Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

For a year that seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye, we really did fit quite a bit in! I thought it would be fun to go back and look through some blog posts from the past year- it was amazing how much I had forgotten about, which makes me thankful for the blog to keep track for me!

Here are some of our highlights:

  • Getting settled into the "new" house
  • Birthdays, birthdays, and more birthdays... we have a 4, 3, and 2 year old right now, and Rick and I celebrated 36 and 32, respectively
  • Student teaching
  • Kids starting a new preschool/daycare, and their continued excitement every single day when we drop them off
  • Vegas, Baby! (for Rick)
  • Another marathon... in the rain... lots and lots of rain
  • Disneyland with our own little princess, Riley
  • Eagle Crest
  • Cooper's vocabulary explosion
  • Family reunions, holidays, and family poker games
  • Tyson's love of school and his ability to retain so much information
  • Master's in Teaching
  • Blazer's games
  • New backyard
  • Substitute teaching
  • Riley discovering her love of math
  • Visits to the zoo, Children's Museum, park, splash pad, and other family outings
  • Many dates for Rick and I, including bowling, movies, golf, discovering new local hot spots, and an overnight stay in downtown Portland for our anniversary

I would like to say that I resolve to slow down in 2011, but considering the 3rd job I'm taking on (more on that soon), I'm going to resolve to be more organized instead! I think I'm going to need a better planner to keep everything straight! :)

Considering how much fun I had reliving 2010 by reading previous blog posts, I would also like to blog a little more in 2011- I can't think of a better way to keep track of such precious moments and memories.

Wishing you all blessings and happiness in the New Year to come!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010


We had a fun, eventful couple of days over Christmas this year! We were able to squeeze in a quick trip to the Tri-Cities to visit my family, opening gifts and visiting with my dad and step-mom on the 22nd, and then doing the same with my mom, step-dad, grandma, sister, and niece on the 23rd. We forgot to bring the camera to my dad's, but were able to capture a few good pictures at my mom's.

I love this picture because it shows the boys coloring nicely at the eating bar, while my grandma is teaching the girls how to play Rummy in the background at the table. It was a very peaceful moment. :)

The girls giving us a concert- they sang "Jingle Bells"!

Gotta love cousins!

Cooper was MIA... but still a cute picture of siblings!

Rick and I during our break from opening gifts.
We let the kids open, sent them off to play, then had adult time to open gifts with a little less chaos!

We drove home on Christmas Eve and got some cute photos of the kids before tucking them in, so Santa could visit the house... and so Rick and I could START all of our wrapping! I usually don't like to be so last-minute, but between flying a couple of trips, subbing, and visiting the Tri-Cities, I literally had NO time before the night of the 24th... next year I will plan a little better! Hopefully.

We got zero pictures of all five of us in front of any tree... or any place for that matter. But, we managed to get some great ones of the kids... after much wrestling with our squirmer (aka Cooper).

The kids opened their matching footie pajamas right before bed.

Before Santa's arrival...

And after...

We had a great morning!

I think she liked it... :)

Cooper put every bow on his head... and he carried around a bag of fruit snacks all morning... apparently we could have just gotten him fruit snacks and he would have been super happy!

Round 4 of presents with Rick's family...

All the guys and their matching Santa shirts... except David, who I'm sure will get one next year from Debbie!

And finally, the prize for the most creative gift goes to David who found a way to get that crazy bronze deer into our house. It's a running joke with the Thames family, it was Doris and Cecil's and nobody seems to want it, but nobody wants to get rid of it either! Now we just have to figure out how to pass it along! :)
Cooper seemed to like it though!


Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Christmas Letter

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I'll try to find time in the next day or two to post some photos from our whirlwind trip to the Tri-Cities to see my family, and from our Christmas celebration here at home.

Here is our Christmas letter for 2010:

Where does the time go? Life seems to be passing at warp speed lately, leaving 2010 as a big blur in our rearview mirror…

Riley turned 4 in February and is in her second year of preschool. She loves everything to do with school; her teacher, friends, art projects, and has taken a special interest in all things math- just like her Daddy! Riley is constantly praised by her teacher for being extremely helpful in the classroom and most recently for showing compassion and encouragement towards a girl in her class with special needs. She also began a combination dance class in September, where she learns ballet, tumbling, and tap for an hour each Saturday morning. Riley is an amazing big sister and we couldn’t be more proud of our young lady with a big heart!

