Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! What a Christmas it has been. What a December it has been! Patrick and I were just talking about how quickly December went by. I think we packed in all that we could starting with Thanksgiving.

We spent a nice long weekend with our good friends and Miles' godparents in Vancouver. The boys and I had many walks outside bundled up in the cold and hot cocoa to warm up with after the walk. As a family we went on an evening walk to look at Christmas lights in our neighorhood, and another night we went for a drive to look at more. Patrick took the week off during Christmas so we could spend extra time with our families and that is where I'll pick up from here with loads of pictures.

We started out our week going to Bellevue Square with Patrick's mom, brother and his girlfriend, sister and her boy friend, and nephew. We got Santa pictures, went ice skating, ate dinner at Red Robin, and watched the Snow Flake Lane parade complete with drummers and fake snow. This was our second year going to it and I look forward to making it a tradition and especially when the boys can actually skate instead of dead-leg it all over the ice.

Helping Austin skate.

That night we went up to my parents' house and spent the next three-ish days there. We went bowling after mass on Sunday for Owen's 4th birthday and ate sandwiches and supcakes after.

Uncle Zach teaching Miles how to bowl.

Cutest shoes ever.

Grandma Di with the youngest granson, Eli (3mo).

Monday was spent visiting my Grandma and Grandpa John out in Deming. It was special because we rarely see them outside of family functions so we were able to spend quality time together. Miles even went on a tractor ride with Grandpa. Grant was too afraid.


Monday night Mitch and Erica (and almost 5 month old baby in Erica's belly) arrived from Nashville. What a great Christmas gift to see them and a baby bump. We celebrated them being back for Christmas with drinks and Jenga. I forgot how fun that game is!

From left, Owen, Isaac, Eli, Liam, Aidan, Grant, Miles picking his nose and Coco photo-bombing.

Nono and Eli dressed for Christmas Mass.

Santa arrived early on Christmas Eve morning per Grandma Di's special request. Uncle Mitch donned the Santa costume and came bumbling in complete with a very low hanging stomach and Southern Accent.

The kids, and adults for that matter, tore through paper and bows to some wonderful and thoughtful gifts.

The day was spent talking, playing, and eating. Later, we attended the Children's Mass at Sacred Heart. Although the boys were being difficult since mass was during their normal dinner hour, it was fun to see the Nativity play and hear Fr. Joe's message spoken so the children could understand.

On Christmas morning Patrick and I packed everything up said our "see ya laters" and headed south to his parent's new home. It is techincally still in Everett but only a couple miles (if that) from Mukilteo and practically on the water. What a view they get to wake up to every morning!

Picture was taken on my ipod so it's not doing justice for the view.

We opened gifts with his entire family in the afternoon and ate dinner together that night. It was a relaxing day and so nice to spend time visiting.

The next day we hung out with Jason, Patrick's brother, and his nephew Austin (6yrs). We walked to the nearby park by the water and let the kids run off some energy. We were tired from all the fun so the afternoon and evening were spent playing monopoly and relaxing.

On Friday, Rhonda offered to watch the boys while we got out for lunch. I insisted we go to P.F. Chang's since Patrick hadn't ever been there. It was delicious as usual. We got some Cold Stone and walked around the mall for a little bit before heading back.

Some relatives from Canada came down for dinner that night. I just love his relatives. They're so fun, friendly, thoughtful, and we share the same values and faith so I feel like I can really connect with them. It was even more special because Patrick's cousins came all the way down from Barrhead, a 13 hr drive with their kiddos Jordan and Isla who we hadn't seen since our wedding 4 yrs ago. You might remember Isla as the flower girl from our wedding. Well, she's in second grade now! They're so well behaved and such sweet kids.

Chris, Megan, Jordan, Isla, David, Rhonda, and us.

Saturday was our day to head home. I can always tell how much fun I had by how happy I am to be home. Usually, if I go out for a bit or a short weekend I don't mind whether I'm home or not, but if I'm gone for a while being busy and having loads of fun I am super ready to be home to unwind from it all. That's how I felt on Saturday. I felt fulfilled by all the family we spent time with and everything we did together.

What a Christmas it was!

And Happy New Year!! Blessings and prayers to you all in 2014.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Alpenrose and Nguyen Family Visit; Year 2

We had another great weekend spending time with our good friends and Miles' godparents Tuan and Sara. We headed down to their house in Vancouver Friday night for a fun-packed weekend. I think it's best to tell the story of our weekend mainly through pictures...

We started out our weekend the moment we arrived, around 8pm, by caravanning to the Oregon Zoo for Zoo Lights. We were a bit late and had to take the shuttle from the overflow parking lot but it turned out to be an extra surprise because the shuttle was a school bus. Miles has been talking about riding the school bus a lot lately so he was on Cloud 9 from the moment he saw it. We forgot the camera for Zoo Lights so there aren't any pictures but it was pretty neat to see so many lights. Tuan and Sara packed hot cocoa and which we sipped as we walked. The boys loved it and still talk about the bus they rode.

