Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet Tad- our family's Elf on the Shelf

Have you heard of “the Elf on the Shelf? Well around the beginning of November I started to see pictures of a little elf in mischievous positions all over Pinterest and I did some investigating (code for Google).  Turns out it is a book and elf combo set you “adopt” for your family.  The elf is sent to your family from Santa’s toy shop located at the North Pole.  Each night while the children sleep, the elf does something naughty or nice based upon how your children behaved.  Now it also didn’t take me long to find a bunch of blogs written about “overachieving elf on the shelf Moms”.  I quickly realized that I would be falling in to this category and from here on out will except that title with PRIDE!
Adoptions fees for these elves can add up to almost $40. As I pondered the idea, I shared my thoughts with the people around me (Tyler & my Mom). After a little of her own investigating (a phone call, followed by a trip to Barnes & Noble), Grandma Melanie covered the fees and adopted us an elf. She opened the packaging and brought him to Thanksgiving Dinner at my Great Aunt Sharon’s house.

Instantly the kids were excited as my mom read them ‘The Elf on the Shelf” book. Issac was looking all over when he spotted his elf sitting in the dining area on a shelf. We named our elf Tad.

Over the course of the next few weeks Tad was Naughty and Nice. Playing tricks such as painting snow on the pine cones and leaving small gifts such as dollar store play dough and water paints, Christmas pajamas and slowly bringing out our Christmas movies and books.  I have to say, I enjoyed myself each evening as I planned out what Tad should do. However, our children are young, so I quickly ran out of locations to put Tad that were up high. As the story goes, you can’t touch your elf or he loses his magic. On Christmas morning Issac asked where Tad was & we told him that when Santa brought our gifts, he took Tad back to the North Pole. I am excited to see what kind of craziness tad will get into next Holiday Season. 
Here are a few pictures of Tad from this Christmas Season. 
 Above- Tad in the kid's play room.
Bellow- Tad in the dining room.

 Above & Bellow-
Tad brought the kids holiday water paint sets!

 Above- Tad sprayed snow on our pine cones!!!
Bellow- Tad in the bathroom.

 Above- tad enjoying a round of candyland with his friends.
Bellow- Tad hangs out with Mom's Family.

 Above- Tad in the lamp.
Bellow- Tad near the door.

 Above- tad brought us Gi-Gi's rockin Santa.
Bellow- tad zip lines through the livingroom.

 Above- Tad driving around.
bellow- hanging out with his friends.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

A month of being Grateful

Hello November!!! As Thanksgiving approached each day on facebook, I shared something I'm grateful for in my life. As Americans we are the world’s largest consumers of products and waste.  It can be easy to focus on what we want or what we don’t have and I find it refreshing each day to remind myself of all the fabulous things I do have in life.
1- I'm grateful for having an amazing & loving Great Aunt who is now said to be cancer free!!!
2- I am grateful that my husband has a good Union job that gives him paid vacation. This has been a nice relaxing week with Tyler at home.
3- Today I'm grateful for my cousin Erin. We never spent much time together as children but I have truly enjoyed getting to know her the last two years & I consider myself a lucky lady to have her as a friend.
4- Today I am grateful for L-A-Z-Y Sundays that include a big breakfast made by Tyler & a few rounds of hide-n-seek...
5- Today I am grateful to be an American & live in a Nation where people can publicly voice their opinions & bash our Commander and Chief without living in fear of public prosecution.
6- Today, On his birthday, I am Grateful for my Husband Tyler. He is there for me when I need to scream & there for me when I need to cry & ALWAYS on my side. Tyler is a hard working provider, a great father & my best friend. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FIRE BABY!!!
7- November 7th- today I am grateful for Disney Movies. #Cinderella #BugsLife
8- November 8th- today I'm grateful for sweatshirts, slippers, blankets & heat on this frosty morning!!!
10- Today I am grateful for the continuously growing collection of pictures we have of our children & family. Both professional & personal digital pictures, these little moments & memories are saved FOREVER.
11- Today I'm grateful for a few hours of 1-on-1 time with my number one lil man. We played Candyland, took Lucky for a walk and practice riding his bike.
12- NOV 12- Today I'm grateful for all of the Veterans & their families for their sacrifices & determination. #PROUDAMERICAN
13- Today I'm grateful for the health of our daughter. Josie had a rocky start & will forever need to see a Cardiologist but nothing slows our sassy lil miss down!!!
14- today I'm grateful for our HDTV antenna, I get to watch the evening news & other network shows for FREE. #WAYSWESAVEMONEY
15- Today I'm grateful that my children play well together (for the most part).
16- Today I'm grateful for man's best friend: my precious Tinkerbell!!!
17- Today I'm. Grateful for a few hours of alone with my husband. We are going to breakfast & then a lil kid-free grocery shopping.
18- Today I'm grateful that my children are blessed to have great Aunties and Uncles. Maybe they don't have a ton of them but their Auntie Nicole & Uncle Warren and their Auntie Andalyn and Uncle Jayson sure make up for it by taking the time to crawl on the floor to play and by take adventures with us. Also, Thank you for the holiday goodie bags you send out!!!
19- Today I'm grateful for the rain. It was getting so dry & gross with over 90 days no rain in Seattle. Now things are as they should be: green & fresh.
20-Today I am grateful to be a SAHM (Stay at home mom).  It is the toughest job I will ever have, but also the most rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for a million dollars.
21-  Today I am grateful for my belongings, the stuff I take for granted each day; my bed, clothes, car, everything.
22-Today I am thankful for a nice calm Thanksgiving with my family. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!
23- Today I am grateful for walks around the neighborhood with my kids, counting mailboxes, picking up sticks and pine cones and stomping in the puddles!
24-  Today I am grateful for quiet time.  I don't get much but every night Tyler takes the kids to brush their teeth, read two books and go to bed.  i have come to expect 7 demand my quiet time.  Some nights i watch TV, others I craft or make a tutu or on nights like tonight, I'm catching up on some emails & blogging!
25-Today I am grateful for FAMILY TIME. Big breakfast Sunday & then taking the kids to see Finding Nemo at the theater.
26- Today I'm grateful for my Mom. She's not rich & she's not perfect, but she's always been my number 1 fan and the kids & I are ALWAYS AT THE TOP OF HER LIST!!!!
27-Today I'm grateful for Cookies & How the Grinch Stole Christmas!!! I'm loving the holidays with our kids finally old enough to enjoy all the fun stuff!!!!
28-Today I'm grateful for story time. First I read to the kids, then Issac "re-reads" the books to me.
29-The month is almost done. Nov 29th- today I'm grateful for my close group of friends whom I don't go more than a day or two without talking or texting.... Di, Erin and Shobi. I love my girls!!!
30-Some people have big families with lots of brothers & sisters, Mom's family & Dad's family. I never had all that. I had these 4 people; Mu Grandma, My uncle Philip, my Aunt Nicole and my MOM. Today, I'm thankful for them, their strength guidance & their support in life.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Halloween 2012

