Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family!  We hope this past year has been an exciting one for you.  Here is what our little family has been up to.

Jillian is now 5 years old!  She started her final year of preschool this fall (she's been in preschool for a year and a half now) and has made some amazing progress.  Her speech and vocabulary are spectacular and it's a delight to hear all about her imagination.   She got her first haircut in January and another one in July.  She loves having "fancy hair" and is usually patient enough with me.  In July, she got to spend a few days at Lake Chelan with Granny, Grampa, Auntie Katie and Uncle Andy.  Right around her birthday in November, she started reading!  She loves to do art projects, especially with Granny, and is adept with several different mediums.  She has grown about 4 inches in the last year, but hasn't put on any weight, so she's quite the slender girl nowadays.  It's surprising to a lot of people, because she was such a chubby baby.  She really has become a beautiful girl, inside and out.

Jason turned 2 in June and is soooo very two years old.  He is crazy verbal, talking and teasing us all the time.  He really loves to be silly and tease.  He is strong, both physically and mentally.  This kid has a will of his own and makes sure everyone knows it!  He is very active, running, climbing, yelling, driving his cars all over, wrestling, and more.  He has been an adorable big brother with Kayla.  He gets very concerned about her if she's upset, wants to be with her when she wakes up and all together just loves her to pieces.  He is very much a Mama's Boy, and prefers to be with me over anyone else, but he's warmed up to others quite a bit over last year.  He even got to have a sleepover at Granny & Grampa's a couple weeks before Ducky was born; lucky dude.  We gave potty training a try in August and he wasn't completely ready for it, but he still uses the toilet a couple times a day.  We'll try again in a couple months.  He can be a handful, but he really is a tenderhearted little boy with charm to spare.

Our newest addition, Kayla, arrived in June, blazing her own trail.  She is an incredibly sweet and almost unbelievably happy baby.  If you haven't heard about her birth, you should totally read this.  You can't stop this girl!!  She has her own timetable and it doesn't matter what you want, she's doing it her way.  She has done great with nursing and actually is the first of our kids to make it to 4 months without needing to use formula.  Since we're separated so much less, she's been able to be 100% breastfed (or at least, had breast milk; she's had some in bottles when I was at work or away for the evening).  She got her first tooth at 4 1/2 months, after starting to teethe at 3 months.  At 5 1/2 months, she started army crawling!  She can get up onto her hands and knees and rock, but hasn't quite gotten it all coordinated for hands and knees crawling yet.  But she sure gets around and into everything.  She continues to defy expectation by being the first baby we've ever seen master Downward Facing Dog (yoga pose).  I don't imagine she'll be a late walker like her older siblings. ;-)  She's now 6 months old and got her first taste of food Christmas night.  The mashed bananas weren't thrilling to her, but it was fun for her to get a chance to try them.  I love waking up each morning to her smiles; her happiest time is right after she wakes up.  She is so smiley and happy; she's a joy and a light in our lives.

Steve spent the first half of the year at home with us, while going to school for his MBA, and then in July, he got a job!  He was hired by a dental supply company to do accounts receivable.  He's been there for a few months and it's going great.  Almost everything about his job is great, the hours, the location, the management and other employees.  If it just paid more, we'd be content to stay there forever.  But for right now, it's fabulous.  As of this month, he has completed 5 of 8 quarters for his MBA program.  Everything is on track from him to graduate at the end of the summer!  We're quite excited for that to happen and for us to move on to whatever is our next chapter in life.

Aimee has been busy, wearing many different hats over the year.  For the first few months, I worked 20-40 hours a week, while gestating Ducky.  This pregnancy was the hardest, physically, because there was a lot of pain in my right hip, which affected pretty much everything.  But luckily, it resolved once the baby was born.  If you ask what the highlight of the year was, I will say, without hesitation, that it was catching my own baby.  It was the single coolest experience of my life.  Now that Steve is working full time, I am finally getting to be a full time stay-at-home mom.  For a couple months, I worked on Saturdays, but was furloughed for the winter, so I'm not working at all currently.  It's been actually really really nice to get to spend the time with the kids.  It's been both an adjustment to three kids and an adjustment to being home full time.  For our whole marriage, excepting maternity leaves, I've worked at least part time (evenings and Saturdays).  But now that I'm home full time, I've become a much better housekeeper. ;-)  I am still cake decorating when I get time, and have branched out into sewing and other crafts as well.

