Friday, March 30, 2012

{a little of this, a little of that}

Sometimes I feel like a broken record...saying the same thing over and over.  And over again.  Our life seems to be extra hectic lately.  I find our weekends often over committed, but they sure are fun.  Exhausting, yes, but so fun!  A couple of weekends back, we had a zinger of a weekend and managed to survive.  I wish I would have snapped more pictures, but I'll just have to recap the fun with words instead.
Saturday morning, I got off work a few minutes early and rushed to meet Kyle and do a quick kid swap in the Starbucks parking lot.  He was helping our dear friends, the Grices, move into their new home.  Thankfully there were a lot of guys helping out, so they were able to get everything loaded and moved in four hours.  We are so excited for Zack and Rachel and their new home!

While Kyle was moving, the kids and I managed to run a couple of errands and then get home, get changed and head off to Carter's baseball practice.  It was cold and wet and not a whole lot of fun.  Also, Kennedy managed to throw a major fit.  So major that I had to put her in the car, strap her into her car seat and leave her there for quite some time.  This nice man walked by my screaming child, locked in the car and muttered "wow.  She has some lungs."  Thanks sir, as if I was not already sufficiently embarrassed.

After practice, we headed home, ate a quick lunch and got ready for Lauren's 4th birthday party.  It was such a fun party, held at a local frozen yogurt shop.  The kids had a blast and both professed their desire to have their next birthdays at Menchees! 

sweet friends

Happy Birthday, Lolo, we love you!

From the birthday party, we rushed back home, grabbed a healthier bite to eat and raced off to church for our small group time.  I always love these couple of hours together and am so thankful for this group of families.  The kids love playing with their friends and Kyle and I get some quality time with quality friends!

I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow!

Sunday was equally as busy and just as much fun.  After church, I said goodbye to Kyle and the kids and headed downtown to meet the girls for our monthly brunch.  Typically we meet at someones home, but this month was a special one - we celebrated Shanda's engagement and Kirstin's 35th birthday - so we went out and tried a great restaurant, Screen Door.  Such amazing food, although be prepared to wait...we waited 2 hours!  Yes, you read that right, 2 hours to be seated.  Thankfully we were with friends and were able to catch up and enjoy our time together.  And the food was worth the wait!

Lindsay, Lisa, Kirstin, Cheri and Shanda. 

The two hour wait for brunch put me a little behind schedule, but I raced down I-5 and was able to meet my dear friend, Ali, at Bridgeport for a quick chat.  She was in town celebrating her dad's 70th birthday and we were fortunate enough to squeeze in a little visit.  She's expecting baby #3, a sweet boy, any day now, so I was so thankful for the chance to see her pregnant again.  She is beautiful inside and out.  Such a treasured friend!
It's amazing how much talking you can pack into an hour - I'm sure we could have easily talked for another 10, but we always cherish the time and laughs we have together.

How cute is my sweet friend?  I adore you, Ali, and am so grateful for our time together!

A few errands later and I was zooming back into downtown where I met up with Diane and Val.  For Christmas I had purchased tickets for us all to see Wicked together.  It's one of my very favorite shows and I was excited to share it with them.  We met for a quick drink at VQ and then headed over for the show.  Oh, it was as wonderful as I had remembered it!  The singing was incredible, sets amazing and the story unforgettable.  It was truly a fabulous way to spend the evening!

A few more random (cute) pictures...
Instead of getting ready for school on Monday morning, Kennedy decided to play dress up instead.  She's in her butterfly costume from Halloween two years ago.  But she was so proud to have gotten dressed all by herself.  I think she was a little bummed that I wouldn't let her wear it to school!
She can be a turkey, but we love her to pieces!  I can't get enough of that smile!

Managed to get dressed and out the door on time!
A small miracle, I assure you.

a close call

We had a bit of a scare last week...terrifying to think what could have happened,  but so thankful that we just ended up with a cold, wet Kennedy!

