Thursday, April 30, 2009

Greatist Hits, vol. 2

Here's another of my favorite blog posts that you may have missed. It's from over a year and a half ago, August of 2007. We had just moved into our new house and were enjoying a relaxing evening on the patio, allowing the Pantless Wonder to strut his stuff.
Have you heard of that disturbing fad where humdrum suburbanites learn how to dance around a pole like exotic dancers for exercise? Well, unfortunately, the pole dancing trend hit our town last night. Please excuse the shakey camera and laughing camerawoman...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


It's a week late, but here's some pictures from our trip to the zoo last week. We went with Steph, Henry, Christy & baby Bella. It was that one day that got up to 80 (California/Arizona friends, stop laughing), and we really were reminded this is the only zoo (right?) in Oregon, because it was extremely crowded. But we had fun! I posted these pics on Facebook already, so you may have seen them.
Aren't they super cute?! This was our friend the hippo. Great view!

Two curious boys checking things out.
I always wonder what compels the kids to instinctually put both palms on the glass. Also, I wonder whose job it is to clean the glass at the end of the day?
I always love the sea lions. They never disappoint!

Hello! Henry's getting up close & personal with this alligator.

Sydney enjoyed most of the day from her shaded seat.

When you see this picture, you may think, "Aw! Cute kid on a tractor!" I think about the 20 minutes we spent circling this thing, waiting for other kids and parents to step down so Carson & Henry could sit on the seat, waiting "our turn," stalling at the petting zoo, etc. Then, when I could see they were finally clearing, Carson's totally lost it, having a Level 10 meltdown. Screaming, going boneless, name it. It took me another 5 minutes to talk him down from the ledge, so to speak. Just as he was getting a grip, a huge group of preschoolers came running down the hill, bee-lining for this tractor, and beat us to it by seconds. They swarmed it like ants on a hill. Aaaaaaaand...we're back to square one. FINALLY, as you can see, we ended up getting our turn.

Here's Steph staring down the goat. He did not return her smile. But he didn't spit or kick, so, you know, that's good.

However, Mr. Goat was not easy on the nose, ifyaknowwhatimean. Can you tell by Sydney's expression?

This is one of my favorite pics, because it looks like the boys are right next to this leopard. This was a great exhibit, with 3 little viewing windows. The leopard paced back and forth, walking quickly from one window to the other, and the boys ran along, following him. Exciting stuff!
Meltdowns aside, it was a really fun day, even with the crowds. It was great to be outside and be warm! We got our workouts pushing strollers up lots of hills. I'm sure we'll be back soon!

On a side note, here is a group shot from this last weekend with the 5 couples. For anyone interested. Good times!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Beach fun

We had a great weekend at what we decided we would call the first annual grown-ups only getaway with our great friends. We stayed in a house overlooking the beach and we had great coversation, played games, slept, ate a LOT, watched movies, and cheered valiantly for our Blazers. We missed our kids, but truly relished the relaxing weekend. We didn't have to change any poopy diapers and we had interesting and deep coversations that were not interrupted every 30 seconds. I don't have a lot of pictures, but here's a few from some of our walks on the beach.
Look at all these "hot married guys"! (This is how a rather intoxicated young lady referred to them at the McMennamins where we were watching the game.) My favorite hot married guy.
The beginning of goofing off at the beach. Doesn't it look like Trent's about to do a backflip? (He's not.)

Mike dragged (drug?) this long board over to the log for a homemade seesaw.
"OK, sis, you stay right there. I'm sure this is perfectly safe."

Almost got it...
....but, no.

On to another fun toy made out of beach scraps.

Here's Becky educating Ms. Canada and Mr. Encyclopedia that there are more than one haystack rocks in Oregon.
I'm hoping some of the others will post better pics.
We had a wonderful time with these friends. I love being around people you know so well that they look beyond your quirks and find your endearing qualities. The time just flies. We feel blessed to have friends who encourage one another in our marriages, our faith and especially this parenting adventure we've all embarked on. Can't wait for the second annual!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Caution: disgusting photos.

