Monday, June 9, 2014

Grandpa's 90th Birthday & Seattle

Over the weekend we got to fly out to Seattle for a quick trip to celebrate my Grandpa's 90th birthday and help my mom and her siblings throw him a big birthday bash!


The flight there was great. It helps that our kids are great walkers and love to compete to see who can carry the heaviest bags. Pretty soon Kevin and I will be buying ourselves adult strollers and we'll let the kids do all the heavy lifting/pushing.

We loved exploring the parks around my grandparent's house. We hit up this one twice...

On the first night I went over to visit my grandparents while Kevin put the kiddos to sleep at the hotel. I loved getting to chat with my aunts and uncles and grandparents without my kids running around. Grandma made sure that we got our sugar fill! In this photo she is holding three large boxes of ice cream bars. If you ever wonder where I got my sweet tooth from... it is my Grandma Brown! We are kindred sugar/chocolate spirits. :)

On Friday Kevin and my dad explored and played with the kiddos while I ran birthday party errands with my aunts. What a fun day!

On Friday night the "adults" (aunts, uncles, grandparents) all went out for dinner so Elise & I (and families) we had our own cousins bash at the park with pizza... followed by Dairy Queen!

On Saturday we played some more at parks and then let the kids play at grandma and grandpa's house for a few hours. In the late afternoon I helped set up for the birthday party and then loads of family and grandpa's friends arrived around 5pm for his 90th Birthday Party!

My kids had fun running around and eating as many treats as they could sneak while we met many of Grandma and Grandpa's friends and neighbors and chatted with cousins.

We even managed to get a photo with Grandpa and all of the great-grandkids that were at the party from the Smith, Love, Caffee, and Buskirk families. We need to have a big reunion so that we can get all of the other great-grandkids together too!

It was so fun to spend time with my mom and dad again! My kid were in heaven!!

One of Grandpa's neighbors made these cute 90 cookies for his party.

Darling Sophie!!

The highlight of the evening was listening to Grandpa, Grandma, and Aunt Diane shares stories from G&G Brown's life. This testimony shared by grandpa was the best part of the night. It was so special to be there to listen to him.

After cleaning up the party we went home and crashed at the hotel!! My kids were terrible sleepers the entire trip, so we were exhausted!! Ryan slept in the bathroom at the hotel and the two little kiddos shared a pull out couch and were constantly stealing blankets from one another and rolling on top of each other. Since Ryan slept in the bathroom we had to walk the big kids down the hall if they had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night... it was PAINFUL! So glad to be home because of that!


Before we went home we had to spend a day or so exploring Seattle!! We visited the Space Needle and Seattle Center, rode the monorail, went to the International Fountain, rode the Giant Seattle Wheel, ate ice cream and food along the pier, and just roamed around. We are so glad our kids are such good walkers. They walked and walked and then walked some more! The weather during our visit was gorgeous too!

I was also so excited that I got to meet up with several blogging friends that live in the Seattle area! We went out to dessert at the Purple Cafe and chatted for a few hours while Kevin and the kiddos played at the park. I've known all of these ladies online for a few years and yet we'd never met in real life... in fact, Allie (far left) is one of the bloggers that inspired me to start my Toddler Approved blog. So cool to all hang out a bit this weekend. I love how many creative and fun people I have met through blogging! 

(photo courtesy of Marnie from Carrots Are Orange)

My only wish is that we had another day or two to play in Seattle!! There are so many things that we wanted to do and not enough time!! Can't wait till our next trip back!

We finally headed home this evening. I am exhausted, my house is a wreck, and am hoping my kids decide to sleep FINALLY. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Favorite Trip

A few weekends ago I flew to Utah by myself to visit my mom and dad. It might have been my favorite trip ever. In fact, if you've asked me about my trip I may have teared up a bit talking about it after the fact since it was seriously that awesome and memorable. 

I love my mom and dad!

It was so cool to just hang out with them by myself for a weekend. I think I've only maybe done that once before... when I helped them move into their Utah house almost 7 years ago?

When I arrived I was greeted with a basket of goodies made by my mom... including two sugar cookies that were amazing and were inhaled immediately.

We went out to dinner just the three of us at Macaroni Grill and had fun chatting and then we went and grabbed a few important items that my parents needed at Target.

Note what the "important items" were. Funniest Target trip ever.

Then we stayed up late chatting.