Thursday afternoon, after playing in the snow that morning, we had spent most of the day couped up inside.  It seems like we've been doing a lot of that lately.  So when there was a break in the rain, we decided to go for a walk/ride/scoot around the walking trail.  When we got to the first bridge, the kids asked to play and explore by the creek.  To be honest, I was thrilled just to be outside and I figured we'd wash off any mud once we got home.  Have at it, kids!
Due to the large amount of rain we had been having and all of the melted snow from earlier in the day, the creek was full and rushing forcefully.  In my head I had thought, "I hope they don't fall in," but I was there and felt okay with it.  What started off as a wonderful time of outdoor exploration and play (with Kennedy exclaiming, "this is the best day ever!" ended with my baby falling into the muddy water and quickly rushing downstream.  I was only about 20 feet away, up on the bridge with Jake and I got to her and pulled her out in less than 5 seconds.  But my mind went to that dark place and I thought of children playing by the water unattended and what could have happened.  Even though she's a swimmer, there is no way that Kennedy could have stood up against the force of the water.  She did a great job keeping her head up and didn't seem to panic, though.  I am proud to say that my natural instinct was to act, not freak out (opposite of what I would have thought, to be honest).  The icing on the cold, wet cake was that I had let go of Jake when I took off running into the creek to get Kennedy and the silly dog followed me right in!  Not only did I have a wet, cold little girl, but now a wet, cold, dirty dog.  Great. 
We sloshed back home, each step squishing with wet rain boots, Kennedy crying and telling me she didn't love the creek anymore, didn't want to play outside - ever and that she didn't even want a birthday party.  I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at that point.  Always dramatic, she is.  We made it home, a little wetter but not too worse for wear.  I got her straight into a warm bath and within a few minutes she was fine, not at all traumatized.  I, on the other hand, was a bit shaky for the remainder of the day.

I kind of felt like a terrible mother, as I had her wait for a second in the garage while I snapped a quick picture.  I cannot even imagine how heavy all of her clothes must have felt soaking wet.  And yes, she was outside playing in her pajamas.  Quite the outfit, no?

Oh Kennedy, I have a feeling this might be one of many close calls we have with you.  You are fearless and always want to keep up with the big kids.  I pray you will stay safe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

spring snow

The calendar may say spring, but our weather has been very winter like recently.  We woke up on Thursday morning to a couple inches of snow, although it had already started to melt, and a 2 hour late start at school.  And since Carter is in the morning kindergarten class, a 2 hour delay results in no school for him.  We've had four such days in March alone, he has barely gone to school this month!
As much as I love snow and appreciate it's beauty, I am so ready for spring.  I must admit, though, that this was some of the best snow we've had for playing in this winter.  The kids had a ball!
My little snow bunny

Carter and our neighbor Nate
I was slightly concerned that I was going to be beaned by a snowball while I was trying to snap this picture!

Our friends had fun disk sleds and good drive ways to use as a hill.
It was a lot of fun watching the kids enjoy sledding.

The look of pure joy on her face says it all.

It was a great morning spent outside, enjoying the snow for (hopefully) the last time this winter and playing with friends.
Now, bring on the sun!

Friday, March 23, 2012

a date with Nana

Nana's visit was a couple of weeks ago, but my mom just sent me a few pictures from her camera that I wanted to share. 
Since Kennedy was sick for the majority of Nana's stay, we weren't able to have our normal fun.  Thankfully by Friday, Kennedy was well enough to venture out of the house for a short time.  Since I was working, Nana thought it would be fun to do something special and she did not disappoint!  The kids had such a wonderful time!
They headed to Build a Bear and came home with great creations, enjoyed frozen yogurt at the mall and then even managed to get a little fresh air playing outside.  Since we had basically been couped up for the entire week, I know it was a nice change of pace for everyone.
Yummy yogurt!

A princess bear, complete with a little laughing sound maker, pink high heels and a crown.
Kennedy loves it!
Sadly, we didn't get pictures of Carter with his stuffy.  He chose to "build" Alvin the chipmunk - he was kind of obsessed after seeing the movie earlier in the week.  But I have to say, he did such a cute job - his noise maker plays "Wild One" and Alvin is wearing shoes with roller skates.
They both love their animals so much, THANK YOU NANA!!!