Seriously, proceed with caution. I'm going for an overshare with the picture journaling in this post. But I'll get to that in a minute.
We've been working on letters with Mr. Carson for a while now, like most parents do. For a long time, he was pretty shaky on the details, as is to be expected. He's not going to be in kindergarten (because of his late birthday) for another 2 and a half years, so we're not in a hurry. But lately it's started to click a little bit more. He's talking about rhyming and spelling. Recognizing the difference between letters & numbers. He puts random letters together and asks us "What does E-P-Q-A-V spell?"
Well, today was the first time I had seen him attempt his own name. He's identified the letters many times, but I hadn't seen him put them together independently, without me even knowing he was working on it. As you can see, he still got one letter wrong, but I was impressed. I applauded, of course, then told him that the T didn't go there, but an R. He was confused about our last name having a T. But he fixed it and put the T at the end. Yeah! Now, to the grossness. This is for all of you readers who have been worried that we were past the "blow out" stage with our little bird. DON'T WORRY! This one peeked up at me while I was working on the computer the other day. But it's minor compared to the stunts she was pulling last fall.
So, the kids (and now I) have been sick this week. It's primarily a cough/cold. But Carson has always had this special gift of coughing so hard he makes himself vomit. Oh JOY! At least he is getting old enough where if I provide a convenient "throw up bucket" (ours happens to be a Tupperware pitcher with a handle for him) then he is fairly intuitive about getting there in time. Except in the middle of the night. So, you know, that's been fun.
Well, turns out little Sis has the same easy-trigger on the gag reflex. Plus, she's still figuring out how to eat solid foods. So, yesterday I was with her and she was munching (gumming on) the good ol' graham cracker when she started coughing. Then I think it was a mixture of choking on the cracker, coughing up/breathing in some lovely phlegm/the gag reflex, because she started choking, then spewing. It was like something from America's Funniest Home Videos, but I wasn't laughing! I was proud of myself for moving mid-hurl to get her to the hardwoods, because I wasn't really thinking about the mess. I was in panic mode, because she was choking, so I was imitating the move I had been taught and pounding her little back. Here's the latter half of the evidence. Check out that splatter pattern! Maybe CSI could analyze it. Carson says "she had a throw up." Yes, yes she did.

So, now you have lived a day in the life of the Mommy, the monkey and the bird. Hope you're able to hold to keep from tossing your own cookies!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A gem.

So, I had every intention to post pictures of our zoo trip today (to supplement Steph's post), but then this happened tonight, and it is too good to postpone. We like to go back and look at our friends' & family's blogs, & Carson especially likes the videos. He stumbled again onto this video of Jack and his first balloon, and fell into giggle fits every time! He must have watched his cuz & that balloon about a dozen times in a row (he especially liked when Jack got really intense, about 00:36, because he kept rewinding that part), and for at least the first 5-6 times, his laughter was completely genuine and totally contagious--as you can tell from the shaky camera.


Actually, this video has a few gems. Not only do you get to see a hysterical Carson in his bedtime pull-up, you get to see my messy house and Carson picking his nose and eating it. (YES, it grosses me out beyond words, but I PICK MY BATTLES, people.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I *heart* resale!

