Monday, January 9, 2017

Week One - Snow!

I am terribly behind on our family blog, but I have not yet given up on the idea of getting it up to date. For starters, I thought weekly posts would be a good idea for 2017. 

I am writing this post from an app on my phone because I've been having some issues with my computer. So we'll see how this goes, and here's to a new year of blogging!  

We spent New Years Day driving home from our trip to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. We got a later start than planned and also hit traffic, so the drive was a little less bearable than on the way there. Still, having the rear DVD system and two iPads for the boys makes even the worst road trips pretty easy. 

We had to stop for lunch and I honestly just couldn't stomach the idea of fast food, so Charlie and I decided on a Japanase steak house in Smyrna, TN. Luke ate only edemame, Isaac had a bowl of steamed rice and a CA roll, and Charlie and I shared a few other sushi rolls. Isaac snapped this selfie of the two of us. 

 

Charlie and the boys all had Monday off. We spent the morning taking down and packing up all of the Christmas decorations.  Then I had to go to the school for Isaac's annual IEP meeting in the afternoon. He has come SO far since his first IEP when he entered the school system six years ago. I remember the anxiety and preparation that used to go into those meetings. This one was such a breeze in comparison. 

Tuesday it was back to school and back to work. It was a nice long break and we had some wonderful family time, a nice Christmas, and a fun trip. By the end of it all I think every one of us was ready to get back to our routine. I got the house cleaned up and hosted a YW Presidency meeting that lasted all morning. I think we were all enjoying the adult/girl time and just got carried away chatting! 

On Wednesday after the gym I drove to Sprouts, which is a 30 minute drive. I miss Sprouts in the worst way. It is my absolute favorite place to shop for food and I have been so disappointed since moving here because there is not one close by. I only end up going about once a month or less, but this was a particularly good trip. I hadn't been in a long time and I felt like there were so many good deals & so much yummy fresh food. I was seriously so giddy!  I know I'm a nerd. I snapped this photo to send to Charlie of all the things I bought. 

 

4 grapefruits, 12 avocados, baby carrots, 8 apples, 6 onions, cilantro, jalepeno, 4 sweet potatoes, butternut squash, 2 lbs cuties, celery, 4 russet potatoes, 5 tomatoes, red grapes, 7 limes, 2 lbs strawberries, 2 boxes blackberries, 3 boxes blueberry granola bars, 2 boxes chicken broth, pistachios, Justin's almond butter, 
garlic, fudge, 5 bottles of green juice, our favorite tortilla chips from CA!!! (that we have not found until now), 3 blocks of cheese, cheese curds, 1.5 lbs wild Atlantic salmon, 1 lb Italian sausage, 1.5 lbs carne asada, sour cream, 4 fage yogurts, and 12 siggis yogurts

As I was putting everything up at the check out I was thinking I probably spent $200. Nope. Only $133. I love Sprouts! Love it. 

On Thursday I was signed up to volunteer for Isaac's teacher. I wish there were more opportunities to actually be in the classroom, but even being "copy helper" gives me a chance to work with his teacher a bit and keep up to speed on what's happening in the classroom. I did run into Isaac in the hallway while he was coming back from his social skills lunch group.  He wanted me to see his artwork that was chosen to go in the main hall outside the front office.  What a cute owl! 

 

After I picked up Luke from preschool we had to stop by Publix so I could pick up some treats for that night's YW activity. We decided on donuts from the bakery. Well there is no way Luke was going to miss out on donuts so he convinced me to buy him a chocolate frosted one to eat at home. After seeing the mess on his face he wanted to send a selfie to Charlie at work. 

 

On Friday afternoon Isaac brought home his second report card of the year with another round of straight A's!  We are SO proud of him. He is a super smart kid, but really struggles with his study skills. Keeping on task and getting his work done is sometimes a challenge, but his teacher this year has really worked with him and his IEP team has all helped too. Keep up the good work Isaac!  

