Friday, August 31, 2007

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: Papio Merlot

Typically, when I mention to someone back home that we live in Portland, the first question they ask is, "Does it really rain as much as people say it does?". After living here for two years, I can confirm that it does in fact rain for several months STRAIGHT in the winter. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that the Pacific Northwest is the envy of most everyone during the summer months. Being able to enjoy the great outdoors with blue skies and mild temperatures (and zero humidity) is, I suspect, one of the major reasons why people love living in this part of the country. When we first moved here, I was shocked to learn that most people do not actually have air conditioning in their homes. My first thought was, "Wow...where I come from...that would be illegal!!". But it never actually gets hot enough during the summer for most folks to justify that extra expense. This summer alone, we've only had about 6 days where the temperature has been over 90 degrees.

This past week was one of those "hot ones", with temperatures reaching a scorching 89 degrees one day. Man, were the water parks hopping!!! That's where we (and most of Portland) just happened to be on Wednesday. Wyatt's little buddy Brayden invited him to play, and since Wyatt had never been to a water park, I thought it would be a fun morning activity. While Wyatt had a blast, I definitely learned that I need to bring some toys for him (or other kids) to play with because he kept taking off with other little kids' toys and buckets. At one point, he even got a little attached to a beautiful pink-haired mermaid that I think he really wanted to take home with him.
Can't you just see the disappointment in his face when I told him that his daddy would die of heart failure if he walked into the house with a mermaid barbie? He eventually found a nice orange truck to play with in which he knew his daddy would approve.

We all had such a fun time and are looking forward to going back again!! Hopefully we'll have a long summer because I don't think I'm quite ready for the gray skies to move back in for the fall...and winter...and spring. Uggh!

Really, it's not that bad. Everything stays green throughout the winter, and I LOVE living in a place where moss grows all over the rocks and trees. Oregon's beauty remains absolutely stunning all year long.

I love this picture because it looks like my soon-to-be two year old is totally ripped!!! He looks like he's getting ready to enter a "World's Strongest Baby" contest!!

Flower Power!
Sunday, August 26, 2007

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: Huntington Petite Sirah

From stylish baby leggings to socks that look like Mary Jane shoes, I have officially been sucked in to everything that is girlie!

Who woulda thunk it?

Never in a million years would I have thought I would have so much fun dressing my little girl. In fact, I was really nervous about having a girl because I never thought I would ever be able to get into pig tails and frilly dresses. Seriously, this is coming from a girl who's own wardrobe staples include a nice comfortable sports bra and a pair of running shoes! Therefore, the thought of just color coordinating outfits was daunting in and of itself. But miraculously, it has only taken me 2 months to become totally and utterly obsessed with cute outfits and all of the fun accessories.

My most recent obsession are these adorable flower headbands! The way a woman wears her hair can shed a lot of light into the type of person she is, which may be why women have taken great pains throughout the years to find the perfect hairstyle. So, what about those teeny, tiny little women that don't yet have hair? How can we provide an outlet for them to show a little bit of personality? Well, with HUGE freakin' flowers on their head, of course!!

We have been having so much fun with these headbands. When I was pregnant with Wyatt, I made a lot of on-line friends who were also pregnant and due at the same time. One mom who ended up having a little girl started making these headbands for her daughter when suddenly everyone was asking her to make them for their little girls. Having a boy, I was a little jealous that I couldn't partake in all of the fun, but I told myself I would keep her in mind if I ever had a little girl. So here we are-- and my friend Jess's work at home business is booming!!!

Just to prove how much fun it really is, Wyatt couldn't help but to join in the fun. His daddy isn't very excited about it, but what can you do? Wyatt loves playing with his little sister. I'm sure one day he'll end up helping her pick out little outfits for her barbies--that is, after baseball practice of course!

Long Legs Louise!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Avery was such a trooper at her 2-month check up today, despite getting poked 3 times. :-( She appears to be growing very well, and seems to be quite tall. Hmmm...wonder where she gets that?