February saw our family head to Texas for Steve's sister's wedding.  We got to spend 6 days with our Texas family, which was wonderful.  Some of them had not met Jason yet, and we had been missing them all.  Erin & Charles were a gorgeous couple, and instead of having bridesmaids & groomsmen, they had all their nieces and nephews be their 'attendants'.  The five little girls got to wear beautiful formal red dresses and the five little boys wore tuxedos.  It was even cuter than it sounds.

This year has been one of big changes for our family.  We've grown to a family of 5, Steve got a new job and I am staying at home now, and all the kids are learning and growing each day.  It's amazing how one more kid really changes the family dynamic.  We are very blessed to have such a wonderful family and life, with so many lovely friends & family.  We love you all and wish you a most Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October so far

Since I am not very good at detailing our adventure very often, I'm just going to do a big blast of photos and the stories with them.

Steve was cuddling the big kids on the couch one night and it was so cute I had to take a picture.  But I had to add Kayla in the mix too.  Awww, my family is so adorable. 

Kayla has been getting so strong and wanting to play and jump lately, that I pulled out the ExerSaucer to give her a test run.  She's still a little too small and wobbly, but she gets the idea of it.  We all look forward to when she gets big enough to play in here more.

I made homemade, totally from scratch Chicken Soup a couple weeks ago.  I made the broth then the soup.  It was a ton of work, I had never cut up a whole chicken before and it was really hard!  But it was soooooo tasty.  I'll probably do it again, just with better planning. :-)

As I've said before, Jason just adores his little sister.  One morning, the big kids were up with me while Kayla was still asleep in my bed.  After a bit, she woke up and started fussing.  Jason heard her, jumped up and said "I go see Kayla!" and ran off to my room.  I followed him a minute later and found him, having climbed up, entertaining his baby sister with his "babies". 

She loves him just as much and was happy and smiling at him.  When I came in, he laid down with her and told me "I take a nap with Kayla."  So I got a picture of that too.  :-)

 My three cuties, all playing together on the floor.

In the middle of the month, my college best friend, Racine came up from Utah.  We hadn't seen each other in 5 1/2 years!  Since before I got pregnant with Jilly!  She flew in Friday morning, the kids and I picked her up, then we spent the day with our friend Val and her son Harry.  That night Racine went back down to Seattle to meet up with her husband, who had taken the train up from Portland where he'd been all week.  I had to work Saturday, so we couldn't see them then, but I was determined to get more time with Racine and get to meet her husband.  So Sunday morning, we were heathens and went down to Pike Place Market with them.  My kids loved walking with Racine & Tony.  Jilly went back and forth between them, and Jason wanted to hold Racine's hand.  If she wasn't available, then he'd hold Daddy's hand, but no one else, and Racine was by far his favorite.  I can't blame them for wanting to be seen with our own "Turkish Delight".  ;-) 

Racine pointed out this pig, which I don't remember seeing before, so I had to get a picture of it.  Even though our time was short with Racine & Tony, it was super awesome seeing them!  We determined not to let another 5 1/2 years go by before we see each other again.

It's been getting colder and wetter lately and the other day, it was really gross when it was time to take Jilly to the bus.  I needed to keep Kayla warm and dry, but my coats aren't big enough to fit around both of us (when she's in the wrap).  So I pulled out Jilly's "bunny suit" and put it on Kayla.  Kayla was much happier than Jilly ever was in it.  It's super soft and fuzzy and keeps my little one safe from the elements.  She's about to get too tall for it (it's a 0-3 mos, so no wonder), so I bought a new pram for her to wear.  Gotta keep my Ducky warm this winter!

Jilly and I went to get her Halloween costume.  She has been asking to be a ballerina, so we got her a leotard and tights.  It was more than I would typically spend on a costume, but I know she'll get lots of use out of it.  I bought a slightly bigger size than she likely needs so that it would last a long time.  Hopefully we'll be able to get her into a dance class in the next while.  When we got home, she wanted to try it on, so I let her and put her hair up in a bun.  She danced for us as soon as she got it put on.

