Sunday, July 31, 2011

Packing

Packing, packing and more packing. It just never ends. Should we take this box?

Friday, July 29, 2011

(almost) Embarassingly, All About Me

My birthday was this week. We are in the middle of packing and dealing with other stresses, but we still managed to have a fun day. I came back from the gym to find all my kids at the table waiting for me to come home to eat breakfast (German pancakes!) all together. I LOVE eating meals together, especially breakfast since it doesn't happen all that often with either Chris or I exercising.

Also my friends and Chris organized a last minute potluck for dinner so I didn't have to cook anything and we ate yummy Mexican fare. To top it all off my good friend and I wanted to make one last ice cream cake together: five layers - chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake mix cookies, cookies 'n cream ice cream, chocolate cake and a chocolate gnanche frosting. WOW. it was A LOT of chocolate and still so good. I loved it.

Not related to my birthday in ANY way, was a Girls Day the Saturday before. Over the past few months with Chris having been gone so much to conferences/ job talks etc, I asked for a day off sometime. Now its July and we realized that we would have to do it soon if I wanted to do it with my good friends here, and even then it was pretty sudden and not many dates to choose from that we didn't get to do it with everyone I would have liked to do it with.

Those things aside, it was a wonderful day. Really a WHOLE day, all devoted to enjoying myself. It felt a bit extravagant and was so. much. fun. I think almost my favorite part was being able to tell my kids, "Go ask Daddy" anytime they wanted something from me. Chris was such a trooper to do this for me. Especially since he just few in from Spain the night before. He never even complained and really seemed to just be happy for me. I'm not sure I could've done that had the roles been reversed. He's amazing.

MY DAY

We started with a 5K run, with a time goal to beat 9:00 miles. We smashed it!! We did 8:30 min miles which is really fast for me. It was hard and felt so great afterwards.

Next up was a leisurely shower at home and then off to breakfast at a local fancy place, Mayfield Bakery. Then one stop at home to feed babies, followed by shopping at the Great Mall, with mall pretzels to boot! Retail Therapy? Check.

Then came horse back riding. We went on a trail ride for 1 hour. I kept feeling these two extremes: loving the peace, space, quiet and motion and then feeling quite anxious and wishing it all to just be done. My rear was pretty sore for a few days but it was worth it. Adrenaline high? Check.

Then more shopping at REI and smoothies at Costco followed by a quick stop at home to feed the babies before going out for deluxe pedicures and eating out at an AMAZING local Mediterranean place. One word - Baklava. I love Baklava. Pampering and Gourmet food? Check.

We planned to finish the day with a movie, projected at my house but we all fell asleep and turned it off to go to bed. Did we over do it? Not at all. It was perfectly relaxing, exciting, exhausting and rejuvenating. I really truly really love my good friends here and will be sad to leave them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

So Big

Gwendolyn is really acting so big since turning 1. She's starting to let her personality show and complains when she doesn't get to do what she wants to. Its cute to see her demonstrating her opinion about life. She'll tease Charlie and take away whatever he's playing with and then run over to me to protect her with this grin on her face! She'll offer to give it back and then take it away at the last second and laugh at Charlie's protesting howl.

She's tough and persistent in climbing on things, falling down, and getting back up to try again without much of a fuss. She particularly likes to stand on a stool or potty but doesn't quite know how to get off from that position and will make grunting noises until someone comes to rescue her.

She's in the process of being weaned and doesn't like it one bit! Neither do I to be quite honest, but I know that I do not want to take her on a get-away/anniversary trip that Chris and I are planning in 1.5 weeks. She doesn't really take a bottle and she doesn't much like cows milk, but I'm trying to trick her into liking it by giving her Chocolate milk and slowing diluting it. It worked with Charlie but I guess we'll see how it goes with our little Gweny.

She loves to take baths and be outside. She likes to wear necklaces and sit in cars or on scooters. She has a big sweet tooth and adores her older brothers. What fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Potty Training and Bikes

So Charlie did so awesome with potty training that a couple weeks ago he finished his sticker chart and earned his reward: a bike! He was so happy to be able to pedal some wheels whenever he wanted and not have to ask to borrow a friends or ride a too-slow-little-boy-trike.

