Thursday, December 31, 2009

message from the boy

in lieu of a real post (of which i have several started in draft form, but not completed or posted!!), here's a message from my boy:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

where does the time go?

this blog has been a little neglected and i have no excuse other than to say having two under two (although i officially can no longer say that!) is NO cake walk! oh, don't get me wrong, we are having fun...but blogging is the last thing on my mind. we are busy it seems EVERY waking minute. as kellen would say, "GO, GO, GO!".

so much has been going on - our boy's 2nd birthday (happy to you as he would say!), maya's short little life (poor girl, i've yet to write a word in her baby book and i'm not doing such a great job here either!), hanukkah and christmas (this holiday season is SO much fun with a toddler who's into it!).

let's see what i can cover in the short time that my kids are both sleeping (including maya who is NOT in my arms for once!).

the stats:
maya 1 month - height: 21.5 in (64th percentile), weight: 9 lbs even (40th percentile)
kellen 2 year - height: 34 in (45th percentile), weight: 24 lbs 6 ounces (11th percentile)
maya 2 month - height: 23 in (75th percentile - although i question the accuracy of this measurement!!), weight: 10 lbs, 10.5 ounces, 45th percentile

maya update:
this girl is a much harder baby than our boy was - although we knew when kellen was a baby that we had it pretty good! the toughest thing is that she does not like to sleep anywhere but in my arms. last night we turned a small corner (maybe, crossing my fingers!), as she slept in her pack and play for 4 hours straight - 10pm - 2am. i couldn't get her back down after i fed her at 2, but it was a start. and she's currently napping on the couch, so maybe we are getting there! she's a great eater, although sometimes a little too great. she has a problem with gorging herself and then it all comes back up. in fact, she's pretty much a puker. there are some days where we both change our clothes 2-3 times. it's sure a good thing she's cute! oh and i'm having so much fun with all the cute girl clothes - man, i might get myself in trouble! must restrain myself and back away from the computer. online shopping is so much fun and way too easy! poor baby girl had baby acne and then a rash on her face for the last 3-4 weeks. it's finally starting to go away! and the smiles - oh the smiles. i forgot how much it makes your heart sing to see your baby smile back at you for the first time. she started smiling around 6 weeks and it's really coming on strong now! along with the cooing and "talking"! this girl is finally starting to give us a little something back and we're eating up every bit of it!!!

kellen update:
he turned two! i can hardly believe it. he's turning into a very sweet big brother, asking for baby maya when he gets up, giving her hugs and kisses, making sure she has her blanket and teddy, etc. super cute to see him being so considerate and sweet. not to say he doesn't have his moments - we've had a bit of an issue with him hitting her every now and then, all while giving us quite the evil smile. not easy to deal with! he was very into his birthday and all the great gifts he received this year. loved blowing out the candles - in fact, we had to do it multiple times! now when he sees a candle he says "happy to you!", which was somewhat confusing with hanukkah being so close to his birthday. he wanted to blow the candles out, but he quickly learned that we "dont' blow" the hanukkah candles and he also quickly learned that after we light candles there is most likely a present coming! why don't they learn not to hit or how to listen as quickly?! he has a very strong will and very clear opinions about things, especially what he's going to wear. we have to learn which battles to fight, but sometimes (like for pictures or holidays) i'd like him to wear something specific and it never goes over well and he usually ends up winning! for christmas, it was a skeleton shirt (although we managed a different, slighly better shirt, on top for a while, but not the outfit we had in mind!) that he insisted on wearing.

ok...i'd hoped to get pictures attached, but no such luck. i'll be back, hopefully soon to post some pics!

Friday, December 11, 2009

smiles warm my heart!

One of our first captured smiles...sort of!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

our boy is two!!!

the 1st of four times singing and blowing out candles!!!

happy birthday sweet are the light of our lives.
we can't believe it's been two years!!!
you are so kind, thoughtful, sweet, funny and incredibly lovable...pretty darn cute, too!
you bring us so much joy, laughter, love and occassional frustration
(you are two afterall and have been testing your independence for some time now!)
can't wait to experience this next year with you and see all that it brings.
we love you.
xoxo, mama, dada and maya

