Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Ok, I know, a month and a half absence probably deserves more explanation....Lately I just haven't been excited to write. The blog feels like a chore to accomplish and that isn't how I want it. Or maybe it just feels overwhelming, I'm not even sure. But tonight I am giving it a go, in hopes that I get into it again. I think the photo bit is especially frustrating because I have been feeling lazier and lazier each month about actually organizing and editing all our photos. So no photos tonight either. Sorry.

So without further ado, here is how my children sleep.

Always on her back, arms crossed behind her head, looking like a pristine princess. Her little lips pout a bit when she sleeps and she is so adorable, it is ridiculous. She doesn't move much and always has her blankets still on, unless she happened too get hot and kicked them off. In actuality, what I want to write about it how she wakes.....

Anytime you wake up Annika, she is nearly always, completely out of control. Since she was very young. She kicks, hits, cries, yells... Nothing I can do calms her once she gets like this. Randomly, she sometimes wakes up happy. I have no idea why. If I am really on top of things, I wake her up and immediately scoop her, plus a blanket, up into my arms. She really likes that and will generally not fuss too much, especially if I carry her upstairs and put her on the kitchen counter so she can pick her cereal.

If Annika wakes up on her own, for ages, she used to come to the bottom of the stairs and cry and cry. She would refuse to walk up the stairs and I'd have to go down and carry her up, otherwise she threw extremely prolonged tantrums. Lately she's been doing better waking up on her own and likes to climb into Saben's bed and look at books with him until one of them hears us moving around upstairs. Huge relief, because she's been doing the crying thing as long as I can remember. But again, sometimes she would be absolutely fine, like one morning a week. If only I knew the magic of that one morning....


Saben is almost always on his belly, legs askance, hands behind his back, in all sorts of weird positions, just like Michael J Fox in "Back to the Future". His blankets are never on him, but I don't think its cause he's too hot, he just moves around a lot.

When I wake Saben up in the morning, it takes him about five seconds to wake and pop up with a huge, alert smile on his face. Seriously, you could not have two more opposite wake-up styles. He is NEVER grumpy, never cries, and he never was like annika at all, even when he was little. He starts chattering, makes jokes and is generally more alert than I am.

When he wakes himself up, same thing. Just reads magazines in bed and then sneaks upstairs to see if we are awake.

I love how different my two kids are, and even though Annika's grumpiness is tiring sometimes...there is something endearing about it...it is so "her".

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cross Country team 2020

Yesterday, Saben had a Jog-a-thon at his school as a PTA fundraiser. Parents were invited to stay and cheer the kids on as they ran and since his class was running right when they got to school, I decided to stay with Annika.

We went outside and the "race" began - two kindergarten classes and a couple first grade ones as well. The kids were so excited and of course all took off sprinting and cutting corners at the beginning, even though they had to run for 30 straight minutes. It was super fun to see their excitement, cheer, clap and they even had music playing loudly like it was all a big party.

Saben ran one lap pretty fast, then sped by us on his second lap. By his third lap he had slowed a bit, I figured he'd get exhausted and be walking in another lap or two. But no....he kept going. And going. I couldn't believe it. Every time he passed we cheered him on and even ran with him a couple times.

He basically ran for almost 30 minutes straight and got the most laps of any kid in his class. Occasionally he would walk for 1/4 of a lap and each time he got a rubber band to count his laps he slowed down to a walk for a few seconds. I was so proud of his determination and completely shocked by his endurance!

I decided the course was about 200m, maybe a tad less and he did 28 laps. So...aprox 1 and 3/4 miles is probably about what he ran.

At the end of the time he was so completely exhausted, he just sat down, wrapped his arms around me and said "I want to go home and take a nap mom". I ran and got him a couple orange wedges immediately and that started to perk him up. By then we really needed to leave - we were running late for Annika's preschool. Of course right at that moment they pull out popsicles for all the kids and Annika starts screaming "POPSICLE!!!!" We fled through the school with her screaming. so fun.

Seriously though, that race made my day, I just couldn't get over how well he did and how earnest he was about the whole thing. So proud of my boy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No more dirty diapers

It is quite possible that I have put the very last diaper on my children. Last night, after weeks of sleeping "dry" in his pull-up, saben slept in underwear for the first time. Annika was dry almost immediately after potty training and has slept in underwear with no accidents for months.

This morning I contemplated moving the diaper pail out of their room and realized I had no remorse or sadness attached to that...unlike every other baby thing we've slowly gotten rid of this year.