I forgot to take a picture of Isaac with the report card so we snapped one this morning. Luke wanted in on it too. And Cracker. 

 

Friday night it snowed!  It doesn't snow too often here, so with a couple of inches in the forecast there was lots of talk and anticipation leading up to the storm. It started out as freezing rain and eventually turned to snow. We woke up to about 2 1/2 beautiful inches the next morning. 

 

 

 

The boys were so excited to go out and play!  Unfortunately we don't have the right clothes for playing in the snow but we made do with what we have. We played in the neighbor's yard for a few minutes before heading to the golf course for sledding! 

 

Luke only got a handful of runs in before he started melting down. He only had a pair of knit gloves on and his earlier attempts at making snowballs had soaked them through. After about 15 minutes of sledding he was crying because of his freezing hands, so I took him to the car to warm up.  I got one good run down from the top of this hill, which wasn't super steep but if you got on the right angles you could go pretty far. 

 

Back at the car Luke declared he would never leave the house again until the snow was gone! Poor kid. 

 

I ended up taking him home while Charlie & Isaac stayed behind with the neighbors. This was the road going back to our house. It wasn't a ton of snow, but because of the freezing rain that preceded it the roads were really icy. I was thankful for Charlie's Subaru and the 4-wheel drive. 

 

After lunch we managed to convince Luke to go for round two.  The neighbor lent him some warmer clothes and we reminded him not to pick up snow. Round two went much, much better. Both boys had a blast!  There were several friends from the neighborhood there and we tried out a different hill with a little bump in it that was really fun. Isaac surprised me with his gumption. He would get a running start, land on his knees, and take off for some remarkably fast runs.  Charlie had fun going down with both boys while I mostly took pictures or helped with launches at the top. 

 

 

We had fun!  But we all froze. The wind chill brought the temperatures down to around 10 degrees, which is way colder than I like. Cracker doesn't like it either. I took him out front for a potty break and he wouldn't walk even one step. (He prefers the covered deck out back that has dry ground.) 

 

That night we went out for dinner to celebrate Isaac's report card. We let him pick the restaurant so we ended up at Chili's. His first choice is always Del Taco, but we managed to talk him out of it this time.  We were surprised at how much ice was still on the roads. They were quite bad in some spots and retrospectively we decided we probably should have stayed home. But we did make it home safely and then we stayed put! 

All church meetings were cancelled today due to the icy roads, and school is already cancelled for tomorrow. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Private

I obviously have a lot of catching up to do on our blog, but before I do that I've decided to go ahead and make our blog private. Not that there is much traffic here anyway. Please let me know if you happen to stop by here now and then and I will send you an invite. Seriously, don't be shy!  We would love to share with friends and family - we'd just like to keep some of the more personal things from any psychos, etc. Thanks!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Birthday Weekend in Seattle

Way back in February Mikael and I had been texting each other and scheming ways of how we could plan a trip to see each other.  It was getting complicated because we both had busy schedules, traveling husbands, and budgets.  It was looking like a no go.  But a few days later Mikael's sneaky husband Derek got ahold of my number and started texting me about planning a surprise getaway for Mikael's upcoming birthday.  I thought it would be a pretty awesome birthday gift to myself too, so I talked it over with Charlie and set to work making plans.  It was absolute torture trying to contain my excitement and I was seriously dying not being able to talk with Mikael about it.  She kept texting me trying to make plans (unaware that flights had already been booked) and I had to keep making up excuses of why I didn't think it would work.  Finally her birthday came around at the beginning of March and Derek had wrapped up the plane tickets as a surprise.  Well wouldn't you know it, she wouldn't even open them that morning but insisted on waiting until Derek came home that night.  AGH.  So finally she opened the tickets, we exchanged lots of screaming excited texts, and began our countdown to the first weekend in April.


I told Mikael that I would make the famous Wood family Surprise Cupcakes for her birthday, so even though they were a month late I did still load up a container of cupcakes and carry them on the plane with me.  We arrived Thursday night in Seattle and took the train downtown where we stayed at The Roosevelt Hotel.  We spent that first night staying up late eating cupcakes and talking nonstop until we were both too drowsy to make any sense.

