Saturday, April 30, 2011

en vivo (almost)...

video 

here she is, on her favorite little hill of the day-- she was on lap two or three by the time we got the camera out. the first time she did this, she raced over the bridge and down the hill before i could ask her to slow down. so instead, i cringed and gasped and thought to myself, "have we met our insurance deductible yet?" clearly she is more coordinated and confident than i gave her credit for.

sylvi took it upon herself to command the starting line for all the following laps, and to chase after her each time too. need less to say, we had two thoroughly exhausted children on our hands this evening.

go by bike







here are some shots from our afternoon bike adventure. isa is a biking machine lately and we are all enjoying it! she decided to ride her kazam bike today, which is pretty fun to watch, and easier for her to ride longer distances. she reminds me of a bmx biker (lord help us) as she puts her feet up and rides for long stretches or flies down hills or does zig zags along the wider stretches of sidewalk. she biked about 2 miles today with nary a complaint, which is a nice change as well. we're trying to decide whether to upgrade her to a bigger pedal bike, as the hand me downs we have are pretty small for her (so says the cycling expert in the house) and maybe try a trail-a-bike as well. as you could imagine, daddy is pretty excited about her being on two wheels with him now.

for her part, sylvi is happy to pedal the tricycle around the driveway and run along with isa when we venture out. even though it's resulted in many scraped knees lately, it's really fun to watch sylvi run at full speed chasing her sister down the sidewalk! i am guessing it won't be long before they both leave us in the dust.

assuming we can get it to work properly, we have a video (thanks to daddy's phone) of isa zooming down her favorite little hill. there was definitely some cringing on my part, but she clearly had it under control!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

flashback friday!



in case you're wondering... yes, we're still here! just a wee bit busy this week. there is the whole work explosion for me, and phil is pretty busy too, and the girls are certainly not slowing down either. but we're happy and healthy and chugging along.
these photos are from the summer of 2009... look at those two chubby-cheeked babies! it's not nearly as green here yet as these pictures show, but we are getting there. it's been a seemingly long, cold spring but the trees have buds now (finally!) and the grass is slowly turning green around town. of course there is snow in the forecast for today, but we're choosing to ignore that and think warm thoughts anyway. happy friday y'all!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

file under "Be Careful What You Wish For"


remember i mentioned last week about paying for some advertising, which i almost never do? well, it was for a really fantastic blog that i have enjoyed reading over the past year. there are no shortage of blogs out there, but this one caught my attention and i've been reading it daily ever since. go check it out for yourself and you will see why.

upon the arrival of her second child, Kelle Hampton wrote what can only be described as a truly amazing birth story. if you read it, you will understand how and why it was picked up by the media far and wide. it was republished online and in print and overnight, her blog readership went through the roof. like me, people were drawn in by her account of Nella's birth and stayed around for more. all this to say, her blog is not only amazing, but also has a HUGE readership (we're talking millions). when i thought about buying ad space, i figured it would be an interesting venture and would likely pay off, but you just never know. well, now i do know. it was certainly worth it. and the really great write up certainly didn't hurt either... or the nearly 800 entries for the gift certificate giveaway!

as of this afternoon, there are have been four solid days of off the chart sales in the shop. obviously, i couldn't be more pleased with this... even if it means i will be spending the next weeks chained to my sewing machine! so, i am reminded to be careful what i wish for... and grateful all at the same time ;)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

easter, part two:




i don't remember easter being such an event in years past, but it seemed pretty epic and eventful this time around! maybe it was the warm weather, or so much time spent outside, or the fact that the kids were older? adding a birthday party (happy birthday everett!) and another egg hunt might have had something to do with it too. in any case, it was a BIG day. by the time dinner rolled around, there were too thoroughly exhausted children to attest to the epic proportions of easter 2011. phew. glad the easter bunny only comes once a year.
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easter egg hunt



having a new yard in which to hide and hunt eggs turned out to be alot of fun this year. luckily mother nature obliged us with a warm, sunny, and non-windy day to enjoy as well (much better than last year's easter blizzard). speaking of yards, we've spent most of the weekend taming the crazy overgrown trees and bushes around here. the previous owners were apparently going for a jungle look, or so it would seem. after hauling an entirely packed trailer load to the dump, we were able to hide some eggs without the fear of them being lost forever in the backyard jungle.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

card shark




don't let the bedhead fool you, this little one is quickly becoming really good at card games. i suppose it should come as no surprise that the kid who aces puzzles can beat the pants off of you at Uno... but i was still a little surprised myself! right now Uno and Go Fish are her games of choice, but i see alot more card playing in her future. which is alright with me, i guess, if it puts her through college and sends us into early retirement. well, if she could do those things minus the actual gambling part, of course.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

eggs to the rescue?




the return to real life after vacation is always shaky around here. the transition back to school, work, and not having two parents around all the time usually translates into a really rough week. behavior is at it's worst, tempers are short, patience is non-existent, and bedtime rarely comes soon enough.

luckily natalie came over to dye eggs with us this morning (we love it when she is school break!), which resulted in several hours of happy, occupied children. and a brief respite for yours truly. the eggs even turned out beautifully too. win win.

