Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Walking Charlie

He's been taking steps for a month or so now, but just this past week has he tried to walk more than 2 feet. Check out his moves:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First football game

We can hear the band practicing from our house and Alec always notices and then says he wants to see it. When we got free football tickets, I told Alec a few days before that we'd get to see the band at the football game. He talked about it non-stop. We left really early because we thought Alec and Charlie would enjoy alot of the pre-game practicing and knowing that the game started at 6:00 we'd be ready to go home to bed fairly soon after it started.

Alec loved watching everything. Charlie loved walking down the isle banging on the seats.

We had a blast, until the band came out. He was scared of the Stanford Tree.

And then he was scared of the pre-game show, and then he and Charlie were nervous of all the screaming during the game. Especially since we returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown. We left after the first quarter while we were all still in good spirits.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jam Packed

Today was jam packed with fun. It started off at 4:45AM when we had to wake up the kids and get in the car to drive the 2 hours to my triathlon. I wasn't as nervous for this one, but still couldn't get my hands to stop shaking as I set out my transition stuff. I started at the back of the pack in the swim b/c I thought I would be in a later wave, but they started everyone at the same time. Utter craziness. I got stuck behind what seemed like an offensive line but eventually made my way along the 500 yard swim. It was soooo long.

My friend, Amanda waited for me during transition so we could bike/run together. I'm glad she did. It was fun to talk and I think she pushed me a bit in the bike and I pushed her a bit in the beginning of the run. The 16 mile bike went well, although it was pretty hilly. The 5K run was SOO hard. It was so hot and I wanted to quit just after 1.2 miles. :) But thanks to Amanda we ran the whole thing and finished around 1.54.

Then we stayed at the reservoir for a BBQ and some swim time for the kids. Then we drove home and got ready for the Stanford / Washington Football game. We scored free tickets and went as a family. It was a blast. (details will follow in a subsequent post) Now, I'll listen to a bit of the RS broadcast then watch a movie with Chris. What a day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lame tutorial

Just because I already had this handout made for the How-To last night, I'll do a quick post of it here for those of you who wanted it. I didn't give any instructions for how to make each animal part because that would've been pages and pages of instructions. That said, my favorite part of the whole process is planning and designing the animals, so if you want to make one and would like someone to talk things through with, just ask!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to School

Imagine a mom (with her 4 kids dragging their feet behind her) pushing a grocery cart, leaping down the isles between rulers, college-wide paper, pencils and crayons swaying in tune with the music playing the familiar Christmas tune "Its the most wonderful time.... of the year." I think its my mom's favorite commercial. Even though I don't have school-aged kids who will be returning to all-day classes, I LOVE the start of a new school year. It must be the teacher in me, or maybe the memory of getting new coloring supplies. Either way, I love it.

Chris started a new quarter today. He's TAing a class, doing lots of research and hoping to sit in on a class or two. I honestly don't know how he does it. He works so hard to produce great theories and ideas that his advisor and colleagues exepct of him with minimal guidance on how exactly to do it. Its tough because you can't force good ideas and yet he keeps working at it. And THEN he comes home to me and our often toy-and-dirty-dish-littered house and I unload on him all the challenges of a mother of two little boys. Somehow he stays happy and positive and laughs and plays with the boys. And even THEN he still finds time to exercise almost daily and serve as a wolf leader in cub scouts. Incredible.

Anyways, Happy Back to School. (I do realize this is almost a month late compared to most of you out there).

This is Alec on his first day of "playschool" last year. We've not started it yet this year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


It has now been long enough that we won't scare any of our friends from hugging Alec ever again so we can unveil the scary pictures. Many of you will remember Alec's rare reaction to the common Epstein-Barr Virus. Most kids just exhibit symptoms similar to that of a bad cold, Alec broke out in a crazy rash that extended into his mouth and throat making eating very painful. The rash itself wasn't bothersome, no itching or burning but as these pictures can attest it was awful-looking.

These pictures are chronological so you can see how the rash developed: first the face then back, torso, and finally extremities. His face got less swollen as the rash progressed from red raised dots to purple patches.

Silver Lining? Yes, there is always a silver lining. Because Alec's mouth hurt so bad from the sores he couldn't suck on his pacifier (he has only ever been able to have it while sleeping). The first night it bothered him alot, he cried for a little bit, then fell asleep holding his pacifer. The next night he just held it without crying any and the following night he didn't need to hold it at all. He was completely weened. Charlie still uses the exact same kind and he has never asked to have it back. Whew! We were bracing ourselves for quite a transition but I guess all you need is a little, violent, harmless attack of EBV. Totally recommend it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For Fun

Someone gave me a home-made hooded towel for Alec at my baby shower in Washington made out of a regular towel and washcloth. We love it and use it practically every day. I saw some in a store the other day but they were designed as animals! How cute, right? I decided to try and make a dinosaur one for my cousin's new little baby Emmett. I used 1 green towel, 2 green washcloths and 1 orange washcloth and it turned out like this:

Not bad, but I do want to make some adjustments. I'll be leading our "How-To" enrichment's group this month and will be demonstrating these hooded towels. Because I sent this dragon one in the mail, I'll have to make some more examples. I'm thinking a frog one for Charlie, or maybe a lion. I found lots of cute ideas from this Amazon listing.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Steps

Charlie has taken his first few steps recently! He often will stand up in the middle of the room without any support and then sometimes takes a few steps towards a toy or one of us. He's learned how to do lots of climbing: stairs, slides, toys to couch etc. He's even learned how to go down stairs backwards. He leans his bum back really far before trying to put his leg on the next step below so it gets pretty scary for us observers. At his last doctors visit we were told he was "supposed" to have 8 teeth by his first birthday which is in less than 2 months. Since he only has 2 so far, we were warned for some troubled times ahead has he may get lots of teeth in a short amount of time. Oh Joy.