I was familiar with the concept of consignment sales before last year, but my addiction has blossomed into full force recently. The main reason for this is (shameless plug coming) the Cousin's Closet Consignment Sale. I shopped the first one, last June. It was the week before Sydney was born. I was shocked to find Gymboree dresses for $4, GAP sweaters for $3, etc. HELLO!? Sign me up. Their sale got HUGE last October, and I filled a large garbage bag full of (mostly high quality) kids clothes for about $35.
Since then, I've sought out a few others, and overall, I've been extremely pleased. They are run differently, and some of the moms (let's be's 99% moms, not dads) are good at pricing their gently used clothes, and others are totally out of touch with reality. (Just because you loved your daughter's first Christmas PJ's, doesn't mean I'll spend $10 on a used fleece sleeper.) I went to one today and although they were shockingly lacking any 3T-4T boys clothes, I was still pleased with my loot--all for Sydney. Check this out: 6 pairs of pants, 1 coat, 1 pair of capris, 3 sweaters & 3 shirts. I got all of this stuff for $26. TWENTY SIX DOLLARS! In fact, I felt so good about my experience that I thought I would share a few tips to help you make the most of your consignment sale experience. Today I will discuss SHOPPING at a sale. (Perhaps at a later date I will give you the Brazenlilly tutorial on PRICING your items to be sold.) I will also show you some of my fave purchases today.
First, do NOT bring your children with you to a consigment sale. This is serious business. You are on a mission. A hunt. There is a plethora of clothing for you to weed through, and you need to have your focus on your agenda, NOT on your toddler and whether that Elmo phone was broken BEFORE he picked it up or AFTER. Also, the good sales (cough*Cousin'sCloset*cough) have so much stuff that the aisles are narrow and will get crowded. A stroller will not only tie you down, it will cause bottle-necks and seriously annoy the shoppers who were smart enough to get childcare.
Second, bring CASH. If you are on a budget (and who isn't?) decide ahead of time the maximum amount you are willing to spend, get it in cash, and put it in your pocket/purse. That way, you won't get caught when someone doesn't take a check or debit, and you won't get sucked in buying way more than you can afford. (Which is very easy to do.)
Side bar, this is probably my fave outfit I got today. This particular consignment was run like a flea market, with a different consigner at each booth. This lady had almost all name-brand stuff for good prices so I bought quite a few things from her. She thanked me by throwing in 2 matching hair barrettes.
But I didn't have the heart to tell her that hair barrettes were not really gonna happen anytime soon in our house. Oh well!
Third, know in advance whether or not you are able to barter. Most consignment sales are RUN by people who "own" the sale, not by the people who own the clothes. Therefore, they (the people who RUN the sale) don't have the freedom to haggle with you. Don't even bother!
And lastly, I suggest you have a shopping strategy. Trust me, you will be easily overwhelmed. Just knowing the size of your children may not be enough, especially if you have a little girl. (WAY more girl clothes out there.) So, for instance, I have decided that my number one target at consignment sales will be jeans and specialty items, like sweaters/jackets. I especially like a certain brand of baby/toddler jeans, so I seek them out. I know that I will always end up buying onesies, t-shirts, PJ's, etc. at regular stores as my need arises. But I might not be able to fill the closet with cute GAP sweaters. Enter: consignment sale. So, when I'm sweeping through the racks, I zone in on anything unusual or eye-catching, and find those Children's Place jeans. What do you need? Shoes? Hot weather clothes? Dress pants? Think about that before walking in.
I also limit myself to 2 sizes larger than my kiddos are now. (My one exception is I bought an ADORABLE brand new Gymboree jumper for Sydney. It's a 2T.... This was before she was even born.) Which leads me to my last suggestion: don't bind yourself to your rules! Have fun and find some deals. You'll fill the itch of shopping without the guilt of spending too much money.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

At last!

Just like the song perfect paint color has come along! Or something like that.
I seem to have a spiritual gift for choosing the wrong paint for a room. I labor over the choices and think I'm picking the right one, only to get it up all over the walls and instantly regret my choice. Well, having a laundry room, even though it is very small, usually messy and windowless, is one of my favorite things about our little house. I wanted to give it some attention. We took a long time to decide the color to brighten things up, and Trent and I are both really happy with the result. Finally! No color regrets.
("Lemon Butter" in case you were wondering.)
And yes, that's an Uppercase Living expression on the wall.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


As predicted, the umbrellas & raincoats were out in full force on Easter here in the gorgeous, green and rainy Pacific Northwest. Also, as predicted, the day was very busy and started early. I was out the door by 6:45, and Trent & the kids followed me 30 minutes later. No time for photo-ops & egg hunts that morning. I did try to sneak a couple pics in between 2nd & 3rd service. As you can tell, the kids were so thrilled to be at church for 3+ hours!

