Sunday, November 6, 2011


ok...not too bad, just a little under a week since halloween and i'm getting my post up!  i'm on a roll.  halloween was super fun this year - both kids were really into it.  involved in picking out their costumes, racing from door to door for trick or treats and of course, gobbling up as much candy as possible.  ugh. 

kellen decided this year he would be a train - he wavered between james, busy as a bee james, thomas and finally landed on percy.  with the move just behind us, we had plenty of boxes, so i googled thomas the train costumes and came up with some great tutorials for creating a train out of some boxes, hot glue and paint.  i got right to work on cutting out the pieces and while maya napped, k and i worked on painting and gluing. 
mr percy the train (with face painted by grandma!)
when maya found out kellen would be percy, she quickly decided she would be ata hat...aka sir topham hatt.  the round, friendly head of all the trains on thomas and friends.  ever since our "day out with thomas" adventure in hood river, she has had a mild obsession with ata hat.  everytime halloween was mentioned she would declare "ata hat!".  so ata hat it was.  i ordered a kid's size top hat off amazon and went out to search the second hand stores for a little boys suit.  after no luck, i happened to be talking with a mom of kellen's friend and she mentioned that his favorite thing was to wear a suit that his dad had bought for him.  lucky for us...we were able to borrow the suit jacket and that almost completed our costume.  i had found a little yellow shirt at goodwill that i cut into the shape of a suit vest, a black piece of felt tied into a tie and some grey pants, white shirt and black shoes that are part of our every day wardrobe rounded out our little miss sir topham hatt. 

here's a side by side with the real sir topham hatt and our little miss topham hatt...not too bad!  actually super cute!  she put the costume on at 1 in the afternoon to go visit our old neighbor and didn't take it off until late into the evening! 

miss maya topham hatt
the "real" sir topham hatt

maya topham hatt and torsten the big red dog!
miss topham hatt and percy the train

trick or treat!

maya and daddy in line for trick or treat

kellen unfortunately found it pretty difficult to run from house to house with his percy costume off it came and we hauled that thing all around the neighborhood.  note to self:  no more cardboard box costumes.  they are super cute and impressive, but not realistic and will promptly be discarded in favor of keeping up with the friends for more candy!  on the plus side, we now have a real fun percy costume/toy that has gotten some good playtime post-halloween and it was a fun project for us both!

the crew mid trick or treating!
for the second year in a row, we met up with our "baby and me" friends...tilden and torsten, tom and wes, kellen and maya, sydney, henry...just missing hadley.  we all enjoyed a great halloween feast of pulled pork, sweet potato fries and other yummy treats prior to heading out to trick or treat in the ladd's addition neighborhood.  it's so much fun to see how much more into it the kids are each year. 

post trick or treat...and they ALL chose to eat a sucker!

the loot!

on a sugar high in their new halloween jammies!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


aye aye aye...big time fail in the blog department! what can i say, moving, the start of preschool, two kids, a bit of work, life, birthdays and halloween has all taken precedence over blogging. i have such good intentions, but just can't seem to make it to the computer to bang out a blog post. so here is a big dump...

we moved! it's already been seven weeks. yikes. the house is slowly starting to feel like our home and not a vacation house that we are borrowing for a week. the odd, not our smell of the house is going away and it's starting to feel familiar. i'm becoming less nostaglic for our old house - in fact was over visiting our old neighbors and didn't even pay too much attention to our old house (other than to see if they were keeping up the yard work!). it's feeling comfortable. now if we could just get ALL the boxes unpacked, ALL the pictures on the walls, some decisions on more paint colors, and buy a few (or more) things that we need...we'd be in even better shape!

the kids have adjusted really well. especially maya who...HALLELUJAH!!! sleeping in her own big girl bed. it was a thousand times easier than we anticipated, considering she slept every single night of her almost two year life in our bed and practically in my arms. she more often than not sleeps through the night and if she does wake up, it's best if aa goes in to get her settled as he can be in and out in a few minutes (as long as he doesn't fall asleep on the floor!). she prefers us to lay and snuggle her until she is asleep when going to bed, but aa and i both now snuggle her for a few minutes and then tell her "i'll be right back" to leave her on her own to fall asleep. i actually have to tell her that i need to brush my teeth and i'll be right back and that will somehow alleviate any tears. i won't lie...sometimes i miss her...but i couldn't be more thrilled to have our bed back. it's such a treat and my back and neck are happy too! kellen has been pretty good, although the combination of a too scary halloween story and a new house with new noises and shadows has had him a little fearful and calling out for us to make sure no one was coming in and that the shadows were nothing to be afraid of...err. just when we get one sleeping better the other has trouble!