Maybe it is just me but this year I got extremely stressed out over Halloween costumes.  I know, shake your heads at me but I really like my kids to match to some extent.  I also realize that I only get control over what exactly their costumes are for a couple of years.  Everyone around me kept telling us to just take the kids to the store and let them choose, but what if they choose something weird or random? 

Tyler wanted the kids to be Mike Rozoski & boo from Monsters inc.  Someone from his work even lent us a Mike costume.  However, the mike was too big & needed dry cleaning and to purchase a Boo costume was over a hundred dollars!!!  A friend & I did contemplate making a Boo costume but then the amount of the materials was going to be more than I was comfortable spending on a children’s Halloween costume.  I also secretly really wanted them to be Cookie Monster & Elmo, but those costumes were also out of our budget.  I drove around and shopped at six different second hand stores and never found an Elmo or cookie monster.  Tyler wanted to just go get the costumes from Party City, but over $40 per kid?? NO WAY.

We finally came to an agreement on a twenty dollar per kid max.  We also decided to take the kids & let them choose but to try & guide them to something familiar to them and in our comfort zone and budget…. AND guess what? They did fine.  Issac picked out a Woody from the Toy Story trilogy costume right off the bat.  Then he wanted to get Josie a Jessie from Toy story 2&3 costume but the stores didn’t seem to offer that costume in a toddler size. L  We drove around to multiple box stores with no luck.  But then, Issac yelled, “there it is, there is a pink Jessie costume for sister!” in the middle of Target.  So if you ask Issac, they were Woody & Jessie but really they were just PLAIN CUTIES!!!!

We went trick or treating in Covington throughout Shobi’s parent’s neighborhood.  Issac was really good about saying please and thank you at every house.  Josie would wait until the last moment and then say thank you as she walked away.  The only time the kids got thrown off was when there was spooky decorations on the porch, at those houses they wouldn’t say anything or even make eye contact because they were too busy watching the decorations. 


The kids had a great night, we had a great night and the rain held off until after we were back at home in bed.  The kids candy buckets were full to the rim and we actually just tossed out the rest of the candy Thanksgiving weekend!!!  i plan to not stress halloween next year and be prepared by having the kids costumes ready to go come October first!!!! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Season 2012

Have you ever thought about the Holidays? HA, of course you have.  Not the usual way but I mean, have you ever thought about how one day suddenly becomes a week or “twelve days” of holiday?  Well, it is not just the twelve days of Christmas and Thanksgiving weekend, Halloween is the same.  Besides the usual Trick or treating there are other fun Fall activates families can do to “get in the spirit’.  We choose to take a family trip to the Pumpkin Patch, carve pumpkins, visit the Woodland Park Zoo Pumpkin Smash and decorated spooky cookies. 

We went a record number of days without rainfall this year in Seattle.  As we entered the second week of October, I started to ponder wither or not there would be any mud at the Pumpkin Patch this year.  As it turned out the weekend we had planned to go, the rain finally started to fall.  There was defiantly a short of puddles for jumping but we did manage to find some dirt and get dirty as we adventured around the Pumpkin patch with Grandma Laura and Grandpa Mark. 

