Manners

January 7, 2015 by kelly

“Please take your plate to the sink after you finished your lunch”

 

Cleared his plate

Cleared his plate

Classic.

We’ve clearly still got some work to do on our tidiness and manners around here! Ha! At least he did something I asked him to do!

2014 Year In Review

December 31, 2014 by jonathan

It’s the 2014 Year In Review blog post! I’m your host, Jonathan, and I think this may actually be my first blog post this year. Bear with me.

2014 was a big year for the McPherson family, but it wasn’t nearly as full of dramatic shifts as the last few have been! We didn’t move, or switch jobs, or welcome additional children. That doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting at home eating Chex Mix, twiddling our thumbs, and counting as high as we can all year, though. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Without further ado, here’s what our year looked like:

January

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In January we celebrated Samuel’s 2nd birthday party with a Nemo-themed bash. Samuel has developed a love for all things related to fish, including, but not limited to: fish shirts, fish for dinner (especially sam-sam-salmon!), fish food, fish friends, and, last but not least, actual fish. He even received his very own Betta fish later in the year, which was named Shiny (to the great amusement of my co-workers, as Shiny is one of my company’s main products).

At two, Samuel is both very much like and very much unlike his sister. They’re both very talkative and playful, but Samuel has got a bit more of that wild streak which often graces little boys, and he’s also a little more introverted: he is happy to stay in his room by himself for long periods of time “reading” books or being read to by the CD player, or focus on a puzzle intently until it’s finished. He insists on doing as much as possible himself, and when he completes a task on his own–for example, finishing a puzzle, or producing a puddle of urine–he beams with delight and yells “I did a whole one!” We are truly delighted to have this little guy in our family and are loving his personality as it unfolds.

February

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February is traditionally a slower month around here. Thankfully, Seattle’s football team, the Seahawks, did very well this year, which provided us with an opportunity to do some cheering! We watched parts of the games as a family as they moved their way up in the playoffs and finished things up with a raucous Super Bowl party in our basement. Sam loves to cheer for the Seahawks and Bea’s favorite player is Russell Wilson! It’s adorable to hear them yell “Go Seahawks Go!” at the television.

March

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Our little girl turned 4 this year! We celebrated her 4th “bird-day” (have we mentioned that she loves birds?) with family and friends, and, of course, birds (the purpler the better).

At four, Beatrice is a charming older sister, and takes great delight in playing with her brother and showing him the ways of the world (Now Sam, if you don’t eat your peas, you’re not going to get ANY dessert!).

As far as interests go, she’s into chapter books now, and since we take turns reading her bedtime stories, we have to catch each other up so we can enjoy the stories with her! She loves the movie Frozen (despite having only seen it twice) and she often assigns everyone roles from the film and runs through the house singing the music at the top of her lungs. Finally, her love for all things bird continues unabated, and she has announced that ornithologist is in fact her top career choice.

April

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You may recall that we moved into a new house last year. This year we started working on some of our projects for making it the perfect McPherson nest.

The largest of these projects is our garden beds. With some “help” from Samuel and Beatrice, I built 6 raised garden beds, each 6’x3′, in the front yard. They were done by Mother’s Day weekend, when we filled them with soil and planted our first seeds. Thanks to Kelly’s careful planning and prodigiously green thumbs, by the end of the summer we were harvesting tomatoes, squash, carrots, chard, beets, basil, a variety of herbs, and mysteriously spherical yellow cucumbers! The garden has become a great way to meet the neighbors, who see us out watering or tending the plants.

Also in April, we finally retired our faithful Subaru, Carl. It was tough to let go of the car that brought both of our babies home from the hospital and took us on so many adventures together, from the first hiking trip we (Kelly and Jonathan) made after meeting to road trips to California to spend time with relatives. Our new ride is a big blue minivan, for which we’ve been unable to come up with a catchy name (maybe you can help!).

May

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In May we piled into that shiny blue minivan and headed for California, to celebrate Kelly’s sister’s graduation from seminary! We stayed in Berkeley for a couple of days and enjoyed the warm California sun. Along the way we saw a lot of beautiful sights, ate at restaurants, and … squirted each other with spray bottles. A lot.

June

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Kelly made a Summer Fun List with the kids, which you may have read about in prior blog posts. One of the more challenging entries on the list was courtesy of Beatrice: Ride a horse–a real one!. We crossed that one off the list in June with a trip to Remlinger Farms, which is part country store, part amusement park, part pumpkin patch, and a huge hit with the kids.