Saturday, November 14, 2009

fun at grandma and papa's

i'm thankful that aa's parents have been spending some extra days with kellen the last couple of weeks. these days give great bonding time for k and the grandparents and extra sleeping time for m and mama - today we (maya and I) rolled out of bed around 10:30 (after being up from 1-3:45am with m and then about 4:30-5:30am with k and then 6-6:45am with m). these pics showed up in my inbox today - k was having fun with grandma raking leaves. look at the size of those leaves!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

everyday is a marathon!'s crazy how much 1 - 6 lb 13 oz little thang can turn your world upside down. especially when she essentially eats, poops and sleeps in that order every few hours. to say we are exhausted would be an understatement. in so many ways this second baby is SO much easier than the first - mentally and physically i feel so much better, so much more confident, stable and relaxed. in other ways, it's much harder...and much of that can be attributed to a certain ~23 lb-er! not only is our boy having to adjust to this new baby girl and sharing the love and attention of his mama and dada...he's about to turn two and really starting the push the limits of toddlerhood! favorite words are no, mine and my turn. actually, he's becoming a very polite, but stubborn toddler, instead of just no...about half the time he'll say no, thank the cutest, sweetest little voice! we have to be careful about asking him questions when there really isn't a choice. for instance...

us: kellen, are you ready for bed?
kellen: no, thank you!

us: kellen, should we change your diaper (stink radiating from his butt)?
kellen: no, thank you!

so cute, but can be oh so frustrating over and over and over!
anyway...while we've had a few bumpy and frustrating moments, overall we couldn't be more thrilled with how things are going. when kellen wakes up in the morning and the first word out of this mouth is baby or when he decides she must be cold and will bring her a blanket or when she cries and he has a pained look on his face and says, "baby sad!"...these are the moments that i relish in and hold onto when things feel a little out of control! ...and boy, the laundry, dishes, contstant clean up of toys, changing of diapers, clothes, etc is truly a marathon everyday!

here are some pics of my beautiful babes:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

playing catch up - - -> pumpkin patch!!

well...since baby girl came along a little (let's say at least a week) earlier than i had expected, i never got a chance to post our pumpkin patch pictures. seems a little backwards to post pumpkin patch pics in november after the halloween picture posts, but that's how we roll.

other things that i still need to do:

  • update our family photo at the top. believe it or not (you probably believe it!) we have not taken a SINGLE picture of the four of us together. next time any of you who reads this blog is with the four of us...will you please take a picture of the four of us?!
  • figure out what to do for k's 2nd birthday -'s in 3.5 weeks and we don't have a solid plan. what i do know is that we'll be keeping it simple!

  • figure out m's birth announcements. luckily i timed my kids right so their announcements can act as our new year's card for the year!!!

  • figure out what we're doing with's m's corner in the office - yes, that is right...she is not getting a full nursery. we just aren't sure how long we'll be in this house and not willing to give up our whole office, so she gets a corner. the second child is already getting the short stick! if anyone has ideas...let me know. the office is a martini olive green color and i really don't want to paint, so while it's not the ideal color to coordinate with, it's not horrible. oh, she's not getting a crib yet pack and play for her. poor girl! :)

ok, that list could go on and on, but that was not the intention of this post. pumpkin patch pics from this fall - so weird to look at these pictures and see how far we are from that family of three already in just a few short weeks!

our final picture as a family of three!!!

mama & k trudging thru the mud (3 days before giving birth!) & k looking for the perfect pumpkin

dada & k in the field and then on the hay ride back to the farm w/ the pumpkin making a perfect foot rest!

k's favorite part of the whole day - "driving" the tractor & obligatory pile o'pumpkin pic!

carving the pumpkins up with dada!

Monday, November 2, 2009

happy halloween!

40 weeks ago we found out we were having another little one - due on halloween...a little pumpkin baby, our special treat! because kellen would not budge out of me, i anticipated much of the same. not that it was a huge worry for me, but i did think about what we would do if the baby decided to come right around halloween and we ended up being in the hospital. what would halloween look like for our boy...because he's at the perfect age to "get it" this year - or at least have some fun with it and i wanted to be able to experience that with him. i honestly thought that by halloween i'd look as if i had the giant pumpkin inside my belly and i'd waddle around the neighborhood with my boy and his cousins and then we'd have our little one shortly after. i still have to share the whole labor and birth story, but that is for another day. because our little maya arrived 10 days early, we were able to carry one with our long-standing tradition of trick-or-treating with my sister and her kids. kellen had a ball!

he was a little dinosaur (which was my nephew's costume 10 years ago!) he loved showing off his tail and using it as a sword!

