Thursday, September 21, 2006

Inaugural Fire

We picked up a fire bowl at a garage sale earlier this summer, but we hadn't used it yet. Now, with the nights getting cooler, it's seeming more appealing. The night before Jeremy left for his upriver tug trip, he and Tay chopped wood and set up a fire. Then we all sat around and Jeremy roasted marshmallows for the boys. It was a lot of fun. When he gets back in town next week, we're gonna do actual s'mores. Can't imagine how messy that's gonna be, but it'll be fun and delicious, so who cares? :-)

P.S. Sorry Taylor's crooked. I've tried a couple different things to make him stand up straight, but he's being stubborn. :-)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Aric's 2nd Birthday

After much clamoring from certain grandmothers, I've finally gotten around to updating the blog (and thankfully, today, the picture function is working right!). Aric's bday was a blast. Here are the details. We had 3 families over and we opened gifts first because all the kids were nicely gathered in the living room. That decision lacked foresight, because we gave Aric a 6-piece musical instrument set (primarily percussion). So for the rest of the party, we grownups really couldn't chat as easily as I would have liked, but the kids sure had fun. We did the cake next, which was fun. Some of the kids (Aric included) didn't really know what to do with the coconut-covered ball placed in front of them. It certainly didn't look like the cupcake we parents kept telling them it was. There was a lot of stalling (read "gummy-worm eating"), but we finally got Aric to take a bite. After filling up with energy from lots of cake and candy, we tried to sit all the kids down to make a caterpillar craft to take home. It was fun, but a little scattered. However, I think all in all, the kids had a great time and Aric loved his "bug birthday." Now, we just need to convince him that he really is TWO. :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Our Trip to Canada

We had a great time in Canada last week with Jeremy's mom, Janet, and sister, Maria. It was fun to see all the family up there and enjoy "Beautiful British Columbia." It truly is a beautiful place...if you ever get the chance, visit the Fraser River and enjoy the numerous breathtaking landscapes she offers.

On the way up, the 12-hour drive was almost fun! Each boy was in his own row with his own personal play partner, so there weren't many opportunities to fight. On the way back, though, we got stuck in Seattle traffic for over 3 hours, so the trip was longer, and the exciting "newness" had worn off, so the boys weren't as happy to be confined all day. They still did very well, though, considering how long we were in the car.

While in Canada, the boys bottle-fed calves, fed horses, explored old buildings and cars, made new friends (especially cousin Kolby, whom Taylor kept calling "Kolbsy" :-), and built sweet relationships with their Great-Grandparents. It was a pretty special time.

When we arrived home, we had one day to rest and recuperate, then Jeremy was off to work again on a 6-day tug trip. He made it home this morning, so we'll finally get to have a few "normal" family days for the first time in nearly a month. We're all looking forward to just being at home and spending quality time together...except for maybe Taylor. He's always asking if we can go somewhere or buy something for a special treat - he's really into "special treats" right now. He is quite the negotiator when we ask him to do something or when he's done something well. "Can I have a special treat?" is a common refrain around our house, followed by the requisite discussions about family responsibility and the reward of a job well done (and, quite often, a special treat! :-).

I think I've succeeded in writing a whole post without saying "busy." As I was looking back over my previous posts, I discovered that I start or end (or both) almost every post by stating how busy we are. Well, folks, we're just plain busy and we're gonna be busy for at least the next 20 years or so, so I'll make a concerted effort to stop saying it over and over and boring my audience. If I don't say things are slow, just assume we are busy. :-) (Notice how, even as I decry the "we're busy" refrain, I've still craftily managed to end the post with it!)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Tractor Work and Canada

Well, we've been busy as usual. We've been driving around dreaming about being "real" property owners and looking at small acreages in Washington. I don't think anything will come of that dream for a few more years, but it's fun to look every once in a while.

The "guys" have also been doing a bit of tractor work. Jeremy's had the tractor up and running (except the 4-wheel drive part) for a while, and the boys got a chance to help Dad out the other day. Taylor was grinning from ear to ear the whole time he was riding (except when he was concentrating hard as Dad taught him how to move the loader). Aric, on the other hand, was full of trepidation and had a hard time not crying through his very short tractor ride. It was pretty cute. Aric is at a stage where fear is becoming more and more a part of life. We've been looking forward to this day, thinking it would mean he'd be more cautious with his body and less prone to injure himself. Unfortunately, he's not afraid of the hazardous things he does to himself; he's just afraid of big scary things like tractors and life-sized mascot-people (the Red Robin restaurant bird is terrifying) . Oh, well. Maybe that whole self-preservation thing will kick in one of these days. :-) But back to the tractor, unfortunately, it doesn't have nearly the power Jeremy thought it would when dealing with our rock-hard clay soil. He's gonna get the 4-wheel drive going, and hopefully that will make a big difference, but he's not holding out much hope of it being "tractor enough" to do the landscaping jobs we had intended. It'll probably end up on our list of things to sell, and we'll have to figure out some other way to make our landscaping dreams a reality. Whichever way that goes, the boys sure are having fun with it in the mean time.

In other news, Taylor is attending Rainbows on Wednesday nights and loving it. It is a church program that is kind of taking the place of preschool for us this year. He's getting his socialization there and at church on Sundays, and he's doing his learning at home. I think next year we'll all be a little more ready for him to go to preschool. Speaking of his learning, he is learning to read and can read a number of words all by himself (i.e., me, sam I am, ram, rat, mat, sat, etc.). It's lots of fun and he is enjoying his accomplishments. It's a little tricky to teach him because he's such an independent "know-it-all" boy (which is a compliment in my book). I'll have him do an exercise with sounding out, and he'll immediately give me an exercise of my own - "OK, Mom, now you say uh-uh-uh-uh-ee-ee-ee." He likes to put glottal stops in between random sounds and act like he's making words or reading. It's pretty cute. We're very proud of his number and letter recognition, and of the fact that he's learning to read because HE WANTS TO. I think it's best to start them young while they think it's a fun game and don't realize that some people think learning is work. :-)

Another point of interest: We are headed to Canada! Jeremy's mom and sister are coming to our house from MT tonight, and early tomorrow morning, we're gonna set out for Dog Creek, BC to see Jeremy's maternal grandparents and assorted other relatives. It's gonna be a lot of fun, and it will be the first time Jeremy's grandfather gets to meet Aric (and really, the first time he gets to KNOW Taylor - the last time they saw each other was when Tay was a baby). Jeremy hasn't been up to their ranch since he was a young boy, so it should be a neat experience for him, too. Because of the trip, I've got to go do things like clean and pack, so I guess I'll sign off now. Enjoy your labor-free weekend, everyone! :-)