Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today I am very grateful for all of my crazy family...

especially my crazy sisters

Squanto, Pocahantas, and Sacagawea graced us with their presence at dinner... probably not totally historically accurate, but it was pretty funny nonetheless.

Dad, Scott, and our friend from Vietnam all took turns carving the turkeys
(I love my dad's turkey carving face)

My mom kept Andrew entertained... esp since Jessie (I mean Sacagawea) looked so scary to him that he wouldn't go near her.

Shari humored Andrew and let him play foosball again and again... even though we played it for hours earlier (and later) at my parent's house.

I am grateful for all of the cousins that Andrew has... today I was especially grateful for the boys who played blocks with him and made him feel cool.

I am also grateful for delicious food and a fancy table to sit at

... with homemade rolls

and pie (can you tell we're not pumpkin pie sort of people?)

I feel very blessed to have such an incredible family and so many wonderful friends. The only sad part about Thanksgiving was missing my favorite twin sister, Dan, and Baby Maddie. :) We are looking forward to seeing them on Saturday!

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The BIG 3-0

Today was a fabulous day. I decided that any day that is filled with things that Andrew loves would be a great birthday for me.

We started off the day with a trip to Borges Ranch in Walnut Creek. We went with my cousin Jenny and the kids/moms from her Joy School. We loved it.

The kids could go inside all of the pens and pet all the animals.

Andrew's favorite animal was the rooster. One of the little 8 year-olds who was with us said, "I wish I was as brave as he is (talking about Andrew)." Little man had no fear. I was worried I'd get pecked to death.

Kate & Andrew had fun running around together and finding sticks.

Who knew that hitting sticks against a barb wire fence could be so cool.

We ended the trip with lunch and a turkey craft.

Later in the day (after Andrew's brief nap- I guess he didn't get the memo that 30 minutes doesn't count as a nap on my birthday?)... we headed over to Downtown to jump on the Ironhorse Regional Trail and go jogging to a cool new park.

The park had a cute train and the whole playground was train themed with lots of tunnels and bridges. Andrew was in heaven.

After a day filled with fun adventures, we came home and ran around, made birthday crowns, and got a visit from friends from church who dropped by some cookies.

Later on our family celebration was filled with more treats, cake, and candle blowing. I asked for Kevin to only give me treats this year (no presents- since I just got my beautiful house)... he stepped up and delivered. We will be eating treats all week thanks to Kevin and my mom. They both just know exactly what I love.

I ended the night with phone calls from family and a nice hot bath in my huge bathtub. It was a perfect day and a great way to start off my 30s!

Party Weekend

This weekend we had a lot of fun celebrating the birthdays of several friends... and doing a little bit of early celebrating for my birthday.

We started off with a trip to Neverland to celebrate Andrew's friend M's birthday. He got a cute Peter Pan hat that he LOVED wearing.

He also got to walk the plank. He did it again and again.

The kids danced and sang around the tee pee. Andrew thought it was a tunnel and crawled through it and under it.

Little man loved the juice and the chocolate cake the best. He was also stoked that they had his favorite food for lunch- noodles.

My friend Alie always throws incredible parties... each year she finds some new and creative thing to do. Some day I hope I can throw a party that is even half as good.

The pirate ship was amazing.

Andrew had the best time playing with the balloons and seeing his buddies.

I could tell that he has missed them. He seemed so happy and anxiety-free the whole afternoon. The end of the party was the most precious. Kevin told him to give his little buddy a birthday kiss and he went right up to her and planted a kiss right on her cheek! It was darling and I was sad I didn't have my camera.

Later in the day we had an early birthday celebration for me at my favorite restaurant in Mountain View- Shivas.

Andrew loved Kevin's Mango Lassi and I downed my Shahi Paneer and all the appetizers we ordered way too quickly. The food was incredible and Andrew was on his best behavior- he was such a patient restaurant patron.

In the evening we went to Andrew's friend J's house for a Housewarming/Birthday celebration. The day was full of so much good food and time with many great friends. It was such a fun way to spend the weekend.

The icing on the cake of the weekend was a small family birthday dinner that Kevin threw for me. My cousin Jenny and her family came and Bryant and Candice also made the trek up to celebrate my birthday with us.

The kids had so much fun together... especially in the ball room. I love this picture because it looks like the girls are going to gang up on Andrew and pelt him with balls.

I am also happy that Andrew loves his cousin (2nd cousin I think?) Kate so much. They were darling together.

This was the best group kid shot I could get. All three of them loved sitting on the step.

Kev got me two ice cream cakes from Baskin & Robbins. This is the one where he actually put the correct number of candles on the cake... it was completely covered. I am old ;) and I love it!

Little man also had a blast playing ball and getting thrown by Chris. If I would offer to play kick with him he would look at me like I was crazy and go grab Chris to come.

Overall, we had a fabulous party-filled weekend... and fortunately for me, the party continued all day today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Little Artist

I am excited to see that Andrew is learning to love art... which is kind of like a nice name for making a mess (in his case).

He is a little OCD about his "colors." He dumps them out and then carefully puts them back in the colored pencil case over and over again many times each day. He sometimes sings the clean up song while he picks them up.

I let him paint for the first time yesterday. I bought a cheap set from the $1 aisle at Target. I thought it was a watercolor set. Some ladies from church came over to visit and Andrew was being a grump, so I let him paint while we talked. He got a lot on the table and his clothes and my jeans... and then I realized they weren't watercolors. Fortunately after a lot of washing I discovered they were at least washable.

All the stains came out. The next time we painted I was not distracted by visitors and I stripped him down.

I loved checking out his creations. I may need to frame these. The Teddy Bear looks like it is covered in blood.

He loves the color yellow. He yells "yellow" throughout his painting time, but doesn't know what it means.

I think we're going to try finger painting next week. I'm sure he'll love it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Darevil

He tries to give me a heart attack when we go to the park these days. He is not ready to attempt these bars yet, but he still tries and gets a little further every day.

Patience Practice Periods

My neighbor invited me and Andrew to join her weekly "Virtues" class. The class is organized by several moms with kids ages 1-4. We've been going to it for the past few weeks and have had some fun... and some frustration (some discussions are over his head). The virtue we have been focusing on this month is Patience. This is the perfect virtue to work on when you have a toddler.

Today for our art project we made patience bead necklaces. The kids are supposed to wear them to remind them to be patient... I think maybe I should wear the necklace instead?

The coolest part of the class is that it is comprised of moms from all over the world and that practice different religions but all believe in God. As the kids eat snacks, the moms have a discussion each week about a particular topic. Sometimes the discussion is more like yelling over screaming crazy kids... Today we each shared different inspirational thoughts about families and patience.
I shared this quote by Elder John H. Groberg:

"All of us, single or married, are eternally part of some family—someway, somewhere, somehow—and much of our joy in life comes as we correctly recognize and properly develop those family relationships. We come to this earth charged with a mission: to learn to love and serve one another. To best help us accomplish this, God has placed us in families, for he knows that is where we can best learn to overcome selfishness and pride and to sacrifice for others and to make happiness and helpfulness and humility and love the very essence of our character."

I told the moms that I try and pick a set period of time each day to make a patience practice period... since I'm not patient enough to try all day long. I try and really focus on being extra patient during that time period... and over time it gets easier to be patient for longer periods of time.

It was so inspirational to sit around with these women who are all striving to be better and who all have such beautiful testimonies of God and his goodness... even if their beliefs are different than mine.

I am constantly working on this virtue. I feel like I was much more patient a few years ago when I was teaching the little people. I definitely have my work cut out for me. Hopefully my patience beads can help a little. :)