Monday, August 29, 2011

A Letter

Andrew starts preschool next week. He got a letter in the mail from his teacher (Miss Leslie) last Friday and he was so excited about it.

I actually teared up a bit. As a teacher I always sent out cards to my students to welcome them into my class. They were like this one and not really personalized at all... so I didn't think my effort was anything special, just something to do and check off a list.

Little did I know that a letter like this could be such a big deal...

Andrew doesn't like me to hold his letter. He wants to hold it and read it and read it again and again. He also likes to see what alphabet letters he knows in the note and then wants one of us to read it over and over to him. It is positively adorable.

He is supposed to bring a teddy bear or a stuffed animal to share on the first day. He's already concerned about what to bring. He said he doesn't have any animals (I have relocated all of them to Caitlin's room because they don't get thrown around as much in there). Andrew loves to play Animal Volleyball with them. After some discussion, he decided Google Bear is the perfect buddy to bring. They've had quite a history together, so I think that is the perfect choice... though we'll see what he ends up doing next week.

I have my Preschool Parent Orientation night this Thursday and I just discovered that I was put on the social committee. Hip hip hooray! If you read this blog regularly, then you know that there are very few things I love more than throwing, planning, coordinating, or just thinking about a party... or any other sort of social event :)

Preschool better live up to the hype. Little man is getting excited (and so am I).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It just comes naturally

I have a lot more pictures to post from our fun adventure yesterday... and I'll get around to it this weekend... but this picture was special to me. These two have an adorable relationship. I love that it just comes naturally to Andrew to protect his little sister without any words from me.

Now, the likelihood of Andrew actually being able to support Cate had she fallen was doubtful, since I think she's going to catch up to him in size soon... but it was cute nonetheless.

I absolutely love these two.

A Fresh Start

I have always had a love/hate relationship with August... especially when I was a classroom teacher. August meant that the summer was over. August meant that I would spend a gazillion hours in my classroom getting prepared for the first day of school... mentally envisioning exactly how every moment of that first day would go and physically preparing myself for the intensity of the first few weeks until I'd gotten my little charges whipped into shape and drinking the "Miss Smith" kool-aid :)

The beautiful thing about the start of a new school year is that you start with a clean slate. You have a fresh start. I always liked to change the physical arrangement of my entire classroom around each summer so that every aide that worked in my room felt the difference and felt a little bit inspired to make a change too.

Source: via Oh Dier on Pinterest

As this August arrived, I was sad to see summer go... but as I have watched neighbors and friends start up the school year, I am excited for Andrew's first day of preschool... and I am mostly excited about this fresh start that we will both have.

Mine is a fresh start to be a better mom, a better friend, and a much better wife. A new chance to try and actually stick to a schedule, make my bed, and hang up my clothes and not just pile them in my closet. I am excited for an opportunity to start over again and make some rules, like: I only talk calmly in my house (don't yell), I only speak kind words, I laugh every day, and I do dishes more often than once a week ;) etc. etc. My lists are really really long...

But my main goal for this new year is to focus on what is most important- my family, my faith, and my friends. As I have been thinking about a clean slate, I have thought a lot about what I aspire to be... and the self that I hated in the past was one who was so frantically busy that when it came to the important things, I was unavailable or not mentally present. I aspire to be present for the people that I love. I hope to find more ways to serve my family, friends, and people I don't know who will hopefully eventually be my friends. :)

Life gets busier and busier and there are good things and bad things about every stage in life. This year I want to try harder to enjoy every stage. I don't know what lies ahead for my life, but I do know that right now I am really blessed. I need to cherish every minute.

What goes around comes around

Caitlin had a bad night last night. It doesn't happen often, so this post isn't meant to complain. I went to bed way too late (1:30am)... which seems to be a trend I started a few weeks ago and can't stop. I don't get enough me-time during the day... so I need a few hours Anyways, this morning I had a huge headache. I kept telling Andrew to be quiet. During Cate's naptime I told him he could stay in the room with me only if he was quiet. I may have also asked him to leave me alone at one point because I was trying to bake something for a brunch.

Fast forward to later this afternoon. Cate is playing with me while I'm doing laundry. Andrew is shut off in his room. I go in to see what he is up to. He's playing with his box of super tiny things (all collected in his pirate treasure box) He says, "Mom, you need to leave me alone. I am playing all by myself." Then a minute or two later he amends his statement to, "You can play in here with me, but if you stay in here you need to be quiet."

