Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of a Wonderful Year!

 We took the kids sledding in the mountains to send off 2010!  They have been dying to go since we went last year.  This was the first time we took Paige with us and the first time I’ve ever seen her in the snow with a smile on her face.  She had a bad experience sledding a couple of years ago and was pretty apprehensive at first.  After our first run she was hooked though!

Digging into the chips during our lunch break.


Mmmm… finger lickin’ good!






Um, somebody’s not pulling her weight here!



She did a lot more eating of snow than sliding on it!



It was a beautiful, COLD day!  With over 30 inches of snow, plenty of sunshine and good friends we all had a great day!  Now we’ll see how late we all manage to stay up…

It’s midnight somewhere isn’t it?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve we went to the candlelight service at church before heading over to spend the evening with family.  After dinner and a couple of gifts the kids were begging us to take them home so they could go to bed!  Seriously, they couldn’t get home fast enough.P1080448-2

Once we were home they all tore into their new pajamas.  I managed one quick picture on the stairs before they headed up to bed!P1080449-2


Santa did stop by.  He treated us all well this year!  Trace got a video game and some gaming stuff.  Caden got his beloved Nerf gun and Paige was thrilled with her PINK Leapster!  We told them no one could be out of bed before 7am and I am still amazed at the fact that they actually do it!  They sat not-so-very patiently on the stairs waiting for Rick and I to get up.  Other hits this year included Legos for both boys, a magic kit for Trace and Pillow Pets for Caden and Paige.  Paige was also thrilled with her Twinkle Toes (shoes that light up) from Aunt Kim.  I was blessed with a new language learning program that rivals Rosetta Stone.  So expect to be hearing some Mandarin soon!P1080454-2





The aftermath is never pretty is it?  We had a wonderful Christmas this year with many blessings – not the least of which included family and friends!  By Sunday we were all pretty exhausted and spent most of the day doing – well, not much.P1080480-2

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tree hunting, Red & Green games and Gingerbread houses…

The kids in front of the final choice…


Trace had a try at sawing…


Caden had a try.  And I just gave it some thought!


The kids say this is why you don’t take teenagers tree hunting with you!



Trace’s school sends the kids off to Christmas Vacation with the Red and Green games every year.  Each class is assigned a color (red or green) and a boys and girls team from each grade is chosen in each color, to play a 10 minute basketball game.  Of course the best game is the teachers against the eighth graders!  The kids are so wound up and excited that you can’t help getting into it with them! 


Trace (standing on the right) was Red this year (obviously).  The eighth grade boys pulled off a win for the red in the last few minutes! Yay!


Today we made our annual gingerbread houses.  Every year we have made them with the same friends so it is definitely a tradition!  I was especially amazed at how much more detailed the houses looked this year over past years.  One more sign of how they are all growing up!  If I can find some past year’s pictures I’ll try to post them side by side.




Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is coming...

Paige had her preschool Christmas program, the boys had parties and I finished up my last day of work for the year! The end of the week was pretty insane and by Thursday night I had reached my peak stress level. Then as each event passed on Friday the stress dropped - Whew! Friday night I met Rick at the airport to fly with him for the end of his trip to Eugene. We knew all day the plane would be late (thank you wonderful San Francisco airport). So I wound up with five hours to try and stay awake kill in the airport. After two I was loosing the battle! By midnight we finally boarded and by 2 am we finally turned the light off in our hotel room! What a night. Saturday though, we slept in really late.
We wandered the mall and I even got in a little nap before heading back to the airport. Of course, that flight was late too. Apparently everyone else on the flight decided to drive so I wound up being the only passenger on the plane! Talk about service! The kids would have loved it.
So now we are on to the week before Christmas! Today I am finishing housework so that we can bake gingerbread men, sugar cookies and build gingerbread houses the next few days. Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where oh where have I been?

Um, working, shopping, on facebook, shopping, napping, working. Notice there is no 'cleaning house' on that list - hmmm. All you have to do is look around this house to see that it clearly wasn't on the list - any list. Every single year I make mental plans of all the things we are going to do durning the Christmas Season. Gingerbread men, sugar cookies, sledding at the mountain, ice skating, hot chocolate and Christmas movies. You know, the real Currier and Ives type things. I pledge not to be hurried or frazzled but to instead create wonderful memories for my children! I'll have time to play carols on the piano and wrap gifts in front of the fire place. Most importantly, I'll have the time to sit in front of the Christmas tree, in the dark, and contemplate the real meaning of Christmas. Doesn't it sound wonderful?
----- insert screeching sound-----
It's pouring rain (literally. pouring); the gifts are half wrapped and the paper and trappings are strewn across my living room; no cookies have been baked -none. nada; the teacher's gifts are being rapidly thrown together at the last hour; the piano is buried; and the snow melted on the mountain the day before our scheduled trip (seriously

So much for Currier and Ives. Somehow, mysteriously, Christmas will still arrive. And somehow, magically no one will care just how it happens. That is the beautiful thing about Christmas - it comes. Somehow or other it comes just the same.