the gang - tylre, britain, madison, kellen & maisy. kellen ended up riding his bike and maisers went stroller-treating!

my little miss pumpkin was much too small for even the smallest costume i could find, so she stayed in all snuggled up as the biggest, yet smallest duck fan! oh yeah...the other concern with the oct. 31 due date - the ducks v. usc at autzen stadium. why we had two fall/winter babies to coincide with football season, i'll never know....but it all worked out and aa made it to the game, without having to be on call, to enjoy a huge duck win over usc - 47-20.
and just for's a look back at our boy last year - my what a difference a year makes in our lives!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

my girl's first dress!!!

i can honestly say that i really didn't have a strong preference either way on whether we had a boy or girl and really...i think if there was any preference, i leaned towards having another boy simply because i already had one and i thought the idea of brothers was awesome - or maybe i just didn't want to get my hopes up, since the trend in the gassner family is strongly towards boy! but really, i wasn't longing for a girl. that being said...i'm giddy over my little girl!

i'm sorry, but i know there are cute boys clothes out there...but nowhere near as cute as the girls clothes! and with is my girl's first dress (with pants underneath - it's cold out there people and she doesn't have any body fat!).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

brother and sister

so much to catch up on...but for the time being, this will have to do! a few pics of my two babies. after about two hours home, kellen decided he'd like to hold the baby. i swear my heart is melting looking at this picture!

it's not going to be an easy adjustment for any of us, but i'm certain kellen is having the hardest time right now. he'd also like to be a baby...needed to sit in the baby swing all afternoon/evening next to the baby and even tried to climb up onto the nursing pillow when i was about to feed maya! has been crying quite a bit today and even went back to crawling for a little bit. it breaks my heart to think about how he must be feeling and i am trying to not get frustrated with him - because so far (and it's only been like 10 hours home!) he's been the more challenging one! why did i think newborns were so hard the first time around?

the thing that gets me through, is knowing that at the end of this...once everyone is settled and reassured of their place in this family...we've given kellen & maya the greatest gift of all - a sibling - and i'm certain they will be the best of friends.

Monday, October 5, 2009

my boy and his helmet

our neighbor bought a fire helmet for my boy and he enjoys wearing it everywhere...around the house, riding his bike up and down the street, even to trader joes! i think it's pretty cute!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

a message from the boy...


Saturday, October 3, 2009

go ducks!

a couple of weeks ago our boy attended his second duck football game. last year the game went so well, but he was also only 9 months - not super mobile and no where near as busy. i was a little worried about how it would go this year and figured we'd probably be making some rounds around the stadium or hanging in the mo for a bit. as usual, my worrying was for nothing - he was GREAT! since the rain was threatening, sarah and i decided to go down a little later to the tailgater with the babies so we wouldn't be hanging in the rain for very long. kellen was the most prepared for the rain and looked pretty darn cute with his rain pants and jacket!

the highlight of his tailgater was "driving" auntie sarah's car:

the game was an all around success with the ducks beating the 18th ranked Utah team 31-24! the boy seems to be taking after his dad in taking these games quite seriously:

2009 2008

we look forward to many more years of family duck moments!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

our amazing adventure, part 1 {three years ago}

it's fun to think back to where we were...1, 2,3, 5 years ago...that is something that i love about having this blog - it helps me to remember not only the big moments, but the very small, and oh so meaningful moments as well. i wish someone/i had blogged my life starting long ago, because i can't tell you how many times my sisters, mom or a friend will say, "remember when...", and i have NO recollection of that memory! if it was in my blog, i could go back and read the words and see the pictures!

three years ago was a big adventure for that i could never forget, but thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane. it actually started much earlier than three years ago - because the planning and decision making that went in to it was quite extensive. i remember aa and i were in our 29th year and thinking about our lives and what was next. we had started to think about when we might want to have kids and also how we might want to celebrate our 30th birthdays. on the kid front, we both knew we wanted them, although weren't sure when we would quite be ready (are you ever really ready??). at that time, we had been doing some pretty cool travels each year...starting with traveling to japan to visit family and friends in 2003, honeymooning in belize in 2004, exploring peru and hiking machu picchu with family in 2005. we wanted to celebrate our 30th birthdays in a big way and debated between throwing a big bash for both of us (birthdays just 2.5 weeks apart!) with all of our friends/family or taking a big trip. in the end we decided to be selfish and take a trip - but not just any trip - we wanted to go somewhere really amazing, somewhere that we might not be able to do for a long time if we had kids. i don't think it took us very long to decide (this is where it would be nice to have that blog of my life!) and we quickly zeroed in on africa. after meeting with a travel agent specializing in africa, she let us know that if we might only make it to africa one time in our life that we should most definitely go to south africa and botswana, as there were stricter regulations about how many people could be on a game reserve at a time and it would for sure be the best location for the time of year we wanted to go. we looked at several different packages and itineraries and ultimately created a three week itinerary which would have us leaving pdx on sept. 24 and return to pdx on oct. 13 - just in time for me to run the nike women's marathon in san francisco ON my actual 30th birthday!