Friday morning we slept in.  We had blackout curtains and there were no children there to wake us.  It was glorious.  But we did have a lunch reservation at noon, so we eventually had to get moving.  We got ready for the day and then walked across town to the Space Needle.  I always enjoy going up to the high point of a city to get a view of the surroundings.  The weather was clear and sunny and gorgeous that day and the views from atop the Needle were incredible.  We had a leisurely lunch in the revolving restaurant and enjoyed checking out the full 360 degree view of Seattle.




We kept seeing these billowing clouds of dessert being served at other tables and decided that we needed an "Oribter" too.  Mostly we just wanted to take pictures of it and Mikael sent a video to her kids.



Mikael sent this picture to her dad.  It's not the most flattering, but I love it.  We were having such a blast being kid free and chatting up a storm and laughing at our own dumb jokes.


Next we walked over to Pike Place Market and just wandered the stalls admiring the gorgeous flowers, fresh fruit, and arts & crafts for sale.  Luke was really into pigs at the time (like he was constantly declaring "I'm a pig" and making oinking sounds in response to questions), so I of course had to take this photo for him.



We walked even further down and along the waterfront just enjoying the beautiful day and each other's company.  I'm sure we logged quite a few miles that day walking all around.  We stopped and did a bit of shopping on our way back to the hotel, and then laid down to relax for awhile before heading back out for dinner.

We were both craving sushi and just happened to strike up a conversation with a guy in the elevator who directed us to a place called Dragonfish just across the street that had sushi happy hour.  Perfect!  This may have been my favorite night of the trip.  We ordered a half a dozen little dishes to share and sat and talked and snacked.  After we'd already paid the bill and were getting ready to leave, I looked at Mikael and then confessed "I'm still hungry!"  I was starving actually.  So we ordered a whole second round of food and laughed and talked and ate some more.  It was seriously such a fun night.



The next morning we had big plans to go see the Fremont Troll.  I mapped it out on my phone and found a good 3 mile route that would take us right to him.  We laced up our running shoes and set out on our way.  Unfortunately I have a TERRIBLE sense of direction and started us off going the exact opposite way of where we should have gone.  After about a mile of super steep hills through a somewhat sketchy part of town Mikael wised up and suggested that I check my phone.  Sure enough we were now one mile further from Mr. Troll.  Um, oops.  Sorry about that Mikael.


But despite the extra two miles that I added to our run that morning, we had a blast.  I wish we lived closer for so many reasons, but running together everyday would be a pretty nice perk too.  The miles went by that much quicker with a friend to talk to and push me along.  The weather was overcast and cold with a bit of a drizzle and I loved taking in the city as we ran.

The Troll was pretty cool.  It's a giant sculpture constructed underneath a bridge and he's holding a VW Beetle in his left hand.  We lucked out to arrive in between waves of tourists and get some fun pictures. Mikael, of course, is kissing the troll because for as long as I've known her she has always posed this way with statues.  Just one more reason why I love her.



Since I had accidentally turned our 6 mile route into an 8 mile one, we decided to take the way back a little easier.  We stopped and took silly pictures and walked the last mile back to the hotel.  There was a light rain by then and we were chilled to the bone.  Time for hot showers and some good food.



Our next stop was Nordstrom Cafe.  I love that Cafe.  I almost always order the exact same thing: the mixed berry chicken salad.  Love it.  And even more than I love the salad I love their cake.  The Boston Cream just barely beats the Lemon Coconut.  I was so looking forward to enjoying a big slice of birthday cake and was pretty heartbroken to discover that the flagship store didn't serve any cake at all! We had to substitute by sampling a few different dessert bars, which were pretty awesome too, but I was still sad about my cake.


