Thursday, April 16, 2009

Carter is 3!

(Above) Nathan and Carter the day Carter was born - Nathan not to sure about this deal. (Below) Nathan and Carter after the party, they are truly the best buds and love having adventures together.

First of all, following up on my last post, I want to thank those of you who said hello via a comment who usually don't - especially my wonderful mother. I even took her advice and changed my blog background back to a lighter color so reading my blog won't cause her to have to up her reading glasses perscription = ).

On April 10th Carter turned 3! We built it up for days, and being the middle child, I wanted him to have an extra special day that was all about him. Even Nathan caught on and insisted we called him "birthday boy" all day long and bowed to most of the birthday boy privileges (going first at things mostly).

My parents did a fantastic job growing up making birthdays magical. We woke up and came downstairs and the house was decorated with streamers and balloons, a birthday tablecloth or centerpiece and a present waiting for you at your spot at the table. You knew right away people remembered your birthday and it was a special day to them. So, I have always tried to follow suit. I stayed up late to ensure he had that magic to wake up to and get everything ready for the birthday party.

It was worth it. He loved the decorations and got his first present (the one and only toy from mom and dad - a toy microphone as he and Nathan love to sing). Then we headed quickly to the store to grab one or two last things for the party, in addition to birthday chocolate milk and donuts (two rarities in our house except for special occasions!) and got ready for the party guests to arrive.

Carter chose a spiderman themed birthday party. He luckily has a small group of friends his age, so we invited all 6 of them and were excited they could all make it. We did a spiderman placemat craft while we waited for everyone to arrive. Then we did a spiderman "cake" walk - where you walk around on numbers and when the music stops you stop and whoever is standing on the number that is chosen wins a cake. Except, they walked around on spiderman bad guy pictures (since no one knows their numbers really yet) to the original spiderman theme song and got a piece of candy if they won.

Or that was how it was supposed to work. Quickly each little guy found their "favorite" bad guy and didn't want to walk around, just stand on it. Except for Nathan and a few other rule abiders who tried to keep walking. But then they got annoyed by the ones who weren't walking and some shoving ensued. We quickly went through several rounds, distracting them by doing the game and quickly getting to the candy prizes.

Next we pinned spiderwebs on the spiderman poster, which went surprisingly well and each kid took about two turns, even allowing themselves to be blindfolded.

By then it was time for lunch. The kids played with toys as I got out Carter's chosen birthday lunch - popcorn chicken, doritos, strawberries, spiderman fruit snacks, and juice boxes. Most kids had a well balanced diet of chips, fruit snacks, and a little juice.

After lunch the troops were restless and I needed to clean up before we could open presents. This whole time all the kids were begging to watch a movie. I don't know if that is a regular birthday party activity these days, but I hadn't planned it in. So, we hopped onto Utube and grabbed a classic spiderman cartoon (short - 10 min- and no violence) which tided everyone over until it was time for cupcakes and presents.

Carter loved all is presents and opened them with a great cupcake mustache. I had to laugh as it took us almost 5 minutes to sing and blow out the candles because all the little boys wouldn't stop blowing out the candles and not letting Carter do it (which of course made the birthday boy upset). He finally got to blow out 1 of the 3 candles and we called it good and distracted with presents.

That night we met up with Matt for dinner at McDonalds as one of our last birthday treats and then went swimming at the YMCA, one of our favorite family activities. Nathan got into the car afterwards and said, "I hope my birthday is as special as Carters!" I hope Carter felt the same way. We love you Carter! You are such a little firecracker for our family!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This one's for you, mom.

You wonderful people take time out of your busy schedules to read our blog - we love you and are glad you try to keep up on our little lives. Most of you can ignore this post. Those of you who take even more time out of your day to occasionally leave a note (aka a "comment") after you read our blog - thanks for letting us know you are out there on the other side of cyberspace! However, some people, my dear mother for example, read this blog regularly but never comment to let us know you were here. She said she didn't know how. So, this one's for you mom.

To make a comment on anyone's blog, you just click on the lovely little underlined "comment" link (**that's right the word COMMENT - next to the little pencil**) - see the big giant red arrow pointing to it below. That will then take you to a screen that shows the comments already made on the left hand side of the screen. Then there is a BIG white empty text box at the top of the right hand side of the screen for you to write away your little thoughts. Then you just identify yourself somehow (no you don't have to be a blogger to make comments on our blog) and then click the "publish your comment" button. Voila! You have now left your little footprint on our blog for us to know you were here.

So, all you little silent "blogstalkers" out there - give us a friendly hello when you read our blog. To those of you who already do - love you and appreciate you!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The blog you have all been waiting for - our new house!

After 6 1/2 years of marriage, 6 different rentals, and three different states, we are excited to announce that our life got a little more permenance in March when we bought our very first home! Wahoo! Everyone kept asking us if we were excited, and we were, though I think mostly we were just in a state of shock that we finally own a home. But, we love it here and want to stay in Oregon, specifically Central Point, for as long as Matt's job will allow.

