Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring Heatwave

Usually, April is a cool, wet month for us here in Seattle. This week was the antithesis of that traditional weather. We had HOT weather... I'm talking record-breaking weather multiple days in a row. We hit 91 degrees on Monday... IN APRIL!!! (Right ... global warming is a myth!)

Annika and Conor LOVED the premature heat and gleefully donned their swimsuits and took to playing in the backyard sprinkler. They giggled, splashed, jumped, played with squirt guns, slung mud, and cooled off with true childhood verve.

When the sun began to set and we called the kids inside, we were greeted with a chorus of "Ahhh!!! So soon?? Not yet!!" (Mind you, we weren't rushing them in and out of the sprinkler. They'd been outside for probably an hour and a half!)

Conor enjoying the sprinkler

I guess he can't be considered a hot head anymore!

Buca even got in on the sprinkler action!

Annika easing in to the water
Conor's new sport: sprinkler skateboarding

Annika flying through the water
Future Olympic sport: sprinkler sprinting

"Wow! Cold water!"

And now time for the squirt guns
(amazingly, the camera and I escaped  unscathed!)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Glimpse

Yesterday, I took some photos of Conor as part of my current 365 photo project. It was a quick few minutes on our deck as the sun was setting and Conor was about to head off to bed. I took photos of him singing a song for me, making silly faces, and just having fun. It was a nice ending to the day together. Lighthearted, casual, fun.

After he headed down to bed, I pulled the memory card out of the camera and took a quick peek at the shots I got of him. This one (see below) REALLY jumped out at me... not because of my photographic skill or artistry, but because I got a glimpse of Conor as a teenager. There's something about his expression and posture that screamed "I'm growing up and one day, will be a teen" to me. Just wanted to share...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Annika's First Communion

This past Saturday was a BIG day for our little girl. After months and months of preparation, she and three of her friends received the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion.

Our dear, dear, dear friend Fr. Fred guided the kids' preparation and very clearly set forth his expectations. The kids, for their part, worked their tails off, both independently and as a group, to understand what they needed to know. Fred expected them to not only know the information, but to understand it and be able to talk about it with ownership. It wasn't enough for them to parrot the data ... he needed them to own it as their own. (Yup - that's a Jesuit for you!) :)

Everyone arrived bright and early Saturday morning at Bellarmine for the sacraments. The kids looked amazing in their bright whites and practically exploded with excitement. Once assembled, Fr. Fred walked each child through the sacrament of Reconciliation one by one. Then, we gathered as a larger group to celebrate mass and the kids' First Holy Communion.

I cannot begin to fully express how much it means to me that Annika received her first Communion in the same chapel that she was baptized in.... from the same priest who baptized her. It added so much to a big day for our little girl that there was this sense of continuity ... of family. Fr. Fred said mass with such genuine love and admiration for these kids. He spoke of them being the future of the faith and how each and every person needs to develop his or her own conscience and then own their decisions. He spoke of Jesus' welcoming nature and how important it is to love all and cast out none. (YEAH JESUITS!!)

 After mass, we had a little reception in a room near the chapel, complete with a lemon cake I made that was topped with a chocolate cross that Eric whipped up. (Creative, isn't he??) The gathering eventually spilled outside to the sun-soaked Bellarmine campus, where the kids ran around, climbed trees, and generally made themselves at home. Bellarmine is one of my homes in many ways, and the fact that we have celebrated so many important family moments there drives that feeling even deeper into my being.

By looking at the photos below, you may notice that she wore two dresses. She wore a new dress (no sleeves) for the Reconciliation part of the morning and then changed into the dress worn waaaaaay back in 1982 when I received my first Holy Communion. (It was also worn by my sister's girls when they received theirs.... again, loving the connection and togetherness!). The reason for the two dresses? We weren't sure if the original one would survive a trip to the cleaners, so had a backup dress. Fortunately, it did make it through and looks brand new again!

Annika in the Orton Hall chapel

Annika, Nina, and Karla

Our cutie pies

Annika all ready for her big day
Fr. Fred celebrating mass

Fr. Fred and the kiddos

Karla, Nina, Annika, and Jayden

Lemon cake w/ chocolate cross

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Urban Trail Bike Ride

The kids are on spring break this week, which they are loving! Eric stayed home with them the first two days of the week and I'm home the rest of the week (2 days of working from home, 1 day off from work).

After I finished up with work yesterday, I decided it was time for the kids to burn off some energy, so we opted to take a family bike ride on the Urban Trail. We have been having a few days of absolutely stunning spring weather, so it was an ideal opportunity to dust the cobwebs off of our bikes, don our helmets, and take to the trail.

