Birthday Boogie
Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today is Uncle Brett's birthday. We thought it would be fun for Wyatt to send him a sweet, cyber birthday wish.

Crater Lake National Park, OR -September 07

After several attempts, this was all we could get out of the little stinker.


Uncle Brett--A birthday wish "picked" especially for you by your ornery nephew.

Wine Selection: Papio Merlot
Personal Rating: ***Good***

Con Man In Training
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The past few weeks, Wyatt has been practicing various facial expressions in the mirror. He has pretty much perfected his "sad" face, which can be incredibly convincing (making me a little nervous). And he is extremely adept at resisting countless attempts by his parents to force him out of character.

"Wyatt Happy"

"Wyatt Sad"

I told him that if he could produce a tear with that frown, then we'd enroll him in acting classes. Apparently he's not that good. Yet.

Wine Selection
: Double Dog Dare Merlot
Personal Rating: **Fair**

50 First Dates
Monday, March 24, 2008

Wine Selection: Double Dog Dare Merlot
Personal Rating: **Fair**

I'm not a huge movie buff. And when I do watch one, it's almost always a romantic comedy. But no matter how much I like a particular movie, I hardly EVER see a reason to buy it. In our entire DVD collection, there is only a single movie that belongs to me...and that's 50 First Dates.

So, when Eric gave me the choice of which movie to watch for our date night last night (amongst the multitude of westerns), I predictably selected this one. If you have never watched this movie, I highly recommend that you give it a try. For a guy who primarily enjoys films in which there is a lot of gunfighting and bloodshed, Eric described 50 First Dates as being absolutely brilliant! I mean, maybe we are just wired differently, but we were laughing hysterically throughout the entire movie. We've watched it many times, but it seems to have us rolling with laughter even more than the time before.

I'll tell ya...there's nothing better than snuggling up with your hubby on the sofa, sharing a few belly laughs, a bottle of red wine....and deviled eggs. Yes...we're that weird.

Who Doesn't Like Peeps?

Easter Basket Extravaganza

Due to various circumstances, we uncharacteristically opted for a low-key Easter Sunday. It was pouring down rain anyway, so it made sense for us to spend some nice, quality time at home. Wyatt had a grand time sorting through the goods the Easter Bunny brought, and was beside himself when he saw his favorite train, Gordon. After that, he wasn't too interested in hunting for the eggs that were hidden around the house. But he quickly regained focus when he realized there was candy inside!

He also had his first "Peeps" experience--a true Easter basket staple! His daddy demonstrated first how to appropriately eat a peep (there is quite a bit of skill involved you know :-)), and then Wyatt followed.


And THAT was THAT!

Avery was actually napping during all of this, so she wasn't able to experience the thrill of an indoor Easter Egg Hunt. I'd probably rather be napping too! However, she did get the opportunity to try on her bunny ears when she woke up. I think this is one hair accessory she was not very excited about modeling!

We had a great time though, even if we didn't even make it out of our jammies until 5PM! We'll hope for nicer weather and stronger immune systems next year! :-)

Hope everyone had a very Happy Easter!

Avery is 9 months!

It appears as though our tiny baby is starting to blossom into a little human with quite a big personality! First of all, the girl has a thing for hair accessories. Whether she's sporting a hat, bow, or flower, the difference in her disposition is incredibly obvious. I do find it rather interesting that she can somehow tell the difference. I'm not the only person who has noticed this, so I know I'm not crazy! At any rate, the hair bow madness has begun. Before having a daughter, I always wondered how people who make hair bows for a living stayed in business. Now I know. :-)

A new skill she has discovered this past month is her ability to squeal...and at a pitch that can no doubt send every dog in the neighborhood into a frenzy. She likes to practice this skill often.

She now says "ma-ma", and has also learned to clap her hands, use her pointer finger, and raise both arms in the air in response to, "How big is Avery?". I was fortunately able to catch this one on video.


