Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree!

Last Sunday we headed out to our favorite tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree. The tree farm is less than 15 minutes from our house, and it's a nice reminder of how close we are to farmland and forests. If it's not too cloudy you can even see Mt. St. Helens peeking out from behind the trees, and it was a perfect day for the view. For weeks we'd been planning to get our tree on Sunday...unfortunately it was also the same day I came down with a nasty virus. However, I survived the tree farm and the tree trimming (before going to bed for two days), and our Christmas tree is beautiful.

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There wasn't much picture taking after the tree farm, but I did snap these photos of Erik and Avery putting the angel on top of the tree. These two...could they be any cuter? 

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Also, my mom deserves a HUGE thank you for taking Avery to school the next day, picking her up when the school called to say she had a fever, bringing me Gatorade, and making Erik and Avery dinner. I'm one lucky girl.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hot Buttered Rum 5K

Our Christmas season usually begins with a 5K of some sort. The last couple of years we've done the Jingle Bell 5K in Portland, which benefits arthritis. We like to "jingle" for my mom, who has rheumatoid arthritis (and it's even better when she gets to do it with us). This year, due to a scheduling conflict, we opted to do the Hot Buttered Rum 5K which benefits Race to Remember, an organization that honors military veterans . We put together a little team including my mom, Tabitha, my sister-in-law Emily, my niece (baby Rylee) and Avery (who ran the Kandy Kane Kids Race with Erik). It was cold, but it was beautiful, and it was a great way to end a really great Thanksgiving break.

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankful

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Look at this kid. Thanksgiving may be over but there isn't a day that goes by that Erik and I are not grateful and honored to be raising this beautiful little person. She is so full of life and love, she's funny and spunky, smart and kind. She extends grace and forgiveness when we make mistakes, and she never misses an opportunity to say I love you. She fills our lives with a joy that we never knew was possible, and we plan to tell her every single day just how much she is loved. Because she is so very loved.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This and That: Our Life Lately

As much as I'd like to think our crazy hectic schedule is heading toward a slower pace, I'm coming to the realization that as your kid gets older, life's busyness only increases. There's homework, awards assemblies, birthday parties, basketball games, play dates, PTA meetings, and endless other activities that take up a huge chunk of our week...every week. Gone are the days of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning while blogging about recipes (or crafts or our garden) as I wait for Avery to wake up. Life is good in so many other ways, but I miss having that time to document our life as it happens.

So here is a peek into our life lately, starting with the season that never was: Fall. This year fall was the most enormous disappointment. I know I lamented about this earlier, but fall took it's sweet time showing up this year. Then, when our beautiful birch tree FINALLY turned yellow and dropped some leaves, a huge wind storm blew them all away. Upside: No raking. Downside: No yearly fall photoshoot of Avery (she didn't seem to care). As for the rest of the leaves, they forgot to change into their usual fall colors, and now that's it's already snowed(!), they're all dead and brown. I literally took two fall photos this year...one from the day before the wind storm, and one of some blueberry leaves. Kind of depressing.

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The only good thing about our weather going from sunny and warm to bitterly cold overnight is having an excuse to build a fire everyday. Luckily Erik got a truckload of firewood from someone at work, and we couldn't be more appreciative...especially this month. (Did I mention it snowed here already? Because it did.)

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Avery had a good Halloween. It was really busy, but she had a great time. After trick-or-treating with her friends, she was able to visit both of her Grandmas at two different Trunk-or-Treat events. Then she came home and counted her candy before passing out.

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Erik's birthday was...well, if you happened to read my last post then you already know that it was sad. But Avery and I made up for it a couple of days later with a cake and tickets to the Seahawks game. It was especially meaningful because it was the NFL's Veteran's Day Salute to Service weekend. I had been trying to get tickets for a couple months, and thanks to a serendipitous play date two days before the game, I was able to get tickets. Birthday: Saved.

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Veteran's Day was quiet around here. We worked in the yard, and Erik went to a Blazers game with my dad and my brothers. I cried looking through old homecoming pictures of Erik's return from Iraq, and Avery got the best shirt for her Veteran's Day assembly. But mostly I was just grateful for Erik's presence...I'm one of the lucky ones whose husband came home, and every day with him is a blessing.

