Friday, January 21, 2011

New strategy

Sometimes I feel so far behind on this blog that it squashed my motivation to even get started. So this year, I'm making a commitment to myself to at least create a "month in review" post at the end of each month to capture the images that are important to us. Don't worry, my other blog related goals are to post at least weekly and try to use this space for more reflection instead of just observation, so I'm certainly not dropping out of the blog-osphere. I actually think the month in review idea will help free up my other posts, so I can write more freely and not worry about having the "right" pictures to go with my thoughts.

Actually, I'm going back and posting "months in review" from 2010, but I'm back dating them, so my loyal readers (Hi Grandparents!) don't have to wade through them all at once.

Someday, I'll finish my blog books and have all those pictures saved in one place - Hey, I did 2007, so now I'm only 3 years behind!!

December in Review

Some of the little moments from December 2010...

This little guy is loving the switch to whole milk:

The snowshoes were a hit in our yard, but not so much when we took them up on the mountain.
Loving that the boys are playing together more now - hiding in Nana's closet.

Road trippin...
Enjoying various Christmas presents...

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Let's be honest. When you have small children New Years Eve is exciting for about the first 30 seconds that you think about going out. Then you realize you're never going to find a sitter, you're never going to be able to stay awake until midnight, and you'd have nobody to celebrate with because all your friends are stuck in the same situation.

This year, instead of sitting on the couch and feeling lame until we succumbed to sleep, we invited some other families over for an impromptu "New York New Years." Dinner, drinks, and good company... pjs and a movie for the kids... the big celebration at 9 PM! Perfect.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cousin Time

Now that Ryan and Sara are in a bigger house, we got to stay with them for part of our Seattle visit. It was great cousin time for Owen, Josh, and Calla and several late nights for us adults to talk, talk, talk. It is a great joy that our children are growing up together and that we get to share our parenting journey with Ryan and Sara. It was a cinch to pick Elliot Bay Brewery for dinner - great beer, good food, KIDS MENU! it made perfect sense to all of us to take a "field trip" to the pet store after that dinner, and bundling the kids up just to was well worth the effort...

It's always exciting for us to spend time with Calla and see in person all the progress she it making. Ryan and Sara talked about how they measure her development in tiny increments - setting small goals with her therapy team and marking progress one word, one step, one action at a time. It can be exhausting for R&S to stay focused on these small goals, but since we only see Calla every 4-6 months, we get to see the HUGE cumulative impact all those small incremental advancements make. Since they visited this summer, Calla's vocabulary has exploded and she is moving ALL OVER THE PLACE. Sure, she has her own way of saying most words - Owen is "Ow-Nee" - but that's no different than any other 2 year old. Plus, it's a joy to see how excited she gets now that her words bring results. I loved the big grin every time she announced, "Josh!!" And when I say she is moving all over the place... holy moly! upstairs, downstairs, this room, that room... I guess she's just making up for lost time, but I think we only managed to snag one picture of Calla because she is never in one place for more than a few seconds. (as it is, any picture of Calla in this post was stolen of Facebook!)

I am continually impressed with Ryan and Sara and the work they do with and for Calla. Being a parent is incredibly challenging. Navigating that journey with a child that has multiple developmental delays is a whole new ballgame. Especially because Calla doesn't have a concrete diagnosis for what has caused her challenges. We now understand she has a "Motor Planning Disorder" that explains why her body responds differently to physical stimuli. But Motor Planning Disorder is still a symptom, a result, not a cause. That leaves Ryan and Sara without a a specific prognosis - no timeline to work with, no expectations of what Calla will be capable of in 6 months, 2 years, or further down the road. What we do know is...

Calla is energetic, smart, determined, and S-O-C-I-A-L! She's probably not going to play point guard on the basketball team, but she is going to charm her way through many of life's trials and she's always going to have lots of people rooting for her every step of the way.

Oh, and Calla loves animals - especially Ocean animals, so we made a wonderful trip to the aquarium with Nana and Grandma... even though he missed his nap, Josh LOVED watching the fish. I'm sure if we lived in Seattle, Sara and I would be having frequent play dates amid the tanks.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Maxwell Christmas

After the Christmas morning present explosion, we had to say our goodbyes to my family and pack up for the trip up to the Lake. We left the boys in their new PJs to give Grandma and Grandpa a taste of the Christmas Morning snuggles. The lake was a FULL HOUSE, with 16 for dinner and 14 of us staying for the night, but it never feels crowded - just warm and cozy.

