Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Doggie Love!

Ok, even though I complain about Roxy sometimes - with her constant shedding, anxiety, need to figure out if any of the kid/baby toys could be hers too, and constant need to crap whenever we go to the beach - seriously it's like a laxative for her, oh - and her never ending need to barf on any new carpet around - she is still a really great dog! She is so wonderful with the kids.

Here are a few of my favorite pics and some of my most unfavored pics of her - you'll understand soon:

Roxy's first meeting with Jakob - she was so sensitive with him, not sure about him, as you can see by her ears, but still so sweet.

Again being such a good dog.

Don't let the following picture fool you, here she is being so sweet with baby Jakob, letting him ride on her back. But, take a closer look at what Roxy is doing, no she isn't barfing on the carpet but still managing to hack something up at the beach!

Here she is trying to figure out who's stuffed duck this really is?

And here she is protecting new baby Sarah, so sweet again!

Don't let the sweetness get to you, here she is in all of her glory at the beach, a.k.a. her natural laxative: (obviously Mark took this picture, I would never care to remember this moment. When Mark took this shot, a man was walking by and no joke, said "Sweet Shot" - Men!)

And here she is yesterday with Sarah. These pics are the reason for this post.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is it over already?

We had a very quiet Christmas with about 15 inches of snow on our front lawn - couldn't believe it! Actually it was melting on Christmas, but on Xmas Eve there was quite a bit. We spent Xmas Eve building a snowman, playing, opening a few presents and out to dinner with the Brink family. 
We woke up to both kids in bed with us, not by choice, but by necessity and because that's just become comfortable in our house! When Jakob woke up, he said, "I have to go potty," as he jumped out of bed - and started to run to the bathroom, we heard his steps abruptly stop as he entered the living room, he ran back into the bedroom and having forgotten it was Christmas he announced "Santa was here and he even brought me presents even if I've been pouting" (we've been battleing/ working on the pouting). Sarah woke up, started laughing, Jakob ran to go potty, came back into bed, played with Sarah a bit and then got down to business and went right for the stockings. I quickly wrote a note from Santa to Jakob and Sarah - basically stating that Santa thought that they deserved gifts because they were good, thought about others, but did remind them that he doesn't like the pouting - Jakob really understood that then!

I would have to say that my favorite part of the whole day was hearing Jakob's feet running and then stopping so quickly - him not saying anything until he ran back into the room - so sweet - I can only imagine the excitement he must have been feeling. Later in the morning Jakob did say that he heard Santa's jingle bells and that he was sure he heard him land the sleigh on our lawn.  Oh, on Xmas Eve, Jakob did look out the window to tell me that he saw Santa flying over, but he wasn't going to stop until he was asleep, of course I agreed. Jakob got a lot of great presents, including a super cool space/planet mobile, an X Wing Fighter, a little R2D2 computer and a lot of other cool games, clothes etc.
Sarah's first Christmas was mostly about her tearing paper, eating paper and taking Jakob's gifts out of his hands - lots of fun for her. She did get a lot of wonderful gifts, she loved her Curious George doll - she tried endlessly to kiss it before he was out of the box. She also got a ride on toy from us, which she likes and likes to ride backwards. She also got this great Sesame Street pop up toy, each character sings a bit of a song and she thinks Ernie is hysterical, because he laughs at the end of his song. The whole family can recite each little song now - we've heard it so often! 
We all stayed in our pj's until about 2:30 or 3pm, then went on a walk in the snow, pulling Jakob on the sled, Sarah in the backpack. Came home and ate homemade Mac n' cheese (not the boxed stuff, I can cook a little), had a couple glasses of wine and fell asleep early (I am speaking for myself here)!
Oh, just to catch up a bit from my last posting, we did make it to the homeless shelter - after shoveling the driveway yet again - I actually shoveled quite a bit while Mark took Jakob sledding with his friend Asher, then Mark shoveled some more - we donated our coats and our little gifts for a couple kids. We also made a visit (Jakob and I), to a neighbor (a senior citizen) whom I helped after he fell and fractured his skull and nose on the concrete - Jakob and Sarah were there when I yelled for a neighbor to call 911 and waited patiently in their stroller while we sat with him, trying to keep the bloody mess hidden from the kids - so Jakob understood that it was important that we go check on him - long story short - we also brought him and his wife cookies. Good deeds accomplished for the holiday season!

