Monday, December 16, 2013

Mollie 17&18 months

Mollie Lynn 17 & 18 months

What have you been up to the past couple of months?

No growth spurts these past two months. You still wear size 4 diapers and 12-24 month clothes.

Your personality is shining more and more each day. You are such a funny, silly little girl, with a determined will!

Mollie, you are talking all the time. You are a little jabber box when you are at home or around people that you are very comfortable with. While you still give your sweet smiles and silly faces, but you don't talk much around new people or places, and even at church. You repeat anything and are learning new words every day. Two of my favorite words you say are "yeah" and "noooo" (while shaking your head). You say them in the sweetest voice.

Daddy has had allergies lately, so whenever he sneezes you say "bless you Daddy!".

You always have a book in your hand and love to sing songs. You sing "up above the world so high", and "happy birthday to (Banna, gabby, bro-bro, Daddy, papa,)" over and over again.

You can count to 5, but most every time when I ask you to count for me, you shake your head and say "no".

Most of the time you love to play with blocks, cars, and balls, just like your brother, but lately you have loved wearing jewelry, especially dress up necklaces!

Your first reaction when brother takes a toy from you, we tell you no, or ask you to do something you don't want to do, is to hit! This has been a battle and a big learning curve that we work on multiple times a day!

After bathtime, you love for brother to chase you around the house. I don't think I'll ever tire of hearing your infectious giggle!

You hop, squat and jump but your sweet little feet never leave the ground.

You are quite the little climber. I turn my back and next thing I know you are crawling on top of the table!

You like to brush your teeth and hair.

You tell me when you have gone poop in your diaper. Early sign of being ready to potty train?!?

Matthew has preschool on Friday mornings, so you get 2 hours of undivided attention. I work a lot of Fridays, so most days you spend this time with Gabby. You two spend such special time together running errands, going to Target and getting coffee.

Mollie Lynn, I feel like I say this every month but I can't believe how quickly you are growing up right before our eyes. You are a precious gift and we love you so much Sissy!



Monday, December 9, 2013

Matthew 31 & 32 months

Matthew Jay 31 & 32 months

Matthew, what have you been up to these past two months?

Potty trained! Near the end of August, you were showing us all the signs that you were ready to potty train. After 1 day of putting you on the potty every 20 minutes, and 1 more day of putting you on the toilet every 1-2 hours, I can say we have a potty (not poop) trained little boy at 2.5 years old! You aren't always great at telling us you need to go, but as long as I give you a reminder every few hours, you will not have an accident. For the first few weeks I was putting you in a diaper at naps and nighttime, but you were consistently waking up dry, so we said goodbye to nap time diapers! You still wear one at night, but 80% wake up dry as well. We still haven't conquered pooping on the potty, but hopefully that will come shortly.

Daddy went back to work at the end of August. It's been a transition back to our school year routine you miss Daddy when he's gone, but get very excited to see and play with him after he's home. Almost every night at dinner, you ask Daddy if he can see the eagle (the mascot from his school).

You were sick with a nasty cough for a couple of weeks at the beginning of September. You hold on to your colds for a long time. It made sleep and naps tough.

You started attending Toddler Time at our church preschool. You go on Fridays for 2 hours. The perfect amount of time! At first, you were very confused because you always associate "going to school" as "going to visit Daddy's school". Thankfully, you quickly caught on to the routine of Toddler Time and you absolutely love it! Miss Jen is your teacher and you absolutely adore her, and she does an amazing job with your class. I'm very thankful she's also my dear friend! Mommy works a lot of Fridays, so Gabby takes you to preschool.

You pooped on the potty (rather then just going in your underwear!) for the first time on Sunday September 29th. We were at night church, when our pager went off. Daddy went to see what was needed. A couple minutes later, he came to the back of the church and motioned for me to come out. He was mouthed the word "Poop". I thought that you had an accident and Daddy just didn't want to clean you up. I was about to give him a piece of my mind, when I walked into the bathroom and you were sitting so proudly on the toilet, showing us your poo. As strange as it sounds, I was so proud of you. We had been working so hard on this, with many bribes attached, that I was thrilled to have this milestone. Right after church, as promised, we went to Target and you got to pick out a new garbage truck as a reward. You did grest for a few days, and right now you go in the toilet about 50% of the time. We still have some work to do, but you have a very proud Daddy and Mommy.

You can put on and take off your Velcro shoes.

Each night after dinner, you ask Daddy if you may be excused from the table. You then take your plate and dump the leftovers in the garbage and put it in the sink.

You know how to spell your name and we are working on writing it.

