Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Day at the Zoo

Eric and I finished out the year with the kids by going to the zoo! The zoo was running a deal where if you paid for one adult then one child got in free. Worked out great for us so we took them up on the offer. Today we entered at the West gate rather than the North gate like we usually do. I only mention this because we saw some things that we have never looked at! Usually we start with the attractions by the North gate but are tuckered out by the time we hit the stuff by the West gate and boycott it so we can go home. Not today! All those things that we usually miss we looked at today. Mostly it was some birds and ducks but Eric and I found it interesting so there you go.

Once we made it through that area we stopped for lunch at the cafeteria. It was really chilly today so there were very few people at the zoo which was wonderful. None of the exhibits were crowded which is always a plus. On the down side it did start to rain right after lunch and so we were pretty wet by the time we finished. Although I guess we should expect that living in the PNW. At lunch we asked everyone what one thing they HAD to see before we left.

Andrew picked the snakes as his must see exhibit. I am not super fond of the reptile house but at least it was warm and dry so off we went. The kids really enjoyed looking at all the exhibits in the house. And at the end of the snake area there was a touch exhibit.

The kids were all incredibly brave touching the snake. I declined. But I was glad to see that the kids were ok with it.

Even Lucy was braver than me!

After the nocturnal house it was a time to see the gorillas (my pick). I didn't get any pictures of the gorilla baby this trip but it was being super cute and wrestling with one of the other gorillas. The big gorilla would beat its chest and tackle the baby. It reminded me a lot of Eric wrestling with the kids. Lots of fake aggression and tackling.

A quick walk to see the elephants (Zane's pick) and then the grizzly bears (Eric's pick) rounded out the animal watching.

We spent a lot of time watching the otters. They are always such a hit. Cute little buggers they are! (plus it was covered!)

We even got to see the super elusive gray wolf they claim lives at the park. In all the years we have been coming Eric and I have never seen the darn thing. Today we not only saw it but got to take some photos. It was very cool.

The end of the day we went on a carousel ride. I don't know exactly why but it was a free carousel ride day today. We rode it twice! A very nice treat because it is not something we would normally spend money to do!

Spending time with my family. I can't think of a nicer way to end 2009!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have had a suspicion for a few days now that my Gwenie girl could sit. She is pretty sturdy when you have her sitting on your lap so I thought that I would try her out tonight on my bed while I was folding clothes. Lo and behold I was right!

Not only can she sit, she also never fell on her face and managed to stay sitting for about 20 minutes before she finally tuckered out. She even could bend over to grab at stuff and then get back to a full sitting position. I think all the time that she spends in the saucersizer helps. It certainly has not hurt her core strength. Plus she constantly watches the kids play and seems very interested in getting in the mix too! Next thing I know she will be pushing back up into a sit and crawling. She is not old enough for this. I wanted her to stay my little baby for just a bit longer. Really bittersweet for me.

Children's Museum Fun

Took the kids to the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett this morning. We had a good time. I am not crazy when it comes to knowing my limits in ability to do things with all my kiddos and so this was the first time I felt confident taking all four to the museum by myself. The kids had a wonderful time playing with the trains and the ball maze this morning. Then they started getting hungry tummies and we went downstairs to have some lunch. Once filled up we headed back upstairs to play in the water room and with the other exhibits that we hadn't gotten to earlier in the morning. Lucy in particular loved the ball maze. She played with that for at least 30 minutes once she figured out how to get the balls into the tubes. The boys played trains quite a bit and had a wonderful time with the water room.

I needed to take them to do something today because they are getting on each others nerves now that Christmas is over. It will be a good thing when Andrew gets back to school. A little separation is a great thing these days. Gwen managed to sit and look adorable the whole time in her seat. It is fun to see how much other little kids like babies. Especially the 1 to 2 year old group. They are just fascinated by them and want to smile and touch them. Very cute.

The only thing I did not do while out and about with my kiddos was take pictures. Right now trying to lug the camera along as well as kids and lunch just ups the stress level a wee bit too much for me. When I have Eric with me I will take photos; when by myself I don't. There is a limit to my multi-tasking and a camera is just over the limit.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Her Highness: Lucy the Lovely

I talked to my brother this week to give him hints for Christmas presents. The obvious hint for the boys was Wii stuff but Lucy was a puzzle. I mentioned that she liked jewelry and Reece and Angie took it and ran with it!