I always love watching the kid’s faces on these adventures.  They get so excited that their eyes light up and they squeal with excitement.  We told Issac he couldn’t get a pumpkin he couldn’t carry… OOPS! He took that as he could get EVERY pumpkin he could carry.  Quickly the cart started to fill up with Issac sized pumpkins and we quickly had to explain to him that he only gets to take home ONE.  Josie loved running around & climbing on the various hay stacks.  She quickly became a pro at sticking her lil head through the wood cut-outs for pictures.  She would climb up, stick her head in & say “cheese”. 

The weather had turned chilly and we were lucky to have a break in the rain while at the pumpkin patch so we headed back to our house for some of my homemade twice baked potato soup to warm up.  After lunch we played with the kids and had some cookies before Laura & mark headed home to Marysville.  We carved our pumpkins the next evening.  However, once we got four pumpkins topped and gutted the kids & us were spent.  Sadly, we never carved pumpkins into them (I know we dropped the ball).  But we did place them outside until they got black & rotten. 

The third weekend of October we used our Zoo membership to check out the Woodland Park Zoo Pumpkin Smash.  We took a small break and enjoyed some hot chocolate & cupcakes inside the food pavilion and watched various animals interact with pumpkin through the day.  I must say though, the penguins were the most enjoyable to watch.  Maybe because we got a front row seat or because the zoo keepers had drilled holes in the pumpkins and stuffed fish inside so the penguins were going wild for them pumpkins and it was as if we were watching a penguin game of football.  As usual our family had a good time and both kids fell asleep on the drive home. 

The last weekend of the month we had a visit from Grandma Melanie.  My Mom arrived Friday and took the kids & myself to lunch at Sizzler.  We spent the evening at the house and I made dinner. After dinner, my Mom & I went & tried our luck at the Muckleshoot Bingo (no winners). On Saturday after breakfast we went to the Supermall where my Mom bought the kids & herself new winter coats among other items.  Before dinner we made homemade sugar cookie dough.  If you know anything about sugar cookies, it is that the dough has to be chilled over night.  After breakfast, while Tyler took the kids on a walk Sunday morning, my mom & I rolled out & baked the cookies.  After lunch we had a blast decorating the pumpkins, ghosts & other Halloween shapes.  Issac loved the sprinkles, he used the entire jar!!! Josie kept sticking her fingers in the icing and going, “yummmm”.  After the cookies, my Mom headed home.  We had a great visit. 

Well, I think I proved my point.  Halloween is not just one night of candy horting.  Halloween is a mini-holiday season of its own.  We enjoyed October, it was a busy month with a new 7 exciting adventure each weekend.  My next post will be about Halloween, because the day was so cool, it gets it’s very own blog post.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fort Vancouver

The first weekend in October we traveled south to visit Tyler’s brother Jayson and his wife Andalyn in their new home in Camas, Washington.  They recently moved from Spokane so that Jayson can attend Chiropractor school in Portland.  Knowing that his mandatory credit load is between 22-28 credits each quarter we knew that once his classes started he would have little free time for visitors so we planned our trip for the weekend before his classes began.  We arrived Friday night after dark.  However, we were still able to get in some play time & brownies and ice cream before bed.

Saturday Jayson made us breakfast and Andalyn packed us a picnic lunch and we all loaded up and adventured to Fort Vancouver, a United States National Historic Site.  It was AMAZING.  I bet we didn’t even get to see half of the place, it was so huge.  When we first arrived we were in two-hour parking.  We walked down to the airplane museum and went inside to check it out.  It was beyond what we could have imagined.  There were plans from every time period, flight simulators and more.  After visiting the airplane museum, we walked up to the playground to have lunch.  The guys moved the cars and then enjoyed some Frisbee. 

After lunch we took a mice walk through the grounds garden and adventured into The Fort area.  For a steal of a deal- $3.00, you can get full access including a personal audio tour, and a few demonstrations and small presentations by employees dress in appropriate period attire.  The audio tour was detail and to be honest with two small children, I only caught bits and pieces but I and everyone thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The children were getting restless so we left before seeing everything but we plan to make a visit in the spring and walk the trail along the Columbia River to downtown. 

Both the kids took naps in the car on the way back to Jayson & Andalyn’s place.  When they awoke, Tyler and Jayson walked with the kids to the neighborhood park to play while Andalyn & I stayed behind as she prepared enchiladas.  After dinner we all watched Ferngully, read some books and horsed around with the kids before bed.  In the morning, Jayson made breakfast and I took the kids for a walk before we headed out for lunch at my Grandpa’s house in Salmon Creek. 
Above- coming back from the park
Bellow- the kids with Great Grandpa Phil

We had a nice four hour plus visit at my Grandpa Phil’s house with his wife Barb, my uncle Greg and Cousins Emma & Jacob.  The kids enjoyed some time in the back yard, smelling the flowers and picking apples and veggies from the garden to bring home.  We don’t get to see this part of my family more than once or twice a year so it is always good to catch up.  After lunch, we headed out for the journey home. Our trip south was a perfect mix of family and fun.  We can’t wait to make our next trip south in the Spring.