Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Although it was no storm of the year or decade or century or whatever the goofy news people would have named it and although it is melting quickly we finally got some snow! Unlike most of Portland that fell prey to some sort of winter weather fear, we fully enjoyed the cold white stuff. I even enjoyed driving to work last night, the landscape was transformed and beautiful. Even if I am in the minority in this area I say LET IT...

Playing with my camera and exposure times.

ALMOST covered the grass. It did snow a little more after I took this picture but the very tips of the grass were still poking through.

Boys knew it may not last so they went out, in the dark, and built a snowman. Janet said to send them her way, to Ohio, and they could build an entire city. Be careful what you offer and/or wish for Janet! Cute boys that build adorable snowmen in the dark also drag a lot of snow back into the house.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shall Wii Bowl?

GrandPop Bruce and Grandma Heidi came to visit us over Christmas, while they were here we played some Wii games. Oliver's current favorite is bowling. The way Oliver bowls is very entertaining and I love to watch him celebrate his spare and/or strikes. GrandPop and Grandma found Oliver very entertaining too. It's hard not to get excited with him. I'm sure that if I bowled like Oliver does I'd be scheduling a shoulder surgery very soon.

Afraid of the Dark

Lately, Oliver has been telling me about bad dreams and has been more afraid of the dark. I was cautiously asking about the dreams and fear of the dark because this boy can be a bit of a manipulator. I wanted to make sure that this wasn't another way to get something that he wanted. I'm working on it with him, trying to not draw too much attention to it, let him talk though the dreams or fears, reassure him that we are all here and safe and hopefully not creating new habits that will be even harder to break. For instance, he has asked me every night for the last week if he could sleep with us, as hard as it is to say no to a teary eyed boy, I've stood strong on this one. Trust me, it's not easy when the boy is telling me, "the dark outside scares me mom-mom, it doesn't stop! The dark keeps coming and coming and it never stops," to tell him that he has to trust that he is safe, that mom-mom and daddy won't let the dark hurt him and that he has to sleep in his own bed. He does have some dim lights that I allow in his room and that helps some and I've relied heavily on Raffey the Giraffe, Blackberry the Route 66 Bear and now Jumpy Woody to get him to sleep. Oliver opened up this Woody doll on Christmas day and they have been side by side quite a bit! Overtired and up past his bed time on Christmas night he had a very hard time getting to sleep and putting his fears aside. I too was overtired and up past my bedtime and Oliver's sobs almost did me in. I finally settled him down and he fell asleep, I went back in later to check on him and this is how I found him...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chrismas Afternoon

Once Pop & H got here and checked into their hotel we headed over to Gammy's house for Christmas dinner. We had a wonderful ham dinner when we got there then we let the boys FINALLY open up their gifts. Later, after looking at the pictures, I realized that I had not changed the settings on my camera from the night at the Zoo Lights. So sad to see that most of my pictures were slightly blurry or hazy. Oh well, at least I still have pictures from the day. These were some of the better (i.e. not blurry or hazy) ones.

We put Trevor, Ollie and Noah out in the living room and handed them piles/bags of gifts in shifts. They were spoiled! They started with these gift bags full of stuff from Gammy.
Trevor checking out his Skull Candy ear-buds from Gammy.

Oliver showing us our annual Christmas book!
This year it was from GrandPop Bruce and Grandma Heidi.

Our scientist loved this gift!!

Grandma Ricki gave Noah the biggest Bionicle he's ever received!

A Mater puzzle for Oliver. I love that he is holding up a Pixar puzzle and there is a Pixar movie on the TV in the background. She even looks like she is checking out the puzzle.

Another budding Lego enthusiasts in our family received a set with a shark from his mom and dad. Bonus that the set came with a treasure chest too!

