Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fall Puyallup Fair

The one tradition we have as a family, longer than any other, is the fall Puyallup Fair. I debated whether or not to go, hugely pregnant, but my friend's son plays guitar and vocals in the band Society's Voice, and I wanted to catch their last performance, the next to last day in late September.

The Fair has so many different options. This time we seemed to gravitate towards the animals and rides. Lauren and Riley (Nate was gone) where so into the animals. Seriously, they could of stayed quietly for hours looking at goats, cows, pigs etc.
milking Ol' Bessy

I suppose to balance this off, they wanted to go on some extreme rides, most which they've never been on!
Though Lauren insisted she wasn't scared, she wanted to go on the Haunted Pirate ride. She did come out covering her eyes!
Riley wanted to try out the Mad Mouse, my favorite ride as a kid. It's a smaller, but tall, metal coaster where you seriously feel that you'll fall off the edge at multiple times. Here is his before and after picture. Brian had fun too!
The scariest part, for my anyway, is my baby girl very much wanting to ride the giant swings. Mind you, she is tall enough, though only 4 years old. And these swing up very high, and wide, spinning fast, with only a metal bar across the torso and chain between the legs to keep her in. I tried to hide my terror, smiled and took deep breaths. Though once it began moving, I started crying a bit and had to hold on to Brian for support. She of course LOVED it and was jumping up and down once off.
Guess Lauren is so over the tamer KidVille area.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

42 and renewed

This February, my parents Mark and Mary participated in our church's 1st marriage renewal ceremony near Valentine's Day. Being the first, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be very sweet; a recommintment to each other and their relationship with God.

It was so sweet how much my mom was into it. She chose purple as her wedding color and had matching flowers :)

After the service all three of their kids and families took them out to eat at their favorite restaurant, IHOP. CONGRATULATIONS MOM AND DAD!!!

In the beginning...I was fit

Going way back in 2010, I was actually very fit!

We were members of the YMCA, and my friend Kendra and I decided to run the Fun Run 5k in early April. I trained by doing cardiovascular and strength training a few times a week and running 5k at least twice a week. Buff mama!

This year the rest of the family did the 1 mile. Nate registered for the 5k but changed his mind. Lauren ran with Brian and their time was very good, though she was freezing and very grumpy. Nate was 2nd or 3rd in his division and Riley finished somewhere in the middle.

Included in your registration fee for the 5k is a runners shirt. The Y never fails to shock and awe, this year it was a ghastly, stop traffic type of yellow. You can see it in the dark it's so bright
Kendra never got hers but she didn't seem too broken up about it... yikes! The only good aspect of this was that even when runners wore them underneath jackets, a little sliver of bright yellow was always visible.

Though thankfully not rainy, that day was VERY cold. Not just in temperature, but there was an Arctic wind that we were running against in the beginning that would take my literal breath away. I had to stop running and walk backwards to breathe. So this is what ashma feels like!
Kendra and I started by running together but she is much more of a runner and got a stellar time of about 25 minutes. Though I felt like I was moving slowly, thanks in large part to the wind, I'm proud to have ran most of it. On the way back up the hill to the finish line, I was pacing this old bag-lady type (see picture) and dangit, I was determined to beat her, which I did, though barely! My time was around 38 minutes and that is fantastic as I have never ran a 5k in less than 40 minutes.
Now funny thing is, this was the last time I had a real work out in 2010. Unknown to me, at the time of this run, I was about a week pregnant with baby #4! Two days later my period was due and never came :) Thus ended my running streak.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Yes, I am a Sounders FC fan!

I LOVE SOCCER! Call it futbol, footbul, football, whatever. It's the only sport that I both follow and love to participate in. I enjoyed it when I was younger, but there were no teams available and my parents, not being the 'sport' type (except for my Dad and American football), didn't encourage me. I did have one great moment at a family reunion where I beat both of my male older cousings:) In highschool, I played tennis instead, which I like to play, but don't follow.

