Monday, February 15, 2010

We're a Busy, Happy Bunch

So we haven't really updated since October... sorry about that. We plan to get back on the ball and keep up with documenting our lives a little better. It's just that we're busy. I know everyone says that, and everyone means it, too. But we really don't have a few spare minutes here and there these days. (Perfect example: as I compose this post, I'm also composing a midterm paper.) I picked up where I'd left off on my Master's degree last fall, and I'm planning to be finished at the end of summer session, sometime around August. I've also picked up more hours teaching, and I'm doing a lot of at-home projects developing curriculum for school, too. And since Mama's busier, that means Dada's busier. Ethan's been the amazing, awesome, supportive husband that all of you can probably guess he is-- he's doing more laundry and more kid-care when he's home and I have to work, alongwith all the cooking. He is, in short, a wonder-husband. And the kids are both doing well, too. They are growing up so quickly; there's so much I should write down. Hopefully, as I put this post together, I'll pen a few key memories and lock them in this cyber-secure notebook so they'll never disintegrate in time's cruel clutch. That was dramatic, eh?

Here are a few photos and explanation of what we've been up to, and what we look like lately. :)

Buster on a Walk While Bird is in Ballet
There's just something about that sly grin, the crossed legs, the Elmo socks, and the Top Siders...

Buster in His Car Seat
Rockin' the Girly Glasses and the Bill Cosby Sweater

Birdie Asleep in Car Seat
the lashes, the lips, the sweet, sweet girl that she is

Bird at her First Dental Appointment
Getting the Thumbs Up

Then there was cousin Elijah's and Aunt Danielle's visit. We really like "that guy." He's growing up quickly and we thoroughly enjoy when we get a chance to see his cuteness and kiss him in person. Hugs to the Illinois contingency!
Look at those eyes-- can you tell they're related?

Getting Tickled!
Eating an M...or a W, I suppose

Babes in a Bath

Jolly Swinger

Ethan began brewing beer at home, a fun, social, and delicious hobby!
I'm just guessing here, but I'd say this is kegging the beer, after the ferment-- siphoning it
off to condition for a week or so before it's ready to drink... am I right, hon?

Harper drew a penguin while she played outside when Daddy was brewing one afternoon.

a finished beer-- some of our favorite, Amarillo Ale

And somewhere around the first week of December, we went up into the mountains to Montecito Sequoia Lodge. We highly recommend it: a great place for a family and friends getaway. We had a great time with Katia, Ryan, Chloe, Niki, and Leila. It was also Harper and Jack's first snow experience, and the staff kept the kids busy with crafts when we were snowed in a few extra (unnerving) hours.

Craft Time

Walking the Trail with Katia

Harper and Mama sunning on a rock like lazy lizards

Look at that intense stare from over Daddy's shoulder!

Ryan and Chlo Chlo

Lil' Leila and Mama Niki

Snow Buddies

Jack only stayed out in the snow long enough to decide he didn't like it!

The Bird wanted a taste!

R and E, bundled up

Then there was Katie's visit, when we both sang in the GW 30th Anniversary, Blazer Choir Alumni Christmas Concert. We enjoyed singing in the large choir, visiting with the other alumni who came to the event, and having the opportunity to thank Jeff Seaward for his amazing talent as our teacher and the transformative experience he lent us as our choir director. On a lighter note, it was fun to see Hudson play with Harper and Jack-- he and the girl seemed to like each other a lot. It was tough to try to get a clear photo of the three of them as they wrestled around and hugged a lot... tough to make them sit still. While Katie and I tried, E snapped a few of us doting mothers.

This was the best one I got. Two cute dudes and a smiley girl.

We're still library regulars. One particularly rad library day was a few weeks ago, when Jack got the ultimate validation. He'd been carrying this hunk of wooden Swiss cheese around in his coat pocket and Miss Valerie read a story about mice. When she pulled out this finger puppet, Jack ran to the front to offer his cheese to feed the mouse. The whole library was amused.

You never know when you might need to feed a plush mouse!

The girl continues to be an astonishing reader.

She's finished entire series of books (Junie B. Jones? check! Magic Treehouse? check! Geronimo Stilton? check! A to Z Mysteries? check!) and now she's begun Encyclopedia Brown. It's tough to keep up with the girl's reading. She squeezes it in wherever she can (kind of like her mom and dad).

And then there was the holiday season, Hanukkah and Christmas. It was a fun year since both kids are truly "into it" and both believe in Santa. We painted our own menorahs, lit candles, played the dreidel game, wrote Santa a letter, had a fortuitous visit from Mr. Claus, and most importantly, enjoyed family time making lovely memories.

The kick off for the season was H's recital at the studio. For the first time, we saw her do a tap AND a ballet routine, and she was beaming brightly the entire time. As shy as she can sometimes be, it is clear she loves the spotlight. Forgive me for the quantity of photos here, but... she was really cute.

