Our Recent Family Pictures + Life Updates

posted by Andrea | 11/30/2018

We had family pictures taken exactly 1 month ago… and thanks to the world of digital everything, we got the digital files back from our photographer right before Thanksgiving!

I’m guessing I’ll use some of these on our family’s Christmas card this year, but I also wanted to share a handful of my favorites on the blog — along with a Dekker Family Life Update!

Enjoy!

It’s been 2.5 years since our last professional family pictures (I don’t count Clara’s newborn photos as those were mostly just of her) and apparently getting 4 young children to all look at the camera, smile, and not act stubborn or weird is more challenging than I anticipated.

We truly don’t even have one family photo where every single person is looking and smiling a nice “normal” smile… but other than that, the temperature cooperated, the sun and shade cooperated, the rain held of JUST long enough for us to finish, and the park we chose seemed to work well for various different poses.

Aside from a brief period of stubbornness from Simon, the kids were really good sports about being outside with no coats at the end of October.

We did bribe them with ice cream sundaes for dessert when we got home though!

Here are a few individual shots…

Nora (7)

These pictures were technically taken a few weeks before her birthday, but Nora is seven now — I know, I can’t believe it either!

Nora absolutely loves school, all her classmates, her teachers, riding the bus, all her “special” classes (p.e., music, art, Spanish, etc.) and basically everything else there is to love about 1st grade. I’m SO thankful!

Learning seems to come fairly easily for her and she has an excellent memory, which obviously helps too!

She took a 4-week dance class last month (we got a free coupon) and she is going to try a 3-week volleyball camp in December. She also joined the Math Pentathlon group at school (Dave is a volunteer). I’m not exactly sure what she does there; Dave says they play strategy games — she seems to like it and it’s only for 45 minute after school one day a week.

Nora is going to be Mary in our church’s Children’s Christmas Program this year — partnered up with a 1st grade boy from her same class at school, who will be Joseph! 🙂

She had a cavity-free dentist appointment last week with 3 or 4 more wiggly teeth that will most likely come out soon. Hopefully some of her adult teeth start growing in, otherwise she’ll really need to ask Santa for teeth this Christmas!

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Simon (4 1/2)

Simon is still just as sweet and soft-spoken as ever — especially at school, church, or in any other public setting. He’s NOT shy at all; he just doesn’t feel the need to say a whole lot, and rarely is the one to start up a conversation.

At home, however, he’s very loud, energetic, and loves being the “oldest” when Nora is gone at school.

He and James are best buddies and, for the most part, Simon ALWAYS looks out for James.

Simon also loves being a mother figure to Clara. Almost every morning, he takes over feeding Clara breakfast (usually while I’m cleaning up the kitchen and she’s still eating). He can usually get her to eat every last bite on her plate — which is pretty impressive considering Dave and I rarely get her to eat everything!

Simon still says “B” instead of “V” for words like SUV or TV or vegetables… and he still makes an “f” sound instead of the “th” sound for words like through, three, Thursday, etc. Considering he never spoke a word until he was 2, I’d say he’s made fantastic progress. His teachers are not concerned at all!

Simon loves preschool (especially the snacks!) and enjoys attending story hour at the library, Coffee Break at church, a morning program at our Early Childhood Center, and a play group at our church.

He can write his name now, he LOVES to color, and he is an excellent “cutter” (the other day he said, “mom, isn’t it crazy how good I am at cutting now that I’m in school? I almost always stay right on the lines!)

Simon will be a sheep in our church’s Christmas Program!

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James (3)

The first word that comes to mind whenever I see pictures of James is “Stud”!

James can be VERY stubborn, but also fills his role as the “middle child” quite well as he’s usually fairly willing to go along with whatever crazy game, activity, or project Nora and Simon come up with.

He’s also very sweet with Clara — always wanting to “help” me change her diaper, get her up from naps, change her clothes, build towers for her to knock over, and read her books.

He can get himself dressed and undressed, he can go to the bathroom and wash his hands on his own, he can brush his own teeth, and he can get his own shoes on. He still needs help with the coat and gloves — but we’re making definite progress!

James desperately wants to be able to write his name, but so far, he can only write a backwards “J” and then spells the rest out-loud. He can trace his name if I write it first, but the “ames” still give him trouble!

James also enjoys attending story hour, coffee break, and various play groups… and he will also be a sheep in the kids’ Christmas Program.

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Clara (14 mo.)

Clara rocked our photo-shoot — smiling at the camera every chance she got. This is not surprising considering she smiles most of the day.

Unless she is physically hurt, scared, or really hungry, you will most likely find her smiling or laughing!

