Monday, March 20, 2017

Laughter is the best medicine....

I'm sitting here on a Monday at work, missing the warm weather we got this weekend and playing outside with the kids (I call this Monday withdrawals)  I was reflecting on how much fun we had together this weekend - just laughing at the kids.  I always wish I could take pictures and videos to easily remember these days and sweet memories, but most of the time, they stop doing whatever cute thing they were just doing, right when i get my phone out to record.... so some stories will have to do:

  • Ellie told us this weekend her name was not Ellie, it was Elizabeth.  Elizabeth Ellie to be exact... I love this, obviously Elizabeth is her actual name, but we never call her that!  So i'm not sure where she heard it, but was so funny.
  • Ellie also started singing really loudly in the car last night after dinner... the I love you Ellie, Will, Mommy, and Daddy song.... although this time she just busted out with I love you Sarrree-wahhh, oh yes I dooooo, and then I love you Paaa-trick.  We were laughing so hard that she just started using our first names
  • Friday was St. Patrick's Day... as we were talking about it earlier in the week, Will kept saying that Father's Day was Friday.  I said, no buddy St. Patrick's Day.  I overhead him again in the week, calling it Father's Day... I'm thinking why does he keep getting confused with that, only to realize a few minutes later - duh! Of course he is confused with his dad's name being Patrick - he can't decide if that's a real holiday or if he is just celebrating his dad :)  Funny!
  • Sunday - the kids were playing outside on the swingset by themselves.  Patrick and I could watch/observe them from our living room windows - and we saw Ellie fall down and she was crying and upset.... Will went over to help make her feel better you could tell... he bent down to hug her, then was bending his knees down to talk to her on her level, and then just started busting out some dance moves! It was so funny to see him just start randomly dancing.  
  • Will can be found either playing basketball, as MUCH as possible, but also decided to play soccer at the park.... with his soft baseball that we brought :)  I love his competitive spirit and we can't watch a March Madness game without Will asking us about 10 times who we are cheering for, and about 20-30 times per game who is winning :)  He is SO focused and zoned in during Jayhawk games and is fun to see the love of KU basketball passed down from Altenhofen generation to generation.  (Birthday shout out to Grandpa Joe--- hope you are having a great birthday today!!! Lots of love we are sending to you in Seneca.... and I know you are always a regular reader of my blog :))  

I can't believe we have Will's Kindergarten screening tomorrow... what?? And Ellie will be turning 3 in less than 2 weeks.  NOOOO!!!! My babies are getting so big.  Love their sweet personalities, and the fun we have (even when that 'fun' includes that almost 3 year old throwing major temper tantrums in the morning when she can't wear her pretty dresses to school, or her Minnie Mouse dresses.  Sigh.  It's a battle.... that most times I don't fight, and as long as weather appropriate, no biggie.

Hoping our Jayhawks keep wining, as they are in the Sweet Sixteen and playing in KC.  Love March weather, and it's getting close to April!  We are on a Disney high right now and SOOO excited for our trip May 15th!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2017 Updates

I should probably do more of an attempt to summarize the last several months - let's start with October 2016 - most notably - we went to San Diego (Patrick had a work conference, so the kids and I joined in!!) It was SOO fun!  I just love San Diego - great weather, nice people, and lots of fun things to do.  Most of all - was the San Diego Zoo!!! I just really loved it - the animals are SO close, it's so clean and it's really close together.  Just a really, really awesome zoo.  We loved going to see the seals in La Jolla, and Coronando Beach area and the famous hotel.  Really great trip!!

Then, of course, was Halloween.  Will was our superhero, Captain America, and Ellie was an 80's workout girl :)  Super fun, and Ellie was the queen of social media posts for her outfit (thank you Pinterest for the idea, and to Ellie for making the picture super cute)

Will's 5th birthday at Pump It Up.  We had lots of fun celebrating with our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents - and they were really great at assisting in all party needs!! He loved turning 5 and was so cute when he would get this shy smile and blush when he was the center of attention!!

Santa pics, Pinnocoho the elf on the shelf fun, and the magical Christmas season.  I just love this time of year and was so sweet to celebrate with friends and family.  Patrick and I hosted several parties - from my work Christmas party (where we got a white elephant gift of a beta fist, that Will immediately named Mark (no idea where this name came from!!)), and had Patrick's group of friends over, and then had my group of college friends over for New Years.  It was a really really great holiday season.
Ellie got a dollhouse from Santa, and Will got a new racetrack, and an animal bucket, which is what he kept asking Santa for (?!)