Saturday, the boys woke up rather early so we were a little slow getting ourselves together. Sara made a delicious quiche for breakfast and I had made banana bread too. After downing a couple cups of coffee we jetted out to Alpenrose Dairy Farm to visit their Christmas Village like we did last year.

There was a train room where a train club has a whole village scene set up. That was a big hit for the kids.

Tuan and Xavier (2yrs)

Later, Patrick bought us some fresh milk and cookies from their store that we all enjoyed as we waited in line to walk through their Storybook Lane. 

Even Kolbe (5mo) got a little taste of the cookies!

Afterwards, we watched an Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas episode in the old theatre and walked to the car with more hot cocoa.

When we got back the boys went down for naps. They had snacked to much that they weren't hungry for lunch. I made clam chowder and rolls, Tuan made a toasty fire, and we enjoyed it all without the kiddos running around and with a nice cold glass of Tuan's beer he had conveniently on tap in the dinning room. That was probably my favorite part of the weekend; good food, even better beer, and great company. It was awesome to sit and talk without having to get up every 2 minutes because of the kiddos.

That night Tuan and Sara offered to watch Miles and Grant so we could attend Patrick's company Christmas party in Portland. It was a beautiful party with great food. The theme was New Orleans so you can imagine some of the spicy food we tried, everything from Jambalaya to Cajun Fried Chicken and Bananas Foster for desert.

The next morning we went to mass and came back to watch the Seahawks. It was a pretty relaxed day and felt great to just hang after doing so much over the past day and a half.

Do they look like they had a good time or what!? They're watching Monsters Inc. Looks like we'll be getting that movie too!

Thanks again to Tuan and Sara for having us and watching the boys so we could get a date night. We always enjoy spending time with you and look forward to making this a tradition.

(you can check out our trip here from last year here)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

From the Mouth of Miles

Miles, and Grant for that matter, have been doing and saying some pretty funny things lately. Today, the boys rode in the obnoxious race car cart that's impossible to steer. They can sit side-by-side. Miles had a bag of cereal and was sharing with Grant by feeding him. As I strolled through the store I'd notice people smiling at how cute they were, a brother feeding his little brother. I'd keep going and look around to see if anyone else noticed my cute kids thinking 'is anyone seeing how cute this is? I have cute kids!'

I had my back turned as I decided on canned clams (for chowder) and turned back around to find Miles had chewed a hole in the baggie and spilled cereal all over the floor. I took the baggie away while saying 'are you kidding me!?' A lady who saw and heard everything passed by with a horrified look. I was too embarrassed so I quickly took off. 

Awesome. Now, everyone that had seen my "cute" kids feeding cereal to each other will know that they spilled it everywhere and the mom didn't clean it up. That'll teach me to think my kids are cute in public.

A few little jewels have made it past Miles lips lately...

Me: do you like what St. Nicholas brought you?
Miles: yeah, and Jesus teach me about how trains work underground.
Me: ...... ??

Grant doing something naughty:
Miles: Gant, no, you get spankin' and big timeout!!

Miles: (pointing at a toy) I want that! *machine-gunned at me x1000*
Me: We'll put it on your list.
Miles: (said in a high, happy voice) And that means I don't get it!
Me: well, it means we know what you like but doesn't mean you get everything on your list.

Miles: Gant's poop smells like a mushroom farm!
(If you've ever smelled a mushroom farm you'd agree)

I told Miles that a friend was going to have a baby...
Miles: ... and she have baby tomorrow, and we go to church and they baptizing baby.
Little cousin Eli's baptism must have made a big impression on him!

Miles is great at reminding us of things...
Patrick is leaving for work:
Miles: don't forget your lunch!
We're getting in the car:
Miles: don't forget your phone and your purse!

And from Grant...
Grant pointing at Joseph in all nativity sets: DADA!! DADA!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

one... two... THREE

Miles turns 3 today! He's a total 3 year old. He's definitely out of the toddler stage and well into being a little boy. I tried to show him videos of himself as a 1 day old baby and he kept referring to himself as "he" and "the baby." So, besides him not understanding the concept of time yet, he's super into how old he is and a birthday with cake, ice cream, and presents. You can read his full birth story here is that tickles your fancy.

-3 days old-

Oh, Miles. There's so much to say about him and his three years of life. I can say it's gone so fast, he's such a bright boy, he's got a fantastic sense of humor, and I love him with my whole being, and it'd all be true but  he's so much more than that.

