Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Amazing Hubbie

I am posting below a video of Matt improvising some blues and a little bit of jazz at a talent show when we lived in Florida. I don't know that everyone knows about this recently developed talent of Matt's. He's amazing and just decided to write me a little blues birthday ditty on the piano 5 years ago this month. That was cute and endearing, but also opened up a door for him of creative exploring into the world of piano, specifically jazz and blues. He played in a Jazz band in high school, but trumpet. So, the music skills were there, but only a little bit in piano from lessons as a child. After his little birthday number, piano really struck a chord (sorry, had to make that pun!) and he was off and running. He has done tons of research and practicing and has gone leaps and bounds from a small piano ability to what you see below.

Everything he plays is written and created by himself (how many of the current popular/mainstream musicians can say that!) and I just love hearing him play and create. I am certainly his biggest fan! He has come a long way over the years. Unfortunately since he’s developed symptoms of carpal tunnel his piano playing has died off a bit. But he has taken up songwriting -- refer to to check out his songs (he really values feedback).

What can I say, one of several ways in which my husband is amazing!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The beach and the Redwoods

Even though we knew rain was in the forecast, before it got to be just completely cold and rainy, we decided to make a long awaited trip to the beach and the redwoods. Some friends (thanks Kristi!) told us about a great little day trip that takes you through the Redwoods and then over to the beach (not technically an Oregon beach, but northern CA - by Crescent City). So, we loaded up the van and headed down. We had to laugh when Nathan started whining after being in the car for a bit and said, "Why do we have to go so far to just to look at TREES?!" The redwoods are hard to picture until you see them!
(*Note, all of the following adventures were made by having people jump start us every time we stopped somewhere, as we were having battery connector cable problems (obviously we didn't know that until we had the van fixed yesterday...). We could have gotten just one jump and driven the 1 1/2 - 2hours back home (as the problem evidenced itself infront of Paul Bunyan, but we had just gotten there and were determined to have a good family day. So, crazy as it was, we did most of the things we came to do and just prayed for nice people to get us from one place to another. We got them, thank goodness (the three slightly wet children probably didn't hurt our sympathy vote!))

Our first stop was by the famous Paul Bunyan statue, right on the freeway by the Redwoods. There's really not much to see here, unless you want to pay $14 per person to got through their section of the Redwoods (versus the free version just up the street), but I remember seeing these when I was little, so we went and got our picture by them too. Nathan and Carter were impressed with these large statues of two characters they didn't know at all. At least they were really big!

I could have done without the tacky Christmas decorations in front, but oh well. I do love Nathan's "cool guy" pose though!

Then we stopped by the beach. We knew that OR beaches are obviously very different from Florida beaches - rocky and not so much for beaching as exploring. So, we left the sand toys at home and instead brought jackets in preparation for the rain. It started raining a bit just as we got there, but we explored as much as we could before it scared us into the van.

Rainy or not, Oregon rocky beaches are beautiful!

Our cute boys, probably just happy to be out of the car!

True to form, our boys just wanted to play with the sticks (the waves scared them, so they stayed pretty far away from the water). Nathan used to go to one park in Cape Coral, FL just to find "long sticks". So, you can imagine how happy he was to find one even longer than him and drug it around the whole time. Carter was more into the hording and carried as many as he had hands for!

Of course, you don't have to wonder where they get their love for sticks and all the things they are good for from...
Little Lukie, such a trooper, as always! No complaints from him, though, in an effort to appear to be a good mother, I removed my hood from my jacket and fashioned it into one for him. What a cute little beach eskimo!

Carter, just like at the pumpkin patch with the hay, just wanted to throw the sand. Luckily, we got his hands busy with carrying sticks (which he was too attached to to throw)!

By the time we hit the stretch of Redwoods we wanted to explore, it was more seriously raining (still not the FL downpour we are used to, but enough to not go romping through without an umbrella, even with a redwood covering). We just got out enought to take some decent pictures (as pictures validate any trip) and show Nathan that these weren't just "trees" (he was very impressed and said, "Oh, wow - these are BIG trees!) and really were worth the trip. We earned extra brownie parent points for taking him to the place Star Wars was filmed, as he is in a big Star Wars kick right now. We kept our eyes peeled, but no Ewok sightings this time!

A beautiful view of the magesty of these ancient trees

Matt and Nathan standing in front of the biggest tree they could find in a 5 minute walk. Though not the biggest out there, still a great shot of how amazingly huge these trees are!

We loved the trip, and can't wait to go back without the rain, car problems, and hopefully with one of you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Name that Baby!