Earlier this summer Daddy caught you putting a penny down the cassette player in the Explorer. For a while we were having some issues with static over the radio, but it eventually got better and we didn't think of it again. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. The Explorer wouldn't start if it sat for a very long and was needing to be jumped frequently in order to start. We knew the battery wasn't bad because we had it changed only s few months prior. When we took it into the shop, the tests on the battery and alternator all came back perfectly fine. They did some higher level testing and found that the issue was the stereo was pulling from the battery. So out came the stereo for examination. And what do you think they found? 46 cents and a severed connection! Long story short, $250 later, 46 cents in a envelope to take home as a token, and a radio that is disconnected and fried, we got our car back!


Conversations with Matthew....

Matthew: (grabbing my ta-tas, if you will.) Mommy, dere's a baby in there?

Me: no, Mommy doesn't have a baby in there, but please don't touch Mommy there.

Matthew: (trying to grab again) what's dat?

Me: God gave them just to Mommies, not for you to touch.

Matthew: God say no?

Me: (trying not to laugh), yeah buddy lets leave them alone.


Daddy: what are our two rules at church?

Matthew: no running. No skipping.

This obviously is a big battle we face each week between services at church, as you and yoursweet little cousin race through the hallways and sanctuary. Asking you to use walking feet didn't work very well, as you realized that if you skipped, instead of ran, you could still get places fast. Little stinker!


When you are excited you say "Oh.My.Sakes", "Oh.My.Goodness" or "Oh Myyyy"

You are always curious about our plan for the day and ask multiples times a day, "where's a me going?" or "what's a me having for dinner?"


Matthew to Daddy while driving in the car: "Hey guys! Guys! Papa has a mommower. It starts like dis. Vrrrooom!"


Conversation with his friend Grace in the car...

Grace: I live in marysville. Where do you live Matthew?

Matthew: yake stevens. But I sleep in a tent. Ya, I yive in a tent.

Me: Hmmmmm...


Matthew Jay, you are growing up so fast! We love you so much brother!!





Thursday, December 5, 2013

Summer of fun

(Only posted months and months late....whoops! I was in a hurry to finish, so please excuse any grammar and punctuation errors!...and an over abundance of exclamation marks!)

What an amazing and memorable summer we had. I can't wait to share all about it!

First of all, Back way up to late January where we started having some conversations about big changes in our family. I was working 12 hour night shifts a couple of times per week at the hospital. I was coming home and taking care of my kids, exhausted and on no sleep. It was taking a toll on our family. When we bought our house back in 2010 we were living the double income no kids life. I always dreamed of staying home with our kids one day, but we didn't figure that into our finances or our near future when we bought our first home. God had other plans and I was pregnant with Matthew 2 months after we moved into our house, and gave birth to Mollie 14 months after Matthew. Granted, I loved parts of our home, but it was not working for our family anymore, and the Lord was leading us in a different direction. We made the decision, as huge as it was going to be for our family, to put our house on the market. Our first agent gave us the news that we could never sell our house for what we owed after running the numbers. I was discouraged and felt like God was closing a door. Thankfully, we got a second opinion who gave us completely different comps and a totally different perspective. Early Spring we put our house on the market. After over 35+ showings, our house sold in 3 weeks (seriously, trying to show your house with 2 young children is nearly impossible!). God's timing is always perfect and He opened up the opportunity for us to move into an amazing rental house situation. Matt's brother and his wife lived in the rental house and were moving out just as we needed to move in to a new place. I had to totally eat my words, because if you asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I would NEVER move into an old 1920 house with no dishwasher, original glass windows you can practically feel the wind through, steep and narrow stairs, 1 dingy bathroom, outlets that are few and far between and a lingering "old house" smell. But God was opening this door for us and I knew with 100% certainty this was what we were supposed to be doing and where we are supposed to be. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I LOVE the house. It's old charm has completely grown on me. I've been able to put my own touch on the house. And the property, my oh my. It's absolutely amazing. As of April, I quit my classified position as a Registered Nurse at the UW Medical Center, to stay home with my two little joys. I still work per diem at the hospital. Basically, I am held to no schedule and can choose to work how often and when I want. God has blessed this season of life. Amidst the chaos that staying home with 2 small kids can bring, I am absolutely loving this time with my kids. And I think my husband would agree with me when I say that he also reaps the rewards of having me home! Of course, I am looking forward to home ownership again someday, but there is a time and a season for everything!

Long story short, I didn't work but a couple of shifts the entire summer. Matt was on summer break, which meant that we got to spend every single day together as a family! What an opportunity, and I can say that we tried to seize all the time we had.