Also, Charlie likes to read. He'll grab a book and come bring it to Chris or I, sit on our lap and then lean back on our chest. He'll stay that way for a few pages (or more if we can make it really interesting) and then he wiggles off to go find another book to bring us and we'll repeat the process again. He seems to understand most of what happens around him and will put his head on the floor and cry if he feels he's been unjustly treated. He smiles almost constantly and simply loves to be played with. We sure love him.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

From the hood to the coast

The whole adventure started early Friday morning. Teams are scheduled to start in groups of about 20 teams every 15 minutes. They arrange the teams according to their estimated speeds so that the course doesn't get too congested and so that teams finish during the right time window. Our starting time was 7:30 am. I got picked up a little after 5:00 am and our van sped up the highway to get to the start of the race, Timberline lodge. One of our van members, Ben, had the Bourne soundtracks which inspired our driver Dan to reach the lodge in time.

Once there, we got our start packets, took some pictures, and got ready to cheer on Ben, our first runner. He got the pleasure of running 5.64 miles down the mountain. The first runners were called to the starting line, and at 7:30 sharp, it had begun.

At the base of Mt. Hood

The Timberline lodge parking lot

Our van held the runners for the first 6 legs, and I was slotted to run in the 6th slot. As the race progressed, we would drive down the course, often stop at about the halfway point and wait by the side of the road and cheer people on, and finally drive to the next exchange point. There, the next runner would get ready and finally start running upon receiving the baton (a green Nike slap bracelet) from the previous runner. Then we would hop in the van and do it all again.

The race course

My task was typically to peruse the maps, navigate the van between waypoints, and get people prepped for their legs. I also drove the vans when the other driver, Dan, was running his legs.
It was a little odd being the last one in the van to run. Everyone else had a chance to get their first leg under their belt while I was still worried if I could even make it. Finally my turn came. My first leg was 7.42 miles (the second longest leg of the whole thing for anyone), which is definitely the furthest I have ever run in one go. It was along the shoulder of Highway 26, ending in the town of Sandy, OR. I felt really good, and just had trouble pacing myself correctly. It took about a mile for my breathing to become regular, and to really find a groove. All in all, the first leg went better than I had hoped, and I finished the whole thing in 1 hour exactly.

Halfway through my first leg

After my leg we got some food and got back on the road. I am not sure that sitting in a van is the best thing right after a long run, but I am sure that regardless of what I had done I would have been sore. It was fun to cheer the others on, and it quickly came back around to our van's turn. Our first runner, Ben, got to start again in downtown Portland, and by the end of his leg we were already out of the city for good.

My next leg was only 4.15 miles, which felt short after my morning run. I was surprised how good I felt right from the start, and had a pleasant run in the dark. We had to wear reflective vests and headlamps in the dark. My second leg was along some country roads, and at one points I turned my head and was surprised when my headlamp illuminated a cow about 5 feet away from me on the other side of a fence. I had someone coming up on my tail for the last half mile, which was great and kept me going strong coming into the finish line.

My leg ended at about 10:30 pm, and we headed off to try and get some sleep at the point where our first runner would have to start again. It took about an hour and a half to get there, with the traffic of the other vans. I slept for 3 hours in a sleeping bag wrapped up in a tarp in Mist, OR. It was, appropriately, drizzling and misting the whole time.

Our van's last turn started at about 3:45 am, and continued until my last leg, which was 5.35 miles up and down some decent hills. It started raining pretty significantly about halfway through, and I was pretty soaked by the end. At this point I was beat. I could barely walk, and stairs especially caused my weary muscles much pain. We met our whole team at the finish line around 2:45 pm and crossed together, 197.06 miles later. It was a fun adventure. I was amazed at how far our bodies can take us. Even after just our first 6 legs we were so far from Mt. Hood. I couldn't believe that we had run from that mountain. Overall it was a good experience (especially if you take out the car trouble that Brittney mentioned in the previous post). I was so grateful for Brittney letting me participate and for allowing me to recover some sleep in the following days.

The long awaited finish line: 31 hours and 17 minutes later

With our medals, the beach in the background

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home Safe

We had quite the adventurous weekend. Chris ran in the Hood to Coast 12-person team relay with my parents siblings and extended family up in Northern/Coastal Oregon. He was one of the leaders in the "kid" van and basically was in charge of keeping times, navigating and overall directing of that 1st van. He ran in the 6th slot and his three legs were about 7 miles, 4 miles, and 5 miles and averaged under 9 min miles for all legs and even 8 min miles for his longest leg!! He is amazing. I'm so proud of him and happy that he had this fun experience. I think he's planning on doing a longer post with more details a bit later.

I watched the boys and hung out with Chris' extended family. His cousin Skyler lives in Beaverton with his wife Chelsea and baby Hailey. Alec and Charlie both loved playing at their house. Then I drove to the coast at Seaside and stayed with Chris' Uncle and Aunt, Lynn and Joell. Alec and Charlie really loved playing there too: footballs, barking stuffed dogs and the beach! The scary part was our car had troubles mid-way there but I made it safe to their house at least and camped out there until Chris' finished his last leg and joined me and the boys.

With lots of assistance and support from Chris' Aunt and Uncle, we got our car towed to a Honda dealership back near Portland and waited a few days for it to get fixed before driving it back home last night. It was a bit of a hassle and headache but it couldn't have happened any more fortuitously. We're feel so blessed, happy to be home, and tired from driving through the night.

Here is one picture to get you excited for Chris' upcoming post!