don't know how many inches as I haven't kept track, but I can certainly feel the difference). I am into my third week and hoping with wise choices and few distractions that my success will continue!

I'll keep you posted!

A Big Milestone

What a better way to kick off my blog than with a huge family milestone...

Today, Madelyne attended her first day of preschool. It's hard to believe our fiesty, energetic, always inquisitive, first babe is already off to school. Needless to say she was pumped! No tears, no worries, geeshhh, I could hardly get a good-bye kiss. Back-pack in hand, stocked with snacks, her thermos, and her slippers she was ready to say good-bye "litle girl" hello "big school girl!"

I must admit, I welled. Not full tears, but a few good wells. I had to bite my tongue, realize she doesn't always need me by her side, say good-bye and tell her I would be back in a short while to pick her up.

Life will never be the same.

Congratulations BIG GIRL MADELYNE on your first day of school.