Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Grandpa's View

On Sunday we went to the Olive Garden for birthday lunch with Grandmas and Grandpas.  Grandpa sat across from Noah and Noah enjoyed it thoroughly!  He was doing things to make Grandpa react and then laughing hysterically!  He also couldn't get enough of my lunch.  I think this is the first time we've really gone out to eat with him.

One of the things he was doing was making "shrimp" noises (we call it that due to my high school/camp friend Kristen).  This is apparently a new way of talking for him!  He also roared like a dinosaur at my mother when she came to watch the boys on Monday.  Oh, and he imitates all noises, like the "wee wee wee" at the end of This Little Piggy.  He matched my pitch exactly and was holding his toes.  Awesome!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Noah's 2nd 1st Birthday Party!

On Saturday we had a proper 1st birthday party for Noah.  I'm glad that we did even if it took my husband planning it to make it happen!
I apologize in advance for the number of pictures in this post... sorry if it took too long to load!

Cory and the balloons

We had a dozen balloons from the Dollar Store.  
Perfect easy decorations!

When Mommy and Noah got there one was tied on each chair.
He was De-Lighted!

Noah loves balloons - part 1

Noah loves balloons - part 2

Noah is more interested in his balloon than his cake!
At least we had no flame incidents this time...

Noah wanted the stem of the shamrock 
(who knew you could get neon green twizzlers?)

Noah was not so sure about the cake

Until he discovered it was way fun to play in!

It was hard to eat until Nana helped him.  
Then he was all about eating it!

Can't get enough!

Good to the last lick!
(we have pictures of Cory just like this from his 1st birthday!)

Time for presents!

A cool puzzle from Mark, Alex, and Carter
(a birthday party is not complete without all the guests crowding 'round!)

Who cares about the paper, what's inside?

Whoa!  My very own magnetic write on book!

Saving the "best" for last...

Makin' sure Daddy gets it out right

My very first ride-on toy!
And it makes noise!!! (just for Mom)

The legs aren't quite long enough to go - except backwards!

Brother makes a great pusher!

And here is a top view of the cake.  Many thanks to Grandma for making the cakes and helping put it all together!

We ended up with a half a dozen balloons hanging around the living room at home and Noah is in heaven! 

Happy Birthday Noah!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Today I am the mother of a four year old.  Really, how did this happen?  Although it's hard to remember him as the little boy (he's almost 4 feet tall) he once was, I still think he should be little.  Instead we can hold conversations about any number of things.  And most of the time they make a whole lot of sense!

Some days he wants me to take his picture, other days he runs from the camera...
This was a requested picture day

Cory really is a sweetheart.  He cares about other people and everyone tells me he's a very well behaved kid.  You know it's always Mom and Dad who get to see the not so nice side and think that he's a handful.  But some of it must be getting through!  He really is very good to Noah too and will do things for him that need being done when I ask him to help me out.

Yes, we wear our pajamas most of the day unless we have to get dressed

Cory is becoming more of a picky eater, like his mother.  It's a challenge to get him to eat sometimes, but I don't think he'll starve, weighing in at about 48 pounds! 

He's very particular in other areas of life too and sometimes we call him Mr. Particular.  Since November he's wanted a Thomas cake... and then about 6 weeks ago he decided he wanted a Nemo cake after seeing them in the grocery store.  I had just thrown out a McDonald's Nemo toy that would have made a perfect cake topper.  However, I'm glad I didn't buy one off eBay because 3 weeks ago he started telling me he wanted a cake with flowers on it.  When I asked him why he'd changed his mind he said, "Because I'm Spectacular!" misquoting us! 

I think the set of four new airplanes and a helicopter was a hit!  
Thanks to Daren and Leana and kids!

We were very glad that Grandma and Grandpa could come up and help celebrate birthdays with us.  Cory loves his all grandparents and the feelings are mutual!  He is so blessed and doesn't even know it!

I'm intending to start a little pre-school with him.  I bought some beginning Rod and Staff books and I hope they will be good.  We already know the alphabet by sight and most sounds, colors, shapes (for quite awhile on these last two), and number concepts.  Although we usually skip 10 when counting! 

Cory can write his name and type it on the computer as well as Noah's.  He loves to send emails to Grandma and Auntie Allison.  So the two things I think we need to start working on more are writing and then reading skills.

The birthday boy finally decided on a cake "with flowers" all over it.  
This was the best Mama's cake decorating skills could provide.

