It's 8 o'clock at night on New Year's Eve. The kids are in bed, my husband is at the hospital for the rest of the night, and I'm in my PJ's. I'm hoping to finish A Million Little Pieces by James Frey by the time I call it a night. Those are my big plans. My...how times have changed.
It's so hard to believe another year has come and gone. Reflecting on all that we've accomplished as a family this past year, I certainly can't complain.
*We've traveled a ton and have seen some pretty amazing places. *I finally emerged from the baby bubble and started focusing on my own personal growth (i.e. running, book club, nights out with friends, bible study). *Eric was appointed Chief Resident of Neurology. *Wyatt started sleeping through the night (for the most part), which deserves a big FAT hallelujah!! *Avery miraculously discovered a way she can maintain life without food. Pretty impressive, eh? I can't wait until she starts talking more so she can share her secret with me.
We're still poor as dirt and in debt up to our eyeballs, but we thankfully have our health...and each other. What more can you ask for? Eric's reply nearly every time..."a new truck, dammit....that's all I want. When can I get a new truck?"
(I don't blame him. He's devoted nearly 13 consecutive years to becoming a Neurologist, and he's still driving his '94 GMC Sierra with a busted windshield, no air conditioning, and a horn that only works if the steering wheel is tilted in the right position. Heck, I'm not even sure the tape player works anymore [not that we own many tapes anymore, but still]. Hang in there, Babe. Eighteen more months!).
I'll leave you this New Year's Eve with a picture of Wyatt and Avery sporting their new Eskimo Joe's shirts.
Avery thought she'd have a cup of tea before school this morning. So sophisticated, this one. And did you notice that the cup matches her shirt? Don't think it was just a coincidence. She's ALL girl.
For you Oregonians who don't know about Eskimo Joe's...please educate yourself. There isn't a single Oklahoman alive who doesn't own an Eskimo Joes t-shirt. In fact, when I was in Jr. High, you weren't cool unless you owned an Eskimo Joes shirt in every color (I only owned one or two if that tells you anything). Eskimo Joe's is "Stillwater's jumpin' little juke joint" and located a block from Oklahoma State's campus. Needless to say, many memories were made at that place.
Thanks to my dear friend, Michelle (who thought we'd appreciate a little bit of Oklahoma on a Christmas without family and friends), we received a package in the mail containing an Eskimo Joe's shirt for each one of us. Absolutely amazing, this girl. We've all been wearing them proudly. Thank you for thinking of us, Michelle! It really means a lot.
While it was hard to spend Christmas away from family, the kiddos and I are looking forward to our extended vacation to Tulsa in February. Eric, unfortunately, will be pretty much having all of his mail forwarded to OHSU that month. Ahhh...the life of a resident.
Happy New Year EVERYONE!
Hugs to all, Catrina
Wine Selection: Juno Cabernet*Shiraz*Merlot Personal Rating: ***Good*** Comments: I think this is a nice, smooth wine--although the finish is kind of weak. Not spectacular, but I'd drink it again.
Wyatt received a really awesome guitar for Christmas from his Uncle Brett and Aunt Stephanie. It's a great introduction for kids his age because it's activated by touch (not strings), so he can enjoy the process of learning how to play without the frustration of mastering the fine motor skills.
One of the most memorable and unique experiences from our Christmas vacation was, without a doubt, the sled dog ride through the snowy forest of Mt. Bachelor. Upon our arrival to the lodge, several packs of beautiful, energetic dogs greeted us with excited barks and howls, which immediately had Avery in a tizzy.
Wyatt thought the dogs were really cool, but he was much more enamored with watching skiers and snowboarders glide effortlessly down the mountain. In fact, he was incredibly determined (as evidenced by his incessant begging and fit-throwing) to convince us that the beastly mountain had nothing on his mad, 3-year-old skills as an extreme sportsman. The kid is undoubtedly his father's son.
