Monthly Archives: July 2012

sneak peeks…

we had family pictures taken on saturday morning. the annual Logos summer picnic started at 11:30 at Hovander Park in Ferndale, so we headed out there a little early and met my friend Julie and her family there. And she snapped away. Alex didn’t cooperate. Davey barely cooperated. but lots of photos were taken and last night Julie sent me a sneak peek of 5 of her favorite shots. there should be more to come.

 

but here you go:

not too shabby.

now get ready to say “awww!” out loud:

 

and this little girl knows what’s what:

 

 

and if you get queasy at all, or you don’t like PDA (public displays of affection), close your browser now and skip the last photo:

 

that’s right, folks. we’ve been married for TEN YEARS and we still love each other!

Happy, HAPPY Birthday…

…to my wonderful husband, DAVE!

 

yes, folks. we DO have three birthdays in our family in a 15-day time span in July. Plus an anniversary. I could add to the story by telling you that Dave’s brother, Jeff, celebrates his birthday on July 24 and my sister-in-law, Babi celebrates her birthday on July 29 which would make FIVE family birthdays in a 16-day time span… but I won’t. or wait, i just did. oops!

 

I am SO THANKFUL for Dave. Earlier this year I watched him work ALL DAY for our family in the FREEZING cold (we’re talking 16* temps) to get our house packed and loaded on the moving truck (okay, so he supervised the workers, but it was still COLD in that house) and then he worked at night to CLEAN the house (especially the carpets) and then he’d come “home” to his parents’ house (where we were living) and work late into the night/early morning doing his computer job. He was exhausted, but he appeared to work tirelessly to support our family and to leave our home in the best condition possible for the next owner. You taught me a lesson, Dave – you are a grown-up through and through. You sacrifice yourself for your family and I need to do more of that.

 

Dave is…

a fantastic and faithful friend

an helpful and honest husband

a devoted dad

a playful parent

an enterprising employee

a committed Christian

a laid-back leader

a confident cook/chef

an amateur animal (lizard) hunter

a geeky genius (meaning he’s really smart with technology!)

and so much more.

 

Dave, I am so thankful for who you are, what you stand for, how you react (or don’t react) and how you behave. Thank you for your love, trust, commitment, faith, beliefs, abilities, devotion, faithfulness, leadership, friendship and everything else you so freely and often times, tirelessly, give. We are blessed because you are who you are.

 

Happy Birthday, Honey!

 

 

*note: all photos are from THIS year…

our first decade

Happy Anniversary to Dave and I!

Ten years, folks. Can you believe it? I’m definitely getting older wiser b/c it certainly has not felt like “ten long years.”

I’m only going to share four photos with you today. All were taken THIS year (I still don’t have any of our wedding photos in digital format… some day). And along the way, I’ll share some numbers with you. Deal?

 

10 years

3 children

3 homes (technically three, as we take possession of our 2nd house but 3rd home TODAY… while we’re 1600 miles away from it!)

2 states (lived in)

20 states (driven through and/or visited)

3 countries (visited)

5 vehicles

2 churches

6 employers (3 each)

2 companies owned (or co-owned)

2 hair styles for dave: short and afro

90 pounds (at least) lost between the two of us over the past 10 years (granted, most of those pounds were babies/baby weight i carried!)

0 ER visits (thus far)

3 “false alarm” trips to the hospital to have babies (2x with Sam and 1x with Alex)

1 diagnosis of gluten intolerant

2 heartaches (the passing of my gram and his granma)

countless adventures enjoyed

 

Dave, I love you more today than I did 10 years ago. I would live the last 10 years over again if it meant we’d be where we are today. I love you with my whole heart. I value your opinion. There is no one else that I would rather spend my life with. Thank you for loving me and for sticking by me through thick and thin. May our next decade together bring us closer to each other, our Lord and our children. Thank you for working so hard to provide for the kids and me. Thank you for taking care of us. Thank you for your calm and thoughtful demeanor. Thank you for your impact on my life. And thank you for being my best friend!