Jason was playing in his room and pulled on his Cookie Monster hat.  It was hilarious because he had it pulled down over his face entirely.  Hehehehe.

We went to a party at Juliet's house the other night.  Her husband Kelly just built a new music studio in their basement.  At the party, a bunch of his musician friends were down there with him, jamming.  Jilly was draw like a magnet to them.  She found the ukulele and loved it.  When it was time to go, she freaked out and sobbed for like 20+ minutes (even after we got home) because she refused to believe that she had her own ukulele at home.  Nothing would soothe her until I finally dug it out of the closet and showed it to her.  At the party,  she danced and sang and played every instrument she could get her hands on.  That's my musical girl.  :-)

One day the kids and I had the car and while we were waiting for Steve to come out of work, I nursed Kayla.  Once she finished, she played on my lap for a bit.  Looks like she's ready to drive!  ;-)

Jilly had a great time showing off her mad dance skills.  Jason wanted in on the action too. 

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Jason showing off his ever expanding verbal skills.

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Jilly jamming out at the party.


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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Kayla's Blessing

We had Kayla's blessing day picked out for a couple months before she was born.  The first Fast Sunday after her due date was 4th of July weekend and we knew she'd be here by then, for sure!  I found out my friend Janell and her family were going to be in Washington that weekend as well and it made for the perfect time to meet up.  I was even able to convince another friend of ours to come up and visit from Oregon.  The plans were in the works well before Kayla herself arrived.  It ended up surprising us all that she was only 2 weeks (well, 13 days) old when she was blessed, but she was still older than my sister who was 6 days old when she was blessed!

Kayla wore the same dress that me, my sister and Jilly wore for our blessings.  My mom made it when she was pregnant with me and it is gorgeous.  Because we waited until (chubby) Jilly was 2 1/2 months old to bless her, the dress didn't really fit and we could only do up the top button in the back.  She had a big open square of her back hanging out.  We figured Kayla being so little would fit perfectly in it.  I hadn't changed her into the dress until we got to church because it's too fluffy for the car seat (and I wanted to minimize her chances of blowing out all over it too).  We got to church right before Sacrament Meeting started, later than I had planned, so I was sitting there trying to get her in it, but it wasn't working right.  I couldn't get the back snapped up, other than the top snap, just like Jilly.  It was so weird, because it seemed like there was enough fabric, but one of the under layers was too tight.  My mom took her out to the Mother's Room to try and fix it, but time ran out and she came back so the baby would be there for her blessing. ;-)  So Kayla was also blessed with her dress open in the back.  Cracked me up.  (When we got home, I took the dress off of her to figure it out and realized on the the under layers had gotten pulled inside another layer and that's why it couldn't snap up.)

That morning, my friends had come over to my house to meet up before church.  It was so fun to see them!  Because we were all having such a fun time chatting, I lost track of time and we made it out the door just in the time to get to church right before the meeting started.  I had wanted to be there early, but oh well.  Janell, her husband Ira, and her two little boys, Anthony and Drew were staying with family in Poulsbo and came over on the ferry that morning.  Cammie and her husband Ethan decided to turn it into a long weekend vacation.  My cousins Bailey and Elise drove up from Seattle for the blessing and my mom and step-dad Paul came too.  It was awesome having so many people there, because they love Kayla and us.  It was also way fun because during the meeting itself, my kids got to sit with everyone else and I got to pay attention!  Kayla was held by Bailey and Granny, Jason and Jilly went back and forth between Granny, Grampa, Daddy and Bailey and Elise.  It was kind of weird to sit all by myself, but definitely nice.  :-)  After the meeting, we decided to head back to my house to hang out and eat and visit, since Janell, Cammie and I only had that day to spend together.  

We, of course, had to take pictures to commemorate the day.  We'd forgotten our camera before church, so we just took them at home.  

Kayla and Mama on the balcony.  Such a pretty girl. 


Mama and her sweet girls.  (Jilly wasn't that in to pictures, she wanted to play with the boys.)

Our cute little family of 5.  It is crazy how much more difficult it gets to take pictures with each kid you have!  To get all of us looking even remotely towards the camera seems like an impossible feat.