Here are her stats:

Height: 23.5 inches (90th percentile)
Weight: 10 lbs 8 oz (45th percentile)
Head: 15.2 inches (50th percentile)

I don't know what's up with her height, but you can even tell from her outfit that she is WAY too long for it. They look like shorts, but they are actually supposed to go down to her ankles. It looks like clothes shopping might prove to be quite challenging. Typical girl for ya!

The Joys of Toddler Exploration
Monday, August 20, 2007

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: Rainier Ridge Merlot

I remember when Wyatt was very little and I'd be so paranoid and somewhat disgusted by the thought of all of the bacteria and germs lurking around my precious babe. I was always mindful of the things I let him touch, as they always went into the mouth. I would always be armed with hand sanitizer in the event that Wyatt would pull a fast one on me by grabbing something not first inspected by mom, but it's amazing how the toddler years can desensitize you!!

Warning: If you are a germaphobe, then there is a good possibility that you will begin to feel nauseous or break out in hives as a result of reading this post. You may want to discontinue reading past this point. :-)

So, yesterday we decided to take a little drive to Larch Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge. We thought we would hike a very easy and short trail so Wyatt could burn a little energy instead of being confined to the backpack. When "hiking" with a toddler, you really have to go into it with very low expectations since every 15 feet or so yields something spectacular for an almost 2 year old to explore. Low and behold, we were just a few feet away from the car when Wyatt found a large hiking stick. It was a little heavy for him, but as you can see from the photo, he was quite determined to carry it with him.

While we were standing around (NOT hiking :-)) waiting for him to decide that he could no longer bear the extra weight, Eric snapped a picture of Avery in her carrier. In case you have forgotten, I would just like to reiterate that our camera adds about 30 lbs...well, maybe 25 now! :-)

Once Wyatt finally decided to move onward, I made the mistake of pointing out a humongous slug on the side of the trail. Immediately, Wyatt was enthralled with the slimey creature. Of course, I told him not to touch it, but if you have a toddler you know that any time something is forbidden, it suddenly becomes that much more interesting. He had a great time touching the slug and then wiping slime on his daddy. Yuck!!

Miraculously, we distracted him from the "suug"--only long enough for him to literally turn around and find a huckleberry bush. Eric and Wyatt decided to pick a few (and eat a few). Of course, Wyatt uses the same hand to eat the huckleberries as he did to touch the slug. Sigh!

Eric then got the bright idea to pick enough huckleberries to make two pies, so needless to say, our "hike" turned into a stroll. That's alright though. Wyatt got to explore a lot of new things, and miraculously survived!!! It kind of reminded me of eating mud pies in my back yard when I was a toddler. Lord only knows what types of "things" we put in our mouths sometimes without realizing it!

Growing Like Weeds!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: I wish! (Again...too early in the day!)

It seems like every day our little Wyatt turns into more and more of a big boy. He has been communicating really well by starting to speak in phrases. His favorite phrases this week are "Daddy doin'?" for "What is Daddy/Mommy/Sissy doing?", "Not funny?" when he KNOWS that he's doing something he shouldn't, and "bu-wer sa-wich" for when he wants his favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He has also been very compliant this past week, which is VERY unlike him (knock on wood). He has been holding my hand when I ask him to do so, and he hasn't been throwing his convulsion-like tantrums when I tell him it's time to leave the park or his Gymboree class. He has also finally made the transition from the baby high chair to his big boy booster seat at the table. Here he is eating his first meal at the table and watching one of his favorite Backyardigans DVDs. Oh, and he is really into dipping his foods. He'll eat just about anything as long as he can dip it into something. It's really funny because when he wants to dip something, he'll say "dip, baby, dip". You know, after the 90's hip hop song?!?! Gosh, I'm such a bad influence!

Now if I can just get him potty trained then life will be grand!

