Saturday, December 23, 2006

And Runty Stays!

Although there have been numerous farm deaths lately due to the cougar/bobcat/wild dog pack attacks there and throughout the White Swan valley, somehow the animals continue to multiply. And it appears that Jake's little rescue, "Runty", will be allowed to stay too, despite the fact that instead of the full bred boxer he is, he looks like a cross between a chihuahua (sp?) and a large rat. Good luck to "Runty".

Christmas Sledding 2006

Squeezed between a Christmas lunch and the frenzy of four children opening presents, our sledding adventures behind the bronco hit it big with us all. Thomas was first to hop on, choosing Andrea over me to be his partner. Jake opped out of sledding this time, content to ride in the open back window, cheering everyone on. The men hung onto the back bumper keeping close watch on the kids, and although I dressed up to go, it was a wasted effort, as I decided it wasn't worth the risk to the baby to join in this time out. With dad driving to each skill level, we had a blast laughing at the hoots and howls from behind, enjoying the fun we were all sharing. John took a direct bum hit, Drew fell off on some trickier patches, and Billy and Drew broke the rope after loading the sled full of snow on their trip. It was a very memorable snow day for us all!

Drew and John's Christmas Snowman 2006

Waking up to find 7 inches of new snow covering the ground, Drew and John wasted no time before bundling up and heading out to build this snowman together.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hugging Cousins enjoying the View

Okay, one-two-three HUG!

Playing and Shopping with Lauren before Christmas '06

We made a mad dash down to Seattle to try and finish up our shopping-as if we've really even started! After meeting up with Jodi and Lauren, we headed down to the U-Village to play and shop. While John ran into the stores, we played at the playground and with the various animals and fountains scattered around. It was freezing cold, though. Freezing! Our trip booty? One present for Robin and one present for Andrea! We're hurting, here!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Tree Cutting 2006!

We headed up to our favorite tree farm on Mt. Baker to cut our Christmas tree after much delay with the rain and wind. In recent years it was Carey and Jared and Carrie and Kevin that joined us on our outing. This time it was just the three of us out and we managed to avoid much more than a few drops of rain, adding to the fun of it all. Thomas had a chance to sit and visit with Santa out in the shop, but he was having none of it this year. He'll happily write a letter to Santa and add toys to his "Santa List" but ask him to get near a Santa and he's all about NO Way!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mommy's sick so we go sailing!

We were supposed to leave early this morning for Yakima in order for Andrea and I to head to Kennewick for the 2nd of my 3 Dierks concerts. But Baby had other ideas, and I shed a lot of tears in between runs to the can. Deeply disappointed by the possibility of having to let Andrea down for the concert, I headed to bed, praying against the odds that the violent vomiting would pass. While I was unconscious, John appeased Thomas, who was upset that he couldn't get to Jakey's house, with a trip down to the docks, and it wasn't until much later that I found out they went sailing while I slept. I was so happy that he didn't get to miss out on some fun because I was too sick to head out.

We did get to go, however, as whatever it was passed by afternoon. Whether it was Baby or some stomach bug, our car was still packed and we headed out, bucket secured tightly in the front seat just in case.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thomas skiing adventure

Today, John went into town and rented Thomas his first pair of skis and boots. While the snow fell, Thomas and John made repeated trips up the driveway, then down as Thomas took his first ski lesson, riding between daddy's legs and then on his own. He was brave enough at the end to go down without assistance, even though John followed closely behind to stop his quick descent.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Emergency Snow Declaration November 2006!!!

Today, when Thomas came in to wake me up, I asked him if the snow was still outside. He replied, "Ofcourse!" He clearly has not been around enough to realize the crazy weather that Whatcom County brings on at times. But yes, the piles of snow stuck around through the night, the mayor declared a Snow Emergency, and most business and places of work in town were closed due to the incredible storm. Listening to the radio to see what was happening outside, we found that John was also on a snow day, and we eagerly looked forward to the day.

We were also able to find out that traffic had stalled from Snohomish County all the way up to the Canadian border, with traffic sitting outside Lake Samish for up to 5 hours just to make it to Bellingham. That is normally at 15 minute drive? Maybe?!! Downed trees across the highway and a jackknifed semi truck were to blame. I'm so thankful John pulled a little 4 wheel drive and got us off when he did. We were stranded for about two hours in it, but it would have been so much worse.

