Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Seeing as how wine in Oklahoma is only sold in liquor stores that are closed on Sunday, an old fashioned Budweiser will have to do (and I don't even like beer)!
Talk about a crazy week. Despite the 3AM wake-up call and rush to the airport to catch a 6AM flight (with two kids in tow), we managed to make it to Oklahoma with at least a few hairs still left on our heads. Lucky for us, Wyatt and Avery also walked away with some great "souvenirs" from the airplane which later manifested into high fevers, runny noses, and hacking coughs. I'm sure everyone was REALLY excited to see us! Needless to say, we're sick and tired and still have 8 more days of "vacation" left. Let me tell ya, there's nothing like being home for the holidays!
In all honesty, the kiddos are feeling much better and we have really been enjoying our time here. In fact, I've been compiling a list from conversations Eric and I have had during the past week of reasons why it is good to be home for the holidays, and just thought I'd share.
It's dry and sunny. Well, if you don't include the GINORMOUS ice storm that recently left the city looking like a war zone. But we are enjoying the nice break from the rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest. Wyatt even managed to get in a little play time in the leaves on Christmas Eve.
There is no traffic. It's nice to drive in a city in which rush hour lasts for only an hour. You can also get from point A to B without automatically building in an extra 30 minutes for jack-knifed or overturned semi trucks blocking the entire interstate.
We get to watch others love our kids like we do. There is nothing more precious than that! There are free babysitters at our disposal. I can't express just how refreshing it is to go out on a date with my husband and not even think twice about the kind of care the kids are receiving. Eric and I got to actually take our time and enjoy a nice dinner with drinks and conversation (imagine that) as well as a movie. What a treat!!! Santa brings really cool train sets to Grandma and Papa's house. Wyatt is now the proud owner of his very first train set. I'm afraid this is just the beginning of his obsession for Thomas and Friends, as I'm doubtful that he will be completely satisfied until the entire island of Sodor has been constructed in our living room.
We get to sneak candy from the Gingerbread Train. Wyatt thought he was being sneaky, but the chewed pieces of bubblegum that he spit back out onto the train were a dead giveaway!
I’m personally not a big fan of nicknames, which is why it was so important for me to choose names for our children that couldn’t be shortened or altered in any way. So when Eric started calling our son “Bubba”, I’m sure you can just imagine my annoyance. Over time it became more tolerable, although I would NEVER call him that myself. It wasn’t until “Sissy” came along that the nickname pretty much became ingrained in our house, as I too started referring to him as “Bubba”—not my proudest moment! I find it a tad bit unfortunate that our children--who were given strong, respectable names--will forever be known in our household as simply “Bubba” and “Sissy”. :-)
Not only has Avery had the great misfortune of being given a nickname that is also commonly used to describe a man who is weak in mind and body, but her daddy has added injury to insult by giving her yet another (not so feminine) nickname--SPIKE! Seriously, what's wrong with Princess, Cupcake, or even Sweetcheeks?!?!? But I guess "Spike" remains consistent with the other nicknames he's given to our children--like "Killer" for example! Sheesh!
In the past couple of weeks, Avery has been sporting a very interesting hairdo. It is growing out quite a bit on the top, but it doesn't matter how much you try to comb it over to the side, both sides of of her hair automatically shift back towards the center, giving her this very awkward line down the middle of her head that bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley. Hopefully everyone reading this has at least heard of Laverne and Shirley or else I'm going to feel SO OLD! But just in case, here is a picture of Squiggy and his tiny little look-a-like.
This little hair malfunction has inspired me to play "up" her natural hair "line" a bit. It was by accident one day this week after her bath that I realized how her hair naturally wants to form a mohawk when you run a comb through it. Just for fun, I decided to leave it--and two days later--not ONE hair was out of place!
So, this is the meaning behind Avery's new nickname. Eric had been calling her "Spike" for some time because her hair would stick up on the top, but she's definitely living up to the name now! I think it looks so cute, and what's even more interesting is that she seems to have embraced the new hairstyle because she has been much more spunky than usual the past couple of days. I think she definitely feels at her best when she's making a fashion statement!
I certainly wouldn't want her to have a mohawk forever, but for the time-being, I think it's adorable on her.
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: No wine for me this morning...just enjoying a nice latte from the awesome espresso machine Eric bought me for my birthday 5 months ago. We just got it back from repair--they had it for two months!!! Gotta love those lattes!
We had so much fun on our previous trip to Mt Hood this winter that we decided to give it another go, but this time, there were inner tubes involved.
Wyatt was so excited to "pay in na snow" again--or should I say he was excited to EAT the snow.
Sometimes I think he was more interested in stuffing his face with frozen snow balls than actually riding the inner tube down the hill! His face was wet and cold, but he didn't seem to mind.
