Saturday, September 22, 2012


We've been swapping Owen's drawers over to fall clothes and some bigger sizes. This has led to our first discussion of the sizing on clothing and me trying to delicately explain why it's okay to wear "4" clothing when he's actually 5. (of course, josh is still able to fit in most 18 month clothes, but I'm starting to pull those out of his drawers simply out of principle!) we managed to get al the size 3s out and Owen seemed to get excited about something other than T-shirts and sweatpants. Okay, excited might be to strong a word, but at least he was Joyfully hanging some more interesting options in the closet.

After Work on the closets, Owen decided to wear his slim jeans (not that there's any other option to fit him), and a new collar shirt for a "mom and owen date night. After getting dressed, He looked at me said, "Mom, this is more like 8."

I was pretty confused. "You mean, like size 8?" I asked.

"No. Not the size. My STYLE!"

Saturday, September 15, 2012

They Do!

A long awaited day arrived in August. Scott's college roommate, tied the knot with his lovely bride Julie at a beautiful outdoor wedding at Suncadia Resort.

We packed up the car for a weekend in Cle Elum, so thankful that the previous week's forest fire seemed to be under control. The boys are getting to be pretty solid road trippers. I'm not close scheduling a week-long driving vacation like Scott's family used to do, but at least we know that a 4-5 hour drive isn't going to land us all in the looney bin.

Owen was soooo excited for the wedding.  I was excited to take them... matching clothes, cute kids dancing, the awe that comes with seeing the bride and groom, etc.  However, my excitement quickly dissipated the week before the wedding, as I watched the kids eat dinner and thought to myself, "Oh no, we're raising hooligans!" I actually told the boys that we were having a week of "manners and politeness boot camp" to get ready for the wedding.

Jon's family hosted a pre-wedding BBQ on Friday night, and I think almost half the wedding guests were in attendance.  We got to see some old friends while Owen and Josh hunted for stray golf balls off the back deck.  

We took advantage of a mostly free Saturday to swim in the COLD hotel pool and then make the short drive out to Ellensburg to catch up with my grandparents and Ramona. My grandpa is truly amazing - still cutting hay fields with his "tractor buddies" and looking like he's found the fountain of youth. We picked up 25 pounds of peaches at the giant THORP FRUIT freeway stand, along with snacks for a picnic lunch and (thankfully) managed to get the boys to take a solid nap before rallying for the wedding.

Beautiful setting, Beautiful ceremony, Beautiful couple. We are just thrilled for Jon and Julie.  

Owen was in awe during the ceremony and all the people in fancy clothes, which resulted in some pretty good behavior and Josh followed his brother's lead.  We made sure to take a few "running breaks" out on the lawn during the cocktail hour and again during some down time during the reception, but once the music started... the boys pulled out dance moves I have never seen before and didn't stop dancing until we carried them back to the hotel. 

Overall, one of our summer highlights for sure!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Owen at 5

I am long over due on a birthday post for Owen, but I wanted to get a snapshot down for our family record. Queue gratuitous bragging post:

At 5, Owen is an energetic and passionate kid. He loves to learn and asks tons of questions to understand nature and the world around him. His monthly national geographic magazine is always a hit and we're starting to pay more attention to the non-fiction shelves at the library. This month, we have books about inventors and he's soaking up the information in his "body book".

Owen loves to read and prefers chapter books to picture books. Jack and Annie (Magic Treehouse), Young Cam Jansen, and Nate the Great are frequent visitors in our house. Owen also continues to work on reading on his own and has moved from the Bob Books to beginning readers (4-6 words on a page with lots of repetition). He's already figuring out some of the reading tricks... like studying the picture to guess the words instead of actually sounding them out. Stinker!

Somewhere in the last year, Owen started writing his name right to left (previously he wrote it "N E W O" because he's left handed with both the W and N upside down). He still writes the N upside down, but I love watching his brain gain these new skills.
I am finding that 5 is a fun and trying age. Owen is simply fun to spend time with and able to tag along on "grown up" errands and activities most of the time. But, he can also be so stubborn and inconsiderate - not out of malice, but simply unawareness of how his actions or requests (demands!) impact the other person. I remind myself that he's only 5, but it's an interesting balancing act to figure out what's a reasonable expectation at this age - an age when he's testing limits and asking for reasons behind everything instead of just taking our word as law. Ha!  

Owen is a great older brother and puts up with his "Josh shadow" more than he probably should have to.  It's been fun for Owen to have a legitimate playmate this summer and when they aren't tearing each other limb from limb, they work together on projects that Owen creates - "let's make mud in the garden," "let's set-up a battle," "let's create a race track," etc. In fact, Owen just loves projects and in his play time before school, he's usually pulled out the art supplies. We have loved watching his drawing evolve over the last few months and the elaborate stories he creates with each picture.

In the midst of all this brain work, Owen is still high energy, a dirt magnet, and a total monkey. He loves climbing the tree in our front yard (despite the major pruning that removed all limbs below 5 feet). This summer, he learned to shimmy UP the fireman's pole and other vertical supports around the playground and worked hard to figure out the monkey bars. In June, he could do 4 bars and by August, he conquered the 11 bar twisting route at the local school. I really need to get some pictures of him on the equipment - Scott says it looks like he's doing a "Survivor" challenge - holding himself halfway up the fireman's pole with just his feet and such.

Owen has two mispronounced words that crack us up:
Brefkist - which I find myself now saying half the time
Weabons (weapons) - which is hilarious when he yells, "Grab your weabons!" in his most serious pirate voice.