I enjoy watching my kids play. All three have played on teams but Nate is the only continuer this fall. Still it's the pros that really get the heart pumping. It's hard to be pregnant and a soccer fan, terrible morning sickness kept me away from the Sounders most the season. Fortunately, we were able to watch a match in late May.

Seattle Sounders FC vs San Jose Earthquakes
Saturday, May 22, 2010 12:00pm
Section 116 Row: MM Seats: 4,5,6,7

We took the Sounders train from the T-Dome station to Qwest field. It was a few more $$$, but SO worth it!

We bought tickets as a group with Nate's soccer team, Avanti United FC. It's always great for him to spend time with soccer mates outside of games and practices, but go figure. The kid that was into the game most was Lauren! She did all the cheers, booed, screamed, jumped up and down, the whole nine!

This day we played San Jose and lost 0-1. But despite that, had an over all great time with our Jones sodas and garlic fries.

Hopefully the 2011 season will be better for my beloved Sounders!

Swimming in a small world

This summer we snuck in swim class for Riley and Lauren.

It was great practice for Riley who was headed off to his first Boy Scout summer camp experience and helped him a bit.
Lauren finally took off in her swimming ability. She loved it and having her friend Maya in the same class.

Funny thing is, Lauren's swim teacher, Stephanie, has a son Regan the same age as her. They ended up in the same school and class for kindergarten. Plus Steph is the school's crossing guard so they still see each other everyday. I knew the first time I saw her at open house that I remembered her from somewhere. It wasn't until the next time I saw her that I placed it. She said not to worry, no one recognizes her dry!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ye Ol' Rein Faire

Okay, do you have those events that you see and say "I go someday" and never get around to it? I went to a few Renaissance Faire's with my pal Amanda in HS and sworn to take the kids one day, never to follow through.

So finally, in early August, I took the fam to the Washington Renaissance Faire in Buckley.

The boys went straight to chess and played a game.

Lauren played all these old fashioned games with this quirky lady names Mimsy, getting candy at the end.

A big highlight was the boffer sword fights hosted by the Tacoma Game Matrix. It was only $2 for 2 rounds and the boys got to experience their first real fight.

One of my favorite activities to partake of during these type of festivals is the food, and did we eat! We ended this feast at the Dragon's Breath Inn where we got real rootbeer. It came in 4 different flavors and I can say I never had REAL rootbeer until that moment. Riley, who's favorite drink this is, was in high heaven.

We also got to see the presentation of the royal court and I swear, the queen took my breath away, she was gorgeous! At the end Riley and Lauren were thrilled to get honorary knight and ladyship from the Queen and her court. I only got a video of this, and it won't load. But so cute!

16 can be brutal!

A quick recap of Nate's 16th birthday.

Nate wanted a unique 16th birthday, so he decided to have a boffer sword party, hosted by the Tacoma Game Matrix. He got to do this at the Renaissance faire and had a blast. Plus honestly, what teenage boy doesn't like to fight? They do so much on video games as it is.

So we started by having friends and family at our house. Jason from Game Matrix came and we went down the street to China Park across 19th to get our game on!

After some stern rules and instructions they divided into teams and Jason had them going for a straight hour and a half!

After they were exhausted by all gushed about what a good time they had. I think that video game thing is a part of it.

So then we headed back to the house for the party.
Here is the shield cake I made for him.

HAPPY 16th birthday NATE!

As the party wound down, we toasted his birthday at 5:04pm, when he was born exactly 16 years ago. After family left, the boys spent the remainder of the night outside skating, playing b-day and video games in the den before crashing for the night about 2am.

Jakob, Sammy, Zach (missing other Zach from Scouts), Nate, ?, Ian, Erik and Shane

Pickles and Pregos

Lauren and I went to visit family and friends in Michigan in August.

Here is part 3 of our travels....our time with the Stutzman’s.

On August 18th, 2010, we arrived in Flint about 7pm. We were greeted by my best friend and fellow prego, Stephanie Stutzman along with her 8-year old daughter Hannah. We’re about two months apart, her due in late October with a boy and I in mid-December with a girl.