Christmas Eve - Mark and Jakob working on building the snowman

Jakob and Sarah with the snowman.
Our attempt at a family photo with Frosty in the background.

After Christmas Eve dinner, opening gifts - Sarah and her new Curious George doll. 
Trying to kiss it!
Jakob's note to Santa with cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer.

Christmas morning - serious bed head!
Let the opening begin!
The X Wing!
Sarah, trying to figure out her new ride on toy!

I'm sad to see Christmas over, we put our tree up just after Thanksgiving and the time has flown by. Sarah's first Christmas gone, already? This means Sarah will be 1 year in a few weeks - what?
Wendy - tagged me on her blog, asking what are the things I like and don't like about Christmas - I love Christmas for the decorations, the feeling of giving, the cold weather, the cuddling up and reading Christmas stories, the Christmas movies, and the true belief and excitement that kids feel! I even like the shopping part, well most of the time, there are a few people that are always hard to buy for and I don't like having to ship our gifts, I hate the packing and waiting in line at the post office. Some of our gifts haven't even been sent yet b/c the mail service was down for 3 days here and I haven't felt like waiting in line with 2 kids, and walking there in the snow!
Anyhow, I like the teaching part of Christmas too, or the meaning of Christmas, in our family, we aren't religious but we do want to teach the basics of Christmas. So, for us it is about giving, peace, love and Jesus's birthday or as Jakob put it, "Baby Geniuses Birthday" - yep, he said that, at Target 2 days ago - when he pointed out some angel ornamaments and said, "You know who are the nicest people Mommy? Angels, they are so good, and baby Genius, he was also nice." I about died! Another Mom was next to us and she just started giggling. So, I think Jakob is getting the basics of what Christmas means to us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Even More Snow, (and a good deed attempted)!

Ummm....we live in Portland, where it rains and isn't supposed to snow - maybe a few inches a year, and this morning we woke up to  about 10 inches of snow on our front steps! Even crazier, the snow was frozen on top - from freezing rain - who knew! I'm not sure I really know the difference between freezing rain, snow, hail, and sleet. What I do know is it is all very cold and should not be happening in this quantity or frequency here! I did not sign up for this! (This is the biggest storm in at least 10 years - per local news reports).
Well, we are trying to make lemons with our lemonade and trying to enjoy the snow with the kids - it's hard with Sarah, she doesn't really like it, as she can barely walk well on flat ground,  not really going to happen in 10 inches of snow. I did pull her on the sled with Jakob but the freezing rain in the face, wasn't helping her out at all!

So, here is the story of our good deed attempted. Last night I saw on the news that the homeless warming shelters are in dire need of coats, hats etc. as this kind of storm doesn't usually hit this area. So, I told Mark that we had to go down to the donation center today - as we have a couple very nice snow coats that we don't need any longer. Well, we didn't think we would be waking up to literally 10 inches of snow. Mark so kindly went out and shoveled the steps from our porch, the driveway and cleaned the snow and ice off of the car, put the chains on the car (they are required now anywhere in the city), which all took at least an hour of serious hard work. We loaded the car with the coats and got both kids loaded in the car, drove about 5 miles and got to the donation center, and it was closed! Closed due to weather - c'mon! I couldn't just leave the coats because I didn't bring a bag to put them in, plus there wasn't a covered area to leave them in. The sign said they would be open tomorrow, so I guess we'll try again tomorrow! What I failed to mention here is that it took a lot of explaining and bargaining to get Jakob in the car, he said he "wouldn't feel comfortable going", I couldn't believe that he said that - very mature, obviously he wouldn't feel comfortable, but I really wanted him to understand the importance of thinking of someone else (apparently hard to do when you are 4 years old). So, I really talked with him about how many people don't have anything and that we should be thankful for what we have - even though our budget is SUPER tight right now, we should still be thankful. He did seem to understand, and with a lot of encouragement we got him in the car for the ride and then it didn't even happen! He should be ready tomorrow. We also have 2 gifts, one for a girl and one for a boy, that Jakob picked out with our saved change   ($26 - much in part to Nana and Papa and some little "jobs" that Jakob did). We were thinking of giving these to the children's abuse shelter but these just might get dropped off at the homeless shelter tomorrow too - I don't think we are going to be driving any farther any time soon! I'll keep you posted on the outcome of our good deeds being attempted!

