Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas

It was another wonderful Christmas spent with family. The kids got lots of stuff and Tiffany and I finally bought our first set of nice furniture. We had a great time at my parent's house cooking, lounging around, hunting for tadpoles, and roaming the woods around their house. My wonderful Grandmother came out to the east coast this year so we had the chance to spend precious time with her.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snoogy the Christmas Elf

Meet Snoogy. He is an elf from the North Pole. Santa sent him to our house a couple of weeks before Christmas to see if we were naughty or nice. After staying with us he reported back to Santa on Christmas Eve with his findings. We made sure we were all on our best behavior!

There were a few rules Santa told us about Snoogy. Most importantly, no one was allowed to touch him! If we did, he would go back to the North Pole that very night.

We could ask Snoogy questions by writing down the question and leaving it out for him at night. In the morning we'd find Snoogy's reply taped up to the wall. Snoogy would stay still during the day, but at night he would get up, write us letters, and move to a different location in the house. Every morning we would wake up and come downstairs to try and find Snoogy. Here are all the pictures of his hiding places.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December Snow Storm

We got walloped with the most December snowfall in the Washington DC area history on December 19th. It was 19 inches at our house and even though it fell late on a Friday night into Saturday morning, Logan's school was canceled Monday through Wednesday of the next week (and maybe more but they already had off starting Thursday for Christmas vacation.) I spend many many hours shoveling that weekend. Since there are no decent hills around us, I piled most of the snow onto a big pile for the kids to sled down. With another pile Logan and I dug out a small igloo. It was a lot of snow. If it's going to snow, I'd rather it snow like this!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

We had another wonderful Thanksgiving up at my parent's house this year. We celebrated it with my Aunt and Uncle and their family as well. Thankfully, Uncle Steve is a fried turkey guy and he brought all the equipment over to fry us up a couple of turkeys! It was delicious!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gavin Learning to Walk

Right on cue after his first birthday Gavin started pushing around the kid size Ikea stools in the kitchen. We grabbed the walker that helped Samara learn to walk and he took to it right away. He has made more progress every single day, slowly letting go of things he would normally hold on to. Pretty soon our little guy will be walking! Yikes!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gavin's First Birthday

Our little Gavin celebrated his first birthday. We kept it low profile with just my parents here to celebrate. Tiffany's mom bought him a Teddy Ruxpin bear and all of the kids absolutely love it. It's fun to see our kids play with the same toys we did when we were that age.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

We had a very fun and very tiring Halloween this year. We went crazy on Logan's costume, Samara couldn't make up her mind between being a horse or a cat so she was both, sweet little Gavin was his usual sweet little self in Logan's old frog outfit, and we had Samara's friend Michael with us again this year.

We ended up with insane amounts of candy which I will most likely have to unload on my coworkers to avoid starting the pound packing holiday season too early this year. You know its bad when we have a pizza dinner and I think to myself "Finally, some real food!"

The video below is about Logan's Halloween. He and I both discovered a wonderful cartoon this year called "Avatar the Last Airbender." The show no longer airs so we're late to the party, but it was still fun dressing up none the less. We might be crazy for doing what we did, but I've never seen Logan more excited. It was a Halloween to remember.



The overly dramatic music is from the cartoon soundtrack. ;)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

We Moved!

After a year of staying in our friend's lovely townhouse, it was time to move out (they moved to NYC for a year, so we rented their place while they were gone.)

Living in a townhouse compared to an apartment was such a good quality of life boost, we knew we couldn't move back into another apartment this time around. We stressed out about not finding a place, lost out on a couple of townhouses that we kind of liked, then finally found the perfect one for us.

What makes it perfect is the nice quite neighborhood, the public swing set right outside, the cul-de-sac, the fenced in backyard, the shed out back, and the GARAGE (that's a big one for me.)

It's only about a mile and a half down the road from our friend's house and across the street from the apartment we lived in when we first moved to Virginia. Logan is back at the same school and bus stop as he was for kindergarten.