Hmmmm.... what is fun about January?! Not too much, except I celebrated my 33rd birthday - and had a really really nice dinner with my sister, Cody and Patrick at Bluestem.  We did wine pairings - and the food, wine and company was all excellent.  Lots of laugh and delicious food.

Will started basketball through the Jewish Community Center (the J) and it's been a lot of fun watching him play.  He had his first game and had a sort of deer in the headlights experience, as he mostly was found on the court twirling his hair, and then flailing about when he got the ball and shooting it underhand and not even close to the basket..... it was hard to watch!! Then, after watching some Jayhawks and some focus on his part - I guess this last Sunday at his game - he was ballin'!! Patrick told me he scored about 20 points!! He was running up and down the court, shooting lights out and was playing defense.  Pretty fun- I'm looking forward to seeing him play this Sunday.

Ellie - started Gymnastics and has really enjoyed going to do 'somersalts' as she calls the class.  It's been fun seeing her in a little leotard and just enjoying having her own 'thing'.

Some words to describe the kids at this stage:
Will: competitive, driven, hair-twirler, loving, sweet, dazed when he is tired, loves praise

Ellie: social butterfly (all her friends at school get so excited when she walks in), good listener, great at picking up toys and following directions, she loves books, loves to play Zingo, independent (goes downstairs and just plays on her own), silly, eye-roller (just started this to get laughs from us) and overall sweet girl.

If I haven't said yet - we are truly blessed by these sweet kids - and Patrick and I are so lucky.  I couldn't ask for a better partner in crime to raise these babies either.  Thank you God for your gift of family, your loving presence in our lives, and to continue to stay as the center of our lives and our family throughout the years.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer time - 4th of July, Summer Lake trips, New house, Potty training and more!!

Yikes!! I have so many great intentions of blogging more often (mostly because my memory is so horrible these days (I blame the kids and post-pregnancy brain!!) and so that someday my sentimental self and remember these sweet days of life with young children.

So Will is 4 1/2 and Ellie is 2 1/2 - and I LOVE this stage for both of them.  Looking back - the first year is tough.  At least the first 3 months, and then 3 - well, 3 is the toughest year.  When Will turned 4  - it was like - there's my sweet boy.  He is SO fun!! Talking like a little adult - his imagination is running wild - and I love hearing what is coming out of his mouth.  He's a good helper, good older brother and just a really fun kid.

Ellie is also getting quite the personality.  Her sass and sweetness is coming out more and more.  She still loves to cheese for the camera.... her hair has grown SO much over the last year - making her look more like a little girl and much less like a baby.  She always gets compliments on her hair (which does have really nice natural layers and just lays really nice)  I have no idea whose hair she has - definitely not mine.  Will has his mama's hair - thick, dark and grows so fast!

Anyway -what have we been up to since June??

Major change - we picked up and moved from Prairie Village to Overland Park.  We did it.  And we LOVE it!! I absolutely love having more space- and we are getting settled in.  We moved out for 2 weeks to  get our kitchen and living room updated - and I am thrilled with how it all turned out.  You never know when picking out all the pieces seperately how it will all look together - and I am so excited with how it turned out.  The kids did great with the transition.  They are still going to St. Luke's on the Plaza, where Will just started in their pre-school class, and we will continue going there until he starts Kindergarten next fall.  (It is about a 30 minute drive from our house, and either of our work locations (luckily - i have been working at Cerner's South campus quite a bit, which is very close to home) but even though it's a bit of a drive, we both feel like for 1 year it's ok - since we know St. Luke's, we have enjoyed the teachers, the experience for the kids and weren't ready to pull them.

Love visiting Grandpa D in Atchison

Besides our new house - we snuck in several trips to the lake.  Once we went just the 4 of us, which was a nice little vacation - and another trip we went with some of our good friends.  Such a fun time!! We are so lucky to have wonderful friends and a fun place we get to hang with them.  The weather was perfect everytime!! 4th of July - was a bit wet, but we still got to see fireworks.  My favorite memory was sitting on the deck at the lake - and Will would yell out "Big Ka-Boom-Ba" with my Uncle John (Big John) after a big firework went off.  They had so much fun!  Ellie was still scared of the fireworks - I mean, come on, it really does sound like gunshots - I would be scared too!! but luckily she has always been our good sleeper and slept through it all.