Hmm... wonder who he sounds like? I definitely deserved that!

So I got a few reminders today...
Number one, I need to go to bed earlier.

Number two, I need to watch what I say and how I act since it seems like I have a little parrot living at my house right now :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It is starting

I love the happiness that comes as kids become more independent. Cate was a grump all last week. It felt like she wanted to do more... but couldn't, so she was mad at herself. Now she is crawling around and is much happier. Instead of just crawling around though... now she is pulling herself up on things. I hate this stage and the beginning to walk stage. I kind of wish I could surround my little cutie with bubble wrap and glue some pillows to her.

She had her first big fall today. It was sad. She was cruising around and fell and hit her head on the edge of a wall.

She got over it faster than I did. I am still reliving it again and again in my mind.

The first thing that I said to myself was" 'How did this poor girl get such a stupid mom?"

The next thing I did was envision how much worse it could've been and then I played all sorts of scenarios out in my head all morning. Cate unconscious, me running around the neighborhood trying to get help in my bathrobe, me calling 911 from the cell phone and then needing to call from my house phone because they couldn't find our address fast enough, bleeding, and then me freaking out on the phone with the dispatch people... So many ugly thoughts that just kept spiraling and spiraling. I don't handle trauma well.

Andrew was so sad for Caitlin too. He sat next to her and made goofy faces and got her laughing and kept her happy. At least she's lucky to have such a sweet brother since her mom is such an airhead sometimes!


I found a way to display our family motto that works with my "Back to School" decor :)

Today we are trying to "enjoy the journey"... but when little babies fall and hit their heads it is kind of tough to enjoy things very much! I forgot how much I hate the cruising stage. Good thing we have a lot of ice packs in our fridge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Videos of Cate and Andrew

Catie spent some time crawling around today and Andrew and I had fun trying to see how far we could get her to go. Fortunately, she still moves pretty slowly... but she definitely is motivated by anything that belongs to Andrew.

Lately in the morning I am pretty dead tired. I stay up too late and then both little people have been waking me up on and off in the middle of the night. Andrew is all bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:30am sometimes and that is too early for me... especially if I've just fed Cate at 6am and I've been hoping to go back to bed for an hour. I keep the iPad charged and close by. After he plays in his room for an hour or so, he comes and grabs it and watches a show. If I forget to disable the WiFi, he'll go onto Netflix and check out random shows. Veggie Tales is his current favorite. He has memorized part of the intro and it cracks us both up. He's so fortunate that his mom is so lazy in the morning that he's been able to cultivate such talent ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011



Eating at our house lately has reached a new level of fun.

This is how yesterday morning went down.

Andrew starts off the morning super early in my face complaining that he is hungry.
I say, "sound great, let's go get breakfast" and we head downstairs.

I pop a waffle into the toaster and he starts yelling, "I'm not hungry!"
I say, "Well, I just made you a waffle, so let's try and eat some of it."

I cut up the waffle and put a little syrup on it and bring it over to the table.
"I don't want anything on the waffle and I want it whole. Not cut up!"

Seriously? No syrup.

I was being extra nice yesterday I think, so I said, "OK, if you ask nicely, I can make you one without syrup and I'll eat this one." Normally I'd just say, "sorry, this is what you're eating."

Fast forward 3 minutes and he has a plain, non-syrupy waffle on his plate.

"Mom, can you cut up my waffle?"

Seriously? You just had a major tantrum about the fact that the last one was cut up.

A few minutes later, "Mom, can you put syrup on my waffle please?"

Grrr. Sigh of exasperation. I pushed the other plate towards him with the already cut up waffle covered in syrup that I'd made him ten minutes before.

Gotta love three year olds.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Mini Reunion

On Saturday evening, after the beach and birthday party, Kevin had a mini reunion with some of his former college roommates (and groomsmen). Bryant recently bought a house nearby us in the East Bay... and Kevin and Bryant's old roommate Peter (and wife) were visiting friends in Yosemite... so everyone came over for some food and fun at our house.

This picture is of the guys at our wedding... Kevin was the last one to tie the knot... so they celebrated by all showing off their wedding rings 

It was so cool to have all of them at our wedding in Manhattan

One of these days we'll all get together for a big reunion again... but in the meantime, these three had fun catching up while Peter's wife Kristy and I chatted and watched my little hooligans.