Lets hope we're not moving out in another year!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Gavin

Gavin has been doing this cute little giggle for a long time but I only now got it on tape. And I learned today that he knows how to clap. Surprise!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Guitar

I've recently started playing the guitar a little bit again because Gavin absolutely lights up when I start playing. As soon as I start he beams a bright smile and crawls over to start swatting at the strings himself. He'll crawl over to my acoustic guitar in the corner of the room and gently pat the wood body or pluck the stings and giggle all the meanwhile. It has gotten the other kids interested as well and they pretend to play whenever they get the chance.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dash for Dad 10k Race

I ran the Dash for Dad 10k race this weekend. It's a race to raise money for prostate cancer research that I heard about a couple of weeks ago and decided to run. I started out too fast and sort of petered out at the end, but I finished in 48:43 which isn't half bad. It was the first real race I've ran since high school. I think I want to do more!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nationals Game

Our friend Bruce invited Logan and me to go to a Nationals game with him and his son. We had spectacular seats in the second section behind home plate. The tickets came with $35 spending money built into them, so I let Logan loose and he got pretty much whatever he wanted. It was funny watching him try to carry both his giant popcorn and cotton candy while shoving the popcorn in his mouth. After the game they had a fireworks show set to Michael Jackson music which the kids loved. As expected the Nationals lost the game but it was the best baseball experience I've ever had.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jason's Baptism

We went down to Richmond this weekend to see Jason's Baptism. Establishing a new tradition, Rory cooked some more delicious BBQ in the smoker; this time pork shoulder slow cooked for about 12 hours. The baptism was awesome and the kids had a great time playing together again. I wanted to go running with Rory while I was down there, but little did I know he was following a training regement and was supposed to run 10 miles that day. My longest run was 8 miles the week prior, so I bucked up and along with our father we all ran 10 miles.

All the kids love bouncing on the trampoline, but Samara thought she was the queen of the trampoline. Any time she fell down (which was quite often) she expected everyone else to stop bouncing so she could get up. When they wouldn't she'd have one of her mini nuclear meltdowns. She wore the other kids' patience very thin.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Renaissance Festival

We went to the opening weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, or as I like to call it - the Cleavage Festival. Many-a-women leave their inhibitions at home and feel the need to wear lung popping, cleavage boosting corsets when they should'nt even dream of it. The odd balls seemed thicker this year, but thats our fault for going on opening weekend I guess.

Anyways, Tiffany couldn't be there as she was in New York City with my mother and relatives. I only braved the sweltering heat with three kids because my father came as backup, both physical and mental. We chose to go that day because it was "Pirates and Princesses Day" - where kids get in for free and are encouraged to dress up. It was mostly fun aside from one typical Samara melt down over the wrong ice cream flavor.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tiffany's Trip to KA & MO

Tiffany's mother flew in to DC the same day we return from the beach and then they left two days later to drive to St. Louis and Kansas City to visit her brother and sister. She had a great time seeing her family again and her younger sister's new home (it only hurts a little). There are plenty of cousins the same age to keep all the kids happily playing together. Aside from the nightmarish trip through West Virginia our GPS told Tiffany to take on the ride home, they had a great trip.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Outer Banks 2009

Ahhhhh, our favorite vacation destination. This time around we were able to get all of my brothers and their wives to come. Incredibly, almost all of us are now scuba certified (only 3 of the 5 women aren't) so we had a group of 7 go on our scuba trip. This year we dove to the first German U-boat that was sunk off the east coast during WWII, the U-85. It was in 95 feet of frigid water, but what a site it was. Unfortunately, Rory and I got sea sick yet again and had to sit out the second dive (I didn't want to throw up underwater anymore!)

There was some rain this year as well that put a halt to some of our plans and the mosquitoes flew around in attack squadrons, but everything else was fantastic.

The kids had a great time playing together as usual. As they get older they get along better and find fun ways to entertain themselves. We did a fun treasure hunt again this year. Tiffany and Sonya made some awesome tie dye shirts for the kids with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. After much debate, I brought my XBox 360 and Shawn brought his guitar hero game. It was fun seeing Dad and the little kids rock out on the guitars.

We all had a good time playing around in the ocean of course. The first day out, Dad, Rory, and I went for a cliche beach run. We ran about 4 miles and all I got for it was two nice blisters on each big toe - scratch that idea off the list next time.