She has been down to 1 nap per day since the beginning of the school year (SO nice) and aside from when she’s sick or stuffed up, she consistently sleeps from 7pm until 8am every night. Hallelujah!

She is definitely a mama’s girl, preferring me over everyone… and since she’s my baby, I’m OK with this 🙂

Clara STILL DOES NOT WALK on her own, but she can stand on her own, she can walk with a push toy, and she can get anywhere and everywhere she wants to go on her little bike/scooter we gave her on her birthday.

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Dave + Andrea:

Dave and I have kept busy with lots and lots of yard work this past month — raking and mulching leaves, cutting down perennials,  cleaning out planting beds, etc. We “finished” everything we wanted to do over Thanksgiving weekend, which means no more yard work until spring!

We are both enjoying our role as Sunday School Superintendents at church — which also involves leading the singing time before Sunday School starts. I was initially a little nervous about this new “challenge”, but it seems to be a good fit for us, for our personalities, for our gifts and talents, and for the ages of our kids (3 of which are in Sunday School now).

Dave and I plan to start (and finish) our laundry room project over the winter months (the project we postponed from this past summer). Then we have a laundry list of little landscaping projects to tackle again in the spring. Ah, the joys of home ownership!

Dave is in his 13th year of teaching already! He is such a great teacher and puts SO much time and energy into his job, offering to help students before and after class, skipping his lunch break to give retests, filling out college recommendations for seniors, and talking with parents when students are struggling.

He is very patient, an excellent listener, and is always looking for teachable moments (I see this with how he interacts with our kids at home too).

Aside from helping with Nora’s Math Pentathlon and helping me with Sunday School, Dave is not involved in ANY extracurriculars at school or church — yes, he is enjoying that “extra” time, and we enjoy having him home a little more often!

While Dave steps back from many of his extra activities, I’ve found that I now have the time and energy to say “yes” to more things, people, and activities again.

I’ve helped out at the kid’s school so many times already this year, I’m on several committees and groups at church, I’ve taken my kids out and about to various programs, special events, family activities, etc. and I feel like I just have more “mental space” to be able to meet various other needs (bringing meals to people, donating baked goods, sending cards and kids’ artwork to elderly family members and people from church, getting together with friends, etc.)

I’ve always said I’m “not a baby person” and as I transition into a new season of life (not pregnant, not trying to be pregnant, not recovering from being pregnant, not dealing with a sleepless newborn, etc.) I honestly feel SO energized!

I suppose this is probably how I felt for most of my life before having Nora 7 years ago; but for the past 7 years, I truly felt like I was in some sort of fog — wanting to do so many things, but knowing I didn’t have the physical, mental, or emotional capability of actually following through.

It was not a bad 7 years by any means, but I can definitely tell I feel differently now that I’m almost through that stage of life — yes, it feels good! 

I have lots of fun posts planned for the next month (with a few more giveaways) and I’m super excited for another New Year and a chance to “start fresh” again. I have so many new recipes, new organizing projects, and other tips, ideas, and resources to share. One of these days, I might even get around to starting up an e-newsletter!

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Just a FEW more photos!

It’s been a good Fall season for our family and we’re looking forward to Christmas, winter, snow, and starting another New Year.

We have no major plans for anything out-of-the-ordinary… but we do have quite a bit on our calendar for the next 4 weeks.

  • A wedding
  • Several Christmas parties with friends and family
  • Nora’s school Christmas program
  • Our church’s Children’s Christmas program
  • Various special days and activities at school (many of which require food from me)
  • A potluck dinner at church
  • Dave’s birthday
  • Dave’s Dad’s birthday
  • My mom’s 60th birthday
  • New Year’s parties
  • and more!

I have a feeling the next few weeks will fly by… and before we know it, I’ll be back here wishing you all a Happy New Year! 

Until then, we hope to enjoy the holiday season with our kids as they are finally old enough to understand and get excited about Christmastime!

Happy Weekend!

Filed under: FamilyPhotography

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31 comments

  1. Debbie

    12/03/2018

    Your pictures turned out great! It’s amazing how the kids looks different from one another but they’re all beautiful. My sisters and I look different from one another too so it just amazes me how God creates all of us unique in so many different ways.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly! Our kids all look SO different to us, but many people tell us how similar they look!

    [Reply]

  2. Amy

    12/03/2018

    Love your pictures! Such a beautiful family!

    My first child didn’t walk into she was 16 months old. I didn’t mind, but her brother was due in 2 months so I was a little concerned how I was going to manage that! Luckily, one night she just took off! There was no walking and falling down. She flew! It was so funny to see her power walking all over the house!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ah — glad she started walking before #2 came along. I have a friend who had 2 not walking at the same time — it was rough!

