Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Holiday Favorite

This is absolutely one of my favorite things about Christmas time - the Christmas cards! I love getting the catch-up on friends and family from the year. Getting them in the mail is like getting to open a present every time one arrives. I managed to shove most of the the cards we got into this garland and I feel like it warms the room. They make for one of my favorite Christmas decorations!
On the 28th, after having to say goodbye to my parents, we spent the day putting away the Christmas decorations (and I went shopping the sales for more!) Maybe it was a little early to take them down, but the tree was a definite fire hazard and if that was coming down, so was most of the rest of it. The one thing I've left up is my lovely card garland. It will probably be around for most of January.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Yesterday we went to Portland with Travis' parents. On the way back it was snowing quite a bit, and apparently we missed the worst of it. Later, the traffic got so bad that people were stalled more than 6 hours and were running out of gas. Many cars were abandoned on the freeway.
It was nice to go to Portland, but I missed the opportunity to traipse around in the snow with my camera! By the time we got home, it was dusk. There was only a thin layer at our house.
Carson gently reached down and touched his hand to the snow. I showed him I could make a hand print too. Then Avery wanted one next to mine. So I called Travis over and told him to join it. I should have had him get Emmett too! Here's Avery, me, Travis and Carson:

Emmett wanted to take off once we put him down in the snow

After getting inside, Travis told the boys to keep their shoes and coats on and took them out back to try the rock climber in the snow.



At this point I think the snow had turned to sleet and it was time to go in.

After going inside, Emmett took exception to the bit of snow still on his fingers.
Since the boys didn't really get to play in it, I hope that's not the last of snow we see this winter! We really just need to take a trip into the mountains so they can have some real fun.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shooting, A Stitch, And Less Exciting Matters

The day after Christmas, everyone went shooting except my Mom and I stayed home with Emmett and Carson. As much as I love to go shooting, I didn't particular want to get stuck just babysitting in the cold or just sitting in the van as would inevitably be the case since nothing could be done with Emmett and Carson wouldn't like it either. So "Less Exciting Matters," except to me, means Mom and I did a puzzle. I haven't done an honest adult level puzzle since before Avery could climb. I used to do them all the time and it was so nice to puzzle again. It was only doable with two of us working on it so we could finish in the space of Emmett's nap time. Carson loves puzzles so much he really liked helping us, although it was rather frustrating for him.
Back to Shooting. I'm sure everyone had a blast. Apparently a cop showed up at one point since someone had called concerned about the racket (they were up in the coast range, it's not like there's a ton of people there). I guess the cop basically took a look around at the fun family affair, chuckled, and said carry on.
Here is a picture Dad took of Avery getting to shoot:

And on a side note, Travis' little sister Megan recently managed to get her thumb in the way of some cross ties (or something like that) on a crazy horse and got it ripped up nicely. This girl takes more injuries, and in stride, than anyone I know. It's easy to tell from her clean, lotioned, soft skin that she hasn't seen a day of labor in her life. ha. I suppose when you practically live with horses, that's what your hands look like. This was what she had to show us on Christmas. One stitch is going straight through her thumbnail.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Christmas morning Travis and I woke up pretty early. About 7:30 I was in the hall and heard Carson say to Avery, "Avery! It's not dark anymore!" I guess that was the cue for them to come out.
First things, first: "Look! Santa really came, he ate the cookies!" So it's the missing cookies and not the hordes of presents under the tree that tell you that, Avery?

Before anyone could open anything, we had to have breakfast. Travis made Avery a snowman:

Um, I'm not actually sure what he made Carson, a teddy bear?

And then he called me in for mine and look what my sweetheart made me!

Finally, after Mom had to take a pesky picture, it was time. The volume of presenst under that tree are obscene. My parents had a huge part in swelling the mass. I think they enjoyed being able to give without worrying how much could fit in suitcases as was the inhibitor the last four years.

Emmett was slower to eat than the rest of us, so we started opening without him. This is him calling to tell us he's ready to join in the fun.

It's funny how a new baby gift can be so interesting to older boys...

I made my Mom this bag (as you can see, red is her favorite color) and one in the same colors for myself while I was at it! I was so proud of my little sewing skills that I wrapped mine up too for me to open. I know, silly, but I felt good about it!

Grandma and Grandpa got the boys each a new monster truck. They're great! They don't want to stop even when they hit a wall.

Time to check out the stocking loot!

This was a cute moment because Emmett kept pushing the button that would play the truck's radio and he was bopping his head along, thoroughly enjoying the tunes.

