Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life Group

Rick and I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a great Life Group at our church, Abundant Life, for the past two years. We met a great couple in the summer of 2006, Jeff and Erin, just after Jeff had been hired on at the church to be the Pastor of Small Groups. Since then, we have been in a bible study with Jeff and Erin and several other couples. These couples have come to mean so much to Rick, the kids, and I. They have been there for us through the passing of Rick's dad in November of 2006, Tyson's birth in February 2007, the passing of Rick's mom in February of this year, and many other things in between. We've also shared many fun memories like trick-or-treating last Halloween, going to movies, dinners, birthdays, game nights, New Year's Eve, camping, Blazer's game, and most recently, a Mariner's game. I could go on and on about how much we value their friendships- we love you all!

This weekend is the big kick-off/introduction of the new Life Groups at church, so the service will be based around growth within the church by getting connected with a Life Group. They wanted to film a promo video to show at the service in order to show what a typical Life Group looks like and we are the Life Group they used to for the video! Rick and I hosted the evening at our house and we were all filmed eating dinner, praying, doing a "study", and then answering some questions about our personal Life Group experiences. We had so much fun filming! Some pretty hilarious candid moments happened while the cameras were rolling and I think Dave did an amazing job putting it all together, really capturing what the Life Group experience has meant to all of us.

Here's a link to the video that will be shown on Saturday and Sunday, listed under Lifegroup Promo 2008- it's just under 5 minutes long, but I hope you all take time to watch it. There is one funny moment in particular that comes about halfway through... I haven't laughed that hard in a really, really long time- I love that Dave included it! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paradise Restored

That is the name of the company we used to have our yard redone- and I truly feel like they lived up to their name!! Here are several before and after shots of our new paradise. One little side note: we knew the yard was getting done in early July and pretty much neglected it until then, so the "before" pictures are a little worse than our yard usually was!

Front yard before:
Front yard after: They basically just replaced the lawn with sod and trimmed all the trees in the front yard.

Front side yard before:
Front side yard after: They replaced the side yard lawn with gravel so we can use it for parking rather than having weed-filled grass. Yes, that is the same Honda I have been driving for 9 1/2 years- makes a great "airport car" when I'm flying!

Shed area before:
Shed area after: They built a new ramp, removed the clothes line, and added gates to both side yards, so the kids can't get play around the shed.

Backyard corner before:
Backyard corner after: This is where you can really see how much they leveled the yard. They added a retaining wall to the entire back fence and partially up the side fences and brought in fill dirt. The fence is now lined with arborvitaes to mask how "unlevel" the fence now looks. If you look closely, the 5 foot tall trees are about a foot taller than the fence in this corner of the yard- the slope is gone!

Backyard before:
Backyard after: This is a great view of the whole yard from one side, showing the level yard, the arborvitaes lining the fence, the new deck, and part of the new paver patio.

Back of house before:
Back of house after: They removed the old cement and planter and added the paver patio, giving us much more usable space for patio furniture.

After: This photo really shows the new deck well. They used the existing foundation and added a little "bay window"-like bit on the right side, moved the landing from the front of the deck to the side, changed the angle of the stairs, and added the lattice under the deck- again for the kids' safety!
This is another great shot of the level yard and the arborvitaes.

We LOVE our new yard!! It is a great usable space- almost like a new room added on! We have a couple of yard games we like to play (Baggo and ladder golf) and now the kids have a safe place to play with their golf set and water table. I'm only sad to see most of the summer gone before it was finished!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mad craving...

Today I found myself having a huge craving for:I LOVE In-N-Out!! I have been known to work certain trips just because they have overnights in cities with an In-N-Out near the hotel... seriously! I was daydreaming today about hopping on a plane and flying into San Jose, taking the hotel shuttle to the Marriott, getting a burger and fries for lunch, and then flying home...