Here are some pics of the snow today:
The road in front of the Sellwood park - can't tell the road from the sidewalk - on all streets.
Sledding in the yard!

Taking a taste of the frozen snow.
Carrying and stomping the frozen snow.
Jakob immediately running to shovel the snow!
Here is Jakob, laying on top of the frozen snow - you really had to push your feet in to get it to smash down - it was so amazing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Keeping busy in our Winter Wonderland!

We got about 5 inches of snow today - who knew it would snow this much in Portland - it's pretty unusual really.
Today, Mark took Jakob sledding in the a.m., then we had Ian and his Dad, Peter over for what we thought would be a play date with horse and carriage rides (free in our neighborhood today), but they ended up cancelling this event, I'm assuming because of all the snow. So, instead the kids played in the snow, drank hot chocolate and watched a movie.

Sarah keeping busy inside, while Jakob was sledding with Daddy.

Busy with toilet paper!

More toilet paper fun - now Jakob is getting into it. we had a serious toilet paper party! Seriously, I'm not sure why we even buy any gifts for Christmas, boxes and toilet paper go a long way!
Jakob and Ian, ready for fun in the snow!
A quick pit stop for a snow angel.

Fun at the park!

Our little house, all covered in snow. (You can see our little Charlie Brown tree on the porch - it's just a blur of lights).
Ended the day with some good ol' spaghetti!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I was tagged

I was tagged by Carla - to post the 4th pic in our 4th file: 
Here it is, Jakob at the hospital last year when I was in labor with Sarah - he's playing with the gloves.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More pictures of the extended family!

Here is a picture of Mark with all the new women in his life (His birth Mom and sisters)!
Molly, Emily, Maddy, Chloe, Kate

Another good picture of Molly and Mark

Sarah 11 months and going going going!

Here she is, drinking and riding her "bike" - she can get on this by herself but can't push herself just yet, mostly she just bounces up and down and then flings herself off in some unsafe manner - much like her brother did on this and the same age! 
Here are a couple pics of Sarah from her preschool Christmas program:
Wearing her first tutu and ballet slippers (and has her hair up in a ponytail for the 1st time) and running around like a crazy kid, ringing bells!
Here she is being coached, by her teacher Laura, to "shake it" on the dance floor - which of course she did!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another snow day

So, we were home again, with very little snow, but a lot of ice, enough to keep schools closed (well our neighborhood school was open part of the day - but in the district where I work it was closed, so the kids were home today). We are expecting another storm tomorrow, so we are home tomorrow again - I am wishing that the kids's daycare/preschool would stay open during snow days, I'm exhausted and they are ready to go back to their routine - or at least I'm ready for that! More than likely we'll be home all week and they'll head back next week for a couple days, then it's Christmas!
So, we took a walk to the Sellwood park today, with the double stroller and the sled. It was interesting pushing this stroller on icy sidewalks! I actually couldn't push it up a driveway into the park, b/c it was so icy, I kept sliding backwards, luckily there weren't any cars there! It was so funny, but a bit scary too - Jakob and Sarah were laughing as their stroller would go up the driveway and back down. I was hanging onto it for dear life. I would pay money to see that on video! Anyhow here are some pictures of the kids in the snow - Sarah's first pic in the snow and her first sledding trip. Oh, and Sarah is wearing 3 pairs of pants and 4 tops - she doesn't have a snow suit - so she isn't really that stout looking - she's chunky but not that chunky!! (Sarah will be 11 months tomorrow!)

Here is a frozen rainchain that we saw on the way to the park

Monday, December 15, 2008

You learn something new everyday!

