Monday, February 23, 2015

For sale

My mom was going through her parents’ old family photos and ran across this newspaper clipping announcing the sale of their San Francisco house for $16,500 in 1951.

Here is a screen shot of that same house today:

I wish my Nana was around to see the current photo. I have a feeling she would have disliked the brown. I’m sure the present valuation would have shocked her too: almost $1.4 million. Yowza. 

I guess I can’t complain about Seattle real estate; we don’t even compare when it comes to San Fran.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ben’s 4th Birthday: Party Details

Have I told you what good sports our family is? 

Exhibit #1:

Not only do they graciously help us celebrate our two wee tykes but they willingly embraced the whimsical toddler activities.   It reminded me of my second grade teacher Mrs. Roarback who came to my birthday part and then gleefully participated in the high heel relay races. 

[side note: how is it that none of us broke ankles participating in that particular stunt?!]

But back to the family: I think I’ll keep them. 

And they make quite fetching woodland wolves:

I'm especially partial to this one:

The forest gnome. Awesome sauce, peeps. You totally need this one at your next wedding photo booth. Robbie looks quite dapper, no? The jaunty bow tie makes the ensemble. 

The birthday boy doing a little ice cream cranking. 

Hedgy the Hedgehog! In all his glory. 

He is directly modeled off of this terrific version, available from Etsy seller Wunderlandhome.

I feel like he’s got his arms out, saying: “No!! Stop, do not smash me to smithereens!"

Sorry Hedgie, no mercy today, even after all that work. sniff.

Never get between a boy and his candy. 

Cake topper and invitation:

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow that candle out:



Resource List:
Invitations: The Pear in Paper (I cannot rave about this Irish artist enough. She’s so fun to work with)
PiƱata Inspiration: Wunderlandhome
Party Masks: The Quirky Quail
Birthday Shirts: Say It ’N Stitches

Friday, February 20, 2015

Not Raining? Then Get Thee Outside.

 The residents of the West Coast haven’t been hit by the massive snow storms that have blanketed much of the East. Instead we’ve been plugging along with our normal grey winters. But occasionally we get a few rays of sunshine penetrating the clouds and then it’s all hands outside for a little Vitamin D.

Grandma has been crafting beautiful sweaters for the kids.

I had a grandmother (bless her) that sent me a few sweaters when I was a wee little tyke. They must have taken countless hours to make; unfortunately they were always a bit caddywhompus, and one arm was typically longer than the other. I never knew if it was because sweaters are difficult to master or if was because this particular grandmother was a bit too liberal with the spirits in the evening.

I’ve never made a sweater so it’s pure speculation on my part.

These sweaters are gorgeous. And the arms are the same length. win-win.

In other news, we have yet another contender for awkward family photo of the year!

What’s up with the chokehold, Benjamin? Emma is not amused.

Sorry the photos are a little camera is on the fritz.


Emma’s First Birthday: Party Details

The kids had a joint birthday party with our extended family last week. 

We went with a woodland theme, because, hey, why not? 

You know me, I am a sucker for pretty party details. This pink and yellow combo is just about my most favorite. Can’t go wrong with sunshine and papaya. Makes even these grey February days bearable. 

I completely forgot to put up Emma’s weekly photos that I took throughout her first year. I’m still ticked about the whole thing, really. All that work and nobody got to see it. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

The babe even got her own (tiny!) little cake. It’s our old standby: spice cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. The frosting isn’t as pretty as your typical fondants or buttercreams but the flavor is unparalleled. 

She devoured it. 

It wouldn’t be a woodland party without forest animals. Here we have little bear and hedgehog. Instant paper downloads from Etsy seller The Quirky Quail

Emma was not partial to the owl.


You’ll notice that Emma is sporting her first birthday shirt. 

 Ice cream too?! YES PLEASE.

Up next: Ben’s half of the birthday party. 



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A New Way of Traveling

We jetted down to Oregon this week to take delivery of our new truck camper. Previously we’ve been more of a tent family so this is a big step. There are some road trips in our future!

Our first night was about what you’d expect when fitting a family of four (including two cranky kids) in a teeny, tiny space. Let’s just say we’re going to need to work out the kinks. :)

We’ll keep you posted on the camper build-out as this is a shell model, coming equipped only with a cab-over queen bed and benches. Beds for the kids and a storage system are first on the list.

 In case you’re wondering, we bought a Four Wheel Camper - Hawk (shell version).



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love You

Happy Valentine’s Day, all. Hug your people tightly and be grateful to have them in your life.

Here is a sweet love story. 



[did you cry? I did]

Also, but unrelated: quotes by Tina Fey. #3 is my favorite.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Emma - 1 Year

Dearest Little Em,

Your first birthday has come and gone. I find myself struggling to put into words my emotions at the passing of this milestone. Our last wee little babe is growing up.

You have have emerged from the drowsy early days of babyhood into the strong morning light and I find that you are a calm, happy, fierce, opinionated girl.  Darling, you are magnificent.