i took a picture of each of the kids in their bed before we moved and then a shot of each of the kids fast asleep in their own new rooms on their own new beds (really mattresses on the floor at the time!).

to make things really exciting...the week we moved was also kellen's first day of preschool! it was a big day and i won't lie...i felt a little emotional, but let's face it...i dropped him off at stringer (the nike child development center) for 9-10 hours a day, four days every week for 2 full years. but, we had been home together for the last full year and it definitely seems like such a milestone! we chose a great, play-based preschool called small friends. it's pretty hands on, as the parents volunteer in the school once every 4-5 weeks (which i really love) and the teachers seem wonderful (have been there for 15 and 20+ years). he is loving it and i think we both wish it was either a little longer or at least one more day per week. right now in the younger class he goes just tuesday/thursday from 8:30-11:45. he will often ask us if it's a school day yet! here are some pics from his first day:

big preschooler - ready to tackle the first day of school...after the first night in our new house!

little sister getting in on the picture taking action...notice the lock box still on the door and maya's pj's and crocs!

getting comfortable in the classroom with dad at the potato head table

maya running through the halls of kellen's school!

in other news, aa and i both turned 35 in october...sounds sorta old, but we really don't have time to dwell on it. and i honestly don't have any problem with getting older (at least yet!). definitely feels like a much closer to 40! we talked about taking a little trip - maybe to sf...but it's looking like we'll take a kid-free night or two to the beach and save our pennies for the house. it's crazy to think that when we met we were 19 (nearly 20) years old...and yet here we are, solidly in our mid-thirties, with two little darlings and a lot to be thankful for - especially each other!

...and how could i even mention my birthday without mentioning our big TWO year old??? i'm sure this deserves a post of it's own...but let's be honest, if i wait it might not happen! ugh. october 21st is really about my girl. i can hardly believe she's's flown by and yet feels like she came into this world just yesterday. she's the sweetest, fiestiest thing ever. she weighs 21 pounds 10 ounces...actually up to 24th percentile on the growth chart, but still quite a peanut. her height is 32 inches (and i didn't catch the percentile on that one...typically second child slight!). some of her favorite phrases are: "me do it" or "maya do it" (and watch out if you don't let her!), "how about me" (or how about maya/nellen/mama/dada...the girl is always looking out for her fam!), "no, nellen" (her second version of first it was nennen) and "go duckies!". she has very strong opinions about almost everything...especially what she wears and what she eats. she talks up a storm, loves her big brother, is both a mama's girl and daddy's girl...but at different times. her favorite books in the last few months are: 10 little dinosaurs, my car, baby faces and baby born. her two year molars have yet to make an appearance. she loves to eat protein (chicken, turkey, salami, eggs, peanut butter...straight from the jar!) and isn't a huge fan of whole grains, although rice is pretty good. she's a total junk food junkie - chips, candy, cookies, chocolate, cupcakes, ice name it, she doesn't seem to have ANY problem eating any of those options. she LOVES babies...and will randomly name off her favorite babies - baby tato, baby adelynn, baby molly, baby nammy, etc. she doesn't however love baby dolls or really anything very "girly". anything her brother loves - she loves. for example, thomas the train, lightning mcqueen, etc. she'll push trains or cars around in her little doll stroller all day long. when given an option to do anything, she will usually ask to play trains and build tracks...just like her nellen.

all she wanted for her birthday was ime meam (ice cream) and bawoons (balloons) because I did nothing for her for her first birthday (well a little family party...but nothing with any friends) and since we had just moved...we invited some of her favorite baby friends and some of my favorite mamas over to a playdate birthday party...complete with ime cream sundaes and a balloon animal making clown. the clown was a hit with most of the kids...although it did frighten a couple of them! it was utter chaos with 19 children 3.5 and younger, but loads of fun. maya wasn't sure at first, but warmed up right away. and after talking for weeks about wanting balloons...was too overwhelmed by it all to want one when it was time.

and here she is...hiding behind the couch, not so certain of what is going on with the clown!