Tyson also celebrated a birthday in February, turning 3, and began his first year of preschool in the fall. He also really enjoys school and retains information like a sponge! He constantly makes us laugh with his big imagination and amazes us with the knowledge he brings home from school- like telling me the bones in my body after learning them on Bob Bones at school! He is equal parts shy and outgoing, and he can charm the socks off of most anybody just by flashing his smile. We’re not sure if we should worry about this yet or not!

Cooper is all boy and has found his inner mischief-maker since turning 2 in early November! He has mastered the smile and what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it look while doing something he knows he is not supposed to, which has been fun! Cooper began full-time daycare in the fall at the same preschool his siblings attend, so he is getting a chance to make friends, do art projects, and learn, just like his big sister and brother. He loves playing with his cars and Legos, and especially loves to follow Tyson’s lead, which isn’t always a good thing! We look forward to watching Cooper learn and grow in the year to come!

Rick continues to teach sixth grade at Alice Ott Middle School, a position he loves and we are thankful for. With so many school budget cuts on the horizon, there seems to be a little more stress involved with teaching, but Rick takes it in strides. Even after nearly 14 years of teaching, Rick still works hard to make curriculum interesting and relevant to his students, which is what makes him such a wonderful teacher! Over the summer, Rick and his friend Aaron, were able to enjoy a few days in Las Vegas- a well deserved vacation! We also have a quarter share of Trailblazer’s season tickets, which we have been enjoying!

I took a break from flying at the beginning of 2010 in order to complete four months of student teaching and complete my Master’s of Arts in Teaching in May. It was a great way to end the four-year journey to become a certified teacher, although the timing couldn’t be worse to try to enter the education field! So, I have spent the better part of the school year substitute teaching, I’ve even spent a few days in Rick’s classroom! I also try to fit in trips with Southwest when possible. I have come to rely heavily on my planner in order to keep my schedule straight! I also completed my second consecutive Portland Marathon in October, this time in the pouring rain. I didn’t improve on my time from last year, which was my goal, but I figure completing it soaking wet is something to be proud of!

As a family, we have enjoyed our new house over the past year, including yard renovations we had done in late spring. We love being a part of the Happy Valley community, and we have enjoyed getting to know the families in our neighborhood. Rick and I also took Riley to Disneyland in July, where she got the full Princess treatment! We can’t wait to take the boys in the future, when they are little taller to enjoy all the rides.

We look forward to finding out what 2011 has in store for us! Wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season, and many blessings in the New Year!

Love,

Rick, Brooke, Riley, Tyson, & Cooper


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa Claus Came to Town!

For the second year in a row, we attended a neighborhood Christmas party where Santa Claus made a special appearance! The kids were so excited... well, except maybe Cooper, who wanted nothing to do with the Big Guy! Even though he arrived on an actual sleigh!

Santa and His sleigh!

Cooper being comforted by Daddy!

And then crying when he got too close...

Tyson asked for a Transformer that actually shoots laser beams... we'll see about that one!

He got a Doodle Pro instead... so did his little brother!

Riley was super excited to meet Santa!

And also super excited for the My Little Pony she got!

Then the family shot...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting from A to B

How do you commute to work??

Drive a car?

Ride a bike?

Or simply walk down your stairs?
(I'm a little jealous of this one!)

I commute to work (well, to one of my jobs at least) by airplane. I live in the Portland area and I commute back and forth to Oakland for my job with Southwest. Not always ideal because I am a slave to the flight schedules, which means I can often sit in Oakland for up to 3 hours waiting for my check-in or waiting for a flight home. I miss out on precious time at home.

On my commute down this morning, I started to look at the brighter side of sitting on an airplane or sitting in a lounge waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I rarely just sit these days, even at home, so sitting on a 2 hour flight to Oakland has given me a chance to get things done that I neglect at home... like Christmas cards, for example. Or reading a good book, catching up on Netflix movies, challenging my mind with a crossword, or simply sit and listen to music.