Within days of getting this bike, Charlie also showed more interest in riding his balance bike and promptly became an expert on balancing. He started begging us to take off his training wheels. A week later we consented and found out two things: he can do it! Charlie can balance and pedal at the same time! However, the seat is too tall for him to start or stop on his own. He's pleaded with me to let him ride his bike places, but I just can't be right there to catch him and start him at the same time as push a stroller. I'm thinking we need to put the training wheels back on until he grows a little taller. He's such an athletic kid. Its really fun to watch.

Back to potty training. One week after he got his bike, I gave up. He would never want to sit on the potty and only tell me he needed to go AFTER he had already started, wetting himself and practically anything or anyone nearby! Couple that with moving stress and I just couldn't handle it. We put him back in diapers until he could have no accidents. He prefers to wear underwear but usually doesn't throw too much of a stink to put on a diaper. The very next day he was dry all day. He's only had a few wet diapers ever since and those were mainly during naps or night time.So, he's back in underwear today and doing great! But I am only 1 accident away from switching back. I just can't deal with one more thing. I can't wait for Chris to get back from Spain this weekend. I'm lonely without him.

Passports

Getting passports for the kids was pretty interesting. We opted to try and take our own pictures and I'm glad we did since it was hard to get just the right look/expression. Its pretty funny to see their attempts at NOT smiling. Actually turning in the paperwork and having the right documents and getting it all officially signed off was pretty challenging. We went in to the post office and the kids were one of the worst behaved they've ever been. They were jumping around the room, trying to turn off the lights and disturb the piles of paper on the big desk and escape out of the room. Oh boy. Its experiences like these that make me as reclusive as I am. We really don't get out much, at least not by myself with all the kids to anywhere thats NOT specifically designed for kids.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

O Canada

Life is pretty stressful right now. Yesterday I ran 10 miles to keep up those distance muscles, took the kids to swimming lessons, Gwen had a Dr. Appointment got 3 shots, Alec got his 5 booster shoots, AND Charlie fell down and chipped both front teeth and then got whacked in the face again later to make it bleed even more so we had an emergency visit (and our family's first visit) to the dentist. To top it all off, Chris had a CT scan this morning (they keep telling us everything is fine, this is just to get more information on what seems to be an inflamed lymph node).

Hopefully everything will calm down a bit, at least for next week when Chris is in Spain for a conference.

Oh. And I keep forgetting to mention on here that we're moving to Canada in 3 weeks. Chris is doing a 2-year Post Doc at the University of Alberta! We're really excited to move on in life, and pretty sad to leave our wonderful friends and lovely life here. Also we're super nervous about living somewhere that has an average temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. But, the research lab is a great match for Chris' career plans and the people are really nice.

So, we're packing, planning, apartment hunting online (not actually fun), and trying to simplify our possessions on top of our normal busy messy lives. Some days I feel fine about it all, and other days I start bawling simply because I miss my sisters in UT.

Exciting times. I'll try my best to enjoy them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gwendolyn turns 1

Gwen LOVES blueberries, strawberries, grapes and cheese. She's our pickiest eater yet and doesn't really seem to like vegetables, meat or milk. She's also our cleanest eater yet because she doesn't always throw food whenever she doesn't want to eat it, she only does that 1/2 the time. She likes to sit on the bottom step of the stairs and play with things and do her own thing when she's playing. (As in, she doesn't usually need to be entertained. yay!)

We sang her all the birthday songs on the morning (a family tradition started by my mom) and dressed her in her fanciest dress and went off to Church. Lucky for her, I was asked to sub in nursery again so she was able to tag along and actually enjoy herself instead of either squirming on my lap or roaming the halls. We had one of her favorite meals: burritos, for dinner and opened presents before going out back for a little cake and ice cream with a few friends and neighbors. She really likes the cell phone Alec picked out for her and the baby bottle that came with a doll I got for her with money from my parents. I know those are gender specific but I just can't help myself. I don't really want to own more balls, cars or trains. Besides, everybody needs at least one doll, right? In fact, Alec played with it the longest...feeding her, putting her to sleep and the pacifier in. He's going to be a great dad, just like his dad.

