Friday, April 27, 2012

butte hike (x2)

first hike of the season was last saturday.  a nice group of ladies: dylan and ali, and ali's mama and grandma (sam and diane)!  a little breezy along the way, but at the top, oooh, it was windy.  we didn't stay as long as usual, but it was still great to get outside for a climb.

dylan was in the pack for the steep beginning, and then walked almost to the top, where the rocks take over the paths.  to her dislike, i put her on my back for the rest of the climb and the whole way down.  she's still too little to do the trek down.  jack's now at the point where he's comfortable enough to do it on his own, even running at times.  

because the trail was so great and because jackie didn't hike with us the first time, we drove back out to hike it again, just a few days later.  no cloud cover, warm sunshine.  super-fun hike with both my energetic children. 

 seeing him take her hand, hearing their conversation; this is what being a mother is all about.
jb announced:
we maaade it!

minions & me

after tucking the kids into their respective beds and smooching my husband on his forehead, i found myself in the middle of target at nearly 9 o'clock at night, pushing an empty stroller.  i think i had a perma-grin, too.  we all say it, but i'm not afraid to say it again:  it's the little things.  (and sometimes it's the little beings.)  i've been in a routine for so long, where i do all my shopping and errands with my children in tow.  it's usually a task, rather un-fun, and i end up leaving feeling like my hair's on fire.  but.  i just do it.

when i was ill a few weeks back, it happened so soon after returning from hawai'i that i hadn't made it to the grocer just yet.  so that left #1 in command to take to the shopping cart with two kids.  i shoved him out the door bearing the-most-specific-as-could-be shopping list.  we spoke on the phone 3 times, but when ending our conversation, he would hang up before i could say good-bye...  when he arrived back home, with much seriousness, he stated:

that was the worst thing i've ever done in my life.  jack knocked over a display of sauce packets.  dylan was trying to stand up the whole time.  i'm never doing that again.

of course, desperately trying to conceal my smirk (and giggles), i had to ask how jb knocked over the display.
well, he was steering the cart.

i really didn't need to hear anymore.  the best part of it all was hearing him say that taking two under five to the grocery store was the worst thing he's ever done in his life.  i tossed up my hands as if to say SEE?! but he gave me some credit before i could open my mouth.  he even threw in this gem when i told him that sometimes i have to go to the store numerous times in a week:

i don't know why you would ever want to do that.  

it really makes me smile to think that i'm doing what i'm supposed to do in our relationship, where he's doing exactly what he needs to do.  i like routines, organization, being at home, quiet time and raising our minions children.  he likes to be on the go, working with his hands and his mind; he enjoys a little chaos and spontaneity.  yin to the yang.    

so, after spending an undisclosed amount of time and debit funds, i walked out of there with some {non}essentials including a blinding-yellow tee with the face of a minion (see: despicable me).  i also found an adorable newsboy-style cap that i knew dylan would fumble with atop her messy locks.  she loves wearing hats these days.  what i didn't take into account was that she's a ridiculous copycat these days, as well.  so less than 12 hours later, both kids are clad in minion attire, and i'm $2.75 richer with an exchange of a hat.

shopping alone?  these days, there are few things greater.

we found ourselves at the zoo on a gorgeous spring day.  the bears have been out for about a month, their hides all thick and fluffy with perfectly long claws.  the baby musk ox is so adorable, and he couldn't have been closer - well, no, he wasn't in our laps, but the kids probably could have flicked his nose if they tried.

all on her own.  
first, she had to peek at the swans & the ducks.  then, it was pooh's turn. 

with all the snow melting, we were able to swing into the cemetery and visit the loved ones.  it's so beautiful there - mountains in the distance, always a plane or three flying over head.  we even found the remnants of our sunflowers from the fall, practically preserved in the snow.  and like everywhere else we've been walking - trails, bike paths, mountainsides, even our yard... moose poop.  it's dylan's new favorite word, too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

it's spring.

can't even express how much i love spring.  the snow melts away, leaving us with stiff, dingy brown grass, and yet, i couldn't be happier by its presence.  the husband gets the stroller down from it's rack, dangling above the truck.  i'm so happy to wrap my palms around it's squishy handle.  and oh, how i wish i would have kept track of all the rotations of the GoBug's wheels.  it's gonna be a sad day when the kids have outgrown it...   