Once we were situated in the very narrow apparatus, the pack of dogs pulling our sled took off in a mad, violent dash across the landscape of freshly fallen powder that shimmered brilliantly with each kiss of the sun. In a matter of seconds (as we pulled away from the cacophony of barking), we were overcome with a silence so deafening that it felt as if life on earth had come to a sudden halt.
It was one of the most peaceful and serene experiences of my life. It must have had the same effect on Wyatt and Avery because they were both out like a light within a matter of minutes. Yes, our son--our little hurricane--our little ball of energy who, through the sheer force of will, refuses on a daily basis to succumb to the overwhelming power of the sleep gods--was in fact ASLEEP...at 10 o'clock in the morning! You've got to be kidding me, right? It was certainly the most expensive nap in which our kids have ever indulged.
Passing an oncoming sled team
We arrived back at the lodge and back to reality as the canine chorus again flooded our ears and violently awakened the little tots who remained in a deep slumber. Our wonderful adventure had sadly come to a close, but we felt so blessed to have been given such a unique an amazing opportunity. Once out of the sled and mingling with the dogs, we asked Wyatt if he had fun sledding with the dogs. With great enthusiasm, he replied, "YES! Now we get to go SKIING!!"
God love that little boy and his insatiable appetite for adventure.
Beautiful Mt. Bachelor on probably the only sunny morning we were blessed with while on our Christmas vacation. You'd never believe that only 5 days prior, there was absolutely no snow in the lower elevations where this photo was taken.
Wine Selection: Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Personal Rating: ***Good***
The drive home yesterday was long, but road conditions were much better than they were last week. When we finally made it over the mountains, I gave Eric a much needed break from driving and got us the rest of the way home--that is, until we tried to get into our neighborhood. We knew that Portland was being pounded with snow while we were gone, but didn't know exactly how much. And since we live in an area of higher elevation, there was really no way of knowing what to expect upon our return. There is only a single street in our neighborhood in which you can access the main roads safely (the others are steep--and I mean steep--hills that are hard enough to climb in normal conditions). We are very thankful for this one safe road in and out of the neighborhood, but it's so narrow that it looks like it was built for golf carts. It definitely is not designed to accommodate the amount of traffic that has been on it the past couple of weeks. I somehow managed to get us past the "skinny" street, but I chickened out once I caught a glimpse of the snow on our little dead end street. Eric...back in the drivers seat.
Needless to say, we were greeted with at least a couple of feet of snow on our street and driveway. Without chains, we were lucky just to get the car at least halfway out of the middle of the street before getting stuck. Then the madness began. I shoveled the driveway while Eric put chains on the tires. Meanwhile, the kids ran wild in the house unsupervised (fortunately, there were no fatalities). Eric finished shoveling while I tried to figure out why our drinking water was brown (I discovered this only after I had used the water to dilute a cup of juice for Wyatt, but again, no fatalities). To make matters worse, rigor mortis had set in on our pitiful Christmas tree, releasing a stench quite indescribable. So, I went to work on putting the poor thing out of its misery (and ours). Once Eric finally managed to get the car in the driveway, loads and loads of luggage from our vacation were being deposited in our entryway that needed sorting. Sheesh! And all I wanted was a drink of water! Too skeptical of the water quality, I began thawing ice cubes just to wet my tongue. Nice.
But we finally managed to get the house in some sort of order before sitting down to open the rest of our Christmas presents. Alas, it was finally bedtime. But dinner! We didn't feed the kids dinner! Shoot. With an empty pantry, what is a tired mom in a pinch to do? Cubes of cheese and spoonfuls of peanut butter for everyone!!
We have not had garbage service in over two weeks and UPS has probably had to rent storage space for all of our packages that have yet to be delivered. But fortunately, I think we've seen the last of the winter storm. But after yesterday, I do think another vacation is in order...and a trip to the grocery store.
