Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Annika's Kool-Aid Hat

This weekend, I realized that fall was going to knock on our door very soon. Fall leads to winter. Both fall and winter in these here parts tend to be soggy (if not downright wet) and cold. With that kind of weather not too far away, it was time to start on the kids' winter hats. I found a cute pattern in one of my many knitting books and then packed up the kids and went to a local yarn shop. The kids got to pick out the main color (Annika picked hot pink, Conor picked a deep purple) and then I picked up an uncolored skein that I sub-divided and dyed with Kool-Aid (resulting in blue, orange, green, and light purple) for use as the contrast colors.

Annika was very excited to know I was "sewing" a hat for her and couldn't comprehend that it would take me more than a few minutes to finish the project. I dyed the yarn on Saturday and had to let it dry overnight. I started the knitting on Sunday and finished it up last night. Three days is pretty impressive, if you ask me! The best part? Annika LOVES her new hat. She wore it from the minute I finished it until she crawled into bed. I've made plenty of things that turned out not to be worn by her, so I'm thrilled (and relieved) to know she likes this hat and actually wants to wear it. HURRAY!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Big Boy Hair

This past weekend, I noticed how shaggy Conor's hair was getting. His curly mop was getting a bit unruly ... still cute, but definitely unruly. After church, I took him down to the barber shop for a quick trim (albeit, not the cheap trim that I expected ... really? $25 for a 10-minute haircut? Sigh...)

It's funny how a hair cut can make a little guy seem to age. In just one day, he went from this baby...

To this big boy....

Conor is one of the most expressive little kids I've met. His whole face lights up with joy, furrows with frustration, or smiles with laughter. One of his faces that I love the most is his "OH NO!" face. Sometimes he "Oh No's" on purpose ... for example, drops his cup and then says "oh no!" (again and again and again). Other times, he "Oh No's" when something is out of place or not what he expects. Here are a few if his "on no" faces. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August Daring Bakers Challenge

The August Daring Bakers challenge was all about chocolate. As most of you know, I make chocolates on a regular basis, so unfortunately, this wasn't the challenge for me that past challenges have been. The one challenge I did run into was our hot kitchen and chocolate making aren't a great pairing. That said, I did wind up making a chocolate/peanut butter dipped bonbon (with pink streaks for a little visual zing) and s'more chocolate bark.

Annika had a great time helping me make the s'more bark. She got to break up the graham crackers and both kids helped place the mini marshmallows. The bark was ok, but definitely needed a little "oomph". I should have stuck with my original idea of incorporating marshmallow cream in with the chocolate instead of using the mini marshmallows on top; I think the flavors would have melded a bit better.

Here are my chocolate/peanut butter bonbons. They looked a little blah, so I added a splash of pink just to make 'em prettier.

S'more chocolate bark.

My little pastry chef in training

The August 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?! These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sprinklers and Popsicles

Summer is officially defined as June 21 - September 21 ... or something along those lines. For us, summer is warm weather (ok, this year it was soggy weather, but that's not the point), playing outside, and partaking in the occasional popsicle. Yesterday after picking up the kids and feeding them dinner, we got them into their swimsuits and marched into our front yard. After inhaling their popsicles, the kids headed for the sprinker to cool off and have a little fun.

Annika put dibs on the orange popsicle right away

Conor was just excited to have a popsicle; he wasn't particular about the color

Ummmm... Conor? Wrong end, Sweetie!

Sticky, drippy, popsicley sibling love

Soon, the sprinkler fun began. (Notice Annika's popsicle is also jumping through the sprinkler!)

This girl loves to jump!

Conor wasn't so sure about the sprinkler at first, so he just cheered on his big sister

Eventually, both kids got into the sprinkler to de-sticky themselves

The look on Conor's face is the only reason I'm choosing to post this picture. Cracks me up!

Oh, did I mention that Annika enjoys jumping?

She's the Queen of the Rock!!

Daddy got in on the action and helped Conor get his feet wet

Annika looking up at her daddy

After much splashing, running, and jumping, the kids announced they were done. They donned towels and went directly to the bathtub to warm up and get ready for bed.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stop Motion Video

The company I work for is hosting an internal elevator pitch video contest. Basically, employees are supposed to submit 30-60 second videos that briefly introduce the company. Here's mine. Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend BBQ

This weekend, our friends (the Minnich family) hosted a summer BBQ and they very kindly asked us to attend. We could not have gotten any luckier with the weather if we tried ... especially considering the weather's track record this summer!

There were a number of families there, which meant the Minnich back yard was overrun with kids. It was great! The wee ones were in and out of the kiddie pool, up and down the play structure's slide, back and forth on the swings, and running to and fro across the lawn. Meanwhile, the adults hid in the shade and tried not to melt.

This just might be my new favorite picture of Annika... EVER! (I took it while pushing her on the swing ... talk about multi-tasking!)