 

…and just like that, my baby is all grown up….

yep. you read that title correctly. davey is all grown up. he’s five now, you know. and he starts kindergarten in less than two weeks. full time kindergarten, i must add. from 8:13am to 3pm daily. yep. all five work/school days. “go big or go home,” i suppose. (in washington most schools choose to start kindergarten students at 2-3 days a week).

 

davey is an amazing little boy. after starting life four weeks early (he was born at 36 weeks exactly) and as a preemie (he weighed 5 pounds and 10 ounces) and on the light bed for severe jaundice, he has come a LONG way. and even through the sleepless infant nights and the frustrations of potty training, he has brought us more joy than we knew possible. he’s our first. he’s our only boy. and while he’s our “practice” child for learning how to parent, he’s been gracious and kind to us all through the process. he’s quick to forgive and he’s quite loving of us, his sisters, extended family and his friends. he’s not perfect – far from it – but he’s a pretty cool dude.

 

-he seems to be quite intelligent. he knows all his letters by sight (upper case definitely and he knows MOST lower case letters) and by sound. he can write all of them and he’s learning to read and write by sounding out words.

-he loves numbers and he’s learning how to add and subtract.

-he’s a pretty good little artist and i have a LOT of his artwork in this year’s Project Life album.

-his current LOVES are the Marvel Super Heroes (especially The Avengers) and legos.

-after just one month of swim lessons (2x weekly for 25 minutes each), he turned into a fish. after being quite timid in the water, he now LOVES it and can’t get enough of the water (which makes me SOOOOOO happy)!

-he’s still a picky eater but he’s doing better about eating without too many complaints AND about eating the portions he’s served

-he hates to be wrong and he hates to get in trouble (which usually gets him in MORE trouble when he LIES about NOT doing something that he actually DID do)

-he’s wearing 4T clothing still, but i’ll move him into some 5T clothing (shirts, mostly) f0r school. His waist is quite small still so I don’t know what will happen when he needs to wear pants to school.

-he is ELATED that he gets to start school in less than two weeks. i’m thrilled for him. and i’m terrified (“he’s so little!”). God’s grace will carry us BOTH through this!

-he’s the ONLY grandson on BOTH sides of the family (so far – there are still “children-to-come” on Dave’s side of the family).

 

there are probably hundreds more things i can and should say about him. but i’ll stop here and just share with you a photo montage of his 5 years of life.

 

birthday treat tutorial

we had a very successful birthday party for Alex and Davey on saturday. the weather warmed up and we were able to spend the entire evening outside! earlier in the week (monday night, in fact), dave and i discussed the birthdays and the party and we used our Amazon Prime shipping account to our advantage – we ordered the birthday presents and we breathed a sigh of relief at how easy it was. the one “catch” was i was OBSESSED with these Avengers cupcake topper rings:

(photo from amazon.com)

 

pretty cool, aren’t they? we were doing an Avengers themed party for Davey and we were off-setting it with a Yo Gabba Gabba theme for Alex. I didn’t want to order plates and napkins and consumables so I opted to have the desserts set the theme for the party. Unfortunately, even though the rings were available on Prime shipping, they weren’t going to arrive in time for the party. so i ordered presents and Yo Gabba Gabba bath squirters (as cake toppers) and had them shipped to dave’s parents’ house. then i searched walmart.com and target.com and amazon and finally ebay for the rings and a way to get them to the house in time for the party. and then it dawned on me: expedited shipping! so i logged back in to my amazon account, ordered the rings, chose expedited shipping and then i went to bed feeling content about my purchases.

 

fast forward two full days. at 10pm on wednesday i checked my amazon account. the rings were supposed to arrive that day, but we had no package and no mail. and then it dawned on me. yep. i forgot to change my mailing address. so i paid expedited shipping to have the rings arrive at our home in Arizona – 1600 miles away! i almost sent my friend on a fools’ errand to ship them (overnight!) to me here in WA and then reason prevailed. i gave up on the rings that were so important to me.