So, after being home for 2 days in the snow with 2 little kids, I have learned a few things - some helpful and some not so helpful.
1. After putting on your 4 year old's long underwear, pants, snow suit, sweater, coat, scarf, hat, gloves and boots - don't say that you have to go potty, or else they remember that they do too!! So, I've learned to ask if he needs to go before we put all the layers on.
2. Don't wear black fleece when you have a snotty 10 1/2 month old - all I see on the fleece now is dried snot on the shoulders, chest and arms. Seriously, Sarah thinks I am her tissue!
3. On the subject of tissue, instead of bringing along tissue and having to search for it in your pocket with mittens or gloves on, I've started using our old receiving blankets as huge handkerchief's - sounds gross, but it works. Also, Sarah likes to chew on them - helps her teeth I guess - even grosser!
4. Try to wait to put the 4 layers on the toddler until they have pooped - although it is unpredictable, it sucks when it does happen. We've started waiting until after 11 am to go out now, as Sarah usually poops in the early am. That may be too much info for some of you - but so what, it's the truth!
5. When you tell your 4 year old that they can do snow angels anywhere, maybe be a bit more specific, like, maybe not in the driveway or in the street. 
6. When you don't have a sled that has a rope tie to go around an adults waist - I would like one, but they are all sold out at our neighborhood store - you can drill holes in the saucer and put rope thru it. Umm, no I didn't do this, I'm not that handy, but the man at the store told me I could and I said "Ok, sounds good." With no intention of doing it. That is sooo a job for Mark, I know I could do it, but I don't know where we have rope! I'm sounding really wimpy or girly here, but I don't have the motivation to do that right now!
7. A 4 year old is happy sledding whether it's on a downhill or just on the sidewalk. I didn't want to lug the saucer, stroller, kids etc. to the park for sledding, plus - again what do I do with Sarah, keep her in the stroller at the bottom of the hill or at the top? I could have carried her in the backpack, but the wind was so cold, she was much warmer in the stroller with the rain cover on. Anyhow, I told Jakob he could sled in our yard, very tiny hill and on the sidewalk, he was happy with that - it's a good warm up to the sledding we will do on Xmas eve at Mt. Hood. Plus, Sarah thought it was hysterical, I'm not sure if she was laughing at me trying to push Jakob or at Jakob's big grin.
8. I really love snow days with kids, every walk is an adventure. Jakob decided he likes to "street ski", meaning slide on the ice in the street. He did fall yesterday, right on his bottom, but now he knows what "CAREFUL STEPS" mean, when I yell at him!  
9. Somehow kids don't get cold! What the heck, Jakob is telling me he is hot while walking with a gust of wind in our face, and it being 22 degrees outside - meanwhile, I can't feel my fingers in my good snow mittens!
10. Feeding ducks after it has snowed is kind of funny, but sad too. Parts of the park's pond were frozen and watching the ducks and the geese try to race for the bread that we were throwing them, was really funny! We had a good laugh, but I did feel kind of bad! Shouldn't they have flown south? 
11. A kid will eat most any snow, seriously, I told Jakob to be careful about what snow he eats, no yellow or brown snow. So, with his critical thinking skills at an all time high, he started to lick the snow off of the car! All I could think about was that movie "A Christmas Story", where the kid gets his tongue stuck to a pole! This didn't happen, but I did have to explain that snow on the car or the hand rails to our porch isn't a good idea to eat, even though the snow in these spots don't have "pee or poop" on them - as Jakob told me!

We have another snow day tomorrow, no school/work for the kids and myself, so I'm home with them again. Mark is on a very late flight home tonight! So, I should hopefully get the camera and take some pics of the kids in what is left of the snow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Since Mark's been gone...