He sees you when you're sleepin'...

He knows when you're awake!

Jack watching Sister, Grandma admiring him

Ta da!
Quite an Entrance

Lots of Waving to Her Fans

Hammy Smile

Hugs and Flowers after the Show
A photo with Syd, her ballet and school buddy

Whatever the holiday, Harper gets into the spirit.
As soon as Hanukkah concluded, she made Jack a Christmas card.
It reads, "To Jack From Harper Marry Cristmas Jack
Harper loves Jack Super Boy Love Boy"

We celebrated Christmas Eve with Grammer and Grandpa.

and Mrs. Claus

Grammer is a creative wrapper!

the Grammer

the Grandpa

Bird wrote the note for her and Jack-- reflective of their true wishes.
Clearly Jack's a fan of his Daddy!

the backside

Since we wrote this note only a couple days before Christmas, I took these photos and told Harper I'd email them to Santa. Apparently, he received them in time...

Santa took the opportunity to be a bit didactic in his congratulations.

We've yet to make good on Santa's promise...

Harper reading Santa's message to him Christmas morning

The good girl got her camera!
The boy got a bear bank!

Christmas night with the Spears
Jack tried Joe's boots on and gave everyone a few laughs.
We heard the good news that night, in between Harper's photo session with her new camera,that Anya and Joe are expecting! Yay! A new buddy is on his/her way...

That night, Anya and Joe gave Jack his favorite book ever, DinoTrux. He's got it memorized and he love love loves it! Here he is in his coordinating PJ's.

en route to my side of the family celebration, reading her new book
and telling me which characters she is most like

On the 27th, we celebrated Christmas at Carie and David's new place. It's a gorgeous home full of gorgeous, wonderful people. Though they'd only lived there a week or two, it already felt very warm and comfortable. The kids didn't want to leave that night, so they stayed the night for an impromptu sleepover. The big cousins treat them like King and Queen of the house, so who would want to leave that, right?

Playing with Puppet in a Christmas Outfit

Jack with his Horse and Cow puppets-- two of his favorite things!
In fact, after he wakes up he always says he dreamt of "horses and cows and workers."

Stoked on his Tool Belt from Gran and Grandpa-- worker boy stuff!

Watching Otis open his gifts with Mama's help

Steve and I drew each other this year. It worked out nicely because we'd
both been wanting a new pair of Campers

Jack fell deeper in love with his Uncle David after the quad ride.

The kids enjoyed feeding carrots to the horses

Just a cute sleeping boy sometime after the New Year

Right after the New Year, we hosted a beer tasting party at our place. Since E's gotten into homebrewing, it was a good chance to sample different varieties from all around the world with friends we enjoy. The trip to BevMo in Fresno was super fun. Ethan made tasting cards so we could take notes and remember favorites.
My favorite of the night was the one toward the left there-- Hop Trip from Deschutes Brewery.

the note cards

E's homemade pretzels and homemade mustard were a hit that night, too!

2010 has already been eventful! Here we are back at the library again...
Jack in the stacks
Harper in the stacks

Something about a boy in a ball cap...

Harper just looks like a teenager here, huh?
Somehow I feel like I caught a glimpse in this shot of my teen-Harper.

And then it was my 30th birthday! First we had thirty candles and cake at Katia's...
When you put it that way, thirty's kinda pretty...

and then we had a party at our place. Good friends, good food, good music, good drink (E specially brewed some more Amarillo Ale just for the night). I felt very lucky and loved.

The surprise of the night: E had asked attendees to bring CD's for me. It was such a wonderful and thoughtful gift! It's also made for some happy listening the past couple of weeks!

and then it was Grandma's birthday! Daddy has been working on perfecting his pizza-making skills and he put them to good use that evening.

down to a T

The kiddos are best buddies lately. They play together so nicely, mostly pretending crazy things Bird thinks up. But Buster jumps right in there and gets into it, taking the plot on twisty turns and adding his own agenda to the mix. Sometimes that's a source for conflict, but mostly, it works out.

Bird's been reading to Jack a lot more lately.

The best is when they read together first thing in the morning. Jack joins her in bed and they stay happy together (not waking Mom and Dad) reading and playing around until the grown ups emerge.

And the latest news is that we're moving in the end of March. We've had a good almost-three-years here! Jackie came home from the hospital to this house, Bird's had her 2nd, 3rd, and 4th birthdays here, started preschool here, and Jack's had his 1st and 2nd birthdays here, too. It was the first home we owned, and we've made lots of great memories at this place. The best part of all is that we get to rent it to good friends of ours. We know it's in good hands come April 1st!

Sadie Katz on the roof

The new place is nearby. We feel very blessed to be able to make this move right now, to get into a place we can stay in for the foreseeable future. The kids prom pictures will likely be taken there! Aside from the discomfort of the moving process, we are excited for the move.

And something tells me we'll have no shortage of happy times ahead.