Happy Birthday my son.  May there be many more.  You are a blessing to us!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Waking Up...

Waking Up...

This is not something that I (or anyone around me) take lightly.  I am NOT a morning person.  Or really a waking-up-from-a-nap kind of person either.

I am groggy and I don't drink coffee.  You'd think I would learn after all these years, but while I love the smell of coffee (and even spent an entire summer as a barista) I do NOT like the taste.  At least I like green tea, which helps a little bit.

I am not one of those people who you will find wide awake at 6am getting things done.  Enjoying the sunrise.  Whatever it is that gets done at 6am in your house.  I would much rather get it done at midnight.  Quite literally.  I have on occasion cleaned my bathroom or something else at that time of night!

I am very thankful that my boys are not super early risers.  It probably helps that we don't put them to bed until at least 8:30.  But they are my alarm clock except on days when I have to leave the house before 9.

You can call me crazy, but it honestly takes me so much time and effort to get myself awake that if I got up at 6 I wouldn't enjoy the sunrise anyway, I'd still be half asleep!

There are times when I think my life might be easier if I could switch my body clock a bit and get up at 7 and go to bed at 10 (yes, I need that much sleep), but at this point in my life I'm not sure it will ever happen...

Don't wake me up too early!

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama.  Won't you join in?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Peering In

The cemetery where we buried my grandmother was quite old and there was a section with quite a few large mausoleums.  So interesting to wander around and wonder about the families buried there.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Noah's 1st Birthday Party

My baby turned one on Thursday without a whole lot of fanfare.  We have had THE SICK for the last 3 weeks or so and I just didn't plan anything.  My parents came for dinner, traditional corned beef and cabbage, which the birthday boy loved!  And I did make cupcakes...

Noah did the exact same thing as his big brother.  Touched the frosting, went "what is this" and showed me his hand as if he wanted me to wipe it off.  Unfortunately we are ridiculous parents and he put out the candle with his fingers rather than blowing.  (somehow we forgot what we did with Cory)  We all yelled as we saw him going for it, he didn't burn his fingers at all, but we traumatized the poor kid so bad he then refused to touch his cupcake.

Stellar parenting FAIL.

At least the birthday balloon was a hit!  We have learned that the balloons from the Dollar Tree last FOREVER (and you think I'm kidding, we got one for my dad when he had knee surgery and it was still up by the ceiling 2 months later!) so we go there rather than the grocery store.  Noah was a bit scared of it while we were in the store, but once we got home and he figured out he could pull it down by the string he was in heaven!

Birthday boy and his Nana!

Best birthday present!  He loves to pull on the string and watch it bounce on the ceiling.  He will point to it and make his "aaaaahh" sound whenever he sees it.  He will even stop nursing to point to it and "tell" me about it.

The back side is shiny so you can also see your [warped] reflection in it.  Very fun!

And we did finally convince him to eat a cupcake the next day.  He discovered they were good and is here asking for one.  Although he won't eat the frosting, just the chocolate part.  I don't blame him as it was way too sweet for me even.

Of course the most memorable part was the fact that the balloon was enough motivation for him to start walking!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Camping... in a House!

Saturday morning we headed out to Spokane for my Grandma's memorial and burial service.  We tried to bring the sunshine with us, but there were more and more clouds the closer we got.  It was a pretty nice drive even if our sons ate all our food and were asking for more...

There was a bit of rain, but the sun finally came out and the service was nice.  I even learned some things about my Grandmother that I didn't know from the history my mom read.  (Mom, I want a copy of that, please)

Afterwards we went over to my mom's cousin Linda's house to gather... which is actually the house my Grandmother grew up in.  Lot's of memories there.

Then we went to the house that we were going to stay in.  A house that belongs to one of Brian's college friend's aunt.  The house is furnished, but vacant and used when family and friends come to town.  It has a very old boiler/radiator heater system and runs off of oil so they keep it at around 55 degrees.  Sami was there and said they'd turned the heater up a bit for us, but when we got there at 8pm it was cold.  She came over to talk with us for awhile and we finally traipsed down to the basement to discover that the furnace was off at the breaker.

By this point it was after 10pm and by the time it would have heated anything we would be on our way out in the morning so we left it off.  Thankfully they had a good space heater for the boys room and we had an electric blanket.  But before we went to bed we had some hot chocolate and we could see our breath in the room...