Conor having fun with a play ring

Check out the red cheeks our little girl was sporting

Conor had a blast on the slide

The 2010 Baby Trio

Herding Cats

Eric and I recently invested in a new, fancy-schmancy camera and we LOVE it! One reason for our new investment is we realized how expensive purchasing portraits of the kids can be. Yes, it is a nice treat to have professional pictures of the kids, but if we can get some good ones on our own, then we can spread out how often we do the professional pictures.

In theory, makes a lot of sense. In practice, I've realized getting my kids to pose for me with a camera pressed to my face is a whole other matter. The phrase "like herding cats" applies beyond belief. Actually, herding our cat is really easy right now... he's still wearing a big blue floppy post-surgery e-collar from the vet, which slows him down a bit and makes it hard for him to hide quickly. It also blocks his peripheral vision, which slows him down more. And, his pain meds REALLY slow him down... hmmm... maybe herding cats isn't the best phrase to apply to taking our kids' pictures.

But I digress....

While I didn't get the great poses that I envisioned, I did get some fun shots of the kids. There is so much to learn about photography and, at this point, I give the credit of any good shots to the camera and dumb luck, not to any photographic skills on my side of things.

Annika spent most of the day throwing rocks into the water and dipping her toes in the waves

Our daughter is part billy goat; she loves to climb on the driftwood

Annika throwing rocks into the Puget Sound

Conor playing in the sand

He and I waged a battle of the hat all day... he took it off, I put it back on (repeat, repeat, repeat)

He won... no hat

This is my attempt at capturing the clear view of the moon we had ... me thinks I needed a stronger zoom lens (it's kind of like playing "Where's Waldo?" ... "where's the moon??")

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Sprinkler Fun

While driving home with Annika yesterday, I came up with the brilliant idea of asking if she wanted to run through the sprinker when we got home. "OF COURSE!" was her emphatic reply. As soon as we were in the house, she got into her swim suit and was ready to go. That is, until she decided she needed her sunglasses, which were still in the car and I didn't want to go get them. So, then she needed her goggles. Again, downstairs in her swim lesson bag and I didn't want to go downstairs to get them. Finally, she decided that she needed her "um-berrr-ella" so she didn't get wet. Umm.... yeah. Only our child would want an umbrella so she doesn't get wet while running through a sprinkler. Anywho! After getting the umbrella out of the closet, she then had to go potty .... back inside one more time. When she was FINALLY ready to get into the groove of running through the sprinkler, she didn't really want to. Instead, she tiptoed around the lawn (please ignore the fact it isnt' green ... I'll photoshop that in later!) and dipped her umbrella in the water. She did wind up jumping through the sprinker water once or twice, but decided it was too cold and abandonded ship when I told her that the spinkler doesn't have a warm water option.

Can I just say how much I ADORE this picture of her??
Annika's expression just melts my heart!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Art Time

One of the gifts that Eric's parents gave to Annika for her birthday were these really nifty paints. They are a hit for numerous reasons. First, they're washable. BONUS! Second, they are fairly tidy for the kids to use... no brushes and cups that can easily spill. Third, did I mention that they're washable??

This past weekend, the kids had a little art time and happily created a variety of painted projects. Annika even made a birthday card for her little buddy Collin, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday. (OK, the balloons that she made on the card looked more like sperm, but oh well!)

Annika keeping a close eye on her project

I've heard of cubism ... does this count as dotism?

Conor shows that there's no need to limit oneself to one color at a time!

He also proved that tummies are a great canvas

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Conor and his mama

Last night, I wanted to learn a bit more about our new camera. That meant I needed to learn more about photography ... moreover, the jargon associated with it. For example, I needed to learn the definition of apeture and what an F-stop is. I'm slowly wrapping my mind around some of the jargon, but have a LONG way to go before I feel like I'll have a true grasp on what I need to know to take full advantage of our camera.

While futzing around with the camera last night, Eric snapped this picture of Conor and me. He actually snapped a picture that showed our heads and a little background, but I really liked the idea of cropping the photo to just show our profiled faces to highlight our expressions. Ta da!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Annika's 4th Birthday

Our sweet baby girl turned 4 this weekend, proving that she really isn't a baby anymore. We had birthday galore on Saturday and were fortunate to have many friends and family members to celebrate the day with us. We also had amazing weather as a bonus!

Annika had a very special birthday. It started with her first words of the day, "Hurray! It's my birthday! I'm 4! Can I open presents now?" and continued on to have a huge party with more food and activity than I can accurately describe in a brief blog post, a birthday wish of "I want to be a princess", and finished with Annika in her bed telling me she really doesn't want to grow up and wasn't at all tired (uh- huh .... riiiiiight!).

Thank you to everyone who made our princess' day so special and memorable.

Opening her present from Mom and Dad

Birthday girl

The kids table


Fun in the bouncy house

The cake

Ladybug cookies

Happy parents

Best buddies