Merry Christmas Y’all!

I mean, never mind that this blog hasn’t been updated in 2 months (3?).  And for all you know, we’ve been stuck on a deserted island in the Pacific.

But we are alive and well and I have LOADS to update you on…after Christmas.  Hope you enjoy this special time of year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Final Christmas Card 2013

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name…

Our Ninja Turtle Turns 4

At the beginning of October we celebrated Jake’s 4th birthday with family and friends.  His party was at a local park in the Woodlands that also has a new splashpad.  At the time I reserved it, I figured it would be too cold to play in the water but Texas, you never disappoint.  It was a HOT day!

017 The kids went nuts in the water and had a blast!

014

My good friend, Jessie, once again blew us away and made the cutest Ninja Turtle cookies for the kids!  She had all four (red, purple, blue, and orange) and they were a hit.  And of course tasted wonderful.  Check her out on Facebook (Sweet Creations Cookie Shoppe) if you are interested!  And you should be.

018I didn’t get a great picture of all the food but we had “turtle shells” (Oreos dipped in green chocolate), fruit, snacks, chips & dip, and cupcakes.

019 028 031 039 This is why we will be in the ER soon with Drew. Hanging on a slippery pole over wet concrete.  At least he is learning a lot in gymnastics!

048 Birthday boy

063 Jake had waited anxiously the past 364 days for his 4th birthday.  And don’t worry, he’s already planning his 5th.

068072 074 I made Ninja Turtle masks for all the kids with a little help from some friends.  This was before I realized they sold them for parties in the store.  They were so cute though and the kids had fun wearing them!

082 087 Family picture (with Lexi…who will probably be in our family anyway one day)

093 Jake was so sweet with his presents.  He let Drew help him open them and even bought Drew a toy with some of the birthday money he got.  I mean, my word.

098 107 First cowboy hat!

110 111Nana and Michaelangelo

We had a fun today celebrating and are so proud of our 4 year old!

 

 

The Post Where I Overwhelm you with Pictures

 

As my grandparents so kindly reminded me, this blog is clearly moving lower and lower on the priority list.  Work has taken up more time than usual this semester so I realized it had been a month – yikes!  You can tell I haven’t been writing though because every evening, thoughts and stories just start coming to me.

Just to be clear…not voices in my head.  Just thoughts.  Ok? :)

I always tell myself I will write them down the next day and I forget.  So the only reason I probably won’t ever be a world-famous author is simply because I have forgotten.  Otherwise, you know these stories would be best sellers.

September got us back into a routine, with the boys going to preschool on Mondays and Wednesdays.  I quickly realized that the grand plans I had for while they were at school just weren’t going to happen.  You know how much you can get done in those 4-5 hours?  Not much.  I am so appreciative of the free time but it looks like all my closets will remain unorganized for the time being!

IMG_5035 We’ve been going to the library every week, checking out a ridiculous number of books, and then riding the trolley around The Woodlands afterwards.  It’s usually us with the senior citizens that actually use the trolley for transportation!

IMG_5040 Playing (safely of course) with their friend, Ben.

IMG_5042 After school ice cream treat

IMG_5045 IMG_5056 We watched the first few Aggie games at a friends house and combined there were almost 20 kids there.  This was the upstairs group while the parents watched the game downstairs.

IMG_5065 Jake and Drew love playing with our neighbors down the street.  This particular day their mom wanted a small tree gone in the flowerbed so all 4 boys put on their boots and attempted to help.  They eventually just gave up and pulled all the leaves off!

IMG_5072 IMG_5083 Don’t let his proud face fool you.  I put all 137 of those pieces together.  Next time I will read the box carefully before we start on something like this!

IMG_5088 We got to visit my sister and her husband in College Station a few weeks ago and the boys stayed with them while Seth and I went to the A&M game.  A rare moment of sweetness.

IMG_5118 Gig ‘em Aggies!

IMG_5144 Jake started playing soccer again at the end of September.  He has done great so far this season and even scored a goal his first game (by picking up the ball and throwing it in the goal!)

IMG_5150The boys’ preschool has a huge pumpkin patch every year so they were so excited to see them being set up last week!

We’ve got lots more to share…lots of birthdays in the Anderle household this month!  And it’s finally almost “cold” outside.

Almost.

The Weekend When we Didn’t Labor

 

We spent the past week sharing some sort of cold so I was glad the boys felt better for the holiday weekend.  Which would’ve really worked out for us except that Seth and I were sick.  We are such a sharing family!

Illness cannot stop us from cheering for the Aggies though so we decked out in our gear and rooted them on against Rice.