Then we raced up to Beaverton for dinner. Unfortunately, this is the only shot I got on my camera! Right after I snapped this, Abby reached for Sydney's headband and it all kind of went downhill. :)

We had a great day. Hope you did too!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Greatest Hits, vol. 1

This last St. Patrick's Day, March 17th, I forgot to wish myself a happy blog-birthday! I've been blogging for 3 years. I started blogging because of Mike, Steph, Jim, Eric and the Pjaks. Then it kind of grew into it's own monster, and I like to think that I had a strong role to play in the blog-births of at least Rory, Diane, and the Lyons--maybe Templetons too? It's become a great outlet for me and something I really enjoy. I think I've picked up a few new readers, too, according to Google analytics. In fact, I have quite a few international readers, so if you ever want to comment, I'd love to know who you are!

In those three years I have a few posts that are my favorites, and I think I might occasionally re-post them under Greatest Hits. It will be Departement of Redundancy Department for some of you long-time loyal readers, but maybe something new for others.

This is one. I wrote this poem based on a template I found on this website. It is basically a love letter to 3 people in my life, my mom, dad and brother. It's full of things precious/funny to our immediate family, but I think you can get enjoyment out of it too. What I would LOVE to see is a few of YOU write one and post it on YOUR BLOG! I won't "tag" anyone, but it's not hard to do (the template walks you right through each line) and it would make a great mother's day present. ;)

"Where I'm From" by Jen B-T

I'm from Douglas firs and Super Mario Brothers. I'm from Psalty, Five Mile Creek and Ramona Quimby.

I'm from the fourth house on the left, the cul-de-sac, from rooms kept cool in the summer by fans and closed blinds. I am from a true wood-burning fireplace.

I'm from the roses and hydrangeas, from Veda, Trillium and Mirror.

I'm from year-by-year collages in the hallway and toothbrushes in the kitchen; from Carters and Mulkeys and Helphensteins. I am from quick to laugh and easy to cry, smart and smart-aleck; from photographs as a second religion. From hanging on and letting go.

I'm from "obnoxiously functional."

I'm from road trips and hiking trips and “we’ll take as many breaks as you want but we’re not carrying you.” I’m from “TV coins” in the jar for every hour I’ve read.

I'm from Winkie and Jesus, Sunday school and VBS; from faith as a lifestyle, not just a label. From Turner and WiNeMa and PCCofHIU. I'm from education as a value and an honor, not an obligation.

I'm from the incomparable Pacific Northwest and Southern California perfection; from Minestrone soup and home-made caramel corn. I’m from McDonald’s as a treat, not a routine.

I’m from a plastic cup flushed down the toilet and a knee injury in racquetball. I’m from tole-painting and hand-sewn dresses, from chocolate pudding as finger paint.

I'm from scrapbooks, from nostalgia and movies. I'm from expressive and unconditional love, vocal pride and unhesitating forgiveness. I'm from a place that shapes my history and my future.

How could I ask for more?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

You're afraid of what, now?

So, a few of my friends know that we've been going through a phase with Carson these last few weeks. He is suddenly very afraid at night time. It's been a roller coaster between slightly scared/probably stall-tactic, to hysterical screaming, shaking and terrified crying MANY times a night. At first, he wouldn't tell me what he was afraid of, he just said "Bad guys are in my room." I didn't want to ask any leading questions like "Do you think there are monsters in your closet?" because I can just see his little brain answering "Well, I DO NOW!"

I've sought advice from lots of different friends and gotten lots of good suggestions and support. It is getting better this last week. Glow sticks happen to be the current treatment that is making a difference. The trauma-stage seems to be past, at least. One friend suggested that I talk about the details of what he is afraid of in the morning, when the world is not so scary. I tried that, hoping to narrow down the specifics of what we're working with here.