August - we celebrated Grandma Bobbie's birthday for dinner at our house with cousins, we also lived with Bill and Marilee for those first 2 weeks - which was really nice of them and fun for us!! We enjoyed lots of dinners together - and watching the Olympics together in the evenings.  Lots of swimming and gymnastics - which is SO fun to watch.  I love the summery Olympics and already can't wait for the next games in 2020 (wow - that's going to happen fast, but sounds so cool - the year 2020!)  We also celebrated Patrick's birthday - it was on a Tuesday, so I took the day off work and kept the kids at home (without Patrick knowing ) and planned to meet him and his co-workers for lunch without him knowing.  It was a fun surprise - and the kids and I had a really fun day together!! I love taking off random week days off work to hang with the kids.  I did this one other day in August and we went to the zoo.  So fun!!

Anniversary Date Night to Plate and The Well - 6 years!!

Another big event - is over Labor Day weekend we started potty training Ellie.  At St. Luke's she has been using the potty since turning 2 in April - so it was time.  She has done AWESOME!! Still having a few accidents - but doing really good!  She loves getting an M&M for a treat if she goes and so far it's working pretty well.  (However, Potty training is STILL one of the hardest and most exhausting phases of being a parent)  I'll be excited when she is completely ready and having minimal accidents, but I will miss patting that little diaper bottom :)

Some other fun things that I notice about the kids at this stage:


  • Loves to color!! He loves to draw and could sit for 30 minutes at least doing this these days!
  • His imagination has taken off so much - his stories and thoughts are so fun to hear!
  • Along with that - he also is having more bad dreams, poor guy
  • He is also doing better at swimming and getting the water at the lake or the pool - putting his head under was a big accomplishment

  • She loves to ask 'Why' after about everything we say - sometimes it's just really funny, other times i'm like Ellie ' just because' :)
  • Long hair!! So pretty
  • Pee-peeing on the potty
  • Loves to laugh with her brother (their giggles are so sweet) and also likes to tease and torment him!

We have had beautiful fall like weather - and I absolutely LOVE it!! 80's, sunny, breezy, and just perfect.  I'm going to soak it all up!! Fall weather in the midwest is quite wonderful.  Hope this finds you well and hope you hung in there to read the recap :)  

Thank you God for our beautiful life, and for all of our blessings!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Lovin' - Will 4, Ellie 2

Over the last few months - we have had some major changes, some exciting changes!! We sold and bought a house!! After looking at a few houses, and MANY online every night, we thought perhaps we need to do the Prairie Village thing and just add on to our current home, b/c we love the location so much.  Once we had our minds made up, we found a house in Overland Park that checked off every box.  I told Patrick, I have to go see this house to make sure that we are making the right decision.  Well, we walked through it... and I could slowly see Patrick turning around.  The market is SO crazy right now... there was already several offers in less than 24 hours.  We had to make a decision and make it fast.  As we were driving away, Patrick and I were somewhat silent, and after about 5 minutes (it seemed like a long time, but probably wasn't!) he said - I think we should do it.   I was like- oh my gosh!! Really?? I said, let's turn back around and go drive around.  We need to find a church, school for kids, etc. :)   Anyway, we put in our offer, and found out that evening that we were second lowest offer, but the seller's wanted to sell to us, due to the letter we wrote to them with our offer.  Sometimes it pays off to write those!  Anyway, we ended up putting in one more offer and it was accepted!!  We got a 60 day close, which allowed us to get ours ready to put on the market, and luckily it sold within 24 hours (seriously, the market is absolutely CRAZY right now!!)  We are so lucky.  The inspections and all went smoothly, and we just moved in last weekend!! (July 14th)  After 4 days, there are lots of boxes unpacked, I feel more organized than I have in 5 year.... it's soul-cleansing to go through ALL your stuff, and sort through what you really need.  I purged quite a bit, and luckily my friend Erin is using a lot of our baby stuff, so I don't have it taking up space, but not getting rid of it, in case another little Altenhofen appears :)  (not in the plans right now... but you never know!)  Here are a few pics... and then you have to come over to see the rest.  We are updating the kitchen, so first 2 weeks of August we will have to be out of the house. Can't wait to see how it will change the look of the house!! EEE!! And the backyard... pretty much what we fell in love with.  It feels like a park in the middle of the city.  We are loving the location and everything right off 119th St., our neighbors have all been so warm and welcoming, and it's just felt like a really good fit.  Like we can spread out.  In fact, all I wanted to do is snow angels in our living room, b/c we actually have room for it now! :)  Come on over and see us when you are in KC ;)