While she IS becoming quite a bit more interactive, she is growing increasingly more frustrated that she's not more mobile. She is SO close to being able to crawl and pull herself up, that it's maddening at times (more for her than anyone else). In the meantime, she'll at least settle for standing at the train table and destroying Wyatt's tracks and dousing them in saliva--to which he says with a disgusted look, "Ewww...yucky Sissy" (as if he didn't just grow out of that phase himself).

It's so hard to believe that she is going to be a year old in just a few short months. We just installed her new big girl car seat, and she looks so grown up. Where on earth has the time gone?

There's A New Sheriff In Town
Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wine Selection:
Double Dog Dare Merlot
Personal Rating: **Fair**

Although it is highly unlikely (okay...impossible) that Wyatt will ever encounter notorious gunslingers of the Old West, he's decked out in all of the gear just in case. His Grandpa Tom, a long-time admirer of historical western films, is credited with the careful selection of Wyatt's first western ensemble--complete with the felt hat, pearl-snap Wrangler shirt, and badge. He also has a holster with a couple of pistols in it that didn't make it into the photo. You gotta love a two-year old packing some major heat!

“You gonna do somethin’?
Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed?”
--Wyatt Earp, Tombstone

The Beauty of Bribery
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wine Selection:
Avery Lane Cabernet Sauvignon
(Can you tell most of my wine purchases are purely based on the name?)
Personal Rating:***Good***

In an effort to eliminate some of our bedtime battles with our strong-willed toddler, we've resorted to good, old-fashioned bribery (or "rewards" if you prefer). Some may proclaim this technique to be somewhat counter-productive or ineffective, but to that I say, "hogwash!".

This being our first sticker chart experience (thanks to Grandma Edgar) , we weren't too sure how receptive Wyatt would be to the process, but I've been very pleased with its effectiveness thus far in reducing his resistance to teeth brushing. It has not only been a great motivational tool for him, but it has also kept me on track. Trust me, it is agonizing enough to chase down a toddler with a toothbrush and then sit on him long enough to only accomplish a mediocre cleaning once per day, let alone twice. But it's amazing how much more motivated you become when you want to see your child succeed.

But I should definitely clarify that this is a work in progress. He is still quite a bit resistant to getting his teeth brushed, but rather than having to actually chase him down, he'll willingly lie down on the floor when we tell him it's time to brush his teeth (which I find hysterical).

The sticker chart has also been a great reinforcement tool for learning his colors. Although, he is still unwilling to verbally identify them by actual color name, but rather by their corresponding choo-choo color. So, as you can see, he has quite a few "Thomas" (blue) and "Percy" (green) stickers, with a few "Diesel 10" (yellow) and "James" (red). Can you say, "OBSESSED!"? At least I know he's not color blind. Sheesh....I was beginning to wonder.

It took him 2.5 weeks to earn his Diesel Train, and he was absolutely thrilled when I finally produced what I had been threatening (I'm sorry..."encouraging") him with for over two weeks.

I guess we'll keep it up and see how he does having gone through the process once already. If our success continues, perhaps this might be our solution for getting him to sleep through the night.

HA! Doubtful.

I Huffed and I Puffed....
Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wine Selection: Fetzer Sauvignon Blanc
Personal Rating: **Fair/Good***

...but I finally crossed the finish line!
(And I wasn't last)

This isn't me, in case you were wondering.
My abs are just a tad bit softer. :-) But I'm working on it!

The weather was gorgeous--no rain at least! I had a feeling it was going to be a pretty big event, but I could not believe my eyes when I saw how many people (participants and spectators) were gathered at the start/finish line. I later learned that over 16,000 runner/walkers rolled out for the first big run of the season. It was AWESOME!

Overall, I had a great run. I never had to stop to walk, and the last mile was probably my strongest. I averaged about a 10-minute mile, which put me at the finish line in 50:39 for the 8K (5 mi). This was very encouraging to me, as it wasn't too much slower than my previous pace. I've already been looking at the calendar for upcoming races. I'm so pumped!