the face of a two year old. 
i get this more than smiles on some days - even a scowl or three, if i'm lucky!
the typical two can change just like that!

we've been walking to the coffee shop on extra nice mornings.  it's just over 4 miles round trip, so we like to ensure that the weather will hold out long enough for extra short legs to make the trek.  dylan really surprises me with her attempt to walk the whole dang route.  (it shouldn't, but it does!)  the nice thing about having a copycat like her - she will do whatever her big brother models.  so, if i ask him to take a break, she's never far behind.    

this hill gets me every time.  i've always regret it, but nowadays, it's the perfect training for the half-marathon i'm running in 6 weeks.  there's two parts to it, if you look in the distance, there's that hump to climb as well.  it's not as long, just a nice warm up for this portion.  this part is gradual and long, not very steep, but i'm out of breath every time i walk it.  i ran up half of it on this day, with the stroller full of children, two loveys and one blue scooter.  i was whooped!

again, the half-marathon i'm running in at the end of june, ends with a killer hill.  it's much more steep, just as long, maybe more, and man, i'm not looking forward to it.  when i ran it back in march for the shamrock race, i ended up walking half of it, faster than i was able to jog it.  my goal is to have enough at the end to sprint up it with ease.  that seems foolish to type out, but if i can push 70+ pounds of humans, than i hope to be able to push myself up it - even if by that point i've already ran 11 or so miles.  let the visualization begin.  

another afternoon, we dropped off the truck for some maintenance and walked down to the park by city hall.  the grass was still a little squishy in some places so our xtra-tufs were much needed (and greatly appreciated).  no amount of sludge and muck is going to keep these kids from having fun.  just adds to it, in dylan's case.  

it's so nice to have yet one more place to take the youngsters to burn off some energy.  

jackie b.  
so completely tickled by the swings.

and yet on another great spring day, we were joined by our friends for a walk to the coffee shop.  the moms slurped down tasty, warm coffees while the little ones devoured messy chips.  all were happy, so all was well.

the girls are a year apart but get on like birth year friends.  can't you just see kaylee driving dylan to high school in 13 years?!  blowsmymind!!!  all the kids enjoyed throwing rocks into the muck and really trying their hardest not to fall in it.  jack fit right in as well, getting bossed around by kaylee - i love that he gets a little dosing of what he gives dyl!     

more spring adventures to come...

Easter Sunday

easter morning, the kids woke early with the anticipation of baskets.  not only did they find new baskets overflowing with goodies, but they were each surprised with new bikes!  i will forever remember the Easter morning i woke to find a brand new lavender scooter waiting to be ridden all over our cul-de-sac.  so i really could relate to the kid's excitement.  jack was speechless and dylan was eager to ride.  her legs are just a touch short, but i'm sure by the end of the summer, she'll be zipping by, red hair in the breeze.  later that evening, jack did inform me that:  

mama, i'm so excited for my new bike.    

after a full spread breakfast, we spruced ourselves up for an afternoon of Easter celebrations.  at great grandma's house, we were greeted by family and good smelling food and so many soon-to-be spoiled grandkids!  those adults, they just can't help themselves!  (but obviously, we can't either - it's so much fun completely taking a child by surprise.  i love their looks and reactions!)

the kids found 33 colored, hard boiled eggs, roughly 4-5 times.  and with each new hunt, the egg count dwindled.  someone should have informed that dylan to quit breaking the eggs!  it's so fun to watch the kids scour all the different hiding places; high up in the blinds or a light fixture, some on bodies, tucked in shirt pockets or stuffed into a sock!  such a great day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

birthday celebrations for red

birthday cards and packages started filling our post office box a week before her special day.  usually, the envelopes get opened as they come, but this year, i decided to stockpile.  we ended up having a combination of birthday and Easter cards, complete with oodles of stickers, singing cards and hologram images, and oh, yeah - CANDY.

