Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to my Great Auntie Sharon

In August, my family and extended family gathered to celebrate my Great-Aunt Sharon’s birthday.  It was a huge success and minus two of my cousins and their family units, everyone was there.  Except my Grandma.  But I could feel her there with us, keeping the peace through a nice warm Summer breeze.  The party went just as I remember family gatherings as a child and teen.  The children ran around playing with each other, as everyone socialized and caught up on life’s events and challenges. There was some food, okay, there was a ton of scrumptious food dishes.  And there was my family.
Tyler & the kids on the ferry ride over to Whidbey Island.

Everything gearing up to the party was stressful.  The first challenge was getting a ton of people who generally avoid each other like the plague to all smile and be at the same place at the same time.  The second was to get those people to all agree to come. But blood is thicker than water and everyone showed. A whole other issue was to get people to actually RSVP and agree to bring something so we could have an estimated head count.  Of course that all couldn’t be stressful enough.  At the beginning of the Summer, my Great Aunt Sharon was diagnosed with cancer. 
The messages, texts and phone calls started to come in and people began to question if my great Aunt would be up for such a large gathering while under going chemotherapy.  People questioned who was coming and what drama could possible unfold.  But I continuously annoyed people by not budging and pushing forward with the party plans.  And when the pushing became too much, my cousin Erin spoke with her Grandma and told her about the party and asked her if we should cancel or reschedule for next year.  However, just as I suspected, she wanted us to go forward with our plans. 
It was a stressful time getting everything organized but I would do it all again in a heartbeat without any hesitation.  I did it for my Auntie Sharon but I also did because my Grandma told me to.  My Grandma Died on New Year’s Eve morning.  But the night before my Auntie Sharon & I stay with her and talked and shared stories and tears until 3am.  I can admit, I had never spent time with my great Aunt Sharon like that, one-on-one.  She has over 20 of her own grandchildren to worry about.  But the time spent with her reminded me of an old quote, "Don't Judge a person until you have walked a day in their shoes". 
My Grandma Rosalie & her sister Sharon as young girls.
 What a life My Grandma & Auntie have lived.  Young girls coming up during the Women"s rights movement in Bellingham and then both marrying young to Navy men.  Traveling the world, representing our nation, keeping a home and raising a family during a time where women took care of all the housework and cooking, a time where everyone smoked cigerettes and drank without a second thought.  Although the times have changed, their love for one another never missed a beat. 

I knew from previous conversations with my Grandma that her & my great Aunt missed the old family get togethers of the 80's & 90's before the passing of my Great Grandparents.  But the time I spent with my great Auntie at my Grandma's dying bedside told me that it needed to happen and ASAP.  As people get older they want to spend time with the people they love the most.  But it can be difficult to get everyone together for the holidays so a nice warm August afternoon was perfect.  

To see my Great Auntie's face light up as each family member arrived was worth it all.  Her health wasn't holding up well the day of the party.  It was a busy day, with my cousin Laurrin's bridal shower in the afternoon and then the birthday party in the evening.  But every time I talk to her or she talks to my cousin Erin she says "Thank You" all over again.  I would say that this year, her birthday party was the best day of the summer. 

 Bellow is the group picture I took that day.  I want to tank each & every family member for taking the time to come & lets all consider doing it again next year.  Because we are family & we all love her so much!!!!!  

My Grandma had three children. 
My Mom, My uncle Phil and my Aunt Nicole.
My Grandma's only sibling; my great Aunt Sharon had six children.  Jon, Dan, Kevin, Jody, Laurie and Michelle, not in that order.  Each of those six has two or three children of their own.  All of my cousins that are adults have children and the youngins are now in high school!!! So you can see how a family get together can take a lot of planning!!!
Above- the BIRTHDAY GIRL!!!!!!
 Laurie with her daughters Erin & Laurrin
Dan & his son Dain.
(Missing his daughter Jessica, her husband & 2 boys)

Kevin with his two children; Tyler & Cydnee Rose

Michelle with her son Cody & his family, Denise, Taryen & Trenton, and daughter Cara & her daughter Heidi. (Missing oldest son Chris & his wife Corrine & son Cole).

