Sunday, December 28, 2014


Seriously loving being able to post about Christmas...we need more Christmas! Our tree and lights are already down so it's fun to scroll through the pictures from the week and look at the tree and presents that were so perfectly wrapped. I took over 600 photos this if I put 40 in a post that's less than 10 percent haha. This blog is loaded with pictures and our routine week posts but I seriously love looking back at them and seeing how much FUN WE HAVE in our lives, in MIAMI, and just in general. Life is a grand adventure or nothing at all, right? I love my sweet family, my mom, my in-laws (coming to parttttyyyy this week), my friends, and MIAMI. I love it. All of it.

This week was just plain awesome. I know everyone had a great Christmas but ours was the greatest (I know other people will claim there's was the greatest but seriously. TRUMP CARD.). Monday, we went to Hobby Lobby because Ben felt that we needed more wrapping paper even though he did 5% of the wrapping and I did 95% of it. Caroline had a grand time shopping with Grams and mastered the task of picking something she likes, standing on her tiptoes, and dropping it in the cart. So, shopping is now even more dangerous than Ben thought it was. Afterwards we went home and Ben and I got ready to go to the Bowl Game. We had a blast at the game and loved sitting with our friends and catching up with old friends too. It was definitely a Christmas highlight and Ben and I loved being able to sing the BYU fight song, having old men ask "Sister, can you take a picture?", and seeing Cosmo.

Tuesday we went to Robert is Here. I think it's one of my favorite places because it's out of the city and the strawberry key lime shakes are earth shatteringly delicious. Caroline loved the animals even more, played on the tractor, and got her fill of delicious shake. We spent the evening watching Blacklist, wrapping presents, and working on Ben's stocking (that we JUST finished. completely).

Wednesday was COOKIE DAY. We made cookies and frosted them. Caroline loved eating the dough, putting part of it back on the cutting board and then making it into a cookie. It was hilarious and she was so involved in the mixing, and rolling, cutting, backing, and frosting. We spent the day making sure we were ready for Christmas and made our infamous In-n-Out burgers for dinner. After all the baking and cooking we watching some Christmas Mormon Messages that got us all ready for the next day. We opened up our Van Leeuwen family shirts and our awesome sibling gift from the one and only Matt. Caroline opened up a book that night as well and we finished wrapping by 10 and we were in bed by 11:00 even though it was hard to sleep because we just wanted Caroline to wake up and get the Christmas party started!

Christmas morning was magical. Caroline would open a gift, play, snack, talk, and then open another. We were opening and playing with presents all day. Ben, Mom, and I all had a few surprises for each other but Caroline made out like a bandit. She loved her rocking chair, books, stroller, shopping cart, pop up tent and the slew of other things she got as well. I'm excited for more things to play with because we haven't really refreshed her toys in a while. We had the perfect Christmas nap and Christmas dinner. Ben made a Dr. Pepper glazed ham (coming from a girl that doesn't like ham) that I thought was pretty good and a turkey. We also had green beans, sweet potatoes, and dirty rice. I haven't cooked since and we are still enjoying leftovers...turkey pot pie tomorrow! Ben and I went to see Unbroken after Caroline went to bed and LOVED it. I thought it was fantastic and as true to the book as it could be in the short amount of time they had to portray the story.

Friday, hmmm...I think we were in a Christmas coma. But we had fun whatever we did. That night my mom took me to Williams Sonoma and Sephora for budgeted shopping sprees as part of my Christmas gift. I have this awesome Emile Henry pie dish (in this dreamy navy blue) that I can't wait to use and make up that is awesome. So hopefully I'll get dressed and ready more days than I don't every week. Ha!

Saturday Ben went to go hangout with anesthesiologists and be all doctor-y. He's pretty good at it and good thing he liked it. Mom and I just played and played with Caroline and went on walks. We had plans to go and do somethings and run errands but it was kind of nice to hang out at home and play. Ben came home and slept and then watched Caroline so we could go see "Into the Woods" which was so well done. If you aren't into musicals I wouldn't go but if you love Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, and Anna Kendrick, and fairytales then it's pretty awesome. It was nice to have two Girl's Nights with my mom thanks to my favorite guy.

Sunday was regular and we got a nice loooong Sunday nap in. Caroline just runs around the church building like a crazy girl and has a total blast. Mom and I watched a cookie and royal icing tutorial and can't wait to make some next time she comes (we are out of time). We also ordered pictures and finished up some projects we've been working on. Thank goodness for Sunday's. I couldn't make it through my week without them.