Back in the Saddle
Friday, March 14, 2008

Wine Selection: Screw Kappa Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ****Excellent!****

I have been a "runner" for more than ten years now. Before motherhood, running was my greatest passion. I was heavily involved in the running community and would enter at least two running events per month during the spring and summer months. While I was certainly not a competitive runner, I was constantly challenging myself mentally and physically to run longer distances at a faster pace. I craved the "runners high" and couldn't get enough. I was fortunately able to complete one of my personal life goals of running a marathon (26.2 miles) just prior to becoming pregnant with Wyatt. So, I was happy to have accomplished that before having children.

Naturally, my training was put on hold for about a year (that was the plan anyway). It is now 3 years later and I'm still trying to regain my runner status. But now that our family is complete (that is, unless God decides to play a very cruel joke on us), I'm more determined than ever to start getting back to some of the things that are important to my own personal growth. I'm not asking for much--just a daily shower, some quality time with my husband, and some time to run. Sounds doable, right? I've found that it is most definitely easier said than done (and pretty much impossible if I expect to do all three in the same day)!

But I'm very excited to report that I have officially committed to participating in my first running event in over three years!!! I'm running the 8k (5 mi) portion of Portland's Shamrock Run this Sunday. I'm so excited but very nervous. It's crazy because I have the same silly fear of being the last one to cross the finish line that I did for my first ever 5k back in college. Although, I am quite a bit slower (and fatter) than I was back then, so my concern may be a little more valid this time around. Hehe!

I'm not in the greatest of shape, but I'm pretty certain I can handle 5 miles.

Famous Last Words!!


Feline Companion
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wine Selection:
Gnarly Head Merlot
Personal Rating: **Fair**

Wyatt has developed quite a fondness for cats. I happen to understand, as I too adore them to pieces and sometimes wish we could adopt one (and then images of pet hair and litter boxes creep into my mind, thereby reaffirming our decision--at least for the time being--to remain pet-less).

Fortunately, our neighbors have two outdoor cats who equally adore Wyatt and frequent our house every time we're playing outside. Normally, I would not think much about it since most kids are fascinated with animals, but I have found it to be quite endearing actually--the way Wyatt will sit perched on the curb gently caressing its fur and whispering sweet nothings into its ear.

It sort of reminds me of a lonely old man sitting on his front porch just waiting to strike up a conversation with anyone willing to listen. Even when we're inside, he'll often be found gazing out the window calling out desperately for the "ki-CAT!", and when asked what he likes about the cat, he'll usually respond with an excited, "I WUVS [loves] the ki-cat!" or my own personal favorite, "I wikes [likes] his tails".

I'm just hoping he doesn't end up stepping on "his tails" by accident someday, thereby forcing his feline friend to throw a left hook to the face. But cats are so fast. With their lightening-fast reflexes, I'm sure he'd never even know what hit him!

Design Overhaul

I don't know about you guys, but I'm loving the new look. I wish I could take the credit for such creativity, but unfortunately, I have yet to conquer my fear of venturing into the ambiguous realm of HTML.

Fortunately for me there are people like soapbox.SUPERSTAR who are willing to help those of us who are admittedly cyber-challenged. THANK YOU!

Hail to the Chief! (and his secretary)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wine Selection:
Screw Kappa Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating:

Yesterday, Eric was officially offered the Chief Resident position for his 4th (and final) year of Neurology residency. After a few congratulatory hugs and high fives from the kiddos and me, the following conversation ensued:

Me: So, what are your first duties as Chief?

Eric: Well, I need to do the schedule for May/June AND plan the resident retreat all by the first week in May.

Me: Geez.

Eric:, I'm going to need you to make a few calls for me.

Me: Uh, huh! So, I see how this is going to go.

Apparently the new Chief was under the impression that he was going to have a built-in secretary. But I have news for him. My mad secretarial skills come at a very hefty price.

He totally cannot afford me!

Spoonful of Independence
Friday, March 7, 2008

This week Wyatt has demonstrated that he can FINALLY feed himself with a spoon. YIPPEE! This is a huge milestone for him, as he's always struggled a bit with his fine motor skills. Here's to eating more applesauce and yogurt for breakfast!