This morning I was watching you and Ben play, passing a toy back and forth. You sat on the bed and Ben lay on the floor. You’d lean over and open up your chubby little fist, watching as the toy dropped down to your brother. He’d grab it and toss it in your direction and the both of you laughed uproariously. Observing you play together, with such uninhibited joy, is a dream. I know that there will likely be future arguments and disagreements amongst you siblings but for this particular minute, on this day, it was glorious.

Emma, you are enthralled by your family. You want to be where Benjamin is, or Bailey, or your parents. And if you’re not with your family, then I'll find you burrowed in Ben’s bed, making yourself  cosy amongst the blankets and toys. You have perfected the art of lounging. I can also tell that you delight in being deliciously naughty, as Ben’s room is firmly off-limits when he’s home.

People comment on your easy-going nature and calm demeanor. You are a little buddha, in both body and temperament. You are a baby that loves a good audience. You like to make sure we’re watching when you try out new toys and climb over the dog. Chris was on a business trip for a few days and tonight you were particularly keen on making sure that he’s up to date on your latest tricks.

While generally happy and smily, we’ve learned very quickly that you are intractable on a certain issues. Heaven forbid we try to remove food or a toy from your grasp; this results in an immediate and extremely vocal voicing of displeasure. Don’t mess with this baby. We’re convinced your first sentence is going to be: “Ben, hands off my stuff!” You younger siblings are tough by default.

The other day I had you snuggled in my arms and it was a moment that I’ll remember for the rest of my life: your head tilted against my chest, your soft baby smell, and your heavy weight in my lap as you drifted off to sleep. This is happiness, I thought. I’ve lived an incredibly fortunate, happy life in thirty-four years, yet so rarely does the actual thought, this is pure happiness, come vividly to mind. I am so lucky to be your mother, Emma.

We are eagerly awaiting your next adventures.

Love, Mama

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentines. Part Two.

Ben and I finished up his valentines for preschool tomorrow. We went through a few iterations before settling on the final product. And we may have consumed our weight in goldfish during the process. 

I liked this one: sleek and easy. But the staple was problematic. 

So we settled for festive red string tied in a knot. 

And then Ben made one for himself...

Funny, we just participated in a study at University of Washington about toddlers and how they allocate prizes between themselves and a participant. The results, if you know my son, were predictable. 

“I WON that game, mama!” 

On one hand, I’m glad that he’s competitive.  On the other, the trash talk gets kinda really old. 

Who knows. Perhaps some generous and kind valentine love will rub off on him. :)

Click here to download a template.



Friday, February 06, 2015

Piscine Valentines

You know you’re from the Pacific Northwest when....

..the Valentine’s Day cards you make for your son’s preschool have a fish theme.

Click here to download (sans the “Benjamin” notation).



Thursday, February 05, 2015

Articles From The Blog-O-Sphere

I don’t have much to report around here. It’s your typical life-with-two-young-kids experience: pure chaos, all the time.

Actually, I take that back. Things around here are actually marginally calmer and have been for the past month. I’m almost scared to express that out loud, really, as life might revert back to its previous state of mayhem.

What can I say about last year? Chris worked too much, Ben was three (forget the Terrible Twos, lets hear it for the god-awful, no-good, horrible threes), and Emma was teething. (I can say that, because she’s got SEVEN fresh, pointy chompers that she’s been testing out with great gusto. Don’t ask me about nursing. It’s a sore subject right now).

But the past month has been ever-so-slightly more manageable. Ben has toned down a bit and will actually (occasionally) listen to reason. He’ll still jump off the cliff but at least he heard the objection to that particular course of action.

Emma is feeling her oats. We don’t produce shrinking violets around here, evidently. Fail to put food in front of her in a timely manner and she’ll take it upon herself to obtain it (even if that means stealing it from someone’s plate). She eats the entire family under the table.

Heaven forbid you have to leave for a minute to go pee. Leave with this:

Come back to this:

‘This stuff’s no good. Let’s see what Ben had for breakfast!'

Right, enough about stubborn babies. Let’s move on to bigger news and world events.

I think this is my most favorite eclectic collection of articles to date. Enjoy.

Coolest official astronaut photo ever. 

Taking the princess theme to the extreme. 

Every state described by a single sarcastic line.  WA: Trees, weed, coffee, rain.

Don’t flush it, sell it! (there are a lot of other lines I had for this link but this one is the most blog-appropriate)

Historical women that gave no f*$ks. (Thank you J!)

What happens when you challenge a Disney Park Gaston (Beauty & The Beast) to a push up contest

Best tip for photographing toddlers, from Anne Geddes, queen of the baby-in-a-flower-pot photo. 

The life of Chris (and other tall folk). 

Shake it off (courtesy of the Dover Police Dept).

I never thought Good Night Moon was weird. Until now.

Driving underage. 

I wish we didn’t have firsthand experience with this one, but evidently he’s moved to Seattle: Who keeps stealing all the Subarus in Portland? 

Happy almost-Friday peeps!