BYU Game selfie

Robert Is Here

Shake sipping.


Mom and Me

Thank you Publix for the best shopping cart ever.

Nativity Picture...we are the wisest men of all. haha

I love my helper.

All hands on deck in the kitchen

Loving the frosting.

Happiest girl

Christmas JOY

Playing with her animal figures > unwrapping more presents

Loving her magnadoodle

Ben let the universe know he didn't have this book so my mom made sure he had it hahaha.

Reading. Reading. Reading. AND Rocking.

Christmas Spoils. Disney movies we desperately needed. Can't tell you how many times we are going to watch Sleeping Beauty this week.

Caroline is working on her selfie skillz. This cheesy face just makes me giggle.

Watching Santa Paws. Clearly Ben didn't get enough practice looking enthused about cheesy kid movies. Caroline will provide him with lots of practice. I'm sure of it!


Magnadoodle art.

Family Pictures 2014

Back in November we took family pictures for my birthday gift. We LOVED our photographer. It's such a struggle to find one that a) isn't a zillion dollars b) does normal photography and not all this artsy fartsy super edited stuff c) is findable! Luckily, there was a family in our ward from the area that had pictures taken and didn't mind us copying and using their photographer that was affordable, took real life pictures, and was super easy to get a hold of. We took the pictures at this super cool park in the ghetto haha--there were lots of cats and ducks too which kept Caroline entertained. AND not to be too photo snobbish, she had an AWESOME camera and mad skills. By awesome, she would take one picture and say "GOT IT!" which at first made me nervous but then once we scanned through the pictures I was so so pleased. Anyways, we loved it. I love every single one of the pictures we got of our little family and this stage of life that we are in right now. Here are a few of our favorites:
If you didn't get a Christmas card (we grossly underestimated how many friends and family we have), here it is!

What a model.

Dad and his girl

She seriously loves her books. "Are you a cow?" is one of the favorites.

If you have never met Caroline...this is WHO SHE IS. Right here in this picture. She is funny, sweet, tender, adorable, and the cutest thing ever.

These pictures almost didn't happen.

See the fly-aways? She's my baby all the way. And she reads her books upside down...too funny.

We read together!

My favorite guy.

Love that guy!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Morning Favorites

We had a marvelous Christmas! I loved every minute of having our decorations up, music playing, candles burning, wrapping paper and tulle everywhere, baking, and having my little family all together. Having my mom here was even better and having Ben home too! We alllmost finished Ben's stocking--we just have a few pieces to add but it was totally hangable and Santa was able to stuff lots of goodies in it. Here are some Van Leeuwen Christmas highlights:

Our tree Christmas morning...the elves were busy!

Stocking close up

Love Caroline's

So. Much. Fun.

That rocking chair is so loved.

My cute mom.

Someone isn't quite ready for Christmas or her close-up! Makes me laugh because she is totally my child!

Unstuffing the stocking

Loving her animals!
The girl who loves Christmas...and our family tshirts that we love!

Unwrapping is an art, okay?

Magnadoodle love.

Love. Love. Love.

Morning yawns

Animal love!

In her rocking chair she had a package with a monkey in it and the book "5 Little Monkeys"...seriously doesn't get more precious.

Talking to us!

We had the best Christmas and we are so thankful for our blessings and a time of year to focus even more on our Savior. We love our little Caroline and she made this the most magical Christmas yet!

BYU Game...Miami style!

Even since Ben knew that BYU was most likely coming to play in Miami he had his heart set on going to see the game. He did his research and got great seats for a great price and we were set to go. Then, last Sunday they were handing out tickets at church and he was a little heartbroken after spending money on tickets. It didn't squash his excitement, just a little bummed over getting something for free that he had just paid for.

Game day we left Caroline at home with my mom and we went to the Dolphins Stadium and it was so cool! Probably the coolest stadium I've been in. Right when we walked in we could see the free tickets were in the direct sun and our paid for Christmas tickets were in the shade. Ben felt so relieved because we actually used the tickets and they were worth every penny of not being in the hot sun. We took a lap around the stadium and enjoyed the pretty view of Miami and being around so many other Mormons--it was awesome! We had some friends come by and sit with us and then I met up with an old friend and roommate during halftime.

The game was absolutely was intense, and even though BYU lost it was so cool to be there and feel like we were in college again in the Miami heat.

Christmas JOY.