Rick suggested I write an entry about how I've been feeling during the pregnancy because it's the question he gets asked most. So, here it goes... Now that I am in week 30 and looking at the home stretch, I have been a little tired again. But, overall I feel really healthy- much more so than the previous two pregnancies. Besides the random In-N-Out craving today, I have been eating a TON of cereal- usually 2 bowls a day. Honey Bunches of Oats in the morning for breakfast and Cocoa Pebbles for a snack in the afternoon or evening. I also haven't been able to shake my usual Starbucks cravings, even while pregnant. I admit it, I'm weak!

I have been a bit grumpy the last couple of days and can't pinpoint exactly what it is. I've narrowed it down to hormones (I can only use that excuse for a little while longer!), being hungry CONSTANTLY, being bummed about Rick heading back to the classroom next week, and not getting enough sleep because I'm up late watching the Olympics every night. Whatever it is, I've gotta snap out of it... Rick's patience with me can only last so long! :) I figured out today that Rick and I have been married for roughly 43 months. I have been pregnant 25 of those 43 months... this man is a SAINT!! I love you, Rick!

I find myself missing two things while I've been pregnant: Running and being able to have a cold beer if I want one. There's something about specifically NOT being able to have beer that makes me want one even more- like I said earlier, I'm weak! And I can not wait to put on my running shoes again and begin to train for my first marathon. I did a half marathon last year and LOVED it! My big plans were to participate in the San Diego Rock N' Roll marathon on June 1st (my 30th birthday), but that plan ended in February when we learned of our coming attraction. It gives me a great get-back-into-shape, post-pregnancy workout to commit to! I think the Portland Marathon next October is calling my name...

I can't wait to meet this little guy or girl I've been growing inside me... they certainly are a mover and a shaker! My favorite pregnancy past time is watching my belly dance around! My least favorite part of this pregnancy has been the "wow, you look ready to pop" or "you're really getting big" or "maybe it's twins!" comments... nope, just one baby (3 ultrasounds, I promise!) and I still have 2 months of growing to do- well, the baby does! And I'm happy as long as the baby is healthy... but, it's starting to feel like crunch time for names!

First Haircut

Tyson got his very first haircut tonight- how exciting!! As you'll see in the pictures, he was as emotional about the experience as I was... OK, I was the emotional one, he was a little frightened by the clippers. He was getting quite the mullet/curly rat's tail in the back, so it was time. Rick did an awesome job giving him his first big-boy haircut- our little guy is growing up so quickly! Riley was a little jealous of Tyson's haircut and kept asking for one too, so she got her bangs clipped a little. A first for me, we usually have Aunt Debbie trim her hair (she's a professional) and Rick wasn't too confident in my ability to trim the bangs without going too short... I think I did alright.
Riley's turn...

Both kids have minor colds with noses running like faucets, so today was a lazy jammies day for them. I just hope I don't come down with the same cold, I'm tired enough as it is most days! One thing our family just started doing together, is praying at meals... better late than never, right? Riley and Tyson both totally get into it, holding hands, bowing their heads with eyes closed, and saying "Amen". We started having Riley repeat "Thank you, God, for this food. Amen." Now she says it all on her own. So, today at breakfast and lunch, I also prompted her to say, "and help us to feel better." Tonight at dinner, she added that part all on her own and Tyson followed with a very enthusiastic, "Amen!" It makes my heart happy to see them get so excited to pray!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


...or a visit from mom? My mom and grandma are arriving tomorrow for a weekend visit to attend my cousin Christina's baby shower. And I have had an OVERWHELMING urge to clean and organize everything. Rick has joined in on the fun too. Just this week alone, Rick has tackled the garage and specifically our former office stuff that has been in boxes in the garage since we moved the desk out of our bedroom. He's also stepped up big time by doing all the vacuuming and getting down on his hands and knees to clean every inch of the kitchen floor... that's actually what he's doing as I type this post! :) Thank you, Rick. You're AMAZING!!!