The house has an amazing view out over downtown Spokane!  (and I was playing with my camera)

When we got up in the morning I think it was about 45 degrees in the house.  We tried to eat some breakfast we'd brought, but eventually just packed up and left!  Brunch at Starbucks in Fred Meyer never tasted so good and warm!
Next time we stay there I hope it's warmer weather outside...

And after less than 24 hours there we were headed home.  I think I'm done with traveling for awhile!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day Birthday Baby!

Ah, Baby Boy.  You're not a baby anymore!  Happy Birthday to my sweet little red-headed Irish Noah boy!

Well, most of the time he's sweet!  See that twinkle in his eye?  I think he's got a little Irish personality in him.  He is like quick-silver.  Can go from happy to screaming mad to happy again in less than a minute!  Especially if you take away a toy he's holding.

Noah is such a communicator.  We've been working on signs and in the last week or so he's really picked them up.  He's known "all done" for awhile, but still doesn't quite use it appropriately all the time.  Now we've got "more", "eat", and "milk" down and we're working on "drink".  Milk only took 4 or 5 times and he had that one down!  The boy knows what he wants!  And if he can see it he will point and yell.  Time to learn more signs!

He says Mama and sometimes Dada.  He also says Uh Oh when he drops something, usually his water on the floor.  And a few times I think I've heard him make the vowel sounds for Peek-a-Boo when we're playing.  Super cute!

My little man is very social and wants to be where we are all the time.  He'll be out in the living room with Daddy and I'll be in the computer room.  I hear crawling down the hall and soon a giggle/shriek as he comes around the corner and spots me.

Big brother wants to have music on all the time and Noah will kind of bounce along to the rhythm.  Also very cute to watch when he's in his high chair!

For some reason when he's bored (like in the car) he will take off his booties and socks.  If we're home he will then proceed to crawl around the house with them, one in each hand.  The other day Cory took his socks off for some reason and so those were just as good.  Any socks from a clean laundry pile on the couch are also fair game!

And finally... my baby is walking!  He's been standing on his own for a few weeks now and then started taking a step or two towards me if I had my hands out.  He would then lean and expect to be caught.  He was getting better, but today he got a balloon for his birthday.  The string was out about 4 feet from the couch and he just walked right on out and grabbed it!

Noah's Walking from Krista on Vimeo.

He grew up right in front of me.  One day at a time and now he's my little man, not a baby any longer.

And I almost forgot to mention... weighing in at 24 pounds and 29 3/4 inches tall!

The Next Day

Today the sun was out and I couldn't resist stopping to take these pictures.  The boys were already buckled in the car, but I had to run back for the camera!

I actually think they might have been in bloom before, but it was so overcast yesterday their buds were closed up tight.

Today made me feel like spring!

And it's Noah's birthday so look for birthday boy posts later today and tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Spring!

There are lots of green things poking up in my yard (not all of them weeds!) and these are the first spots of color I've seen.  Yay for spring!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The American Sandbox Dictionary Review

A year or so ago my friend Dahlia emailed me a link.  It was a page where you could submit your kids' hilariously mispronounced words for possible publication in a book.  So I submitted a few of Cory's funny pronunciations and then went on my way.

Last month I received my own copy of The American Sandbox Dictionary of Children's Mispronounced English and quickly thumbed through to see if any of Cory's words had made the cut.  I didn't find any, but that's because what they were really looking for were words that kids said that meant one thing, but the child meant something different!  For example: chapsticks is what the child said, but chopsticks is what they meant.

Here's what it looks like in the dictionary:
chap*sticks [CHAHP-stihks] plural noun
A pair of thin, tapered sticks typically made of wood, ivory, or plastic that are used as eating utensils by most Asian cultures by holding them between the fingers and thumb of the hand, allowing one to grab food.
"I can eat with chapsticks!"

The fun part about how this book is put together is that you get the chance to look at the word and then read the definition and see if you can figure it out.  They never actually give you the "real" word.


Alvin Zamudio is the author of this creative book and it uses illustrations drawn by his two children, Addison, and Mya.  He's currently collecting favorite sayings, mispronounced words, stories, and even parent's childhood memories for a second edition of his dictionary.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the current book will be donated to Mercy's Hope, an organization that supports orphans in Kenya.

Personally I enjoyed flipping through the pages and reading various entries.  It's one of those books where you sit by someone and every 30 seconds you say "hey, listen to this".  A very fun coffee table book or conversation starter.

Oh, and one of my friend Dahlia's submissions made the book!  Her son claimed his brother "has PB and J disorder", also known as TMJ!