For the last 4 months I've felt a sick pit in my stomach everytime I think about the infant things I got rid of in April. Probably one of the hardest "goodbyes" I've ever done and I deeply regretted just sending them off to a garage sale for weeks. (I love it when friends/family takes stuff, hate turning it over to strangers)

I just realized today that I am finally uh...healed...and can think about it somewhat unemotionally again. I remember when our suburban was loaded up, I felt like the last five years of my life were in there and I was getting rid of it all. It was Kyle's birthday present to clean out the attic of all that stuff and he will never know that it was probably the most emotionally traumatizing gift I ever gave him. (definitely more traumatizing than the xbox I got him for christmas)

Thankfully getting rid of the diaper pail will be much easier. Other than the guilt of sticking a huge piece of plastic into the landfill.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Blue House

It has come to my attention that our house has officially won the title of "best house being painted blue right now in our neighborhood" as judged by the guys who work at our neighborhood market.

Yes, you heard right, there are currently THREE houses being painted blue in our neighborhood. The competition was fierce, so first, lets take a look at the runners-up. First there is this beauty, which artfully mingles purple, light blue and blue with seeming random abandon.

Next up is what I like to call "smurf house on steroids". Some have argued our house could also be in the running for "smurf house of the year", but those people seem to have forgotten how turquoise a smurf is. This house immediately catches your eye as you drive up the street and elegantly captures the simple theme of "let's paint everything blue!"

Last but not least, our humble entry, which is still quite blue...but makes me happy everytime I drive up to it and will look amazing when I get some fall leaves planted up near it.

And yes, they are still working on it...I think this is the fourth week of work, although they had some days off here & there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The five year remodel

I decided to do this for my own records and to help myself understand why our latest remodel project has me so exhausted....More pictures to come I hope!


August 2005 - Moved into our house with 3 month old saben. Immediately tore out old carpet in all the rooms, kitchen linoleum, and lowered ceilings they'd drywalled into the living room. Spent the next 3 months patching holes, refinishing the fir floors, painting and somewhat landscaping the front yard. (I'd brought plants from our old house I needed to get in the ground) Lived in our attic room most of the summer & fall.

January 2006 - Rip out the old kitchen cabinets over christmas/new years break. Fix walls, get rid of superfluous doors. Install new EVERYTHING into the kitchen. Make our own concrete countertops which stalled the project for months.

May 2006 - Move into our new kitchen

Fall 2006 - Start working on our backyard, rip EVERYTHING out, build a new fence, remove concrete parking pad, remove old backstairs, all the old grass & plants, build a new patio.

Spring 2007 - Rototill in 10 yards of manure into the backyard, plant new garden, install drip irrigation while 7-9 months prego with Annika.

July 2007 - Annika is born! Start of a nice remodel hiatus....

Fall 2007 - Install Hot Tub

December 2007 - My favorite Blog Post Ever about our yucky bathroom. Spend christmas break emptying out our basement so it can be "finished"

Spring 2008 - Start framing in our basement,

Summer 2008 - Rip out old bathroom upstairs after adding new toilet & sink downstairs. Redo plumbing, water heater, gas lines, electricity, furnace & ducting.

Fall 2008 - Work on gutted upstairs bathroom, new EVERYTHING

Winter 2008 - Basement FLOODS, luckily we hadn't drywalled yet. Realize roof is also leaking. New roof, new gutters to help improve water flow away from basement.

Spring 2009 - Basement is drywalled, paint, carpet installed. Bathroom upstairs is finished!

Summer 2009 Move into new basement!

Fall 2009 - finish up odds & ends in basement, decorate. sort of. Move kids downstairs.

Spring/Summer 2010: Replace all windows on the main floor. Move our bedroom, create an office in the extra bedroom. Repaint both bedrooms. remove windows & doors from our front craftsman style porch.

Fall 2010: Start working on getting our house repainted. Get house scraped, pressure washed and then 2 days before the painters start applying paint, decide to rip off aluminum siding.

And now the work begins...new trim pieces, fixing old boards, more scraping and finally new paint, hopefully before it gets cold and rainy, but who knows. Thankfully we are hiring most of it out this time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Days of School

Saben's first day of school, Annika's was the next day, but we're going to count this picture as "first days" anyways.

S: "Annika, did you make any friends today?"
A: "I don't know...."
S: "Did you learn anyone's name?"
A: "No"
S: "Do you want to make friends Annika?"
A: "Yah"
S: "Ok. Here is what you do. First you start playing with somebody. Then you need to ask them what their name is. Then they might ask you what your name is too! And then you will be friends! And you can maybe even invite them to your birthday party!"

By far my favorite conversation this week, it was soooo cute. I love it when Saben enters his "teaching" mode with Annika, and especially that he always starts it by asking her questions. And he always affirms her if she gets the right answer too. He's done it to teach her about planets, moons and stars and several other topics. So cute.