So, Avery has just been a peach this week, as usual. She is really growing and making a lot of eye contact. She is such a little sweetheart and loves to be cuddled. She makes it very obvious that she loves her mommy, which makes me feel really good. With Wyatt, I never even felt that he preferred me over some random stranger until he was about 11 months old when the separation anxiety kicked in. But Avery always welcomes me with a ton of smiles when she sees me. I call her my little cuddle bug. She is still sleeping great at night, but is having trouble sleeping in her own bed for naps so we have to be a little creative in order to make sure she's well-rested during the day. Here are some pictures that were taken yesterday. It's hard to believe that she is 7 weeks old now.

*Click on the photo to enlarge

Rainbow Warrior

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: None (too early in the day!)

Wyatt has never been a big fan of bath time. He just seems to get bored very easily, so I'm constantly trying to think of new toys or activities that might encourage him to let loose and enjoy himself a little more. As I was cruising through the grocery store yesterday, I just happened to come across some Sesame Street finger paints that were actually bubble bath. I decided that it was worth a shot and tossed it into the basket.

That evening, Eric and Wyatt hopped into the bathtub and went to town with the paints. At first, Wyatt was a bit reluctant but very intrigued. It didn't take him long to get the hang of it though. By the end of bath time he was painted from head to toe, and the best part--it washed right off and down the drain!! That's my kind of mess!

It's hard to say whether or not he will stay interested, but it was definitely worth it. He had a blast!

**Remember, you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Exploring God's Country
Sunday, August 12, 2007

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: Tisdale Chardonnay

Living in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Portland, offers so many recreational opportunities. There aren't too many places in the country where you can be a stones-throw (okie coming out in me!) from a gorgeous coastline as well as beautiful mountain ranges with breathtaking views. In the two years that we have lived here, we have hiked tons of trails--all of which provide a small, but absolutely stunning glimpse of God's fine craftsmanship that you would otherwise never get the opportunity to see. Eric and I share a passion for nature, although I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a "tree hugger"--a term often used to describe many Oregonians and quite possibly my husband. So, whenever we get the chance, we love to take off and explore someplace new.

Last weekend we visited Mt. Rainier for the first time. It's about a 2.5 hour drive and both Wyatt and Avery did very well in the car on the way there. When we arrived at the park, the cloud cover unfortunately blocked any and all views of the mountain. But we were hopeful that at some point during our 3-day stay, we'd get a look at this enormous mountain we traveled to see. I must say, it is very interesting driving through the park with a humongous mountain in front of you and you have absolutely no clue that it's there! By the way, I should warn you now before I forget--I am not very precise when it comes to details regarding mountain height, trail distances, or elevation changes. I leave all of that stuff up to my tree-hugger husband. So, if you want specifics then shoot him an email.

On Saturday, we started our day with a 6-mile round-trip hike to the top of Comet Falls, which was my first hike in about a year. Eric being the total stud that he is (wink, wink) thought it would help his training if he carried Wyatt in the Kelty backpack AND Avery in the front carrier. As usual, I thought he was insane, but I just shook my head and rolled my eyes as I took off up the mountain. It was a very steep climb, but it felt great to just be active again. Wyatt had a blast pointing out all of the trees (there were about a million), and once he got a glimpse of Comet Falls, you could see the excitement in his eyes. He kept pointing at it and repeating "wa-fall..wa-fall..wa-fall" as if we couldn't see it.
We finally made it to the top of the falls, but we still were unable to see Mt. Rainier, which was apparently right in front of us!! But we were able to enjoy a beautiful meadow of wildflowers as we rested briefly before hiking back down. Here is a picture of my favorite wildflower--Indian Paintbrush.

Typically, the downhill hike is a bit faster than the trek up the mountain, but it was not the case for this trail. It was so incredibly steep that it took us just as long to get down as it did to get up. Of all of the trails we've hiked, this was the most unpleasant downhill hike I've ever done. It took us a total of 6 hours to hike the trail and let me tell you, my legs felt like jello afterwards!!! Wyatt had a blast and NEVER complained, while little miss Avery slept the entire time.

