Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, Cole!

My sweet little boy turned 4 yrs old last week. I can't believe he's so big. We woke up early to open presents. The big hits of the day were a batmobile with a batman, superman and wonderwoman (for Claire, of course) that fit inside and then a bat-jet from his grandparents as well. Both vehicles make loud noises and shoot things out of them, all of which is apparently essential for boy toys. He and Claire played with them all morning until Claire had to go to school. She convinced me to let her just go to school for a half-day so she could play with Cole and their superheroes again this afternoon. I figured, hey, she's already going to full-day school as a kindergartner, why not let her still have some fun.

For dinner Cole wanted pizza and we decided to take it to the mall to eat it and then go to Coldstone for ice cream afterwards. When we got home we still had to eat the cake I'd made! I'd made cupcakes to bring to his preschool that I decorated with batman, superman, wonderwoman and robin logos. I made a tiny cake out of the rest of the batter and put all the logos on it, as requested by the birthday boy.

On Saturday we went to Build-a-Bear for his "party" - both kids just invited one friend since it's so dang expensive so it wasn't much of a party, but Cole didn't seem to mind. The kids have been wanting to go to there forever and they had a great time.

This year I want to copy something my friend does and say all the reasons I love my kids and spouse on their birthdays. So here goes.

I love Cole's hands. They're very little (he got my hands) and soft. I just think they're so sweet. I also love his eyes. They're unlike any eyes I've seen before. They're blue, but with a ton of yellowish/brown in them and they're almost stripey. I also love his gut. He was making it stick out the other day and I swear he looked pregnant. It was hilarious. I love his laugh. I love his personality. He's so funny. He's always making us and other people laugh with his weird little antics. He's got a random little mind (like his father) but is incredibly expressive (like his mother) which is a great mix. He is always telling me how he is feeling. I get a running dialogue everyday of what is going on in his brain. He's as talkative as a girl, in fact more talkative than Claire. I also love that he's a deep thinker. He's always asking me questions, one example being when he asked me if the toys in heaven are all golden. It's near impossible to read a book to him because every single page he asks a different question about something that's going on in the story or the pictures. He has a very strong imagination, and makes up the most inventive and detailed stories. Sometimes this does him more harm than good, though, as this imagination can also create very real and vivid monsters at night! I also love how sensitive he is. He's sensitive to music, especially. He often has to watch movies on 'mute' because otherwise he'll get too scared by the music. He's also often asked me if certain songs are 'sad songs' or 'church songs' and told me he could tell because they 'felt sad' or 'felt like church'. I also love how snuggly he is. He wants to snuggle with me everyday. Even if he's playing and I ask him to snuggle me, he'll stop whatever he's doing and come give me snuggles.

I love my little Coley-man. It's amazing how sweet life becomes when you have a little boy to raise.

I'm including a few home videos that show Cole's funny little personality. Enjoy!

Friday, February 15, 2008

For my daddy

My dad keeps asking to see a video of Ava walking. So here it is, Daddy!

Afternoon Church

Afternoon church is hard. We can usually get Ava to take a little nap before church so she's not a complete disaster, but Cole is always wiped out by the time we get home. Here's a shot of Cole after Grant brought him in from the car where he'd fallen asleep. He slept like this for an hour without moving a muscle, even when Ava came over and started clawing his face.

When Hell Freezes Over...

Yes, I think hell has officially frozen over and I'm living in it. We have had so much snow that I can't even remember what grass looks like. It is beyond ridiculous. Here's some pictures from the latest white-out blizzard. Grant was shoveling and the kids were trying to play in it. We walked over to our neighbors, the Pothiers (who live just seven houses down the street), for chili that night and it took like an hour to get there. The wind was blowing so hard that we couldn't see anything and the snow in some areas was almost as high as Cole. The kids were crying the whole way. Ahhhh, Wisconsin!

A Coat for All Seasons

Ava loves her coat. She cries when anyone takes it off of her and as a result, often walks around with it on all day. This picture is an example of the many mornings when she is still in her pjs but insists on wearing her coat (and often her boots) around the house.

When she's not wearing it, she's usually carrying it.

