Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some Video

Here is an early on video of Lauren when she first got to the nursery. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Family!

Today we get to introduce you to the newest member of our family. Say hello to Lauren Marie Van Cleave. She was born 12/3/09 at 12:28pm at Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames. She weighs 8 lbs. 3 oz. and measures 19.5 inches long. She came into the world via C-section and was delivered in less than 10 min. Stephanie is doing well despite some nausea from the medications. Already her big sister Brenna has gotten to hold her and couldn't stop kissing her and holding her hand. She's going to be an awesome big sister.

Thanks so much for everyone's prayers and support. We are so excited to become a family of 4 and are truly blessed with this gift of life. We'll be in the hospital for a few more days yet as Stephanie continues to recover.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Home - Before and After of Exterior

We are getting closer and closer to getting the exterior of our new home completed. Here is a before and after shot of the front of the house with the garage. Can someone say "overhaul baby"? I think Gladys would drive right by and not even recognize the place. Next Spring the plan is to do some landscaping and build a deck...can't wait for those! I'll post some interior shots once we get more decorating done and before the baby comes. Enjoy...we sure are!

BEFORE - September 2008

AFTER - November 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

September Highlights

I can't believe it's October already! Where did September go anyway? Since I didn't post anything in September, I thought I'd give you some highlights of the month.
  • We attended the first ISU football game of the season. They played great and Brenna loved watching all the people, the band, and the football players. Whenever we go by the stadium now or she sees anything with Cyclones on it, she'll say "Go Cyclones!".

  • My family came to visit one weekend in September. We had a great time together. We did our regular things....garage sales, grandma Bohlen's famous cinnamon rolls, church, ate at Wallaby's, watched football, etc.

  • We started up our regular ministry groups: connection group (which we host at our home on Tuesday nights), D6 family ministry (once a month at church), Jared started his men's group and I started my weekly women's bible study on Thursday mornings. I am studying Joshua right now and it has been great to be in the Old Testament, since I don't normally study the O.T. on my own. Joshua is such a good example of being strong and courageous in the Lord and also to trust in God's promises, no matter how "out there" they might seem.

  • Jared has worked a real estate agent and also on home improvement projects. He is such a hard worker and I'm so thankful for that.

  • We hosted our first tailgate at our house. It was a lot of fun. The highlight for the kids was riding Brenna's Dora Explorer 4 Wheeler :)

  • Van Cleave dinner-Jared's family gets together the last Sunday of the month to share a meal together. We rotate homes and this month Jared's sister Anna hosted. We had a great time and Brenna & Easton always love to play together.

  • I had jury duty. This really wasn't a highlight, but something I participated in. I was one of the 7 selected for the Story County Grand Juror about 6 months ago.....lucky me! :) Basically our main responsibility is to tour the county facilities once a year to make sure everything looks clean, in order, etc. So last Tuesday I spent all day touring group homes, the county prison, county hospital, and rehab facility for substance abuse. It was interesting, especially the prison, but it ended up being a long day. After the day was over, I was so thankful to the Lord that I grew up in a loving christan home and that he has granted me good health, mentally and physically.

  • Brenna is talking a lot! It seems like everyday she is learning new words. She loves to dance, read her Bernstein Bear books, play with her doll house, and "help" mommy cook.

I'll end with a few pictures from the month and a video of Brenna showing off her salsa moves.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Little Dancer

My mom found this dance/play outfit for Brenna. As you can probably guess, she found it on a garage sale :) I love my mom's garage sale finds....Brenna does too! Brenna enjoyed trying it on for the first time and performing a variety of dance moves for us. After her water break she decided to relax for a while and read some books in her fancy attire!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Iowa State Fair

We went to the Iowa State Fair last week with some new friends, George & Raluca. They just moved to the area from Louisiana and are originally from Romania. Jared helped them find a home this summer and thought it would be a good idea to give them a feel for Iowa through the fair! We had a great time and are hoping to spend more time with them this year.

We didn't take many pictures, but here are few we snapped of the night.

Family Pics

We went to a wedding last weekend in Burlington. Below are some family pics my mom took after the reception.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Farmer's Market

I'm a big fan of the Des Moines Farmer's Market. We went on Saturday morning and had a ton of fun.

We ate breakfast burritos & pastries, bought some local veggies, a bouquet of flowers, and kettle corn, listened to live music, and did some people watching. We even caught a few vender's taking a mid-morning snooze. I couldn't stop laughing after we took these pictures. It's the hardest I've laughed in a long time :)
Jared's brother, Caleb, and his family joined us towards the end of the morning too. Brenna was so excited to see her cousins, Easton & Marlee.

Brenna & Easton danced by the stage to live music and were a big hit with the people sitting near by. They did look pretty darn cute!

Hasta la vista, Farmer's Market! Hope to come back soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Road Trip to Chicago

We took a road trip to Libertyville, IL (north of Chicago) with Jared's parents and sister last weekend for Jared's cousin's wedding. The drive was long, but we had some good bonding time and lots of laughs in the van. The wedding & reception was so much fun too. The food was amazing and they had a really fun dance. Brenna was a hit on the dance floor! I think she danced more than all of us! :)
Jared's Aunt Jo Ann and her sons, Josh & Jeremy. Josh (left) is the groom.
Josh and his beautiful bride Maggie with his mom, brother, and Jo Ann's boyfriend.

We had prime rib, sauteed chicken w/spinach & mushrooms with a yummy sauce, green beans & carrots and mashed potatoes. Doesn't it look so gourmet? My favorite was the chicken even though I'm a big beef fan :)

Brenna dancing with her grandpa.

Jared's parents cutting a rug!
Brenna enjoying a slow dance with her daddy. So precious!
Myself and Anna (Jared's sister).
Brenna was a trooper during the entire trip. She did great in the car and at the wedding and reception....and we didn't even leave the reception until after 10:30.
She was winding down at this point and I thought she looked so cute!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend with Grandma & Grandpa Bohlen

Brenna and I took a road trip to visit my parents and grandma last Thursday and stayed through Sunday. We had a wonderful time with them. Brenna's favorite part was playing outside with all of the outdoor toys my parents found at garage sales this summer: Little Tykes purple convertible, mower, and trike.

Besides playing outside, we went to the farmers market (which was on the riverfront so Brenna really enjoyed looking at the "waber" and boats)

played at a park,

browsed through an outdoor puppy show,
went to garage sales, and went swimming.

Another highlight for Brenna was receiving and riding her very own Dora Explorer 4 Wheeler! One of my mom's co-workers wanted it out of her garage, so she just gave it to Brenna. How generous!!! Brenna definitely needs assistance, but she caught on pretty good and didn't fall off once (see video below). I think she'll have it down by next summer.

Brenna got to see her uncle Ryan & aunt Dana too since they were in town for Ryan's 10 year class reunion. Brenna loves her uncle Ryan!
We had a great weekend with family, but we were ready to get back home and see our "main man" who was working hard all weekend on house projects.