Monday, June 6, 2011

Can you help us reach our goal?

Gospelink is an organization that was introduced to Jared in college. They link up people like you and I to financially support & sponsor national pastors in Africa who share the gospel, disciple and plant churches among their own people groups. There are currently 1,200 preachers being assisted through this organization. Jared and I have had the privilege to help a couple pastors through this ministry. We really believe in their mission and have seen God work through them...not with our own eyes, but through their qaurterly reports! Ha! :)

So why am I blogging about this??? A sponsorship program for the pastors already exists, but additional funds are needed to operate the mission. They asked us to help raise $200 each year to help maintain the general operations of the mission. We have given the first $20.00. I am looking for a few friends to join me. Can you help us reach our goal by giving $10, $15 or more? If so, click on the link below. It's quick and easy. Also, every dollar you give will be matched times three by other donors. What an awesome investment! :) Thanks for your consideration!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas Eve

It seems like every Christmas has been a little different since Jared and I have gotten married. This year we celebrated with my family the weekend of our church Christmas production. We hosted this year and we had a great time. We watched Christmas Vacation, ate some yummy food, opened presents, did a little shopping, went to the Cafe for breakfast (the highlight for me), and went to our church Christmas production that Jared participated in. Unfortunately I didn't take one picture!

On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning it was just our family of four. On Christmas Eve I made appetizers....little smokies, veggie pizza, sweet potato fries with a dipping sauce, and spinach and artichoke dip. Then we went to our church candle light Christmas Eve service. It was awesome singing worship songs to the One we celebrate at favorite was singing Holy, Holy, Holy. After we came back home, we let the girls open their stockings. It was the first year we did stockings. I think we are going to make that a tradition.

On Christmas morning we got up and ate homemade cinnamon rolls that Jared made. Just a side of the things I love about Jared is that he takes risks in cooking and almost everything he makes turns out great! His mom encouraged both the girls and the boys to help in the kitchen and Jared and all three siblings are great cooks. Anyway....after we ate breakfast we opened Christmas gifts. A few families we know get their kids 3 gifts each for Christmas. I think they got it from the wise men giving Jesus three gifts. One of the families gives a book, a toy, and a clothing item/outfit to each child. We thought we would try that this year. I LOVED it and I think it will become another tradition. I liked the practicality of it: my shopping was focused and the girls weren't overloaded with a bunch of gifts.

That afternoon we went to Jared's parents to celebrate with the Van Cleave side of the family. We ate a delicious ham meal, played games, opened gifts, watched movies, etc. We had a lot of fun together!

Jared learned how to make kettle corn a few months ago and Jared's dad LOVES it. He told us that's what he wanted for that's what he got! :)
Without knowing, Maranda gave jammies to Lauren as a Christmas gift and I gave Marlee jammies too. The funny thing is that we picked out the same exact ones! :)

Well, there's a little glimpse into our Christmas this year. I know it's a little late...but I guess it's better late than never, right? :) Hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Crafts

The Monday before Christmas I watched my friends three kids, as well as my own, all day. I decided to have a few things planned....hoping that would make the day go smoother. One thing I planned was to make a reindeer out of tracing the kids hands and feet. I found the idea on a kids craft website. The kids loved it! Since then, Brenna has asked every other day if she can do a craft. So below are a few we did the week of Christmas. She needs help cutting, but loves to decorate and glue things. In case you are wondering, the day went well and it helped to have a few things planned.....but it reassured me that I don't want five kids! :)

Playtime in the Snow

On Christmas Eve it snowed quite a bit in Ames. After Jared shoveled the snow, Brenna went out to play with him. She rode her 3 wheeler for a while and then Jared and her went down to the park (which is only 2 doors down) and went on the slide, swings and merry-go-round. Jared also showed Brenna how to do a snow angel. They had a blast! I didn't venture out to the park with them since Lauren was taking a nap inside, but I got a few pics before they left.

Brenna warming up, watching a cartoon with her new blanket she got from Bree for Christmas. Doesn't she look so grown up in this picture?

Lauren checking out her sister's new blanket!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Production

Jared was in our church Christmas production this year. Discovering David Dansville was the title. They did 9 shows and over 5000 people came to see it. It was amazing! It was a good reminder of the unconditional love our heavenly Father has for each of us. Jared did such a good job and it was so fun to see him on stage.

Lauren is One!!!