Lucy of course insisted on putting it all on. No way could she only wear one ring, or bracelet, or necklace. She had to wear them all!

I believe a jewelry box will be the present for her birthday from us. I think she has more bling than I do!

Elizabeth Taylor: Eat your heart out!

Merry Christmas!!!

Hope you all are having a wonderful celebration of Christmas! The kids were very excited to have Christmas come this year. Lucy got a lot of little girl jewelry and she is quite proud of herself! What a little diva!!!!

Santa brought the boys a Wii this year. They are having a lot of fun with it!

Andrew playing the Lumberjack game!

Gwen seems a bit overwhelmed by it all but is happy to watch the activities from her saucer.

Two excited boys!

Lots of stuff to happen later today when family comes to visit. Hopefully we will be able to tear the kids away from the Wii!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Farmer is in Our Future

This was published in the local paper. Apparently Andrew wasn't totally honest with us about what he wants for Christmas. He will have to wait for us to have a different house though! There is no room for a chicken here. And his plan of having it live in a cage under Zane's bed is absolutely out of the question!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cereal Time!!!

There is a hard and fast rule at my house. The rule goes something like this: Once a baby who has been sleeping through the night begins to wake again they must be fed cereal. This is because a mommy who has begun to experience whole nights of sleep is cranky when woke up again and again and again.... You get my point. Gwen had been sleeping through the night. The last two nights however she has been waking every 2 or 3 hours to eat. Not so hot in my opinion. It makes me a wee bit grumpy to lose sleep like that.

Yesterday I bought some rice cereal in case I had another rough night last night. So tonight we started with the cereal. Gwen has been super interested in food for a few weeks so I figured it was about time. Anyway, we tried the cereal at dinner time with the expected results.

Miss Gwen getting ready for some delicious rice cereal

Really excited

A first bite

Seriously Mom? More of this foul stuff?

I don't know exactly how much Gwen ate but she was not entirely in love with the cereal. It will take a few days and then she will get into it I am sure. Now I just have to wait and see if it makes any difference with her sleeping tonight. I certainly hope it helps!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Dog, The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who

Tonight Zane came down the stairs to tell me this. "Cindy Lou is stuck in the Grinches bed."

At my puzzled look he explained "Andrew is the Grinch, I am the dog and Lucy is Cindy Lou and she is stuck in the Grinches bed at the top of the mountain and can't get down!"

Finally catching on I asked "At the top of Mt. Crumpit?" Zane answered "Yes! And you need to get her down!" Somebody has obviously heard "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" a time or two!

Monday, December 14, 2009

An Appointment for the Gwen

Had Gwen's 4 month checkup today. She is getting awfully big.

Height 25.5"
Weight 15# 4.5 ounces

Very nice. I thought that maybe she was chunkier than Lucy but once I looked at the numbers she isn't. She actually weighs over a pound less than Lucy did at 4 months. I am destined for roly-poly babies. Gwen did get some shots and the roto-virus vaccine and is a wee bit on the fussy side. Gave her some Tylenol to help. It is hard when they are cranky but the vaccines are one of those necessary things. So thankful that she is super healthy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

IEP Update

Andrew had his annual IEP meeting today about his speech therapy. We have been very pleased with Andrew's progress. He is making great strides in his sounds that we are working on as well as sounds that we haven't worked on. The speech pathologist at his school feels like Andrew may reach his goals faster than the 3 year program. She feels he will probably be ready to graduate from speech within 2 years.

Andrew is a very hard worker when it comes to his speech homework. He is conscientious about his pronunciation and wants to improve. Not that he doesn't like speech. In fact I think he likes it a lot. But it will be nice for him to be in the classroom full time. Right now he is going to the speech room 2 times a week. In January he will begin going only 1 time a week.

It is very nice to hear that he is doing well. As parents, Eric and I want him to succeed to his maximum potential and getting his speech worked on was necessary. It was also nice to hear that he did not regress over the summer in his speech sounds. Especially since we were woefully negligent about practicing with him. Too much fun was going on!