We tackled stockings after lunch and everyone enjoyed all the thoughtful gifts that "Santa" managed to remember from various conversations throughout the year. I am totally stocked up on all manger of reusable bags and lunch supplies!! The boys will have cozy toes in their smartwool socks and OH MY! do we love these Sounders Jerseys?! So cute.

The kids opened their gifts before dinner and the adults had a relaxing gift exchange after dinner. Scott received the most puzzling of gifts - why the heck is he so excited about a 5 gallon water jug, a bucked, and some plastic tubing??? Okay, add a few more accessories and a gift certificate to the brew shop and he now has a full set up to start brewing his own beer! Awesome!

And, what would Christmas be without a gift that requires assembly? Scott and Owen got his cars garage up and running in record time and I can tell this is going to be a favorite for both boys for quite some time.

My only regret is that I don't have a good picture of the three kids all together, but Josh and Calla are both SO BUSY! It was an amazing group effort that not a single kid choked or tumbled down the stairs, but Josh did manage to plaster his hand to the wood stove while Scott, Kate, and I were ALL within watching distance. I kept telling myself, "Next year will be easier." as these kids become more independent and better at self preservation! Heck, a year ago, this little guy was small enough to fit IN his stocking and now he's carrying up and down stairs. They do grow!

Christmas Morning

Shall the Christmas posts continue? There's just so many fun pictures I want to remember! The boys managed to sleep past 7, so we were able to bring them both upstairs together and see the gifts from Santa. Owen received a wooden castle and Josh got a super cute rocking horse.

As a side note, Owen was near tears
when we returned back to Bend and
he realized that Santa would not be
making a visit to specifically fill
the stockings in OUR house.
He cried, "But he didn't bring me
a Bow and Arrow!!" Oops?

I love watching how excited the kids get about the simple things. Josh was more than thrilled by his own toothbrush and Owen squealed with glee and gave thank you hugs for everything he opened. Of course, he got double the fun of opening almost all of Josh's gifts!

I love how Owen looks so sad in these pictures. He just didn't want to take a break to take pictures. Merry Christmas!

Elves Party

Christmas Eve with my parents always includes our "Elves Party" - a tradition that has held since I was young. We bailed on plans to go tour the lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden due to the rain, but that just gave us more time for music, dancing, eating, endless games of beanbag toss, games, and eating.

The boys opened their new Christmas PJs, and a few of their presents from my parents. Owen got a really cool set of MagnaTiles and Josh received a spaceship, complete with an alien in a crater that kept both boys occupied the rest of the evening.

Lacking a carrot for rudolph, Scott and Owen improvised with a... sweet potato. Hilarious.

If you're looking for a great family game for adults, the elves left us unassuming game of Anomia, which left us all laughing to the point of tears. The concept is so simple, but it's amazingly hard to think of the name of A VEGETABLE (ANY vegetable) before someone else shouts out A PIECE of FURNITURE. There may also have been an incident surrounding some missing hot buttered rum, but there's a rumor the ransom will be paid and no rum will be harmed in the process...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Montessori Party - Owen's Eyes

Don't let the title fool you. We haven't moved Owen to a new preschool. This Montessori Party is for MY Montessori friends. The ones we carpooled with 25+ years ago and continue to gather with each Christmas. We call this group our "Christmas Family" as we have really come to feel more like cousins than just friends over the years. The gifts have changed (we now collect games or puzzles to donate), the food and beverage have matured, the circle has widened to welcome spouses and growing families, but the friends remain.

This year, Owen was kind enough to be our photographer:

We were missing a few faces this year. Colin and Erin were home enjoying their 10 day old baby girl, Clare! Tyler, Kristen, and super cute baby William had postponed their holiday visit until January... so they would be sure to meet their new niece... who decided to show up as a quite early (but thankfully healthy) Christmas present. How does Susan look after welcoming TWO grandchildren this year:
It was a treat to welcome Jenna into our group (she and Ryan just got engaged!), hear Tim's stories from a life on the road, and encourage Ashley on her continuing adventures through dental school.
When the presents started flowing, Owen got out from behind the camera. He was especially excited to see Deanna again, as she has visited my parents down in Bend and endured quite a few tea parties over the last couple years.

Though we were short four "kids" but the kids table was still pretty crowded. Next year, we'll need a separate grandkids table to hold Owen, Josh, Clare, and William. This group is Todd, Tim, Ashley, Ryan, Jenna, Scott, Owen, and Myself.See, us Montessori kids know the importance of instilling the love of reading early!
See you next year Christmas Family!