We enjoyed the day of sledding at the school and over at Grandma Bernice's house.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Getting Home from Marathon-road marathon I-5

It took us 5 HOURS (normally 2) to get home from Seattle, and we only got home that "quickly" by creative 4 wheel driving on John's part. As I-5 turned in to a parking lot just out of Mt. Vernon (the reason we would only learn the next morning) we sat watching the snow pile up, people get in and out of their cars, munched on our cold Taco Bell from our lunch in Seattle, entertained ourselves with Thomas' movies, singing and books, and continued to pray that somehow the wall of cars would start to move. As darkness fell, we wondered when we would actually get home, as the highway traffic was not moving. Finally, John decided to chance a scary detour off the side of the highway and we carefully made our way by backroads. Grandma called Brad, who called us and let us know that her power was out, so we were very thankful to arrived back home to find the lights on. We were able to enjoy the 7 inches of snow that we had on the ground, introducing Thomas to the joys of that kind of snowfall!

Seattle Marathon 2006

Seattle Marathon 2006 Stadium Pictures

Okay, so the Seattle Marathon, right? Instead of Portland or Vegas. Minus Matt Pohlman, who was probably kissing his running feet with glee when he woke up in the morning. I'm sorry, but whoever continues to organize this event year after year, in November, needs to be shot! Going to bed chuckling about the potential for ugly weather the next morning broke to lots of head shaking and pitiful glances out the window as morning brought a driving wet blizzard, complete with gusting winds and heavy snow! We were just in so much shock that it was actually happening that we could only laugh and pray they didn't have to abandon the race with hypothermia! As hostess Erica, girls and Thomas loaded up the Pilot and headed for the stadium, the rain continued coming in sheets, furthering our disappointment and worry about the guys out on the road. Amazingly, as we parked downtown, the sky cleared, the wind died down and it was actually pleasant. However, as we huddled in the stadium, the clouds would periodically open up, drenching us with slushy rain. Thankfully, Matt called, bless his heart, and informed us that both John and Brad were doing well. It was the news we were hoping for as the kids played, joined by Mark, Robin and the kids, and Bruce and Lil who had joined us from the Arctic Whatcom County.

John's best time was the Portland Marathon at 3:26. Here, in the freezing rain and wind, he timed in at 3:44. Thomas didn't last to see his daddy finish the race, though, as his frozen hands were causing us to get very creative with hand warming techniques out on the field. I barely managed a glimpse and a yell as he rolled on by, as I alternated heating hands down my shirt and blowing like a heater.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Daddy's Fairhaven 15K Race in September 06

Daddy ran another race in preparation for the Vegas marathon that turned into preparation for the Seattle marathon. While waiting for him to show up at the finish, Thomas crossed his legs Whipple-style and enjoyed his Kids Cocoa from Starbucks.

Last days on the beach 2006

Viking Outing

On one of the last days of summer, we took a drive up to Western with our lunch of Quiznos and had a picnic. Of course, Thomas spied the new fountain up by the new rec center, and off we went. While my back was turned, Thomas decided to fully experience the new fountain, and happily splashed through the new structure, complete with waving sword. I'm sure Western officials wouldn't be pleased with the romp, but Thomas thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thomas Sayings for November 2006

"Mommy, I put minty in my nose. Really burns." After putting Starbucks mint in his nose while riding with Daddy. Apparently he cried once it started to dissolve and he was quite surprised.

"Mommy, me sure lucky boy" after taking him to Taco Bell.

"I make big mess." Following a potty break in the corner of his room.

"Mommy, is toy store lost?" After an unsuccessful trip driving around Mt Vernon looking for the Toys R Us that doesn't exist.

"Of course, Mommy." When asked to help put in dirty laundry.

"Move it." When trying to get me off the stool.

"Mommy, come cuddle with me."

"Me no like it." For anything he doesn't like or thinks he doesn't like, including his favorite things if he's trying to avoid it in any way.

"Twinkle, Twinkle litte star, how I wonder what you ate for breakfast!" sung at the top of his lungs, including his booth at Red Robin.

"Whoa, look at those. Those so cool."

"Me no like my underwear, me no want them!" while crying and throwing a fit at the tiniest suggestion.