You can tell by her nose that Kennedy was still on the mend.  She was extra cuddly during Nana's trip and pretty much stuck to her side.  It wasn't too surprising to learn that Nana caught Kennedy's cold after leaving.

A little fresh air is good for everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It's funny how St. Patrick's Day has evolved for us. Where it used to be a day of beer drinking, it's now a chance to do fun art projects and encourage the kids' imagination!  And to be honest, I think it's a lot more fun now.  There is just something magical about seeing the wonder and excitement through the eyes of innocent children...
I love that Carter still believes in things (Santa Claus, leprechauns, etc.) and gets so jazzed to celebrate.

Kennedy had her "green day" on Tuesday.  I couldn't believe that this was the only green thing in her closet.  I love green, it's one of my favorite colors to wear, but Kennedy's wardrobe is lacking a little.  Even in a 2T shirt, she managed to look cute!

I found a few cute and simple ideas on Pinterest that the kids could help me make.
First up - pretzel &chocolate treats for friends, teachers and classmates.

Some ribbon and cute (free!) printables and I thought we had a nice little gift.
Carter had a great time helping me and did such a good job.  Both kids helped to sort the green M&Ms and unwrap the Hershey kisses, but Carter loved assembling them, as well.

Next up was a fruit loop (or fruit hoops as Kennedy calls them) rainbow craft.  I decided to do this one for a number of reasons.  #1 being that I love fruit loops but obviously never buy them, this gave me a justifiable excuse.  #2 was the fact that I thought it was a craft that had a little bit of educational value, as well.  The kids sorted their cereal by color and then put them in order of the rainbow.

Finished product!
I helped draw the pot o' gold, but then the kids used glitter glue (always fun!) to add a little sparkle.

Cute, don't you think?

On Friday night, Carter decided he wanted to build a leprechaun trap.  Nothing too impressive, just some Tupperware and a marker with his rainbow craft as bait.  We had a lengthy discussion as to what leprechauns prefer to eat...I wasn't too sure.

Here's the note that Carter wrote to accompany his trap:
"We will let you go if you will leave 8 pieces of gold"

And those silly leprechauns did come...leaving only gold chocolate coins, much to Carter's disappointment.  They also left glitter and messes throughout the house.  The kids loved it!

Forgot to flush!

Took a bath and then left a couple of coins as a payment.
They also disrupted the kitchen - stacking up cups, turning over chairs, turning the milk green and leaving a trail of glitter. 
Their redeeming gesture - they brought the kids Lucky Charms - a huge hit!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from our little leprechauns to you!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

a morning in kindergarten

This first year of "real" school for Carter has been okay.  Not great, but certainly not terrible.  For a kid who has always loved school, it's been so hard for me to hear Carter moan about not wanting to go each morning.  What a change from the past two years.  I think our problem is two-fold...#1 Carter thinks he's missing out on fun things at home.  He knows that Kennedy and I are home together and we just must be doing something fun without him.  Um, not so much.  Usually our mornings include grocery shopping, laundry or cleaning bathrooms, a real party I'm sure!  #2 is that I'm afraid Carter is bored.  He likes the "fun" activities of school - recess, PE, play time with friends - but he's pretty bored with the curriculum.  I know this isn't a unique problem, as several friends of mine have struggled through similar years with their children.  Kindergarten kids present such a wide range of knowledge and I know that one teacher can only do so much with 25 kids.  In 3 hours.  It just makes me sad that Carter has lost the zest for learning that I saw so evidently in his two years of preschool.  He also is suffering from a bad case of "know-it-all-ness."  We are working on him prefacing a lot of what he says with, "I think" as opposed to "I know."  Trying to stress the difference between those two things and also trying to teach some humility while preserving his confidence.  It's a tricky challenge but most certainly an essential one.
Academically, he's doing great.  He is bringing home the first grade readers and seems to excel in math.  He definitely understands numbers and other math type concepts, it just clicks for him.  Reading is definitely harder for him, as he'll guess at words without trying to sound them out.  But the level at which he is reading is remarkable.  He's doing so great!  Writing and spelling are coming along, too, although, again, he gets frustrated if he doesn't know the right way to spell a word instantly.  It's something we will continue to work on.
I've had the luxury of volunteering in his classroom each Thursday morning this year.  It's great to actually see what's going on during the day and get a little taste of how he interacts in class.  I have to smile when his hand is the first to shoot up when the teacher asks him a question.  Mrs. Young says he's very enthusiastic.  I think that's a nice way to put it.