Carson checking out my new mirror

After our Christmas morning, we all went to Travis' parents' house. My Mom really enjoyed holding Kevin and Katrina's little Julie

Emmett always likes checking in on Julie too.

Travis, Avery and Carson stayed at the Hunsaker's while Mom, Dad and I took Emmett home for a nap and to prepare our part of Christmas dinner.
That evening after an excellent Christmas dinner, Carson had a serious discussion about coloring with Grandpa Benjamin

And Travis tried out his new remote control rock crawler.

PhotobucketBen also showed us all (Travis had seen it, having helped him move it) his latest purchase, a full size pop dispenser he's going to hook up out in his shop. It can hold pop cans, 20oz bottles or Snapple style bottles.

Since Christmas, we've found that one of the biggest hits of has been the many puzzles we bought for the boys. Carson especially is quite the puzzler.
The monster trucks, 150 piece wooden block set, more Transformers and Transformer bedding for Avery, Carson's own Transformer, and a big dinosaur for each boy have also been great.
Another love was the blu-ray set of Planet Earth I got for Avery, Planet Earth being one of his favorite things to watch. P.S., if anyone's interested, we got the BBC version at Costco for half the price of the Discovery version. The only difference is it's an English chap narrating instead.
Travis (and the rest of us, frankly) are loving his new PS3, especially since that means we now have a blu-ray player and the Netflix streaming is a great bonus.
I am loving L.O.V.I.N.G. my new lens so Travis did a good job with that one (although he knew I thought if money was to be spent on me I wanted that or nothing at all.)

Another hit gift has some background: Avery's best stuffed friend is Monkey, and Carson's is Curious George, so I thought it only right that Emmett have his own monkey. He hadn't yet attached to any stuffed friend, so we went through the stuffed animals that have been put away since Milwaukee and found 3 monkeys that none of the boys probably even remember. All three were put in a box for Emmett and I hoped he would find one interesting and attach. Hallelujah, my plan worked. He definitely chose one, the smallest one in fact, over the others and he's definitely attached to it since then.

What a GREAT Christmas!

Christmas Eve Fun

My parents came down from Spokane to spend Christmas with us!

Avery was so excited to have his Grandma Benjamin with us and wanted lots of pictures of the two of them.

The boys wanted to make a train, well, not Emmett.

Avery and Grandma tend to find funny ways to make funny faces. Apparently pulling ears causes your tongue to stick out.

Travis was obviously very entertained by us.

Finally, the boys got all set up for Santa!

I know I already shared this on my photography blog, but oh well, here it is again.
We never did carrots for the reindeer growing up, instead we gave cheese for Santa Mouse. The book Santa Mouse by Michael Brown was a traditional favorite growing up and my sister and I have continued the tradition in our own homes. There's a a picture of the book in last year's post.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So does this mean I can't shower anymore?

Photobucket Today it snowed in our house, and it wasn't fun. This was a laptop pad. Apparently Travis knew the pillow of foam balls inside was split open and only a zipper stood between them and an explosion. I'm not happy about that, Travis.

So I'm showering and Avery comes to tell me Carson has done something, except I have no clue what he's talking about. How could I? So again, my peace and quiet was rudely interrupted. Considering this post a month ago, I'm feeling like I'm just not allowed to shower any more!

Literally, it was like an explosion had happened. These little suckers were EVERYWHERE. It took me an hour and 20 minutes straight to vacuum up the living room. And the carpet is still spitting out the little devils constantly. It's going to take a long time, if ever, to get rid of them all. All that vacuuming time the boys were basically in time out just to keep them out of the way and from tracking the statically charged balls of evil around even more. Of course that meant I had to listen to them whine the whole time. Also, poor Emmett woke up from his nap as I started vacuuming, so he had to stay screaming in his crib that whole time. I have a headache now.

I think if I had known Travis was aware this problem was imminent, I would have called and informed him the disaster had struck and the boys and I would be leaving the house and not returning until he got home from work and cleaned it all up himself. At least he could clean in peace and quiet then.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blue Candy Cane

EmmettOur toddler proof Christmas tree has been looking pretty sad. I had some glass balls on top, but I didn't have any shatterproof ones for the bottom (I was pretty much banned from buying decorations of any kind in Milwaukee so we wouldn't have to move it back), so it was a real hodgepodge there and completely incongruent with the top half. To help fill in all over we used candy canes. Up until today that was great. Emmett has now realized they do more than look nice. So instead of just pathetic, my tree is back to looking really pathetic again with candy canes only on the top half now too. I will be definitely be going on a Christmas decorations shopping spree after the holiday when everything is on sale (I already did that with excellent results post-Halloween and post-Thanksgiving too!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