So here is a picture of little miss fancy pants all dressed up for her grandparent's 40th anniversary party. Since it is unlikely I'll be getting to the Christmas cards this year - I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Shopping for a 12 Year Old

Hmm... So, Trace says he really, really, really wants an Ipod Touch this year. As his mom I really, really, really want to get him his heart's desire. But there are just a couple of problems with his request. The most obvious issue is the price. At $239 it would pretty much break the bank. Not to mention, I personally think that $239 is an awful lot for a gift for one person - especially a twelve year old! The next issue is the internet connection. We have a strict policy of no internet in our house unless it is in an open, family area. Giving him internet access to carry in his pocket seems to go a bit against this. Rick and I decided to go in to Best Buy and see if they had any other options we might find acceptable. We found a nice, friendly clerk and asked his opinion. We told him our son was twelve and that a Touch just wasn't happening. I lost hope when he asked why we didn't want him to have internet access - umm, did you miss the part about him being twelve?! Admittedly we asked the wrong clerk, he was maybe all of 20 years old. Next time we'll find an elderly (by Best Buy standards, like 40 something) clerk to talk to.
Needless to say, we still haven't found an alternative. In a few moments of weakness I've toyed with the idea of getting him a laptop (like Black Friday cheap one), or a cell phone. But I quickly remind myself that he is TWELVE! What is left to get him at 14, 15, 16? So, at this point we still have no ideas for him. It looks like he will be getting a variety of little things and not have "the one big thing he wants most" included. I guess that's ok too.
I'm trying to figure out if I am just terribly old fashioned/behind the times or if the world is pushing these kids along too fast? I know that in a lot of ways kids are growing up much faster than we did but isn't that the way things have always been? Doesn't each generation seem to push the boundaries a little more? How do you know, as a parent, which areas to allow and which to fight? We've chosen to fight the over sexualization of little girls; Paige isn't allowed to wear clothes with writing on the backside, shirts that show her belly with arms stretched above her head, bikinis, heals, or makeup. She is going to push and already has, but it is something we are pretty passionate about and intend to hold firm on for as long as possible. We have also been a bit "restrictive" with movies and video games. PG13 ratings are given for a reason and given by people who's values are far lower than ours therefore we abide by them. Our kids will tell you that they can't watch PG13 or play Teen games because if they play them now there won't be anything for them to play when they are teenagers. There have been a couple of exceptions, but only after very careful consideration! Children have always wanted to be grownup and grownups have always wished for their youth back, it's an age old conundrum. I guess I'd rather my kids seem a bit innocent or naive. They only get one chance to be kids. As we all know adulthood lasts far longer. I am always hoping that we are making the right choices for them. It isn't always easy that's for sure. Someday they'll thank us for it right? Right? Yeah, that's what I thought!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family Day #4

On November 13, 2006 our family was made complete by a very special baby girl a continent away.  She looked at me with her big eyes then leaned around to get a look at her daddy.  For a brief moment her little lower lip quivered but she didn’t shed a tear.  She grinned her way into our hearts and we have never been the same.first family day photo


What an absolutely beautiful girl she has grown into!  Those big, black eyes, her little dimple and long silky hair only make her beautiful on the outside.  But the thoughtfulness she shows for her brothers, the hugs and snuggles she so freely gives and her sensitive spirit make her beautiful on the inside!  We are so very blessed!

Ironically, November is National Adoption Month.  We are so fortunate to know personally the gift that adoption is.  To know the way it not only changes a child’s life, but the way it has changed ours.  We will never be the same…

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Caden’s Football Championship Game

We were the “guest” team…






With 2:04 left in the game the Sharks got one last touchdown!  It was an exciting game that just seemed to go back and forth depending on who had the ball.  Fortunately, for us, we had the ball last!  Way to go Sharks!  We’re proud of you Caden!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Halloween and beyond…

This year we had a Whoopie Cushion a Ninja and a BLUE Butterfly.  We were lucky to have Rick home again so that I could go out for the first run then he went for the second (and longer) one.  Works for me!P1080130-2


Paige and Carson were so cute holding hands as we walked through the neighborhood.  Awww…P1080135-2

In other happenings;  Trace seems to have gotten the message and things are going better at school.  He’s a good kid, just needed a little reminder. 

With Caden we have made some changes in his life that I wish we had made years ago.  No need lamenting what could have been though – now we just look forward to the future!  He is a new kid and it is truly amazing.  I’m having fun with him and enjoying having him around now – WOW!

Today both boys began their adventures in orthodontia.  Trace had it relatively easy with just an upper spacer being put in.  Poor kid didn’t get much sympathy though when his brother had four teeth pulled and a spacer put in!  Next week he goes in for his upper spacer which should be a piece of cake after today.  

Coming up next will be Caden’s football Championship game on Saturday.  We are so proud of him and his team for making it two years in a row!  Trace’s friend birthday party and final soccer game next week.  Whew – then life slows down, right?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life is never simple...

