Thursday, July 31, 2008


Or as my daughter would say...tuptakes!

I don't dare claim that I am a great baker, but I can sure make a mean batch of cupcakes (well, from a box). I do, however, love and look forward to the part of decorating for the special occassion! I go crazy on themes, by the way, when planning for a party!

These were made special for my daughter's 1st birthday.
Theme: butterflies

This isn't what I had originally planned for my daughters' 2 year old birthday cupcakes to look like (I had a much more difficult idea in mind), but at the last minute this is what made it and I actually think they turned out pretty cute.
Theme: ladybugs

My daughter was a little lucky this year for her 2nd birthday because she got to have 2 birthday celebrations. One with her toddler friends (ladybugs above) and one with our family. These "cupcakes" were made from individual flower pans and look...I even attempted a flower cake this time around.
Theme: flowers & Mikayla's favorite things

I can't wait for the next birthday party I get to plan...we'll be celebrating my son turning 1 year old! (I'm not quite decided on the theme yet - frogs, stars, turtles? Oh my!)

**Updated: I've chosen MONKEYS for my son's first birthday. See the photo card invite here.

happy birthday Hunter!

My nephew, Hunter, turned 1 year old on Sunday. The party was a hit! The kids had a blast enjoying all of the balloons, bubbles, and water tables. Hunter has one of the best little personalities and it was so fun to watch him open presents, enjoy his cake, and play with all his new toys and cousins. Of course, Mikayla & Austin had a blast. They always love a good party!
This was Hunter's very own 1st birthday cake.
Hunter with his mom and dad (my brother).

Checking out one of his birthday gifts.

Party animals!

Austin having a blast with the balloons and won't be too much longer that we'll be celebrating his 1st birthday, too!

savoring the moment

Last night and every night (even naptime) before I lay my daughter to sleep in her bed, she wants me to sing Amazing Grace. She lays her head on my shoulder and I softly sing the words as I sway her back and forth. This tradition started one night probably 8 months ago. I began singing the first thing that came to my mind...and to this day our nightly routine lives on and her only request is Amazing Grace. These moments are more memorable than any sort of milestone (i.e. crawling, walking). These are the moments where I close my eyes and think back to when my little girl was a tiny newborn that would snuggle in my arms and lay on my chest. These are the moments where I want time to stand still and to remember exactly how it feels to be holding her in my arms. Savoring these kinds of moments are priceless and I don't want them to end. Ever.

Just recently I read a blog where a mother had lost her 5-year old daughter to a drowning one year ago this month. I couldn't help but break down in tears as my heart ached for this mother who has lost one of the most precious things to her. I was encouraged to read how she has gained the courage to take steps in rising above the grief and agony that could potentially pull her down (although still feeling the pain on a daily basis, I'm sure). Her and her family have been able to celebrate her sweet little girl's life with the beatiful memories they created while she was here with them.

All that to say, it made me realize how each moment that I have on this Earth with my babies (husband, family, and friends, too) is a gift from God. I don't want to take for granted the little things because I'm hurrying to get to the next "phase of life" that always seems like it will be so much easier (until you get there) . On those hard days where I feel like giving up, I must remember that EVERY day is a day to savor a moment, no matter how difficult or beautiful that moment is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a day in the life of a 2-year old

Cuddling in "mommy's bed" - one of her favorite places!

Changing her dolly's diaper - yes, all HER idea!

Giving loves to her dolly - she is a great hugger!

Running around with her Tinkerbell wings on (with pajama top, rubber boots, and you can't see it, but she's wearing her swimsuit underneath) - she loves to dress up!

Trying out her new froggy bib made into a hamburger holder. Nice.

Helping mommy clean - she's VERY good at it!

Newberg Old Fashioned Festival Parade

Last weekend we attended the Newberg Old Fashioned Festival Parade. This was Mikayla's second year and so you might call it a tradition (at least the starting of one). I remember going to the parade while growing up...I'll have to see if I can dig up some pictures from the past. Mikayla had a good time gathering up candy (although a little timid at times in typical Mikayla fashion). Austin enjoyed mostly playing with Grammy's cell phone or whatever else he could get his hands on, so most of the time he didn't really pay attention to the action going on around him. As for the candy that was collected, it will go in our pantry where it will probably sit for a year before we just decide to chuck it (we actually might have some leftover from last year's parade). All in all, it was a fun family outing that we'll look forward to doing again next year.