By now you should know, the pictures only get crazier from here. This is the one I got when I was super serious "Ok, YOU GUYS NEED TO LOOK AT ME AND SMILE. NOW. QUIT MESSING AROUND!"

On Monday, Saben had his first day of Kindergarten. I almost lost it at our orientation day and felt sort of choked up at the first day, but they kept us parents busy showing our kids around the school so I managed to get him dropped off without a single tear.

Of course Saben was super excited, he told me after our orientation day last week "mom, I like kindergarten better than our house" and "Why can't we stay at kindergarten mom?" On the first day he just ran to the lego table and never looked back. When we picked him up, he did remark on how long the day was and said he was ready for a nap practically, but on his second day, he didn't seemed fazed by it at all.

First day of kindergarten, Saben was most excited to tell me about the friend he made. (Enoch) On the second day, he leapt into the car excitedly telling me about this amazing thing called a calculator. He was soooo excited and was trying to figure out if you can type a googol out onto it. He had also drawn this long list of numbers, just like a calculator.

On Tuesday, Annika had her first day of preschool and I had my first 3 hours alone without either kid. Dropping her off was a lot harder. She is most likely one of the youngest in the class. Her preschool changed locations over the summer and it was still messy & chaotic inside. It's functional, but they are obviously still working on it, lots of 1/2 completed projects.

Annika was super excited though. Making her lunch for school was super funny, she was just thrilled by it and wanted everything in her lunch box. Then when we arrived, she got pretty shy and clung to my leg. We did a puzzle together and she told me it was ok for me to leave in five minutes. When I waved goodbye to her from the doorway, she had on her super serious stoic face...you could tell she was trying so hard to be brave but was pretty scared. Of course I did shed a few tears at that point. Saben was always so easy because he was thrilled to be there. I can't imagine how the people with the screaming kids do it.

Annika's "stoic face"
Annika did have a really good time, but she ran to me and hugged me for a long time when I came to pick her up. She told me she played dress-up (as a fairy princess) with the other girls, painted, used playdough and read stories.
As for me...Well I spent my glorious 3 hours alone hacking back all my plants so the painting guys can get to our house. Awesome.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


In case you missed seeing it on her blog, my wonderful "photographer friend" Andi did a photo shoot of me & the kids this summer and you can see the best ones here. I am so delighted with how they turned out!!


Wow, I have a couple huge "summer" posts to complete before the kids start school next week, we have had a wonderful wonderful summer and I want to record some more of it... but for now, just thought I'd pop in to say hi and share what we've been doing this week.

We were visiting a friend last week and for some reason she mentioned that when she taught preschool, they would get old appliances, phones, etc and let the kids take them apart and build things with the parts. I instantly knew (and I think she did too) that Saben would LOVE doing this. I mentioned it to him and it was practically all he talked about for 4 days.

Finally yesterday, I took him to goodwill to find something suitable. The only problem is that goodwill is expensive!! They were asking at least $6 for nearly every small appliance - toasters, phones, etc. And they were super junky, trashed cheap brand ones, not nice at all. (probably $9-$12 brand new) I grabbed one old hideous 80's style phone for him.

We managed to walk out with quite a few other things as well - a couple books, a puzzle for me, a lego checkers set and a double lightsaber toy. I also resisted supreme temptation to buy things just because I thought they were funny. For instance - a puzzle of Jacob from the Twilight series, a widely grinning ceramic monkey and several games featuring characters from cancelled teen tv shows.

Saben learned checkers last week, that was his other highlight of the week - he even managed to beat me first game although I wasn't terribly focused. I think he beat Kelley second game too, although that one was more of a tie. So we were excited to find the lego checkers set.

Anyways, I asked the guy at checkout if they checked to see if these $6 appliances worked or not - apparently they don't even check them, they just expect you to pay the money and then return them if they are broken. What a ripoff. Luckily when I told him we were buying it to just take apart, he dropped the price to $1. He also let us walk out with another $3 worth of stuff annika was holding that I forgot to make her put up on the counter. Awesome.

Saben loved taking the phone apart and now has a huge bag of junk pieces that he will do who knows what with...he didn't really like my idea of putting the phone back together, so we'll just wait and see I guess.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Annika turns 3

Annika's last day wearing her "I'm 2" necklace that was mommy's when she was 2.

Present time, after breakfast. Annika's first gift was a box of mini sugar cereals that her & saben shared for breakfast. We might have a tradition here....cocoa krispy birthday breakfast.