So the other day at breakfast, he told me he's afraid of "the horse puppet." Huh? We have no such puppet. He played on a stick horse at Nate's--was that it? No, he answered, that was fun. It's a puppet that looks like a horse. Oooookay. I figured he saw it on Sesame Street or something. Then yesterday we were at the indoor park. He brings to me a small cloth puppet. A horse puppet. Kind of like the ones they have on Baby Einstein. "This is it." He said in a totally serious voice. "This is the horse puppet." Huh. Interesting. "Why does it scare you?" "I don't know, it just does." So, stemming from some other advice I received (one dad theatrically wrestled an imaginary giant bug for his son) I dramatically grabbed the horse by the fabric neck and abruptly said, rather loudly, "YOU STOP SCARING CARSON!" That caught Carson's attention and his eyes got big, so I continued my skit. I threw the horse down on the ground and I stomped on him. "You are just a puppet!" I said, drawing some attention from others. "Carson is NOT going to be afraid of you ANYMORE!" Still stomping. The other parents must have thought I was totally certifiable or violence-prone. (Or, like some of you--anti-animal.) "You are not allowed to scare him anymore, DO YOU HEAR ME?!" Carson was quite excited at this time and took his own turn stomping on the horse. Then we threw the puppet to the bottom of the pile of toys. Aaaaaand........ SCENE.

It's only been one night, so I can't tell if this did any significant help to his "horse puppet" fear.

THEN, this morning, he was watching TV while I was in the kitchen. I can't see the TV, but I can hear it. He comes running in with a genuine look of fear. "MOM! Mom! The frog is on! I'm scared of The Frog too! Come quick! Please turn the channel! PLEASE!" I knew what he was watching, and I immediately thought to myself: "NO. It can't be! There is no way he's afraid of..." but sure enough! When I came into the living room, he was pointing with an accusatory finger at...

Kermit the Frog.


What's next? Mikey Mouse? Elmo?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Birdie Bath

Many of you know that one of my nicknames for Sydney is Bird (or birdie, birdie-bird, little bird--you get the idea). It just rolled off my tongue one day when she was a newborn, and kind of stuck. It's turned out to be fairly appropriate, as she's quite petite, she eats her food in small little bites or slurps, and she can squawk like a parrot. Also? She LOVES her bathtime! In fact, similar to the way her cousin responds, Sydney is instantly in a good mood if we put her in some water. I've taken to using the sink most often, because it's easier on my back and then I can work in the kitchen. It's not uncommon for me to throw her in there (figure of speech, people) while I'm making dinner or while I'm cleaning up from dinner. She's just so happy and content, and she's right within arms reach. I think you can see on her face what a joy this is for her!

There's a huge grin on her face that's blocked by her forearm.
Man, I love that girl!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Princess has arrived! (by bike trailer)

Well, my friends told me it would happen. I just didn't think it would happen so soon. Sydney's first Disney Princess paraphernalia has been purchased. We've been planning a family bike ride for today and after my preaching post about helmets, of course little bird needed to have one. It was hard to find one small enough! Trent was in charge of shopping, and he opted for the cute pink one....with Belle, Aurora, Jasmine, Cinderella and....?? Ariel? I think. Anyway, as is customary in our household, this milestone (first bike ride, first helmet) was marked with cameras aplenty.


"How do I look?" Daddy making sure it's fitted properly. We had to use the knit hat we stole from Tanner last year to make her head big enough.

This is my current absolute favorite picture. It is SO SYDNEY! Just happy as a clam in whatever new situation we throw her.

"Hey guys! What's up?!"

The princess and her escort.

We rode around the neighborhood and over to K. Station to hit up Jamba Juice.No mango madness for this princess. Just an orange straw.

Daddy's girl.

C-dog chillin' like a villain.

Gettin' ready to take off again. Must don the helmet!

When we pulled in back at the house, Sydney was still not fussy, even though her stocking hat and helmet had shifted down so she could barely see! But as you can tell, they were snug as a bug in their little chariot.
And, also, here's a pic from today and last April. How happy am I not to be pregnant?! Very. Sorry, Steph and Beth. Hang in there! It was worth every stinkin' minute. I got my princess!