The tubes zoomed down the hill at an incredibly rapid pace. I'm not speaking from experience, of course, since the mommies wearing small babies get stuck with photography duty. But from the looks on their faces, I could tell that the boys had often left their stomachs at the top of the hill.
For the most part, snow tubing is a pretty safe activity, but the tricky part lies at the bottom of the hill when people fail to get out of the way before the next tube comes barreling down the slope. We witnessed several near collisions, so we were very careful to steer clear of oncoming traffic. However, we had a little "incident" with another tube that we thought was worth sharing:
Imagine for a moment some of the scenes you've witnessed from movies in which a pedestrian in a crosswalk gets hit by a moving car and gets thrown onto the hood or windshield of the vehicle. Got the image in your head? Well, that's what happened to Wyatt when a brother and sister duo came sliding down the hill in their inner tube, unable to stop before plowing into our toddler. Wyatt was at the very bottom of the hill, so it's not like the kids were going super fast, but it happened fast enough that we weren't able to intervene before the collision took place. Seeing what was about to happen, I gasped and closed my eyes while Wyatt was thrown on top of the two kids upon impact. All I could do was yell out a frightened, "Oh, NO!". Much to our surprise (well, not really), Wyatt immediately jumps off of the brother and sister and begins to laugh hysterically! He thought it was so much fun!! I'm telling you, this boy is absolutely fearless!! Seeing how much fun Wyatt thought it was to get plowed over by an inner tube, Eric tried to re-create the incident. Of course, Wyatt was incredibly excited to relive the grand adventure.
They took a little break from the excitement to help build a snow fort. A couple of other little boys (probably about 8 years old) were pretty territorial of the fort, as I think they did most of the constructing. They must have had younger siblings because they seemed to be very aware of the potential for disaster when letting a 2 year old "help" build onto their fort.
We plan on spending a lot of time on the mountain this winter since Wyatt loves it so much. Maybe Avery will "warm" up to the cold a little bit better so that Mommy can get out and enjoy some of the fun too.
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Liberty School Cabernet
Usually our days are jam-packed with running errands and meeting other mommies for play dates. I love to be busy, as I'm accustomed to living a fast-paced life. But there is something about the holidays that makes me slow down and take a deep breath. Christmas-time for me is all about reflecting upon those reasons for which I am thankful (click here to read my list), and setting aside time to rejoice in the greatness that the Lord has bestowed upon me, my family, and my friends. This is the most magical and uplifting time of the year, so I plan on taking full advantage of the down-time before we head full force into a new year with new obligations.
For the past couple of weeks, we've been taking it easy. We've watched (upon Wyatt's request) Polar Express about 20 times, my house has been much cleaner than usual, the laundry is done, and I've managed to cook a meal on most days. I would LOVE to maintain this type of order in my life and household, but unfortunately, Wyatt would go completely stir-crazy in the house and end up spending most of his days flopping around on the floor in complete boredom, therefore, I would also go completely insane.
While spending some good quality family time together, I was able to snap a few cute pictures of the number one reason for which I am thankful--my kiddos.
We broke out the Jumperoo for Avery this week, and she LOVES it!!! Although, I don't think she could ever love it as much as her big brother did, seeing as how he broke the frame on it for jumping so wildly! It didn't take Avery long to get the hang of it. She thinks she's pretty big stuff now!
Today we also gave new meaning to the phrase, "shape up or ship out". Wyatt was, oh so close, to being shipped out to Grandma and Papa's house a week early--not really--but it made for a cute picture. Although I'm sure Grandma and Papa wouldn't mind if this package showed up on their doorstep.
I have also discovered a good way to get him to smile for a picture. He gets so "tickled" when I threaten to get him with my "ticklers" (fingers). He immediately smiles and shrieks in anticipation. I've also been able to spend more time gazing into my baby girl's big blue eyes. She is usually (bless her heart) being toted around in some type of carrier to some playgroup or activity for her big brother. She is so easy-going and never complains. She is truly a sweetheart.
We are really looking forward to spending the holidays with our family in Oklahoma. Most of my relatives haven't even met Avery yet, and Wyatt has grown so much since they've seen him that they'll be incredibly surprised when he greets them with a firm "TACKLE!". Seriously, the boy knows how to rough-house. But he's also a pro at giving hugs and kisses. I can't believe this will be his third Christmas.
Each year, Mt. Hood Railroad brings The Polar Express to life as trains depart the Hood River depot filled with lots of excited families for a memorable journey to the North Pole. We have been looking forward to this event for quite some time, as tickets are sold out at least a couple of months in advance. We got to share in the joy of the event with our friends, Shelley and Chris, along with their two kids, Brayden and Sienna.
All of the kiddos were sporting their favorite pajamas as they enjoyed cookies, hot chocolate, caroling, and a personal visit from Santa Claus. Each child also received a silver bell right off of Santa's sleigh!
