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Kladder Update: Easter & Happy Birthday Kladder Kids!

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Our dining room turned into party central last weekend as we celebrated both Thomas and Natalie's birthdays - sorry, kids, get used to it... your special days are only 3 weeks apart. Thomas turned one-year-old on March 27th and Natalie will be young-wild-and-three on April 16th. I did some 'momming' and put together some woodland themed decor for the event with family using red and black as our color scheme. Full disclosure: I repurposed the pennant banners from my sister-in-laws bridal shower, ordered the table runner on Amazon for $8 and got the cake from Meijer Bakery, which deserves a huge shout out... not only did it look and taste fabulous, but it was only $11.99. Tell all of your friends. 

Thomas really-really enjoyed his chocolate birthday cake and Natalie was thrilled about her gifts: an incredible wooden playhouse for the backyard from Grandma and Grandpa and a super cute metal tea set from her Aunt and Uncle. 

We doubled down on family time last weekend and also celebrated Easter Sunday while my folks were in town. The entire family shivered in the cold as we watched Natalie do her solo Easter egg hunt around the yard. I should have learned my lesson from last year NOT to fill the eggs with candy - that only slowed us down. We opened Easter baskets and ate ham - which is the gift that keeps on giving this week in the form of sandwiches. You know what I'm talking about. So good. 

That same morning we dressed in our Sunday best (always fun on Easter) and headed over to Grandville for Easter service at Mars Hill. The place was 'hop'n' (pun intended) and the crowd was looking good - all those sweet little Spring outfits really get me! Our pastor AJ spoke about 'believing' and asking for guidance in our 'unbelief'. Mars Hill continues to be a solid place for us to worship and build our relationships with God and our community.


Two weeks ago Jeff and I took a few days off as parents in Chicago for a weekend of fun with friends. My parents took our kids for two nights (thanks Mom & Dad) and we savored the mornings of laying aimlessly in bed, uninterrupted adult conversation during dinner, spur of the moment planning and ridiculously late bedtimes. Those were the days. I wrote all about our weekend away HERE

U of M lost the NCAA Championship Monday night and Jeff is super sad. He watched the game with his guy friends and I'm just glad he made it home alive. Honestly, there was a higher chance of losing him had they won. I'm only half kidding. 

More news in sports, we checked out the Griffins Hockey game last Friday with friends for $2 beer night. Griffins won 3-2 over the San Jose Barracudas which doesn't matter much to me. I just like the games for the cheap beer and the people watching. It was a fun Friday night out topped off with our usual nightcap at Bob's Bar on Michigan Ave. It's the simple things. 

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Last, if you haven't noticed already, I'll point out our updated webpage banners. With both the kids celebrating birthdays it made for a perfect time to snag some new photos of each of them and some candids for the site. Jeff absolutely hates getting his photo taken but he tolerates me nonetheless. The photos were done by our very favorite, James Richard Fry, who's taken our family photos since before we were a family. His work is littered all over this blog site and we couldn't say enough wonderful words about him. Thank you James! 

Next on the horizon for us Kladders is a whole lot of praying for this weather to clear up! We're aching to get on the golf course A-SAP and seeing all your beautiful photos from Florida isn't helping much! Enjoy the rest of your Spring Breaks and please bring home the sunshine with you! 

POSTSCRIPT - Mark your calendars!!! 

  • Runway on the Rapids benefitting the Multiple Sclerosis Program at Mercy Health is coming on Friday, April 20th at the JW Marriott. We've got our tickets and you should too! Tickets include admission to the fashion show, light apps and cash bar. It's a good time and for a great cause! See you there.  
  • Watermark Women's Association is hosting our Annual Spring Mixer on Wednesday, April 18th at 6:30pm. Interested in golf? Interested in Watermark? Interested in meeting fun gals? Come see what we're all about. 
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Thomas Turns One

We recently celebrated our sons first birthday. Here's a little post about him. 

