Thursday, December 23, 2010

Early Christmas with Grandmom Maron and Pop pop Steve

 I know, I don't publish any posts for a month and then do three in one day.  I finally had the chance to catch up a little bit today and decided to sieze the moment!  Mom and dad and Cathy came out for my graduation  and to celebrate Christmas with us a few weeks early.  We had such a wonderful time and it went by too fast, as usual.  Some get togethers we don't have much going on but this one was the exact opposite.  We never stopped!  My graduation was on Friday and then on Saturday we went to Georgetown CO to ride the Santa Christmas Train followed by lunch at Cathy's (and my) favorite CO pizza place, Beau Jo's and then to Boulder for a graduation get together at my advisors house and a night out in Boulder.   Elizabeth and Andrew really loved the Christmas train and getting to see Santa. Elizabeth asked Santa for a lady bug pillow pet and new brown socks for Uncle Ben (because his have holes in them).  And Elizabeth and Andrew even got bells from Santa's reindeer to ring on Christmas Eve.

On Sunday, mom, Elizabeth and me went to the long awaited Nutcracker ballet.  Elizabeth has been talking about going to the Nutcracker for two months now and we've been reading the book almost daily.  The actual experience did not disappoint.  She absolutely loved it!  She was totally enthralled the entire time.  We were seated in the front row of the balcony and Elizabeth was able to stand up and watch.  It was adorable because at first she kept asking me, "mommy, where is the nutcracker?"  And then when the nutcracker finally arrived on stage, he precious face was priceless. And she loved clapping at the end of each act and announcing who all the characters were.   Mom and I had more fun watching Elizabeth watch the Nutcracker than anything.  And it was so special being able to go with my mom.  She and I went almost every year when I was growing up.  We have not gone since my senior year in high school and it brought back so many wonderful memories.  Thanks mom for joining us for a wonderful Christmas tradition!

Andrew could not look any cuter in his little snow suit.  He waddled around and would fall down and not be able to get back up.  He looked so cute that people were actually stopping to take his picture.

Kate's graduation

I had my official graduation ceremony this past weekend!  It was so wonderful that my mom and dad and Cathy could join us for the special day.  The festivities started at 7:30 am with breakfast and a hooding ceremony followed by the graduation ceremony at 9:30.  I'm mentioning all the times as my family always gives us a hard time for starting everything so early in he morning (for starters, we go to church on Sundays at 7:15 am) but this time we could not help it!  And of course immeasurable gratitude goes out to my wonderful husband.  I could not have made it through without his love and support.  I think he is just as happy as I am that I'm finally done!

I tried to play off the robe and hat with Elizabeth, saying that mommy was playing dress up.  It did not work very well, making it difficult to get a good picture with my kiddos.  But I guess that I really like this picture as it shows how things usually are in our house.  A perfect picture would be boring.  

Andrew's 1st Birthday

Our little boy is one! Andrew is such a wonderful little boy filled with so much love.   Elizabeth was more excited for Andrew's first birthday than he was, but he did have fun with the balloons and streamers.  Elizabeth's favorite was decorating the train cake (and sampling the icing every chance she could get)!   Andrew's favorite game right now is peek a boo.  He loves to play, hiding behind the door.

 Andrew actually did like wearing his hat around, despite the look on his face.

And our buddy Gregario has not made the blog in a long time.  He is still doing great (I think he's about 12-13 years old now) although does not get around like his younger years.  He has some arthritis in his back hips so running is a thing of the past for our old boy.  Andrew and Elizabeth love him to death.  Andrew is always trying to pet him.  Gregario is much more tolerant with Andrew than he ever was with Elizabeth at this age and just sits there and lets Andrew pet him.  He does a good job and really does not try to pull Gregario's fur.