"two!!!" ...and those are rice crispy treats, orange because of the strange pumpkin marshmallows the kids picked out!

on sunday, we ended the birthday celebrations with a family birthday lunch...full of paninis, homemade soups and ice cream cake with yummy toppings!

topping choices, minus the gummy bears...which were devoured on friday!

enjoying every last bite of her ice cream cake with papa!

this year she had NO problem getting into the present opening!

enjoying some fun times with uncle bry...otherwise known as "oh bry!"

as i said on my facebook update on our baby girl decided to make an early appearance and surprise me on my birthday. at the time, i wasn't totally thrilled. today (oct. 21, 2011), i think it's the greatest thing ever and can't wait for all the birthday celebrations to come.

it's true...i truly hoped she'd hold off until oct. 22 that night, but nope...11:57 pm she was pulled outta me and i really couldn't believe it. and now i feel so lucky to share the day with her. i envision mani/pedi's, shopping sprees and many more exciting adventures as she gets older for our big day. and with that...i'll try to post halloween pictures/updates before december arrives! no promises though...clearly that would not be worth betting on me for that!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


ah. life is so busy. i often wonder what i was thinking when i thought my college days were SO busy. i wish i could tell my younger self that i seriously had NO idea! two classes a day, four days a week, couldn't work out until 2 in the afternoon...rough life that girl had! perspective. i mean, i wish i could tell my only slightly younger self how easy one kid was...aa and i had good quality time with our boy, work was still somewhat manageable, we could get time together, some time to ourself, life was good...but it seemed SO stressful. perspective. now, life is crazy busy, we barely have time to shower or pee by ourselves, i had/got to quit my job cause two kids and my crazy job were just not meshing, despite my extreme exhaustion, i find myself up past midnight because it's the only time i have a silent moment to myself and i still have a to do list a mile long. perspective. i'm sure in 18 years, i'd die to be back in my almost 35 year old shoes with my almost 2 and 4 year old. perspective.

but once again, that is not what this post is about. i'm trying to do a bit of catch up on this little ol' blog...if anyone is still reading! we've had SO much going on - i finally took a break from the little side gig i've been doing since april and in the meantime, we've bought a new house, rented our current little house and are getting ready to hightail it out of here in the next few days. it's with mixed emotion that we do this and it's frankly LONG overdue. poor miss maya never has had a space of her own and because she was such a terrible sleeper early on, she has gotten mighty used to cozying up between aa and i. i/we tolerated it for almost two years now since we were somewhat in survival mode and we were getting sleep and it wasn't like we really had space to give her a room of her own. now almost two years in, we are O.V.E.R it. we never intended to co-sleep and while i justified it in that she was my last baby and it really was kind of sweet to snuggle with her...we're ready to take back our bed for ourselves and get her to sleep through the night. in fact, we are so over it that the poor girl ends up sleeping on the couch for as long as she will until she wakes and then i bring her into our bed. AND...last week, sept 4 she actually slept through the night, ALL night from 8:30 - 7am on the couch...first time ever at the age of 22 months. poor baby girl...on the couch, but let me tell you, it felt so good to sleep in the bed without her! anyway...that is not what this post is about (ha!)

i just wanted to do a tiny bit of catch up from the last couple of months, starting with fourth of july (seriously, how embarrassing is that...blogging two months later? but this blog is mostly for me and documenting some of these things so i have it years down the road...and i've always been a bit of a procrastinator anyway!).

this year was super fun - 4 of july that is...reminded me of the joy it was when i was a kid. k and m were both really into it, but especially k. i bought a few little firecrackers and we decided to take them to the "big" fireworks show at tigard high school. after a VERY long wait...the fireworks started and literally 5 min in (and over 2 hours past his bedtime) k asked to go home. so we trekked our way back to the car! the highlight was probably the $10 worth of fireworks that i bought at the grocery store and aa set off in front of our house in the broad daylight! the kids loved em.

"our stash!"

"first sparkler...loved it!"

"smoke bomb!"

"loving every bit of it! please note her festive dress...saved and thankfully remembered from a mini boden purchase nearly a year earlier!"

this summer we've also tried to get out and explore some of the many different spray/water parks around the city. seriously, where were these when we were kids?!! one sunday we headed out to lake oswego millenium park and let the kids splash around and followed it up with a happy hour at blast burger. i highly recommend both activities! we all shared a kiddie burger and fries, the kids had a root beer float (a first and a HUGE hit!) and aa and i had a beer or two. great little spot, good food and drinks and fab outdoor seating.