For some reason this year we were always stepping on fish under our feet, so I decided to grab some snorkel gear and investigate. Turns out they weren't fish, they were stingrays! Everywhere!! (I know, I know... stingrays are fish, but you get the point.) I caught about a dozen blue crabs as well while snorkeling. At night time the fiddler crabs come out on the beach by the hundreds and we had fun grabbing some of them as well. Skates were swimming up and down the beach and Rory managed to net one with a big fishing net. Dad hooked a skate while shore fishing and after trying to fight it for over an hour we pulled so hard the knot on the hook came undone (trust me, as hard as we tried we weren't giving it much of a fight). While we were snorkeling we could hear the dolphins clicking off in the distance. Pretty cool!

Hopefully we'll be back there in 2011 (if not sooner!)

Here are some videos (btw, Gavin is crawling like a champ now)











Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gavin (Army) Crawling!

As we were recording the dance video below, we noticed Gavin finally scooting forward instead of backwards. He's mobile!! I'll bet by tomorrow he'll be full on crawling.

New Dance Video

Here they go again, doing what they do best.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Love Song For No One

Ok. So this is a bit of a rarity for me. I hate singing in front of people, add in trying to play guitar at the same time and the already mediocre singing becomes downright screetchy. But the kids were cute, so we grabbed the camera and I am now closing my eyes as I hit the submit button.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Model Rockets

I had few model rocket kits left over from scout camp, so when Logan's cousin was here for a week we each built one, painted it, and launched it. I still get just as much of a kick watching these rockets fly into the sky as the little guys do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Da Da

Here we're playing outside the house, riding scooters, drawing chalk on the sidewalk, and painting the model rockets I helped Logan and Jason build (Logan's cousin).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Almost Crawling

He can do push ups and downward facing dogs but no crawling yet. He's so close!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Camp Keowa - Scout Camp

Here are a bunch of pictures I took at scout camp this year. It would take too much space to provide a detailed account of everything we did there. A short synopsis would include: long drive there, wait in line, rain, church, rain, classes, rain, launch model rockets, rain, rain, fish, rain, long drive back, sleep. That pretty much sums it up. I had a great time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Camping at Blue Ridge

We took the boy scouts camping on the top of one of the blue ridge "mountains". Although not a true mountain by Western US standards, it still provided an exciting view and excellent scenery.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Samara's 3rd Birthday Party

Samara celebrated her 3rd birthday today with a Tinker Bell themed party. All of her friends came over, dressed up as fairies, had their nails painted, made necklaces, played freeze dance, and colored both on paper and the sidewalk. It was a perfect day for our not so little girl.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Camping at Burke Lake

The boy scouts and I went camping to Burke Lake this weekend. Logan loves camping and has been begging to go, but until recently it has been too cold for me to bring him (I have enough to worry about keeping myself warm in sub zero temps). This turned out to be the perfect weekend! He had a great time, especially since Logan had a friend to play with.


This will be a camp out the scouts will remember for years. As they were playing at the waters edge, one scout ventured out to far and took the plunge. Seeing that it would happen, I grabbed the camera and got it all on tape!




Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter

We celebrated a slew of April birthdays and Easter during the same wondeful weekend at mom and dads. It's always fun heading up there especially when we can visit our old friends at church. Samara took a little while to get into the easter egg hunting frame of mind, but by the end of it she and Megan came out with the most eggs! And by popular demand, here's the video of Jason getting his face pushed into the leftover birthday cake. It was all fun and games until someone got frosting in his eyes!


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lacrosse

My Aunt and Uncle Crandall and two of their sons flew from Idaho to visit the east coast. While they were here their two boys, Cameron and Adam, were playing lacrosse in the backyard and Samara and Logan both fell in love with it. Although I can't understand why, it only involves swinging sticks and throwing balls around...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Logan's New Teeth!

While helping Logan brush his teeth a couple of days ago, I noticed two new teeth coming in behind his front bottom teeth. I literally couldn't believe what I saw. I don't think we mentally prepared ourselves for him loosing his baby teeth already. We asked him if his teeth hurt or were loose and he nodded casually as if it was nothing out of the ordinary. He shouted for joy after after learning his teeth were falling out and that Tooth Fairy would stop by for a visit. The funny toothless phase of children photos is about to begin.