Noah has been saving his money since before his birthday to buy a Lego Mindstorm. He made it all the way to over $200 just before Christmas. This is a HUGE accomplishment for this boy. Money in hand means he is finding ways to spend it as quickly as possible. He's often not gotten the thing(s) he's really wanted because of this practice. I can not tell you how proud I was of him for saving his money this time and really putting it toward a goal. Because of this, Joel and I decided that for Noah we would pay the difference between what he saved and what the Lego Mindstorm would cost for his big gift from us. I "borrowed" his cash to help pay for Christmas gifts to be paid back after the new year, we told Noah that the Lego store, Target, Walmart and Toys R Us were all sold out of the Mindstorms, then to make sure he couldn't figure it out we put a no shaking the presents rule on the gifts this year. We promised Noah to pay him back and take him shopping to find the Mindstorm after Christmas. I can not count the times I "apologized" for not shopping sooner. He had no idea that he was getting it. To top it off, I grabbed his big gift from the pile at Gammy's and hid it in the laundry room. We were all done opening gifts then he realized that the big one from us was missing. I played it off for a bit and almost had him convinced that we must have left it at home, then I asked him to go grab me a rag from the laundry room to wipe something up. He came back with the gift and a huge grin on his face. He finally got to open it...and has not stopped building things with it since.

I am sure it's a "shock" to most that I caught my mom cleaning!
Thanks for dinner mom, it was delicious.

Grandma Ricki sent this Woody doll for Oliver. He took to it right away.

Trevor showing Noah his new DS game.

Trevor's new DS game was a bit tricky in a couple of places. He had me sit and watch for bit then when he got stuck he'd say, "Want to give it shot Aunt TT? It's fun!" I would take it and play for a bit, just past the hard/tricky part then he would say, "Wow! that looks fun, can I try again?" I would laugh to myself and hand the game back to Trev. This went on for sometime. He thinks he got away with something and I'm just fine with that. I love that boy and was happy to help!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chistmas Morning

Christmas morning was pretty quiet, we were waiting for GrandPop and Grandma Heidi to get here then we were heading out to Gammy's for Christmas dinner, presents and visiting with family. The boys, thankfully, slept in until their usual time, we casually moved out to the family room where the stockings were hung. Okay, the boys' stockings were on the table because "Santa" over filled them, but no one complained.

Waiting for mom and dad to wake up and grab the camera.
I love messy morning hair.

Noah discovered "The Lightning Thief" series of books and he got book two.

His favorite candy bar.
Too bad they didn't have anything bigger!

What's in there Ollie?
"Cars Uno - woohoo!"

I got socks in my sock.

Daddy got a Lego Racer and a Lego Creator in his stocking.

The boys each had a sheet of tattoos in their stockings. Oliver decided that ALL of them needed to be applied A.S.A.P. Grandma Heidi got there and he happily showed off his new ink.

Christmas Eve

Our normal traditions are to open presents Christmas Eve, stuffed stockings Christmas morning then playing with new toys and staying in our pajamas for the rest of Christmas day. Well, that's a quick version of our normal traditions, we do other stuff too but that's the gist of it. Anyway, this year, with my nephew in town staying at my mom's, my brother in town instead of away with a hockey team of some sort and with GrandPop Bruce and Grandma Heidi coming to visit we changed things up a bit. We did an art project Christmas Eve, stockings Christmas morning and then presents and dinner at my mom's on Christmas day. So I'll have a couple more posts after this one but I'm lazing around today, still in my pajamas, relaxing and watching my boys enjoy their gifts and visit with their grandparents so it may not be right away. Can you blame me?

For Halloween I had purchased some wood cutouts in the shape of bats, pumpkins, gravestones, etc. and we had a blast painting them one night. I decided that since we had such great time then why not do it again for Christmas. This time we did snowflakes, candy canes (Noah had his upside down and couldn't figure out why the mistletoe looked so darn funny), snowmen, stockings and gingerbread men.
Here is Noah's gingerbread man, he is a junior purple belt with blond hair. He looks really familiar but I just can't place him.

This is Oliver's, Oliver added many layers of color then stacked his pieces on top of each other. This created this stunning camo-esque look.
More paint the better is his motto!

Joel's gingerbread man, he's quite cute!
I love the sparkle in his eyes.

Mine wants to be a traffic cop so I painted his gumdrops red, yellow and green just like the traffic lights.