All of the kids on our train had such a blast. Wyatt even made friends with a couple of older kids behind him, and they entertained one another for quite some time playing peek-a-boo!
Since there were too many pictures to post on the blog, I decided to put them together as a slide show to the tune of Tom Hanks' "Hot Chocolate" from the Polar Express soundtrack. It's 2 min and 30 sec long. Enjoy!
The Willamette River runs north/south through Portland and has contributed to some of the most picturesque views of the city, along with the many historic bridges. Since the river flows directly through the city, it often serves as the perfect stage for entertaining the public. We had always heard of Portland's Christmas Ship Parade, but had not actually had the opportunity to experience the unique holiday event until this year.
Approximately 55-60 boats participate as part of the fleet that ornately decorate their vessel with Christmas lights. It was such a neat experience. Not only did we get to see a lot of fun and creative lighting designs on the ships, but many of the floating houses on the river were also brightly decorated (making it almost look like a scene right out of Sleepless in Seattle).
Wyatt was very entertained--cold, but entertained.
Avery was just plain cold and tired. She didn't give a hoot as to what ships had what design.
We are so glad that we were able to experience one of Portland's most cherished holiday traditions. There are still more fun times to be had, so stay tuned!
You wouldn't believe who just so happened to be at the mall today while we were shopping--Santa Claus! It was such a fortuitous coincidence that we would be at the same place at the same time considering that the jolly old man is so busy these days making his list and checking it twice! Even more exciting is that he took a few moments out of his busy schedule to give some very lucky kids (including Wyatt) one last opportunity to sit on his knee and share their Christmas wish lists.
We tried to prepare Wyatt for what to expect.
Mom and Dad: "So, when Santa asks you what you want for Christmas, what are you going to tell him?"
Wyatt: "Choo-choo trains!", he exclaimed.
We stood in line for a little while, which is not much fun with a two-year old that has absolutely no concept of patience. But I must say, watching the expression on Wyatt's face when he finally got his first glimpse of Santa made it entirely worth the wait. I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually got teary-eyed as I witnessed my little boy gaze in amazement as the magical figure he had only seen on TV had actually come to life. Of course, Eric just rolled his eyes at me and shook his head. I know, I'm such a nerd.
Wyatt couldn't take his eyes off of Santa from the moment he first laid eyes on him. When Santa reached his arms out to him, Eric and I were quite surprised that Wyatt willingly went to him (as last year was a total disaster)! But when he was finally on Santa's lap, it's as if he went completely numb. He just stared ahead and responded to no one--not even Santa. He did finally give Santa a high-five as he walked away, but for the most part, I think it was obvious that he just couldn't really believe what was happening!
Here is yet another priceless photograph with Santa:
Avery is now seeing the world from a brand new, vertical perspective. Apparently, she has just decided to skip the whole rolling over thing and go straight to the good stuff. Well, she does still need a little help from her little friend we call Boppy, but she is well on her way to experiencing all of the exciting perks that come along with being able to balance on that tushy--like finally joining the rest of the family at the dinner table. Even more exciting is that she might just spend enough time off of her back to generate some hair growth on that little bald spot on the back of her head! Way to go, Sugar!
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Going with my favorite cup of Joe this morning!
'Tis the season for miracles, and we are fortunate to have already had one at our house!
Anyone who knows us well (or at least tunes in to read our blog), is all too familiar with the chronic sleep struggles we've had with our precious Wyatt. For those who have been fortunate enough not to have endured my ramblings on the subject for the past two years, I'll spare you the gory details of the nightmare we've been living, and just sum up in a couple of pictures just how creative we had to be in order to get this little guy to shut his eyes for a nanosecond when he was a baby.
If you ask me, a nice cozy bed would be much more comfortable!!
After taking the advice of countless sleep "experts" and seeing no results, at some point between 18 months and 2 years, we finally realized that we couldn't force him to sleep and just accepted the fact that we would never again experience the luxury of a full night's sleep. Recently, however, he's been showing little signs that he might just be ready for another round of sleep interventions. So, we've been working with him in an effort to get him to actually fall asleep without someone lying down with him. At this point, he is successfully falling asleep on his own (well, with a few gentle reminders to lay his head down and shut his eyes). He has responded so well up to this point that I feel like it's just a matter of time that we'll be able to tuck him in and actually leave the room!
Can you believe, as awesome as this news is all by itself, that there is MORE to this miracle?!?!
Last night, for the first time in his life, he slept in his own bed in his own room without waking up one single time!!!! Hallelujah! This truly IS a miracle! He just woke up, walked into the living room (choo-choo in hand)--not even realizing the magnitude of what had just occurred. I've been showering him with praise all morning!! There truly is a light at the end of the tunnel.
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.
“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771