I've been horribly sick with a cold, home with 2 kids and it has been freezing outside! We made homemade (well with Rotisserie chicken) chicken soup, made peanut butter cookies, made a gumdrop christmas tree - thanks to help from Amber, had the kids's xmas show at preschool (no pics as Mark has the camera), Sarah wore a tutu for the first time and danced in the show, Jakob sang and did ballet like a champ, we've watched Charlie Brown's Christmas movie 3 times, Land before time movie twice, drove around to see the Xmas lights, had donuts and hot chocolate at the gelato shop (the donuts are made at this shop and they are great - I had Ginger, with Chocolate frosting, Jakob had "Fairy Princess", of course my son picks that one, it is a pink donut with pink frosting and LOTS of sprinkles - that's why he picked it), we then walked over to our littl xmas tree stand and bought a mini "Charlie Brown" Xmas tree to put on our porch and decorated it with lights, ate breakfast for dinner, and played in the snow all day today (Jakob is a pro at snow angels now), oh and Sarah did her first face plant in the snow (again no pics just video). Sarah was hysterical in the snow, mostly b/c I dressed her in a snow suit that was way to small for her, so she couldn't really move, once she fell, she was stuck. So, I changer her into her pajama suit with 3 layers under, her rain coat, a hat, gloves and snow boots, much better, but then she took the face plant. So, she ended up spending most of the time in the stroller with the cover on it, of course we did a lot of walking in the snow, no sledding as I didn't know how to handle both of them for that, maybe tomorrow I will plant Sarah in the stroller and help Jakob sled - I need to get a sled with a pull on it.
Also since Mark's been gone, Jakob has decided he is going to be a holly terror - backtalking, pouting, acting out - OMG - it's a miracle he is still in one piece. I don't hit my kids, but I have come so close this weekend. I can't wait until Mark gets home! I know he doesn't want to come home to a cranky crowd but, that's what we are right now! 
Tomorrow will be a snow day, no school because the snow we got today (about 3 inches) is actually sticking and it suppossed to be colder tomorrow - so you know Portland freaks when there is any snow on the ground (since it doesn't happen all that often) and schools are closed. Bummer for me as I don't normally work on Mondays - let's hope for a snowday on Tuesday too!
Anyhow, we have done a lot since Mark has been gone, it's been so hard being a single parent, with a cold, I don't know how single Moms do this everyday - especially if they live in a place where they have to stay inside everyday!
Counting the minutes until you come home Mark!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Just a warning if you are a mother, female or just a hormonal/emotional person, this post might make you teary eyed! So long story short:

As most everybody knows, Mark is adopted and LOVES his adopted family and with their support, he was able to find his birth Mom, Molly. He contacted her in October and they have been emailing daily and have talked on the phone a few times. Mark found out that he has 4 half sisters and a bunch of aunts and uncles! Mark has always been interested in finding Molly and even wrote her a letter last year, but didn't send it until this October. I won't comment on Mark's feelings and why he didn't and then did send the letter, just know that a lot of thought went into it and that the time had to be right for him. Somehow, the universe was just right for the both of them at this very moment, and a very positive connection was made.
She responded a couple days after receiving the letter and they've been talking ever since. Mark totally has her sense of humor, a bit crazy, sarcastic and hysterical. He also has her thick/unruly hair (although you can't tell that she has unruly hair - it's beautiful) - everybody remembers what Mark's hair looks like when it's grown out! I think he has her eyebrows and eyes - and I think he shares that with his sisters too.  They are all gorgeous and excited to meet Mark also! I can't imagine Mark around 5 women. Mark's Mom, Kathy, sent him an album of kid pics to show Molly, I can't wait for the girls to see some of the Jr. High pics - look out Mark - you thought Ang and I could make fun of you - wait till you have a room of 5 women!! Really, Mark was cute in Jr. High, it's just the "business in front, party in the back" hairstyle that he had - too funny! I know he was very hip at the time, as was I with my ratted bangs but his is still way worse! I digress...so again, maybe you won't cry at this posting, hopefully you'll at least smile! After a couple months, Mark and Molly decided that they should meet, so he did that today!
Mark flew out to Omaha (where Molly and her girls live), to meet them for the first time. He got up at 4:45 this am, after a restless 4 and half hours sleep last night, and rushed off to the airport, only to have some delays! He and Molly had the longest day ever. I can only imagine what kind of emotions they were feeling in waitng to see each other and then the overwhelming emotions that must have been running thru the two of them as they met - aah - it gives me chills. I am so proud of Mark for doing this, it took a lot of courage, compassion and strength. And of course, I am so glad that Molly and her whole family have been so open and caring about this also. 
I truly believe things happen for a reason and I know Mark was given up for adoption and adopted by his family for many great reasons - whether it was God or the universe (whatever you believe in) who knew that it would be best to be brought up with his lovely and sometimes crazy family, or God knowing that if he wasn't given up, Molly's life would have been much harder, or whatever - there are so many reasons this happend. What I do know, is that if it hadn't been for this selfless act, I wouldn't have the amazing husband and father of my children, that I've got today! (Can you imagine the life I might be leading had I not met Mark, it would be so boring - or on the other hand I might be living as a single woman, livin' it up - hmm... one can dream!) KIDDING!

I know today December 11th, 2008 will be a very memorable day for Mark and Molly, I can only hope that this will finally bring some sense of closure and connection for the both of them!

Here are the first pics (taken so kindly by Molly's sister Barb) of them together, for the first time in 32 years:

Mark getting off of the plane