Monday, April 18, 2011

the bizness (and a discount code)


so, we weathered yet another recessionary year with the ole business and we're really glad to see spring roll around again! the post-holiday winter months are always a little slow, which is really nice because i can get a little break, but also a little unnerving because... well, it's slow. but even in the last few years of recession, the sales pick up once again as the grass turns green. and the taxes are done and the bills are paid and i start to enjoy what i do yet again (after swearing it off, yet again, as i slog through tax season)! each year brings new lessons, in general business and managing work with small children, and i try to take note and not make the same mistakes twice. not always successful at that part, but hey, i try!

speaking of business, i just paid for my first advertising in a long time (more on that soon) and i am hoping that it pays off. i think that it probably will, otherwise i wouldn't have done it, but one never knows until it all plays out. bizness, bizness, bizness. not sure how i ended up with a small business. but so it is! and... in the meantime, there is a discount code for 15% off storewide, good through friday!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

biker babe





isa hopped on her big girl bike this morning and rode halfway down the block by herself on the first go! phil swears she is just like her mama-- stubborn as can be! she's been ready to ride without training wheels for ages, but until she decided that she really wanted to, there was absolutely no convincing her. now of course she looks like she's been doing it for years... and it's been about 15 minutes.

p.s. a note on pictures: since blogger started screwing with it's system, the blog pics are appearing much fuzzier than normal, even though they're pretty high resolution. if you click on the pics though, they will come up in their normal clear state for a better look ;)
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Friday, April 15, 2011

all together now





part of the motivation for this year's trip revolved around wanting to share this place with some of our favorite people! we've done a few camping trips in the past with another family or two and it's been so much fun. and since there is a mass pilgrimage to the desert from lander each spring, we thought that surely we could round up some friends to join us this time around! not to mention, the logistics of getting a group site (via lottery on january 1st) are actually not as bad as trying to find an individual site sometimes-- it's a small, well designed area and even though there are few people that venture that far off the beaten path, it can still be hard to reliably find a site in the spring.

i would highly recommend the squaw flats group site (needles district) for anyone, with or without kids. the site itself is huge and it's a great mix of safe, easy spots for camping with little ones. there are very few hazards like prickly pear or big drop offs and most of the area is sandy (it's one big sandbox people). the entire site is nestled into a large rock band that acts as one giant fence to keep kids close by and it's set back off the road, so as to be quiet and safe. there are lots of great tent sites spread throughout, many of which you can't even see as they are hidden under or behind small groves of trees.

starting last year, we put out the word to anyone who might be interested in a trip this spring. the site can officially hold alot of people, and we had more people signed up than actually ended up going (because, well, life happens) in the end. but it all worked out perfectly and we were really happy with the whole process. camping with friends, and their kids, is a whole different ballgame than doing such a big trip solo. for starters, the day to day duties of camping with kids are so much easier when there are other people around. more people (especially playmates!) means more fun for the littles and less work for the grown ups. not to mention that with more people around, it's easier to get out and do things that we might not otherwise do if it were just the four of us (like a bike ride for phil or a morning run for me). it takes a village, as they say... and that can apparently apply to camping too.

of course, in our case this year, we were eternally grateful to have friends along (the older the girls get, the more fun it is for them to have friends to play with, other than us). they were also a huge help with isa, in keeping her entertained and happy. and great in helping us decide whether and when to pack up and head to town-- note to self: having atleast 5 out of 7 adults there with significant backcountry medicine and first aid experience is really great when your kid gets ill. objective opinions and combined experience can go a long way.

details, details.



i'm not really sure where to begin with detailing this trip, given that we were in denver the week before and that chaos ensued as soon as we closed in on our destination last sunday. but for those who like details, or those who might be interested in similar travels... here you go. 

on the drive west across colorado, we stopped in Glenwood Springs for a swim in the fabulous natural hot springs. it was really chilly and rainy out that day, so swimming in the hot pools felt like even more of a treat. good thing, since it's pretty dang pricey! but it was alot of fun and the girls really needed a long break from the car, so i'd still recommend it. it may have been the most expensive trip to the swimming pool we've ever had, but hey, some good things come at a price i suppose.