It's definitely been colder here lately than usual. Normally it's rainy and just above freezing. now it's been below freezing for a while (obviously long enough to make a good ice chunk out of my in-law's pool for Avery to walk on) but the moisture has eluded us so no snow! On one hand that's kind of a rotten deal (all the cold but no beauty or fun), but on the good side it means no ridiculous 24/7 roadside news coverage because apparently nobody knows how to survive or get around in snow here. I have literally seen roadside coverage just for a skiff of snow on the side of the road and only wet roads here. Truly, it's beyond ridiculous. Also, the schools get closed at the slightest hint of snow, actually at the slightest hint snow only might be coming! Have I said it's ridiculous yet?
Okay, seeing as how there hasn't even been snow for all that ridiculousness to take place I really ought to be moving on now.
The boys have some toys left out on the deck and one is a sand castle bucket. Obviously with all the winter rain we get it's usually full of water. Now, with all this extra cold we've had, the water froze. Yes, Avery, freezing water expands, so yes, Avery, your bucket is now trash. Actually, he wasn't really upset. He thought it was cool that the freezing water expanded enough to break his bucket and he wanted to buy a new one so we could see if it would do it again. That's my science loving kid for ya. He also thought it was pretty cool that his rake left an imprint in the top of the ice block where it had been floating pre-freeze and wanted me to take a picture of it.


At least Emmett was happy watching us outside instead of the usual crying fit for not being allowed to participate.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Avery Walks on Water

During Katrina's baby shower, the boys were playing. Avery could not wait for the shower to be over so I could go take a picture of him doing his new "trick."



Travis inspected the ice and found that it had a layer going about halfway down the sides of the pool giving it additional strength at the top. We still didn't let Avery walk across though, since we couldn't be sure of the center strength.
Travis also declined Avery's invitation of "join me, the water is just fine!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Katrina's Baby Shower

Yesterday was Katrina's baby shower for little Julie.
Little Angel


Seriously, the napkin says it all, right?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Imagination Movers

One of Avery's favorite tv shows for about a year now has been the Imagination Movers on Disney. Back in the summer the Imagination Movers announced they would be going on tour. I looked it up and found they would be in Portland Dec. 11th - perfect for Avery's birthday present! So in August when they went on sale I was so excited to buy tickets for him. A while later when advertising for the tour finally started, you can bet Avery was constantly after me about going. Finally his birthday party came and he was ecstatic to get the tickets! Thankfully we only had a week until the show because he just could not wait.
We're ready for our "hot" date! Avery told his Grandma and Grandpa he had a date with the prettiest girl and Dad was jealous.

Once we got to Portland we went to dinner first. Despite many choices, Avery wanted McDonald's. I think it's just ingrained in kids to pick the golden arches...

Waiting in our seats

This is were we sat in relation to the stage.

After that last picture my little ultra-zoom camera finally put its second foot through death's door. A moment of silence please for the camera responsible for most of the pictures on this blog.................................

Anyway. We had such a good time. Avery is not the kind of kid who interacts with the tv, but he was on his feet dancing and moving and shouting on command through the whole show! Mover Rich spent a lot of time running through the isles to meet as many kids as possible. Since we had seats right on the isle at the top of our section, he stopped there and Avery got to give him a high five. They really put on a good show, and there were lots of inserts for the adults, like more info about them (there's 11 kids between the 4 of them and Mover Rich has 5!) and playing bits of popular songs and laughing about how they're not allowed to play like that on tv. It really was a good show and Avery had the time of his life. This was a particularly special thing Avery and Mom got to do together, I hope he can remember it for a long time!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Avery's 5th Birthday Party

On his actual birthday, we took Avery to lunch at Red Robin, but the day was otherwise completely unimportant. As far as Avery was concerned, and as he kept telling everyone he met, that was only his birthday, NOT his birthday party day. Clearly turning 5 is far less important than having a party!


Emmett's ready to party! The only other decoration we had
was a Transformer poster hanging over the kitchen table.

This is the first year we've bought a cake instead of me making one. It was
expensive and it didn't taste very good, but it was cool and Avery was happy.

Blowing out the candles. And yes, Avery wore his Bumblebee costume for the party.

Pinata! Yeah, that didn't last long as it was pretty dangerous,
so each kid had 2 turns then Travis made good with the candy.

Obviously these were personalized per child.

Glad you had a great birthday, Avery!