On target?

Have you ever sat together with your spouse to dream/envision what your home would be like?  I can recall many conversations that Karissa and I have had over the years about what type of home we want to have.  One of the consistent desires of ours would be having the home that our kids like to hang out in with their friends.  Usually when thinking about this, it involved thoughts of teenagers, movie nights, and coming to our place after prom, etc.  [On a side note, I just about died when I thought about either of my sweet little

Our two beautiful princesses!

girls going to prom.  Yikes.]  With the completion of our sideyard, we are beginning to see this desire of ours become a reality.  Everyday since it has been completed, our yard has been full of neighborhood kids either roasting marshmallows, running around with noodles, or playing in the pool, big toy, sandbox, or the grass.  I guess we have about 6 years to budget for the big screen TV…Enjoy the Rylee and Audrey picture taken this morning!  By the way, the only way they’re going to prom is if I am their date.

-Chris

Ice cream bars, squirrels and edible? tires

There is never a moment around here when nothing is going on. Last week we took some food outside to our garage freezer and left the door wide open, thank goodness it wasn’t a super hot day-we went about our play and work on projects inside and outside. We had dinner and I had one more thing to put in the freezer. I went outside and walked around the corner to find the freezer door wide open and a squirrel sitting inside the freezer. He had found himself an ice cream sandwich and had the entire, wrapped bar clenched in his teeth. He saw me and quickly split-ice cream and all-I screamed a little and then went about my business putting food away. This time I closed the door. Later on we found the wrapper in the front yard, the kids were so amused that squirrels love ice cream and that one had been sitting inside our open freezer.

If you live around here and have been to the mall with children (something we rarely do anymore and don’t really enjoy at all usually), you have probably seen the display by the play area of bendable tracks with cars that zip around on the tracks. We were delightfully given one last Christmas. The cars lasted a few days then quit working even with fresh batteries. They weren’t too exciting anymore which meant they disappeared for a few months.

One surfaced a few days ago, but still not working it was quickly given to Kyler, who always seems to get the less desirable cars from his brother. He thought it was great, drove it around and took all the tires off the wheels. What two year old doesn’t put everything in their mouth? Yours you say? Oh how nice for you, our Kyler still puts all sorts of ridiculous things in his mouth. I found him chewing on a tire later, no big deal, I asked him to spit it out and he did, always does. But only one tire. I took the car away and looked for the other tires to no avail.

Skip to dinner time the next evening. Uncle Buzz informs me of a diaper full of sand that needed cleaning, I head outside to take care of that. Planning to just pull the sandy diaper off, I sat Kyler down-quickly figuring out there was much more than sand in there. Leaking out all the sides, I hollered for Rylee to bring some wipes, lots of wipes, actually bring the whole box. The sand-poop mixture was awful. Now I knew where at least one missing tire was. Upon opening the diaper, a fully intact and fully digested tire was sitting inside.

Disgusting indeed, but the real problem? Two tires are still missing.

Karissa

Fires and other firsts

Tonight we had our first fire in our side yard to celebrate the fact that we finally have completed the project (well almost…we’re still missing the top of the arbor).  We added the new fence, finished the fort/slide, added a climbing wall, brought in 6 yards of pea gravel, and built a small outdoor fireplace.  So, Karissa headed off to the store to grab some necessities (marshmallows and roasting sticks) and we roasted the night away.  I was completely impressed with the roasting skills.  Both Rylee and Caleb were doing a tremendous job making mouthwatering nicely browned mallows.  Kyler would put the marshmallow near the flames for about 1 second and bring it back to his mouth, take a bite and repeat step 1.  The big projects are over for now…we are looking forward to many summer nights spent outside with the fire pit.  Any takers?

In other news, Audrey is smiling now.  For the last five days or so she has been responding to her mama and daddy, and I think Dee Dee with the cutest little Audie smiles.  Another first for Audie is that she slept for 6 hours straight, ate, and then went right back to sleep for another 3 (two days in a row now).  I had forgotten what a good night’s rest looks like.  Also, Rylee now puts Audrey to sleep by holding her and gently bouncing up an down on one of our inflatible balls.  It is quite handy having a sweet little girl who adores her little sister.

