V.I.P. Day

February 12, 2014 by kelly

Today Beatrice was the V.I.P. at her preschool. She got a little book to fill out and there is a special V.I.P. tote bag that she got to take home and bring back with five very special items.


Here she is with the tote bag, which she insisted on wearing around her neck!


And in the classroom, with her name on the board:


She did a great job, talking about her book and the items she brought to show everyone (she brought her tiny penguin that hatched from an egg, her beautiful purple feather, Raspberry the bird, her drawing of our garden, and her ducky blanket).


Samuel is TWO!

January 28, 2014 by kelly

Ah, sweet Samuel boy, I can hardly believe you’re already two years old! It seems like your second year just flew by! This might be largely due to the fact that once you started stepping on your own, you ran everywhere. It’s adorable. And it’s exhausting.

I received the movie, Finding Nemo for Christmas about a decade ago and you love the shimmery case and the fish on the cover. So much so, that you asked for a Nemo birthday party. It was really fun to plan your party and hear you talk to people at the store or the library about Nemo! Nemo party! anytime someone asked your age.

Decorations Nemo Party

Under water decorations!

Daddy and Beatrice did most of the decorating. You two loved playing with the balloons!

Sam Nemo Party

Nemo Hats!

Papa assembled the Nemo hats for you! They were adorable!

Sam Candles Nemo

Chocolate cupcakes!

I tried suggesting many options, but you had your heart set on cupcakes. CHOCOLATE cupcakes with blue icing! We thought we’d go the easy route and just put gummy fish on them. After several stops at various stores and calls to party stores and candy shops around town, we learned that gummy clown fish are seasonal items. Thankfully, your Meama saved the day when she saw some at an ice cream parlor! Thanks Meama!

The weather was beautiful the day of your party, so we were able to play outside! And after the cake and presents and fun, we had a picnic of fish sticks and tater tots and watched part of Finding Nemo with Aunty Carrie and Uncle Dan.

Samuel, you are the most wild person I know. You run all over the place. You rush around without much regard for your own safety or that of others, but you are also incredibly kind. You are a good helper and have adapted the words to the clean up song from school to say “Clean up time and Samuel’s going to help!” to hear you sing that along with the doot-doot-doo is adorable. You are loving toward your sister and you two are the best of friends most days. It’s just fun to play with you. You LOVE to be chased and surprised, which is really fun for me! And you have a seemingly endless enjoyment of books. It’s the first thing you ask for in the morning and you consistently ask to read a book throughout the day. You are adapting to attending toddler school without Sissy and you have grown to enjoy your time there. You have started to talk about things so much! The other week, I picked you up from the nursery after Moms Group and asked what you did and you said, “Read a book, played puzzles, went for a walk, babies cried, had a snack, you are here”. It just warmed my heart! You and your sister still count on each other for lots of things and you make each other giggle each day with something or another. You LOVE your Daddy. You ask for Daddy in the mornings when you first wake up. You are upset if it isn’t Daddy who comes to your aid in the middle of the night. But for some reason, you know when Daddy is out of town and you are just fine with my presence then. Sillybuns.

This is what life is like around here: I look away for a minute and you are working with your sister to do something funny. Birds in nests! And it was raining so you needed shelter!  You two make me giggle!


Birds in a nest with Sissy. Good thing I was finished with the laundry!

Beatrice says you are her best friend and I think you’d agree with that sentiment. You both look for each other in the morning. When you are upset, Beatrice will come and try to rub your back and if she is upset, you will bring her a blanket or book.


Playing with some of your birthday presents

We sure love you! Happy Birthday!

2013 Year In Review

December 31, 2013 by jonathan

It’s time for the 5th Annual Year In Review. I’m your host, Jonathan, the Once a Year Blogger.



In January Samuel celebrated his first birthday! The theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of Samuel’s favorite books, and one that has literally been loved to pieces and is now held together using only packing tape and adoration.

Samuel’s really transformed into a little boy this year. He started walking right around his first birthday and soon after realized that running was much faster, so now he mostly does that. He’s a huge gigglepants and loves to laugh so much that he will yank your hand onto his belly for at tickle. He gives hugs and kisses and will chase his “Sissy” around the house for a goodnight hug at the end of the day.



February is a little rough around here, because everyone is starting to get tired of being inside, but it’s still a little cold to go outside. We make up for it by having lots of fun inside. This was one of Bea and Sam’s favorite games early this year: when Samuel woke up, Bea would entertain him by pushing books through the slats in his crib, and once the local supply of books was exhausted, she would ask to be set in his crib so they could “read” together. Adorable? Yes.



It’s hard to believe, but Bea is now 3! Her birthday included almost every one of her favorite things: The Pigeon, hot dogs, cake, family friends, and even Grandma Barbara. It’s the first time she really understood and anticipated the birthday celebration to come, and she had a wonderful time.

Bea is turning into a caring, careful, and of course precocious little girl. She’s getting the knack of reading and can sound out simple words by herself. She has developed a love of crafts and will spend hours coloring, cutting, and gluing. She has a keen (if unpredictable) sense of What is Beautiful, and can always be relied upon to choose–or create–something that is Beautiful. She loves her little brother and the two usually perform a dance in matching pajamas at the end of the day.



We had many family adventures! Here’s a photo from our trip to the zoo, in which our children became preoccupied by a play nest. (They are obsessed with nests and will often ask us to construct large nests in the living room, using every blanket in the house.)

In April I left my job at Microsoft (where I’d worked for almost 9 years!) for a new gig at a very small startup called RStudio. It was a bit of culture shock going from a company of 95,000 employees to fewer than 20, but the work is very technically challenging and rewarding and it’s been a good first few months.