Cammie, Janell, and me (and Kayla, gotta love a yawning baby).  Such awesome friends!  I love you guys!

 I wish I had gotten some pictures with the kids playing or the husbands, but I didn't.  Janell and Cammie put together an awesome meal, Cafe Rio pork with yummy rice (was it the cilantro lime rice?).  They made the meal and cleaned it up!  These are good friends to have come visit you.  ;-)  We got to spend so much time talking and enjoying each other.  The kids got along really well, Janell's boys are about the same ages as my kids.  The husbands had a ton of fun talking and goofing around too.  Janell & her guys had to leave to catch the ferry back, but Cammie and Ethan stayed later.  It was awesome.

It was a wonderful day to share with our friends and family.  Steve gave Kayla a beautiful blessing.  We felt so honored that so many people wanted to be there with us and celebrate our sweet Ducky.  :-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

Jason's potty training....

Jason is proving to be quite a bit different from Jilly in so many ways.  One of the most surprising is that he has been asking to go potty since before Kayla was born.  We decided after she was born and he turned two, we'd give him a shot at potty training.  My philosophy was if he caught on and trained, then WAHOO!  Only one kid in diapers!  But if he didn't, then no biggie, I wasn't planning on potty training until 3 anyway.  So I waited until we had a week without anything going on and decided we'd go with the naked method.  It was what worked with Jilly, so I thought it'd be a good way to go.

Monday morning, we got up and took off his diaper, not replacing it with anything else.  Throughout the day, I set an alarm for every 30 minutes and took him to the frog potty each time it went off.  There were a few successes which were awesome, but there were puddles to clean up too.  Over the next couple days, he would go when I took him, even pooped once, but there were a lot of messes to clean up.  It didn't seem to be getting much better.  So after Thursday, I decided to be done.  He wasn't progressing enough, so I decided to save us both the hassle and stress.  We'll wait until he's a little older.  For now, he's in Pull-Ups and almost every time we change it, we take him to the potty and 95% of the time, he pees in the potty (even though he still pees & poops in the Pull-Up).

I'm glad we tried it.  It gave me more insight to where he is at developmentally and what his capabilities and limitations are.  He's growing and talking SO MUCH these days (new sentences every day), it can be easy to overestimate him.  All that said, I don't think it will be long until he's ready and I think once he is, it will be an easy process.  I think it really helped (same thing with his speech) that he's grown up watching us really coach and teach Jilly; he's soaked up a lot of those lessons.  He's such a cute little boy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Day of School!

Jilly started her final year of preschool this week.  She goes 5 days a week now, still afternoons.  The bus picks up her about 12:30pm and drops her off about 4:00pm.  The first day of school was supposed to be a hot day, so I had to pick out a different outfit than originally planned.  


She was SO excited to wear her new light up Skechers shoes.  They are pretty awesome.

Waiting for the bus!  It was extra special because Daddy came home on his lunch break to see her get on the bus (and drive us down the hill, so I didn't have to walk down with all the kids the first day).

Here's the bus!  She's such a pro, she knows just what to do.

Jason was all excited and wanted special hair too.  So I gave him his "spike".

She has the same pick-up driver as last year.  Marcy watched me last spring as I got bigger and bigger and kept waiting for the baby to arrive, but of course Kayla didn't come until after school ended.  She was excited to meet Kayla, even offered to hold her while I buckled Jilly in.  :-)

All buckled in and on her way!

Here's to a great school year!  :-D

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fancy Hair


I've gotten really bored with doing Jilly's hair lately, so I've been looking for inspiration and branching out.  We've done some really cute styles.  I'm still working on my proficiency, making things even and straight, but so far I'm happy.  Here's a sampling of some of the styles we've done recently.

I got the idea for this from PrincessHairstyles.com.  It was originally a baby hair style, so I modified a little and turned it into a ponytail for Jilly.







This is another from PrincessHairstyles.com.  It was the first time I've done twists.  I have some ideas of how I'll do them better next time, but I still like how they turned out.


I think I just thought this one up on my own.  It was slightly complicated with all of the criss-crossing, but it turned out really cool!


I've seen this one a few places.  I really like it because it holds all of her hair back and in the big ponytail.  It's not that hard either.  We've done it a few times since, and better each time (it's a little crooked the first time I tried).