We ended up chosing based on community. I wish we could put up a little virtual tour of our community, called Twin Creeks. It is wonderful - family oriented, safe, wide sidewalks and roads, well maintained, a park across the street ("our" park according to the kids), a huge open soccer field with basketball courts across the street the other way, as well as a large common area/pavillion kitty corner to that. We are far from knowing everyone in the ward, but we know of at least 10 other mormon families in the community - which isn't a big surprise when we are within walking distance of the church and the temple. So, needless to say, we sacrificed a little on size for the "location, location, location".
Our new home is an adorable new townhome (so two stories) with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, as well as a two car garage. Zero lot line, so no backyard, but no lawn maintenance either, and if the weather is good we are often at the park across the street. Now, before we get to the pictures, let me tell you my 10 favorite things about our new home:

1. It has a pantry. I have never had one before and always felt like I was cramming food into every corner of the kitchen. It's already full as I am trying to beef up our food storage, but I am still excited to have it!

2. It has a toy closet. It's downstairs under the stairs and it's fantastic - for the first month the kids just disappeared in there for what seemed like most the day. It holds the majority of their toys, allowing the toys to be downstairs but not taking over my living room!

3. The downstairs is very open. It's all one big room really, which I like in that it makes the most of the space.

4. It has the most adorable front porch, which is surprisingly big. We already have plans for a porch swing and small planter boxes.

5. It has a linen closet. What can I say - I have missed having places to put things (besides crammed under in and around things!) and I just love that wonderful linen closet
6. It has carpet downstairs in the living room. We have had mostly tile or wood floors, which sound great, but Matt hates it - he has high arches and it literally hurts his feet to walk around on hard floors barefoot. Also, he loves wrestling with the boys, which is hard to do on hard flooring without some kind of head injury. Now, every day he comes home after dinner they beat up on dad while I clean up dinner. It's a great arrangement!

7. We now have a water dispenser and ice maker. We bought our first appliance - a fridge and it has filtered water and an ice maker. Heaven!

8. The two car garage. Room not only for both cars but all our stuff! Loving it!

9. Our digital thermostat. We had a thermostat in FL, two actually, that were pyscho. You had to buy a separate inside thermometer to find out what temperature it really was and then if you barely touched the thermostat dial it would go out of whack and send you into the upper 80s or way down into the low 60s.

10. My fantastic dishwasher. They really mean it - no prewashing required! I have only had a dishwasher for 12 MONTHS of the 6 1/2 years we have been married. I have done more than my share of handwashing dishes (I know, what a spoiled child of technology I am!) and I love putting a whole sinkful of dishes in and pressing that magic on button.

I am sure there are many of you who have never thought too much of some of these, but that's the great thing about starting out marriage as a poor student - you really appreciate the small steps up in life!

So, now, drumroll please, the pictures:

The front view (notice the cute porch, complete with hanging planters)

Our downstairs and what you see when you walk in

Matt's little "recording studio", with our computer and electric piano to the right of the couches. I really resisted having the desk downstairs, but it's nice to have so we are in the same part of the house more often.

Our kitchen complete with new fridge

The fabulous toy closet. And, there's even still room for a kids bookcase and coat closet as you walk into the closet, and then the toys are in the section that extends downward under the stairs.

Matt was wonderful in tackling the assignment of building shelves for the garage. He hadn't really had a chance to build much, so he researched, hit Lowes multiple times, even got the boys "helping." It turned out great, and, as you can see, holds all kinds of stuff. He will probably build some more, but for now our garage is fairly organized.

Sorry, the upstairs was not clean enough by my standards for posting, so that will have to come at a later time. But, now you know that we really do own a house (and aren't just living under a bridge)!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sledding in March!

For Christmas Grandpa Blaine and Grandma Heidi (Matt's parents) gave our family a great new sled. Because we were moving, we didn't try to hit the hills until Matt's birthday weekend (March 20). But, what can we say - we love Oregon. Where we live you don't have to be in feet of snow to be within driving distance of snow. We thought for sure we would be out of luck in finding somebut headed up towards Crater Lake to a great sledding spot called Union Creek with fingers crossed. We were driving and saw no snow, no snow....until we hit the sledding spot and almost like someone waved a magic snow wand - snow! We were so excited and had a great time (especially Matt!).

Matt definitely made the most runs, with Nathan at a close second. Nathan used to be such a cautious little kiddo, but has become more and more adventurous.

At the bottom of the hill Nathan would pop off and say - "That was fun - let's do it again!"

Here's a cute pic of the boys enjoying riding on their new sled.

Sleds aren't much fun to sit on unless they are moving, so the boys quickly enlisted the "daddy horse" to pull the sled. They made rounds over and over again, over little hills until they wore the daddy horse out. (And, yes, mom, Matt brought a jacket (see above picture), he just took it off when he was hot)

So what did Luke and Mom do through all of this? Well, I documented everything (hence the pictures and some video footage) as well as stuck with Luke. We started Luke out in the stroller, though as you can see from this picture he was dying to get into the action!

Finally he had had it being stuck in the stroller, so I moved him to the snugglie (after I had done my all of two sledding runs - I am not much of one for uncontrolled speeds!) and we spent the last hour like this:

Carter had been quiet while I was taking pictures/video of Matt and Nathan sledding so I checked up on him and he promptly told me how delicious snow is. At least it was clean snow!

Finally, after sledding, making snow angels, and eating snow the last thing was to make a snowman. However, towards the end Nathan realized how cold his toes were and Luke was super mad at not being allowed to crawl around in the not a happy looking bunch, but a great snowman!