We walked around the mall and stopped in a few stores.  Mikael wanted to go into Brookstone.  I didn't really get it until she pulled me over to the massage chairs.  She told me she always did this with her mom when they were shopping.  I had no idea people did this but we got the last two empty chairs.  I was reluctant at first and felt like the sales girl was giving us the stink eye, but I eventually settled in and  let the chair work it's magic.  We sat and talked some more and relaxed in those massage chairs for at least half an hour.  It felt heavenly, especially after all of the walking and running we'd done over the past two days.


It was rainy and cold and we didn't have anything else planned.  We got the crazy idea to go searching for frozen yogurt.  Not just the boring mall kind, but the self serve kind where you can pile in tons of flavors and toppings.  We used our phones to find a Menchie's a little over a mile away.  That didn't seem too bad.  Really?  What were we thinking?  That felt like the longest walk ever in the rain and on busy roads and with our tired feet.  But we finally made it and dished up our little cups of frozen goodness.  It took awhile before we had the courage to head back out in the rain again, and when we did it was straight back to the hotel.

That night we were overcome with laziness.  Or just exhaustion.  We laid on our beds and searched Yelp for the closest possible restaurants.  We even started searching for delivery options.  We just didn't want to walk anymore.  Neither of us felt well and we probably should have just called it a night.  Instead we decided on PF Changs.  And then we somehow got talked into a three course meal for two. It was WAY more food than either of us could eat and we ended up bringing most of it back in a doggy bag and ate the dessert for breakfast the next morning.

Luckily we were both feeling revived and refreshed the next day and ready to set out on foot again.  We headed back to Pike's Place and picked up some macaroons that we'd spotted at a French bakery on our last visit.  I bought a purse, which I have still never used, and has turned into a big joke between Mikael and I.  We searched for lunch but really just wanted a salad and so we headed back to Nordstrom Cafe for another round of mixed berry and chicken goodness.



Finally it was time to pack up and head home.  The train station was right across from our hotel, which was super convenient, and took us straight to the airport.  It was so sad to say goodbye but we really had such a fabulous and fun time together.  It was a much needed break from everyday life for both of us and the only time Mikael and I have spent alone together since parting ways in Provo ten years ago.  We snapped a series of goofy selfies together and then said our sad goodbyes.  We both had a blast and agreed that it was the best birthday gift to ourselves ever!  Probably a little expensive to make a yearly thing, but it definitely needs to happen again soon.



As much as I loved my trip, I was equally as happy to come home to all of my boys.  Charlie was Super Dad and kept the boys busy doing fun stuff all weekend.  They went on long scooter rides (to drop off and pick up the car for repair), went to the beach, ate lots of junk food, and had movie night.  They started out with Isaac's pick of Volcano vs. Airplane on Netflix but then quickly decided it was too scary and opted for Frozen instead.  Good choice!  This was their first time seeing it and Luke fell so in love with it that they ended up making a run to Target to buy it on DVD.  Anyway, they all had a fun weekend together (except for Cracker who had to get more teeth pulled at the vet), but I think they were glad to have me home.




The next day was my actual birthday so we celebrated by going out to dinner at El Torito Grill.  They always send me a coupon for a free meal on my birthday and I can't pass it up!


Then Charlie made me this really fantastic chocolate, nutella, and strawberry birthday cake.  It is maybe my new favorite cake ever.  And this was maybe one of my favorite birthdays ever.  Thank you Charlie and Mikael for making it so memorable!




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Luke's 3rd Birthday

The first week of June we celebrated Luke's 3rd birthday.  It kind of breaks my heart to see him growing up so much, but at the same time I just love watching him learn and grow and develop such a charming and hilarious little personality.  He is such a lovable and funny little guy and has brought so much joy to our family over the past three years.

Here he is on the night before his big day, showing me he is two little fingers for the last time.  And of course clutching onto Blue Mouse and his googins for bedtime.