So, what do you get done on your commute? I know it's impossible to do all the things I am able to do on your own commute, but I hope you can at least find a way to use the time for something productive or relaxing!

The good news is, I will actually get our Christmas cards out on time this year- Christmas letter and all! They could have been out a few days ago, sans letter, but I decided to hold out. One little flight down to Oakland and I have all envelopes stuffed, stamped, and addressed, AND I have a letter written! (I am patting myself on my back you read this... )

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preschool Art

With all three kids attending preschool/daycare full-time, we see a lot of artwork coming home in their backpacks... A LOT! (Shhh... don't tell the kids, but I just recycled a ginormous pile of it... nothing important, I promise.)

We have files started of the "to keep" artwork, and the following pictures have definitely earned their way into Riley's file!

This one made us laugh!

And this one made me excited for the first snow!


Monday, December 13, 2010

And the stockings were hung...


Our new stockings... complete with FREE monogramming from Pottery Barn!

I have since added a new tree topper to the tree... maybe we'll get better (i.e. not from a cell phone camera) photos of the tree as Christmas gets a little closer.

Now if I could just finish my shopping and wrapping to fill the tree up underneath...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baby Gauge comes to town...

... oh yeah, and my brother and Lauren came too.

They were literally at our house to sleep (less than 10 hours, I think), then got up early so Bryan could attend a training. The kids saw them all for about 15 minutes at 7am, before preschool, but they are still talking about it!

They just love their youngest cousin.

Gauge got a lot of lovin' in that 15 minutes!

Thanksgiving cont. (finally...)

I have been a blogging slacker lately... I know.

Here are a few pictures from Thanksgiving - our first in the "new" house. Some of my family came down from the Tri-Cities and we hosted some of Rick's family as well.


I cooked my very first turkey... I was nervous. Rick carved his first turkey... he wasn't so worried.



The food was great, the company was wonderful, and we had (and have) so much to be thankful for! Riley even said the prayer before we ate... I wish I would have recorded it, she was just so sweet and well-spoken.

Of course, the "kiddie table"!

Randy and Jim doing the dishes... everyone contributed to the day, it was so nice!

We are so blessed!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Hoping you and yours had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

video

Photos and more on our big day coming soon...

Friday, November 12, 2010

2 year stats

Cooper is quickly making it clear that he is going to be known as the "younger" brother and not the "little" brother... At the rate he's growing, he'll be taller and/or outweigh is older siblings by his 3 year check-up!

Height: 2' 11.75" (82%)

Weight: 30 lbs (73%)

Head Circumference: 19.61" (78%)


Just to compare weight... Riley is only weighing in around 34 lbs and Tyson 35 lbs. They are all within 5 pounds of one another. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

School pictures 2010


The kids had their photos taken at preschool/daycare a few weeks ago. So happy they were able to get a great one of all three of them together- such a rarity!

Riley, 4 years and 9 months


Tyson, 3 years and 9 months
(I had to bribe him to sit still and smile... next year I will not be volunteering on picture day, I think he would have done much better if I hadn't been there!)

Cooper, 2 weeks shy of 2 years old.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flying with the Stars!


Look who I had on my flight between Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ last Friday...


Yep, that's Mark Ballas, of Dancing with the Stars fame!
And it looks like he and Bristol Palin are safe for another week... must've been my "Good luck on Monday!" after our picture. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Party time!

Cooper enjoyed a low-key birthday celebration last night with family to kick off his third year of life!

The birthday boy with brother and sister before preschool.

Cooper enjoyed opening all of his presents...

Riley picked out these Matchbox cars for Cooper... they were a big hit!

She even received a thank you hug from the birthday boy!

He got so excited about everything...
(This might be one of my favorites!)


The cake... tasted yummy (Rick baked it!), but plain (I decorated it). :)

We try to sneak in as many family photos as we can... even if it means bribing the kids to stay still. They'll thank us someday!

Aaaaaannnd... we're done!
Cake and present overload finally took it's toll!

All in all, a perfect day for such a special little boy!
Special thanks to uncles, an aunt, cousins, siblings, and grandparents from the Tri-Cities for making the evening such a big hit!