And the winner is…

At the beginning of the month we had hosted a little contest on who could guess the weight, length, and birth date of little Melissa Jane Rich.  Well she decided to say hello to Mom and Dad last week and we now have our winners.  Yes, winners, because no one got everything correct.


Melissa Jane Rich

Born July 8th, 2009

8 lbs 7 oz 21 inches

People who got the birth date correct – Nate and Monica (some inside info?), Stephanie (who joined the contest on July 7th at 9:43pm)

People who got the length correct – Monica (again with the inside info), Bekki, and Chris (oh snap, that’s me!)

And the winner of the one that I think is hardest to predict, little MJ’s weight – Pat with a guess of 8lbs 6oz.

Great job everyone.  Now it is up to Karissa to figure out who she wants to give the prize to.  Congratulations to Nate and Monica, you both have a beautiful daughter to treasure forever.  We can’t wait to meet her!

A little game


Our dear friends Nate and Monica are expecting a baby girl any day now.  We are so excited to meet this little girl, but we will have to be satisfied with pictures for now as they live on the East Coast.  Nate has been a great friend for many years and I am delighted that he is now a daddy. (We are still not sure how he landed such a great wife!)  The official due date is July 2nd so if you are going to play in this little game, you might have to act fast.  For Monica’s sake, I am hoping this is a really short contest.

I thought it would be fun to see who can come closest to guessing the baby girl’s birth weight and length.  In case you don’t know Nate and Monica, I have this picture of the two of them from their wedding, nearly two years ago.  So good luck, I will announce the results as soon as I get them.  Unfortunately there is no trip to Vegas as a prize, simply the joy in knowing that your mad prediction skills won you a contest.

So whether you know Nate and Monica or not, go ahead and leave a comment indicating your guess on the baby’s birth weight and length.  Closest to the pin wins.  Good Luck!

“Root, Root, Root for the Mariners…”

Ever since Rylee and Caleb started T-Ball, Kyler has been beyond fascinated with everything to do with baseball, especially the Mariners.  Anything that can fit in his hands that he can swing becomes a bat.  So often when I come home from work I hear him say “Daddy, throw me the ball” as he is holding up a golf club, stick, gigantic pencil, or a drum stick.  I can’t wait for him to be old enough to play on a team with the Y, he will have so much fun.  Until then, it is backyard baseball for Caleb, Kyler and I.

With Kyler’s birthday coming up, we thought it would make his day to go to the Mariner’s Game.  We got some tickets and will be headed to Safeco Field to watch the M’s play baseball.  Kyler could not be more excited.  Karissa got him a Mariner’s hat and a t-shirt that he has not stopped wearing since he put them on.  We have a little baseball fan on our hands and it is a lot of fun.  Here he is with his hat and the schedule showing you when we are going to the game.

Kyler M's Hat
Kyler M's Sched.

See you at the field!  Go Mariners!

Father’s Day

I have been a Daddy for over six years now and I love every minute of it.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not all roses, especially what loads up in the diaper from time to time, but being a Daddy is one of the greatest joys of my life.  Four kiddos get to claim me as their daddy whether they like it or not.  Rylee, Caleb, Kyler, and Audrey are the fab four in my life.  Each one has my heart completely.

This year for Father’s Day each of the kids got me something that they thought I would really enjoy.  Here, in visual form is what they came up with (they know their Daddy so well):



Rylee’s Gifts


Caleb’s Gift


Kyler’s Gift

This would have been more than enough to make my day, knowing that the kids each thought of something that their Daddy would love.  (And I loved them all!)  However, Karissa had one more gift for me.  She made me a photo book from Shutterfly.  As I opened the pages and looked at the pictures and read what she wrote, I was overwhlemed by the amount of love, support, and adoration I receive from my family.  They are the best.  Thank you so much Rylee, Caleb, Kyler, Audie, and of course, thank you my love, you are a gift from God, all of you!

Look out Ichiro

Although the Mariner’s have taken the last two games from the Angels, they look like a team that is in a rebuilding mode.  They could use some help around the field in a few positions.  Here are a couple kids that just might give a few Mariner’s a run for their money out on the ball field.

