Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh the excitement...

Christmas finally came and it went by like a whirlwind. We had a great time with family and friends. It was a bit overwhelming compared to our last few Christmas' at home with just a small family, but it was super fun to see everyone! We spent Xmas eve with Mark's side of the family, opened gifts, hung out and tried to get home at a decent hour to watch the Polar Express and drink hot chocolate, that was successful but the kids were so amped up after that! We checked NORAD for Santa's position, found that he was still 2 hours away - expected landing was about 11:30 pm, so the kids headed to bed, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Jakob was sure he was going to stay awake until Santa got here, and was actually adament that he had stayed awake until 2 am, but what really happened was of course, he fell sound asleep and then woke me up at 2 am with a whispering shriek, "SANTA WAS HERE, c'mon!!" I couldn't send him to bed without opening anything, but didn't want him to wake Sarah so I watched him open 1 gift (a dinosaur egg that he can excavate a fossil from), then I layed with him for about an hour until he fell back to sleep. I'm pretty sure Mark and his evil twin Sarah, were snoring during all of this!!
Jakob wanted to know how many minutes it was until 7 am, when he normally gets up, when I explained that it was HOURS until then, he finally relented!
He and Sarah got up about 6:30 am, Sarah was just as excited about opening presents this year.
They both were excited about their treasures. Jakob didn't get one thing that he really wanted b/c Santa spoke with Nana and Papa about spreading the wealth, so I think he was a bit sad but was so kind about it, "I didn't get the Lego fireboat I asked for, but I got these Legos that I like too." He is the best! You should have heard his gasp when he opened the fireboat at Nana and Papa's house - priceless!!
We spent the day of Xmas driving to my parents, then opening gifts and just enjoying a relaxing day. The next day we spent with 18 other people, it was so nuts but so fun. I wish I had more time to catch up with everyone. I remember going to my Grandma's for Christmas and LOVING it, all the cousins would play, we'd have more gifts to open and just lots of laughter - that's what the kids got this year at Christmas too! So thankful for that, and of course for my Mom and Don for hosting everyone!

At the Dangvu's, the kids all got bubble guns from Grandma Kathy - provided some serious fun!
Here's Sarah trying her hand at it! Oh and Sarah was dressed in a Christmas outfit, until she opened this up from Grandma!
Bubble guns!
The kids table, plus one, "Snoopy", Sarah's newest pal from the Dangvu family!
Hoping to sneak a peek of Santa!
Sleeping with "Snoopy"!
Here is Jakob opening up his 1 gift at 2:15 a.m.!
Christmas morning!
Santa brought Jakob the wetsuit he asked for - we should all be able to see him in the water!
2 happy kiddos at Nana and Papa's house - they are sporting some of their favorite gifts!
Nana and Sarah doing ballet! Sarah has had an outfit change here - it's leotard time!
2 1/2 hours, Lego fire boat done, with a bit of help from the men folk!
2 cutie pie princesses - Sarah and her 2nd cousin Isliana!

Here is the exciting mayhem I was talking about that I remember as a kid, Uncle Paul playing with the kids - he did this when I was a kiddo! Notice Jakob, being caught in the act of doing something, maybe he shouldn't be! Mayhem!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's starting to feel like Christmas

The weather is cold, windy and rainy, makes you want to stay inside and drink hot cocoa and munch on all the goodies in sight!
Nana and Papa visited this weekend, which was fantastic but the goodies they left and baked while here - not that fantastic - well not for my waistline!

Here is the family on a cool, Winter evening, walking on the pier

Nana and her girl
The kids made the annual gum drop tree, I helped finish it - they had enough of it about 10 minutes into it, and I think they ate just enough to make them sick! :)
Jakob, getting creative!
Uh huh, caught ya!
The finished product!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I know it's December, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Our bodies are just now defrosting and getting used to this warm thing in the sky, called the sun! I do have to admit that I miss the rain, snow and cold, I like dressing in boots and a rain coat, but the sun is so wonderful.
I know our long lost friends are getting drenched in record rain right now, I am glad we moved when we did. We are thoroughly appreciating this spectacular weather, that I'm pretty sure I didn't appreciate this much, when we lived here without children! We can now just go to the park whenever, pop out to the beach whenever and just go for a walk without gearing up - makes parents lives so much easier! But, it's been ingrained in me to take full advantage of the sun, I guess because we didn't see it too often in Portland, so I feel like we need to do as much as possible in a day. Then I have to step back and remember that it will be sunny and nice here, most of the year - duh - so just slow down and enjoy - but this is hard to do!