A little background, we met and have been friends since 2nd grade and best friends since at least 4th. (Okay I won’t go into how many years that is). The best relationships have ups and downs, and we’ve weathered all of them, plus supported each other in the good times and the bad. Most relationships fade with distance, but she moved out of state 15 years ago and we’re still going strong with our special sister-type bond. We’re aunties to each other’s kids and so excited to be having babies at the same time. So needless to say, this was a great reunion, it’s been too long!

From there we went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings which was amazing. Thanks Steph! Then we stopped by her house. I couldn’t wait to see it, her and hubby Michael (still in Missouri getting out of the Army soon) bought the house this year.

But our reunion was short as off I went to the Hinkley’s for a few days. On Saturday August 21st we returned to the Stutzman’s house. Then it was baby shower whirlwind! We visited her friends Monica and Melanie to pick up supplies and help assemble the thank you gifts. Later we visited Al and Debbie Stutzman, Michael’s parents, in Holly. We all remember each other from their wedding years ago when I stayed at their house for 4 days. There we got the food ready for the baby shower.

That night we hung out at her house just talking, the kind best done in person and it was wonderful. Lauren and Hannah got to know each other again and played all night with toys and the two wiener dogs, Desi and Duke. This is where I discovered that Lauren is no fan of dogs…for sure. Later we visited the next door neighbor and Lauren was all smiley and excited to see their cats but her expression instantly changed upon encountering their barking dog.

The next morning, Sunday, was church at Living Stone. The baby shower was in the community room. The theme was pickles and ice cream, both of which Steph adores and it was SO her! Amy did a fabulous job with the d├ęcor. Melanie was the rock star host, overseeing it all, hosting the games and making the ice cream cone cupcakes. I think there was some confusion from Mel if I was to help co-host during the party, but it wouldn’t have mattered, Lauren decided to have her one and only major meltdown fit. Poor girl, I think the stress caught up to her.

But Stephanie (and baby Roman Michael) got some adorable things and I know she had a great time…me too! When we got back to her house we spent the time sorting and putting away everything, it was a special bonding time :)

Monday was shopping day. We ended up going to Babies R Us with a mission to find, buy and conquer the one last item she would need to breathe easy about baby coming…a car seat. After playing around with strollers, she fell in love with the Combi. But we were disappointed that they only carried the matching car seats online. We’ll low and behold, I spot ONE in the clearance section! Apparently it was an online return. So after spending a while figuring out if it fit into the stroller, we finally had it, the attachments were on the bottom of the stroller all along. Have to say us pregnant ladies are determined and oblivious!

Tuesday the 24th came too soon and we left Steph’s house for a while to visit the Hinkley’s. Afterwards we met quickly met them at the airport to give them back the booster we borrowed and say a fast goodbye. I missed them the moment we walked in the airport, and it better not be another 3 years before we see each other again!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hinkley Haven

Lauren and I went to visit family and friends in Michigan a few weeks back in August.

Here is part 2 of our travels....our time with the Hinkley's

My husband Brian grew up in Michigan. With the exception of one sister, Rose, his family is pretty much still in the Davison area. We debated whether Brian should go or Lauren. He decided that it would be better for Lauren to go, as his family hasn't seen her since she was 18 months, 3 years ago.

On August 18th, 2010, we arrived about 7pm. We visited my BBF Stephanie (part 3), arriving at Chris and Darcey Hinkley's around 10pm in Davison. They were so welcoming, a bonfire and fire flies greeted us. We didn't go to bed that night until midnight, the kids were too excited.
Lauren enjoyed sleeping on the portable bed in Chloe's room

Chris is Brian's younger brother, he's a 6th grade social studies teacher. He was also Brian's best man at our wedding. Darcey stays at home and is a domestic master, she even showed me how they make their own laundry soap for $6 a year. They have three kids, twins Chloe and Carter are age 6 and Isabella, age 3. They bought a house about a year ago just two blocks down the street from where Brian went to 6th grade.