 

on friday, i hunted high and low around whatcom county for the avengers rings. or for SOMETHING i could use as cupcake toppers. all i found were erasers in the dollar spot at target. i did NOT want to put erasers on the cupcakes…. might taint the flavor, yeah? so i did the next best thing: i called my friend Carrilee and explained my dilemma to her. she told me i could surely find what i wanted/needed at Walmart but i could also put the erasers on a toothpick. GENIUS LIGHTBULB MOMENT! i DID go to walmart where i found stickers (for teachers to use, but i bought them anyway) for the goody bags and then i realized i could use them as cupcake toppers, too!

 

so here you go. my tutorial on turning 8 erasers ($1.00) and two partial sheets of stickers ($0.88 for 4 sheets) into cupcake toppers with the assistance of toothpicks, scissors and some cardboard. first, gather your supplies:

 

insert a toothpick (using a “twisting” motion) into the “bottom” of each eraser:

 

then you find two Super Hero stickers of the same shape (two circles, two squares, etc) and you adhere one sticker to a piece of cardboard. Trim around it with your scissors. Flip it over (so you see just cardboard) and lay the toothpick on the cardboard. Use the second sticker to adhere the toothpick to the cardboard.

(my apologies for the super-glare photo).

 

So now you have your toppers but you need the cupcakes. Purchase your gluten free cake mix (we wanted daddy and auntie Taryn to enjoy some birthday desserts at the party) and follow the directions on the package to mix, pour:

 

bake:

 

and cool. Side note: i checked the grocery store(s), walmart and target for good cupcake liners. i found these at Target.

 

next, take your white frosting (from a can – i’m all about EASY for a kids’ party) and some food coloring and go to town. my initial attempt, however, was a major fail. i thought it would be easiest to mix my frosting colors in ziplock baggies and then i could just cut off the corner to actually “frost” the cupcakes. it turns out that you make really warm/soft frosting that’s not likely to spread OR squeeze out of a baggie:

 

so then you send your mother-in-law to the store to pick up another can and you mix the colors in small tea cups:

(this is AFTER i’d used the frosting and had frosted the cupcakes. sorry i forgot to take a photo of the colors IN the cups!)

 

and then you scoop the colored frosting (that you mixed with a spoon!) into the ziplock baggies and cut off the tip and swirl the frosting onto the cupcakes:

whew! finally SOMETHING worked well!

 

and then you add your homemade toppers:

 

and then a few hours later you realize you forgot to add the sprinkles you purchased so you try to add them to the cupcakes but the frosting is already “set” a bit (aka: hardened) and not many sprinkles stick:

but you smile because you realize that it’s enough sprinkles to make the kids happy anyway.

 

and then you search high and low for the candle sets you found at the dollar store. and you add the special birthday candles to the cupcakes just before singing time:

 

and you breathe a sigh of relief as everyone compliments you on your beautiful birthday cupcakes. and then it’s time to SING and blow out the candles:

and enjoy the tasty treats that caused you some stress!

 

but remember, that was only ONE dessert. the Avengers. next up: ice cream dessert (with only one photo – the end product):

 

this dessert was not without it’s own issues, as well, but in short, it’s oreo cookie crumbs (we used gluten free “not-quite-oreos”) and then homemade hot fudge sauce (i burned/scorched the first batch which required dave to make a second trip to the store to purchase more condensed milk and bakers’ chocolate – he had to go to the store the first time for condensed milk when he decided he wanted “hot fudge sauce” in the middle rather than “chocolate sauce”). you top that with mint chocolate chip ice cream (buy the cheap kind in a box, soften it in the fridge or on the counter and use a knife to cut it and lay it in the pan). and then a tub of cool whip tops the dessert followed by more crushed oreo cookie sprinkles.