She often wants everyone else to wear their coats too and cries until we, if not put them on, at least hold them. Grant, of course, thinks it's because she's too cold. Or because she's bored and wants to go outside. I keep telling him that I don't think one-year-olds think this way; I think she just likes it. It's just like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. It hasn't been a problem so far since it has been nothing but freezing cold here. But, come summer I hope we aren't having to carry around a winter coat everywhere. Maybe she'll be attached to her flip flops by then.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love Fest '08

I woke up Valentine's Day morning to the kids screaming, "Mom!!! The Easter Bunny came!!!!" They apparently had forgotten that Mom and Dad give them stuff for Valentine's Day. They knew Santa only came on Christmas, so by default I guess the Easter Bunny seemd the only other viable option. Makes sense, I guess. Gran'ts always out-of-town at a convention in Vegas for Valentine's Day, which is a bummer for us, but I did my best to make the day fun. I gave the kids the aforementioned candy that they woke up to and then dyed their cereal milk red. I also followed a tradition from Grant's family and wrote all the reasons I love the kids on paper hearts that I taped on the wall. Then, for dinner I cut their pizza into heart shapes with a cookies cutter and we made sugar cookies. I was very proud of my cuteness; the kids, however, were just marginally impressed. One day they'll appreciate me, right?

I didn't get any shots of Claire before she went to school, but I got some of Cole and Ava:

Cole had a little Valentine's Day program at his preschool and I was quite excited to hear him sing the cute songs they had prepared. Unfortunately, this is as "cute" as Cole got:

When they started singing, he started yelling, "Blah, blah, blah" which is why his tongue is sticking out in two of those shots. For some reason, he was determined to not particpate the way he was supposed to. After the first song I whispered to him that he wouldn't get anymore Valentine's candy if he didn't sing normally. So, for one brief moment he had a pleasant face:

But then, he laid down on the floor for the rest of the song. It was his way of still not cooperating, even though he "technically" sang the song "normally" because he was singing all the words. Does anyone else think I might have a problem on my hands when he's a teenager?

At least he cooperated for a picture with Ava:

This is Claire with her favorite Valentine from school - a Superman tattoo (she and Cole have been obsessed with superheroes lately).

And here's Ava with the two suckers she fought tooth and nail for from Claire's candy stash. Claire finally gave up trying to take them from her and just got herself another one - she's a good sport.

Hope you all had a love-filled day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Four Things

I sent this in an email, but thought I'd add it to my blog, too.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. shoe "salesman" (Famous Footwear)
2. singing waitress
3. receptionist/secretary
4. photographer

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. Sound of Music
2. Titanic
3. French Kiss
4. Emma
(and many Disney movies, too)

Four Favorite TV shows
1. The Office
2. American Idol
3. Lost
4. Pushing Daisies
5. Chuck (I had to add one more, sorry!)

Four Places I have been
1. Europe (Paris, Vienna, Rome, Venice, Budapest, Prague, Geneva, Interlochen, Saltzburg)
2. Hawaii
3. Cozumel/Mexico
4. Cayman Islands

Four Places that I would like to visit
1. France (again - I want to travel all over the country, especially the south, on the Mediterranean)
2. Engalnd
3. Italy (again)
4. Hawaii (different islands than Ouahu)

Four People who email me from time to time
1. Shannon
2. Jana
3. Kerstin
4. Kristen

Four things I'm looking forward to in the coming year
1. Moving into a new house!
2. Utah trip in the summer (it will have been 3 years)
4. The Twilight movie (hope it comes out this year like it's supposed to)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley

The leader of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons), passed away last Sunday. I would like to pay whatever small tribute I can to this great man. He has been a strong influence in my life and on my testimony. President Hinckley has been the prophet as long as I have been truly active in the church. For some of those years he wasn't the actual prophet, but the prophets that he was under were so ill that he was the only leader I really saw. I loved his sense of humor, as did everyone. He always seemed to brighten the somewhat serious mood of General Conference and anything else I ever saw him speak at. I think that's part of what made me love him so. I often take life and the gospel, in particular, way too seriously. President Hinckley would change my perspective, lighten my load, make me feel loved and accepted by him and by God. Nothing could have been more helpful or meaningful to me. He helped me to feel and believe in God's love for me, something with which I have always struggled. As I've been watching his funeral and memorial on t.v., I've been filled with deep love and gratitude for this man who gave so much to me and to all members of this church. His life makes me want to be a better person, more loving, more humble, more focused on what matters, more committed to the gospel. I love the description of him used today, "He wore out his life in service to the church." I hope I can become more of what his life exemplified.