i consumed most of the candy (like i would have it any other way) but i let the kids have their stickers and furry new loveys.  dylan is completely tickled by pooh and piglet and anything else from the 100 acre woods.  so, gramma d totally spoiled her with two poohs: a large pooh, perfect for hugging and a teeny baby pooh, perfect for travel (as gramma d noted).  the problem is, we have a polar bear, a baby, piglet, a small monkey, glo worm & baby violet, two blankies, and now 2 poohs to add to the insanity of dylan's bedtime necessities.  amazingly, she will notice if one lovey is missing or if that one blankie happens to be in the washer.

with her birthday falling mid-week and easter just days after, we had to postpone her {friend} birthday party for a few weeks.  it makes me smile to have so many great friends with their own kiddos just months apart from ours.

we celebrated dylan's 2nd birthday with an ice cream cone/sundae themed party.  where i would normally have a craft for the kiddos to construct, the do-it-yourself sundae was more than enough mind-stimulation for the youngsters.  there were ice cream sprinkles (that keep their crunch!); crushed oreos, m&m's, reese's pieces and animal crackers; cut up bananas; maraschino cherries (with stems!); whipped cream; caramel & chocolate sauce; hot fudge; marshmallow fluff; two different kinds of cones, 3 flavors of tillamook ice cream... 


and did i mention we had 3 kinds of pizzas?  if you failed to have fun at this party, it may have been because you were too busy enjoying all the treats!  but i don't think that happened.  seemed like everyone left happy, with treat bags and full tummies.  just a wonderful celebration for a wonderful little lady.    

please pay no attention to the light bulb-shaped brownies
(... they should have been chubby ice cream cones!)

i love this next series.  you know, we're forever telling jb to help his sister.  do this, do that.  it's no wonder we have our little battles.  i'm sure it's quite annoying to be corrected all day long - i grow tired of doing it, for sure!  well, here - he can't help but help her out!  who doesn't like to blow out candles?!  thankfully, dylan was too busy cheering for the birthday song to really notice that someone else had beat her to a wish.  she made her wish second, and after all, that was the birthday we were celebrating.

dylan enjoyed oregon strawberry ice cream with sprinkles, crushed animal crackers & whipped cream.
i will not divulge what or how many toppings went on my sundae...
see?  he just loves to be the boss help.

the gray family
dylan's family
kaylee & dylan

aaaand the party's over.  

happy birthday, you big two year old 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

a day trip to seward

a few weeks back, we ventured down to seward to visit the sea life center.  we brought jb down there when he was about a year and half but hadn't been back since.  it was a beautiful day in seward, too.  we even brought rain gear but needed none of it.  such a great day to watch the kids explore, run around like wild turkeys and tell us all about it.   

jack's currently not a huge fan of his picture being snapped, so in the following photos, you'll see a whole lot of his backside.  still a pretty cute backside, if you ask me...

we saw big ass stellar sea lions, a plethora of bumpy starfish, one orangey octopus, transparent jellyfish, quick-swimming harbor seals, all the puffins you could ask for and fish fish fish!  jackie worked up some courage and touched the many starfish.  he even had his finger stuck to one of the oogy, wiggly things that i wouldn't dare go near.  i can never keep up with the kid.  one minute he's coming unglued because my sticky hands all sticky! and the next minute, he's touching boogers of the sea.   

the girl wasn't up for touching (i know, i was shocked, too!) but she was up for escaping.  like, she wanted to go wherever we weren't.  this two year old is turning into quite the pill...  miss independent is more like it.

can you tell she has a personality?  just a little bit?  she's comical and smart.  she's mischievous and sweet.  she loves to cuddle, but can turn on you with a mooove!  i can't help but smile when i think of her.

the girl has 1,000 faces.  all of which completely bowl me over in love.  it truly is amazing how your heart can love in so many ways.  i couldn't have imagined that i had enough space in my heart to love another tiny human as much as i love jb.  then, dylan presented herself, and i'm all in love n stuff - again.  

after a few hours of running amok at the sealife center's disposal, we loaded up the extra sleepy boos and drove up and down the streets of seward.  (it took about 7 minutes.)  oh, how i love harbor towns.  the buoy tree just cracks me up.  although, this could have been anywhere in ak...