The park behind our house is the best.  It is so perfect for young kids.  It has a little path around it that Elizabeth rides her tricycle and Andrew attempts to keep up with his push walker (until he gets distracted by a pine cone or a leaf that seems interesting to pick up).  I've tried to get Elizabeth to go on ahead of us and lap us but she likes to wait for her little brother and will constantly encourage him in such a loving way.  Elizabeth is a natural leader, whether it is with her brother or with her friends at school.  It is really amazing to watch as I've always debated in my own mind whether leadership is a born or learned trait but with Elizabeth it is definitely a gift.  Jan was picking Elizabeth up from school the other day.  Elizabeth was selected by her teachers to be the class leader for recess.  She had to pick the kids that were quiet to then go stand in line to go outside.  Elizabeth was so excited.  She went over to the teachers chair and sat down and then told the kids that she would select them when they were quiet.  She looked around and made gentle comments to some of the kids and then would quietly say each kids name and they would go line up at the door.  She was amazingly commanding the class with just a whisper.  What a beautiful lesson and reminder for me too.
And yes, baby doll still comes with us almost everywhere.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Andrew and Elizabeth

Andrew and Elizabeth get along so well together which is wonderful.  For example, Elizabeth still prefers her tricycle over her bicycle at the park and always waits for Andrew as he follows along, pushing his little Fisher Price push and ride cart.  She is always encouraging him, giving him hugs and kisses, trying to teach him gentle touches (which usually results in one of the two of them crying from a slap to the face, scratch or annoyance) or their very favorite, the raspberries.  Andrew and Elizabeth do the raspberries at each other all day long and get each other laughing like crazy.  They also like to play tag and chase each other all over the house.  Elizabeth is very gentle and patient with Andrew and really has the ability to play at his level which is amazing to me.

Lately, we've been calling Andrew Godzilla.  He is in the yelling all the time for everything and at everything stage.  Jan says that he has lost more hearing from his kids than he ever did from his music!  It's really true as Andrew screeches so loudly and there is nothing we can do to stop him.  But despite his Godzilla moments, he is still the sweetest little boy and so happy and gentle.  His other nickname is Big Buddy Andrew.  Elizabeth has a song that she likes to sing, Little Bunny Foo Foo walking through the forest but she and daddy have changed it to Big Buddy Andrew.  Andrew just bee bops back and forth to the music and laughs.

Elizabeth's latest things are the Nutcracker and Pillow Pets.  We are going to go see the Nutcracker with my mom and Elizabeth makes sure that she tells that to everyone - the doctor, waiters and waitresses, store clerks, the librarian etc.  It is precious.  And then for the Pillow Pet.  One of her friends at school has a ladybug pillow pet.  Elizabeth came home one day and mentioned that she wanted to go to the store and buy a pillow pet.  We asked her if she had any money and she said yes, the money that she was collecting to" buy food for babies who needed food at church."  Well, after explaining to her about that for awhile, we suggested that she ask Santa for a pillow pet.  She talks about how Santa is making her pillow pet and that he is going to bring it to her house for Christmas.  She is quite the conversationalist.  She listens to us talk at dinner and will interject a "yes" or "hmmm" and then says to us "ok, it's my turn to talk" and she will try to make a comment about our conversation.  Her comment is usually totally unrelated but it amazes me that she is actually trying to follow along.  She also tries to have conversations with the waiters at restaurants.  The other day we went out for sushi and she said to the waiter "Hey waiter, could you please bring me a pen and some paper."   Her favorite "friends" as she calls them are Kitten, Curious George, Baby Doll, and the 2 Bears (all in caps because those are the friend's names).  They make their way all over the house all day long.  They start in the cradle in her room and then to the couch for some morning cartoons and over to the playroom for a tea party then back up to mommy and daddy's bed for a nap and usually end up in Andrew's room on the rocker by the end of the day.  Sometimes they get to go for a ride in the car or a stroll in the buggy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Andrew's Baptism

This past weekend we had the wonderful blessing of having Andrew baptized.  It was such a beautiful occasion and many of our friends and family were able to join us.  Andrew looked so beautiful in his white suit and bow-tie.  His hair still smells like the baptism oil.  I washed his hair once since his baptism but I love the smell so much that I'm delaying washing it again.  

Our church does the baptism during mass, surrounded by the entire congregation.  I initially thought that it would be very impersonal but it was entirely the opposite.   Father Sean incorporated our family in the entire 
mass and really made it a special occasion for our family.  

My brother, Michael, and Jan's Aunt Carla are Andrew's godparents and were able to join us for the weekend.  