Monday, July 28, 2008

10 month old blue-eyed boy

I'm not sure how it happened. You turned 10 months old in a blink of an eye...and I don't like it. You're growing up too fast and doing too many things that show you are a big boy! You love to copy me by blabbering and shouting "nonsense". You still have those observant eyes and love watching people. It's no secret that you love food and lots of it! You could spend hours snacking on crackers if I let you. You are a crawling machine and try so hard to get to your toys before your sister beats you. You love being held and I love holding you. My favorite thing is when you suddenly fall asleep in our arms, usually clutching onto something you were playing with. You love to bury your face into pillows, shoulders, or anything soft. I love how you pout when I say "no"...trying to make me feel sorry for you, I'm sure. I love your smile, showing off all of your teeth. I love how you splash in the bath tub or swimming pool, squealing with delight. You are such a sweet little boy with so much personality. It's OK if you want to stay little forever...we'll let you.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Air Expo at McChord Air Force Base

Like I said in an earlier post, while in Washington last weekend we were able to see the air show that they were having on base. What a sight! I have never been to an air show before and man, I was impressed. How amazing these planes are as they soar through the sky and do all these crazy stunts. I have to admit I flinched a couple of times as they came so close to each other (I've seen too many of those "Real TV" accidents).

Enjoy the slideshow (and brace yourself...there are quite a few!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

hard work noticed

I thought it was only fair to show off some of my husband's creativity (and hard work no less) and how much he changed the look of our patio area in one weekend of sweat and muscle. This was completed 2 years ago, but I still am amazed at how he used some of his own "creative skills" to make such a difference!



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

happy birthday daddy!

This is coming a day late, but Ryan celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday. I tried to do some fun things for him to help him feel loved on his special day...hopefully I succeeded! Love you, Babe! You are an amazing husband and daddy and we are so blessed to have you in our lives!

The morning started off with one of Ryan's favorites...blueberry coffeecake. I made it the night before because I knew that I probably wasn't going to get up early to do it. I joked with him that maybe when he turned 30 I would.

We surprised Ryan at work with a homemade smoothie in a cup that Mikayla helped decorate with crayons and stickers. She was very proud of her masterpiece and Ryan said he carried it back to his desk proudly.
For dinner we headed out to Busters BBQ where I told Ryan that he MUST get the ribs (he usually doesn't splurge on this, but it was his birthday for goodness sake!) On our way home, we picked up Baskin Robbins for dessert.

For Ryan's present, I made him a book about the "Top Ten Reasons We Love Our Dad" complete with pictures of the kids. I also got him a new wallet and a book to read with the kids.

Monday, July 21, 2008

road trip to Washington

This last weekend we headed up to McChord Air Force Base just south of Tacoma, WA, to stay a few days with my sister and her family (my mom is staying there, too, until mid-August). My brother and his family also came up, so it was a house full of kids!! Although it felt overwhelming with everyone at times, it was still a lot of fun to enjoy family and fun. (I only wish my dad could have been there, too!)

We drove up Friday morning (after a "quick" shopping trip at Ikea) and stayed through Sunday mid-afternoon. The drive wasn't too bad, and went by pretty quickly. We had lots of snacks on hand and of course the portable DVD player came in handy for that last stretch of road. We packed more than we used, but we had room, so why not? The nights were a little rough and Mikayla was wired on Friday night...staying up until 11:00 or so. At first it was comical how she just kept moving all around, but then it got old real quick. She enjoyed the freedom of not being confined to a crib. Austin decided that he liked having mommy and daddy in the same room with him, so he chose to rise and shine a bit too early. Thank goodness for grandmas!!

On Saturday we attended the McChord Air Force Base Air Expo. More on that will come later...there are a lot of pictures to share (mostly of airplanes in the sky)!

Mikayla helping make Friday night's dinner - chicken enchiladas!

Noah & Mikayla enjoying a pre-breakfast treat - early risers!

Austin & Hunter - we call them "the twins"

Jacob's shirt reads: "Don't Bother Me I'm Playing Video Games"

The Cousin Clan:

Jacob (7 1/2 yrs.), Noah (2 1/2 yrs.), Mikayla (2 yrs.), Hunter (1 yr.), Austin (10 mo.) & Hailey (2 wks.)

Hailey LeeAnne (2 weeks old)

Mikayla holding Hailey

Look at those teeth!

Ice cream treat on the ride home

bad hair day - take 2

I think this one takes the cake!

Will someone please show me how to cut my son's hair?

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