and yes, we bought a new house. it feels like it took so long, but really it was a pretty fast process. only looked at 12 houses in person (after LOTS of passive looking online) and found a great, great house (at least we think/hope so!). doesn't fit the search criteria that we had initally set forth, but we think it'll be a great place for us to be for as long or as little time as we want to be there...excited to move and start making it our home. a little bittersweet as we've been packing up our things - especially caught off guard by the emotion that was stirred up as we took the things off of kellen's walls and realized that some of the art pieces might not go back up in his new big boy bedroom. anyway, i'll write more about the new house as we get moved in (we actually already own the home...ah...hard to believe we own TWO homes (!), but get the keys on monday after a rentback) and settled (hopefully it won't take as long as the fourth of july pictures!). so with that...i'm off to bed!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


of all the things i could blog about right now (4th of july, our new house, all the summer fun we've been having...), i choose cloth diapers! ha. i've been meaning to update on this for a long time and i figure i need to soon before diapers are a thing of the past. yep, i actually see a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to diapers. not sure if it's a girl thing or the fact that maya watches kellen go to the bathroom...but this girl has been going on the potty now since she was about 18 months old. the first time i thought it was a fluke...she said poo poo and pointed to her booty. i asked her if she wanted to go sit on the potty and lo and behold, the girl pooped! now she goes anywhere from 1- 4 times a day. she almost always goes first thing when she wakes up and often her diaper is dry in the morning. crazy - probably the only thing that is holding her back from being fully potty trained is me!!! it's so much work out and about ensuring that two are all set potty wise and that there are no accidents. but, moving on...this post is not about potty training!

it's about my switch to cloth diapers...almost a year ago!!! after much research and good intention, i finally switched to cloth after i quit my job (seriously, it's been almost a full year now!) and probably a good four months after i bought my first FOUR cloth diapers! there is no denying, a cloth diaper booty is way cute and really, the laundry hasn't been bad. but it is a lot of extra laundry. i probably wash diapes 2-3 times a week and it takes two cycles (1 cold wash with extra rinse, followed by 1 hot wash with extra rinse). in terms of better for the environment, i feel SO good about not putting bags of paper diapers in our trash, but there is a lot more water usage.

i went with mostly pocket diapers...fuzzibunz are my faves, but we also have a blueberry and some katydid diapers. i have a few all in one, which i didn't care for as much, but have found they make a really great night time diaper. i also have a couple of bamboo fitted diapers that require a cover and for that i have a few thirsties duo covers! on top of not having to buy paper diapers, i bought most of these diapers on super sale via daily deal sites or amazon (got several practically for FREE when they had $10 off purchase and 30% off diapers coupons in magazine...those were total scores!).

almost a year into it and my diapers are holding up really well...although i think they are starting to stink a bit! need to figure that out...but all in all, i'm so happy and proud of myself for making the switch. i did buy a pack of diapers when we went on vacay to hawaii and i have some left from that. we use a paper diaper every now and then when i don't have any clean/dry diapers or when i think her booty just needs a break (the moisture doesn't wick away from the skin with cloth like it does with paper). now if i can just muster the energy to potty train this girl, we'll say goodbye to the cloth and hello undies forevah!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


MAUI! i'm so late in posting about our maui vacation...what fun we had (no post would do it justice!). 11 days/10 nights in paradise. we have our friends the schmole's to thank for giving us the motivation to take the trip. ironically, we had been thinking about going to hawaii with the two babes before maya turned 2 (and thus required a paid plane ticket!) and after we they told us about how difficult their trip in december with their two babes we decided somewhere a little closer would probably be best. when they suggested we all go together, we were a little surprised (given their trip in december!)...but took little influencing to make it happen! another family friend of ours also met up with us in lahaina (after a week or so on kauai!) and stayed in the same condo complex as ours (they were next door, but quickly moved out of that crap hole and into a more updated unit!).

the first 7 nights we stayed in 3 bedroom condo in lahaina with our friends - who have 2 boys, each approximately 3 weeks younger than our kids. sure, it was hectic at times with two three year olds and two one year olds...but so, so fun to have playmates and another family who knew what to expect with vacationing with little ones! we had the perfect balance of hanging and exploring together and then downtime on our own. we even managed to pull off a night out for the six adults - thanks to an awesome sitter that we hired through an agency (brilliant idea, mandy and kari!). it was pretty great to be able to enjoy an amazing meal in the company of good friends with an incredible view and setting! if you are in maui, i highly recommend merriman's in kapalua - and get the pina won't be sorry!

after we said goodbye to our friends, we had 3 more nights. thanks to my old banfield job, i had some hotel points to use. unfortunately they were at two different resorts, but the savings was worth it! so we stayed 2 nights in wailea at the marriott and 1 night at the westin in kaanapali. after the first week in a condo, it was nice to be in a resort with the different pools and beautiful grounds. one afternoon aa and i each traded about an hour of alone time at the adult pool. we were both looking forward to it, but honestly i ended my time early because i was a little lonely and missing my peeps! aa ended up feeling the same! now if aa and i could have been alone together, i'm sure it would have been a different story...but unfortunately the sitter we had used earlier was not available.

some of the highlights of the trip:

  • shave ice and ice cream in the afternoon with the kid

  • ladies night out with the girls...including a stop at the local gelato shop

  • a group "hike" at iao valley state park

  • deciding to stop at airport beach after the kids had fallen asleep in the car and enjoying some snorkeling and quiet time on the beach while the kids napped under a beach umbrella (they BOTH stayed asleep while we transferred their sleeping selves from carseats to the beach!)