Lauren is one!!! She turned one on December 3rd. I can't believe my baby is one already. She is a little over 20 lbs....around the 38th percentile and about the 30th percentile for height. She loves music and will bop up and down when she hears it. She loves baths. She loves to be held! She loves food....I can't keep enough on her tray when we eat meals. She has a beautiful smile, but can turn feisty pretty quick if she doesn't get her way. She loves her blanket. She loves her sister as long as Brenna gives her space! :) Lauren has been such a great baby and has added so much joy to our family. Below are a few pictures from her little party. We invited two families over for a spaghetti dinner and cupcakes. I was still warn out from Brenna's 3 year old birthday bash with over 15 kids, so I decided to do something a little more low key for Lauren. :)

I made pumpkin cupcakes. Lauren devoured it! She just kept shoving more and more into her mouth! :) I think she thought she was getting away with something and should eat as quickly as possible before it was taken away!
How do you like Brenna's outfit (she's on the right)? Yes...that's an 80's leotard my mom got at a garage sale....and yes, that's her underwear sticking out underneath! Ha! The kids were playing dress up and she came out to the kitchen in this outfit like she was the coolest thing on the block!!! I couldn't stop laughing!
I tried to get a picture of the girls together, but this was the best I could get. Lauren was ready for bed and was tuckered out from the birthday festivities!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Brenna's Birthday Party

On Saturday, October 16th, Brenna turned 3 years old! I can't believe my baby is 3! We had a big celebration and had friends and family over for cake, ice cream and goodies.
Below is Dana and Brenna getting her party favor gift bags ready.

Brenna had a few requests for her birthday: a princess cake that was pink and purple, flowers, and balloons. I handled the flowers and balloons and Jared took care of the cake. He did an awesome job....with help from my sister-in-law, Dana. They baked a four layer strawberry filled cake and then Jared decorated it. Brenna loved her cake and it was mighty tasty too! What do you think? Jared is such a great dad!

After we ate cake and ice cream, Brenna opened all her gifts. Her friends and family were so generous and she got a lot of great gifts.

After gifts, we attempted a picture with all the kids in it. It turned out pretty good for how many kids there were.

Then the kids played while the adults talked and watched football. The kids were on a sugar high from all the cake and ice cream so it got pretty loud and crazy! Brenna even put on a concert with her new microphone....thanks Ryan & Dana! Below is a little video clip. :) Maybe she has a future in entertainment! (I've tried to download the video 3 times and it hasn't worked, so I will try something different later.)

Overall, the party went great and we had a fun time celebrating Brenna's birthday with our friends and family.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tricky Treat

Happy Halloween from our little lady bugs!!! We went trick-or-treating....or as Brenna would say, "tricky treat" on Friday night. Brenna enjoyed collecting candy and Lauren enjoyed a relaxing ride in the stroller! The older generation on our street loved seeing the girls in their outfits.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

August/September Review

I'm struggling with motivation to write this post because I don't have many pictures to use and I wonder if people are really interested in what we did a few months ago. But I'm going to post anyway because I like to complete things....I said I was going to write reviews for each month, so for me to move on to other posts I need to finish! :) I also want to post so I have record of the last two months. I see our blog as a family journal....the Van Cleave happenings....and I want to be able to go back and remember what our family did. So bear with me....or just ignore this post. :)

  • Jared's mom Patty stayed with us for a few days before she had to go back to school. She's works full time at an elementary school in Carlisle as a nurse and secretary. She loves to play with Brenna when she's here. She can sit for hours and play house, color, play with puzzles, etc.

  • We had a garage sale. I didn't think it would be worth the hassle, but I'm glad Jared encouraged me to follow through with it. We got rid of a lot of junk and it motivated us to organize our basement.

  • Ames flooded in August. Fortunately, we had no water in our basement, but a lot of families had to tear out all of their carpet in their basements because of it.

  • We attended the Iowa State Fair with our good friends, the Kruger family.

  • My aunt Debra visited my grandma in Burlington for a week, so the girls and I made a road trip down there to spend some with her....along with my parents. Jared stayed home and worked on our deck.

  • We went to the Amana's to celebrate Brenna's friend, Brady's, birthday. We stayed at a hotel that has a waterpark. We had so much fun....but we forgot our camera so there are no pics. :(

  • That same weekend we attended the first official service of Veritas Church, Cornerstone's new church plant in Iowa City. There were over 200 people there. If anyone lives near, or in, Iowa City you should check. God is already doing awesome things there and I think He will continue to. I'm excited to see the future of this church.
  • My mom and dad came to visit for several days because my mom had a one day conference for work in Des Moines. We had a great time together. They watched the girls on Saturday night so Jared and I could walk down and attend the Iowa State football game. It was a great game and the weather was perfect.

Yeah!!! I made it through the reviews!
Brenna's birthday was last Saturday so stay tuned for pics and details of her princess party!