Jody with his three children- Diamond, Christen and Taylor.

Jon with his three children- James, Jesse and Michelle with her daughter Trinity. (missing Michelle's husband Travis and their two oldest children).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"I'm a Big Kid Now"

Something AMAZING has happened at our house this Summer. Issac has become a big kid, and in more ways than one.  It’s ABSOLUTELY true when every old person you come in contact with says, “cherish this time, they grow up fast’. In June I was changing two sets of poopies and placing Issac in time out every ten minutes for being mean to his sister. I was near my wits end & begging Tyler each afternoon for a few minutes of alone time.  Tyler & I recognized the problems, did a little research, a lot of discussing and together we located our inner-parenting-zen-zone. (YES, I completely just made that up).  Sometime this summer between playing cars on the floor, running around the back yard and playing at the park; both our kids experienced some major childhood developments and behavioral changes that have begun to make life more enjoyable for the entire family. 

Josie has begun to really talk, talk, talk her lil mouth off.  Last month she noticed that when she says “Owie”, she gets immediate attention so now she is continuously coming up to us saying “Owie” as she asks for kisses on her hand, leg, foot, head or even asks for kisses for her baby doll.  Josie also says, “weee” as she swings or goes down the slide at the park.  When Josie is playing outside and she hears a plane above, she points to the sky & says airplane.  Josie also points to the ground and says “dog poop” as she helps Tyler & Issac each afternoon to locate and pick up the dog poop in the yard. It is so cute and yet still surprising at some of the things she picks up.  She responds to counting & rarely do I get to three before she turns around. She sings 3 Little Birds with us and sings the Elmo’s World theme song.  Sometimes Josie says the silliest things, one night Tyler sneaked a bite of her pudding and she pushed him away screaming on repeat, “No bite, MINE. No-no Dada”.  Josie say's so many things at this point i don't think I could list them!!! In August she started saying "luv you" to me but didn't say it to tyler or anyone else until mid September.  Her vocabulary is growing each day and yesterday she said "pumpkin"!!!  

Both are kids have become more interested in walking with us then riding in the stroller.  Josie still enjoys the jogging stroller for long walks but we haven’t taken our double stroller anywhere with us all Summer.  Bonus- it seems to be easier than we anticipated.  I realized that we would spend a tremendous amount of time and energy putting the kids in the stroller and taking them out, arguing with them and locating stroller parking. So, we ditched the stroller and have had a fabulous time spending our energy on learning to hold hands. 

Dare I say it?  Issac is potty trained!!! I haven’t bought Pull-ups in over two months!!! We have also gone over two weeks without an accident, day or night.  I must admit potty training is to-date the worst part of parenting.  Thank god for my best friend, Di.  When I was feeling like a Mommy failure and everyone around me was constantly vocalizing their opinions and questioning me as to when Issac would be potty trained, Di would be the one who would support me and remind me that Issac wouldn’t go to school in Pull-ups and that not to be too pushy because he would do it when he was ready.  I knew Issac was ready but he wanted to be like Josie and wear diapers.  So I pulled out all the tricks.  We went under ware shopping and Issac got to pick which packs he wanted, all lightning McQueen of course.  Then we went to Costco and walked buy the diapers and pull-ups.  Issac and I stopped to discuss how the store found out he was three and they were not going to let me buy anymore pull-ups.  And believe it or not it worked.  He even wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to the poty by himself.  Such a big boy. 

It is amazing how much life has simplified this summer.  With Issac being potty trained and Josie beginning to vocalize her needs every day has become a little easier.  Now if I could only get them to share their toys all the time….Maybe next Summer!!!

