Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The Christmas season is upon us, and I for one am so happy to see all of the twinkling lights appearing on houses around the neighborhood and the glow from trees winking in windows at dusk. Thanksgiving is usually my favorite holiday, but this year I am so ready to nestle in with my family and reflect on the beauty and joy surrounding the celebration of Christ's birth. It helps, of course that we'll get to celebrate with all our family this year as Chris's parents and sister and my brother and sister in law will be here. The best part of the holidays for me is being with family!

Instead of the usual TJ's advent calendar - the one with the cute picture on the front and many doors opening to promises of chocolate within - I was inspired by all of the beautiful, homemade calendars I've seen on crafty blogs and decided to make my own. Ours is a hybrid of the origami cup idea from Kids Craft Weekly and this organic, earthy one from the Red Thread.

The origami cups are made from scrapbook paper from Target and will hold ideas of things to do each day that emphasize family time, doing for others, and spending time together creatively. Unfortunately I was struck down with a stomach bug on the first day and the scheduled activity (getting cupcakes with friends) was replaced by a trip to Wendy's with Daddy. That's life, huh? At least it was still family (-1) time.

Tonight we're getting the new Dora Christmas movie from Redbox which we will watch together after dinner. Fun times, I tell you!

We're also doing something called a Jesse tree that goes through the whole redemptive history of Israel leading up to Christ's birth. A friend sent me a file with corresponding pictures for the kids to color each day that they can then hang (or tape, in our case) on a tree. So far, they seem to be enjoying it and listening to the story. We'll see how the next 22 days go!

What things mean Christmas to you? Do you have any special family traditions, or ideas for fun things to do as a family that help you reflect on the meaning of the season? Please share!

(PS - I've been living vicariously through Chris' sister Laurel while she travels through New Zealand and Australia before joinging us here for Christmas. Click here or on the Laurel link to the right and be as enthralled as I am with hobbit-land and and gorgeous hikes. I can't wait to see the photos and hear the stories in person!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This is what happens when Grandma visits...

I might get in trouble for posting this video, but it's too cute not to. Here's a video of Lucy, watching a video of herself with Grandma:

What do you do when they LOVE watching videos of themselves but hate the act of being videotaped? It's a conundrum.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

calling all crafters

We've been up to all kinds of fun things in the last couple of weeks: Vacation Bible School, Lucy's birthday party, general life stuff. But all of that will have to wait because I just HAVE to share this first!

I came across a blog post that mentioned a fabric/sewing supply/yarn drive called Iraqi Bundles of Love. Basically, someone stationed overseas in Iraq saw a need among Iraqi women for sewing supplies, both for their families and for small businesses. Here's the link to his blog and the information on how/what to send. The premise is that quilters, crafters and knitters are bound to have stashes of fabric, yarn and other supplies laying around for those projects we've always planned to get to but that, three years later, are still sitting unused in the bag from Joannes. (Or maybe it's just me :) Anyway, for just over $11 in shipping costs we can put together boxes of our extra fabric and supplies to help an Iraqi woman clothe her family. (You can also get really cheap fabric and yarn from a Goodwill store if you'd like to participate but don't have stuff sitting around like I do). I love that it is such a grassroots thing that has spread far beyond what anyone ever expected - he had to get a warehouse just to store all of the packages he's received so far! The deadline for sending boxes is September 7th - this guarantees they will get there before his company returns home.

Check it out!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One, two buckle my shoe....

Today this silly girl is two. Two years of joy, laughter, fiestiness and fun (is fiestiness even a word??? It is now!) Lucy at two is full of sass and sweetness rolled into one. She loves to give hugs and big messy kisses and makes the FUNNIEST faces while praying. She will eat almost any fruit and tolerates her broccolli but especially loves salmon and chocolate (though not at the same time). She is a people-person and lights up around her grandparents, but she has a special fondness for her big sister - although she is no longer so agreeable about sharing her toys. Her favorite phrase is "do it myself." Yes, she is most deffinitely two!