In the “I’m thirty now” news, it appears that although I am still capable of running a quick 4.5 miles on a whim, my legs hate me for the next three days straight.  Add that to the list.

-Chris

Binkie laughs

We recently traded in our old Mam (Sassy) brand binkies for Gerber Nuk ones that are made without BPA as we’ve read too many reports and stories and articles about it’s questionable safety lately.  I explained to the kids what BPA was and why it was bad.  I gave one old BPA-laden binkie to Rylee for her baby.  Today this is what I heard on that note:

Caleb – “Yay! I found the BPA binkie”

Rylee – “Mama, Kyler took my baby’s binkie earlier and it has BPP in it, he might be sick.” (I assured her he would be just fine, thinking it will take much more than BPA binkie to bring that boy down)

My mother (slightly confused and not in-the-know about our recent binkie change) – “Rylee said Kyler can’t have this binkie (he’s sucking on it as she talks), something about it having BPP?”

So we are doing our best to raise earth-aware, eco-friendly, green children, even if they are a little foggy still on all the details and acronyms.

Karissa

 

A Big Thank You!

I owe my beautiful bride a HUGE thank you for a wonderful Father’s Day. She gave me a wonderful day from the beginning to the end. I woke up and soon found a new pair of jeans and a couple nice short sleeve shirts waiting for me. It was sunny, we went to church for worship, we fed the whole family at Ivar’s for only $18, and spent the rest of the day playing outside with our family (and toss in a little Tiger Woods every now and then).  All in all I could not have asked for a better Father’s Day.  Here are some attempts at a family picture, some seriously fun ring around the posey, and Audrey’s gift to her Daddy…falling asleep on his chest at the end of a beautiful day.  Thank you Jesus.

-Chris

A Season of New

A new decade of life, a new year of marriage and a new member of our family-all in 6 days. No wonder I’ve been just a tad emotional these past 3 weeks. The day Audrey was born, we all sat down to dinner and quiet tears started streaming down my face. I looked at Christopher holding Audrey and the rest of our brood and he said, “Here we are, our first night with a table for six”. I cried some more, then as always one of the kids asked “What kind of tears are those mama?”. I replied, “Happy ones, very happy ones.” I went on to explain to them that I was overwhelmed, in the best way, with the treasures around my dinner table.

There has been this inexplicable sense of expectation and anticipation for me as I approached my 30th birthday, Audrey’s birth and our wedding anniversary. The past year or so has been a challenging one for sure and we’ve had a lot to work on. As we have persevered and struggled our way through, we are emerging into a beautiful place together that we’ve never known before. Not a perfect place, but a place where I think twice before I criticize or tear down with my words, a place where I don’t complain about things around the house that aren’t done, a place where we make an effort to show tenderness even when we’re exhausted-a place where we are stepping forward holding hands instead of holding back.

From the moment we found out we were expecting another little person, I had such a strong sense that her coming would be part of our re-birth and renewal. God impressed on my heart dozens of times that her entrance into our family was symbolic of the new work He was doing in our life together. As He breathed new life into ‘us’, He gave a new life that would become a part of us.

For some people turning 30 or any year older for that matter, is the beginning of the downhill slide to old age. To me, it feels like the beginning of a new era, a fresh start. A chance to enjoy the journey more and to worry less about the small things that don’t really matter. A new season where each day, each moment is a gift.

Karissa

(The photos are new blooms in our yard-isn’t springtime wonderful?)