On Saturday I slept in until 9am, went running with my mom, and then met the Caffees up at the new outlets in Thanksgiving Point (Traverse Mountain). We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets all together and then bopped around at the stores. I found several cute things that I liked and bought which is really rare for me, so it was a successful day!

I loved getting to hang out with cute Maddie, Olivia, and baby Lauren too!

On Saturday night Elise came back down to Provo and mom, dad, Elise and I went out to The Chocolate for dessert. We gorged ourselves on chocolate cake while chatting for almost 2 hours. It was so fun!

Sunday morning I slept in until 9am again and then drove up to Salt Lake to go to church with the Caffees. I got to be Elise's stand in while she got to speak in sacrament mtg. People kept getting confused and thinking I was her... which is always funny.

After Elise's talked I zipped back down to Provo to meet up with my mom and dad and go to church with them. The meeting was super special since both my mom and dad were speaking. My dad was released as Bishop after 6 years of serving and it was really neat to listen to them and others talk about the blessings that have come as my dad has sacrificed his time over the past several years to his calling.

After church a super nice family in the ward hosted a ward linger longer to say thank you to my dad and welcome the new Bishop too. It almost started pouring but then the rain decided to hold off. Yay!

I had fun hanging out with the Caffees at the party and chatting with a few people from my parent's ward.

What a power couple. Watching these two in action at the party just reminded me that although I know my mom likes to chat, my dad can hold his own too. I think I inherited both of their chatting talents... and it appears Andrew has too (as evidenced by him getting to use a barrier in kindergarten so he can concentrate when he is working).

On Sunday evening while my parents were still partying with friends, I jetted up to meet the newest member of the Tadje family. He was less than a week old! It was so fun to chat with Cindy and catch up! Now if only she'd move back to CA and be my running buddy again...

On Monday morning I woke up at 7:30am so I could go running with my mom before she headed to work. The weather was gorgeous, though cold! I spent the rest of the morning packing and relaxing and napping and then got to go to Cafe Rio for lunch with my dad. Having my dad all to myself to chat and hang out is awesome! What a treat! 

I flew home early Monday afternoon. I slept the whole flight. It was great. 

The kiddos were so excited to see me when I got home. I sure missed them and Kevin but I sure enjoyed my weekend break from being a mom too! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Around the Bay- Saturday Family Adventures

My favorite way to measure the success of a day is how dirty the kids are by the end of it. If they are too clean, it means we didn't have enough fun!

Ryan was our fun family day mascot on Saturday! He went through three outfits by the end of the day. His red slurpee stains are still on his face and stomach... no matter how I scrub at them. Such a fun day!

Kevin & Andrew started off the weekend with the Father's and Sons Campout that Kevin helped organize. Then they hurried home so Andrew could change into baseball clothes and we were off for little league!!

The game was stellar and Andrew got the game ball at the end of it. He was STOKED! He even made a special stand for it out of Legos.

After the game we zipped down to Palo Alto to meet up with a few of our favorite people visiting from So Cal- The Hayes family!! We had too much fun chatting, eating, and running around after little people, so we sadly never managed to snap a photo! It is so fun to see out littles hanging out together. Ryan and Graham loved seeing who could be the craziest swinger and screecher! It was adorable!

After our PA lunch we grabbed quick slurpees (and took a diet coke pitstop for me) and then we headed up for a gorgeous adventure in San Francisco!!

The kiddos napped on the way up... and for a little while longer once we got to Golden Gate Park, so everyone felt very well rested for park adventures!!

We ran around at the park for almost two hours, rode the carousel, and then headed out once things started closing down for the night.

We grabbed dinner at the Wharf and then made our usual stop at Ghirardelli for treats. Yum Yum!

We ended the night with a fun but quick reunion with the Bond family! Can't believe it had been almost 2 years since we'd last seen each other! So fun for the kiddos to get to meet and Andrew & Catie can't wait to hang out again hopefully this summer.

The best part about leaving SF after 8pm is that it took us less than 40 minutes to get home. The kids crashed immediately once we got there and so did we! Busy Saturdays sure are fun AND exhausting!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ryan at 18 Months

Little buddy turned 18 months old last Sunday on April 27th!

The last 18 months having him in our family has been positively delightful! He is such a sweet, kind, and loving little guy.

He had his 18 month appointment today and is about 33.5 inches tall (85% or so), 26 lbs (75%) and has a growing head (95%)!