Taking time to stop and smell the roses...err, shrub.

Friday, July 31, 2009

cannon beach 09

We've had record breaking temperatures in Portland this week. It feels more like Phoenix than the supposedly rainy Pacific Northwest. My dad joined us for a trip to the beach to escape the heat (although today was comparatively cool here at only 94 degrees!) The girls just LOVE the water and spent most of their time running in and out of the waves, screaming and giggling in pure ecstasy. It was a perfect day!

(You may remember these photos from our last trip to Cannon Beach. It's fun to see how much the girls have grown since then!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer fun

I guess I broke my promise to have vacation pictures up last week - I really should know better than to make promises where blog posts are concerned. But to save myself from the "bad blogger" award, I'll post some pictures of some things we've been up to since returning home.

Last weekend was full of time spent in Portland. One bad thing about living in the suburbs is that we rarely make it into the city to explore. I hate driving and parking downtown, and sometimes the MAX just seems like too much work. But I overcame my driving phobia to venture out to Jamison Square park. You may remember this video which was taken there two summers ago. The girls had tons of fun and we met up with our good friends Jess and Matt to sit in the shade of the trees and listen to Matt's brother play guitar. Good times!

Later that night we met up with Jess and Matt again for dinner at Andina (soo soo good - even with the tiny portions and large price tag!) and some walking around downtown. The next day we met up with some friends at Portland Saturday (and Sunday) market. Here's the only picture taken at the market...the kids hate sitting for pictures!
All in all it was a great and fun-filled weekend. I spent more time in Portland those two days than I have in the past year! I think I'll make it a goal to venture downtown at least once a month to go exploring...there are so many neighborhoods to check out (and good restaraunts and bakeries to try!).

Last week the girls and I joined Chris at his weekly volleyball game. He plays in a parks and rec intramural league throughout the year, and they play sand volleyball at a nearby park in the summer. The girls actually watched most of the game before getting bored and wandering off to play.

The waning evening light was so pretty, even the weeds looked magical!

At the end of last week we took a day trip to Lincoln City to visit Chris' aunt and cousin. Lindsey volunteers at the Newport Aquarium and we learned so much as she played tour guide through the exhibits. Thanks for a great day, Mary and Lindsey!

Maryn and Lindsay in a tunnel looking at an exhibit from the inside out!

I was so proud of Maryn for being brave enough to explore the touch-pond. I think Lindsey is a good influence!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

six years...

Six years ago we stood at the altar pledging our lives and love to one another, for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live. It's by the grace of God that we have mostly had better, but in those dark, lonely, scary times there's no one I would rather have by my side than you. Happy anniversary, hon!

On our road-trip we were able to spend some time in Carpinteria, our favorite little beach town where Chris proposed and the place we called home for the first three years of our marriage. We took a family picture at "our rock" - the closest approximation of the place where Chris asked me to be his wife (it's hard to know exactly which rock, but this is more or less it). It was strangely poignant and sentimental to return to the same spot six-plus years - and two kids - later. Though many things in our lives have changed, being back in that place makes me all the more thankful for the things that have not.

**I promise there will be more pictures of our trip later this week. In the meantime, check out Carol's blog for all of the fun times we had with them at the beginning and end of our travels.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

as I was saying...

After blogging about our friend little man C's funny comment at the tulip festival, I came across these cards that are so stinkin' funny. You may see a Maryn or Lucy-ism in your mailbox in the near future. Nothing like seeing the world through the mind of a child to get you smiling!

a sunny day in April

Now that we're back to our regularly scheduled dreary rainy spring weather I thought I'd post some pictures from our brief interlude of sun. We took advantage of a gorgeous day and went with some friends to the tulip festival in Woodburn. It ended being a little too hot and the kids were worn out quickly, but we managed to drag them away from the playhouse and tire-horse swing for a few photos with the tulips. I would love to go back here sans kids and play with my camera while frolicking through the flowers, or take the kids but leave the camera at home. Doing both was a little to exhausting and I felt like a pack mule in the desert by the time we were through. I definitely wilted more quickly than the tulips!