All this sentimentality about baby Luke has made me take a stroll down memory lane, taking a look at baby pictures. Some people see no resemblence between our boys. Some think our two oldest are twins (okay, only mostly elderly women in Cape Coral thought that one...). I think our boys definitely look alike, but that yearing from alikeness might come from the fact that I come from a family of "mutts" (not in a lesser-breed type way, but in a look-nothing-alike type way). My sister has strawberry blonde hair, my brother red curly, my other brother almost black wavy hair, and then me with stick straight mousy-brown, though all of us with gray-blue eyes. So, having come from a family where someone thinks my brother is my boyfriend before they would guess brother, I would LOVE to have some family resemblence between my kids!

What do YOU think? My friend Kristi did a cute little "guess the baby picture" on her blog, so I am going to steal that great idea. Do they look alike? Can you tell who is who? Do you know your Michaelis boys? Answers posted at the bottom of the page- just drag your scroll bar to the bottom of this page to my first post - so you won't cheat! (PS - Pictures are in black and white because Carter came out with bright strawberry blonde hair and his pictures would be too easy to guess!)

Sweet Lukie

So with my first baby, everything was so new that I couldn't appreciate much of anything - I was too busy figuring the whole baby thing out! With the second baby, I was trying to figure out how to keep child A happy when child B had needs, so still didn't cherish the baby scene as much as I could have. However, child number three rolls out and he is just amazingly laid back and just one happy kid. We have loved every minute of him. Don't get me wrong, things are still chaotic around here at times (okay, okay maybe more often than not), but somehow with number three I just feel like I can finally appreciate. I am no longer worried and hurriedly checking the baby books to see if he is crawling soon enough or what milestones he should be reaching. I can't say I have the "hang" of motherhood by any means, but have been around the baby block enough times that I can just enjoy this one. And, boy is there a lot to enjoy.

Luke just learned to pull himself up and he is just so tickled by himself that everytime he does, he just starts making serious happy noises and sporting the biggest smile. Not just the first time he did, every single time since. If only I could be as proud of myself for the small accomplishments in life. So here's to you my cute little Lukie - may I smile and light up around those I love as much as you do and learn to rejoice in everyday victories.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A "Super" Halloween

I love the holiday season. Come October 1, I am pulling out the boxes of Halloween decorations and we just decorate and do various festive activities for the next two months (we take a short break between New Years and Valentines day and then we enter the "birthday months" (Luke, then Matt, then Carter, then Nathan with Easter sandwiched between)). My mom instilled in me a love for the holidays and the great way they break up the day to day life.

This year for costumes let my kids pick their costumes and apparently (as you will see in later pics) the hot costumes for little boys are superheros. My budget directed Nathan towards superman (okay, so I found the costume in the thrift store for $3 and we were both pumped - the only costume I didn't have to make!), Carter already had the batman mask, and Luke already had the incredibles shirt. So, several late sewing nights later, I had three adorable superheros on my hands. They had a blast going to a great kids Halloween party on Thursday, Trick or Treating at dad's work on Friday, as well as Trunk or Treating at the church, and then hitting a few houses Trick or Treating, as Nathan informed us the Trunk or Treating wasn't the "real" trick or treating. I definitely thinned out their candy (some I bought, some I just threw away when they went to bed), but all in all we had a great Halloween.

The development of a Superhero:

Step 1: Get some muscles (ours were so conveniently built into the costume, no crunches
or ab shock belts for us!)

Step 2: Show off your muscles to everyone. Especially bad guys so they will know to stay

I love how there is also apparently a "muscle-showing-tough-guy" face, which Nathan so perfectly displays!

Carter didn't quite get the whole showing off your muscles scene.

But, he soon perfected his own tough guy fighting stance:

Step 3: Develop an alliance with other superheros to ensure you will be able to pow the snot out of any bad guys in the vacinity! (This is Nathan and some friends at the kids Halloween party - there were about 10 little boys there and almost all of them were superheros!)

Nathan also had his first experience with bobbing for apples at the party. It was a race between two kids and Nathan lost in a matter of seconds, but was determined to do it. This is him bobbing away:
Then, realizing how hard it was, this is him resorting to cheating (using his hand) to get an apple:

Then, finally, in his cute little determined way, he wanted to try again without cheating and made all his little friends wait for what seemed like forever for him to finally get an apple:

And finally (yes, believe it or not this is 1/10 of the pictures we actually took of this holiday), here are the cute pics from before heading off to trick or treating. Oh, and if you are wondering, Luke is Jack-Jack, the baby from the Incredibles.