This week, Kennedy and I went to school on Wednesday, as well.  We attended the morning assembly and then helped out with a special art program.  Each year a local artist comes to Grass Valley and helps with a more indepth art project.  This year the students are painting glass tiles.  The kinders will have theirs permanently mounted in the bathrooms, which I thought was pretty neat.  The kids had only 30 minutes to finish up their tiles, so it was a little hectic, but I was so impressed by how some of them turned out.  The combination of colors by some of the little ones were amazing!

Listening to instructions before they started painting. 

Using a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.  Ms. Marty was the "Artist in Residence" this year.

Since we were at school for most of the morning, I thought it would be fun for Kennedy and I to stay and eat lunch with Carter.  He only gets to eat at school every other Wednesday and he loves to eat hot lunch.  It's kind of a big deal.  Kennedy was thrilled to be eating with the kinders and had a fun day at school.  Carter was busy talking and playing with his friends and rushed off to recess as soon as he was done eating.  I don't think he thought it was as special as I had hoped :)
There were a few things that I noticed during our lunch together.  First, I was reminded again that my kids are great eaters.  It's a blessing not to have to fight that battle each day (we have plenty of others to keep us busy, trust me!).  It was hard for me to see so many of Carter's classmates dump nearly full trays of food into the garbage.  I was so proud to see that Carter chose several carrots and orange slices and ate those things first.  Of course both he and Kennedy chose chocolate milk, but I think a twice a month treat is ok.  I'm not sure how we'll work lunch next year when Carter's at school all day - maybe he'll get to eat hot lunch on Wednesdays again.  I'm sure that will be a debate.

All it all, it was a great morning at school!

Friday, March 16, 2012

9 years!

Our story is a good one, I think...and as I look back, I am absolutely certain that God's timing and plan was perfect.  Even though Linfield is a tiny college and Kyle and I were both active in the Greek system, we didn't meet until my senior year when he moved into the apartment next door.  Perfect timing.  We had a lot of fun, dated other people, did a little studying and were at a great spot to start a more "serious" relationship when we met.  From the first glance at (a shirtless) Kyle, I knew that I wanted to get to know him better.  Really, who wouldn't, he was so cute?!?  We attended a party together and went on our first official date (a Kevin Bacon movie) a couple of weeks later.  I knew pretty quickly that this relationship was different and special.  It wasn't always smooth sailing, but we had a lot of fun and fell very much in love.
And as we celebrated our ninth year of marriage today, I can honestly say that I found the perfect man for me.  He is a calming balance to my somewhat high strung self, he offers rational perspective, isn't easily agitated and is always loving. His love is something that I count on and have never doubted.  Marriage is a not a sprint, it's a marathon, and there are days that are harder than others, it's certainly not always easy, but I am so thankful to have a husband who is faithful, loyal, loving and patient. 

And here's a look at our journey together...
Fall of 1999
We'd only been dating a few months by this point...I kind of think we look exactly the same, am I delusional?

Alpha Phi informal
You'll notice a trend if you look at our college pictures - we were often in crazy clothes or funny hats.  My girlfriends and I were notorious for dressing up and parading around campus.  Such innocent fun.  I loved those days!

Spring of 2000
Theta Chi Red Ox
Yep, it's a big ol' barn dance and it was a ton of fun.  I just laugh at the frequency of my overall wearing. a party?  And I confess this wasn't the first time. 

March 15th, 2003
Happy then, happier still...
I love this picture and I loved everything about that day!
I often find my mind wandering on Sunday mornings at church, thinking back to this special day.  We were calm and so completely ready to start our life together.  It was emotional and fun.  We were surrounded by our friends and family and made a promise to God and each other.  I wouldn't change a thing.
And so began our life together as husband and's a little look at the places we've been.