after a few more hours in the car, we decided that the weather looked good enough to drive a little further than planned and try to camp somewhere west of grand junction. this was a good call, as we decided to head into the Colorado National Monument, which is a little gem of a place that i would highly recommend to anyone! it's absolutely gorgeous and is very well maintained and doesn't have near the crowds that bigger parks can have. we got snowed on and blown around a bit that night but it wasn't too bad. the girls slept well and even with the snow, i think it was still warmer than some of the coldest nights in the desert this time last year. unfortunately we rolled in late and were ready to get back on the road early so we didn't spent too much time there, but we're bookmarking it for a later trip for sure.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

channeling a Hallmark card?


as mentioned earlier, this has turned into a rather emotional trip, with the sick child and the return to such an awesome place, and then the premature leaving of such a place... yeah. emotional. we've been having some of those sun breaking through clouds, angels singing kind of clarities lately. and while they are some times cut short by vomit or crying, they seem noteworthy all the same. to balance out all the sentiment, how about some bullet points for conciseness? ok, then:
  • we are not religious people, per se, but we do hold certain ideas and places to be sacred. the desert is one such place and we take great value in exposing our kids to it at an early age. it's important to us and so it's important to them. maybe they'll appreciate that down the road and maybe they won't, but we appreciate sharing it with them right now.
  • the girls have been sleeping next to each other all trip and it's freakin' adorable. isa sprawls out like she always does (she practically runs marathons in her sleep) and sylvi turns inwards and snuggles up to her, as per her usual cuddly self. this new sleep habit epitomizes them perfectly.
  • friends are amazing, whether they be four year olds or grown ups. they are the icing on the cake of life. granted, that's a pretty lame metaphor, but it's the best i've got at this hour. friends have a cold beer waiting for you after along, trying day in the desert or quietly help you pack your tent as the tears stream down your cheeks, or reply to yet another text about a sick baby and her distressed bowels. and if you are four years old, friends grab your hand and run with you down the trail with wild abandon or share their favorite kitty because they know how much you like kitties too.
  • kids seem to enjoy the shortest and best moments of life and cheerfully disregard the rest. we got a kick out of asking the girls what their favorite parts of the trip were today. unlike the common adult habit, they gave no mention to the difficulty or the change of plans, but instead remembered riding their bikes and seeing baby monkeys up close and meeting new people and playing with old friends. they are little positivity magnets, those two, even in the depths of the emergency room or a desolate stretch of desert highway, they have the ability to remember what makes them happy. here's hoping they don't outgrow that skill.
so how's that for hallmark? maybe i should start writing commercials for kleenex? congrats if you're still reading!

the best laid plans...

just dropping in for the quick and dirty of a vacation that, well... ended quick and dirty. we're on our way home early after dealing with a very sick sylvi since sunday morning (the day we arrived in the desert). we spent yesterday and this morning in the Moab ER with her and are now headed north. it's a bit a of a long story, to be shared later, but suffice it to say that she was one sick puppy and we needed to get her taken care of. of course we are sad to see her feeling so terrible (she seem to be better this evening but isn't near 100% yet) and to cut our vacation in half, but such is life. packing up and leaving brought on a whole mix of emotions for all of us, but in the end we are grateful. we are grateful that we have access to excellent medical care (even if it breaks us) when we need it. and as we drove the 1.5 hours out of the park and into Moab, i couldn't help but think of how lucky we were-- how many parents around the world watch their children die of such ailments and are totally powerless to help them? too many. and all we needed to do was pick up and go and we were right where we needed to be.

aside from all of that, we do have lots of good stories and photos to share, and will get to that eventually too. in the meantime, there is still a sick one to attend to, an older one who deserves more attention for what she's had to put up with this week, and mountains upon mountains of laundry to deal with as soon as we're home. even if it's not where we planned to be, home sounds really good right about now. and we're grateful for that too.

Friday, April 8, 2011

cityscape




great parks, amazing food, and even a sweet view from the hotel balcony... cities can be really nice sometimes :)

kickin' back




despite all the running around and seeing and doing, we're also doing a bit of lounging as well. fluffy beds with soft sheets and lots of pillows make for good cartoon watching. the baby in the zipper pajamas, mountain of pillows and little crossed feet was just too much. i had to grab the camera.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

denver nature and science museum



day two of living the city life took us to the Denver Nature and Science Museum, which is right next door to the zoo and a short, easy drive from the hotel. the girls love all things dinosaur related, so the fact that there is a life size t.rex skeleton meant that we really needed to go check it out ourselves! it's a pretty great museum in general and there were alot of neat exhibits to see, including a space exhibit that would make Pop Pop very proud ;)

aside from the awesome Discovery Room (anyone want to dig for fossils and learn how animals walk by demonstrating it on stage?), the biggest hits were either the massive dinosaur skeletons or the various animal displays. unfortunately by the time we had hung out in the Discovery Room and were ready to explore some more, the entire museum was packed with school kids. i think i'd recommend not taking small children to this museum during the school week as it was just too crowded and chaotic to really enjoy and navigate. we briefly checked out the space exhibit before heading out of the chaos and back to the hotel for a well-deserved nap. overall it was still great and the girls enjoyed themselves, but next time i think we'll save our visit for a quite saturday morning instead!