Here we are taking full advantage of the warm weather over the last week or so.

La Jolla Coves, looking at the seals (last weekend). The kids loved watching the seals swim, Sarah had to find all the "BAAAABY SEEEALS!"

Shell beach

Birch Aquarium, the kids were able to watch the sharks getting fed, so exciting! Jakob really liked the aquarium, totally into learning all about each fish, if they are tropical or not etc. There is a little tide pool area where the kids could touch things like anemones, sea cucumbers, crabs etc, they both really enjoyed that.

The beach today, Mark and his board.
Just enjoying the view today!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We're back!

Our move was a long one, 3 days in the car with a 2 1/2 year old, driving thru snow, rain, sleet, high winds, lightening. All while listening to the sweet sounds of "The Wiggles", "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and non stop "Mommy, are we at California yet?" (she literally said this an hour into our drive), oh and a lot of whining, crying, screaming and a bit of dodging clay being thrown at me - oh yeah paradise! And I wasn't the one driving the 26 foot truck, I'm sure that was difficult but I would have traded for that in a heartbeat!! Anyhow, long story short, I was long and we are here in sunny California now!
Papa Don came up and drove a car load down too - what a trooper he was!! We also had a lot of family come and help us unpack into our temporary little apartment - thank goodness for family!! That was a big job, and we couldn't have done it without all the help we got!

The kids are loving the sunshine, they both had a week or so of adjustment - plus we traveled over Thanksgiving to see family - which was great, but I'm sure a bit of a stressor on the kids!
The first week we were here, Sarah would announce loudly "A palm tree!!", she was so excited.
We had some rain when we first moved so the kids didn't get to go to the beach until Thanksgiving - well Jakob had a day with Mark the day before that for just a look.
Jakob started Kindergarten at his new school yesterday, he is doing well. I almost cried I was so nervous for him being the new kid, he was pretty nervous too, but did make a couple friends. His teacher is very sweet, she let Mark and I stay to watch the class, it is really different than his little class in Portland. He is in the pm class - it's only 3 hours and he has 29 kids in class - really different than his all day class with 15 kids. It will be an adjustment, good thing he is super smart!!
We are still working on finding a preschool for Sarah, she had a trial day yesterday at one, and really enjoyed it, I know she will love getting back into that environment, now if she would just get control of her potty habits, we'd be on the right track!! :)

Jakob in the big moving truck - he looks sad here, because we had just picked him up from school and literally got right on the road. He was a bit sad, also tired but had a great time in the truck! He was always the peppiest of the whole bunch of us - wide awake at 9:30pm when me, Mark and Don were all getting coffee!!

Kids in boxes!
Sarah enjoying her bathing suit time - she talked a lot about wearing her swimsuit right when she "Got at California!" It was cool this day, but she was adamant on wearing it! And those that know Sarah, know that she does not get cold easily!
Beach fun
Jakob's first day of school
Ivey Ranch Elementary

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Everyday adventures

We've been so busy packing, organizing, managing a crazy 2 1/2 year old and a 6 year old, fixing the Passat (which Mark totally rocked and saved us $1000 by doing it himself - took a whole day but he did it!!). It's been raining all weekend, so having the kids in the house while all of this is going on, has been more than a challenge. Luckily Jakob was able to have a play date yesterday, meanwhile I managed Sarah at home and tried to pack - which didn't work as Sarah thought it was really fun to pull the tape off the boxes and/or take the contents out!
Instead we played "pop the bubbles" on the bubble wrap and tea party, babies, dance party, and then put her to work on little jobs, like collecting all the stuffed animals to pack. This all worked for about an hour - and had about 5 melt downs in between there! How do we stay sane?!!
Anyhow, today we had a pretty lazy day, slept in, chocolate chip pancakes, a walk to the park in the late morning, packing etc. All while wearing our jammies - well the kids anyways - me in sweats - Sunday has turned into jammie day or wear whatever you want day, at our house.