This post was written for Family Review Network and Alvin Zamudio who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I feel the most loved when...

I feel the most loved when I feel noticed.  When someone wants to know how I'm doing, asks me again until I tell them.

I feel the most loved when I feel appreciated.  I really do try and do things for other people and I know I should do it just for the giving, but sometimes I feel like I give and I give and no one even cares.  So why bother anymore?  Perhaps that also has something to do with little boys who have to be taught to say thank you.  But they show their thanks and appreciation in other ways.  Snuggles and kisses and wanting to share everything that's going on with me.

I feel the most loved when you reach out and touch me.  Some days I am sick of touch (see above and little boys), but it's a different kind.  A hand on the arm, a hug even.

I feel the most loved when someone is taking care of me, as has been the case this week.  Brian staying home to take care of the boys and me when I could hardly get out of bed.  I don't often know how to ask so many outside my home probably don't know how to do this, but he does.  Sometimes a mom needs to be taken care of too, and not just when she's sick.

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama.  Won't you join in?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Mess

So I'm thinking that I probably should have said "no" to this photography workshop weekend way back when it was offered.  Not that I didn't learn a lot, but it put so many people out to take care of me and my kids that I probably should have waited until I could have gone on my own.

I'm still thinking about all I learned, but my brain is a bit fuzzy... because I'm hopped up on codeine and antibiotics at the moment.  Yes, I have strep throat, and the doctor actually said "wow" when she looked at my throat this morning.  Not usually a good sign.  But I'm just so glad to have a diagnosis that requires meds.  I think I would have cried if they'd just said it was a virus and needed to run it's course.

My poor Noah developed a rash while we were sitting in the waiting room and after looking at his slightly red ears they decided to put him on preventative antibiotics too.  Now Cory is coughing pretty hard and I'm hoping we won't have to make a third trip in tomorrow.  I took Noah in on Friday because he had a fever and we were leaving town, but the doctor didn't think it was anything to worry about.

So, my poor husband has been in school a sum total of a day and a half in the last week.  He was sick Wed-Fri last week and I don't know if we'd shared it with him or he then shared that with us.  Good times.

Anyway, my dad helped us out by going to help watch the boys.  I wouldn't have made it home yesterday without him to help drive.

Sadly there were some lovely crocuses in front of my in-laws house and I felt so lousy that I didn't even take a picture of them.  Even with all I learned.  I haven't taken a single picture in the last week, no Wordless Wednesday this week.

But probably the worst thing... when I got back from the class on Sunday night my dad told me that one of my brother's good friends had been killed in an avalanche while backcountry skiing.  They were friends since high school at least and in a small town like ours you know everyone.  So while I hadn't seen him in awhile it's still hard to think.  All the deaths we've dealt with in the last year were older people, not easy, but you know it's going to happen eventually.  This guy, younger than me.  (And yes, he was one of the most experienced outdoors men you could know)  At least you can say he died doing what he loved.

Please excuse the rambling and any grammatical mistakes... I'm off to bed.  Tell me what's going on with you?

Friday, March 04, 2011

Encouraging Each Other

Last Friday I wrote a little bit about how you could help your child (or yourself) take better photos.  Then in the next few days I saw no less than 3 more posts about taking better photos.  It must have been World Photography Week or something!  Anyway, the one that captured the heart of the message (and so much better than I) was from Sarah at Short Stop where she writes about it being the memories that are important. 

It's so true!  As I was scrapbooking last weekend (from 2003, yes, I am way behind) most of my pictures were not so great.  A little grainy, a lot far away.  I was still using film and my camera was second hand and had light leaks.  But honestly?  The memories I have captured more than make up for the quality!  So go, take more pictures already!

Besides, that picture I took of my son yesterday?  I forgot to turn my ISO back down and it's grainy.  I see it now, but in 15 years when he's heading off to college I won't care.  All I will see is the first day we sat down to start school and now he's off to college.

So I guess what I'm trying to do is encourage you!   It's okay if every picture you take isn't wonderful.  What's most important is, it's yours!


I've been thinking about encouragement a lot lately.  What I need.  How we can help each other. 

I really want to reach out to people when I can.  Sometimes I see a need or something I can do to help, other times I'm not as aware.

I know I need encouragement myself.  There are particular friends and bloggers that will say things, not knowing what I'm going through, and because they can relate, even that is simple encouragement.  