Sunday was pretty low-key since both of us could hardly even walk, but we managed to hike an easy trail that allowed us an up close and personal look at some beautiful, jaw-dropping old-growth trees. In this photo, Avery was doing was she does best--sleeping. Oh, and just for the record...our camera adds about 30lbs!! Well, it's worth a try, right?

We FINALLY got to see the magnificent mountain briefly before we left, and it was definitely worth the wait. Neither words nor pictures can really describe how breathtaking it is.

Our next adventure is planned for mid-September, in which we plan on going to Seattle for several days with Eric's family. His parents, brother, and sister-in-law are all coming for a visit. They will also be in town for Wyatt's birthday, so stay tuned for a lot of exciting posts to our blog.

Pushing the big 3-0!
Saturday, August 11, 2007

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: Pine and Post Merlot

Not that turning 30 is really a big deal, but there just seems to be something about that age that makes you reflect upon your life and what you have accomplished--almost like a gauge of how successful you've been. For some, it can be quite depressing. For others, it provides reassurance that things are right on track. Thank God we still have one more year before we have to worry about it because I was starting to break out in hives in the 30 seconds it took to write the previous three sentences! Ugghh...we better get to work!!

So, we just celebrated Eric's 29th birthday on Wednesday. Generally, we don't do much for birthdays, but since Wyatt is absolutely obsessed with birthdays right now (he has one coming up next month) we decided to have some fun with it. Wyatt and I made Eric's favorite chocolate chip applesauce cake. I mixed all of the ingredients while Wyatt performed the most important of all tasks--licking the bowl!! It was a first for him, and the only response I received from him was, "NUMMY!!".

Wyatt certainly could not allow his daddy to go without a birthday hat, so we made one especially for him out of stapled cardstock (only the best for our Daddy!).

We couldn't have a party without fun party favors and candles, and as you can see, Wyatt had a grand time torturing his baby sister with a few blows to the forehead with the little plastic noise-maker thingy. Avery was a trooper and just humored him by just staring at him. I could tell that she was thinking, "Great! My big brother is quite the idiot, but I'll play along....FOR NOW!"

It's special times like these that really make life incredibly fulfilling. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful, healthy children that bring so much joy and laughter to my life (most of the time! :-)). As long as I have these memories to reflect upon, then I have no doubt that I will consider my life at 30 to be most successful, regardless of what I may or may not have accomplished the many years of my life before children. In fact, I warmly welcome and look forward to another decade of belly-busting laughter, storytime cuddles, and kissing those little ow-ees!


Cheese, Please!
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Author: Catrina
Wine Selection: Tisdale Merlot
*$2.99 special at Fred Meyer. But to quote my father-in-law, "poor folk got poor ways!" :-)

It's amazing how fast time flies with your second baby. I can't believe Avery will be 6 weeks old in a couple of days, and I'm so happy to report that she is still just as easygoing as she was when she was born. Just this week, she started throwing out smiles left and right. I already thought she had the most kissable cheeks ever, but now it's just ridiculous! Of course, like every other child, when you try to capture something so precious on camera, they just freeze!! But I managed to get a couple of shots while she was on her changing table.

Speaking of the changing table, she loves it just as much as her big brother did. Just like Wyatt, anytime she gets a little fussy, you can put her on her changing table and she'll be happy as a clam. Of course, Wyatt must always "help", and that usually consists of smothering her with stuffed animals and showing his incredible intelligence by identifying all of her body parts--nearly poking out her eyes! Here she is with a stuffed puppy dog that Wyatt tried to give her this morning. She really seemed to like it! Thank you, Miss Hayley!!

I get asked quite frequently who Avery looks like. It's hard to tell sometimes, but overall, I think she has more of my features. I don't know though. Wyatt looks just like his daddy, and here is a picture of Wyatt at Avery's age. See any resemblance?!?! :-)



My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition (most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very characteristic of a merlot. (more)


“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771