July

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July was a big month! It started off with a business trip for me to Los Angeles, California, where I got to spend a couple of days with my grandfather, aunt, and uncle in addition to working at a conference. It’s a little easier to go on trips this year because the kids understand better how to talk to Daddy on the phone and Skype, but thankfully, as the company grows my need to go on business trips is commensurately shrinking.

July was home to an ambitious family camping trip, in which we stayed in our own tent at Ft. Ebey and then high-tailed it to Camp Ramblewood to stay in a three-sided cabin (which likely has a fancy name I’m not remembering) for a family reunion. The kids love being outside and while the amount of time we spent sleeping was very low even by camping-with-children standards, the trip was dense with some happy memories. Beatrice and Samuel flew kites together for the first time in the high winds by Ft. Ebey.

August

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In August we went to visit Lake Chelan with our friends the Potters, who were kind enough to snap this family photo of us. (One of our resolutions from last year was to get more family pictures, and it stuck!) We splashed in the water a lot and, faces sweaty, watched “Cars 2″ next to the air conditioning unit.

Swimming was a major theme for August. Our HOA came with a pool membership and the pool is very close to our house, so some days I’d bike home from work and head over to the pool instead of the house, where I’d find Kelly and the kids already soaking wet! We also enrolled the children in swim lessons, which have helped make them more comfortable in the water.

September

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The most exciting part of September was certainly our trip to the State Fair. We spent a lot of time just walking around while the kids enjoyed the sights! We also ate Krusty Pups and rode the People Mover, the sort of giant sky-boats on cables that go from one end of the fair to the other, which caused Samuel to declare I’m flying like Dusty Crophopper!

Beatrice also started preschool again in September, now at OCC (our local church). It’s bittersweet to see our little girl spending more time than ever away from home, but she’s made friends there (including one with whom she is nearly inseparable!), loves her teachers, and is learning a lot! Every week she brings home a Thursday Folder stuffed with arts and crafts for us to enjoy together.

Finally, we also got to see Grandma Barbara in September. We talk to her regularly on Skype and the kids are usually both so excited to talk to her that they climb on my lap, shoulders, and/or head to get a better view, so you can imagine their delight to see her again in person!

October

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We really got into the fall spirit in October! We took the kids to an old friend of Kelly’s family and made apple cider from windfall apples. The kids helped gather apples and later got to drink cups of fresh cider pulled right from the spigot of the apple press.

Late October was for pumpkin patches (pictured), and for Halloween. Prior to the aforementioned road trip to California, Kelly checked out the audiobook edition of Mr. Popper’s Penguins from the library, in hopes that it would ease some of the monotony on I-5. We didn’t expect the kids to “get” all of it (it’s well above their age level and was written in the 30s) but they did in fact enjoy it well enough to listen with rapt attention and request an encore performance on the way home! For Halloween, then, we were the Poppers: Kelly and I were Mr. and Mrs. Popper, and Beatrice and Samuel were our Performing Penguins.

November

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November brought our first snow! Some years it doesn’t snow at all in Seattle, so an honest-to-goodness, covers-the-grass snow is more treasured than most holidays. We didn’t have a big snow, but it was enough to play in: the neighbor kids brought their sled and they took turns pulling each other down the gentle slope in our front yard.

December

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December brought Christmas in full swing! We went shopping for a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and found the perfect tree not long after entering the lot. Beatrice named it Deluxe.

Pictured is our family at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens during the Garden d’Lights festival, in which volunteers decorate the garden with Christmas lights made to resemble a variety of whimsical shapes.

This is sort of a magical age for Christmas. Both the kids are old enough to be excited for Christmas Day, especially Beatrice, who came bounding into our room at 6:15am yelling It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!. Beatrice wanted nothing more than a DigiBird (a small plastic bird that responds to whistles by chirping songs) and when she received one she was over the moon! She also received her very own supply of Scotch tape, which she quickly exhausted by performing stunts like taping toy band instruments to her bedroom door.

We don’t know what adventures 2015 holds for us but our hearts are full of thankfulness at the many we’ve enjoyed in 2014. The end of the year finds us in times we know we’ll look back on and remember as “the good old days”. We couldn’t be happier with where God’s placed us right now and are very excited to see where He leads in the new year!

Happy Halloween!

