Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas Eve
We attempted to teach the Walker grandkids the nativity story by having them act it out.  Ben was uncooperative and the costumes need some work (my fault), but the kids were pretty cute nonetheless.
 Ben cheered up when he got to play with this super friendly golden retriever puppy that my in-laws were babysitting/hiding (he was to be a Christmas surprise for some friends).  What is it about this breed that is so stinkin' cute!?  
 Kaiya decorated some cookies for Santa by emptying two jars of sprinkles.

Christmas Day 

Since we video taped the whole procession, we neglected to take too many pictures Christmas morning.  But here are a couple shots of the magic.  Among other things, Santa gave Kaiya a puppy... as real a puppy as she'll ever get, anyway :) 

 Santa also brought Ben his own little car which he's been driving around the basement for three days (alongside Kaiya on her new birthday bike).  We have about 16" of snow outside, so we just might keep all the new outside toys downstairs 'til spring.

 Santa immediately regretted giving both kids harmonicas in their stockings.  It sounds like Alcatraz up in here.

Kaiya is FOUR!!

Kaiya wanted a Barbie birthday this year, and I spent way too long making this box for all the little guests to pose in for pictures.  It was broken within five minutes. This is the only picture I have and the box is already in shambles. Oh well. 

My camera was out of whack so I only have a couple pictures worth sharing...  Here's the birthday girl on her new big girl bike....
Luckily, I managed to get a photo of the pretty cake.  It turned out perfectly and I still feel super guilty about pawning off this huge task on my big sister.  Thanks Laurel!!

Remember Halloween?

Our little Cowardly Lion and Dorothy rocked the trick-or-treating this year. 

and... the hood remained off the rest of the night
 And for some reason, I'm including this random picture of three kids "helping" me make bread :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Benjamin is TWO!

Ben is obsessed with Disney's Cars and Thomas the Tank Engine, so after looking at some ideas online (and not wanting to compete with this), I decided on a Cars themed birthday party this year.  It turned out pretty cute and was surprisingly easy to put together.  I am a little proud of the invitation.

Alicia and Blaine couldn't make it to the party, so they came to visit earlier in the day to deliver Ben's gift.  He is pretty excited to have his own Thomas, but not nearly as excited as Jake was while giving it to him. It was like he was initiating him into his club. The whole scene was seriously adorable.
 Ben was moving around so fast during the party that most of my pictures are blurry or just plain awkward.  But the food table held still :)

 Here's one of several shots of Ben getting plenty of "help" opening gifts from his cousins.
Brad and I gave him a train table for his room (we were kind of sick of tripping over the tracks he puts together around the house) and it is a total hit.  I love this picture of all the kids getting in on the action.  Kaiya helped me put it together and was so proud to help us carry it up the stairs for the reveal.
Laurel and Alicia did most of the work on this racetrack cake.  It turned out SO well and only looked like boobs a little bit :)

I can't believe how old Ben is looking and acting. He's talking so well and tries so hard to be one of the big kids. He remains a total sweetheart and I don't know what we'd do without him.  Happy birthday little man!!

Long Time, No Write

I have neglected this blog for far too long.  Sorry 'bout that.

The last couple months have been busy. Good busy.

School began in August for Kaiya and me.  My job is the same crazy, exhausting, loud, sometimes embarrassing song and dance it always was.  I love teaching.  I don't love grading and parents and the occasional inappropriate haiku read aloud in Creative Writing, but I love teaching.

Little Miss Kaiya is going to preschool two days a week and loving it. And I love picking her up and hearing about who played with whom and the entire plot line of the story book "Miss Amy" read that day.  She is so excited to be learning her letters and it's cute to see how proud she is when she recognizes them.  She's obsessed with rhymes and always asks me which words rhyme with which.  We may have a little poet in the making :)  She also brings home the cutest little projects; it's hard to determine which Elmer's glue/sparkles/construction paper gems to hold on to, especially considering that we still have a whole other year (or 15 years) of this.