We also put the angel, that Oliver made in pre-school on top of the tree.
A perfect tree topper.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Zoo Lights 2009

We decided to brave the weather and the crowds and go to the zoo lights on the night of the 23rd. It was C.O.L.D. and it was B.U.S.Y. However, we got through the crowds at the gates rather quickly and had a really fun night. We, myself, Noah, Oliver and Jackson, met my Mom and my nephew Trevor at the Gateway Transit Mall to catch the MAX train to the zoo. The boys all loved the 45 minute ride to the zoo. Once we got to the zoo and were headed toward the entrance we were a bit shocked at the crowds. Luckily, as a zoo member we got ushered to a shorter line. By the time I got through the line, Joel had made it on a later train to meet us. We got everyone bundled as much as possible then headed in to enjoy the sites.

Jackson and Trevor both looked ecstatic to be there, my two look like zombies! This is just inside the gates waiting for just a couple of minutes for Joel.
As soon as we got in we headed for the train line. It was a bit of a wait but the line moved fast. This tiger was waiting to greet and shake hands with any willing kids. Oliver was willing...
In line on Dad's shoulders makes the wait seem a little less boring.

Thought of my niece, Bre, when I saw this cool unicorn.

Jackson and Noah on the train.
Do you like Jackson's hat Su?

Just thought this picture of a tree covered in blue lights was interesting.

Are these not some FUN lights???

All of the trees in the lighted areas were covered like this one.
It is amazing.

This was Oliver's favorite. His mouthed moved and was going to chomp us all.

Palm trees, there were some in yellow too.

Noah gave us a report on Preying Mantis when we saw this one.

Oliver and Trevor in front of one of my favorites, the gingerbread house.

After a long cold but oh so fun night.

The MAX train tunnel literally runs through the West Hills in Portland. They blasted their way through the hillside and put in these tunnels. The ride on the elevator, from the top at the zoo to the bottom where you catch the train, is quite a change in elevation. When the train is nearing you can feel the wind/air that the train is pushing through the tunnel and then you see it. A very exciting thing for a group of boys!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Milestone Party

Well, it may not be a milestone for Noah, but it was for me. He's starting to think that themed parties are not cool and he's starting to out grow parties at places like Chuck E Cheeses. He simply wanted his friends to come over and play, maybe watch a movie and play some video games. DONE! I can do that. He invited about a dozen boys over for a night of chaos and mayhem and nine showed up. NINE boys were here, NINE boys were playing, NINE boys were rough housing, NINE boys were using my bathroom!!! If the noise levels were any indication of fun, then they had more fun then the law certainly allows. The party was just getting started so I gathered the boys together and gave them 3 rules for the night: 1) Don't go in my room. 2) If you pee on the toilet instead of in it then wipe it up. 3) For the most part, keep your hands to yourself or at least stop when someone says stop or taps out. Then I retreated to the kitchen and let the boys go crazy. Steph and I (joined later by Cherie) sat around chatting...well yelling mostly, but we had fun visiting while the boys ran amok. I didn't take pictures all night long for fear of getting sucked into the whirlwind of activity or worse yet, my camera taking hit! But we did get these...

Singing happy birthday to Noah. I know the cupcake with candles looks a bit sad but Noah didn't even want a cake. He wanted cupcakes that the boys could decorate, a.k.a. put a ton of sprinkles on, themselves.

Looks like Ty, Me, Jackson, Noah, Kuljeet, Jack (behind Kuljeet), Jacob, Sandeep and Cole gathered around the table icing and decorating the cupcakes. Noah G. managed to escape this photo.

Cupcakes drowning in sprinkles.

Another shot of the gang, we moved our big sectional couch out of the front room and just threw some pillows in there. They used the pillows for a few minutes during the failed attempt to quiet down and watch a movie. They instead played Nerf Basketball and loud as possible!

Noah G. putting the finishing touches on his cupcake.

Noah getting some moolah...he is sooooo close his goal. He's trying to save to get this really cool, super deluxe, programmable Lego set.

I came across this picture and could not stop laughing at Ty, so you get to see it too.

What???? Someone got Legos for Noah???
I am shocked, in the not really at all sort of shocked way.