He had been eyeing his wrapped gifts for days ahead of time and was just dying to open them all up first thing the next morning.  We picked two to open and then we saved the rest for a little later in the day when Isaac got home from school.  Charlie had been traveling that week and didn't make it home until the evening, and I thought it would be too cruel to make Luke wait that long.


In the weeks leading up to his birthday we had several discussions about what gifts he wanted most.  His top four requests were: 1) An ice saw, or a "cut the ice" saw as Luke would say.  If you've seen the movie Frozen, you know the scene at the beginning where the men are cutting ice and singing the Frozen Heart song.  Luke LOVES that part and reenacts it by jabbing the ground with any long object he can find and singing "Huh!... Huh!... Huh!"  He reeeeally wanted an ice saw of his own.  2) A pet blue mouse that talks.  I mentioned this in my last post.  I don't know where he got this idea, but luckily he was pleased as punch with the cat toy that my mom brought when she was visiting.  3) A monster truck with a hat on it.  Don't know where he got that idea either, and I couldn't find one (maybe I should have just glued a hat onto a truck, but I didn't).  4) A digger with two shovels on it (a backhoe loader).

Before we started opening, Isaac & I sang Happy Birthday to Luke.  He loved it.


I was really worried about making his ice saw dreams come true.  Toy ice saws do not exist.  I decided to go with a chain saw and luckily it was a huge hit!  Although he has never once said a word about cutting ice with it.  It is strictly for cutting trees.  This kid knows his saws.





I also got him a tool box filled with tools, including a small saw, just in case the chain saw was a flop.  He loves the little tools too and has had fun "fixing" all sorts of things around the house.




His Wood Grandparents sent him a Batman Imaginext play set and some extra figures to go with it.  This has been a really fun toy that's gotten lots of use.  He especially loves the Batman figure and his motorcycle, and a little plastic penguin (I think it goes with the Penguin villain guy) that Luke calls "Speedy Duck" and takes it in the bath with him on a regular basis.


He also got his backhoe truck, an Imaginext airplane (because he always wants to take Isaac's), a Disney Planes play set from his Stran Grandparents, and a Switch & Go dinosaur that Isaac picked out for him.  He was delighted with all of the new things to play with and was pretty awesome about sharing with Isaac too.  (Though he wasn't that happy about Isaac's help in opening all of his gifts.)


When Charlie got home we headed out for dinner at Chik-fil-a.  Luke's request.  I don't think he likes the food that much.  It is the playground that has stolen his heart.  We managed to convince him to eat a few bites of dinner before running off to play.


Back at home it was time for cake!  Luke had requested an Oreo cake and was maybe more excited about the cake than his presents.  I found a recipe on Pinterest and set to work.  It turned out looking pretty awesome, but the cake itself was terrible.  Actually the frosting was the bad part.  It was WAY too much butter and despite my adding an extra two cups of powdered sugar at the end, it still did not taste sweet.  Luke loved it anyway.


This is why we never bother to hire a photographer for family pictures:


We sang Happy Birthday....


And just as we were finishing, Isaac jumped in and blew out Luke's candles!  Brother of the year. You better believe there were a lot of tears after that.


So we lit them up again, and this time Isaac stood back with his sheepish grin and let Luke do his thing.


Grandma & Grandpa Wood called to talk to the Birthday boy.  Luke loves talking on the phone and made sure to show them how old he was that day.


I'm pretty sure our boys won't always be satisfied with simple family celebrations, but for now I think they are perfect.  We had a fun and happy day and Luke was all smiles.  We love this little Luke of ours.