Today is the big day. It's Jesus's birthday; the perfect excuse to celebrate! Although for us, Christmas Day is more of a day for relaxation; to unwind from all of the build up and anticipation brought forth on Christmas Eve. The Lodge in Sunriver hosted a great Christmas Eve celebration that included hot chocolate, light displays, and caroling. It snowed all day yesterday, which made the exerience that much more magical. Bundled up in her snowsuit, Avery is typically motionless and expressionless. But once the carolers broke out in song, Avery broke out in her best dance moves! She loved the caroling, even with the snow blowing directly in her face. After a brief appearance from Santa, we walked around the lodge, enjoying the beautiful light displays and playing in several feet of fresh snow.
We made it home just in time to bake some cookies for Santa and bid farewell to our elf friend, Barnaby. It was sort of a sad goodbye, for everyone in our family has grown quite fond of those rosy, red cheeks. See you next year, Barnaby!
This morning, Wyatt and Avery awoke and curiously peered over the banister to evaluate whether or not the jolly old fella had in fact traveled down the chimney and deposited gifts under the tree.
They each found one gift under the tree from Santa (the others are waiting for them in Portland) and went to town.
A huge truck for Wyatt to house all of his cars
and for Avery, her first baby doll and stroller
I'm really not sure who has had more fun playing with the baby doll, whom we've named Daisy. Wyatt keeps calling her his baby, so there have definitely been some turf wars already today. Actually, I'm more concerned about how long Eric will be able to tolerate watching his son cuddle, kiss, and try to change Baby Daisy's diaper. He may just explode before the day is done.
We hope you all have a blessed day surrounded with those you love most. Merry Christmas!
Most of our free time in Sunriver has been spent on the sledding hills because 1) it's tons of fun, and 2) it's the best way to distract Wyatt from what he REALLY wants to do--SKI! The kid is obsessed with the idea of skiing, but for now, sledding will have to do.
Wyatt has become quite the pro. He needs and asks for no help, and his mission is to go as fast as he possibly can.
He's got to get the tongue just right to get some good air. (Click to enlarge)
Avery, on the other hand, is good for a couple of runs before she's had enough. But hey, at least she's willing to try. So, I guess she's not as much of a fraidy cat as I previously thought.
Daddy was even sweet enough to put on the brakes for his baby girl. She must have him wrapped around her finger, as he certainly wouldn't do that for just anyone.
Eric catching a little air.
Let's just say the "bumps" aren't as kind to 30-year-old "rumps".
Wine Selection: Bitch Grenache Personal Rating: ***Good*** Comments: While not the most festive choice for a wine, I had to buy it when I saw the label in the grocery store at Sunriver. Eric thought it was too sweet, but I think it's pretty good.
Since we've been on vacation, Wyatt has been incredibly vocal about what he wants to do. And by golly, the kid wants to ski. Every time we ask him if he wants to go sledding, he says, "No! I want to go skiing!" Trying to convince him that the Edgar blood he has running through his veins prohibits such activities requiring even the slightest bit of patience, has been a challenge indeed. But apparently, we made a little headway because he gave up on that idea for a while before moving on to the ice skating obsession.
I'm fairly confident on ice skates (even though it's been a decade since I've been in a pair), so I agreed to take Wyatt out on the ice for the very first time at the nice little outdoor rink in Sunriver . I started out pushing him from behind, but that didn't last long once he realized it was more fun to let his body go limp and let Mommy do all of the work.
Then we practiced skating solo. When he was willing to go for it, he usually did a great job, which boosted his confidence and provided him with a sense of accomplishment. For a 3-year-old, I think his effort was pretty superb. Who knows...he may just be ready for a set of skis after all.
He eventually tuckered himself out and asked me skate while he rested his head on my shoulder. As we skated to sweet Christmas music, it brought back memories of the beloved "couples skate" at the neighborhood skating rink in my old hometown. But this time, I was less concerned about where to put my hands (and where my partner might be putting his), and more excited about savoring one of the few moments I get to share with my little guy...just the two of us. It was a great day, indeed.
This morning we treated the kiddos (and ourselves...let's be real here) to a nice little sleigh ride through the snowy fields of Sunriver Resort. We were greeted by Frosty and his little elf friend...
...before dashing through the snow in our one horse open sleigh.