"Daddy, come wrestle me. Come do some wrestle-ling!"

"Come chase me!"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thomas Days!

Thomas is having a blast with his fall and doesn't seem to miss the beach and the sunny weather at all, which is a blessing to me. Although we are tied up inside a lot more than I'd like, he has taken to other activities with just as much gusto as he did with dock jumping. We're constantly hearing, "Daddy, come wrestle with me, do some wrestle-li-ling with me!" at the top of his lungs. "Come see me, come see me in mommy's room!" "Chase me, chase me, chaaaaaase me!" he'll call, unrelenting until you turn and give him your best I'm coming to get you look, and then he's off at a dead run, screaming through the house at top speed. He wants you to set up a play tent over and over, just so he can break it down, plays with any cream he can get his hands on and smears it in as many hidden places as he can think of, enjoys looking at and playing with the Christmas houses we've already pulled out, enjoys watching "Manny Manny" Handy Manny, Big Machines and Dora when I just need a break, and is now getting into Geo Trax, but refuses to let us play with them. We're just there as an audience for him. He cannot stand to be alone, from the time he wakes up until he finally gives it up at night. Most mornings I now find him in is crib hiding under his pillow, waiting for us to "wake up" and come get him. He'll then play for a few minutes with his trains, until I have to move out of his room to get breakfast or whatever. The chase is then on, as he'll follow us wherever we go, creating big master disasters wherever we may be. He's still refusing to wear the underwear we bought him, despite the numerous treats and bribes we've thrown his way, but when naked he'll go to the big potty without fail. He's very sweet and generous with his smooches and cuddles, and we enjoy a lot of cuddle sessions throughout the day.

Thomas has a great sense of direction and can find his way around town quite nicely, considering he is still a backseat driver. When going places he'll point out places of interest, talk about where we are going, despite me having not disclosed our plan, and let me know where he wants to go as we near it. Yesterday we were leaving our Chinese take out place, when he says from the back, "Mommy, that Taco Bell." (How he spied the joint as I flew through the intersection baffles me.) As I continued on through the intersection towards home, he said, "Mommy, me want Taco Bell. Me want taco with cheese." I told him I could make him a taco at home, and he told me, "Me want Taco Bell, Mommy. Turn around." So, like any good indulging mother, I quickly made a u-turn and returned to Taco Bell, wishing to the heavens that my cravings during this pregnancy weren't creating a monster of my son. Last week we made two trips to the mall, and each time instead of asking for McDonalds he begged to have lunch with me at Red Robin. We enjoyed a "leisurely" lunch together, coloring, dumping the salt and pepper, rolling trucks on the table, trying to climb the divider between tables, playing with the fake plants, rolling under the table, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" at the top of his lungs, and the general chaos of "lunching" with a toddler. He must have loved it, because he continues to ask for Red Robin's chicken and fries each time we head down the Guide. Like I told me mother, I'm creating a monster with my cravings.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Scott Culberson's Surprise Party/Twins

Although I didn't know if I could make another trip down to Seattle in two days, we pressed on, hoping to help Scott celebrate his birthday with a surprise. It truly was a surprise when Erica, Brad and the two girls, as well as Thomas, John and I walked through the doors, only to find out that Scott had been complaining of having to wait at home for people coming over that he didn't even know. He wasn't thrilled about it, but that made the surprise even better. We had a great time meeting Helen and Julia, their three month old twins, and hanging out for dinner that Michelle put together. Amazing, as a dinner party with one baby would seem like a monumental task, let alone with twins. We stayed a lot longer than I thought we would, as I was feeling pretty good and the kids kept themselves busy, which made it more relaxing and enjoyable. I was truly happy that Michelle invited us down and very thankful we could enjoy the company of our friends.