015 Jake saying gig ‘em…and Drew showing us his pointer finger.  Apparently giving a thumbs up is an acquired skill…

017 Trying again…but giving up.

018

Nope, not quite, Drew

IMG_4998Close enough :)

020 Then we let the boys do sparklers on Labor Day…

024 Fire and a 2 year old is always a good mix.

033 Then we finished off the weekend by going swimming.  Seth has been out of town a lot lately (with more trips planned…boo!) so the boys were glad to spend the extra time with him at the pool.

038041My heart is full!  So blessed.  What a wonderful summer we had…now Jake just can’t stop asking about Santa.

First Day of Preschool

Today was the boy’s first day of preschool…we have anxiously been awaiting this day all summer!

042I was determined to be on time…which of course we weren’t…but at least I had all their stuff ready to go the night before.  Batman and Spiderman were ready to learn!

050 I just love this picture.  The camera fogged up right when we went outside and I didn’t realize at first.  But look how sweet they are…they just love each other and this is probably the first time ever I said “hold hands and say cheese” and…wait for it…they DID.

052 Jake is in the Frog class (3 year old class) this year with Ms. Colleen and Ms. Tina.  I was most worried about how he would do because drop offs tend to be drama.  Church, gymnastics, grandparents, school, babysitter…you name it…he’s screamed through it.  HOWEVER, he did AWESOME!  No tears. I told Seth I couldn’t be more proud of him.

054 Sweet boy with his huge backpack that is choking him :)  Drew was also just so excited to go.  We met their teachers yesterday and he walked right in and started playing.  Drew is in the Teddy Bear class (2 year old class) with Ms. Anne and Ms. Trish.  Jake was in this class last year so it was nice to already be familiar with the teachers and room.

058 So happy!

060 Love these boys and so proud of how they did today!  I know we will have a great school year.  Maybe on Mondays and Wednesdays I’ll finally get to start eating those bons bons I’ve been hearing so much about for years…

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Jake was worried about the toy selection in his classroom but looks like they were acceptable.

And just because I like to make myself cry, let’s look at Jake’s other first day of school pictures.

037 First day of preschool in 2011 (23 months old)

033First day of school in 2012 (almost 3 yrs old)

Let’s not even talk about kindergarten. The end.

Watch out Hamm Brothers

IMG_4978 Have you ever seen cuter gymnasts?

IMG_4983 Don’t worry, I’m behind all this stellar photography.  Drew is in the front on the right beam.  He is by far the youngest in his class and has done wonderful following instructions!  He loves it!

IMG_4984 IMG_4986 IMG_4988Jake’s class is 8 boys.  Talk about wild and crazy.

See you at the summer Olympics in about 15 years.

Goodbye Summertime

For one of our last summer roadtrips, we headed to San Antonio to celebrate a birthday with a special friend and to visit Sea World again.  If you remember, last time we had to leave after 2 hours because Drew was so sick.

Let’s just say we may never visit Sea World again because we had a similar occurrence this time.

But we went and had fun and paid for it on the way home to Houston with fevers and vomit.

I know.  Our life is so glamorous, you might often mistake us for famous celebrities.

002xBut good grief, we were happy to be there!  Jake was super pumped.  It broke his heart to leave last time and he was ready to see the dolphins and sharks that we had missed.

031 We saw the Sea Lion show and the worst thing ever happened.  I was serenaded by the pre-show entertainer.  I wanted to cry – I hate that stuff!  But the rest of my family thought it was hilarious.  Glad they got a good laugh.

060 A sweet high school friend was a trainer at Sea World for many years and offered to let us meet several animals throughout the day.  It was so cool!  We got to pet and feed this sea lion.

079 I will never get over the size of Shamu.

120 125 Half-excited, half-terrified.

IMG_4901Because I can’t change the order of my pictures for some reason, I will pause to show you a picture of the kiddos who got to play last weekend!  Jake and Drew were so excited to see Bailey again – they have missed her a lot since she moved!  We were able to celebrate her 2nd birthday and visit with their family for the day.  Still hoping they move back to Houston one day…

IMG_4938 Back to Sea Lions.  Jake loves to pose.  Someone asked why I never take pictures of Drew but let me tell you…I try my darndest.  He runs or looks the other way when the camera comes out…

IMG_4912 Watching the dolphins swim…this is one of my favorite parts!

IMG_4961 Another cool experience we got was to meet this beluga whale.  So so neat!  We all got to pet/”kiss” the whale and watched the trainers feed her.  Drew was scared so we didn’t get a good picture but the rest of us loved it!

IMG_4970IMG_4972

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IMG_4973And we were so happy that Grandpa got to join us for the day.  The boys had a blast with him!