We've dusted and cleaned almost every surface in the house and I have organized most of our master bedroom closet, merged the kids' rooms and closets together, preparing Riley's old room for the new baby, and cleaning out my craft closet under the stairs. And all I can think about is what to clean and organize next. So, even though my mom will be here tomorrow and we want the place to look great, I think I have to blame my recent urges on nesting... Our place will be spotless if this keeps up for the next 2 1/2 months!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Riley and Tyson are only 1 year and 2 days apart in age- making Tyson 1 1/2 today! This little guy continues to amaze us every single day, especially with his language skills. I'm sure much of it has to do with having a chatty older sister, but we are blown away at how well he communicates with us! Riley started doing baby sign language right around a year old and although it took Tyson a little longer, he began signing and saying the words at the same time. Now, his vocabulary list is crazy... I just don't remember Riley being able to say so many things so clearly at the same time last year.

Things Tyson can sign and say: milk, please, more, eat, all done
Other words he's saying: daddy, mommy, thank you, hello, baby, bye-bye, night-night, mouse, woof-woof, bright, sorry, up, down, out, cheese, hot dog, sauce (for applesauce), lamp, bed, truck, look, bonk, uh-oh, poo-poo, eye, nose, mouth, elbow, fist, slide, plane, boat, shoe, stuck, no, and some others I can't think of right now... he can also say "there it is", which comes out as "thereis"

I hope he does as well as Riley does being a big sibling. He pats my belly sometimes and says "beebee, beebee" and gives it kisses, which I adore! He also has a smile that melts our hearts- even when he's being totally mischievous!

Some of his favorite/cute things to do lately include: climbing on anything, talking on the phone (his "heh-wow" is cute!), playing peek-a-boo, watching "Little Einsteins" and pat, pat, patting along with Leo to help Rocket fly super-fast!, going down slides, buckling himself into his seat, antagonizing Riley by taking things away from her and then running the other direction, eating pretty much anything that is put in front of him, saying "bite, bite" and covering his eyes when the sun comes in the window (I think he'll love sunglasses too!), playing in the water, talking to us in almost complete babble but with hand movements like its a pretty serious conversation, pointing out airplanes flying overhead and saying "pane, pane" (even when we're inside and he hears them outside), playing "drums" on anything, saying "cheese" whenever he sees a camera, and he gives the best hugs and kisses! He hates to have his diaper changed and his hands and face wiped after eating... of course two of the things we do several times a day!

Rick also taught the kids a "secret handshake" which includes a slide of the hand and then pounding fists and Tyson LOVES it. He'll say the words along with it, "slide... fist" and then wants to do it over and over.

As with Riley, we can't wait to see how much Tyson grows, changes, and learns in the next six months before his 2nd birthday. Just like any other parent, we feel so blessed to have our two beautiful children and can't wait to meet our newest member in less than 3 months!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why I blog...

This morning at church, our pastor mentioned he wasn't going to make it through all the Life Notes during his message, which are notes to help us follow along and fill in. He said he would try putting them on his pastor blog sometime this week- but then joked about how much he didn't like blogging and that people who blog "don't have a life"- OUCH!!

I have a life. I have an amazing life. But, it made me really think about why I blog and this is what I came up with...

*I blog so family and friends who live far away or we don't see much can keep up with our beautiful children. There just aren't enough hours in the day to call or email my family and friends about something cute or funny the kids do or vacations we take, so this is a great way to cover everything, for everyone.

*I blog because I can't seem to keep up with the baby books or begin scrapbooking our lives, so I plan on making a book out of my blog once a year to have the memories preserved forever. I found out about this great idea from Heather, who recently had her first blogging book made of their adventures living in Germany and I love the idea! I'm hoping to have the first book made in February around the first anniversary of my blogging debut and the kids' birthdays.

*I blog to vent, share, and generally organize my thoughts- which I believe helps keep me sane these days. I realize I can be a little long-winded in my blogging and that not everybody cares what I may have to say, but now that I've decided to have a book made, I don't want to forget any details of our family's adventures.