Warm weather came early this year and we got to enjoy a lot to warm, sunny days outside in May.

Both kids absolutely love to say "hi" and feed carrots to Sunny the horse, who lives on the property.

Late May we also got to spend an afternoon wading in the water, digging in the sand and playing on the toys at Lundeen Park with "Uncle D" and "Aunt Chele".


To celebrate Daddy's baseball season being a succes and finally being over, we took advantage of having our Saturdays free again and went to the zoo! Having a zoo pass with small kids is a MUST. It pays for itself in only a couple of visits and lets be honest, the zoo is expensive, so it totally takes the pressure off of having to see all the animals in one visit. We can go for a few hours in the morning or afternoon and still be home for naps! Win-win in my book.

My kids were clearly still waking up from their naps.

They loved the gorillas. I was a bit disgusted seeing the gorillas throw up in their hands, stuff in back in their mouth, chew and repeat. My kids on the other hand were fascinated and found it hilarious.
We love play dates, and enjoyed a morning playing at Lundeen Park with friends! It was a bit cooler then we thought it would be, but that didn't stop the boys from having fun.

A summer favorite was wheelbarrow rides at Grandpa and Gabby's.

I felt like we were outside almost nonstop. This is my ideal summer!


Mollie learned where her nose is. Lovely.
These two spent lots of mornings snuggling and playing while waking up, usually watching their favorite show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!
We took Matthew on a special Daddy and Mommy date to his first Mariner's game. He did wonderful!
The last weekend in May, Mollie and I left the boys at home and went on our first girls weekend to visit baby Sophie. We left early in the morning, and my sweet little girl decided she didn't want to sleep in the car or the airplane. Thankfully it's a quick 2.5 hour flight, nothing that food, toys and a little I-pad can't handle! .

We had such a fun and relaxing weekend meeting baby Sophie, loving on her when Mollie would actually let me put her down, and visiting Adam and Willow! Look at the cheeks on this girl. So kissable!

Silly girl LOVES to wear sunglasses.
Where did my baby go???
Such a beautiful family!
Thanks for a great weekend Adam and Willow!

Early June we went with Gabby and her first grade class on a field trip to the zoo! One of Matthew's favorite things to do at the zoo is ride the tractor.

A beautiful, much loved Gabby.
Matthew's favorite animal is a snake. This is the highlight of the zoo, every time.

One weekend 2 of my nephews, Caleb and Landon, came to spend the night. When Caleb was a little boy (and before I had kids to run me ragged and wear me out), he was my entire world, I spent a lot of time with him and spoiled him rotten! Now, even though I don't spend as much time with him, he still holds a very special place in his Aunt Cammie's heart, so we LOVE days that we get to have with these boys. We played at the park, got slurpees, went to the lake, dug in the sand, and watched some of my favorite movies as a kid once Matthew and Mollie went to bed. I can't wait to watch these movies with my own kids one day!

We celebrated Father's Day with some of the most important men in my life!

Matt got out of school mid June and our adventures began! At the end of June, both of Matt's siblings and families who live out of town came to visit. We had been looking forward to seeing them for such a long time! Total there were 14 adults, 15 kids, and one in the oven. 29 people! We clearly didn't have the room for all of us to comfortably be together, so we rented a huge house on the beach and headed to Ocean Shores for the week. What a memorable week we had!

This was Matthew's first time every playing in the Ocean. Despite the cold, wet, cloudy weather, and freezing cold water, he absolutely loved wading in the water and jumping the waves. It was actually a constant battle, because he wanted to go even deeper all the time!

Leaving the beach was not one of he favorite things to do.
Cool Uncle D showing everyone how to skim board!
Daddy and Uncle Micah weren't as successful :)


Papa and Grandma saved their quarters and treated everyone to a fun afternoon at the arcade, followed by pizza!
Grandma and Harper enjoying some mashed bananas.
If you know my busy daughter, then you know that this is a rare sight to capture!
Matthew was in cousin heaven this week!


That's one dirty little girl with a heavy, water loaded diaper.

It was a beautifully chaotic (remember I did say that there were 29 people in one house, adults out numbered by kids, too) week! Memories were created and relationships with rekindled. I can't wait for the day when we are all together again!

Matthew always sees Grandpa's boat parked on the side of his house, and as he's gotten older, he is always asking Grandpa about his boat and when he can go out it. So naturally, one thing I was very excited to do this summer was to take our kids out on Grandpa's boat. Mollie enjoyed riding in the boat for awhile, but quickly fell asleep in Gabby's arms.

Matthew, on the other hand, thought that riding in and driving the boat with Grandpa was about the best thing ever!