Here's a few fun facts about Luke at three years old:

  • His favorite things to eat are chocolate (Nutella) toast, macaroni & cheese, triangle Triscuit crackers, chocolate cat cookies from TJs, strawberry yogurt, ice cream, Oreos, watermelon, strawberries, bananas, Cheerios w/ milk, and cinnamon raison toast from TJs.  He has quite the sweet tooth and would eat treats or snacks all day long if I let him.  He rarely finishes his food (unless it is a treat), which drives me totally crazy.  He also loves to drink (anything but water) and requests drinks all day long.  
  • He loves going to the park and climbing on the playground, going down slides, and having me push him in the swing.  He's very particular about his feet getting dirty though and is really bothered about sand in his shoes or any mud that might get stuck on the bottom.  
  • He has been fully potty trained (including bedtime) since 28 months and has only very rarely had an accident. 
  • He loves to find spiders in our house.  Who knew we had so many tiny spiders hanging out in the remote corners of our house?  He gets SO excited every time he finds one. 
  • Luke is very enthusiastic about pretty much everything in life.  His excitement is a bit hilarious and he makes everything more fun.  He loves to go anywhere and everywhere.  His favorites are the pool and the lagoon, Target to look at the toy aisles, the park, Chik-fil-a, and riding scooters on the road.  And he loves taking baths.    
  • His favorite TV shows are Caillou, Cat in that Hat, and Phineas & Ferb (thanks to Isaac).  His current favorite movies are Frozen, Despicable Me, and Home Alone.  
  • He is a talker and always has a lot to say.  He speaks really well for his age but of course still has a handful of mispronunciations.  Some of which I find to be really adorable.  He calls the minions from Despicable Me "mingons," Lighting McQueen (another favorite) is "My-a-queen," bananas have always been "banas" until just recently.  He has some trouble with his "l's" so he calls himself "Wuke," says "pweese" instead of please and when he wants me to pick him up says "wet me up!" When he needs to use the toilet he always says "I'm supposed to go to the bafroom!"  He says those exact words every time.  He's recently started using the word "actually." He uses it appropriately for the most part, but it still cracks me up every time.  At dinner time he always says (just as we are sitting down) "WAIT! We can't eat yet!  We forgot the blessing!"  And then he loves to be the one to say it every night.   
  • He loves to play with his Imaginext Rescue City and Batman play sets.  He gets all of his guys and acts out all kind of play scenarios using different voices and everything.  It is hilarious to watch.  For some reason he has become really attached to the only girl figurines that we have: a random Polly Pocket doll that we got in a kids meal once, Kelly - the girl from Handy Manny, and Uniqua from Backyardigans.  They are some of his favorites, along with Pablo from Backyardigans, Batman, and the "golden guy" who is just an Imaginext guy with yellow clothes.  He also loves it when I help him to build big crazy trucks and flying ships with his Duplos, and he has recently started playing with trains a lot and having me build tracks all around his room.  
  • Whenever I do reading time with Isaac, Luke stays close by because as soon is Isaac is done reading, Luke knows it is time for me to read and he comes running.  His favorite book is a Dr. Seuss book called A Fish out of Water.  He will sit and listen to that book over and over for as many times as I will read it.  
  • His favorite color is blue, but he also loves anything that is "golden" (yellow).
  • He really wants to grow bigger.  He saw an episode of Caillou where Caillou was told that if he drank his milk that he would grow bigger.  Luke has never been a milk drinker, but he has recently started to request it because he wants to grow.  He has also taken to standing on tables and chairs and then declaring "I'm bigger!"  I'm not sure if he realizes that he's actually on the smaller side for his age.  He has just recently started wearing 2T shirts and most of his pants are still 18-24 months.  But he is such a cute little thing - I don't really want him to grow.  
  • He sleeps with his two "mouses" every night.  Mousey, aka Cookie Monster Mouse, and Blue Mouse - the squeaky cat toy.  He also still sleeps with his pacifier "pa" and his baby blankets which we call "googins."  When I put him to bed he loves to give me goodnight kisses, which pretty much melt me.  He tells me "how about goodnight kisses?" and then proceeds to give me at least a dozen of them before popping the pacifier back in.  He's also been telling me lately "Mom, I like you" just randomly throughout the day.  I like you too Luke.  
That's kind of a lot.  And I could write more.  He can sometimes be a little stinker with a lot of attitude, but he is also quite the charmer with an adorable and lovable little personality.  He is a joy!  Happy Birthday little Luke.