He just loved smiling at the doctor and nurse and we easy peasy when it came to getting checked out! He obviously hated the shots, but loved the prize he got to pick... and then when Catie stole his prize, he loved the Frozen sticker she gave him instead. He is such an easy to please kid!

Some things about Ryan right now... 

  • He is growing through his clothes faster than I can get new clothes out of storage. He wears 18 months to 2T outfits that he inherited from Andrew.
  • He loves balls, cars, trains, climbing, birds, dogs, and anything his big siblings like... especially destroying Andrew's lego creations or stealing Catie's favorite doggies.
  • He LOVES to eat! If the big kids leave food behind, he steals it. 
  • He wears size 5 diapers... or whatever type we can find :)
  • He is awesome with a spoon and a fork. Catie still loves to use her hands and has a harder time with utensils, so it is funny to have such a demanding little guy who gets grumpy if I don't give him a fork like everyone else!
  • He sleeps from 7-7 or 7:30-7 or so every day and rarely wakes up in the night. His sound machine is awesome.
  • He has a gazillion teeth and we are hopeful he is taking a break from getting any more since that period was painful!!
  • He says loads of words... but his favorites are "MAMI" (mama), dada, Baboo (Andrew), Catie (he says very clearly!), NO, more, dink (drink), doggy, guun guun (bird), car, and babals (bubbles)!

Ryan also loves treats and that might probably be his favorite word ever. I thought Catie was good at catching me sneaking treats... but Ryan is even better. He follows me around saying "treat, treat." He is a totally chocoholic like his mama too... so he sure loved his chocolate bunny on Easter!

Little dude also has one speed.... running!! He is a mover just like his siblings and his favorite direction to go is anywhere AWAY from me!

We sure love this little guy and are really enjoying watching him little personality develop as he grows. He is definitely not one to take things lying down, will defend himself if someone takes his stuff, but he is also super huggable and kind to his siblings... unless their hair gets too close by and he decides to give it a little pull!

Love this kid!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kevin Versus Haleakalā

Last week when we were in Hawaii Kevin and my sister Jessie rented some sweet bikes and rode up Haleakalā. Most people drive to the top, look at the sunrise, and ride down the volcano. Not these two. They trained and prepared and then conquered going up the volcano. It was pretty cool.

Despite riding in a downpour the entire way up the volcano (while climbing 10, 023 ft)... they didn't give up!

If it had been me, I would've quit at the beginning. So proud of these two!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Maui Trip Journal by Andrew

Andrew had a big packet of homework to do over our week trip to Maui. One of his assignments was to write a journal. Here's his Maui Trip Journal. He has two more pages to finish tomorrow, which I will add in when he is finished. It is funny to see what things were important to him on this trip and I just LOVE his invented spelling for some of the words too! I helped remind him to add periods to the sentences otherwise this would've been one big run on sentence. See if you can decipher some of the more creatively spelled words.

Love this kid!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Mayhem

I love holidays, but I think St. Patrick's Day is my least favorite... maybe because I don't own anything green?

As a teacher I always created total mayhem in my classroom on St. Patrick's Day with footprints and chocolate coins scattered about along with tables and chairs knocked over. I always hate cleaning up the mess, but the reactions from the kids was always seriously awesome.

Fast forward over 10 years (can you believe I started teaching over 10 years ago?? I feel old)... and when Andrew was two I started doing sneaky Leprechaun stuff at our house too.

Typically it involves making a leprechaun trap the day before- nothing fancy... it is all kid created... and then the leprechaun comes the next day.

This year we forgot to make traps before we left for Utah and Andrew would not let the idea die. I think he got brainwashed in kindergarten ;) He spent all morning today looking for the perfect box for his trap and then got Catie all excited too... so after school they both worked on their traps for awhile.

I felt terrible because we didn't have any coins, so we swung by the party store and grabbed some.

The Leprechaun ended up sneaking into the house while I was taking a "nap" and destroyed the kitchen. Catie came downstairs and found me asleep on the couch and the kitchen covered with gold coins and candy. I think she must've scared him! He left the screen door wide open when he left. Can't believe I never heard him! ;)

We ended the day with green pancakes and green milk for dinner along with shamrock green rice crispy treats!

The day after St. Patrick's Day we had two friends and their kiddos come over for a low key party. We ate green mac & cheese, made fruit loop rainbows, went on a chocolate gold hunt, and ate Lucky Charms rice crispy treats. It was so fun!

Next up... EASTER! Definitely a holiday I like better. Can't wait!