*I blog because I enjoy it. I love to read comments people leave and I love hearing from family and friends when they recently read the blog and a story or picture made them laugh. I don't do it for the comments, they are just a perk!

I also LOVE staying connected by reading other people's blogs and the funny stories, pictures, and adventures from their lives. I have been able to catch up and keep up with so many friends I haven't talked to in years, just from reading their blogs. I have also met some great new blogging friends. I find comfort in reading about the chaos other people are facing with three kids, other pregnancy stories, and the crazy things other kids say and do- it makes me feel a little more normal, I suppose.

So, blogging may seem silly to some people and it's obviously not for everyone, but I hope you all continue to enjoy reading ours as much as I will enjoy keeping it current! I only wish I had such well-documented memories from my previous two pregnancies and Riley and Tyson's first years... but, I guess those memories will have to wait until I can dust off the baby books and organize the scrapbook closet!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fort Stevens

This past week, we took the kids camping at Fort Stevens, a state park scenically placed where the Columbia River ends up in the Pacific Ocean. Although I grew up on the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities and spent many summers boating on it, I had never been to the mouth of the Columbia before. It also marked our first vacation/trip to the Oregon Coast as a family, pretty sad considering we only live a couple of hours away!

We arrived at Fort Stevens after dark on Wednesday night, so basically set up the trailer and went to bed. We had a great pancake breakfast the next morning and took a walk around the massive campgrounds- there are over 400 campsites at Fort Stevens, which is also a historic military site. We got directions to the military batteries and the beach, then planned out the rest of our day. We decided to try the batteries first and the kids had fun playing around the old military shell rooms, "driving" an old military jeep, playing in an Indian longhouse, and running around the grass. One picture into the visit and our camera battery bit the big one, so we had to rely on our cell phone cameras for the rest of the trip. The pictures didn't turn out too bad, considering they were taken from iPhones!

We then decided to drive into Astoria- home of one of my favorite childhood movies:
A quick check online and we were off to find the house where "The Goonies" was filmed and ended up finding the school where "Kindergarten Cop" was filmed also, which was only a few blocks away from the "Goonies" house.

The famous "Goonies" house. I walked up a gravel road to get a good picture.
John Astor Elementary School, where scenes were filmed for "Kindergarten Cop". The school grounds have an incredible view of the Columbia River from the playground!

After a quick nap in the car, the kids were ready for a trip to the beach to play in the sand and generally get dirty! It was only about a mile walk from our campsite- so convenient! If the temperatures weren't in the mid-60's we may have considered swimsuits, but it was just a bit too chilly for that. We were amazed at how many people were actually out playing in the water- they had to have been freezing!! The kids had a blast playing in the sand! Riley probably could've played in the sand forever, but Tyson kept getting it in his eyes and mouth, so we cut the beach visit a little short.

During the walk back to our campsite, the kids decided to kick back and enjoy the ride!

We packed up first thing on Friday morning and pulled out of the campground by 10:30am, with plans to stop in Seaside on our way home. We got some yummy salt water taffy, ate clam chowder in a bread bowl for lunch, and enjoyed ice cream in a waffle cone before getting into the car for the ride home. There was a big beach volleyball tournament going on at the beach as well, so the town was hopping! We were only gone from home about 48 hours, but it was a fun-filled trip to the coast! I think we'll be making camping trips to Fort Stevens a yearly tradition from here on out- we can only pray for warmer weather the next time!


Our beautiful girl is 2 1/2 years old today, perfect time for a little update! I'm amazed at the changes and growth over the past 6 months, she is becoming quite the little lady! We are so proud of what an amazing big sister she is to Tyson and can't wait to see what a big helper she'll be with Baby Thames #3. Just in the past week, when asked if the baby in mommy's belly is a baby boy or baby girl, she consistently says "baby girl" or "baby sister". We'll see if she's right in October! Now if she could just help us pick a couple of potential names for her new sibling! :)

The transition to her "big girl bed" has been seamless so far (knock on wood!) and also does really well sharing a room with Tyson. I'm sure sometime in the near future she'll figure out she can actually get out of the bed AND room all on her own... then, look out! And it's hard to believe she's been potty trained for over two months now. We're not without the occasional accident and false alarm visits to the bathroom, but she still does really well.