She liked the chocolate cake but wasn't really a fan of the ice cream. I think mostly she just liked eating the blueberries off. I tried getting a nice birthday picture of her in her dress but she wasn't really interested in smiling for the camera. I got lots of her side/back and the top of her head.
We all love our Gwendolyn and can hardly believe she is a year old! I know all parents say that but this time I really really mean it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

American Love

We had a fun and low key 4th of July. In my opinion there are 3 'musts' for a complete Independence Day celebration: some kind of craft, flag cake, and fireworks. We barely got those all in this year. The craft was a last minute painted flag thing and the cake was missing the whipped cream but luckily my friend stepped in and made a regular frosting for the blueberries and strawberries to stick to. The fireworks simply consisted of a few sparklers for the kids... but it worked! Brave little Charlie was the first kid to take a sparkler. So cute watching them love it. Although they were always sad when it burnt out, Charlie would say, "Sparkler turned off. It turned off! Turn it on!"


We busted out those flags again today to show some American love after watching the US women win their game against Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals. HOLY COW, it was AMAZING!! I've never scream so loud or jumped so high, for any sport. Just incredible. Gwen started crying she was so nervous about Chris and I just completely freaking out and the boys loved it and joined in the screaming and dancing fest. Seriously, it was such a high-adrenalin moment.

It was a nice Birthday Present for our little Gwendolyn. She turned 1 today, but that deserves its own post.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fun in Washington and Oregon

We met my family in Sunriver for the Pacific Crest race events in the end of June. We stayed in this awesome 6 bedroom 7 bathroom house with my aunt and uncles family too, complete with 12 bikes and 2 bike trailers! It seriously was the perfect reunion house. There was a juke box in the main room, an arcade game room and hundreds of VHS tapes. It was fun having so much time chilling with family and cousins, laying around chatting. Although mostly we were laying around because we were so tired from running the 1/2 marathon. My dad did awesome and ran it under 2 hours! So did my brother. My sister, my cousin and my friend and I started it together and all ended separately. I did my fastest yet and ran it in 2:09! It was actually fun.

Somehow my Aunt and I and my cousin's husband didn't make it into this post-race picture but this is all the runners from my family. Cousin Ben, Uncle Loren, Cousin Kelsey, Sister Sarah, Dad, Brother Jordan and Friend Darcy.

Then we followed my family home to Washington for a quick 3 day trip. We helped them do finishing touches on the new basement apartment they're fixing up for my cousins to live in. It looks really nice, and its bigger than my own apartment...I am a bit jealous.

We also went to the zoo and saw elephants, tigers, sharks, snakes, birds, lemurs, and played in the kid zone. The kids loved the slides and climbing structure.

My good friend from here, was also up in WA for her marathon! (I'm still in awe). Her family met us at my house for a day and I had too much fun showing them around Betteridge Bluff and Anderson Island. The kids really enjoyed the ferry ride and "watching the bridge go up" - Alec "and down" - Charlie. Also the rope swing and swimming hole were a big hit. Like typical Puget Sound weather it rained and sprinkled off and on throughout the day, but it didn't stop us from having a blast.P.S. Thanks go to my wonderful Mom for all the pictures!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Potty Training: the beginning

So before we left on vacation last week, we started potty training Charlie. I wrote the following paragraphs but forgot to post it!



Damage count: 3 accidents, 2 successes (albeit spilled successes)! Not bad for our first morning of potty training Charlie. We've all be working really hard at it. Alec works hard to coach and is acting as verbal manager, "first you go in the potty, then you pick it up and take it upstairs and dump it and then you get to flush it!" "if you drink lots of water it'll help you go potty" etc.... Gwendolyn is working hard to get her hands into the little potty whenever the small window of opportunities arises like when Charlie doesn't remember to close the lid fast enough. I am working hard at keeping Charlie happy and motivated (stickers, M&Ms, with a promise of a new bike at the end) and keeping calm when cleaning up accidents and dissuading Gwen from getting in the thick of things.

Charlie, the sweet boy, is working hardest of all. He doesn't seem to be able to tell much before he goes and after having a particularly frustrating accident all over my freshly folded clean laundry, I can tell he feels bad and nervous and has sat himself on the potty all throughout lunch and before naps. While sitting there, "washing" duplos he leans back and says with such a tired face, "oh, this is hard work." But at least we ended with a success and now he is happily falling asleep in pull-ups and shorts. Whew. We're all exhausted.

And I can't find the cell phone that I know I had 2 hours ago but now its too late to take pictures of Charlie sitting on the potty, or Gwen walking around with play rings on her wrist like bracelets! How does she even know to do that? Hopefully, we'll replace our actual camera soon...thanks Mom and Dad.



Well, I did end up finding the cell phone and snapped a picture of Gwen and her bracelet. Details about our trip to OR and WA are coming soon.