A blog about us (The Kladders) & Grand Rapids, MI. 


Christmas Time in Grand Rapids

We LOVE wintertime and so you can imagine our excitement over the first real snowfall yesterday afternoon. We've always been fans of the holiday season, but this year in particular has been extra special because Natalie is just old enough to get excited about things which, in turn, has amped up our desire to do more. 

We wrapped up Thanksgiving weekend by getting our very first real tree from Bosch Tree Farm in Allendale. Jeff cut the tree down and dragged it to the barn while Natalie and I watched and ate donuts. It was a first time family tradition that I could get used to! 

That same night we celebrated Friends Thanksgiving with our Calvin Christian friends - an annual tradition that's been going on for more than 10 years - of course I haven't been part of all 10. I have, however, been there since the beginning of baby making which seems to get more and more out of hand every year. Trying to capture all the kids in one place was quite the debacle this year and I can't imagine it's going to get easier anytime soon! We always do soup and salad which is a nice break from the heavy meals that precede it. 

Most (not all) of our kids at Friends Thanksgiving this year. 

Most (not all) of our kids at Friends Thanksgiving this year. 

Thursday was the Annual Shop Hop which takes place practically in our backyard. This year I attended with the neighbor girls. We started in Eastown, a short walk from our front doors and visited a few shops before hoping the trolly over to Fulton. We grabbed treats at Vans and Cakabakery followed by some more shopping and later ended on Wealthy with dinner at Donkey. I bought a winter hat for myself and a candle, but completely failed at finding any other antique treasures to add to our collection at home. 

On Friday we headed downtown to Rosa Parks Circle for the official lighting of the Grand Rapids Christmas Tree in front of the GRAM. It was also the grand opening of the ice rink. The event itself left some major room for improvement: the carolers and skating performance seemed to be tossed together last minute and the special guests (the mayor and Santa) were late! But despite the event coordination, it was nice to get outside and see the beautiful tree in our city's center as a family. 

And this weekend we joined our friends Petrit and Allison and their son Ari at the Fredrick Meijer Gardens Christmas Event. On display were Christmas trees from around the world as well as their spectacular train display. Natalie loved the train maybe as much as Jeff. They had a wonderful choir who sang carols for over an hour and provided cookies! 

Our tree is up, our house is wired with lights, presents wrapped and we're ready to celebrate! We're looking forward to Christmas cookies and time with family. If we don't get in another post before the 25th, Merry Christmas to you and yours! 


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Quick Kladder Update, November 2016

It's been just over a month since our last blog and I blame the amazing Fall weather and our busy schedule as to the delay in updates. Here's a complete download of what we've been up to since announcing baby #2 is on the way: 

The biggest and most exciting news we have to share is that we pleased to announce we are having a boy! This will be the first boy for both sides of our families which has made sharing the news with our family extra fun. Everyone is thrilled to soon welcome a boy to the mix. We're over halfway through this pregnancy and March will be here before we know it. We can't wait! 

Rewinding back to Halloween, we enjoyed both family time at the lake in Rockford as well as the festivities with our block of Rosewood at home. We counted somewhere around 250 trick-or-treaters based off of how much candy we handed out. That weekend we also visited John Ball Zoo for their Halloween event which was great. 

Earlier this month Jeff and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary with a date night out downtown complete with cocktail hour followed by dinner at Cygnus 27. Marriage thus far has been an incredible blessing and I'm grateful everyday for all the joys it's brought to our lives. 

We also celebrated Jeff's 31st birthday this month. We caught lunch at Founders (putting that mug club membership to good use!) with friends and family, followed by a fantastic dinner with more family in Schoolcraft. Jeff's not a fan of being the center of attention so there was no singing of 'happy birthday,' but we did make him blow out candles atop a giant cookie cake. 

Also this month both Jeff and I visited Chicago but on separate trips. Jeff spent a weekend in the city with a few friends for a guys weekend while I was there for work all last week for a global marketing retreat. It was fun to spend time out on the town with co-workers and thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Eataly where we made our own pizzas and played bocce ball together. We also had a night out at a jazz club as well as a more formal dinner at a place called the Beacon Tavern. 

The attic is so close to being complete and I promise to share photos as soon as there's something pretty to show. We are putting the finishing touches on the drywall mud and after that all we have left is to paint and carpet. I'm totally entering the nesting phase of pregnancy and cannot wait to start putting furniture into place in the finished attic as well as the new nursery. I've decided on the theme of 'moose' and 'adventure' in the colors of white, grey and black for our son's room.

In Natalie news: she is now a little girl with pierced ears and she looks (in my bias motherly opinion) so dang cute. She's talking up a storm and saying all sorts of words and phrases which is supported by her chattery gibberish. She's happy and healthy and has zero clue what's about to rock her world this spring! 

And this week we spent time in both Schoolcraft and Rockford with family celebrating Thanksgiving. Food has been plentiful and relaxing has been wonderful. Tomorrow we will officially kick off the Christmas season by picking out our very first real Christmas tree; before we had a fake tree which I cannot deny has been super easy in terms of set up and care. But with a growing family it's time we start our own holiday traditions and we've gotta start somewhere! 

And now that we are passed Thanksgiving, Jeff will allow me to turn on our outdoor Christmas lights which is also a first for us this year. In terms of traditions, we are a ways out from cooking our own turkey dinner but we sure are getting there. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. 

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Kid #2 Due March 2017

Jeff and I are extremely happy to announce the news of baby #2! Natalie is as clueless as they come about her responsibilities as big sister just yet, but she'll get the picture soon enough. Arrival is expected end of March 2017. We plan to find out the gender and share that news as well sometime next month. 

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