Some of her current favorites include: moatmeal (oatmeal), her baby (Cabbage Patch doll), drinking from a "big girl cup", walking "by self" (but then asking daddy to "carry me" anyways), "Little Einsteins" on Disney, the new "big girl bed", making tea for mommy and daddy in her kitchen, watching "A Bug's Life", chapstick (especially mommy's Dr. Pepper chapstick), "jwumping" (jumping), singing made up songs into her "microphone" like Annie on "Einsteins", the color pink, mooching food off of mommy and daddy's plates (especially chips), coloring, getting her "face wet" (drinking from a drinking fountain), "hogurt" (yogurt), and her sunglasses.

She says some pretty hilarious and cute stuff lately too:
  • Sitting at breakfast last week, out of the blue she says, "I eating so well". Then a few days later saying to Rick, "Daddy made pancakes so well".
  • She's taken to calling Tyson a "silly goose" a lot lately
  • After beginning to throw a fit early one morning while camping (because she didn't want to get into the stroller), Rick gave her a little swat on the bottom causing her to cry. When I popped my head out of the trailer to see what was going on she cries to me, "I need kisses" so I leaned down to give her a kiss on the forehead. She then says (still crying), "I need kisses on my bottom!" I couldn't help but laugh at that- and it probably sounded great to people camping around us too!
  • We came home from running errands last week, Riley ran into the kitchen and said to Rick, "Daddy I missed you! I so happy to see you!" It made my heart melt...
  • It also makes my heart melt hearing her say, "I wuv you", and recently adding "wuv you more" and "wuv you most"... so cute!
We can't wait to see what the next six months will bring with our little girl!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

28 Weeks

Since I'm officially in the third trimester, I thought it was time to post another baby bump picture... although, it's looking less and less like a "bump" everyday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Road trip with Riley

Last week, Riley and I took our first girls only road trip to the Tri-Cities to visit family for a few days. Rick needed to be home to answer questions about the backyard (plants, the deck, etc.), so he kept Tyson at home for some boy bonding! Crazy enough, it was the first time ever the kids had been apart from each other for longer than a few hours or sleep time. I was curious as to how Riley would handle not having Tyson around because she is always so concerned with what he is doing and making sure he's involved, but she did pretty well.