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Avery started basketball, finally, after begging us to let her play for ages (we weren't being mean, she was just too young before this season). She looked like a terrified little mouse during her first game, but she's getting more confident and having a great time. It's just so much fun to watch her try new things. I think she wants to start ballet again soon, and she also wants to take guitar lessons. She's such a cool kid.

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Avery and I (and sometimes Erik when he's home from work in time) have been going to a lot of my Dad's high school football games. (And sometimes I Instagram cute pictures of Avery with my parents). My Dad's team is playing this evening in the Washington State 3A quarterfinals, which is a pretty big deal in our family!

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And guess who I found reading bedtime stories together the other night...

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It might feel like I'm always in a hurry, the laundry might not get done, the dishes might pile up in the sink, and the blog posts might not get written...but all I have to do is look at these faces and I instantly remember that it's all worth it. I get to share my life with two of the most wonderful humans in the world (and the sweetest mama bear of a dog). So our life lately has been pretty great.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

35

Today my favorite guy turned 35. Life around here has been so hectic and crazy that I didn't even get a chance to buy Erik a birthday present. I made a cake and didn't have time to frost it. We went out to dinner after taking Avery to Reading Night at her school. Erik never asks for anything, he never buys himself anything, he works hard, and then works overtime just to make sure we have everything we need. This is a guy who deserves the biggest, most amazing birthday celebration of all time, and he got a birthday card after taking a backseat to Reading Night. 

So, to the man who turned 35 with the least amount of fanfare, I hope you know that you mean the world to Avery and I. You are my best friend, my sanity, and my rock...and no matter how crazy life gets, always remember that you are so very loved.

Happy birthday.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween

Avery chose her Halloween costume for this year the moment she saw Frozen last Christmas. She was going to be Elsa, and there was no amount of prompting on my part that could make her change her mind. I was kind of hoping she'd be something a little more original, something I could make or sew or hot glue...but she wanted an Elsa costume from Target. I finally gave up and ordered it (since it was sold out everywhere) and ended up getting the Anna costume as well during the buy 1 get 1 free costume sale. After trying on both dresses she could not decide which one she liked the best. So I told her to wear one to the Harvest Festival at her school, and one for trick-or-treating. Which is exactly what she did. And guess what...she was a perfect little Anna AND Elsa.

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Also included in our Halloween festivities: Avery's 1st grade field trip to the pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds, and our annual Halloween family photo (because it's the only time of the year that Erik takes a family picture without complaining). Our Molly-Dog even managed to get in on the action this year.

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And just because she looked so darn cute in that Anna costume, here are a couple more pictures of our girl on her way to go trick-or-treating with her friends. Ugh, I just love this kid...and her dad, too. Life is good, and it was a pretty great Halloween. 

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Friday, October 24, 2014

1st Award, 1st Grade

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Our girl has done quite well during her short stint in public school. She received a raving review from her teacher last night at our conference, and we've run out of refrigerator space for all of her awards. Erik and I are extremely proud of her, and as much as we'd like to take credit for her academic successes, it's comes directly from Avery being a little perfectionist. Last week she had a spelling test and requested that I make her flashcards to help her study. She then proceeded to lay the flashcards out on the table according to difficulty, and wrote the words she was struggling with in a notebook under the heading Words I Have Trouble With. On Monday she was having a hard time with a new math concept and asked if I would write out some math problems so she could practice regrouping numbers. Three pages later she had it down, and the next morning she gave her extra work to her teacher to prove she understood it. 

My worries have shifted this year from making sure that she does her best and keeps up with her classmates, to wondering if Avery will give herself a panic attack by the time she turns 12. She can get very upset if she doesn't get 100% on a test or an assignment...it also makes her want to learn and be better, but that's a lot of pressure to put on yourself when you're only 6. She also stresses out about getting awards. On Tuesday night she started crying because she thought we would be mad if she didn't get an award at the awards assembly the next morning. I reassured her that we loved her no matter what, and that we were very, very proud of her. But she didn't need to worry...on Wednesday she received her 1st award of 1st grade, which was added to the dozen school awards already on the refrigerator. 

Since the day Avery was born she has done everything her own way and she has exceeded our expectations nearly every day. She is the most unique, inquisitive, insightful little person, and we just feel so lucky to be her parents and experience this journey with her. Not every test score will be 100%, and not every award will be hers. But we will be there to tell her how proud we are of her, even when things don't go her way. Not that she'd let that happen, but just in case it does, it will be our greatest privilege to be standing in her corner.