First stop, our honeymoon to Fiji!

We stayed at a beautiful, secluded, relaxing resort and enjoyed every minute together.  We went scuba diving, had lobster dinners, laid in the sun, read, snorkeled, attempted (and failed) to kayak around our little island and talked about our dreams for the future.

The following year we headed to Disneyland with friends.  Kyle hadn't been since he was a kid and we had such a great time together!

Here we are in the waters of the Caribbean.  We wanted to take a special trip before we started a family, and we decided to take a cruise to the eastern part of the Caribbean.  Still one of the best weeks of my life.  We had so much fun, got to see four different island nations, dress up for fancy dinners, relax poolside and meet new people.  It was the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure.

We've managed a few trips to San Francisco to visit Kyle's sister.  This trip was especially memorable, because both Stacy and I were pregnant.  It was also fun, because Stacy and Justin lived in the heart of the city and we were able to do a lot of the fun, touristy things.  Carter was a pretty easy traveller and was at such a fun age.  This was a very happy time.

Every other year we are fortunate enough to head down to Cabo San Lucas with Kyle's family for a week vacation.  We have been three times and each time gets better!  I can't imagine how nice it will be to go next year and have both kids out of cribs, done with diapers and naps and able to swim on their own!  We might actually get to relax.  Oh the thought!

And our best adventure...two healthy, spunky, smart and beautiful little ones that God has blessed us with.

So, after nine years here is where we are in life - Thankful for our healthly family, happily employed during this time of economic unrest, struggling at times to raise our strong willed children, growing in our faith together and counting our blessings!

Kyle and I were able to celebrate our anniversary on Sunday evening.  Ken and Diane were gracious enough to watch the kids so we could enjoy a few hours together.  We ran a few errands (and we asked ourselves when running errands alone began to feel like such a luxury?) and then had a wonderful dinner.  We lingered over drinks and appetizers, took our time eating our meal and talked.  We planned and dreamed and had fun thinking about our future. 

Happy 9th Anniversary!

To many more!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Matinee with the Chipmunks

Sometimes laughter can be the best medicine!
Even though Kennedy was still feeling sick, we decided that an outing to the movies wouldn't be too taxing for her.  And to be honest, I was so tired of being at home that I had to figure out a little outing for us or I might have gone crazy!  My poor mom is here visiting and sadly we haven't been able to have our usual fun.  Well, this little trip to the movies was fun. 

We headed to the Liberty Theater in downtown Camas and caught an afternoon showing of Alvin & the Chipmunks - Chipwreked.  I don't know that I've ever seen Carter laugh so hard.  He was so excited and seemed to really love the show.  I love that he watches movies from the edge of his seat, giddy with excitement.  And really, who wouldn't enjoy six little chipmunks singing Lady Gaga and Beyonce?  It certainly won't win an Oscar, but it was an entertaining kids movie.

Nana and the kids excited for the movie to start!

Donuts with Dad {revised}

How sad and disappointing for an excited three year old to have to miss a special event at preschool...Kennedy has been sick for days and unfortunately had to miss school this week.  Donuts with Daddy was scheduled for Tuesday and there was no way that Kennedy could attend.  She cried a little and begged to go, but in the end, she cheered up quickly when Daddy brought donuts home for breakfast.  It wasn't quite the same as sharing the morning at school with Dad, but it had to do.

Of course I had to get a few pictures...notice the scabs and redness under Kennedy's nose.  Poor little one's nose was running so often that it was rubbed raw.  Come to find out, Kyle, who has also been sick for some time, has pneumonia so it was definitely for the best that we all stayed away from preschool!
Kennedy's donut request:  chocolate
Daddy's special surprise:  chocolate with sprinkles!

I was able to pick up her school work when I was at church for bible study, so they sat together and colored paper ties for one another when Daddy got home from work.  We thought it would be fun for Kyle to bring in donuts to K's class once she's feeling better, too.