Maryn, little miss C and a new friend playing in the house

Little man L on the horsey swing

Maryn would not stop moving all day...this is the best shot I got!

Last shot of the day...taken by Michelle on the little golf cart ride around the fields. This is Maryn's "camera" smile and Lucy just looks hot, tired and done with being out. Did I mention she had heat rash?? Poor thing!

My favorite part of the day was probably riding there and back with Michelle and her kiddos. Maryn and little man C have so much fun together. At one point they held hands and little C said "it's just like we're married!" Too cute! Thanks for the fun day, guys!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

February and March

February and March seemed to drag and fly by at the same time. Here's a smattering of highlights from the last two months:

Carol and DB visited at the end of March to watch the kids while Chris and I went to a wedding in Yreka, CA. It was our first weekend away from the kiddos and we had a great time relaxing, eating Mexican food and watching March Madness/reading (guess who did what). Here's a picture of Melissa and me before the wedding - isn't she a gorgeous bride??

Carol stayed for a week to help us move into the new house. She is an amazing woman with SO much energy and is always on task. The kids loved having Grandma here and we truly could not have accomplished the move without her help. Thanks Grandma Carol! Check out her blog for more photos of all the fun (good thing someone thinks to take them!).

The girls' playing a computer game on Grandma's laptop. I think they're doing "head, shoulders, knees and toes" for the hundredth time that week.

Grandma and Maryn played preschool with all the stuffed animals. Here they are all dressed up and ready to go outside for recess.

Here are some other random photos from the last couple of months:

A family wheat grass-growing race.

Lounging with bear in doll strollers.

Maryn and Chuck-E. You'd think a rat that big would freak her out but she couldn't be happier.

Posing on St. Patrick's Day.

Lucy in her hand-knit sweater. It was my procrastination project before the move - but it was perfect for St. Patty's Day!

I hope I get some more pictures in April than I did during the past few months!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Long overdue blog post

This is for any of you that are still checking in with the blog after months of staring at our IKEA pictures and drooling over heart cupcakes. SORRY and thanks for sticking with us. We will be back with our regularly scheduled programming shortly.

We've obviously been MIA for a while, just taking things easy, trying to shake the three-week cold that hit us in February and doing lots and lots of packing.

That's right, for anyone that hasn't heard yet, we bought a house! We've been here for about a week now and it's definitely feeling like home. It's super close to our old apartment and 10 minutes away from my parent's house. We feel so blessed and thankful to have our own house and we pray that we can make the most of the resource we've been given.

I've been letting the kids stomp around and jump and even yell a bit as we get used to having our own space and not worrying quite as much about disturbing the neighbors. While jumping and running is nice, I'm most looking forward to the decorating ;o) We've already painted two rooms and are working on ideas for the third bedroom - a guest/office area. Next on the agenda is making plans for a vegetable garden and building some raised beds before the time for spring planting passes. Oh, and also building a fence between the front and back yards so the kiddos don't escape when they go outside to play. We better get started!

I took advantage of a break in the rain yesterday and snapped some photos of the house and yard.

Front of the house: the window on the left is our room, the one on the right is the living room.

Living room: the front door is to the left of the armoire.

Kitchen/dining nook, picture taken from the living room. Notice the little imp with her Curious George getting in on the action.

More kitchen.

Girls' room

The yard came complete with 10 fruit trees - mostly pear and apple. These buds and blossoms are from one of the pear trees.

This picture cracks me up. Maryn came outside and shut the door, leaving Lucy to look forlornly out the window. But the mourning turned to dancing pretty quickly:

Maryn in the backyard enjoying the water-play table from Grandma Carol.

Spring just isn't Spring without daffodils

We hope you all can come for a visit sometime soon! Thanks for taking the virtual tour :)