This evening when the rain let up, we took a late walk before dinner, hoping to spot bats or owls, Jakob made binoculars (or "noculars" as Sarah calls them) for both of them, they each put on their head lamps and were off, with a pit stop at Amber and Josh's house to play with the kitties.

Here they are ready for an adventure.
Jakob is wearing his cozy sweats and sweater, with camo shoes "so that the bats won't see me". (Never mind his bright white socks!!)
Sarah is sporting her ballet jammies with her princess dress and to top it off, her sparkle shoes - on the wrong feet - oh and we don't go anywhere without the baby!
You can see their head lamps all lit up (it's about 4:30pm, but the needed them lit up).
Sarah found a friendly traveler, a lady bug.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Jakob was a black widow spider, his idea and a lot of his own creation. Sarah was of course, a princess - her own creation as well.

Jakob at his school costume parade.

Sarah at preschool, trick or treating in the building.
Carving pumpkins, notice the difference between the two - Sarah mostly used her hands, Jakob used only the spoon.
Jakob made a picture of what he wanted on his pumpkin, and followed that almost exactly.
Silly Sarah and her "happy princess smile pumpkin"

Halloween night, so excited to go trick or treating!

At home, checking out their loot!
Sarah came in and was so excited, "I was so brave Mommy, I went up to the house and I got CANDY!!"
Mark took them out while I handed out a ton of candy! Apparently there was a spooky house that Jakob got pretty scared at, he was trying to be brave for Sarah but ended up freaking out in the smoke and strobe light, the owners came out and were super nice, gave the kids extra candy!
Mark also took the kids to a house that had a person that didn't look real, in a chair with a monster mask, Mark was trying to convince the kids that he wasn't real, when he poked the fake leg, the person groaned - needless to say they were spooked! I died laughing when he told me this story because he started off with, "I had an embarrassing moment...I think the guy was an amputee!" Too funny!
All in all a nice Halloween - no rain, excited kids and lots of candy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spilling the news

Well, we told Jakob and Sarah last night at dinner that we are going to make the move to California. Actually, Mark said "What would you think about moving to California?"
Jakob's face just lit up with a coy grin, "That would be ok" and Sarah said with her hand being raised in the air several times "Oh me, me, me!" I think this meant she wanted to go too?!
Jakob's second thing he said was "I guess we can just come back on a plane to visit Ian and stuff, right?"
"Exactly Jakob", I thought he was so mature to say that and not start to get upset or cry over leaving his good buds.
Mark showed him the school he will attend - pictures on the website, I talked about wearing uniforms and going to the after care - none of it phased him. He was sure that he would still have "play time and school time at the after care too," which is correct.
Of course the idea of riding in the moving truck really got him excited.
At bedtime, Mark went into snuggle him and he said that Jakob was "giddy" about the move, talking about seeing Nana and Papa, hiking in the sunshine, going to the beach etc.
This is all I needed to make me feel secure in this decision.
Thanks Jakob, you are the best!

Another amazing creation...

Jakob is really becoming quite the artist/designer/craftsman. He is building/constructing or drawing something new everyday. I really think his after school Art program has really allowed him to flourish in this area - not to mention the extra boxes and tape we have around!

This is what he created tonight, with only a bit of help from Mark with the cutting of the cardboard.

Jakob made sure to put the spinnerets on the end of the body - for those of you who may not have the pleasure of reading all about spiders - this is where the web comes from!

Jakob LOVES anything about bugs, but seriously is fascinated with spiders, so he created his own and will be one for Halloween as well - assuming the costume I made him actually stays together!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin picking!!!

We went to our favorite pumpkin patch, Lakeview Farms, where we've been going every year since we moved to Portland. The kids love it because you get to ride a train out to the patch, there are hay mazes, ponies and a boat ride - seriously what could be better! It was fantastic weather for it too - you might remember last year we went but couldn't even ride the train out b/c of the downpour of rain! So, today made up for that for sure!

Sarah picked the first pumpkin she could find - oh and of course she wore a tutu, she doesn't go many places without something seriously girly on!

Jakob's pick of the season!
Riding on the ponies, Sarah was REALLY excited about riding on one by herself! She even said "Thank you pony for the ride."