Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas

I gotta say, I love the whole getting the day off before Christmas thing. We had an awesome family day that felt like the perfect way to celebrate the holidays. (On side note-- the family day included me going to Zumba with my mom at the club....no joke.....the class was packed and there was a 70 year old in it!).

Last year we started a tradition where we go to the kids mass at St Mary's Cathedral where the children from the school act out the story of Jesus's birth and the homily is really geared towards kids. The baby Jesus was SO adorable and the kids were SO cute. Then we went out to dinner and had a SUPER yummy dinner.

Despite being incredibly full, we rushed home to make cookies for Santa. This year is a BIG year as Henry has agreed, for the first time, to actually let Santa in the house. In previous years, Santa had to leave the stuff on the deck and mom and dad had to bring it in as Henry thought it odd that a man he didn't know was coming into our house.

That said, he was worried that Santa wouldn't know that the cookies were inside, instead of the normal routine of being outside.

So....he left him a note.....taped to our front door. The kid is making sure he doesn't make Mr Santa angry....there are presents involved.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa Baby


We were going to skip going to see Santa this year. Every year one of our kids hysterically cries, everyone stares at us, and I wonder - why the heck do I force my children to do this? (Example: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Cgzolatoj-0/SyaZv2R9zZI/AAAAAAAAAuA/B1XzmuXh3Cw/s1600-h/DSCN0726.JPG)

That said, Henry and Francie have asked every night when we are going to see Santa. Last night, at dinner, Francie was talking about how much she loved him and wanted to sit on his lap.

Alrighty then...we will go.

On our walk there all Francie could talk about was how much she loved Santa. Henry brought his list in case Santa didn't get my email or the elves wanted to see his handwriting. We waited in line. Francie was starting to get nervous....wanted to be picked up.....our turn came....and she declared "I DON'T LIKE SANTA". Yup....back to square one. I decided that rather than put her in his lap and see her cry, I would just sit next to Santa and get it done. Henry LOVED him. They talked for a while and made a few small deals. When Santa asked Francie a question...he got the Francie scowl. Finally at the end, she was willing to give Santa a high-five.....in exchange for a coloring book.

Next year?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SNOW!!!

We woke up to a wonderful surprise....SNOW. It was melting rapidly, so ran into the backyard to sled while we can. Francie and Henry liked pulling each other the most. They are really growing into buddies...I almost feel like I am a third wheel!

Zoo Lights



We went to Zoo Lights with Dan and Emily and Emily's family. I love annual outings as they really highlight how much your children have changed in a year. Francie was particularly funny this round -- she sprinted from light to light. Ellie, Dan and Emily's daughter, was in the infant seat last year and really didn't notice the lights much and this year is walking and taking and pointing at all the sights. So fun. Of course we were having too much fun to take pictures...oh well....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Getting Out Before The Rain Starts Again






Poor Mark is still really sick, so we decided to go for a hike since it wasn't raining this morning. We went to one my favorite places in Portland -- the Hoyt Arboretum. It was awesome as usual. Henry brought a "discovery" bag to put his "nature collection" and Francie decided she wanted to be the dog walker. We followed the hike with lunch at Ken's -- pure bliss.

Side note - Henry keeps calling me "baby". When I ask him do something he says "Yeah, baby"; If he is going to bed he says "Night Baby". It is very Austin Powers-ish and it is starting to drive me wonky. Finally today on the hike I asked him who he learned it from school. His response: "No one mom, it is just a dude thing". Nelly.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Welcome Home Mark


Mark got home from Africa today. We got the airport ready to greet him....and waited. I forgot about the whole customs thing and how long that would take. The kids made signs. During the wait we got to see many tearful reunions, many of which were grandparents who obviously lived in Eurupe (he flew in from Amsterdam) and I swear I cried seven different times seeing the joy on their face when they saw their grandchild, some of them brand new babies. I missed getting a shot of the kids running to Mark...again because I was crying. It is great to have him home....although he is as sick as a dog. No fun being sick on a plane. Just having him in the house though is great!