Hooray for my Andrew and his great progress!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gingerbread House Fun

The time has come for decorating a gingerbread house! The tradition has changed somewhat over the years. The first year just Andrew did the decorating and it took FOREVER. This year all three little ones helped and it was over pretty quick. The kids had fun though.

Lucy had a unique style of decoration. It was called:

One for the House.......

One for the Mouth.

Needless to say, she did not decorate a large portion of the house at all.

Zane really got into the decorations this year. He was thrilled to put his candy on and he did not get frustrated about when they slid around.

Andrew always enjoys this project. I do have to remind him each and every year that the house will not look like the picture on the box and that we are not going to boss our siblings around when it comes to candy placement. With that instruction in place the activity usually goes pretty smoothly.

Now the house will sit until sometime after Christmas when I let them eat the candy off the darn thing. I think that is their favorite part.

4 Months of Gwen

Baby girl is 4 months old today. Can't believe how time has flown. Gwen is getting so social. She babbles all the time and giggles when you do something that seems amusing to her. Gwen still sleeps like an angel and I really can't complain about her at all. She is totally laid back and fun. She is also starting to get super good with her hands and grabbing things. I can't wait for her to sit up by herself. I can tell she is going to be a very easily occupied kid. Always good in my book.

Besides rolling, Gwen is also wiggling all over the floor. I will put her in one place on her back and the next thing I know she is on her tummy facing an entirely different direction. Gotta keep up with those big kids you know. Such a sweet little lady she is!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dicken's Fair

Went to the Dicken's Fair for the first time this year. I am always looking for fun quiet time activities that are easily portable and interesting for my kids. They are great to have for doctor's offices or restaurants when the food is taking a long time to get to the table. I found this busy activity at one of the booths and since I played with it for about 5 minutes straight I thought it would be a hit. Especially since my kids really enjoy the "I Spy" book and "Where's Waldo." Even Lucy finds this toy fun. She of course only finds the things that are right on top but that is ok. Even that is something to do.

The bag has about 50 items in it and it has a list of all the different items in the bag. Hopefully it will come in handy in the near future. If not it will just stay in the house to be amusing there.

Jotham's Journey

Growing up my church never celebrated advent. It was just not something we did. In fact I never even knew there was a thing called advent until I was in college and the church I went to there celebrated it. For those out there who don't know, advent is the preparation season of the church to ready our hearts to celebrate Jesus' birth. It takes place the 4 weeks before Christmas. Most churches that celebrate will have candles each week at church, progressively lighting one more each week until all four are lit and on Christmas morning a fifth candle is lit. Each candle represents some aspect of Christmas but you all can look that part up if you are curious.

My point to all this is that this year we are doing something at home for advent. Joanna let me borrow a book that is a progressive story to tell the Christmas story to kids. The book is called Jotham's Journey and it is extremely cute and somewhat suspenseful. There are 3 books in the series (Batholomew's Passage and Tabitha's Travels are the other two) and in theory you could rotate them each Christmas so you don't read the same story each and every year. Andrew is really enjoying the story. I think it is a bit over Zane's head and obviously Lucy and Gwen could care less. But it is fun to light our advent candles at night and read the story (at dinner seems to work the best so far) and talk about what the Bible tells us about the Messiah and his birth. This will be a tradition that we keep for sure!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Zane, Zane, Zane. Some days I wonder if I will ever be able to say that he is an obedient child. Yesterday I had a really good moment with Zane. I feel like sometimes I only refer to the hard times I have with this one in this blog, so I am making a special effort to post this story of his super wonderfulness. Anyway, after coming home from some shopping I needed to do several things very quickly. I had to change Lucy's diaper and get her into bed for a nap and I also had to go pee. Not very glamorous but all necessary. As a side note, have you ever noticed that peeing is one of the last things you do when you are running around busy with your kids? I have. Sometimes it will be an hour before I find the time to take care of that specific need. But I digress.