the waterfalls along the highway were still frozen, but the graffiti was out and about.  during our drive south, i told ben i spotted a strawberry and he looked at me like i had six heads.  so on the way home, i rubber-necked around every turn, trying to find that stupid strawberry that i knew i saw.  sure enough, once i spotted it, mister mister gave me that i-hate-being-wrong look.  

day trips are so fun.  especially with snoozing babies all the way home.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

which child are you?

my mother sent this to me.  it's a nursery rhyme.  i'd never heard it before, and lemme tell you, i know some mother goose!  so, i was delighted by this {new-to-me} ditty:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

our family?  ben was born on a tuesday (but not so graceful); jb was born on a thursday (but oh, he's come so far!); dylan was a monday child (and is she ever fair of face) and me, well, do i even have to say it?  i was born on a sunday.  insert peals of giggles, naturally.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

ode to saint patrick

st. patrick's day would be two days after our return from vacation, so before we left, i mailed these babies off to friends and family.  stickers, tattoos, silly straws with mustaches, candy & suckers and little "lucky" poof guys.  some bags even included hair clips but others had already been given those in another goodie bag.  

jb and i love doing crafts, but this one was mostly on me.  when working with the hot glue gun, i get a little nervous with my over-excited helper nearby.  however, i should add that he was very much involved; he picked out each poof, each set of colored eyes and non-matching noses.  he was sure of that much.  he wanted the large googly eyed one for his cousin, ellie, but then decided that he wanted to keep it.  (sorry, ellie.)   i think that one's my favorite, anyway.   

and because i'm now digitally scrapbooking, i have so much card stock and various paper to use up.  so we made cards.  jack and dylan placed their skinny (and wrinkly) thumbs just so to make a four-leaf clover on their cards, but dada helped with placement and i drew the stem.  another one of those projects where it's hard to be hands-on and take a picture of the process.         

i was even crazy enough to run a 5k on st. patrick's day.  what was i thinking?!  i could have used an extra few weeks days to sleep in and not wake at 7 am.  gah.  but, i'm so glad i did.  i really can't explain the feeling of seeing the finish line.  or hearing the people's cheers through my blaring earbuds.  or seeing the clock ticking away.  it's all so inspiring, really.  

as much as i love my irish roots and want to celebrate dear saint patrick, i'm not sure i'll run it next year.  maybe i could find a run elsewhere, in the states, where it's not 15 degrees, yeah?  the parking was several blocks away from the start.  i was really second-guessing my running ability in such cold temps.  but.  i did it anyway and actually had one of my best runs to date.  that may have been because

i was running a tad faster 
because i wanted to finish faster 
so i could warm up faster

but nonetheless i finished in 30:52 with a pace of 9:56.  my next race is may 5th and i look forward to not wearing my skhoop with knee highs and 3 layers of tops.  pure silliness.


it's incredible that i did so well, but i was quickly off that runner's high and onto a low: dueling sick kids.  and, if that's not bad enough, it's really awful when mama's sick.  blind leading the blind?  kinda.  jack came down with a nasty seal-type cough with a fever to follow, the day before we left maui.  dylan came down with the fever a few days later.  and like usual, i got it last.  i'm still amazed ben stayed healthy through it all.  

i laid in bed for 5 days straight.  i went to the doctor after 48 hours of thinking i was seriously dying to find out that i had influenza b.  this was no joke.  i now see why they say children and elders are most at risk.  at one point, i was laying in bed, listening to my heart beat, hoping it wasn't going to stop.  next year, we're all getting flu shots.  

this was dylan at her worse.  sick, red-rimmed-eyed, runny nose kiddos are the worst!  and to top it off, her bro gave her a fat lip.  oh, duey!  but she's still smiling.  i admire her spirit beyond words.

it's incredible the difference a day can make.  i pray for my babies every night, to have sweet dreams, for the Lord to bless them, keep them, lift them up, but especially when they're sick.  i hate tucking them into bed when they're not feeling well, uncomfortable and feverish.  it breaks my heart.  but, i know the best thing for them is rest.

this series is the following morning.  where the day before was filled with movie after movie, mixed in with popsicles and sippies full of liquids, here, you'll find their spirits up, along with their energy level.  praise Jesus.