    [Reply]

  3. Teresa

    12/02/2018

    It seems crazy that your kids are getting so big and older so quickly. Your kids are adorable and what a joy that they get along pretty good most of the time and wanna help Momma out ♥️ I so enjoy reading about your family and your wonderful tips, ideas, recipes and thoughts on different subjects. Happy holiday season to you and your family!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — people keep telling me the kids just keep growing and there’s nothing I can do to stop it !:)
    Thanks for your kind words Teresa!

    [Reply]

  4. Michelle

    12/01/2018

    For Nora- you can freeze a metal spoon and rub it on tough gum tissue to help soften it and allow the adult teeth to come in. If she will let you, or do it herself. We did for over a month, just once a day, and my daughters tooth finally came in

    Also, cute family pictures.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michelle — I’ll keep this in mind! She has lots of “teeth stuff” going on right now! 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. Emily

    11/30/2018

    I love how you tied your scarf in these pictures! You have so many scarves and they always look nice. I have so many scarves and never know how to wear them. Have you ever done a post on that?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Emily. It’s actually a really short scarf so I just tucked the ends into the “loop” and pinned it with a safety pin!
    That said, here’s a REEEEAAAALLLLY OLD post I did (as a video) about 2 other ways I tie my scarfs 🙂

    [Reply]

  6. KJ

    11/30/2018

    Hi Andrea!
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures and family updates with us. I laughed out loud about the getting kids to not act stubborn or weird during your photo shoot. So relatable as a mom.
    I so appreciate reading your thoughts on seasons of life and your honesty about the physical, emotional and mental fog all of us moms can go through at times as we strive to nurture our families and take care of ourselves. Thank you for the motivation, validation, and encouragement that comes through loud and clear in your posts. And I am so happy for you and your renewed “mojo”.
    Blessings to you and your family!
    KJ

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes “mojo”! Good word!
    Thanks for our kind words of encouragement KJ!

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I agree! I am in the thick of the fog right now. While I love and enjoy my children, I am definitely a bit depressed too. There is so much more I want to get done!

    [Reply]

  7. Linda

    11/30/2018

    Beautiful pictures of your family. Time has flown as I remember reading your blog when Nora was small and your only child…..7 years! It can’t be! It has been fun to watch them grow up.
    Merry Christmas!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Linda! Yes — 7 years ago already. Wow!

    [Reply]

  8. JoAnn C.

    11/30/2018

    Oh that picture with Dave and Clara is melting my heart. Such sweetness. Thanks, Andrea for sharing pictures of your beautiful family. Happy weekend to you, too.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know, she was such a good sport and smiled the whole hour-long photo shoot!

    [Reply]

  9. R

    11/30/2018

    I used your photographer Kari last year and we loved the pictures! But I wanted to set up another session and now it looks like her website is gone/down? Do you have any new contact information? thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hmmmm… her website was up the last time I checked. Not sure what’s going on or why her site isn’t working. I just emailed her so I’ll see what she says!

    [Reply]

  10. Sarah

    11/30/2018

    It’s been such a joy watching your family grow over the years, Andrea! You continue to inspire me to be better, do better, and find ways to love on my family and our home.
    I hope you all have a perfectly beautiful holiday season!
    Blessings from NM

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Sarah! Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

    [Reply]

  11. Heidi

    11/30/2018

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!
    It’s a joy!

    [Reply]

  12. Sheila

    11/30/2018

    I thought the very same thing when I saw the pictures of James lol! He’s got “the look”
    down lol!

    [Reply]

    Denise Z Reply:

    Right?!?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — such a stud!

    [Reply]

  13. Michele

    11/30/2018

    Such a beautiful family

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michele!

    [Reply]

  14. Michelle Bonk

    11/30/2018

    Really lovely family photos!
    My four are now 17, 15, 13 and 9 … so lovely to watch your family grow!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well… that will be us in exactly 10 years! crazy!

    [Reply]

  15. Linda Bolt

    11/30/2018

    Wonderful family photos! Great to get them with the fall scenery in the background. Such a great family.
    What you said about Clara not walking yet reminded me that our youngest of 4 did not walk until she was 16 months old, despite being an early crawler, and all her siblings walking by about 10 months. We think it was a psychological thing, not necessarily physical, and maybe also partly because her siblings carried her. Anyway, she eventually walked, and everything turned out fine.
    So glad to see your children happy, healthy, and doing well.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing! We aren’t really worried about her, just surprised that she’s taking so much longer than the rest of the kids. But yes, her older siblings do love to carry her around and willingly bring her anything she needs — so maybe she just doesn’t feel the need to walk yet!

    [Reply]