This one was inspired by a friend of mine.  She does some amazing things with her daughter's hair and I had seen a cool criss-cross braid pigtails style.  I didn't do it right (only did 4 braids, it needed 6), but it was still fun.  The messy buns were falling out by the evening when I finally took a picture.

This is how I can get her to sit still for some of the styles.  Let her watch TV, watch a video or play with PhotoBooth on my laptop.

This one I thought up on my own, zig zag parted pigtails with twisty bun braids.  It's actually simpler than it looks and sounds.  I made two parts straight back creating a column of hair in the middle.  I took the two sides and put them in pony tails to keep them out of the way.  Then I just did a series of angled parts from one side to the other, then back again, creating the zig zag.  I pulled them into pigtails, put in the hair bands, then braided them.  Once I had the braids done, I just twisted them around the hairband and used a bobby pin to hold them.  I think next time I do them, I'll twist them a little different and tuck the tail in more.  


(This picture is a off center, so it looks more uneven than it was.)

Jilly has enjoyed doing "fancy hair".  Hopefully, we'll start doing more things.  I need to teach myself how to French braid properly.  Right now I only know how to inside-out braid, so I'd like to learn the other way too.  It's a lot of fun!  This is why I've always wanted a girl.  :-D  (It probably won't be too long until I can do stuff with Kayla's crazy hair too! See!)


Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Goo turned TWO!

Our little Jason has turned TWO!  His birthday is exactly one week after Kayla's and two days after my mom's.  It's quite a week of birthdays in our family!  Mom has had her birthday all to herself up until Jason arrived and now she gets to share the partying with two grandkids!  She was actually rather excited about it.  :-)  On the Sunday between Mom's & Jason's birthdays, we had a party for them.  It was fun to have Jason so excited to open presents this year!  

Of course, Jilly couldn't restrain herself from wanting to help.  She got relocated to sitting with Mama, so Jason could open his own presents in peace. ;-)

BOOKS!  Really cool Eric Carle board books!  Perfect for the two year old who LOVES to read, but is a little less than delicate.  :-)  Thanks Granny & Grampa!

Opening his present from Bailey & Elise.  A coloring book and crayons!  He was ecstatic!  

Granny got to open her presents too.  A dinner out with the lovely ladies, Bailey & Elise.  Lucky!!

And then it was time for his present from Mama & Daddy.  I have to be honest here, I think Steve was most excited for Jason's birthday party.  He had the inspiration for it about two or three months before and helped plan a ton of it.  

YAY TISSUE PAPER!!!  OOOOOOOOH!!!!

What is that blue fur?!

A Cookie Monster doll!!!  And just the right size for squeezing!  Jason just loves Cookie Monster to death, so the party was a Cookie Monster theme.  We also got him a t-shirt that says "Varsity Squad" with Cookie Monster, Oscar and Elmo, but it didn't arrive until the next day.  ;-)

After presents, it was time for the dessert!

A Cookie Monster birthday is not complete without COOKIES!!!

A traditional cake just didn't seem right, so we went with a cookie cake with Cookie Monster on it! It turned out great!  (We ordered this from Albertson's because at 6 days postpartum, I was not going to try and make a giant cookie and decorate it in a way I'd never done before.  This was much safer and quite tasty!)


Time to blow out candles!  Again, Jilly wanted to help.  Granny and Jason did a great job.  Jason looked super styling in the birthday hat.

 Bloooowww!

YAY!  This is such a cute pic of my happy little guy.

 Bailey is my cousin and pretty much the best ever!  She loves my kids so much and gobbles up any chance to hold them.  This was the first time she met Kayla (having been on vacation the week before).

 Bailey & Elise are just awesome.  We love having them over and a part of our family!

Granny squeezing her Ducky.  Kayla wore the perfect outfit with a cupcake on it for the birthday party.  Granny bought this outfit for her the day we had the ultrasound and found out she was a girl.  In fact, it was on the table when we showed up that evening for Paul & Bailey's birthday party. ;-)

We are so excited our little guy is two now.  He is adorable and sweet and adventurous and happy and enthusiastic and playful and mischievous and utterly delightful.  We love you Gooey Man!