Once school was a few weeks underway, Brad and I took advantage of a freeish trip offer to Cancun. (Brad is a stud and makes friends with the right people, I guess!) It was kind of bad timing, but we couldn't refuse. We invited Brad's parents and ended up spending a week at a posh resort and touring four nearby Mayan ruins: Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Tulum, and Coba. The trip was absolutely amazing and I ought to write about each sight in more detail but it would take way too long. Hopefully this slideshow will suffice...

We booked our tours with LDS guides and it was well worth it. It really is fascinating to compare Book of Mormon stories to Mayan legends/ceremonies. Again, I should be giving discussion of this vacation more time and effort. Oh well.

Hmm... what else? We spent an evening in Payson Canyon a couple weeks ago to see the pretty leaves changing colors.

These two (Tahsha and Kyle) got married last week...
accompanied by these two...
We couldn't be happier for the whole Wilson family.  Kyle has been like a brother to Brad for over twenty years and it's so good to see him happy.  And Tahsha is a freakin' rock star, by the way. 

And here's a random shot of Ben sleeping in his favorite place. Under his bed. It totally freaked us out the first time we couldn't find him at midnight.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Oregon Trail

How much did you love seeing this screen as a child, huh??  Much better than "You have died of Dysentery." 

Be prepared for a slew of pictures from my kids and my most recent tour of the Pacific Northwest.

For starters, I'm so glad I went to the reunion.  They divided it into two events: an adults-only dinner and a family picnic the next day.  Both were blasts. 
Here are the Papermaker girls all grown up. Love them.
 My kids mostly just played in dirt at the park on the family day... I love this picture of Ben. Mostly because it looks like the picture of my big brother, Scott, getting caught eating the gingerbread house at about the same age.  (Megan - I could have sworn that picture was on your blog somewhere but I couldn't find it... can you send it to me so we can compare?)  We always joke about how Ben looks like Amy Walker and Scott Lee had a baby.  Don't think about it too hard, though... that's just weird.
Kaiya and Cambria Morgan.  Her mom, Crystal, and I were BFFs and we're bound and determined to make our daughters BFFs too :) Too bad they live like three states away from each other.
Another park date with Cambria... my daughter rarely cooperates for pictures, and here's the proof.
Ben, however, is always cheesing for the camera.  This picture was taken just a few minutes before one of the scariest episodes of my life.  I'm still really emotional about it - but the short version of the story is that I lost Ben at the park.  A park that is sandwiched between a lake, woods, and a highway.  I have never been more panicked.  Crystal found him and I will forever be in her and our Heavenly Father's debt.  Prayer works.  I am very, very blessed.
My mom was patient enough to go back to school shopping with me at Clackamas Mall.
Kaiya is sitting alone on the ferris wheel because Ben screamed like a Banshee for three revolutions until we made the worker stop the ride and get him down.
 The merry-go-round was much merrier.
 My dad brought home a bucket truck one afternoon so that the kids could take rides. Kaiya thought she was so cool.

A Portland trip is not a Portland trip without a coast day.  Here we are seeing the sea lions in Astoria.
And hanging out at Cannon Beach with Matt.

 So... Ben is obsessed with cars and trains lately, and we thought it would be fun to ride the Mt. Hood Railroad.  It's cute - you ride in an old dining car and the view is beautiful.  The kids were so excited and it started out super fun.

Ben spent the first twenty minutes mimicking the sound of the train whistle.
 The train made two stops: the first is a fruit orchard where we bought some amazing cherries and plums.

 Ben was done and ready for a nap after the orchard.
 Too bad we still had one more stop up the mountain and the whole ride down to go...So, FOUR HOURS and still no nap later we determined that my kids are too young for the Mt. Hood Railroad. Maybe in another few years.

We took the boat out Friday afternoon.  The weather in Camas was in the high nineties - unheard of - so the lake filled up pretty fast.  We didn't bring suits so we just hung out in the boat while Matt wakeboarded. I don't know why Kaiya is calling me a "loser" in this picture.

 This is her "pirate smile"
This is her "princess smile"
 This is Ben's new scowl.  Endearing, isn't it?

We came home Saturday just in time for Brad and I to celebrate our seventh anniversary.  That is just crazy to me.  We're celebrating tonight by going to see Wicked.  I can't wait!