After a boat ride, it was time for Matthew to go inner tubing for the first time with Daddy! He was cautious at first, but ended up loving it! He even went for a second ride with Mommy. That's my adventurous boy!

Matthew also jumped off the back of the boat and into the lake about 100 times!

Mollie's favorite part was floating in her tube on the beach, while Daddy and Grandpa got the boat ready to go home. Such a princess!

I can't wait for many more summers spent on the water with my family!

Before we knew it the Fourth of July rolled around. We started off the day with a trip to the zoo with my parents. It was a busy morning at the zoo, but with the temperatures a little cooler almost all of the animals were out.

Without fail, the highlight of the trip was seeing the snake, and riding the carousel.

After the zoo, we went back to my parents house, where my Grandma joined us. While the kids napped we played a couple games of croquet. Matt won one game and Grandma fair and square won the other! Not bad for an 82 year old, right?!?!

That evening, we headed over to Grandma and Papa's house for dinner and fireworks. Matthew wasn't too sure about doing the sparklers at first, but once he saw Joshie doing it, he figured out they are a lot of fun. Mollie went to bed, but Matthew was having so much fun with his cousins that he stayed up and watched the fireworks too!

Matthew LOVED the ocean so much when we went with Matt's family in June that I just knew we needed to go back! Plus, I had heard all about this amazing community near Ocean Shores called Seabrook that I was anxious to try out. We packed up the Expedition and headed to the coast for a few days of fun with my parents and Bami. What an amazing time we had. Seabrook has become my new favorite place to stay on the coast. We spent a couple of days just enjoying Seabrook and the beaches, and headed into Ocean Shores to explore for one day too.

We rented this house called Grandma Dorothy's Cottage. Seriously adorable!
We drank lots of coffee and played shuffleboard! I tried to get in the mix, but I lost every time, so I usually let the guys play.
We had some pretty chilly weather, but that didn't stop us from going to the beach for at least a little while everyday. Grandpa helped Matthew build a sand castle and mote. Matthews favorite part was helping Grandpa fetch water from the ocean, and knocking over the castles!
Matt and I took advantage of having extra help around, and snuck out for some early morning jogs on the beach and even a late night date!
We played at the park.
Both my kids were in Grandpa, Gabby and Banna heaven. We had to go through Grandparent withdrawal once the week was over!
We went on lots of bike rides around Seabrook.
Matthew taught Banna all about riding a motorcycle at the arcade.
We ate way too much yummy food!
We had a campfire and Matthew got to experience his first s'more. Go figure, he loved it! He was even asking to have one the next morning at breakfast.
And of course spent more time playing at the beach.


What a fun vacation we had! I can't wait to go back next year.
The next week we spent our mornings serving at Vacation Bible School at our church. While Matt and I were teaching, Matthew and Mollie got to spend their morning playing in the nursery. Their teacher was Gabby, so naturally they could not wait to get to VBS for the day! I think we all came home exhausted and ready for a nap!

We spent one evening at Aquafest in downtown Lake Stevens with Grandma and Papa. We ate yummy gyros, and the kids shared a corn dog. We spent way too much money for the kids to be able to go on 6 rides. They LOVED the rides, so I guess that's what matters, right? We ended the night with a messy ice cream cone.

One morning while the guys went golfing, Gabby and I took the kids to downtown Snohomish for the Kla Ha Ya Days parade. Both kids got way too much candy passed out to them, and their favorite part of the parade was the dancing horses and fire trucks.
I actually enjoyed trips to Costco this summer because, with Daddy in tow, I have extra reinforcement with me. Matthew loves when he gets a hot dog. Cheapest family dinner in town. This kid can put a whole hot dog away by himself!
Matt and I escaped for an evening we were looking forward to for a long time, with our friends Kyle and Alyssa. We went to dinner at some fancy pizza place. It was absolutely delicious. No matter how hard we try to have normal, adult conversation when we are out to dinner without the kids, somehow they always sneak into our topic of conversation! Then we went to the Jim Gaffigan comedy show. Hilarious. We love our date nights and time away from our kids, but by the end of the night we are always excited to see our little munchkins!

We spent hours visiting and exploring parks and playgrounds. Easy, free, fun entertainment! Win-win.

Matthew loves to spin around and around in these toys.
We spent a few nights, and even a couple mornings enjoying friends and family while gathered around our fire pit. I won't tell you that in the picture below, Matt and David had to google how to start a fire pit. Thankfully, by the end of the summer, they had this starting fire business down!
Matthew and Mollie are getting to such a fun (and busy) age. As they are getting older, the 14 month age difference between them is starting to grow less and less noticable. They are always playing together, Sissy is always wanting to do exactly what her brother is doing, and they always manage to get into some kind of mischief, such as playing IN the water table...
... Or one morning while we were busy getting some yard work done, Matthew and Mollie took this as the perfect opportunity to sneak inside and make a mess!