Being concerned that Lauren prefers the company of older kids, I was glad to see that she played with Chloe and Bella equally. They're collection of toys is amazing. Still, Lauren and Chloe were like peas in a pod. All the kids played all day long. At night they took a bath together where you could hear 45 minutes of giggled delight in wet toy land.

Thursday, August 19th

That next morning the kids spent playing both inside and out. This was a great time to get reacquainted. In Bella's case, I haven't seen her since she was a newborn, so I finally got to experience her personality.

Bella is a firecracker. She's mischievous but quite grown up for 3. Her little smile is contagious and every morning I was woken up on the inflatable mattress stationed in their living room with her roly-poly playfulness.

Chloe is more sensitive and attuned to the needs of others. She is bright, cheerful and quite the hostest! She always made sure Lauren felt at home and it amazes me how much they look alike.

Though all the kids are creative (thanks to their parents lack of screen time and nurturing environment,) my nephew Carter is probably the most intensely creative kid I know, especially rare for a boy. He actually reminded me alot of myself as a young kid. He had a speech delay for years but you couldn't tell now. He was always creating, for hours at a time, with creations all over the house. Once he made a dinosaur mask and sharp claws out of paper and taped them to his fingers. He loves everything Africa, and falls to sleep listening to tribal music each night.

At 5pm this day, we had a Hinkley family reunion at Chris and Darcey's. Brian's parents: Larry and Janet were there, along with his older sister Tracey and younger sister Dena and her four kids: Audrianna, Travis, Alexis and Jamal. We ate a great BBQ outside but soon the weather turned. Before you know it a tornado warning sounded! It was a weird experiance. Finally when the sky became an eerie dark and the rain was blowing sideways that I conceded and went to the basement. Poor Chris and Darcey felt bad, their basement wasn't company ready. But in no time we cleaned off the pool table and the older kids were playing.
We still were able to chat so it worked. After the storm went by (missed us by a mile or so) we were able to return upstairs. That evening we played a game with Larry, Janet, Chris and Darcey. I don't remember the name but I think it was Balderdash, were you had to make up a meaning to a word and phrase and if people believed you, you got points. Note to future self, I was terrible at this!
Friday August 20th

This morning, Darcey and I went shopping at the Birch Run Outlets. I had no idea how big they were, such a big tourist attracting, they have their own tourist check-in building that was like a hotel lobby. She cleaned up for back to school. I was indecisive, not knowing what Lauren had or still fit, but got a few items. Still it was great to have girl time and be able to really talk. Afterwards we went to Applebee's for a late lunch and we each had the Oriental Chicken salad...yum!

Meanwhile Chris took the kids down the street to the park. Brian helped create this park and Lauren got to see where his name was engraved into the fence.

That night we went to the Community Center at La Pier. They have a mini-Great Wolf waterpark in there! The tiling had sea creature patterns in it. A mini slide an umbrella fountain, and a large water slide. The whirlpool tub was Lauren's favorite. Lauren took a while to warm up to the big slide and wanted Uncle Chris to go down with her the first time. It is however, still run like a community center. We only had 90 minutes and they shut off the water right at 8pm just when Lauren was about to go down the slide, actually making her get off, causing major tears. Besides that it was a total blast and worth the $4 admission price. I should of brought my water camera.
That night our adult time consisted of an introduction to Blink! What a fun card game!

Saturday August 21st

This morning we had to leave. I felt bad that our time had to come to an end but off we went to the Stutzman's house. They extended their hospitality again by loaning me some pillows, blankets and the air mattress that has been my life saver every night!

Tuesday August 24th
After leaving Steph's we went to spend a few more hours with the Hinkleys and return the borrowed items before flying back to SeaTac. Soon the kids wanted to play outside and rode bikes while us adults chatted.
At the end they chased Chris around and Lauren got some more fun time with Uncle Chris.

One main reason I was so excited for Lauren to go is that she needed some serious little girls time, away from her brothers. Every day in Michigan she was playing and interacting with girl cousins around her age and it had a positive impact on her! She now is more nurturing, communicative, creative and plays with her baby dolls!

She still talks about her cousins and I still hope that some day soon they can make it to Seattle!