 

and then, to make the dessert appropriate for a Yo Gabba Gabba birthday party, you add Yo Gabba Gabba bath squirters purchased from Amazon. and the special birthday candles found at the dollar store. yum yum yum!!!!

calendar update

a mini calendar update (to remind me, mostly):

monday was a fun day at “home” at grandpa & grandma’s house. dave worked (from home – he has a project that’s behind schedule and he wants to get it DONE so he can relax for at least the end of this vacation). i popped into the restaurant/store where i consign my hand made and vintage goodies. i spent a few hours there organizing, arranging, re-arranging and more. i need to go back…. just hasn’t happened yet. the kids just enjoyed time with grandpa & grandma. they LOVE being here.

 

tuesday i was able to go for an early morning walk with my good friend Karla. it felt good to get out and exercise after sitting around in the car for so long! then i spent  few hours with my dear friend Carrilee…. we were able to enjoy her belated birthday present: pedicures and lunch at Semiahmoo resort. (in hindsight, my nails were clipped too short and my french pedicure paint job isn’t very good but i’m still thankful for it). what i value most is the TIME i’m trying to spend with my friends. and Carrilee is like a sister to me. and we had a great time talking, “catching up,” investing in each other’s lives, being pampered and sitting outside by the Bay while eating our lunch.

 

that night, dave and i ran to the grocery store for a few things and then we drove by our old home. Elm Street. the new owners have done a little bit of yard work (flowers, trees, tidying the flower beds) and they’re in the process of putting up a fence. we saw our old (not age-d but former) neighbors and they told us the story of the fence. there’s a little boy who roams the neighborhood (he has some issues – perhaps high functioning autism or something) and he just wanders off and will walk into people’s homes. more than once he’s been found on their deck (our old deck) lifting the lid to the hot tub, peeking in the sliding glass door…. and so the neighbors want to maintain their privacy AND keep him (and his brother) safe and OUT of the hot tub. funny. we lived there for 9.5 years and had the hot tub for at least 8.5 years and it wasn’t until we headed out on our epic road trip last summer that any of our neighbors knew we owned the hot tub!

 

wednesday started with an early morning walk (in the cornfields!) with my good friend Sara and then was followed up with lunch and a play date with Julie Ball and her girls – Bethany, Becca and Elise (and we managed to stay long enough to wait for Sarah to get home from working in the berry plant, too)! Dave and i took a long (one hour) walk that evening (9-10) where we discovered my blister and my need for new running/work out shoes.

 

thursday was a fabulous and crazy play date with lunch at karla’s house. her four precious kiddos were there: katelynn, alyssa, luke and elijah. stacy was there with ellie, lily and jaxx. lisa was there with preston and caleb (tyler was in summer school). carrilee was there with henry, jorja and albert. and taya arrived with isaiah, elijah and baby judah. i love and miss my friends.

 

birthday buddies

alex has a birthday buddy. did you remember that? i’m bummed that we moved 1600 miles from her birthday buddy. but at least we’ll still get to see elijah from time to time.

 

this is karla and i one week before giving birth to our youngest child/ren:

alex is my 3rd. elijah was her 4th (her 2nd & 3rd were twins!).

 

then our babies were delivered 48 minutes apart by the same doctor (Dr. Mallory). and we were able to see the babies together when they were about a day or two old:

my father-in-law even put this photo up on the overhead projector at church.  :)

 

and when the babies were just one week old they had their first play date:

guess they were pretty tired.  :)

 

and now, they are just over two years old. elijah is bigger, though not much taller. and he can walk and run and he’s a tougher kid than alex with her crawling, sweet, sensitive self. but they are still darling together…. even if it’s almost impossible to get a photo!

 

elijah played “shy” initially:

 

but alex was VERY interested in him, so she chased him for awhile:

 

and then elijah finally relented and wanted alex to sit next to him:

but only lasted for about 30 seconds so this blurry photo was the best i could get.