Finding out the Pilot will not fit into Bellevue Square's Parking lots and garages.
Meeting the Twins, Helen and Julia
Surprising Scott who wanted to go climbing
Michelle's enchiladas
Good times with everyone

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lauren's 3rd Birthday Princess/Chocolate Party

After realizing that this was a dress up party, and Thomas was one of one several boys invited to this party, we scurried off to Target the night before to try to find Thomas an appropriate party costume to compete with little girls we knew would be dressed in their finest princess gowns. Arriving in their Seattle neighborhood, we tried again and again to entice Thomas into wearing his gladiator outfit in which to impress the Ladies of the Court, but he was having none of it, and was quite vocal about expressing his displeasure at the idea of changing into such a hideous contraption. Even after seeing all the finery inside, he continued to throw a royal fit when approached with his gladiator outfit and sword. The princess party was a lot of fun, the costumes looked so sweet and we all had a great time. It's amazing to watch these two little babies grow up into such beautiful little kids. Where has three years gone?

Friday, October 13, 2006

10 Weeks! Only 30 more to go!!!

Yes, that is right! We're pregnant! I know that I haven't kept up the blog, but the last 6 weeks have held the biggest trials of my life and have pushed me to my absolute limits, so blogging has been swept aside for survival. If there is anything to ask for at this point it is lots of prayer as we continue on this journey. I pray that I can continue to focus on one day at a time, and pray that I can continue to work, as both Thomas and I are medically insured through my job. With Thomas I had normal woes of pregnancy, but with this one I have struggled with extreme nausea, day and night vomiting and intense flu-like symptoms that are pretty consistent day in and day out. John has been the rock that has held this place together, and I will forever be grateful for his unbelievable strength, support and love through this intense time in our lives. And if you're wondering, yes I already told Andrea that she will be the surrogate for our next child, since she seems to like to have babies!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Throwing Rocks at Zuanich Park

Today we traveled down to the waterfront and marina to check out Bruce's new sailboat and to play at Zuanich Park. Thomas was all about throwing rocks into the ocean, until he took a fall into the big holes between the rocks. It's amazing how hard my son's head is these days. I can't imagine the brain cells this kid has lost with the blows to the head he's taken lately. Flying onto the rocks, flying off the couch, flying off the bed....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Joys of Thomas!

Thomas is discovering his emotions and figuring out how to use them. It only took 2 and a half years to hear it, but the other day he pulled my face close to his and said, "I love you, Mommy, love you much." Of course, today he said, "My new shirt, Mommy. Mommy bought it. I love my new shirt," and proceeded to kiss his new train shirt. John has not missed out, either. While out walking in the neighborhood Thomas kept kissing and hugging John, saying, "I love you, Daddy, " and continuing to smooch on him. Another emotion he's figuring out how to use is "I'm scared" when he wants to try to get out of something. He'll run away and say, "I'm scared," and hope somehow you'll forget about whatever it is you're trying to tell him or get him to do. He couldn't get out of the furnace room the other morning and I heard this frantic voice calling for me over and over. When I opened the door he barreled out and launched into my arms, crying, "Me scared, Mommy! Me scared," sobbing and clinging to me. He's quick to tell us how happy he is, which is often and quite sweet. Two weeks ago Grandma Lil told him it was time to take his nap. To which he replied, "That not good idea, Grandma." Did he take a nap that day? Nope! It wasn't a good idea.

He is such a complete joy to be with. A complete joy!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

September is Upon us!

It is amazing to find that summer is truly on it's way out. I have to say, I have been pleasantly surprised at the weather we have had, and feel that I met my goal of spending a lot of time tanning and laying out. It is pretty hard thinking about the upcoming winter months, considering how much Thomas spends outside. There is no way I will get away with spending time indoors with his energy level going full throttle unless his eyes are closed. I'm gearing up for my flannel-lines pants and snow suit to get me through the "freezing" temps (Bruce and Lil can laugh now!) And let me tell you, my hands and feet are cold and my nose runs even when indoors on some winter days, so you can imagine my pain while trying to pretend to have a good time outdoors.

Gym Class- Gym class at Gym Star Sports started up on Wednesday and the teacher remarked at how much Thomas has matured since spring. It was a lot of fun to watch Thomas actually sit during circle time and pretty cute to see him actually sit and try to do the stretches she is trying to teach them. In the spring, Thomas was the little boy throwing a fit and crying as I tried to wrestle him into a sitting position. Circle and singing time was a total hassle for him and he had no patience for any of it. This time he made it through the song and the stretching without complaint, and actually seemed into it. I chased him around for the remaining time, and when we were waiting to get out goodbye sticker, he said to me, "Mommy, I tired out. Need a break. Mommy, I want water." No complaints from him as I packed him up to head for home. We headed into town for our juice and banana bread at Starbucks, then spent the rest of our morning playing on the beach. I love these days because naps after gym are so long. Have I mentioned how much I love naptime?!!!