Sporty Spice


OHSU employees got a free pass to the Nike Employee store this week and I jumped at the chance to get the regular stuff at discount. Francie is currently in a VERY opinionated phase about her clothing and shoes. She is boycotting dresses and only wants to wear her Bogg boots. At the Nike store we had a breakthrough - she agreed to try on tennis shoes! We exited the store with running shoes...and converse sneaks.. she also picked out this outfit. I bought it in a size four to allow her to wear it for a while (she is 2 1/2)....it is a little snug. Henry got his first pair of basketball shoes and told me that "these will definitely improve my shots". Got it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blazer Believer...Even When it is Tough




My dad babysat Francie tonight and let Henry and I go. Despite a messy game, Henry and I had a blast. It is amazing how much he has evolved ... he used to be scared of the noise...and well now you can see how he is about the loud music. It is sheer joy to go with him. The picture of him with his hands up....when we got 100 points and therefore got free chalupas....mind you - he has never eaten one - it is just the thought of winning something that cheers the kid up. Love it.

Inaugural Gingerbread House


We made our first Gingerbread House. Humbling. Martha Stewart I am not. Francie kept eating parts of the house. Oh well...it was an experience. Now to see how many days it takes for Riley to figure it out it is edible and to eat it....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful to the Brim!



My mom and dad flew on the red eye flight to come for Thanksgiving. Katie was on call in the hospital, so that left my mom and me to cook the dinner. Joanie is pretty fanatical about her turkey...but more importantly her stuffing. So....no joke....she made the stuffing at home the night before and packed in her suitcase. Yes....TSA checked her stuffing....Gotta say, having the butter soak in for over 24 hours yielded VERY good stuffing. Mental note for next year.

We were very thankful to spend the Thanksgiving with family and to see so many friends while we were in NYC (Whisher's family and Josh). This Thanksgiving was quite emotional for me. The last month has been a very difficult one for some of our close friends -- Makenzie is still battling pancreatitus (surgery went well and she was discharged on Thanksgiving!), our other friends just lost their nearly 2-year old in a horribly tragic accident, and my cousin Ashley (Henry's godmother) is courageously battling cancer. All of this has been a very harsh reminder about the fragility of life and the grace that exists in each of our days. We are so very thankful for all of those who bless our lives and for the opportunities that we have.

MET






Mark and I were committed to take the kids to the MET, although I have to admit I was worried they wouldn't embrace the artistic adventure as much as we hoped. They LOVED it. The MET is brilliant in that they have a special map for the kids and the loved finding all the "treasures" and the painting in the map. Such a lovely place...my sister and her kids are so lucky to have it so close.

Afterwards we celebrated our fun by going to Cupcake Cafe and getting the kids treats which we shared with the cousins. SO GOOD.

Thanksgiving Day Parade







We stayed at my parent's apartment, which is on 82nd and Amsterdam. Little did we know the providence of this spot during Thanksgiving as the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade are blown up literally one block away. In the early afternoon, we walked by and they were laying them out and then we when we came back from the MET, they were blown up. The kids were in AWE. Such a magical experience. Spiderman and Buzz definitely got top honors. The next day, when we saw the parade, we just went down the block to where they were setting up and got to see the floats with no crowds. My favorite -- the one with Joan Rivers. Not gonna lie -- I got really excited...not sure why....I couldn't tell if she was excited, sad, frozen....that is one static face!

Highline






One of my favorite things about our trip to NYC was going to the Highline Park. The High Line is located on Manhattan's West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street.

One of our favorite children's books is the "Curious Gardener" and it about a boy who transforms an old train track my planting things and we thought about it as we walked along.

The walk is so awesome. There are beautiful views on each side and it was really fun to just let the kids run. As you will see, they are getting more "dynamic" in their poses for pictures. It was really fun for the kids to see the Statue of LIberty from the South end. After reading so many books about it - they couldn't believe how big she was in person,

Grammy Kris in NYC





Grammy Kris was kind enough to come into the city so that we could see her. Even though she was there a short time, we managed to go to LOTS of parks, read lots of books, and she was there when the kids experienced FAO Schwartz for the first time. As we walked around, Henry was listing out things for me to write down for Santa. I kept nodding my head....until he asked to see the list to check it......ugh.....forgot about the pitfalls of this whole "the kid can read on his own" thing...so caught.