Exlporing God's Country With Kids....The REALITY!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wine Selection: Screw Kappa Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ****Excellent!****

Now, I know all of the pictures I've been posting of all of our recent explorations of the Pacific Northwest convey a certain degree of peace and tranquility, as there seems to be nothing more invigorating than to admire (so up close and personal) some of God's finest craftsmanship and reflect on how, in all of its magnificence, it somehow cleanses the soul.

I would just like to set the record straight. That was BEFORE kids.

This is enjoying nature AFTER kids.

Inevitably, one or both kiddos will become hungry, tired, or injured while exploring. And who do they want? Yours Truly, of course. I'm often found holding both of them at any given time--trying to give a bottle, soothe someone to sleep, stop some tears, or kiss an ow-wee.

So, don't be fooled. It can be incredibly exhausting and stressful at times.

Trail hiking at one time consisted of selecting the most difficult terrain to the highest point, and hiking it in record time. Now, we're lucky if we actually make it to the top before someone has a meltdown, a diaper disaster, or a collision of some sort (rendering him incapable of functioning as a human being). If we are, in fact, successful at reaching the top, I can say with absolute certainty that a family of slugs would've been able to keep a faster pace. The above picture was taken at a point during our hike in which Wyatt just decided he had walked enough and that no one other than Mommy was capable of carrying him back down the mountain. Of course, Daddy intervened by offering to let Wyatt ride on his shoulders, and to that he agreed. Thank goodness.

Here I am with two sleepy (and very clingy) kiddos.

Just having fed Avery, we are on the trail also trying to convince Wyatt
that it REALLY is okay to pick up his bottom lip from off the ground.

All kidding aside, we really do love having our children experience with us all that nature has to offer, especially at such a young age. I WISH I would have been able to observe landscape like this when I was younger, and it's amazing how much it is taken for granted by some of the people who are native to this area. Sure, we've had to adjust our expectations a bit, but we honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

Olympic National Park
Monday, March 3, 2008

Wine Selection: Screw Kappa Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

I'm pretty certain this bottle didn't cost more than $10-12, which is VERY rare for a Napa wine. Shelley, you should try this one!

Personal Rating: ****Excellent!****

We headed north this past weekend to enjoy the sights of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Since the entire peninsula is far too large to experience in a single weekend, we decided to explore the temperate rain forest surrounding Lake Quinault. This is a place in which rainfall averages about 100 feet per year and where some of the largest trees measure 300 feet tall and 60 feet in diameter! It's a very impressive place, to say the least.

Since we're on the topic of really tall trees, this particular area of the forest is home to the world's largest Sitka Spruce tree (which we visited when Wyatt was 9 months old), as well as the largest Western Red Cedar. The coolest part of the Red Cedar was being able to actually walk inside the tree, which Wyatt considered to be most entertaining.

Wyatt at the base of the Sitka Spruce in 2006

Wyatt inside the Red Cedar

Looking up from inside the base of the Red Cedar

While the ginormous trees were obviously an attraction, the highlight of the trip for me was when we fortuitously encountered the most vibrant rainbow I've EVER seen. It was so spectacular that I even woke Wyatt up from his nap (which is considered the biggest sin in my parenting bible) so that he could experience the beautiful gift that nature bestowed upon us that day.

By the way, I should mention that Eric is the nature photographer in our family, so he's responsible for capturing all these beautiful images. He certainly has an amazing ability to bring such gorgeous landscapes to life, and I'm so thankful, as I have never been able to do them justice. I just wanted to share a couple of other photos he took that do not necessarily have a story behind them, but rather they just made me think, "WOW!" when I saw them.

Such a beautiful contrast in color (and I love the reflection on the lake)

A tiny mushroom growing out of a tree

I especially love this photo because he was able to see (and capture) the beauty and elegance in something that would have otherwise gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

It was certainly a great weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to make it back there again soon.



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