Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Catie, Andrew, and I went to Oakland this afternoon to visit Scott and Cat at their new apartment. We explored and ran around their cool roof and then goofed around in their apartment full of boxes.

The kiddos and I were amazed when we noticed this little creature hanging out on the window bench. Concord the turtle.

Andrew was in love with feeding him.
Catie was just in love.

This little girl went through lots of obstacles (boxes, cords, rock band drums, etc) to reach the aquarium again and again to see her little buddy.

He seemed to love her too and would swim right over to the glass when she approached and pressed her face on the side. He did not do the same thing with loud, crazy Andrew.

It was positively adorable to watch.

Are turtles more resilient than goldfish? Can they eat chocolate?

I used to have one in Tokyo named Samantha and one named Johniffer (nicknamed after our friends Johnny and Jenny Boren... I'm laughing out loud right now that that was a name I chose. I'd forgotten about it until today).

I love turtles. Maybe we'll get a new pet? Or maybe we'll just make sure we visit Scott and Cat a lot. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Caitlin's First Haircut

Little Miss had her first haircut this afternoon. I know you are thinking, "It's about time!" but I was slow to pull the trigger. I wanted to find someone I trusted and have a good experience for me and Cate... and I finally found someone! Love her!

Cate and I cuddled, she ate snacks and drank her bottle (this one LOVES the bottle now... it is like her baby drug), and checked herself out in the mirror. Why did I think it would be such a traumatic experience? Uh, because I had forgotten there'd be mirrors involved. Cate is totally in love with herself. It was perfect. 

Heather gave her an actual A-line haircut... unlike the faux A-line she was sporting before with unruly ends and mega long bangs. She also trimmed her bangs so they don't cover her eyes. This way, when I'm too lazy to do her hair before preschool drop off, she won't look like Cousin It from the Adams Family (like she did today).

I love her hair now... and mostly because it will be easier to manage. I also think she is adorable... and now she is even more adorable.

While Andrew had a mega tantrum in the car because I wouldn't stop at McDonalds on the way home to get him a drink (hmm... who is he turning into? Me, perhaps?)... Cate and I had a photo shoot on the lawn. Although I'm read for Fall, I'm so glad the weather is still gorgeous here. I want to get some more wear out of all of her adorable sundresses!

The hairdresser was even kind enough to send us home with an envelope full of some baby hair that we can hold on to. 

Happy first haircut Catie!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Preschool BBQ

On Saturday morning I made a few dozen chocolate chip cookies, picked up a lot of rainbow balloons at the store, and headed over to a local park to do my first Preschool Social Committee duties.

It was hard... let me tell ya. ;) Chatting with a bunch of fun ladies, decorating trees to look like hula dancers, making tough decisions (like... where should we put the food so that the party flows properly and kids don't eat all the cookies first?), and then just looking good and welcoming people to the BBQ.

I love my job at preschool. Seriously, if no one else had come to the BBQ, I would've been completely fine to hang out all day with the ladies on my social committee. They are hysterical.

After doing my duties, Kevin arrived with the kiddos and I took Cate to a fun birthday party down in the South Bay. Andrew and Kevin stuck around and partied! They played all the games, ate popsicles, built sand volcanoes, and had a blast.

I think gauging from the picture above, our first preschool BBQ was a SUCCESS!

Boys Baking Time

There are some things that happen that you know must become weekly traditions... because they are seriously awesome. Tonight Kevin and Andrew had boys baking time. It must happen again!

I lounged on the couch chatting on the phone with Elise while they dug through my cupboards of cookbooks trying to decide on a recipe. Elise was in North Carolina all last week and I didn't get to have my usual daily phone chat with her, so we made up for lost time tonight... while the boys baked.

I wish I had thought to snap a photo of the two of them together. Andrew sat on the counter sneaking chocolate chips and "helping" pour ingredients into the KitchenAid and Kevin hand rolled every cookie to make sure it had the right chocolate chip to peanut butter dough ratio. 

The cookies were edible... in fact, I had two. I was impressed. Mostly I just loved watching Andrew have so much fun with his dad. He was so proud of their cookies... and then proceeded to down two of them himself before we sent him off into dreamland.  

Here's the recipe, in case you're dying for some peanut buttery chocolate chip goodness:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix everything together in the KitchenAid. Roll dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten them with a fork. Sprinkle sugar lightly on top. Cook 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool... and eat!

The recipe seems very similar to the one I use for Hershey kiss cookies... but I loved the chocolately goodness sprinkled through out.

If you have any other favorite recipes the boys should try out during Boys Baking Time, send them my way! I'm hoping this becomes a new Sunday night tradition!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hooray for Catie!

I love the chill time Catie and I have together while Andrew is at MMO and preschool. She loves his toys... but doesn't get much face time with them when he is home. When he is gone, she is in heaven.

We've been working on walking with her push toy this week. Today she let go and stood all on her own for a few seconds. I was snapping away and managed to catch her on camera.