And finally, after all the time spent worrying about picky eating, Owen now regularly finishes all the food on his plate. He still will not touch an egg with a 10 foot pole, but most meals are acceptable and he happily eats fruits, fresh veggies (especially tomatoes, carrots, and peppers), any standard kid food (nuggets, fish stick, hot dogs) as well as our regular family dinners (pastas, stir fry, soups, and grill fare). Granted, he still takes PB&J everyday for lunch, but I know someone who at a cheese sandwich for about 6 years straight during elementary school, so at least I know where my kids come by their food quirks! And, in an unexpected miracle, Owen came in at the 15th percentile for height and weight at his 5 year visit.

He'll probably still be a head shorter than every kid in his kindergarten (being the youngest doesn't help), but at least we know he'll out climb 'em. We love this monkey!

Birthday times 2

Owen's birthday arrived at a time of yet another transition around our house. We had made the decision to move the boys from their daycare to a montessori school, and the transition happened on July 1.  Without strong friendships from the old school and no time to meet any new friends, I was a little stressed about what we would do for Owen's birthday. From the minute we set food in Portland, he had been inviting anyone we spent time with to come to his birthday party - as you can imagine, it would have been quite an extensive and random guest list!

Thankfully, our 4th of July travels came to the rescue and when we proposed to Owen that we have his birthday party in Seattle "with our big family," he was thrilled. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Side Note: 
In less than two months at our new school
the boys have been invited to three birthday parties,
so we know we've made a good choice in our quest
to find a more inclusive community in Portland.

As it turns out, Owen lucked out to celebrate his birthday two different times. First, we celebrated his Golden Birthday (5 on the 5th!) at Nana and Papa's. After considering a zillion Seattle touristy things to do to celebrate, we decided to simply take Owen with his birthday present to Newcastle Beach Park. He was more than thrilled to upsize to a 16-inch bike, complete with kick stand and had no problem cruising around the park.

Once up at Lake Ki, we had Owen's official party with the Maxwell clan. I made Owen's requested birthday cupcakes: "Chocolate Chip and Strawberry Cupcakes with Green and Orange Frosting."  After hearing and seeing pictures about the amazing cakes my friends attempt to tackle for their kids' birthdays, I am soooo grateful that Owen still requests just flavors and colors. 

Birthday guests included Josh and Calla, plus Jeff and Ethel and Ryan and Sara. Conrad and Glenna also made quite the trek from an event in Tacoma - we have great family!

Owen wrote his own birthday wish list that included Cars Cars, activity books, puzzles, reading books, and magnatiles, but really, his wishes could have been summed up with three words:
Star Wars Legos

I have no idea what the draw is, but for 5-year old boys, it simply doesn't get better than building your own fleet of storm troopers and jedi knights. The phenomenon is especially puzzling to me because Owen has never see a Star Wars movie, read a book, or anything related. His Star Wars exposure is a t-shirt, conversations with Caleb, and now legos. But, I am more than happy to support the lego obsession. I would rather have 4 zillion legos overtake my house than try to keep 12 different building systems separated and organized. Owen came out of this birthday with a well established fleet and two months later, he's continuing to set-up battles and build different ships, so I'd say this birthday was a success.

Happy 5th Birthday Owen!

Summer In Seattle

After juggling around a host of schedules trying to get everyone down for a visit to PDX around the 4th of July and Owen's birthday, we made a last minute decision to hit the road and go up to Seattle ourselves instead.  What a great decision, as summer arrived in Seattle a few days before we did.

We're blessed to have such wonderful and welcoming family to stay with and to have both families so close that we can see everyone on one visit. We simply relaxed and enjoyed the comforts of our "homes away from home" in both Bellevue and Lake Ki. Our Seattle visit was short on pictures, but high on family, friends, and fun, with beautiful weather at every turn.

The kids found a trove of classic toys at Nana's house.
Josh, of course, took a major digger just before we left and spend our vacation showing off yet another scab on the face. Someday he's going to ask us about all his scars and we'll just have to answer, "I don't know bud. You were two."
We celebrated 4th of July with the amazing view from my parents' house in Bellevue. Jeff and Ethel stopped by to join us for great grilled shrimp and veggies and then the boys were SOOOO excited to set off some of the (thankfully small) fireworks that papa had acquired.

Well, they were excited until the fireworks actually started. Owen stuck around and enjoyed the show, but Josh ended up inside with grandma watching through the window.  Too loud!

It's not 4th of July without Strawberry Shortcake!

Owen stayed up to watch the show. Quite a sight off the deck watching hundreds of private fireworks displays around Puget Sound. The landscape simply shimmers with light as far as you can see.  After all that, the "BIG" show over Lake Union didn't live up to Owen's expectations, but he sure liked staying up late!

We lucked out that our summer visit finally coincided with Colleen's trek through Washington. The last time I saw Colleen, she had 3 boys in Everett. Now, we have seven boys between us with her Luke and Tommy each born just weeks ahead of Owen and Josh.  We had a fun playdate at Somerset Elementary. I'm so glad she's a dedicated blogger, because one visit was simply not enough catch-up time.

Amy and the boys also joined us for an afternoon and dinner up at Lake Ki. As always,  Owen and Sam were bonded from sight and even chauffeured us around the lake in the paddle boat.

Ah, summer in Seattle is short and fleeting, but when it arrives, it's one of the most beautiful places in the world!