Thomas (The Moose) Kladder. Tommy. Tom. Big-T. Bubba. Baby Brother. Heir to the Throne. Okay I made that last one up. Been watching too much Vikings on AmazonPrime. However, true story... Jeff's Founders mug last year had 'Heir to the Throne' on it and this year he told me he engraved our family crest. So yes, too much Vikings. 

Here are some Thomas fun facts: 

  • We can check teething off the list because he's got 'em all.  
  • He's crawling, pulling himself up and walking along things. Won't be long before he's running. 
  • He seems to be a fan of music and bobs his head to the beat. It's super cute. 
  • Good eater. Good sleeper. 
  • Tricks include clapping 'yay', giving high fives and waving 'hi.'
  • His vocabulary includes Mama, Dada and the very best one 'Nat' (his sister Natalie) which comes out Nah-Nah. 
  • He lays completely still while getting his diaper changed. It's convenient. 
  • Started wearing 18 month clothing at 10-months-old. 
  • LOVES taking walks in the stroller outside. Zero peeps during walks. 
  • He's the only boy grandkid on both sides of our family. 
  • Be bolts after every open door within eyesight. He will escape someday. 
  • His favorite food group is milk, milk and more milk. 
  • And oddly, while he's a stout little guy and has no trouble putting on the LBs, he's proven to be a picky eater. 

Before writing this quick entry I read back through the One-Year post for Natalie and was reminded of the immense amount of growth that happens in your heart when you expand your family. Natalie taught us about the love that's created between parent and child as well as the new love that happens between the parents after baby joins. Over the last year Thomas has certainly reminded us of all that, but also something new: he showed us the love that siblings can share. And my goodness is our family so lucky in love with the relationships we share. 

Last weekend we celebrated Thomas with my parents, my brother and his wife (more celebrations with the rest of the sides of our families yet to come) here at our home. There was cake, gifts and a ham dinner (because it was Easter too - two birds, one cake). 

Happy birthday Thomas. 

More about Thomas HERE

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Review: Captured in Clay, Grand Rapids

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As a kid I remember pressing my hand into freshly laid cement in my parents new driveway leaving behind my tiny handprint that still remains today. It’s a sweet memory not only for me, but for my parents as well. That’s why when I learned of Captured in Clay, a local company who specializes in making these lasting memories, I called and made an appointment.

Captured in Clay creates handmade clay tiles capturing your child’s (or pet’s!) exact hand or foot impression. Jen Dyke, who acquired Captured in Clay last year from founder Deana Brownlow after 14 years of successful business, runs the company out of her home studio located in Hudsonville, Michigan. She’s a one woman show who creates the tiles from start to finish.

 Jen's home studio is located at: 2295 VanBuren Hudsonville, MI 49426

Jen's home studio is located at: 2295 VanBuren Hudsonville, MI 49426

The tiles come in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes and most importantly, the material used is 100% non-toxic which makes it safe for your little ones. Prices for tiles range anywhere between $25 and $150 depending on specific design, size and layout. There are fun additions to the tiles such as beads and wires for hanging which adds onto your tile cost.

Two months ago we had our second child and I called Jen for an appointment for the following week. The appointment took less than 30 mins and she was wonderful working with our newborn. She already had everything prepped and ready to go upon our arrival and even had a bin of toys for our toddler to play with while we captured our newborns handprint. Our experience was professional, yet personal even down to the fact that she runs the business out of her home – it was like she was inviting us over for a cup of tea! Because she works alone she did ask for my help in holding our son while she worked with his hand and foot to get just the right impression. She was very good at providing instruction on how to assist her.

Jen took two imprints of both the hand and foot of our son, one for a tile for my mother-in-law (a gift for her birthday) and a circular clay ornament for my mom (that we’ll give to her at Christmas). The tiles took Jen 3 weeks to complete and when they were done she sent me a text letting me know they were ready for pickup, which she leaves beautifully packaged on her door step.

This was our second experience with Captured in Clay and both were wonderful. We now have both sets of our kids hand and foot prints beautifully on display at both of our parents homes. My only regret was not getting a set for our own home!