Sweet birthday girl.
We spent the morning preparing for Annika's party. Family and friends were due to arrive at 3pm. We did take plenty of time to play with her new gifts and then sent the kids downstairs to watch Annika's new tinkerbell movie.
Annika was so cute because she just sort of looked at each gift with no emotion. Later, she LOVED them all, but the only one we got a positive response to was the tinkerbell movie and it was mostly because she recognized tinkerbell. We also got her some melissa & doug magnetic dress up dolls, a unicorn puzzle, a kids Uno game, pasting book (kumon), ladybug girl book, curious george soundtrack and putamayo kids singalong CD. Saben got her a Calico Critters playset.
Soon the guests arrived, including our adorable niece and nephew:
We quickly moved the party outside for some water play. Riley & her family came and the kids all had a ball.
Annika loves the water.

Beautiful miss hailey.
Riley made sure she was available to help Annika with anything she needed during present opening time.

For some reason, Saben jumped on the tutus that Grandma Young made for annika and quickly was wearing all three. (one for each arm and one on his head). Later we got all three older kids to model them for us. (Saben with GUNS)

Annika chose My Little Pony plates/napkins so I decorated her cake with a My Little Pony doll. (a hideous new one with gigantic head and weird hair) After the party, Grandma wanted a picture with her three grandchildren. HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Seriously, this is what I live with every day - complete insolence.

Literally the best picture we got out of....15?

Kyle argues that we shouldn't try to make them be normal, these pictures capture their "true" personalities.
After picture time, Annika & Riley decided to go swimming.....naked. It was hilarious, especially since both girls were completely hopped up on sugar.

Annika got quite chilly after swimming in the evening air and I caught a couple pictures of her "cold face".

Riley tried to mimic Annika's cold face and this is what she came up with:

Keep trying Riley, you'll get it someday...

Annika is the funniest, sweetest, most rambunctious three year old and I fall more in love with her each and every day. We love you birthday girl!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fourth of July

We had a wonderful fourth of July weekend this year. On Saturday, we did Saben's lemonade stand again. This year was super different from last year - Last year was so positive, all the neighbors came out, everyone loved the lemonade and people were giving Saben "tips" of extra money...This time we hardly saw any neighbors, the college students didn't even seem to be around and we had several cars that slowed down complain about the price. ($1 a cup, but its fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade!)

Overall it was still a good day, we just made about $15 less than last year, although some generous friends & grandparents stopping by certainly helped our bottom line.
Our generous friends let Kyle ride their bike too.

On Sunday after church, we drove out to the rez for our fireworks and Saben came home with this haul....
Saben was trying to look mean with his fireworks

In the evening we had lots of friends over for a BBQ & fireworks. Super fun group this year!
All the kiddos except Ayda who'd gone to bed by this point. There were also two babies inside, they didn't make it into any pictures.

Saben's love/fear relationship with fireworks
Chris & his blowtorch did the majority of the fireworks lighting. About 15 minutes into lighting fireworks, a car went flying by fast down the street and I had the brilliant idea to stack some boxes in the middle of the intersection as a "roundabout" to slow the cars down. It worked perfectly. (the kids were not in that street, but it still worried me since we were just a few feet from the intersection)
Sparkler time!
Annika the brave

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


We have been doing a babysitting co-op with some friends for the last few months and it has been wonderful. We get 2 weeks of dates & then have to watch five kids one night. The other night when we were babysitting and playing outside and I noticed how lovely the light was so I went to grab my camera.

The first picture thing that happened when I pulled out the camera was that Riley started blatantly picking her nose. To save whatever dignity she might have left after I publish this post, I went ahead and omitted that photo. I told them "Ok, stop picking your nose Riley" and this is what happened:

Mischevious fake nose picking.
The next group of pictures, Annika kept sticking her hand in her mouth. One girl always looks cute while the other looks silly. Finally I got the keeper below, but notice how Ayda was supposed to be in it and is escaping off to the right.....

Nothing was working so I tried the 'ol "Give Riley a hug Annika!" Riley jumped on this one and quickly had Annika in a head lock.

It's still fun at this point.

"Ok Riley, I think that's enough...."

Look at the sheer determination on her face.

"Ok, this time, lets have Annika hug Riley"

This is the best smile I could get out of cutie pie Ayda

Sandbox fun where we actually managed to prevent them from dumping sand on eachothers heads like they normally do. They are especially fond of dumping it on Ayda's head.
Riley's parent's came, and the girls climbed in the chair again. Immediately, Annika started saying something about "I need more room!" and pushed Riley aside.
The battle began.

Is it wrong to laugh and take pictures while your girls are wrestling on a lounge chair?

I think Annika has Riley pinned....
No! Riley, in an amazing comeback, throws Annika to the side!

At this point I had tears streaming down my face, but we finally pulled them apart.
Poor Saben, this is the most entertaining thing he could pull off. Cute for sure but definitely upstaged by the girls.