... no matter how hard you try!

Just keep hanging in there!

Caden's behavior has had a dramatic change in the last three days! We haven't had and major meltdowns and essentially NO fighting. If you've known us for long then you'll understand what a HUGE deal this is! I am so excited to see the "new" Caden emerging!

"You take the good, you take the bad..."

We had teacher conferences yesterday. Trace's teacher said, "he is a brilliant kid and his grades are wonderful." Then she closed his file, folded her hands and said, "but there are some other issues we need to discuss." Oh-crap. You just know this isn't going to be good. She was very careful in her wording and I knew she had probably stressed over just how to say what she wanted. But how exactly do you tell parents that their kid is an obnoxious pain in the you-know-what? Rude, disrespectful and arrogant. Mmmm hmm, not good.

THEN... to top the week off, we had a huge nightmare/mixup with our checking account and let's just say my paycheck was gone before it arrived. Two months of working without a check then it's just gone!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, our satelite receiver died Monday morning and we've had no t.v. all week. Not a huge deal (thank goodness for Netflix though), but definitely a pain.

Sooooo, it's a good thing we are a the place we are at right now and we're not letting it get to us like it could. The house is clean(ish), there is food in the pantry (thanks to a shopping trip before discovering the checking issue), and we are all healthy. The rest will work itself out!

So, how's your week been?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Patch


Yesterday we drove past the local pumpkin patch and were totally shocked to see the number of cars and people!  It was INSANE I tell you!  We first started going to this place when Trace was just tiny and essentially no one had heard of it.  It’s grown just a tad.  So, as we drove by yesterday and discussed the cost for a family of five we knew there was no way we could swing it this year.  I knew the kids were bummed (especially Trace who loves tradition), but they are so understanding of financial matters.  Then late in the evening there was a knock at the door and in walks a friend we literally haven’t seen in years!  He works a the pumpkin patch and was stopping by with five free passes for us!!!  I was honestly just totally shocked.  How could he have know the decision we had made just hours earlier?  Only God.P1070958-2


So with the beautiful Fall sun shining down on us we set out this morning to try and beat the crowds.  Apparently everyone who wasn’t there yesterday decided to get up early and go today presumably to beat the crowds.  Needless to say it was a bit crowded!  By the time we left though there was a line probably a good 20 minutes just to get on the tractor to take you out to the fields and cars had filled the parking areas and spread across the street to the baseball field’s parking lot!  Just nuts!  According to our friend they estimated over 9000 people yesterday ALONE!  At $8 a person, three days a week over three weekends?!?  Holy Cow. 

P1070983-2 P1070975-2

The kids had a lot of fun and were sooo grateful to be there!  Trace just kept saying how much he loves going since we all get to go as a family and it is such a fun place to be.  The boys and Rick picked four of the largest pumpkins they could find and I just shook my head and told Rick he better be prepared for all that cleaning he’ll be doing!  Before heading home we had some hot apple cider and kettle corn and the boys did the corn maze while Paige and I checked out the animals.  What a fun filled, beautiful day!!!


Crazy days

Wow!  What a week we just had!  For my new job I was required to take a class on Non-violent Crisis Intervention –12 credit hours earned over four nights.  With a husband who travels and three kids with activities that isn’t easy.  (thank you Mom and Ed!)  So this week I had that on Monday and Wednesday nights and on Tuesday night I had CPR training for work!  Thursday I picked the boys up early from school for a visit to the orthodontist.  We’ve been going every six months and are always told to come back in six more months.  I strongly suspected Trace was about to the point of starting but I was a bit shocked when he said Caden was ready too!!  Holy cow – doesn’t having them three years apart buy me three years between treatments?  Apparently not if the second one’s mouth is a far bigger mess.  So Trace will be getting a spacer on November 4th and poor Caden will be getting four teeth pulled and a spacer on the top AND bottom!  I got to go into the special little room to “go over the details” – Ahem, the BILL.  Good thing the Suburban is almost paid off.  Well after that appointment we took Trace to unicycle then raced home to get both boys ready and out the door to practices.  So another day where I was gone 8-7 basically.  Let me tell you, I was pretty exhausted by Friday!

Work is going well for me.  It isn’t my favorite job of all time, but it is ok for now.  The kids are all doing well.  Caden has adjusted very well to being back at his old school which has been a huge relief to see.  Paige is having fun in preschool despite the fact that they (at my request) are riding her pretty hard.  We are trying to get her to play with the other kids rather than follow the adults around or just sit in the book corner.  She isn’t happy about it but is making an effort. 

A wonderful friend stopped by last night and surprised us with free tickets to the pumpkin patch so I think we are going to try to get there this morning.  Guess I’d better get moving!

I’ve been really slacking on the picture taking lately (wonder why?) but here is one of an awfully cute little guy.  Cruz is 4.5 months old now and just the happiest little guy.  After the pumpkin patch I should have lots of pictures.