 

alex did attempt to pat elijah’s back:

 

but elijah was having NONE of it, so he found a way to make his escape while i was busy with the camera:

 

oh well. i guess that’s what happens when you try to photograph two 2-year olds together!

mass chaos

what happens when you get 5 moms and 18 kids together?

 

this:

 

you get lots of laughter, smiles, chasing, running, playing, giggling, eating, complaining, whining, hitting, pushing, shoving, crying and more.

 

and it was all worth it to spend a few hours with some of my dearest friends in Lynden and their children. many, MANY thanks to Karla for hosting and to Stacy, Lisa, Taya and Carrilee for making today a priority. was sad to miss out on time with Shelly, Jessica, Barb, Sara, Mary Jo and others. (when you’re listing friends or a group of people do you always have this somewhat irrational fear that you’ll forget to include someone very important in that list? i do. so i’m cringing, even now, as i type this post…. “what if i forgot someone?”)

 

the little kids are growing up to be 1st and 2nd graders (what?! when did that happen?) and the babies are now 2 (like my alex) and everything is changing. and it’s good. it’s great, in fact. but it’s just a tiny bit sad, too.

 

strolling the grounds

one thing that’s FABULOUS about being back in the NW is the green…. green, green, green EVERYWHERE you look. grass, trees, flower stems and petals, bushes. i love GREEN. more specifically, i love LUSH green -green grass that’s thick like a carpet. brilliant and dark greens found on all kinds of foliage. bursts of color from all kinds and colors of flowers. grandpa & grandma have spent a LOT of time in their backyard since we moved 6 months ago. and it shows. and it’s gorgeous. and the kids (including alex) LOVE to run/walk/crawl around in the beauty.

 

i apologize for so many similar photos but it was easier to select them all and stick them into this post at one time than to go through each one. i love the expressions on the kids’ faces as the explore the back yard, water flowers, run around, “walk” with grandpa, daddy or mommy (alex) and whatever else it is they’re doing in these photos. i do believe this back yard is a bit of a haven.

on Friday the 13th

a few days ago, on Friday the 13th of July, my sweet baby girl turned TWO!

 

at two, alexandra daisy sue dunkin continues to be our little miracle. she’s alive. she’s healthy. she’s growing. she’s thriving. she’s sweet, loving, cuddly, snuggly, darling and all other things adorable. i apologize for all the photos, but once i started selecting, i had a hard time letting any go! so here’s alex… from pregnancy (Baby Daisy) to now!

 

AT TWO, ALEX

- is wearing size 3 diapers (she does wear size 4 at night)

- is wearing 12-18 month clothing still (though pants in that size might be too short come “winter” time)

- still has a  FULL head of curly, dark hair

- has a mouth full of teeth (at least 10 and maybe as many as 12?)

- has no need/desire to talk so she will (not-so-clearly) say “bottle” and “bite”

- does use a LITTLE bit of sign language (“more,” “all done,” and “please”)

- is FINALLY walking with “aides” (either walking toys or chairs she can push around the room). additionally, in the last two weeks she has been WILLINGLY holding onto our hands to walk across the room. whew. i thought she might NEVER do this!

- loves to play with baby dolls and stuffed animals by turning them face down and patting them on the back. she will also cuddle/snuggle with them up by her chin/neck. and she will kiss them, but the kiss it out of the side of her mouth.

- has no fear of people

- really is a darling and (mostly) CONTENT child

- gave up her pacifier back when she was sick (in June)

- still drinks her (soy) milk from a bottle. i look forward to weaning her from the bottle soon. i’m tired of washing those things!

- still loves to watch Blues Clues and Yo Gabba Gabba!

 

 

she is the perfect addition to our family. our lives would not be as sweet, mellow, loving, gentle or quiet?! without her. we are still SO THANKFUL for all the prayers of family, friends and strangers around the world… God heard your prayers and gave us this sweetheart. we all thank you.