Gwen was grumpy and fussy in her car seat. I was busy doing the above and didn't have the time to sit and hold and nurse her like she wanted. So I asked Zane to talk to her and keep her happy while I got the other things taken care of. Zane grumbled a little (still working on the willingly and happily helpful bit) but then went and amused Gwen while I took care of the stuff I needed to do. I heard him downstairs chatting at her and keeping her from screaming her head off. This is a major step of progress for him!!! Usually he would fuss and whine and then just go do something else causing me to get after him for disobeying. This instance though he made a wonderful and fabulous choice to be helpful! I was so thankful and gave him lots of snuggles and played puzzles and Thomas as thanks. Then, to completely cement the importance of the good behavior, I bragged about it to Eric while Zane was standing there. Nothing like telling someone else what a wonderful job your child did within the child's hearing. Kids light up like a Christmas tree when they hear good about themselves. Progress is being made. I see a helpful boy in my future!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

1st Grade Concert

Andrew had his first school concert last night. The concert included all the 1st grade classes at his school. It was very cute and the kids sounded great. What we have discovered is that Andrew really, REALLY does not enjoy singing. He doesn't really care to sing at church and he certainly will not sing just to sing.

Eric asked him if he liked any of the songs and he said yes. Although he really did not sing very much during the concert. Also the kids did hand motions during most of the songs which Andrew absolutely refused to do. As he told Eric, "It's called music class, not dancing class!" Somehow I don't see him having a career on the stage. Possibly Zane inherited all the dramatic ability for both of them!

We did have a nice time though and I look forward to watching more concerts in the future. Maybe one of these times he will sing :)

Big Girl Gwenie

I pulled out the saucer for Gwen this week. She is getting so big and ridiculously strong. Her upper body strength is pretty amazing. I have a feeling she will be my earliest crawler yet. And I thought Lucy was pretty early at 6 and a half months. Gwen loves to sit in the saucer and watch the kids play. I think it makes her feel like she is part of the group.

Zane loves to share his lovey with her too. He is constantly putting it in the saucer with her or on her chest while she is laying down.

I can hardly believe she is big enough to play in it already. Time just flies when they are small! She is not even 4 months old yet and she is desperate to be a big girl. Slow down Gwenie! Momma wants you to stay little for a bit longer!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two Little Ring Bearers

Andrew and Zane were the ring bearers for Reece and Angie's wedding. I was confident that Andrew would do a phenomenal job and only 50/50 on Zane. I knew he could do a good job if he decided to. It was all up to him. Angie had asked for Lucy to be the flower girl for the wedding but frankly she is as much of a wild card as Zane is. To keep me from being a train wreck of nerves I told Angie that she could do it if she didn't care that she probably wouldn't drop petals. I think that she really wanted the petals to be dropped so Lucy wasn't the flower girl. However I still had to get Lucy and Gwen matching dresses. Seriously, it was super necessary.

The boys were all ready and set to walk down the aisle. Zane was prepped and ready to go. Then coming in right before the ceremony he fell down. I don't think he hurt himself, he just got scared but it put a total snafu into his whole attitude.

The wedding began and Zane started balking at walking down the aisle. I went with him because he wouldn't go without me but about halfway down he started walking with Andrew. Great! I snuck to the back. However, once he reached the front and realized I wasn't there he started shrieking that he wanted his mommy. So, mommy marched back down the aisle to the front so I could be with him while he waited for the ceremony to be over. Thankfully he stopped screaming as soon as I got back up there.

About midway through the ceremony I noticed that the ring (Angie's) on Zane's pillow was missing. This was not good as it was going to be needed in just a few minutes. Fortunately it had just fallen off and was on the floor but it gave me a minute of panic for sure!

Lucy was a bit overwhelmed for most of the day. There were a lot of people and it was easier (to her) to be carried around all night. Toward the end she seemed to loosen up though and started dancing with all the other little kids. It was super cute. The evening ended with Andrew catching the garter. He is ridiculously proud of himself. He wanted to take it to church this morning to show it off but Eric and I both thought that it might be in poor taste for him to take it with him.

I am very glad that the wedding is over! They are awfully stressful and an awful lot of work. So nice to have Reece hitched and be able to officially call Angie Auntie!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Marrying Off the Brother

Today my brother Reece got married. It was about time! I have been trying to get that boy hitched to that girl for 2 years now! Anyway, it was a long day and I am beat but I wanted to share just a few pictures tonight.

The Happy Couple: Reece and Angie

Me and my bro

Me and My Favorite Guy!!!

Andrew was very excited to catch the garter!