And what would be a family get together without some friendly competition.  This time we decided to take the family to the race track and Go-Cart Race.  But these were not your ordinary go-carts as they go 55 MPH!  As you can see, we had to get suited up like race car drivers, helmets, neck braces and all.  We had a blast, tearing around the track.  Jan was the fastest driver and Carla aka Speed Demon/ Lead Foot etc. was a close second.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Andrew 11 months old

My little baby is almost a toddler.  And well, to most folks size standards, he probably already is a toddler.  When I get to hold baby Regan or our friends Ben and Tiff's little girl, it makes me realize that I never really had a little baby with Andrew!  He was born a toddler!

Andrew is such a fun and handsome fellow.  And oh so happy and loving.  He just lights up our lives with his laughter, hugs and gentle spirit.  Andrew walks all over the place now and can crawl up the steps. This last month, he got his second tooth.  Elizabeth likes to count his teeth and then try to count her twenty teeth.  Our eardrums are hoping to survive Andrew's newest trick - he really likes to scream from the top of his lungs.  We're trying to teach him, no Andrew, too loud but that kid has lungs.  Elizabeth used to scream and the tone really hurt Jan's ears but did not bother me as much.  Andrew's scream, on the other hand, absolutely kills my ears.  

Andrew's first Oreo.  A huge hit!  

Trick or Treat

Elizabeth and Andrew had such a fun time this year for Halloween.  The weekend started with a fall festival at their school.  My little cowgirl got to get all dressed up, play games, do arts and crafts etc.  On Sunday, Elizabeth and Andrew started carving their pumpkins but it turned out to be much more fun to finger paint the pumpkins than to carve them!  Especially for Andrew.  On Sunday, we went tick or treating with our dear friends Ben and Tiff and their kiddos.  It was so adorable as Dane was the cow and Elizabeth the cow girl!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Red Rocks

Sometimes I forget how beautiful Colorado really is - and literally in our own back yard.  Red Rocks amphitheater is about a 10 minute drive from out house and we met up with our friends Katie and Gary and their kids there for a little family photo shoot.  As you've probably realized from this blog, Jan and I have very few pictures together.  The ones that we do have in previous posts, most are taken with a tripod in which Jan presses the button on the camera and has 8 seconds to run into place.  Having Katie take some pics for us gave us the opportunity to get some great family photos and hang out with some great friends.  Thank you Katie!

Seattle Visit

Andrew, Elizabeth and I ventured to Seattle a few weeks ago to visit Michael and Courtney and the girls.  We had not been out there in almost two years and had a fabulous time.  We did so many fun things from going to the Air and Space Museum, watching Avery's soccer practice and game, to just playing with the kiddos.   Michael and Courtney's house is a short walk from the beach and the girls and Andrew had a fabulous time building sand castles and running and rolling around in the sand.  

The highlight of the trip, however, was meeting our beautiful Regan Eileen who is about 6 months old.  She is such a delicate little girl, especially when you put her next to Andrew.  The two of them played well together.  Andrew would often try to wrestle Regan but she can stand her own.  All it took was a little hair pulling and Andrew got the hint real quick.  

 This is one of my favorite pictures.  Double trouble here trying to get the gate figured out so that they can go downstairs to play with the big girls.

I took Elizabeth, Andrew and Madeline to the Air and Space Museum.  It was really fun to have Madeline all to ourselves and allow her and Elizabeth a chance to play.

Another highlight of the trip was taking the ferry boat from West Seattle to Downtown Seattle.  Despite the rain, the girls had so much fun on the boat and downtown.  We rode the carousel and played in the arcade (where Aunt Kate will go down in the history books (of Avery and Madeline anyway) for winning over 200 tickets on some game that I couldn't even begin to describe to you - the result: gummy bracelets, bouncy balls and stickers galore!)  And here is the highlight- food wise.  I am a huge seafood lover and I go through major withdrawal living in Colorado.  So whenever I get the opportunity, I eat seafood like it is going out of style.  I know my mom and dad are laughing right now as I have a husband who is an avid fly fisherman yet I never get to eat one.  Thank you Seattle family for a wonderful trip!  We look forward to coming out again soon!