Words he says- "Oooohhhh, super, super cuddly. Definitely not rough, Daddy!" when talking about his jammies. "Put my diaper on, put my diaper on!" when needing to go to the potty. He wants very little to do with the toilet at this time, and we're not pushing it. "Gas out of my bum-bum" when he passes gas. "Me no like it, Mommy." "Me want my working shoes on."

Enjoys playing "Nest" and pretends he's a bird and wants us to play our proper roles in our own nests. Sometimes he wants to share his nest with us. Pretends to be a baby, pretends being monster trucks, lifters, cement mixers, and various other types of equipment. Enjoys cuddling his stuffed animals and wants to pretend with them. He wants to be Diego and assigns someone to be Dora. Pretends to be a crane lifting different things.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Vankemsekes come to town! August 24th-27th

Andrea, Billy and the kids rolled into town today, much to our excitement. It started off a bit rocky, though, as just an hour before they arrived John mentioned he was sick to his stomach. This had us scratching our heads as to what to do about exposing the entire family to what could possibly be the stomach flu. Before really deciding what to do, they were here, and as I began to explain, Andrea told me that on the way over she noticed Jake's nose running....So, what can you say other than BRING IT ON!!!

The kids had a lot of fun, and Thomas seemed to explore his newfound ability to bully someone smaller than him...Grace. He tried to be toddler sneaky about it, but you couldn't miss the little push here, the stomp here, and the pinch there. Jake didn't scare Thomas as much this time. I think Thomas is getting used to the roaring Lion. By day two, though, both boys were tiring of each other, and let the games begin! Of course, Drew was his usual sweet self, and Thomas couldn't get along with him better. Once John began to feel better, he was able to take Drew, Billy and Thomas tubbing, which I was very glad for, and Drew even got to go sailing. I really wanted Drew to have a great weekend before he had to head back to school. I'd like all the boys (and Grace) to be able to enjoy all the fun times they can together out on the lake. On Friday when I was at work they all headed down to Marine Park to play and then we mostly stayed around and played by the water. It was a lot of fun, all one happy family in the downstairs, and I think it was a big success.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Friday Night Adventures/Whistler Vacation

Well, Thomas held true to form-always get sick at Whistler! Except that this time he prepared for Whistler by getting hideously sick the night before we were to leave. But for his 1st trip to Whistler/Nature's Door at six weeks old, Thomas has gotten sick every time we've been there, so it should have not been such a surprise to us that he woke up Friday morning complaining of a tummy ache. By mid morning John reported the biggest blowout he's ever seen, and by 2 in the morning, I was bracing Thomas by his hips and arms as he learned the fine art of throwing up over and into a bucket or onto a white towel for aim practice. You see, up until this point Thomas has simply launched onto me. At least we have made some progress with him, but what a way to go, huh! By 5 am, Thomas' guts had given up and I hauled myself off the floor in his room and crashed into bed. We all slept until 9, trying to determine if the trip was still possible. What a decision! After lining the backseat with vomit-catching towels and keeping a bucket handy, we took off, hoping that the worst had passed. And the Lord did answer prayer. We had a fabulous trip and lots of sleep!

We stayed at the Pemberton Valley Lodge, which was in a beautiful canyon 20 min East of Whistler, and we enjoyed numerous trips into the Village for play and food, as well as drives through the town of Pemberton. I think the best part was the time to just hang out, listen to music and watch Dora, enjoy quiet drives back and forth, relax and play in the pool with no agenda. Thomas was a great traveler, although each night he asked to go home, saying, "Mommy, want my crib, want my home now!" I had to remind him each time that we had adventures waiting for us, and that all was well with our hotel room. He had a great time entertaining the folks in the pool area, and one particular gentleman seemed to get a kick out of him, calling him the "Blonde Bomber" on several occasions as Thomas launched himself time and again into the pool. While out for day two of McDonald's breakfast from the OK Corral-like themed building, John reported back that Thomas took a running jump into the pool-without his lifejacket. Thankfully John was not far behind to scoop him up, and remind him that he still can't float