In the field

Caleb and Rylee playing the infield, ready to make a play to first base.  While on defense, every ball that is put into play goes over to first base.  Each inning the every player gets to hit and advance one base for each at bat.  The last player gets a “home run” clearing the bases.  Both Rylee and Caleb had multiple opportunities to field a ground ball and throw it to first base.  They both did great!

Caleb at bat
Rylee at bat
C and R running the bases

I got to pitch again to the kids and had a great time.  My ERA is through the roof, but that is a good thing!  Rylee and Caleb both seem to be having so much fun.  I am delighted to see how both kiddos adapt so well to the organization of the team sport.  They are even making new friends.  After the game today Caleb asked me where one of the boys who was missing was.  I love it!  I also really enjoy getting to coach my kids and partner with a great organization serving our community.  The kids are having fun and Karissa and I are getting to know the other players parents.  At one point in the game, AGAIN we caught Caleb and Rylee giving each other a congratulatory hug on first base.  The big smiles on these moments as well as seen throughout the whole game make the day so much fun.

Chicken Cam

So we have not had a chicken post in a while so I thought I would give you a glimpse into the life of a chicken raised on the Strovas Farm by Farmer Rylee, Farmer Caleb, and Farmer Kyler (Audie is not up to farmin’ just yet).

First a few introductions need to be made:

Farmer Rylee

Farmer Rylee

Farmer Caleb

Farmer Caleb

Farmer Kyler

Farmer Kyler

Red Headed

Red Headed

Bubba Scratchin'



Fluff (the white one)

Those are the main players in this world we live in.  The three chickens listed above are by far the favorite.  However, it was quite a strange thing to hear, “Daddy, let’s kill Red Headed tonight!” from my sweet farmer Rylee.  The story goes like this. we have been talking about if we have any Roosters that we are going to either eat them or sell them, but we certainly are not keeping them.  It has been easy to tell that Red Headed is a rooster for quite some time now, but it was not until the last few days that Mr. Red Headed has been testing out his pubescent vocal chords a bit.  So tonight, we listened in a bit while said chicken gave it a go for about five or six crows.  Everyone had a good laugh about it because it just doesn’t quite have the full rooster strength in it just yet.  Karissa then says that we need to do something about that rooster and I say that we need to kill it or sell it.  Rylee gets super excited because she thinks she needs to see how we are going to kill this chicken.  Don’t worry, Red Headed is still with us (I personally would rather sell Mr. Red Headed on craigslist).  It was quite an amusing time, you can imagine.

Fluff has been Rylee’s favorite chicken since they were chicks.  Even before Karissa or I could tell Fluff from the rest of the yellow chicks Rylee could always find Fluff.  Now that Fluff has grown into her (we hope it’s a her) fully white self, Fluff quite remarkable in comparision to the rest of the flock.

Red Headed got his name from being the first rooster through puberty.

Bubba, quite the  name Caleb gave this lovely hen, is not only his favorite, but also Karissa’s.  Bubba is the one chicken that we have that will lay eggs with a bluish or greenish tinge to the shell.

So those are the main players in this daily chicken saga.  Here are a couple pictures that share a bit about their life as chickens in the coop or out of the coop in their 250sf world:

Life in the Coop

Life in the Coop

Life Outside the Coop

Life outside the Coop

Here is a quick breakdown of their day:

8:00am – Farmer Rylee, who has been begging to let the chickens out does so and gives them fresh water

The rest of the day is filled with going in and out of the coop to rest, scratch the ground and look for worms, eat, drink, poop, poop some more, get picked up by one of the little farmers, have a major escape run into the main yard because thanks to one of the little farmers forgetting to shut the gate of the pen when they were done holding chickens, scratch, eat, drink, poop, poop some more, get picked up by a curious neighbor kid, scratch, eat, drink, poop…

Every once in a while a chicken is selected by Farmer Rylee to be held, sung to, rocked to sleep, and placed in the little playhouse for a nap.  The amazing thing is the chicken actually falls asleep and rests on the ground for a real nap.  Tonight, I heard Rylee carrying a chicken singing her own song sung to the tune of “God of this City.”  The little chicken fell right asleep.  HILARIOUS!

8:30pm – stand outside the coop because it is getting dark and the farmer’s have not yet turned ont the heat lamp for them, if the farmers don’t get the idea, they start to make some concerned noises until someone clues in on what is going on.