Avery was bundled up so much that she could hardly move, but she enjoyed the sleigh ride--as long as she was facing away from the wind and snow.
The ride lasted for only about 5 minutes, but it was a fun way to start out the morning, and it's just one of the many Christmas activities the resort offers. Can you believe they will actually send an elf to tuck in the kids on Christmas Eve?!?! How fun is that? Of course, we won't be partaking in such an activity since we're fairly certain Avery would be traumatized for life and Wyatt would do nothing but bounce off the walls at the sight of an elf in his house. But what a magical experience for some of the older kids!
Playing in the snow in front of the ginormous Christmas tree at The Lodge.
Do you know what it's like to sit on pins and needles for seven straight hours? It's not fun. In fact, today, I can still feel each one of little "pricks"--in every single muscle in my body. Seven hours is how long it took us to drive from Portland to Sunriver (in central Oregon) yesterday (Shelley, I can just picture your jaw dropping to the floor right now). Oregon has been pounded with snow for the last week, making road conditions especially treacherous. I had serious reservations before we even departed our driveway as to whether we were taking too great of a risk, and was ready to call it quits 10 minutes into our trip after we slid on black ice trying to get out of Portland. But as usual, Eric kept his cool as we drove about 30 mph on the interstate and over the Cascade Mountain Range, which would have been utterly impassable without chains on the tires. So, I'm sure you can imagine my horror when we heard some of the chains pop off on one of the tires. Fortunately, Eric was able to rig it up a little so we could continue. Keep in mind, the entire time I'm thinking, "these are signs...we should turn around...we're not meant to go on this trip...THESE ARE SIGNS...what else does God have to do to get our attention?!?!"
Did we turn around? Nope. We kept on truckin'. I had already accepted the fact that our car was going to slide off the mountain, our family never to be seen again. But Eric did an amazing job and never lost his cool, even when I would gasp in horror and brace myself against the dashboard after even the slightest veering out of our lane. I'm sure that had to be incredibly annoying for him, but like many of you reading this who can relate, I couldn't help it.
It took us twice as long as it typically would to make it to Sunriver, but thanks to my hubby, we made in one piece. Oh, and did I mention we had to scramble around at the last minute YESTERDAY MORNING to find a new vacation home? We were notified on Friday that the pipes in the home we orginally rented had frozen!!! Fortunately, we were able to find a new vacation home in Sunriver Resort that completely exceeded our expectations. A huge thank you to Steve and Erin for accomodating us on such short notice. You guys are total lifesavers, and your home is absolutely beautiful. Looking out the window, I can estimate that there is at least a few feet of soft, powdery snow just outside the door.
We are really excited about our Christmas week in Sunriver. We have many fun activities planned and should be posting regularly. For now, I'll leave you with a picture of Wyatt playing in the snow on the deck this morning.
Wine Selection: Liberty School Chardonnay Personal Rating: ****Excellent****
Between both sets of grandparents, Wyatt and Avery definitely receive their share of musical greeting cards. And boy, do they get excited when a new one arrives in the mail addressed specifically to them!
I just wanted to share with the grandparents (and the rest of ya'll) that their hard-earned dollars have not gone to waste. Wyatt and Avery put on quite the little show this morning as they ripped their envelopes to shreds for the sheer delight of dancing or singing to their favorite Christmas tunes. I wish you all could have seen it with your own eyes!
(I apologize for the fleeting glimpses of Wyatt's little dairy aire. Since we've been housebound for several days now, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give potty training another shot--and I'm pleased to report MORE progress!)
It's a rare treat when it snows in the Willamette Valley where we live. When it started snowing Sunday morning, we assumed we'd have a nice little dusting of powder. Two days later, we're still feeling the mark that Old Man Winter left, and gearing up for more of the same later this week.
It's a good thing we had just purchased snow gear for the kids (thanks to Grandma and Papa Edgar), because Wyatt was bouncing off the walls in anticipation of throwing his first snowball of the season. Oh, and don't think we didn't milk it for all it was worth. Wyatt gladly scarfed down every morsel of his breakfast, said please and thank you, and even cleaned up his toys before venturing out to the winter wonderland.