Our Precious Samara

I went on my first business trip this week and being a new iPod owner I was excited to finally have some music to listen to on the plane. Sunday evening I began packing my suitcase to stay the night at a friend's house closer to the airport. Just as we were about to leave I went to grab my iPod and headphones which are always on my computer desk, only this time the headphones were no where to be found. To make a long story short, I searched for about an hour to no avail. Have you ever been so frustrated at losing something you knew exactly where it was? I had just seen them on the desk a couple of hours previously so I went crazy beyond belief at their disappearance. I took the trip without them figuring that Tiffany would discover them at home while I was gone, but to my surprise she didn't.

It's now Saturday morning and 6 days have passed since they strangely disappeared. Samara was just sitting on my lap looking at the pictures I took of our trip to Richmond. I leaned back in my chair and looked around my desk and it hit me. It was one of those instant revelations where in the blink of an eye some mysterious event of the past unfolds itself to you and suddenly makes complete sense.

I stared at the large hole in my computer's sub woofer and just knew that the headphones were inside. I picked up the large box and sure enough something rattled around.

I guess I'm most amused at the timing of it all. Only one other time in her almost three year life has she hid something inside the sub woofer, and that was over a year ago. I hardly ever use those headphones and she just had to hide them an hour before I desperately needed them. I can't help but laugh.

Monday, March 30, 2009

St. Louis

I took a trip out to St. Louis for a short business trip and then stayed an extra day at Trevor and Maria's place. St. Louis is a surprisingly wonderful city with a lot to do and see. Most of all I enjoyed eating some good BBQ and going to the top of the arch! I took a stuffed monkey from home and brought him out for some cliche but cute photos.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k

We went down to Richmond for the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k run. I was registered to run but gave up my spot to Sonya since I hadn't trained at all! Dad, Rory, and Sonya all ran and finished the race. There were some great costumes - my favorites were Indiana Jones being chased by a boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love video.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The End of an Era

We finally sold the old 1991 Honda Civic. It was a great commuter car but not so great for a growing family. I had always planned on keeping it until it died but it just wouln't die (how I didn't manage to total the thing in my less than cautious driving years is beyond me.) After 18 years, 238,150 miles, and a hand-me-down car from my parents (thanks mom and dad!) it was time to let it go.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sleepy Gavin, Chatty Samara

This is the sequel to the previous video.


A Minute in the Life of Gavin

It's not uncommon for Gavin to sit and bounce like this for an hour.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sledding Samara

We've had hardly any snow for the past two years so the freak snow storm that came through today (March 3rd!!) was Samara's first chance to go sledding. We only have a little dinky hill behind our house but it was good enough for her. She couldn't stop doing this giddy little laugh the whole time we were out there (it kind of sounds like Beavis and Butt-head). Even though their little toesies were freezing they would've stayed out there all night.

Monday, March 2, 2009

"I TWO OLD!"

I love Samara's senseless two year old jabber. Tiffany was trying to help Logan by reading some text on a video game and Samara had to interject herself by talking over Tiffany. We've been having difficulty with Samara thinking she is old enough and mature enough to take various matters into her own hands, so I took this opportunity to rib her about still being a little girl.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Logan's 6th Birthday

With the recent arrival of the Nintendo DS there has been a Mario revival in our house. And even though Logan had a Mario themed birthday party last year, he wanted another one this year. Since that meant we could reuse some props from last year I was more than happy to oblige.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Hidden Gem


I caught Samara playing with our camera a week ago but never thought to check through the pictures to see if she had taken any. Today I finally pulled all the pictures off the camera and noticed she had taken about 15 pictures of nothing but the couch, the floor, a stuffed animal... and then these two pictures. Logan and Samara have an interesting dynamic. They can be the best of friends one second and the worst of friends the next. This was one of the many moments when Samara was annoying Logan. I love how unfiltered Logan's emotions are in these photos. If we were around, Logan would've played down his anger or at least tried to hide if from us. But through Samara's disobedience with the camera we were offered a glimpse into the world usually reserved for siblings.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Smiley Gavin


Sunday Lunch



The kids were being particularly cute for some reason while we sat down to lunch after church today. So we whipped out the camera!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Vanessa's Pics

Our good friend Vanessa made a surprise visit from Vermont this weekend (and by surprise I mean Tiffany opened up the front door and was surprised - although I knew beforehand.) She is an aspiring photographer and volunteered to take some family pictures for us. They turned out great! Here are a few of them. Thanks Vanessa!