9:00pm – one by one all of the chickens head into the coop for the night.  They all snuggle right up against each other on the floor or on their roosting poles.

9:15ish – one of the farmers tucks them in at night by taking an official head count and closing up the coop.

They are a lot of fun and have changed quite a bit since they were baby chicks only about 7 weeks ago!

Another beautiful day

How could it not be beautiful when it started with donuts, followed by demolishing our hazardous back deck, coaching Rylee and Caleb’s first t-ball game, celebrating Stephanie’s graduation from nursing school, set up and played in the summer pool and ended with a roaring fire in our fire pit.  Of course, the fact that it was another glorious day in the Pacific Northwest did not hurt anything.

Our back deck was on it’s last legs.  Between the rotting wood and the insects that were eating their way through some of the posts, the deck was more hazard than benefit.  So, we decided it was time to do something about it.  Step one…take it down.  The kids were up early, as usual, and after some donuts, we decided that we could begin our demo at 9am.  Hopefully that was kosher with the neighbors.  Everyone pitched in and it was pretty much gone by noon.  Demo’ing  a deck is actually a lot of fun, hard work, but fun.  I probably should have prefunked with a little ibuprofen…

May 2009 187
May 2009 191

After lunch, the kiddos grabbed a quick nap before shuffling out the door to their first t-ball game.  We had only one practice before this so we did not really know what to expect.  According to the YMCA rulebook, each kid at bat gets 3-4 coach pitch balls and then hits off the tee if they are not able to make contact with the coaches pitches.  We played three innings with each kid from each team getting one at-bat during the inning.  As the coach, I was definitely feeling the pressure to make sure each kid got a hit from my pitches instead of having to hit from the tee.  As it turned out all the kids did great.  Only one kiddo needed the tee each time.  Rylee and Caleb had a great time.  Caleb was totally into the game both on defense and up to bat.  Rylee was not as into it, but would tell you she really enjoyed it.  Karissa and I were unsure how Caleb was going to do in this organized team sport, since he did not make it past one practice with soccer.  He was amazing!  He had a smile on his face the whole time, got a couple really good hits, and even fielded some balls.  At one point in the game, Rylee had hit a ball and made her way to first (there are not outs in this league) and Caleb was up to bat.  He swung and hit a great shot past the short stop.  As he ran to first base, Rylee was not paying much attention and was there on first base still when Caleb arrived.  Rylee and Caleb gave each other a big hug before one of the parents encouraged her on to second base.  Priceless.

After the game, we loaded up the car and quickly went to Steph’s graduation open house.  We are all quite proud of her, you can read about it here.

We also set up the pool in the front yard for the first pool day of the year.  Sorry about the fuzzy pictures, but our sweet Kyler had grabbed the camera at some point during the day and took about 15 pictures.  He must have gotten his cute little fingers on the lens.

May 2009 194
May 2009 197

A great day full of hard work and fun.  Now that we have demo’d the back deck, we actually have to do something about it.  We are currently looking into a small landing with perimeter stairs going down to the yard landing on a patio made from pavers.  If you have any creative ideas let us know!

Just Heard Thursday


It’s Thursday again and we have been collecting some of the funny things we heard our kids say this week.  We would also love to read about what your kids are saying too.  We just get such a kick out of posts like these.  Here is some of what made us smile this week:


Caleb – “Mommy, how come I did not get to go with you when Audrey was born?”

Mama – “Well, you were a little too young.”

Caleb – Sigh.  “Next time can I PLEAASE come?”

Mama – “Sure.”


Caleb – “Mommy, when I was watching that movie (Homeward Bound), I almost cried.”

(As he is telling this to his mama, he begins to actually cry about how sad/happy the movie was)


Songs that Kyler makes up at bedtime…seriously people, he is the cutest kid at bedtime.

“I like my Dad…my awesome Dad…he my favorite guy…I like my Dad…”

“My mom is cool…I love my Mom…My mom is cool…I love my Mom…”

(all songs come with a similar beat and bobbing of the head)


Caleb – “My legs tell me to get out of bed because they want to play because they are not tired!”

Rylee – “My legs say stay in bed, we are sooo tired.”

Daddy – “Kyler, what do your legs say when they are in bed?”

Kyler – “My legs say go sleep with Mama.  Snuggle.”


Rylee – Daddy, guess what?