003

There’s my happy Drew…eating donut holes at the birthday party.  His love language.

Since we’ve been home, the boys have been sick, so we finally went to the doctor yesterday to get some medicine.  Their first day of preschool is next week and we aren’t going to miss it!

Toys and Underwear

Jake made his birthday list today.  He wants this whole aisle:

IMG_4864 Practical and cost effective, right?

In other news, we are all so excited that Drew is potty trained!  Phew!

IMG_4869He also has the biggest belly in Texas

IMG_4872And Jake wants you to know that he is potty trained too.  In case Drew starts getting too much attention from this.

IMG_4888Why does the second child grow up so fast?

I’m getting a little embarrassed by picture quality on the blog.  Perhaps I’ll try and get out our real camera soon.

Then again, that’s a lot of work.

So Long Summer

Sadly (but kinda happily), summer is quickly coming to an end.  You can tell we need to get back in a routine quick because we’ve reached the point where Jake just whines about wanting to watch TV all day.  We’ve actually had some cooler (read as low 90′s…) weather this week but it hasn’t been enough of a draw for the kids.

IMG_4860 This week we’ve been trying to swim as much as we can since the pool closes down in a few weeks.  They have had such a great time in the pool this summer with friends and both are so comfortable in the water.  Our big thing was “timing” how long they could stay underwater.  And now that I think about it…that’s all my friends and I used to do too…ha!  Next summer Jake will definitely be swimming on his own and I hope Drew won’t be far behind!

IMG_4857Pictured above is my biggest regret.  I found these cap guns at a consignment sale…not realizing they required actual “ammo” to shoot.  So Seth went and got some caps at Academy and we’ve had fun scaring the neighbor’s cats.

IMG_4853 The boys love a good birthday party and I feel like we have at least a couple a month!  Who can turn down all that cake and icing??  Especially when it will stain your teeth and lips for the rest of the day!

IMG_4833 We’d like to introduce you to the two newest Anderles…Barry and Sky.  What…you don’t see them?  Squint really hard and look at those creatures crawling on my kitchen floor.

IMG_4832 Hello Barry.

It has been tough to figure out a good discipline method for Jake, so we use incentive charts a lot which seem to work much better.  We dug our own grave when we (I) promised a hermit crab like some of his friends had if he filled up his chart with stickers.

Well, he did.

So off to Petco we went.  And now, believe it or not, these dang crabs are growing on me.

Hmm…that doesn’t sound good.

IMG_4804

The boys both took gymnastics this summer with several of their friends.  This was Drew’s first class (Jake has been doing this for a year or so) and he loved it!  It has been a perfect way to get out their energy…they jump on the trampoline, swing on bars, jump in block pits, and run around.  Money well spent!

IMG_4807 IMG_4810 Playing (and bathing) with our sweet friends, Noah and Avery
IMG_4818 The boys have been eating their vegetables this summer so we decided to see how well they fit in Daddy’s clothes now.  Still need a little bit of growing…

IMG_4822 And who can resist a good movie??  We’ve seen Monsters University, Turbo, and now Planes this summer.  Planes was actually their least favorite but they loved the other ones.  Drew is still borderline too little for the movies but did pretty well with a never-ending flow of popcorn.

IMG_4825Mid-day “cuddling” with Sky.  Did I mention we got a BOGO free deal on these crabs?  The pet store wouldn’t let us tear a family apart because they had previously been living together with another family.  Oh my.

Be looking for them on our family Christmas card come December.

Butterflies and Kayaks

Earlier this summer I bought a butterfly habitat for the boys.  Y’all.  I kind of think I bought this for myself because it was the coolest thing!  You got a coupon to mail in and have live caterpillars sent to your house.  Then, we got to watch the entire metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly.

Education at it’s finest.  Not sure why we pay for preschool.

IMG_4731 It took about 10-14 days for all 5 caterpillars to complete the process but Jake and Drew were so excited to see the butterflies!  They enjoyed giving them fresh fruit and sugar water to eat…I’m not sure how we didn’t manage to kill them because they loaded that thing down with fruit.

IMG_4735 The most exciting part was releasing the butterflies and each of them crawled onto Jake’s finger before the flew off.

IMG_4738

I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine.

Psalm 50:11

IMG_4746 Then, since we never do anything else, Seth and some of his friends decided to take the kids kayaking down a creek near our house on Saturday.

IMG_4762 Expectations were set high for this amazing adventure in the wild.

IMG_4766 IMG_4773…and 3 hours later they completed their 1 mile journey through the mud.  The creek was only about 18 inches deep so they had a little trouble…er…kayaking.