November 1, 2014 by kelly

While driving to California this year, we listened to an audio recording of Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. The children really enjoyed the book. We really liked that they enjoyed it! This year for Halloween, they decided to be Mr. Popper’s Penguins, specifically Greta and Captain Cook. And they were able to rope their parents into being Mr. and Mrs. Popper! We trick-or-treated a little bit in our neighborhood and then raced home to give candy to our friends and neighbors as they arrived at our house.

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Mr. Popper and his penguins

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Ready for action!

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Happy campers!

 

First Day of School!

September 11, 2014 by kelly

Both children had their first day of school this week! They are really enjoying their respective classes and seem to be doing really well.

 

We took some photos at home before school:

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Fancy arms for school!

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Penguin matchers!

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New purple cardi!

Beatrice was eager to run right into her classroom when the teacher opened the door! It was a quick good-bye then back to the car!

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We just dropped our baby off at school! ALL BY HERSELF!

After we dropped off Bea, I took Samuel to his first day of toddler school! And he refused to have a single photo taken. But he was there and he had a great time!

When we picked her up, we had Beatrice take a couple pictures with her teachers. It was clear she had fun:

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Miss Catie

The night before, Beatrice told us she wanted to write a book. Right after lunch, she got started. It was a love book for Daddy and it was ADORABLE. She gave it to him after dinner. She is really starting to get the hang of writing and sounding out words to figure out how they are spelled. I’m so excited for her to learn a new way to love books and reading!

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Book for Daddy

Summer Fun: Week 7

July 29, 2014 by kelly

The gorgeous summer weather continues!

This was VBS week at our church. I was in with the kindergarten, which was a really wonderful experience! The volunteers were great and the children had a great time “Sailing the High C’s with Jesus”! Beatrice and Samuel were in the nursery portion of the program since they are not in elementary school. I was a little nervous about having them there for so long, but they did great! I think it helped that they had some excellent leaders AND they got to watch a Veggie Tales program each day!

 

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VBS Day One!

We were also able to do some pretty good harvesting from the garden. These two love to help. And eat the cherry tomatoes and green beans before I can get them inside the house!

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Happy Harvesters

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First Carrot=joy!

Daddy let the children sit in the backseat one day after he returned from work. They just sat there, enjoying the fancy backseat and listening to some music. What a treat!

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Listening to music in Daddy’s car after he returns from work

She hasn’t napped for ages, but I can generally get her to have some quiet time in her room. Today, she chose to use coasters and make food for me. A constant, wonderful, interruption!

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Coaster Sandwich

Summer Fun: Week 6

July 12, 2014 by kelly

Oh boy, this was a good week. Lots of fun outside and playing in the yard.

The kids made food out of play-doh and served it to me on the “dishes” that come with the can:

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Spaghetti and meatballs!

Beatrice told me one afternoon she just needed some time to relax and decided that soaking her feet while sipping a cool beverage was just the thing:

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Relaxing in the backyard

 

I caved and let them have popsicles before dinner one night (it was very hot!):

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Popsicles! BEFORE DINNER?!?!

We went to the splash park and played and played! We were also delighted to see our friends Leroy, Owen, Avery, and Wyatt (not pictured):

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Splash!

 

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Climb!

And we celebrated 7-11 day with free slurpees! It was interesting to try to explain a slurpee to the children. I promised them that they would like it. And THEY DID! Daddy was even able to meet us, which made it an even more special treat!

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Cheers!

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7-11 day!

Summertime Fun: Week 5

July 10, 2014 by kelly

This was a busy week! We went berry picking (strawberries and raspberries), made jam, visited Aunty Carrie and the chickens, saw a lighthouse, picked our first ripe tomato, the kiddos started sharing a bedroom, took a family hike, AND had a neighborhood pool party! Here’s how it went down:

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Before he tasted any of them, he put them in the bowl. Afterward, he just put them straight into his mouth!

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Hard working berry picker! She was a great help!

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We love having Aunty Brenda with us!

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All done!

We had originally planned to pick strawberries, but the fields were really muddy and the strawberries were at the end of their season, so we switched to raspberries. We were all glad! It’s easier to pick raspberries and easier to chase little helpers down the wider rows!

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The Bounty!

Brenda stayed after we picked berries and we made a batch of jam. It was delicious! And it is always better to work on something like this with a friend.

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Jam made!

The next day, we drove up to visit Aunty Carrie. We went to the park, threw rocks into the water, saw a lighthouse, feed the chickens, and ate the largest ice cream cones of our lives!