Daddy – “What?”

Rylee – “I am going to lose my tooth tonight!”

Daddy – (thinking this was just one more stall tactic before getting into bed)  “Great honey, now keep working on it and who knows, maybe it will come out tonight.”

20 minutes later after Audrey is already asleep in her room

Rylee – “See Daddy?” (as she quietly comes out of her dark room with a bloody mouth and something in her hand)

Daddy – “Well, I guess you were right.  Nice work, you lost your second tooth!”


Mama – “Kyler, did you try to have a popsicle last night?”

Kyler – “Yes.  I try but not get it open.  I try knife, I try tools, but I could not get it open.  Hrmmph…(followed by the classic Kyler furrowed brow look).”  Definitive proof that it WAS Kyler! As if we didn’t know:)



What have your kids been saying lately?  Leave some quotes in the comments below, or post them on your own blog (you can even use our logo and link back here).

Happy Thursday!

Sweet Kyler

Near the end of Mother’s Day, we thought it would be great to get all the kids tucked into bed and then watch a movie.  The plan – I would head to the local Red Box with Kyler and Karissa would get Audrey down (Rylee and Caleb were already tucked in for the night having made the choice to forgo naps).  I got to the Red Box with Kyler and was about to rent Benjamin Button, when I thought I should give Karissa a call because there was one other movie that I thought she might prefer – next thing I know Kyler is happy as can be having pulled “Bride Wars” out of the Red Box and heading back to the van.

We return home and find out that Audrey is still up, apparently choosing to forgo sleep.  We get Kyler into bed and then start the movie.  We figured she would fall asleep in our arms sooner than later.  As it turned out she was a little ball of energy for the entire movie.  Talking away, playing with Maggie, and snuggling with mama and daddy.  She was even more entertaining than the movie.  Near the end of the movie I was able to get Audrey tucked in and finally had all four babes in bed…so we thought.

I come down the hall to hear Karissa say: “Where’s Kyler?” with a fairly concerned tone.  I immediately rush to his room, open the door, and see our sweet boys both in bed sleeping away.  I look to Karissa to try to figure out what put her on alert and follow her to the kitchen where I saw this scene:

Exhibit A


Two unopened and melted popsicles found on the kitchen floor in front of the freezer.

Exhibit B

A binkie left behind at the scene and a knife taken from a drawer in the kitchen that was left open.  Presumably, the knife was used to unsuccessfully open the aforementioned popsicles.

Apparently while we were watching the movie, trying to hear it over the sound of Audrey laughing and squealing Kyler had quietly snuck out of bed, down the hall, into the kitchen to find something to eat.  Like any two year old, he went straight for the grape popsicles.  Unfortunately for him, his sweet little hands were not able to get either of the popsicles out of the package.  So he got a knife out of the drawer and after a CSI worthy investigation we’ve concluded that he unsuccessfully tried to cut open the popsicles.  How do we know it was him, you ask?  Note the binky on the table.  As Kyler is the only kiddo in the house who is into binkies, the evidence mounts up against him.

Fifteen minute assembly…

…yeah right!


Maybe if you had already done it once or twice, but doing it the first time took probably a total of 120 minutes.  However, now that I have done it, I probably could narrow that time down to 30-45 minutes.  15 minutes?  I don’t think so.  Who comes up with these times anyway?

With all the bike riding that we do in our cul-de-sac and on rides out and about, we figured it was time to get Caleb a bike that actually fit him and his skill set.  The current 14″ bike that he had was long overdue to be replaced.  Not only were the tires practically balled, but because the wheels were so small, even if he was pumping his legs considerably harder and faster than Rylee, he could not keep up with her on her 18″ bike.

So we got him an 18″ bike with 4 pegs for his birthday.  It is actually a freestyle BMX type bike that he might actually learn to do tricks with.  He can stand on the pegs and even rotate his handlebars around 360 degrees.  Out of all of our kids, I can envision him pulling off some of those crazy stunts sometime down the road.  After all, he was the one that was carving sweet turns on his razor scooter before he was 2.  Happy Birthday Caleb, let’s go for a ride!

Well, it didn't take him too long to figure out what to do with the new pegs. Nice trick pal! So much for "sometime down the road."
Using his "pegs" like his big brother.
Using his "pegs" like his big brother.