  • the above mentioned parent's night out

  • eating at some of our favorite spots from our last trip to maui - the fish market, honolua store, aloha mixed plate

  • watching the little ones play together nicely (and sometimes not so nicely!)

  • a couple hours to enjoy a happy hour/dinner alone thanks to mandy and filip watching our kids

  • simple but delicious bbq dinners out on the lawn with our good friends

  • lots of fresh pineapple and papaya (maybe mixed with a little coconut rum and ice!)

  • exploring the little town of pa'ia after our plans of going to baby beach were foiled when the kids fell asleep in the 5 minutes it took to drive there

  • hanging on black rock beach with everyone and watching k squeal with delight as he jumped the waves with his friends

  • just being together (especially walking along the beach watching the sunset and hanging on the hammock in the evening!)- with young kids, life can be crazy and it's easy to not slow down and enjoy. i'm thankful for the ten days we had together as a family. i know the kids loved having aa for ten whole days...they have been missing him lots and have really been in a daddy mode (no mama...daddy! is something i hear often) upon our return

we've now been back for a month (make that over two months!) and i keep dreaming of our return, especially with this crappy portland summer...AGAIN! until then, i guess we have pictures and a sound machine set to ocean waves!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


a couple of weekends ago we made the long trek out to hood river to visit a special friend - thomas the train! thomas has been a mild obsession around here for about the last six months or so. i never quite understood the fascination with him (have you seen the show? it's a little strange!), but our boy really loves thomas and all of his friends. we're starting to build quite the little collection here. anyway, thomas comes in real life to hood river once a year, so of course we had to go see what is was all about!

our little engineers!

yep, after a few days of sunshine it decided to rain on us. fortunately it stopped while we were doing all of the outside activities.

i have to admit, he was pretty cool! we approached the train station and there he was in all his smiling glory! the look on kellen's face made the almost $100 in tickets/paraphernalia totally worthwhile. we were running a little late due to an accident along 84, so we were almost the last ones on the five car steam engine (which actually worked out well as we didn't have to stand in line with all the other thomas fans!). as we took off, the engine had us "help" thomas by chanting push, thomas, push and of course the all familiar thomas music was playing in the background. the actual train ride itself was pretty insignificant (especially since the kids and i had just taken a 35 minute train ride around washington park and the zoo a few days before!). we literally went down the tracks about 10 minutes and then back (with a pull, thomas, pull chant of course!).

see the line of people waiting...ya, it went back about 2 full train cars! the "official" picture station is just to the right of the kids and aa!

after the train ride you could stand in line with the other 500 passengers to get your picture taken with thomas - starting at only $12! aa was a smart one and pulled us out of the line and took us to the exit, where we could get the same shot with our own camera for free!!! here is the money shot:

we then met sir topham hat, who both frightened and facisnated maya at the same time. she wouldn't go near him, but kept saying "ata hat! ata hat!". i finally figured out she meant sir topham hat and she'd shout it when he was out of her sight. there were also lots of train tables with trains, blocks, a kid sized train to ride, temporary tattoos, coloring, a thomas movie viewing area (which was a highlight for kellen - really did we need to drive to hood river to watch a thomas show!?), story hour, bounce houses (k was not a fan!) and of course the mother load of thomas toys, trains and trinkets under one giant tent. fortunately we made it out of there without having to purchase another train!

love kellen holding maya's hand! also note his diesel 10 tattoo!

after a couple of hours of thomas overload it was time for lunch...and a beer! we headed up the hill to big horse brew pub for some grub and then over to mike's ice cream for a little treat before the kids and i settled in for a little nappy on the ride home! all in all, a good day.

this girl is trouble!!!

kellen's "don't take a picture of me...funny face"

**side note: we made the mistake of telling kellen about this little adventure on monday when our thomas engineer hat and whistle arrived in the mail. bad idea. every day, every hour we had to discuss when we were going to see thomas!