Can't you tell that they are loving that we made them pose for this picture? :)

We ate Zachary's pizza, drank rootbeer, devoured delicious strawberry pie made by Candice (even though she was working and didn't get to come... sad), and then Kevin made us peanut butter bars too. I am stuffed just thinking about it! 

We talked and talked until the little people started revolting and needed to be taken home to bed.

It was a great night and so fun to catch up!

We were so exhausted after everyone left that we even attempted to go to bed early (before 1am)... but the little people had different plans and took turns waking us up all night. What little sweethearts ;)

Let's hope we get a chance to recover from our weekend this next week! Happy Sunday!

Santa Cruz 2011

One of the items on my Summer Bucket List was to go to Santa Cruz as a family. Although we are definitely not accomplishing everything on my list, I didn't think this one would be too hard.

As luck would have it, our 2011 Opening Social for the youth at church was a trip to Sunset Beach (just south of Santa Cruz... so, close enough!). I convinced Kevin and the little people to tag along and we spent most of the day on Saturday at the beach.

Who wouldn't want to spend a day with the awesome teenagers from our ward? 

We played tug-o-war to see who got to eat first. Kevin helped make sure our ward beat the other ward and got to eat right away. :) 

Andrew was in volcano heaven... and had a troupe of twelve year old girls that wanted to help him lug water to his volcano area and dig super big holes too.

Catie and her new crawling skills definitely kept me on my toes. She slept for the first hour of our beach time (which is why she is in jammies) and then it was freezing (60s), so I kept her in them for the rest of the day. Her favorite activity was sneaking handfuls of sand and trying to shove them in her mouth before I caught her.

These two had fun collecting sand dollars and roaming around while I chatted with friends and helped set up and clean up lunch.

We ended our trip with a brief stop at Marianne's for ice cream (a family tradition) before we trekked home for some afternoon birthday party fun.

Andrew definitely kept Kevin and I laughing on the way home. I love that kid. We also loved having a whole day of family time together. That never seems to happen anymore since Kevin leaves for work before Cate & Andrew wake up and gets home after Cate is asleep.

Fortunately the time we spend together each Saturday usually makes up for it.

Despite the cloudy weather, we just LOVED our trip to the beach. Andrew was hopeful that we could go back again today. We definitely might need to try and go one more time before the summer is officially over!

Ride Em Cowboy

Andrew went to Kendall & Avery's birthday party yesterday.
They are two of his favorite friends in our neighborhood.

My friend Kara (their mom) knows how to throw an awesome party.
Andrew bounced in the bounce house and rode a pony around the neighborhood.

He even got to ride his pony on our front lawn so I could take a picture :)
(quickly... before the horse left us any presents)

Meanwhile, Cate has figured out the crawling thing... 
so she spent the party crawling around on the grass.

She also likes to do crafts like her mom... 


What a fun afternoon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Studio Grow

Cate's little buddy Beezie came up to visit this week. The girls are about 2 months apart. We had to show her a good time, so we took her to one of our favorite places at Blackhawk- Studio Grow

Cate practiced standing

and watched as Beezie zoomed past her

Cate made the loudest squawking sounds when B would crawl by. I think she was grumpy that she couldn't move that fast.    

Andrew kept himself busy for a long time with the volcanoes and dinosaurs... which Cate liked to try and eat if Andrew didn't snatch them away quick enough.

The girls made friends and played with magnets

I totally want to make one of these magnet areas for my house.

(new friend)

Cate tried to swipe a few toys when no one was watching

Her favorite new thing is to slap tables and make loud sounds 

Andrew attempted to put on a puppet show for the girls... but they weren't too into it

After playtime, we wrangled up the kids and headed off to lunch. Cate liked trying to steal B's food. They both always want what the other one has. :) They also LOVE dropping food and making big messes underneath tables!

Andrew silently inhaled his ice cream and hot dog at his own special tables and then went off to make friends at the playground.

Kaari and I (and the girls) ate, chased ducks (or at least watched Andrew do it), looked at the water, and then went back to play at Studio Grow for a little longer.

We were exhausted when we left to go home! Andrew was annoyed the whole drive back to our house that Beezie wasn't coming back to play with our toys. He thought it was so fun to show her around and have her follow him places.