Here was one of our favorite outdoor games, which Kelly invented and we played nearly all summer. It’s called “Leaf Poke”. First, you find a dead leaf on the ground. Then, you poke it into a storm drain. Then you find another dead leaf and poke it into the storm dream. Then you find another dead leaf…

It’s hard to describe just how much our children loved Leaf Poke (and really being outside in general). Some days I would come home from work and take the children up to the storm drain on the top of the hill to play Leaf Poke with them while Kelly made supper for us (did I mention she’s the best?). When it was time to eat I’d have to physically drag them back to the house, so great was their desire to push additional leaves into the sewer. They love nature!



Ah, June! June is for eating outside all the time, for barbecues down in Auburn with Kelly’s parents (pictured: Sam in a rare “not naked” moment), for mulching and yard work, and generally soaking up the sun.



A highlight of July was visiting our friends in Oak Harbor overnight! Bea and Sam love Uncle Dan and Aunt Carrie and are very excited every time we visit them. July was also the month I went on my first international business trip, spending about a week in La Mancha, Spain.

We also spent lots of time in July looking at houses. Which leads us to August…



We bought a house! We looked at houses casually throughout most of 2012, but the market in our area was really crazy–we put down offers on at least 5 homes before finally landing one! The story of how we came to be the owners of what the kids call “the Red Door House” is too long to share here but it was definitely the hand of the Lord that brought us there. We’re delighted to have a good neighborhood for the kids to play in (they’re already making friends with the kids and older folks in the neighborhood alike) and have spent much of the remaining months of the year getting our household established.



September is practically guaranteed to be perfect in Seattle, and this one didn’t disappoint–it hardly rained a drop! We watered our new lawn and the kids mysteriously shed their aversion to damp clothing and cold temperatures and got completely soaking wet almost every time they saw the sprinkler out.

In September we also celebrated the marriage of Katherine (my sister) and Joshua, and sent Beatrice off to her first day of preschool. She’s growing up so fast…



In October the kids went trick-or-treating for the first time! They were a penguin and a dinosaur, respectively. They love dressing up in their costumes and often asked to wear them even when it wasn’t, strictly speaking, Halloween. In fact, Beatrice was very excited for my birthday, because she was allowed to dress up in her penguin costume and be my Birthday Penguin. If you have never before had a Birthday Penguin, I recommend getting one for your next birthday. They are wonderful.

In addition to a Birthday Penguin, this year I received the fulfillment of a lifelong dream: my own real piano! We gather there every night as a family and sing an Evening Hymn together.



In November we hosted a Thanksgiving feast, and were honored to have my sister Mary join us all the way from California! (Picture is actually of my sister Katherine.) As is family custom, Kelly’s father and I cooked the turkey on the barbecue. This year the kids shared the tables with us but we can’t be more than a few years away from having a kids table! The unexpected, and slightly unpleasant, surprise of November was a small fall that caused Kelly to fracture her foot. Needless to say, we are very thankful for our friends and family who all helped with the preparations (and dishes!) for our Thanksgiving feast.



And here we are in December. This year the kids did more than just tromp around with us in the tree lot–they actually picked out the tree! Beatrice found the largest tree in a 500-foot radius and said she loved it and so I sawed it down and managed to get it up the stairs into our living room. They actually decorated the tree, too, and although you can’t see it in the picture the bottom 3 feet of the tree received markedly more adornment than the remainder. We even decked out the house in white Christmas lights, so as to save the colored ones for the tree (the colored lights are Beautiful).

For Christmas this year we gave the kids their first real ride-on toys; Bea received a Big Wheel and Samuel received a tricycle. They were delighted and are getting the hang of pedaling. We’re excited for family bicycle trips to come!

2013 brought a lot of changes into our family for sure, but one constant has been the Lord’s grace and blessing on our family. We hope you and yours had a merry Christmas and are well on your way to a happy New Year!

Photo A Day Challenge December 23:Tradition

December 23, 2013 by kelly

Around here, we’re slowly building our Advent and Christmas traditions. One thing that has remained the same is the making of Chex Mix! The kids and I made a big batch!

Chex Mix

Chex Mix


The new tradition for the year was the assembly of Christmas surprises! We purchased riding toys for both kiddos this year. Jonathan got to put them together. It really made us feel like grown-ups!

Christmas Surprises!

Christmas Surprises!


Photo A Day Challenge December 17: Tree

December 17, 2013 by kelly

Here is this year’s tree! It was a funny, tricky time getting our tree (Sam was in a poor mood, there were lots of tears from him and HIGH levels of excitement from Beatrice). Once we came home with the tree, we knew it was just perfect for us!

Tree 2013

Tree 2013

Photo A Day Challenge December 16: Makes You Feel Merry

December 16, 2013 by kelly

Oh I think this needs no explanation:


Merry Christmas at Daddy's Office

Merry Christmas at Daddy’s Office


Photo A Day Challenge December 15: Lights

December 15, 2013 by kelly

Lights are everywhere this time of year, which is important around here since it gets dark around 4:30 in the afternoon.  This is one of my favorite candle holders. It belonged to my grandma and looks like snowflakes to me!


Photo A Day Challenge December 14: Drink

December 14, 2013 by kelly

I think it goes without saying that the most popular beverage around here is coffee, especially on the weekend!

Drink Coffee!

Drink Coffee!

Photo A Day Challenge December 12: Joy

December 12, 2013 by kelly

It brings great joy to everyone in our home when the kiddos wear matching clothes. Today, they wore matching shirts and matching socks! It was ADORABLE and they were both giggling through different parts of the day. Thank you for the socks, Grandma!





Photo A Day Challenge December 11: Green

December 11, 2013 by kelly

The green today was:


Helping S get some "green treasure" out of his nose

Helping S get some “green treasure” out of his nose