Matthew loved trips to Ace Hardware this summer where riding and push mowers were plentiful. He could spend hours exploring and playing on them.

On another golfing morning, Gabby and I took the kids to Forest Park for play, water and animals. Such a fun, but busy place to be!
Mollie got tired, so she decided it was time to loaf and drink her ba-ba. Oh the life....
Matthew and Mollie loved petting and looking at the animals at the petting zoo.
This is Mollie making her piggy face.
Matthew and Mollie got to experience their first trip through a car wash. We watched a few YouTube videos of car washes earlier in the day, so he was thrilled when we finally went through it! It's amazing how the little things take on a whole new perspective when you experience it through the eyes of your children.
The beginning of August, Matt and I were eager to try something new and enjoy a getaway with just our family. We knew that a camping trip to Lake Chelan was in order. We had a beautiful camp site right on the shores of Lake Chelan.
The tent was smoking hot during the day, so nap time existed of short cat naps in the car. Thankfully, that meant that both kids slept great at night. We enjoyed swimming in Lake Chelan. It was a little too cold for Mollie especially, so she preferred to dig in the sand instead. We spent lots of time playing at the playground and eating soft serve ice cream cones. Matt and I even learned how to play Cribbage once the kids went to bed.
We walked around downtown Chelan and Matthew rode a Go-cart with Daddy for the first time.
The thing I was most excited to do while in Chelan, was take the kids to Slide Waters! Matthew is my little adventure boy, so I couldn't wait for him to experience the water slides. It would be an understatement to say that he absolutely loved them! Both him and Mollie went down almost every slide in the park, and Matthew went down all the intermediate slides by himself. We ate a Punic lunch, and Mollie took a nap in the stroller while Matthew went down the slides over and over again. 5 hours later we peeled him away from the park, one tired and very happy little boy.
We made so many fun memories, and spent such quality time together as a family while camping in Lake Chelan. I can't wait for next year!
To cap off our summer, we took a trip to Colorado to visit Uncle Adam and Aunt Willow. We had two little munchkins who were beyond excited to ride on the airplane.
We had to wake up very early (hence the wide eyed stares out the window), but both kids did an amazing job on the airplane ride. Matthew got to sit in between his Gabby and Grandpa, so he was more the pleased and entertained for the flight. I bought special ring pop suckers for the flight, and Matthew was thrilled over them, and kept calling them his "boo boo sucker." Mollie got a little restless at times, but did fall asleep for about an hour and was otherwise very happy and content.
We spent the day we arrived just hanging out and getting to know baby Sophie. Isn't she adorable?!?

The next day we packed up and headed a few hours north to Steamboat Springs where my parents rented a time share that we stayed at for the rest of the week. What a memorable week we had spending time together, away at a resort, exploring a beautiful town!

We went on a small hike to a beautiful waterfall, and got to enjoy God's creation!
Matthew loved this little creek that ran right through town. He loved throwing rocks and jumping into the cold, crisp water.

Mollie preferred dry land most of the time.
Even Sophie got her toes wet!
Story time with Uncle Adam.
Walking to the Farmer's market. Matthew wanted to wear his backpack just like Grandpa.
One afternoon we ventured up into the mountains to Strawberry Park Natural Hot springs. It was abeautiful place with amazing architecture. There were about 8 different hot springs of varying temperatures. The kids loved swimming in the warm water. As much as it was pretty amazing to think that these hot springs were heated naturally, it kinda felt like we were just swimming in a big bath tub with a bunch of other people!
Sunday morning we ride the Gondola up the mountain where we we treated to amazing views and a delicious buffet at the lodge.
Matthew's favorite part was the chocolate fountain!
I'm so blessed by my family!
These two girls spent lots of time lounging by the pool.
Matthew LOVED the swimming pool. He learned how to jump in and go completely under water. He would jump in, swim over the ladder, climb up, and then repeated this about 200 times!
What an amazing and memorable time away we had with our family!
Once we were back in Denver, we met up with some of our very good friends for a date night! Despite some pouring down rain, we had a delicious dinner and night out in Boulder catching up.
After a busy week, it was time to head home and prepare for Matt to head back to school the following week.

Summer of 2013 is one I will never forget. We treasured our time together as a family, and have so many fun memories that were made. It makes me look forward to the following summers and the many memories that we have yet to make! God is good!!