on a related note, asami and dave have done the smart thing and actually purchased memberships to the zoo, museum, and the butterfly pavillion. i say smart because not only does it make great economic sense (entrance gets pricey for a family, even once) but it also lets them visit as much as they want, without the pressure of feeling like they need to see every last corner of the place to get their money's worth. because they can, asami takes the kids to these places once a week or so and they stay as little or as long as they like. a very great bonus (especially for us!) is that they get free guest passes too, and have generously shared them with us on this trip. we are so very grateful... thanks guys :)

city mice



since sleeping in a hotel room with two little ones entails lots of lights out time in the early evening (i.e. when they're crashed out but we're not), i thought i'd take advantage of the quiet to do a little blog updating. this is the first time i've actually been on the computer since we left (gasp!) and have enjoyed the brief hiatus. i cruised through an amazing book i'd been meaning to read and have really loved hanging out in near silence while the girls sleep and phil is working or attending conference stuff. but i figure the grandparents are going into blog withdrawal by this point and we have been awfully busy doing fun things, so a blog post was somewhat overdue.

we've spent the last two days being city mice, enjoying all the pleasures that this metropolis has to offer. we're also lucky enough to have some good friends here in town and have had a great time hanging out with them as well. skyler and isa have known each other since the womb and we miss having them in lander, so it's been really great to be able to hang out with them here in their (relatively) new hometown!

yesterday we went to the zoo, which we've been meaning to do for years now. it's usually either too wintery or 100 degrees when we're around and it's just never happened. so the zoo was first on our list this trip. it certainly did not disappoint either! we all had a great time, despite the somewhat cold, rainy weather and two very tired children from the previous day's travel. even with all those things, it was still worthwhile and we all loved it. isa insists that her favorite animals were the "mean girl monkeys with long white hair" and sylvi loved the pigmy marmosets (aka: da wittlest baby monkeys). to no one's surprise, mommy loved the giraffes and could have spent all day watching them-- there was even a new baby to see as well! double bonus.

so that was day one in the big city. more on day two coming soon...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

trip prep



it's snowing this morning, which is pretty odd considering how amazingly warm it's been for the last few days. so we're hanging out, looking out the window and hoping it goes away quickly. isa and sylvi are determined to go out and play... but me? i could be fine right here with my cup of coffee and my slippers! but there is packing to be done, including cleaning out the car and all those other pre-roadtrip tasks. judging by the amount of crushed goldfish and string cheese wrappers strewn about the van... we have alot to do.
so the trip prep is underway in earnest, and we're all itching to get going. isa has been pouring over a map of constellations and seems to have a freakish ability to identify and locate them on the summer and winter night sky pages (nerd alert!). sylvi keeps putting her hiking shoes in the duffle bag with all their clothes, just so we don't accidentally leave them behind. phil has been finding and organizing all the gear that got dumped in the garage when we moved-- no small task. as for me, i think i've been actively packing for about a week now... two kids for two weeks, including a week in the backcountry and a week in the city, makes for alot of crap to pack!
speaking of cities, we have some fun stuff planned for the (almost) week in denver too, including a trip to the Denver Zoo and the Nature and Science Museum. we're also stopping in Glenwood Springs on the way west to soak in the hot springs and check out the caves. assuming all goes as planned, we're going to head up through Salt Lake on the way back and enjoy some more big city living there for a night or two.
ahhh, vacation.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

ballet 102






yesterday was parent's day at ballet and we were so excited to watch isa and her class! we've missed a few clases lately due to illness and what not, but i was really surprised at how well all of the kiddos did. it's pretty amazing to see how much they've learned since this time last year. last april, it was like watching Mrs. Tricia try to herd cats but now they seem really know what is going on and follow her directions really well! they are learning their positions too and can answer what comes next in their routine at a given time. pretty impressive and really, really cute! isa is still infatuated with seeing herself in the mirror and we cracked up more than once as she became entranced looking at herself and making her "serious ballerina" face as she danced by. priceless.