The kids did a great job on our ride. Annika was a regular speed demon and Conor showed how quickly he's mastering riding on a 2-wheeler bike (a skill he learned last fall). He's still figuring out the fine-tuned balance, so grips the heck out of his handlebars (the best comment of the day was, "Mama? I need to take a break because my thumbs are tired.")

Such a fun outing and great way to spend a spring evening.  (I'd like it noted that many of these shots were taken while I was riding my bike ... I risked life and limb for a few action shots of the kids.) :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Our Boy Is Six!

Yesterday, we celebrated sweet Conor's 6th birthday.

It still stuns us that he has so quickly evolved from a tiny baby with jet black hair to a little dude who loves music, building with Legos and blocks, playing any kind of sport, dancing with a huge grin on his face, and so much more. That said, he's still MORE than happy to crawl up on our laps for an early morning snuggle as he shakes off the night's cobwebs and gears up for another day of playing and living life to the fullest.

Upon waking, we asked him if he felt any different, to which he replied, "Yeah! I feel bigger and stronger!" Later in the morning, while sitting on the couch, he said, "Hey! My feet reach the coffee table now that I'm 6!" (Eric didn't have the heart to tell him that the table had been moved closer to the couch.)

Lucky boy, his birthday landed on the first day of spring break, so he got to stay home all day at home with Eric and Annika ... lounging in his PJs, playing, and soaking up all the glory that is being a 6-year-old-boy. To celebrate his big day, Conor requested waffles and sausage for dinner; I was fully expecting a request for eggs Benedict, so feel like I lucked out in terms of time and labor on that front!

After dinner, he opened his presents (Thank you to his very generous aunts, uncles, and grandparents -- your thank you notes are in the mail) and told us he wanted to go to Menchies for dessert. That was until he realized he would need to leave his new (and newly beloved) Transformer toys at home for said dessert. Umm... not so much. Conor decided to have a little ice cream at home instead, so he could have uninterrupted play time. As a plan B, Annika and I popped up to 7-11 (yeah, we're THAT fancy) and got some ice cream treats for the birthday celebration.

Conor declared that his birthday was "AWESOME" .... can't get any better than that!

Conor hugging his new stuffy

Opening gifts

Daddy helping Conor read the card

Conor and Annika figuring out the Transformers

A couple of weeks ago, Conor had a co-birthday party with his classmates. What is a cp-birthday party? Well, it is the brain child of his classmate's mom who realized her son and Conor are both March birthday boys and suggested we combine forces and have a shared class party. Brilliant!!! We booked it at a local Lego cafe (seriously, what is better for a group of kindergarten children??) The kids had a blast building and building and building to their little hearts content. We had snacks and Lego-themed red velvet cupcakes (fondant Legos cupcake toppers!) and balloons, but the kids loved the Legos the best! One of Conor's little buddies even lost her tooth during the party, making the day that much more memorable!! Conor even had a special (albeit very tired due to a VERY early morning flight) guest ... his big cousin Robert happened to be popping through Seattle en route back to Pullman. How much better can that get??

Conor, Lego engineer

Mama and her pretty girl

Mama and silly Conor

Lego cupcakes

Shhhh!!! Robert's sleeping! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Conor's Cheese-ism

Today, the kids and I stopped at the store for a few items we need for dinner (make-your-own pizza). As we walked through the store, the kids took turns having items placed in their own kid-size carts. At one point, I mentioned that we needed to remember the mozarella cheese. To that, Conor replied, "I want the monster-ella cheese in my cart!" I now have a new name for that lovely, gooey, stringy cheese! LOVE, love love!!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Literary Character Day at School

In honor of today being Dr. Seuss' birthday, the kids at school were allowed to dress up as a literary character (from any book, not limited to a Dr. Seuss book).

In an effort to come up with fairly last-minute costume ideas for the kids, we opted to go with Little Red Riding Hood and Charlie Brown.

Fortunately, Eric's mom knit a Red Riding Hood cape for Annika last year, and that was what was the inspiration for the costume today. I threw together the little red a-line dress (so glad I have a serger!), put her in a pair of red tights and voila!

Yesterday, Conor and I popped in to Joann Fabrics to pick up a yellow t-shirt and some black fabric paint. I had freezer paper at home, so quickly cut a strip of it into a zig-zag pattern, ironed it onto the shirt, and got to painting. I'm just grateful the paint dried in time!

I have to say, I think the kids looked mighty cute when I dropped them off at school this morning. Hoping they had a fun day!