Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Soggy Blog- A Picture For Every Raindrop!

***Disclaimer... tons of pictures in this entry (one for every drop of rain, not joking...and we've had over 5 inches here in 24 hours) but a good deal of writing too.  As with the last post... feel free to just look for the pictures, you don't have to read every word I type!

Fall (PNW style) has officially arrived... it's pouring outside.  While I miss the vibrant colors, crisp air and gorgeous blue skies of a New England fall, I've welcomed this soggy excuse for a fall.  I welcome it because the rain forces me to come inside and get things done (like blogging for the first time in two months).  I welcome it because the rainy days are perfect for cuddling and reading stories to a sick three year old and teething nine month old.  I welcome it because I finally, for the first time in nearly three months, have two children napping at the same time; rainy days make for sleepy days!  So, welcome Fall, and all the rainy day goodness that comes with you!  And maybe if I work hard enough during these very rainy days, fall will be kind enough to give us a little break of autumn sunshine here and there... because for the record, even people living in the great PNW deserve to see the sun now and again (not just July through September)! :)

Speaking of July through September... a look back at summer might be a good idea, seeing as I last posted in early July.  Sam started officially crawling in July which made the month of July very busy for all of us.  We enjoyed lots of swimming in the pool and plenty of outdoor time.  Evelyn continued to love her ballet classes and stayed outside as long as she could running in the grass and learning to ride her bike.  The days were long and most days the sunshine was in abundance.

We traveled home to Michigan in July to visit Joe's family.  Nine days of vacation wasn't long enough, but we did cram a lot of family fun into those precious days.  We flew into Chicago and had the opportunity for a short visit with my best friend from my days in Chicago, Sarah and her husband, Mike.  Sarah was due to have her first child on August 4th, so it was a special treat to see her and her pregnant belly before her baby girl made her entrance into this world (Sydney was born on August 8th).  It was nice to have a little time to let the kids unwind after the four hour flight before we hopped back in our rental to drive to Michigan.

Mike and Sam
Sarah, Evelyn and Mike

Evelyn and Sam were happy to be reunited with their three cousins and overjoyed to spend time with Joe's parents, who we affectionately refer to as Grandma and Dzia-Dzia (Polish for Grandpa).  For the first time, Evelyn was able to sleep with her cousins in the main room of the finished basement in her grandparents' house.  It was like a giant sleepover every night we were home.  Sam was too little to sleep downstairs, so he stayed in our room.

Sam, Evelyn, Sean, Kylie and Braden

Evelyn tried fishing at Grandma and Dzia-Dzia's pond, picked peas from Dzia-Dzia's garden, helped Grandma with the baking, played with her cousins and picked raspberries at Uncle Jay's house.  She tried her hand at croquet, learned to swing on the giant rope swing and had numerous other firsts while in Michigan.  One of Evelyn's favorite memories from our trip was having Aunt Kate paint her nails!  Painting nails is a huge deal right now... almost as cool as the Disney princesses who are still reigning supreme on Evelyn's list of cool things in this world!
Uncle Jay teaching Evelyn about picking raspberries

Evelyn, Kylie and Kate doing nails
A giant leap of faith... swimming in a friend's pool in MI
Dzia Dzia and his Puma girls
Evelyn and Kylie
Evelyn and Braden
Waking up early is always better when you have this view
Sunrise from Joe's parents' porch... breathtaking!
Sibling snuggles
Popsicle eating cousins on the porch swing
Tired of saying, "Cheese."
Fishing at the pond
A little croquet action
Supporting the Tigers with Uncle Randy and Uncle Vince
Another Tiger's Fan
Dzia Dzia and Sam
Grandma and Sam
We were able to celebrate three birthdays while we were home, Evelyn's (belated), Kylie's (my niece) and mine; it was so nice to be with family for those special celebrations!  We were lucky enough to get to see both sides of Joe's family and had a chance to spend time with our dear friends the Dykstra's on my birthday.  Every minute of our vacation was truly a gift.
Lane, Annika, Evelyn and Wesley
All the friends together
When we returned to Seattle in August, we hit the ground running.  Vacation was clearly over.  Joe started back to work, Evelyn headed back for ballet, I scrambled to get ready for the Invest in Youth golf banquet and Sam raced in circles any time we put him down!  My father was supposed to come to Seattle two days prior to the golf tournament.  Dad had agreed to come and play with Joe this year but my mother was staying back in Massachusetts because work was too busy to leave.  I did what I could to unpack from our vacation, prepare for the banquet and ready the house for Dad's impending arrival.  I failed miserably!!