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A tiny lighthouse inside the lighthouse

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Feeding the chickens

We have checked out the same book from the library over and over. It’s called The Songs of Wildbirds by Lang Elliott. Beatrice loves this book. And she colored a picture of her favorite bird (robin redbreast) and sent a letter to Mr. Elliott.  She was very pleased to see that she is now tall enough to put a letter into the mailbox herself!

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Fan Mail!

Another item on the summer fun list was sharing a bedroom. We found a few things to make the purple room look more gender-neutral and moved in Sam’s crib. Here are Beatrice and Daddy relaxing after all their hard work getting everything just right.

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Sharing a room!

The next day we took a little family hike to some nearby falls. There were many flies, but we had a fun time. Lots of carrying of children by the parents! But it was really nice to get outside together and have an adventure.

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Family Hike

The week ended with a party in our neighborhood pool. It was a great time for the children to try out their skills from swimming lessons and play with Daddy in the “big pool” (we often go to the baby pool in the afternoons).

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Pool Party!

Summertime Fun: Week 4

July 8, 2014 by kelly

This week was very busy. The children had a babysitter four times in one week!  We did things like met with a financial planner and had dates and were privileged to attend the service to celebrate the life of a dear friend’s dad.

The children continued their swimming lessons:

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Bubbles!

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And we got to meet Carter and welcome back the whole family! What a great day! We can’t wait for more playdates!

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Buddies!

And the tomatoes started to ripen, much to our delight!

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Summertime Fun: Week 3

July 3, 2014 by kelly

Things got a little hectic around here. Apparently, the goal of writing one blog post a week is too much for me to handle. So I’ll just catch us up a bit.

The weather here has been unusually warm and sunny.  For my birthday, I received a fire pit AND fire wood! Yay! Here are some photos from our first family campfire:

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Family Fire Pit Self Portrait!

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Waiting Patiently for their Marshmallows

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Evening Hymn outside

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He liked the s’mores!

The next day, we went to a little amusement park/farm and had a great time! The children were the perfect age for most of the little rides. It was really fun to see them enjoying themselves together.

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Crazy Corn!

Another item on our summer fun list was “Ride a horse. A real one.” We were able to cross this off the list, much to Bea’s delight. Sam was not willing to even go near a horse, however. This was exactly the same response Beatrice had at this age!

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Bumbleberry!

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Happy girl!

Beatrice went on many rides that I never expected she’d be interested in trying. She had a great time!

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There were many activities for Samuel as well. Both children really enjoyed the canoe ride.
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Family ride in an antique car. Beatrice and Samuel BOTH driving! Yikes!WP_20140621_003 WP_20140621_005

Summertime, we’re having a blast! More adventures to come!

Summertime fun: Week 2

June 13, 2014 by kelly

This week, we continued our swimming lessons and our big outing was to visit tide pools! To prepare, we read a couple of books about tide pools and talked about the beach. Our local aquarium has naturalists on the beach that were great about directing us to the things we were hoping to see. They will be at area beaches most of the summer: http://www.seattleaquarium.org/beach-naturalist

We met up with a few other families from Bea’s preschool, and my dad and brother were able to join us. It was a really fun time!

Rainy and 55 degrees, perfect beach weather:

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It’s raining and we’re at the beach!

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Smiling!

We first spotted this anemone:

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Our first find: sea anemone!

Then we saw this one, still open:

 

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Tide Pool!

Next we saw this little crab, Sam was a fan!

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Baby crab!

And a little hermit crab!

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Hermit Crab

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Hermit Crab!

I wasn’t sure what this was, but the naturalist told us it was Dog Whelk eggs! So cool!

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Dog Whelk Eggs

First Sea Star: Purple!

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Purple Sea Star

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Sea Cucumber

The clams were spitting and spouting all over the beach. It was fun to watch the water squirt up!

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Horse Clam

Attempted posed photo near the sea stars:

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Purple Sea Star!

We found a cockle on the way back from the water. It was surprisingly heavy.

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Cockle!

It is almost as if they try to avoid having a posed photo together….

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Tide POOOOOOOLS!

And when I asked to have a photo with them, they said they wanted a photo with Papa instead.

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We love going on adventures with Papa!

It was a great morning at the beach! And both children took a nap this afternoon, which opened up the opportunity to write this little blog post. Have a great weekend!