The push toy also turns into a ride on toy. She can't ride forward yet, but she jumps so much while she is on it that she manages to move herself across the room going backwards. Andrew thinks it is hysterical and actually doesn't try to steal the ride on toy... just tries to convince her to ride again and again.

Hmm.. where should I go next? 

Catie is a big music fan like Andrew. She likes to rock out to her xylophone music.

The last exciting Catie accomplishment is that she is FINALLY taking a bottle regularly! A formula bottle... hooray! I was getting worried for a week or two that I'd have to take her on my Girls trip to Vermont.

This has also made leaving her with a weekly babysitter a lot easier! And... she actually likes her cute babysitter, so I have finally been able to get out for longer than 2 hrs!

Hooray for Catie!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hot Fun in the ... Autumn-time?

I've had the 60s song Hot Fun in the Summertime on my brain today (not sure where that came from??)... but I have been so confused! I know Fall officially starts on Friday... so mother nature is helping make sure that we enjoy every last minute of warm weather.

It has been hot this week and I have totally gotten sick from all the changes in weather and A/C. I felt terrible all weekend and finally felt decently back to normal today (no more sore throat, hurray!).

To celebrate... we decided to throw naptimes and schedules to the wind and head over to the Peninsula. On our way, we stopped briefly at a Back to School breakfast for preschool. I made friends with a bunch of new-to-me moms while Andrew inhaled food and Caitlin kindly drank a bottle and cuddled with me. Both acted so out of character and my chatting time was so delightful that it was a great start to the day!

Our recipe for our fun end of summer trip included...

1. A quick dip in Burgess Pool with the Balenas! So quick that Andrew didn't even think he got to go in ;)

2. Playtime in shady Burgess Park... highlights included baby Henry's first time on a swing, Andrew & George chucking lots of tan bark, Caitlin inhaling lots of tan bark,... and Andrew have a mega tantrum about wanting bunny fruit snacks... seriously? With all the junk food in my car, he wanted fruit snacks?

3. Happy Meals at McDs with George, Henry, and Liz... and huge drippy ice cream cones!

4. Exploring at the Palo Alto Jr. Museum! They have an enclosed areas for babies (minus tan bark and anything else they can choke on or swallow)... so I enjoyed a break and the little ones played.

Bug rubbings


Being spiders

5. Eating Sprinkles cupcakes in the heavily air conditioned Sprinkles store at Stanford Shopping Center. I love the newly added table just for the littles. If I lived in Menlo Park we'd be parking it on those chairs once a week. PS- Jess and I are adamant that purchasing a vanilla cupcake with white sprinkles is just plain wrong. Andrew took two bites of his cupcake and neither of us liked it enough to even attempt to help him finish it. Ick!

6. Shoreline Park. Hmm... I think I'm addicted. We were here on Friday evening for a family photo shoot with the fabulous Meghan. We went again today. It was gorgeous, breezy, and sunny. We left the hotness on the other side of 101.

Loved watching this little one giggle. 

Andrew was off burying treasure and making Xs in the sand with the new friends that he made... so I didn't really talk with him until it was time to leave. Catie banged on benches and I read emails and caught up on my Google Reader, ahh... lazy summer days.

7. Dinner at Google. Always fun, always hectic. I swear they play faster music just to get you to eat quicker. Dinner starts at 6:30pm (Cate's bedtime), so it isn't ideal... but not seeing Kevin for several days straight also isn't ideal... so Catiebug gets to sacrifice. I'm getting quite good at shoveling food in her mouth while also trying to grab food with my other hand and eat it as fast as humanely possible.

Thanks Balenas and Jessie for the fun afternoon!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Names & Preschool

We've spent a lot of time spelling and learning about names. If you want to read my whole schpeil about why that is important... you can go here... I won't bore you with it on this blog. On Sunday we did a simple name activity. When I picked Andrew up at preschool today I was so excited  to discover this little paper (below) in his bag. He had gone to the art center during choice time without any adult prompting and worked on writing his name.

He was SO PROUD of himself. I was just amazed that the letter A looks like an A... since he wasn't even looking at something when he was writing... and I never really have him write/trace letters that much. I'm worried his kindergarten teacher will hate me because I taught him wrong.

I love how proud he is of both of his names. When he arrived at school today he announced to all of his teachers that his name was "Andrew Allen Buskirk!" They had a good laugh, since they all know who he is... but thought it was cute that he loved saying his whole name so much.

Andrew is the sort of kid who goes to a class or school and always is playing in the sand or riding bikes... but never does the craft or art project if it is an option.

I love that that is changing a little bit.

I also love hearing from other moms and his teacher about his school personality when we're not around. It has been nice to hear that he actually stays with the group during whole group time, participates in all of the activities, and his teacher says that he is especially involved during music time. His teacher's email to me last week talked about what an enthusiastic singer he is :)

This week they are reading different versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears at preschool. Today they read Somebody and the Three Blairs... I have never read it, but Andrew cracks up every time I ask him about it, so it must be a good book.

It is so fun to have someone else exposing him to new books and information (besides me)... and so exciting that he can come home and tell me about it! I was super sad at the end of August for preschool to start, but now I love it! I literally get next to nothing done while Andrew is gone, but today I got a lot of snuggle time in with Cate (she was a grumpy, teething, leaky faucet all day) and managed to get the dishes done... so it was mostly successful.