It was so hard to get everything done in time, I was still exhausted from our trip and the kids were still out of their routine, so their adjusted schedules or lack there of, made it difficult to accomplish much of anything.  Meanwhile, the deadline was fast approaching for the banquet and I was panicked it wasn't all going to get done.  Just as I was ready to throw the towel in and surrender, Dad's plane arrived.  I dropped everything I was doing so I could go and pick him up.   I was beyond frazzled and completely clueless to the surprise that awaited me at the airport.  As it turns out, both Dad and Mom had flown to Seattle.  SURPRISE!  I can't begin to describe the relief I felt when I realized they were both standing there.  It was such an enormous gift; I was overjoyed that they could both be here to visit (I really didn't want Mom to have to miss out)!  With their help and Joe's incredible support, and the huge contributions from my fellow Invest in Youth board members, I was again able to pull off another successful banquet (special thanks to Shelley and Mona for all the extra technical and decorative support).

The golf banquet was over in a few short hours and life returned to some sense of normalcy (slightly less chaotic) the very next day.  The day after the banquet was filled with the glorious summer sunshine, that I long for now, and we spent the day down in our swimming pool enjoying some family time and the last full day of my parents' short visit.  Although our time together was brief, it was an incredible blessing to have Mom and Dad here.  I know that their collective presence was so essential to helping me adequately prepare another golf banquet!

Sam and Grammie
Sam, Grandpa and Evelyn
Grandparent Bliss
Swimming Sam
Nice hair
In August we had the opportunity to watch Evelyn's ballet class demonstration.  She participated in an eight week intensive program over the summer, but there was no viewing during her regular class time.  So, for eight weeks, we only had Evelyn's occasional explanation and free form dancing as proof that she was paying attention and learning something in class.  Seeing Evelyn in the final demonstration was priceless; mostly because she did her own thing for almost the entire half hour.  I think she was honestly too distracted by the large audience to focus on the skills she had learned.  I'm curious to see how she'll perform in November when there is another demonstration for her fall ballet class.  I guess only time will tell.  :)

We ushered in September with a Labor Day weekend camping trip down to the Sprouffske Farm.  Our friends host an annual campout down on their Christmas tree farm and we were invited.  Evelyn and Sam had a terrific time playing with the nine other children who were also on the farm.  The fathers took all the big kids (anyone age 3 and above) down to the tent site and they camped out for the night while the mothers hunkered down at the Sprouffske house with the little ones.  It was a great weekend filled with friends, fellowship, fun and very little sleep!  Evelyn really enjoyed camping with Joe and came back to the house the next morning looking very grown up.  I think she was very happy to be one of the big kids!  Joe said she was a real trooper down at the campsite.  She was really excited to sleep in our cozy little two man tent with Joe, a very special treat indeed! :)

September was a month filled with family time.  We went to the zoo, to the WA State Fair, and took the kids to a Kennedy Catholic (where Joe coaches wrestling) football game, among other things.  Evelyn and Sam really started to "play" together... well, Evelyn started to find ways to incorporate Sam into her play time.

Sam also had his 9 month well check in September.   He weighed in at a whopping 20lbs. 6oz!  He's only 7 pounds behind Evelyn and with the way he's been putting food down, he'll surpass her in weight by Christmas!  Sam is attempting to say a few words (Mama, Dada), but mostly just yells things out or babbles indiscriminately.  He is super intrigued with the way things work (engineer minded like his father) and will sit/stand for minutes on end trying to figure the object out.  He is still not a great sleeper, but we've had a few more nights of uninterrupted sleep and it appears he's attempting to sleep through the night.  We've started to introduce table food but he still prefers purees.  He hasn't quite mastered the fine motor skill of picking up tiny pieces of food and just gets frustrated when he can't get it in his mouth.  Sam is pulling himself up on everything, but he'll let go and stand in the same spot without holding on for quite a length of time.  He "walks" around furniture or holds on to the wall or any other object and "walks" along it.  He's still prefers crawling because he can get there a lot faster when he crawls.  However, his "walking" speed has increased in the last few weeks.

Sam's favorite time of day is bath time.  He gets upset if we leave him at the dinner table when he's finished eating.  As soon as we clean him up, he wants to be out of his seat.  When we put him down, he makes a mad dash down the hall and waits outside the bathroom door or crawls right into the bathroom and holds onto the edge of the tub and "dances" until someone (me or Joe) arrives to turn on the bath water.  He shrieks with glee when the water starts! :)

8 months old... August 20th

Applying too much lipstick is dangerous :)

Sam is going to be bigger than Evelyn... sooner than later

Posing at the zoo
Squeezing Sam in the hat just once more
It's a PJ shirt... but it has princesses, so it's acceptable to be worn out in public :)
This boy...

Resting after a bike ride

Evelyn's wheels... yes, even her bike is covered in princesses

Riding a motorcycle at the fair
Meeting some farm animals

The boat ride was just her speed
Evelyn's first roller coaster ride with Daddy
Proud papa having a little too much fun!
A little unsure... Evelyn claims she had fun
Giving Sam a squeeze after a ride
Another hug
Having fun toddler style at the fair
September 20, 2013- Sam, 9 months

Evelyn loves reading to Sam!