Projects for Everyone

If you have young kids you need to know about the kids programs that they have at Home Depot. I have been truly impressed each week at the Everett location. Each Saturday morning from 8-9 the store provides an employee (a wonderful lady named Chris in Everett) and free material to build a project. The first Saturday of each month they provide a new project. I am not sure that every store does this, but the one in Everett allows you to come and bring the kids every week and work on a project that they have done in the past if you have already built the current month’s project. Here is the catamaran they built Saturday. In addition they have also built planter box’s, pencil holders, football stools, Nascar racing cars and a castle. So far I just take Rylee and Caleb, however last week we brought two of our neighbors. The kids get their own personalized Home Depot apron to wear and receive a coordinating pin for each project they complete. We usually finish up around 8:40 and head off to our favorite coffee shop – The Spotted Cow – for some hot cocoa. This is becoming a wonderful Saturday morning tradition. 

Daddy’s project this last weekend was fencing in our side yard. Thanks to Nana and Papa, our friends Erik and Kris, and my neighbor Brian, here is what went up on Saturday. I still need to finish off the top of the lattice with a decorative arbor.  The project continues as we are hoping to put down weed barrier and pea gravel and finally finish the play fort with slide and climbing wall. Ambitious, but necessary for our sanity this summer.

Our school project involves teaching Rylee to read. She is chomping at the bit and last night was demanding to read some books by sounding the letters out. She did great. She is a great learner and excited to be able to read. She is doing great already reading 3 or 4 four pages of “mat sat.” and “sam sat.”

On the Audrey front we have two more members of the AFC: our friends Kris and Bekki.  It was so great to see you guys on Saturday!  By the way, make sure you note the big smile Kris is getting from Audrey. All in all it was a great weekend.

-Chris

Audrey’s Firsts

Isn’t it fun to keep track of all those wonderful milestones for our children?  I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time remembering what month this or that happened in the life of our children.  Luckily, I have a beautiful wife who has a steel trap for that type of information.

Audrey experienced a few firsts this week.  We are not talking about the first smile, step, word, or even the first rollover.  I wish we would be celebrating the first night she slept all the way through.  Unfortunately, none of those milestones have been reached.  We will keep you posted on all of that.

This week Audrey outgrew her newborn diapers, got her first stuffy nose, and recieved her first boo-boo.  Who do you think was responsible for giving Audrey her first owie?  It was…(insert drum roll here)…me.  I know, very sad…how coudl you do this Dad?.  I got home from work and saw that she had made some red spots on her face from her fingernails getting a bit long so I thought it was time for another manly moment for Daddy – a little trim for her nails.  So I began to trim her nails as she was sleeping peacefully in my arms.  The next thing I know I hear a little whimper and my heart sank…sure enough there was the tiniest bit of blood as I had just barely got her skin.  I am sure that in our large family of six this will not ber her last boo-boo, but I also know that those boo boos are going to be inconsequential to the amount of love she gets from her Daddy, Mommy, brothers, and sister.

Audrey is growing up and we are cherishing each moment along the way…even the little boo-boos.  I am enjoying the use of this blog to celebrate these little moments in our kids lives.  Those of you with kids, have you discovered a good way to cherish and remember all of the precious moments you share with your children? 

-Chris

A Surprise Visit

A few days ago, Karissa’s sister had her baby shower.  We can’t wait to meet this little one!  Karissa got a call from her mother saying that things were not ready at the house and that she could really use her help to get things set before the shower.  After throwing it into high gear as only a mother of four can, Karissa, Rylee, and Audrey piled in the car and headed down quite early to the shower.  Little did Karissa know that the house was all set and that her mother had fibbed just a bit to hide the fact that Karissa’s other sister Stephanie was home on a whirlwind surprise visit from college for the shower.  It was a great gift for Danielle and the rest of the family.  We didn’t think we were going to get to see her until July sometime.

On Monday, Stephanie came over to spend the day with our little crew.  It was a nice day so they decided to break out the sidewalk chalk that Caleb got from his Auntie in Alabama (Thanks Auntie Carissa!).  At one point during the bedlam, Caleb poured several different colors of sidewalk paint into one jar to make some brownish goo and said “I think it looks like poop…or melted ice cream.”  I am pretty sure that we have never eaten any ice cream that looked like poop, but you know, it’s fun to say poop whenever you get the chance.

-Chris