Here is a little rundown of our quick trip:
  • Riley throwing up 15 minutes before we were suppose to leave Sunday night- too much birthday cupcake frosting we think!
  • Having Riley say, less than one hour into the 3 hour drive, "we need to go back, we need to go back and see Daddy and Tyson". Could be a long 3 days!
  • 5:50am wake-up call from Riley, "I need to go potty"- every morning we were there!
  • 6am walk with my sister Robyn and niece Cassidy- my favorite way to start the day!
  • Riley asking for milk for Tyson too, when getting her milk with breakfast... always thinking of him!
  • Riley getting SOOO excited to see and say "good morning" and hello to Cassidy, Robyn, Grandma, and Pompa- which is what she calls both Grandpas, mixing Grandpa and Papa into one word!
  • Getting to eat a sandwich from one of my favorite places, which we no longer have anywhere in the Portland area, Bruchi's! I love, love, love their chicken cheese steak and get one every time I'm in town! I'm totally obsessed, but Rick insists there's nothing special about them- oh well!
  • Hearing Riley say "I wuv you" and "miss you" to Daddy on speaker phone several times while we were gone! We missed them so much!
  • Doing arts and crafts at the library by Grandma's house- Riley made a bracelet and a mask, and I made a shaker!
  • Making a candy necklace with Aunt Robyn and Cassidy- and then getting to eat some of the candies!
  • Swimming at Papa and Grandma's house
  • The girls playing with the water table at Papa and Grandma's for nearly 2 hours while we adults played a bean bag yard game. I can't wait to get a similar water table for our new backyard- the kids LOVE it!
  • Driving to Walla Walla for lunch with Great-Grandma Clarette- who she calls Grandma Carrot, not being able to say the "L" in Clarette!
  • Riley LOVES to play the pine-o (piano) at Grandma Carrot's and doesn't stop talking about it for days!
  • Eating lunch at Clarette's Restaurant in Walla Walla, which is named after my grandma from when they owned it many years ago. It's right by Whitworth College campus if you're ever there!
  • Riley playing with Cassidy in the backyard at Grandma's house, pushing the babies in strollers around the pool over and over again!
  • Riley getting stuck in the middle of the sprinklers when they went off and Robyn, Cassidy, and I getting stuck at the bottom of the hill with the sprinklers to run through in order to get to the house. The look on Riley's face when she was stuck was priceless, I couldn't stop laughing!
  • My mom making my favorite meal for dinner on Tuesday night, a chicken chalupa casserole! And the girls helping Grandma cook.
  • Riley having one of the BIGGEST and I mean BIGGEST meltdowns ever the second night we were there. She screamed, cried, hit, and spit for quite a while and it took a half an hour of our hour long walk for her to calm down and fall asleep. One of my crowning moments as a mother, I must say! And extra embarrassing to have it happen in front of my own mom, sister, and stepdad. I'd like to blame it on only 6 1/2 hours of sleep the night before and two quick half hour naps too and from Walla Walla, but who knows... terrible two's maybe?? Luckily, she woke up her old self the next morning... at 6am!
  • Taking Riley and Cassidy to have their pictures taken together and neither one of them really cooperating- especially Riley, who decided she was very shy and clung to my leg. We got one good one of them together and several great ones of Cassidy alone.
  • Getting to go play with Grady, Sydney, Joshua, Justin, and Katie over at Courtney's and enjoying a visit with Courtney, Sheila, and Robyn. We had 7 kids there, ranging in age from 4 1/2 to 6 months old and Court has the PERFECT backyard and house for it. Riley and Cassidy enjoyed playing in the sandbox, sliding down the slide in the little pool, and jumping on the trampoline with a sprinkler underneath. Heaven for a 2 1/2 and 3 year-old!
  • After the play-date at Courtney's and a full afternoon, Riley had no nap and was ready for sleep by the time we pulled out Wednesday night for the drive home. She was asleep 5 minutes after leaving the gas station and didn't wake-up the entire drive- it was peaceful, but a little boring for me! :)
It was a full and tiring three days, but it was all worth it! Back at home, Tyson and Rick had a fun time going to Applebee's for lunch with Sean and his daughters, playing at the Happy Valley water pad, a bike ride and lunch with Aaron, his wife, and sons, organizing the garage, and building Riley's big-girl bed. I hear he was absolutely perfect while we were away, but because I had the camera in Kennewick, there are no pictures from their adventures. Here are some of the pictures of Riley's adventures:

Doesn't Riley look stunning! These are her pj's, socks for the cold morning walk, sunglasses (a must-have for her), a cup of juice and milk, and that unruly hair! I love it!

The girls modeling the candy necklaces they made.

Swimming at Papa's and Grandma's

Playing the "pine-o" at Great-Grandma's

Sitting on the same couch we have had countless pictures taken on at my Grandma's house over the years.

The girls with Great-Grandma

One of my favorite pictures of Riley and Grandma- but we need to teach Riley about sitting in a skirt! :)

Riley and I- she's looking cute, but wouldn't let me put my arm around her. And I look a little like a beached whale... note to self, no more pregnant pictures of me sitting on couches- YIKES!

Our attempt at a picture of me and the girls- but Riley not wanting anything to do with it!

The girls "helping" grandma make the chicken chalupa, but really just eating the corn tortillas!

Playing in the pool at Courtney's

Coloring at Grandma's- yes, sunglasses on- inside!