I think so often we think that we have to be perfect, to get everything done and have everything look right all the time in case someone is watching.  When really everyone else is trying to do the same thing and not watching us at all!  If we could instead just be real with each other, allow that we are having a hard time, perhaps we could be encouraged when the other person says, "yeah, me too", and know that we are not alone, in fact it's just part of life.

For me right now, I need to know that I'm only human.  I can't do everything and it's okay if my house is a mess or I don't get my homework done or all I did today was hang out in my pjs, but my kids are fed and the house hasn't burned down!  Some days this is reality with two small children (and many of you have more than two!).  Some days it's better than that, but I still don't feel like I have it all together.

So, what about you?  Where could you use some encouragement today?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Starting School

Someone's been bugging me to look at the "ABC books" I bought at Target, but I realized after one shot that they were way too advanced for him.  I found some printable lined paper (you know the kind, that looks like roads) and we started working on his name.  I can't believe he'll be 4 this month...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Of Mice and Scrapbooking

So this weekend I went up to my parents' house to do some scrapbooking with my mom and a friend. And then I found myself on a mouse hunt.

Apparently my parents were unknowingly feeding all the neighborhood mice this winter with a bag of birdseed in their garage.  Which has since been removed, but removing all the mice is not so easy.  Especially when some of them manage to find their way into your connected house.

Their dog alerted them to the fact that they were in the house by consistently sniffing at the edge of the computer desk where there is a shelving unit that goes all the way to the floor.  My dad had a couple of traps at either end, but I figured, why not just pull the books out and see if we can catch them.  Mistake or adventure?

I stationed my parents at either end of the desk (my mother with a sieve in hand in case one came her way, my father with a shoe or some sort of blunt object - you can see the differences already!) and I started pulling out books.  With a flashlight I spotted one, oh wait, there are two, behind the last book box.  When I wiggled it one of them split around behind, but the other one just sat there.  So I showed my dad and he promptly squished it against the edge of the desk (you're welcome).

The other one then ran back and forth along the wall behind the desk as we attempted to get it any way possible.  When it started to climb the computer cords we shook them.  Then for some reason it ran out the front, in front of my mother, who had misplaced her "mouse catcher" and instead started shrieking.  Imagine the scary noise you make when you're pretending to be a ghost, that kind of undulating half wail, half moan thing.  Now imagine it on fast forward and consecutively getting higher pitched.  The mouse zig zagged in front of her and behind the filing cabinet on the other wall.  I attempted to catch it, but all I could really do was watch as I was paralyzed by laughter.  My dad and I were both doubled over laughing at my mother.  Sorry mom, it was pretty funny!

The mouse had gone under the filing cabinet and after pulling out the bottom drawer we evicted it... right back under the computer desk.  This time when it ran out the other end my dad missed it and we thought it went down the hall (where my baby was sleeping).  I started pulling things out of the hall closets and then thought to look behind the one bag in the entryway.  Mouse!  It ran into the corner and started trying to climb the wall!  I wasn't fast enough with my shoe as it ran along the edge and it got into the living room and under the couch.

So, we pulled out the couch and watched it run in and out.  As soon as any of us made a move it would disappear.  Dad pulled out the bed part of the couch, but there was really no way to trap it.  And then it was just gone.  Best we can figure it went up inside the couch somewhere.  You can rest easy knowing that we put out traps at either end of the couch and found one dead mouse in the morning.

At one point I thought about getting out the camera and videoing the hilarity, but didn't actually do it until the funniest part was over.  It's pretty funny to me to watch it, but somehow I don't think my mother would appreciate it being online...

After all that excitement I didn't get to bed early as I wanted to on Friday night and so my scrapbooking got off to a very slow start and combined with having a baby there I only got 11 pages done.  My friend Holly got 20 and she had to leave at noon on Sunday since it was snowing and she had to drive over the pass to get home.

Somewhere along the line my family members all picked up a lovely cold too and I have been a slack about mother today.  I napped when my children did and my face is so swollen and puffy that I can actually see my cheeks in my peripheral vision.  I have nothing against Asians, but I am not Asian and yet my eyes look like I am at the moment.  It's bad!

Here's to getting well quickly before we go on a road trip this weekend to visit grandparents and take 2 day long classes!

PS. I've entered a grant competition put on by Mom Central and the first part of it is a popularity contest.  The top 15 vote getters will then be judged by a panel from Mom Central.  I would really appreciate your vote to help me become a finalist.  You can vote here, once per day. (If that link doesn't work my entry is titled "Be a Mom Encourager")  Thanks friends!