so indulge in a little walk down memory lane of what was truly a trip of a lifetime for aa and me:

our first stop was at Honeyguide Camp on the Manyeleti Game Reserve in South Africa. we flew directly into Johannesburg from Washington DC and took a small jumper plane to what felt like the middle of nowhere (and really it was!). our guide picked us up in a jeep and drove us to our tent where we crashed out from the long, nearly 2 days of travel. oh and did i mention that my bag did not arrive with us from dc, so i came to camp with only the clothes on my back!! we were up early for breakfast and our first game drive, which was so exciting. amazingly enough, the first animal that we saw was a a rhino - it was our first and only of the entire trip! we stayed three night here and of course, my bag arrived the morning of the day we were leaving.

the rhino, the rhino and me (proof that pic wasn't taken at the zoo!!)

our "tent" - consisted of a real bed, couch, table, lamp and attached, but open air full bathroom!

1st giraffe sighting, aa & the giraffe

a herd of elephants right outside our tent, see the giraffe in the background?

each day we awoke to the sound of beating drums - bright and early to head out for an early morning game drive (which lasted about 3 hours), breakfast and relaxation time, followed by lunch and then an afternoon/early evening game drive (again about 3+ hours) which always included a sundowner. what might you ask is a sundowner? it's where we would stop at a beautiful location, just as the sun was starting to go down and enjoy a full bar and snacks. these sundowners beat any happy hour i've ever been to! we'd then head back to camp to clean up and enjoy a wonderful dinner.

the "bar", enjoying a a sundowner

aa sitting in the tracker seat, our guide, tracker and another couple out on a drive
our next stop was to Zambia, where we would begin our 8 night safari through the country of Botswana. because the flights were limited, we had to overnight in johannesburg. it turned into a bit of an adventure, with our bag containing aa's passport, all of our cash and plane tickets being "lost" or stolen (we believe by the police) in the airport...only to be found by the police. everything was in the bag, except the passport. after about 20 minutes of searching the bag and arguing with the police that we are certain the passport was in the bag, another policeman walked in holding aa's passport and said he "found" it. they tried to get us to buy them a drink, but we somehow escaped the office without having to give them any money and took off for our airport hotel. it wasn't until the next morning did we realize that aa's nike fleece and uo hat were missing! somewhere in south africa, someone is enjoying that fleece and hat! it was quite a scare, but we are so fortunate to have recovered the key items needed to continue on our with our trip!
we had one night on our own prior to joining our safari and we stayed at the zambezi sun hotel, which was conveniently located right next to victoria falls. sadly, we were there during the low season, but it was still quite amazing to see. our pictures don't do it justice.
the next day was one of the highlights of our trip - rafting the zambezi river! while low season was a bummer for the actual creates the best white water rafting experience, because the rapids are more accessible. we don't have any pictures, for obvious reasons...but it was one of the most thrilling, adrenaline-pumping things i've ever done. it consists of mostly class 4 and 5 rapids and they aren't messing around! we only had time to do the half day trip, but after going through "midnight diner" #8 and experiencing our boat not only flip, but getting caught in the hole of "star trek" i was ready to be done! yes, our whole boat ended up going through a class 5 rapid - OUTSIDE of the boat. aa and i both seriously saw our lives flash in front of our eyes. i only remember that each time i'd come up, i'd take the biggest breath of air i could before being thrown about again. each member of our boat ended up getting picked up by other boats and we finally made it to the side of the river to walk around rapid #9 - commercial suicide, which is a class 6 and therefore illegal to ride down. there was one more rapid before lunch and then we were on our way back to the hotel to meet up with our traveling mates for the next 8 nights!

...and with that...i'll conclude this long post and finish up another time!
but i'll leave you with a sneak peek from our next day...

elephant butts!

elephant cruise along the chobe river