Bundling him up from head to toe in snow gear seemed to take most of the morning, but he finally made it out of the house and to the steep hills of the playground at the end of our street for some good, old-fashioned trash can lid sledding.
He even made snow angels, which was cool--especially since Eric nor I ever taught him how. I suppose the credit should go to some of his Playhouse Disney pals, probably Tigger and Pooh (those little sleuthes are always up to no good :-)). He also found that tackling his Daddy is so much more fun in the snow.
His favorite neighbor and gal pal, Carina, also joined in the on the fun. He's always so excited to see her, and they play together really well, which makes goodbye's really tough on both of them. But it usually ends on a happy note as long as hugs are exchanged...followed by the unintentional tackle, of course.
But Carina is no stranger to Wyatt's naughty tricks, and is usually very quick to forgive (more quick than I think she oughta). They completed their frosty outing with a stroll across the park. So sweet, these two. Is it obvious that I'm already planning the wedding?
Wyatt's one and only true obsession is trains. This time last year, we purchased his very first Thomas train, Billy. I would've never guessed that only a year later, his collection would expand to include nearly every single Thomas character. Eric and I have since become professional track-builders and storytellers. Wyatt lives and breathes trains (to the point that just stepping foot on a real-life train track sends chills up and down his spine), so I'm sure you can imagine the thrill when we told him we were going to ride on a real passenger coach pulled by a real steam engine--one that "wheeshes" steam and everything!
Since our train departed at 4 o'clock, it was still light enough to enjoy the beautiful Portland scenery, but was dark enough by the time we finished that we could enjoy the steam engine decorated in what seemed like a gazillion Christmas lights.
I wish I could share a more exciting picture of Wyatt on the train, but he was fairly content just staring out the window the entire time.
And since Avery was feeling a little under the weather, I brought a handful of books to keep her occupied (until Santa brought her a candy cane). It may have actually been one of the most relaxing outings we've had with our 3 and 1-year-old in quite some time.
For you locals, we splurged and spent the extra money on The Polar Express last year at Mt. Hood Railroad. It was a great time, but I honestly preferred the Holiday Express Train this year at Oaks Park. The train was a true steam engine, and much more decorative (inside and out) than The Polar Express. It's much less expensive, and the best part is that it's in town!! It was a great holiday family activity.
Wine Selection: Acacia Chardonnay Personal Rating: ***Good*** Comments: I can't believe how many chardonnay's I've had recently. That's the beauty of wine; your pallet seems to readily change, which allows you to enjoy such a wide variety of wines. I love it! Oh, and I got this wine at Whole Foods for under $10.
Wyatt's car seat is directly behind the driver's seat in my car. I absolutely love having him behind me because I often catch glimpses of him in the rearview mirror making some of the most hilarious faces I've ever seen. We were listening to the Christmas music station on the radio yesterday when Wyatt first layed ears on Alvin and the Chipmunk's, "Christmas Don't Be Late" tune. When the song came on, my eyes went directly to the rearview mirror for what I was certain would be an interesting reaction to the chipmunk trio's high pitched, nasal timbre.
As suspected, his expression shifted from that of a bored stare out the window to a very curious, furrowed brow look. Out of the corner of his eye he looked at me in the rearview mirror, grinned, and cheefully exclaimed, "Whoa!! Mom. I love this song." We both laughed hysterically throughout the rest of the song.
I played it for them again this morning, and Wyatt danced with glee to his new favorite song.
Just as happy the second time around.
So happy that he thought he'd break dance.
And he couldn't help but take Avery for a whirl.
Who knows. He might be tired of the song tomorrow, but for today, it's cute (and quite entertaining).
Ask any girl. There's no such thing as a shoe that's too big or too small. When it comes to falling "head over heels" in love, girls have an incredibly innate ability to make any shoe work. Avery pulled off this look with such confidence this morning that I'm willing to bet not a single toddler in her church nursery noticed she was sporting shoes that were 17 sizes too big.
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