-1st birthday-

There is so much more to all of that. All you parents know what I'm talking about. The day-to-day life has so many bits and pieces that when you add them up and look at the bigger picture you can see how things work out, the growth, the real struggles, and the real accomplishments. I learned so much in the past three years than I could have ever imagined I would just three years and one day ago. And it's all because of him.

-2 years old-

Thank you God for entrusting us with our sweet, energetic Miles. Thank you Miles for helping us grow as parents every. single. day.


We love you so much Miles. Happy birthday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Crafty Town

I took a little trip via Martha Stuart Highway to Craft Town this weekend. My Pinterest inspiration peaked and I couldn't contain the hot glue gun and paint. I guess it started when we took a quick trip to Lowe's to pick up a surge protector for the treadmill (Patrick was doing more worth while things this weekend like fixing treadmills and cheering for the Packers).

I ALWAYS walk by the paint clearance section when I got to Lowes. They have gallon cans of paint for $5. It's usually ugly colors, matte colors, or stain. This time was different. I found a really beautiful brown, the kind of brown that if you add white to it it'll go to a lighter warm grey color-- I only know this because I did it. So, I slathered on some color as an accent wall in the powder room and stood back... oh no, does this look like someone smeared poop on the bathroom wall? And then it dried. And I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe it was the paint fumes in a small space (why didn't I have the fan on?) but after a while I liked it. Like, a lot. What else can I paint....

And guess what? I really did add some white to the brown and painted the wall behind the bench and am completely in love with the color. The downside is that once the paint is gone that's it. It's technically a custom color made by yours truly so good luck to future-me when I need to do touch up work.

No joke, that's the same brown with a ton of white added in.
I made that pillowcase for the pillow and that wreath too.

I tore up some old books to create some Pinterest wreaths that I'm sure everyone has in their house by now if they have a craft board on that website. But hey, it adds cheap, and stinking cute, decor to our rather bare walls. Adding a little color is a truly amazing transformation. The hallway and bathroom feel much cozier. And a couple more things on the wall make the house feel that more homey.

The boys weren't too excited about the crafting and let me know by coloring on the couch and pooping in 5 pairs of underwear, but dang it, our house looks awesome! Just kidding, kind of. We did give the boys attention. Patrick wrestled with them a lot and I played with them and the Duplo blocks and made a farm and a pretty sweet garage for their cars. We threw some food their way a few times too. Come on, I couldn't ignore them all day for crafts. They need attention too and for all of us to feel good we need interaction with one another.

The culprit

We were all blessed with patience this weekend especially after those accidents. I've noticed for every minute of "selfish time" I take I must give them the same amount of time to Miles and Grant through playing. Sometimes it's not equal and they tend to be more patient with me than I am of them. Sometimes half the day is doing chores and running errands and as a 3 year old (this Friday!) it can't be very fun to be strapped in a cart at Winco or watch me fold clothes. But these are moments and tasks to be learned from. Everything comes in due time. Fun is greater after some hard work and chores are accomplished. Sometimes fun is spontaneous and sometimes it must come after a period of waiting. It's just like Advent and Christmas. We must wait and prepare during Advent as we await for Jesus and all the fun and excitement on Christmas.

I'm excited to start learning more and teach the boys about Advent. It's so easy for children to grasp Christmas but Advent seems to end up as a moment at church where a candle is lit on the wreath. That's how I remembered it as a child, and even now at times. It is so much more than that and as I read The Year and Our Children I'll test out some crafts and decorate the house with the boys. A house feels so much cozier with little ones' artwork and crafts displayed everywhere. Everyone gets to add their touch and what a transformation it is!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baking Machine

Miles always wants to help me bake. If it's not obvious that I'm making dinner he asks if I'm making brownies. I must make brownies more than I think. This morning I humored him and let him help. Thanks to some recipe inspiration from Auntie Cheri we made Banana Oatmeal Muffins. They're really good!! It's just like making banana bread but you throw in some oatmeal too. I only had the quick oats and it still worked out great.

No mess, too! The boys played "together" while the muffins baked. Look at Grant's serious face!

And when they were done cooling? Bums were in chairs at the table faster than it takes a room to be tornado'd with toys.

And a little icing for the muffins: From the Mouth of Miles

Miles has been super into potty talk all of the sudden. He thinks adding the word "poop" after any other word is hilarious. For example, while in a tickle/wrestle match he called me ice poop, pickle poop, and said "lick my poop." He also thinks it's really funny to just call me a pickle. 

I have no idea where he gets this. Although I tell him to cool it down a bit on the potty talk, I actually kind of like it because I get to see more of his personality. I'm discovering his type of humor is like mine. I showed him funny cat videos yesterday and he was dying laughing. And that makes me very excited to get to share in the goofy type of humor that makes watching cats do dumb things really funny.