The other part of preschool that I hadn't even thought of was the social component for me. I love dropping Andrew off at school (there isn't a carpool line- ugh!) and originally I was annoyed about it... but now I know several moms and have such a good time chatting with them (and his teacher) at drop off and then again when we all arrive 5 minutes early for pick up.

We have our first preschool social activities this week (a Back to School Mom's coffee tomorrow morning and a Back to School BBQ on Saturday)... and I am stoked. The Social Committee that I am on even hosts a Daddy's Bowl later in the year... (bowling for kids + dads)... so cute!

We have our first general meeting next week though from 7-10pm... so ask me if I am still as enthusiastic about preschool after I have to sit through the long night :)

Happily Ever After

If you need a little boost at all today... check out this video called Happily Ever After

It is seriously adorable. Especially minute 1:45 onward.

I love the song in the video. I may or may not play it every time I am in my car. ;) It is so uplifting and puts me in such a good mood. 

My favorite excerpt from President Uchtdorf's  talk is below...

For a moment, think back about your favorite fairy tale. In that story the main character may be a princess or a peasant; she might be a mermaid or a milkmaid, a ruler or a servant. You will find one thing all have in common: they must overcome adversity.
Cinderella has to endure her wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters. She is compelled to suffer long hours of servitude and ridicule.
In “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle becomes a captive to a frightful-looking beast in order to save her father. She sacrifices her home and family, all she holds dear, to spend several months in the beast’s castle.
In the tale “Rumpelstiltskin,” a poor miller promises the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king immediately sends for her and locks her in a room with a mound of straw and a spinning wheel. Later in the story she faces the danger of losing her firstborn child unless she can guess the name of the magical creature who helped her in this impossible task.
In each of these stories, Cinderella, Belle, and the miller’s daughter have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.” Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?
Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity. Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy, and love?
The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter. 2 Would the marathon runner feel the triumph of finishing the race had she not felt the pain of the hours of pushing against her limits? Would the pianist feel the joy of mastering an intricate sonata without the painstaking hours of practice?
In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.

I had a great conversation with a friend the other day about some challenges she has. I didn't begin to list off my challenges or worse challenges of others I knew... I just listened... and then later in the day I sent her this talk. It has an incredible message. One that I wish I remembered more often.  

I don't have any intense personal trials... but I am hoping that if I prepare now, and have the chorus to this song stuck in my head, when harder times come... I'll remember their purpose and see the bigger picture. 

If I don't, someone make sure to email me this post :)

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pepper and Pictures

In an email conversation with Andrew's preschool director this week, she indicated that she's really enjoyed getting to know Andrew. She also said, "Something tells me you’ll have a pet snake very, very soon ;)" I just logged on to the preschool's private Shutterfly photo site this morning and discovered this picture she'd taken of Andrew.  

He loves that snake!

He also loved the birthday cake candle counting station this week! Always nice to see that during choice time Andrew does more than just choose to ride bikes around outside.

Love it that the teachers and other volunteers snap photos of Andrew at preschool when I'm not around :) I can log on and see pictures and use them to help me talk with him about his week at preschool. He remembers so much more because the pictures jog his memory.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What have we been up to this week?

It's been a busy one! Just the way I like it! (other than waking up at 7am every day... that is not my sort of schedule).

We've been...
Making a few projects

Crawling... and crawling... and falling!

Playing quilt games (here and here)

Going to preschool! (I got to volunteer on Tuesday and LOVED IT! There is something wonderful about being in a classroom and helping... but not having to be in charge or really responsible for anything!)

Punching, cutting, and gluing! (they worked on lots of scissor-skills this week)

Exploring new materials! (The people from sent me a big box of free craft materials to try out!)

Hiking! We did a color scavenger hunt at the Lafayette Reservoir with Fireman Andrew and his little sidekick. The weather was freezing in some spots and then so hot in others... hence the big coats!)

Exercising! (at least I exercised... they just looked cute and ate popsicles while I pushed them up big hills)

Eating cookies at Blackhawk and Mrs. Fields

(and watching the cookies get eaten... life is rough when you're 9 months old)

Stair climbing and using the baby treadmill- aka slide (this girl is full of non-stop energy like her brother!)

Getting hair cuts!
Andrew got one at Shear Adventures this evening and the hair stylist was so energetic and chatty that he barely realized anything was happening.

I got a haircut this morning from my fabulous friend Melissa. I got the pleasure of chatting with her for 45 minutes and she made my hair look fabulous... it was such a treat! Look at how clean my ends look!

We also ran lots of errands, worked on baby shower invites, had a big park day with lots of new/old friends, took a friend out to ice cream, made homemade Oreos, and attempted to do some housework.  

Now if we can just survive tomorrow...  (I'm working at Mom's Morning Out, then we have Cate's haircut, errands to run, and then a trip to the South Bay for a photo shoot).

Our empty Saturday morning schedule is looking heavenly right now!