We will definitely need to play again soon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Blank Canvas... or two

I sit at my house and stare at empty walls a lot.

Like this one.

Our furniture isn't adult-sized yet to fit the space :)

I am afraid to go too big. I thought the photos I had printed were big. Hmm... not so much. Neither is that itty bitty lamp. The little Target side table has been with me for almost 8 yrs. Elise helped me pick it out when she had no job and loved to help me use my money to furnish our tiny apartment.

I have a lot of home ideas now collected on Pinterest, but I'm afraid I won't like what I do... so I do nothing.

Our dining room sideboard table is begging for some decoration.

I think it would be cute to put something above this doorway into my kitchen... in that cute little rectangle. Maybe our family theme? "Enjoy the journey. Stop for treats." :) It would make me smile every time I walked through the doorway.

The stairs are also a blank canvas. I am terrible with sizing... like this photo frame that seems way too small for the space when you look at it from a distance.

Some people think we just moved in because our walls are so empty... but really it is because I don't know what to put on them. This wall (below) stares me down every time I go downstairs. I want it to contain something meaningful... not just random art... so I overthink it... and do nothing.

I constantly contemplate hiring a decorator to help me... but then still do nothing.

I may actually get some pictures on my wall due to this photo wall display formula... but first we need some pictures that I like enough to put up- that are also recent. That is a constant dilemma. You'd think it wouldn't be... since you all know I take wayyyy too many pictures.

Instead of tackling the blank walls... I take baby steps and keep bringing things home from stores to try out. This week I'm attempting a "Back to School/Fall" theme on the sideboard. If you look closely you can still see all the price tags on everything. The vase needs to be more full. I didn't want to buy too many things and then have to return them (like I did a few weeks ago... but then LOST the receipt and had the most horrendous store return experience ever). Everything I try is BORING to me.

I also need some sort of Fall colored runner? By the time I make up my mind it is going to be Halloween or Thanksgiving and I will need to start all over again.

I love my very white kitchen... but it has no personality. It basically looks exactly the way it did here when we moved in. I saw this tutorial today... and now I want to attempt Faux Roman shades in my kitchen over my sink. I think I change my mind every day when I see a new creative idea though.

Does anyone else have the same commitment problems that I do?

I usually solve this blank canvas problem by planning a party or organizing some playdates. After all, when I die, I'm not taking my house with me... so I guess it doesn't really matter? But I think I would enjoy the time I spend in my house more if it was a better reflection of my personality.

Pass along your ideas. What would you do with my blank canvases?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Almost a Failure

We tried to go to the last Car Show of the summer tonight. Kevin was working late and then went out with the missionaries... so the little people and I ate dinner and then headed downtown. We drove around. And around. And around... We never found a parking spot. Caitlin screamed. Andrew pointed out every handicapped and red-curb spot in town and couldn't understand why I wouldn't park there. I finally decided we were going to just go home. Andrew was on the verge of a tantrum. He just wanted a shave ice. 

When we pulled into our driveway, I promised Andrew that as soon as I put Cate to bed, we'd have our own Car Show. A much cooler car show than the one we missed. 

We made it so that all the cars had a designated spot... which was useful when there was an Andrew EarthSHAKE and all of the cars went flying.

The little people were so excited about our car show... they flew in just for the day.

It got pretty crowded. Some people even brought their dogs.

Oh no! A fire at the Car Show! Fortunately, Captain Andrew and the firefighters were there to help out.

Andrew built us a bounce house... and all the Lego men went jumping like crazy

Next, we had a little shave ice at the Shave Ice stand. Good thing we saved our containers from the last car show. I knew they'd come in handy for something :)

Andrew makes a mean Shave Ice :)


We also had some mini ice cream cones... since chocolate is a must at the Car Show.

We played and played until we were exhausted from laughing. I loved the sound of Andrew's giggles when I would make the little people yell, "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!" as they tried to escape the earthquakes and fires... and I think there were some volcanic eruptions too.

I managed to avert the tantrum. 

Kevin arrived home about 20 minutes after Andrew went to bed with an actual shave ice from the Car Show downtown. He managed to convince the workers to make one for the little man as they were packing up at the end of the night.

I think we'll be continuing the Car Show fun tomorrow... but with some yummier treats :)