In other news:
We have made several trips to the lake: Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and 4th of July.  Some lake pics:

First of all, I LOVE 4.  4 is the light at the end of the crazy-3-year-old phase.  Seriously.  It gets better people.  I wish I would have known that when he turned 3 and I wondered if my sweet boy would ever come back.  He did!! :)  I love when he is sweet to Ellie and tries teaching her what to do.... I love when he holds her hand when they cross a street or when he wants to protect her..... I love how he loves snuggling with his Mommy, seriously, it's the best!!.... I love how he is putting together more and more, and asks lots of good questions, how does that work, why does this happen... I love watching his wheels turn as he tries to figure things out.... I love how when he gets tired, any of these things could happen: either his feet hurt, he just doesn't hear anything we say, and says 'what' over and over, even when we are clearly speaking, or falls off chairs.  don't laugh. It's true :)  He loves playing T-ball - and is so aggressive he runs after any ball hit, even if not near him, and likes to slide into home base :)  It's been really fun to watch him play and he really loves it.  When he's on bases, he likes to find his Mommy and do a little thumbs-up dance to me :)  so sweet.  Love this kid and his sweet, sensitive self.  Keep snuggling with me buddy.... even when you are 45 like you tell me you still will.  I love how he twirls his hair just like Patrick while he's watching TV or concentrating on something... it's so fun for me to watch.  And I love (kind of) how I see so much of myself in the way he has a hard time falling asleep, and takes him a long time to wake up and get going in the morning.  It's hard for me to be too upset when I completely understand.  But, seriously, sometimes he will lay in bed either calling for us, or having excuses for why he needs to get up.  :) He's a goof!

Oh Ells, you are growing up so big, so fast.  You are talking more and more and have so much to say.  You and your brother could tie in the chatterbox competition.  I love watching you grow into such a beautiful little girl.  You make me and Daddy laugh EVERY day.  I love your scrunched up little smile, I really hope you never lose that!, and how you love to plop down on Mommy's lap still.  Seriously, I will never get tired of you sitting on my lap, and it's still one of your favorite spots.  I love how everything that Will does, you repeat 'I too?? I too??', and for the most part, you get to do whatever Will does.  You are our GREAT sleeper, please keep this up, and you go to sleep really easy (just like your Daddy) and wake up easy.  You love running and skipping and dancing - and it makes my heart so happy - when you get so excited you kind of gallop around.  I love it! Your hair is getting so long, you love brushing your hair out of your face.  You LOVE to take your shoes off in the car, even if it's only a 5 minute ride, you take them off and drive us bonkers :)  You LOVE your apple juice and ask for it constantly, and love your Mickey Mouse.  One of my favorite things though is how much you love on your baby dolls.  You are such a little Mama to them, and you love putting blankets on them, and you have to lay the blanket out just perfectly, it can take you 10 minutes just making sure the blanket is arranged right, and the baby has to be laying face down.  It honestly can look like a morgue after Ellie comes through the room... with baby dolls laying around the house with blankets covering them :) You like to shush your babies, rock them, and sing to them.  Old McDonald, ABC's, and Wheels on the Bus are your favorite songs.  Old McDonald always has to have a cow, or you get upset.  When you are in new situations, like in the new house, in your new room at school, you just sit quietly and take it all in.  We can see how brave you are being, and it is so sweet.  You are my brave girl, you are my sweet girl, and you have a heart of gold, I can already tell.  I love you sweet girl, I hope you always know how happy you make me.

That's all for now!  We are blessed beyond belief, and I thank God everyday for this wonderful life.  I just keep feeling more content, more at peace, and more joy in my heart than I ever thought possible.  God Bless!