Summer Fun 2012

WOW, it is October.  We were so busy enjoying the fabulous weather of July, August & September that I never published a single one of the nine blog posts I started to write over the summer. So I'm going to cut and paste to catch our digital scrapbook up to date. 
It was completely true this year; Summer started on July first.  The weather for July and August was beautiful and cooperative for a ton of outside fun and adventures. Issac & Josie love being outside; wither they are digging in the dirt in the back yard, making sand castles at the beach or simply going on a walk around the neighborhood.  Most weeks we would take 3-4 adventures out of the house while Tyler was at work. 
 I have realized that some days, I just need to get out of the house and during these warm summer months there is an endless possibilities of FREE adventure locations.  We are so blessed to live in south King County where there are a plethora of communities that plan provide and maintain healthy and safe playgrounds and splash parks for our young children.   Although we also frequented a few other parks, here are the adventure locations that TOPPED our SIPRESS FUN IN THE SUN list this Summer. 
1- Les Grove Park in Auburn has a play area designed and aimed at younger children. The kids love the unique equipment. But their favorite part of Les Grove is the Splash Park. I would say that les grove is one of my children’s favorite spots of the Summer. We made multiple trips to the park with Cousin Jack and Dad plus made many visits just the kids & myself.

2- Celebration Park in Federal Way is close by and defiantly one of our most frequented parks of the summer. Josie loves the swings and Issac enjoys the climbing equipment. We often go to the library and then have a picnic at Celebration Park. Over the Summer we also enjoyed a few playdates wtih cousin Jackson at Celebration Park. 

3- Some of my favorite Summer memories as a kid are of summer are swimming trips to various lakes with my Mom and Grandma. When those extremely hot days hit us this summer, we took a few lake trips as well. Staying close to home our family enjoyed cooling off at Steel lake, Angle Lake & Five Mile Lake. 

4- Kent Station has a fountain Park designed for young children to cool off. This park is across the street from a Library so it is an easy second stop for us without having to reload & re-unload the kids out of the car. 

5- Norpoint Center in NE Tacoma has a newly remodeled playground and splash park. I do get a tiny annoyed when we go to this park because there is only one slide!!!! One tiny little slide that my kids always end up fighting over with another (slow moving) child. On the plus side, there is a big grass field that the kids can kick the ball around, 4 infant and 4 big kid swings plus a splash park.  This park is also near my Cousin erin's house, so it makes for an easy meet up location for a playdate.   


6-       Wright Park is in the Hill Top neighborhood of Tacoma.  I sometimes have things to do in Tacoma or a friend to meet up with and this park is a great spot for that.  There are a ton of walking paths and garden areas to explore.  Plus an amazing tree house playground equipment and a fun splash park that both our kids enjoy.

7-       Tukwila Splash Park is not my favorite.  Reasons- first is is close to a busy road, second there is ALWAYS mud and third it is always way too many children for the small space.  None the less, we still went there a couple of times to have play dates with our friends who live near it.  The kids love it, I hate it.

8-       Museum of Flight-  I had a friend give us some FREE PASSES to the Seattle Museum of Flight earlier this summer.  With the weather being cloudy, Tyler & I packed up a picnic and adventured there with the kids on July 15th.  It was tough at first to get Issac to realize he couldn’t cross the barrier and touch every single item on display, but he did eventually catch on that some items we can touch & others we can’t.  Both kids enjoyed the kid’s area and all the different airplanes they could climb in and out of.  However,  When we went outside where there is about 7 planes, including an old Air Force One, Issac got super excited & slide out of my hand & began to run up to a plane where he slipped and hit his front tooth on the medal stair.  There was blood and pain and an extra large breakdown.  We hurried though Air Force One and headed home.  The dentist says you can tell that he had an impact but that there doesn't appear to be permanent damage.  So It appears that his mouth is fine now but jeez, what a scary experience.


9-       The zoo-  We put our zoo membership to goo use this summer going to the zoo six times.  It is only about a 30 minute car ride each way and our kids love it!!! One Saturday we asked Issac what he wanted to do and he replied, "Go to the Zoo".  I love that my children can identify each animal and their sounds. 

10) Backyard Fun-  One of the biggest perks to having a house is having a fenced in back yard for the children to freely play.  This Summer there were days that it was 70*+ at seven in the morning and my kids were eating breakfast outside!!!  This Summer we created a ton of memories in our back yard.  Even though our children are young we found plenty of fun activities to do from water balloon and squirt gun fights,  Slip and Slide, pool time, barbecues and even a few backyard camping trips.