Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas!

Here are a few photos to capture our Christmas...
Louie and Blake playing with their cousins

Louie playing in the snow!
Daddy teaching Louie how to snow ski.  He loved it!
Christmas Morning!
The second the flash goes off, we loose his smile and get a startled look instead!
Merry Christmas Louie!
A great photo of Blake - Christmas 2011 - Salt Lake City, Utah.
Christmas morning with Blake
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dear Santa,

Where's Santa?

What a fantastic experience! This year Louie UNDERSTANDS the concept of Santa and the connection with presents.  So when we told him we were going to visit with Santa and tell him what we want, he could barely contain himself all day.  He would  practice what he was going to say -- over and over again!  When we finally got our turn to go inside the house and meet Santa, Louie FROZE.  He covered his face as if to disappear. (Now I wish this concept really worked for the embarrassing moments in my life.).  We slowly melted him onto Santa's lap.  He went mute. Santa talked to him about his birthday, dog and new baby brother (all talking points we emailed earlier).  Eventually, Santa was able to show him a little gift (we had delivered a week ago) which snapped him out of his "oh my gosh this is the real Santa" stage fright. Santa gave him a little bag of treats for his dog, Murphy.  You could see the surprise on his face, "How does Santa know?"  Oh he was so happy.  Just as he got off Santa's lap, he remembered what he was going to say, "Santa, can I have Diesel train please?"  Santa, like magic, already had it in hand. His hands went over his gaping mouth in surprise!  Louie unwrapped his present to find the very train he wanted.  Again, "How did Santa know?"  I think the connection has cemented now.  I wonder how long his list will be next year?
Isn't he a great Santa?!
This picture with Santa was barely OK with Louie, only after he had gotten a present.  This picture was also taken just before Blake burst into tears!  Timing is everything.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Louie's Third Birthday

Louie is three years old!  We decided on a Toy Story theme at the Hobby Farm/horse stables. 
Here's the birthday boy all ready for his party!

Toy Story Friends:  Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Minnion, Cowboy, Jesse, Woody and Woody II
Abigail gave horsey rides to Louie (aka:  Woody) and all his Toy Story friends.  These photos are so cute.  I would put Louie into riding lessons just for the photos!  Seriously?
Louie aka:  Woody
Jordie aka:  Jesse 

Andrew  aka:  Mr. Potato Head
Joe:  Handsome Cowboy
They had just as much fun climbing on the fence and huge log
Jesse, Minnion, and Woody 

At three, he walks around like he owns the place!

We constructed our own Buzz Lightyear Lasers out of PVC pipe.  Then we did a little target practice with marshmellows.  I think more were eaten than actually aimed.  But that is what a party is for!

This is baby Blake skipping target practice...just catching a quick nap before cupcakes.  Happy Birthday to the birthday boy turning three!!!
Happy Birthday to You!
Now, that is one happy cowboy!
Happy Birthday Louie!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Don't Forget

 We have been wanting to go to Dubrovnik, Croatia for some time.  The entire country is on the Adriatic Coast with many small islands to visit and explore.  We packed up two kids, two strollers,  baby food, and diapers.  I think I may have had only two pair of pants for myself in our luggage! 
Dubrovnik's old city was charming with the cobblestone walking streets, old shops and churches. This is a picture of Blake and me on the main street of the old city.

 As always, I was fascinated with their form of government (some politicians could only hold office for a month), their history and what architecture still remained despite their earthquakes and wars.
Louie and I went two days ahead  (due to some logistical reasons).  He loved chasing pigeons through the square, eating ice cream, and going to see the fish, sea turtles and eels in the aquarium.

Once Cody and Blake joined us, we walked/hiked the many steps along the city walls.  The scenery was stunning. 

Afterwards, we enjoyed some ice cream.  This was Blake's first taste and second and third!  He kept grabbing my hand to bring over more when he was ready.

The following day, we took a boat and sailed to three different islands. We walked through the small towns, saw the local cow and played on the beach.  Louie and Blake really enjoyed being on the boat too.  Until at the end of the day, Louie kept telling me that his tummy hurt.  I thought he was hungry.  Quite the opposite, he chose to get rid of anything in his stomach and onto my legs!  Poor guy was sea sick! 

One day we took a road trip to Montenegro in our little roller skate of a rental car.  Our GPS led us astray to some of the most stunning views.  After 32 switchbacks, we came to the top of the mountain and found a bar and a small, small farming village.  Clearly, we were not close to our destination - the Bay of Kotor.  We walked around, changed some diapers, ate a few snacks and then back down the switchbacks.  This picture is at switchback #14 where you can see the bay below.
 At this point we still hadn't found it.  Back to the bottom of the mountain, we saw the clearly huge sign we missed due to our dutiful efforts to follow our GPS.  The bay at sundown was like a picture postcard.  So beautiful. This picture doesn't do it justice
We packed up two kids into two strollers and off we went into the tiny old city.  We had some delicious pizza al fresco and strolled the streets until the kids were absolutely DONE; which made for a peaceful ride back to Dubrovnik.  Loved Montenegro -- would definitely go back.
 Our last day was spent in Bosnia.  On our drive to Mostar, it was surprising to see many of the buildings hadn't been repaired since the war.  The people were very friendly and helpful when our GPS once again was guiding us along the "shortest route!"  Once in Mostar we found the famous Old Bridge and cobblestone streets of the old city.  The main street was very fairytale-esque.  We bought some fun old fashioned children's toys from a shop and of course magnets to add to our collection. 

This sign is leaning against the left side of the pink store.
Cody and I were so TIRED when we got home.  Who knew?  The days of coming home relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated from a vacation are a thing of the past.  However, we enjoy taking the kids to see, to learn about other countries and cultures of the world.  When is the next time we are going to have a conversation with Louie as to why that building is "broken?" while traveling through Bosnia.  Amongst our exhaustion, this is the take home message we can't forget. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Times Have Changed

Last Halloween, Louie did NOT want to dress up in his costume when all his friends came over for a party.  He was suppose to wear one of those cute lion costumes with the fringe on the hoodie to surround his face.  With the cringing scream he let out, you would have thought I had asked him to donate all of his trick or treat candy to Cody (which some of it did).  So not much success with the costume last year.
THIS YEAR, was a completely different story--matter of fact, TOY STORY.  He loves the movie and often creates dialogue (using some unknown voice) between Woody and Buzz.  Crossing my fingers, I bought a Woody costume for Louie and a Baby Buzz Lightyear costume for Blake.  Blake's costume was the default but in the end... the star of the show that night.  Oooops!

I wasn't sure if Louie would wear his costume to his school party.  So I didn't say a word and just began to dress him for the day as if he always wore a sheriff's vest with a gold star.   Thankfully, he really liked the star and so the vest stayed on.  However, he drew the line at wearing the fabric cowboy boots over his shoes.  The school party was a success.  I am pictured with him in my Snow White costume I have milked for at least 10 years.

In getting ready for trick or treating, I was nervous Louie would want the Buzz costume since he at times considers himself the "alpha child" and gets first dibs on everything.  But I kid you not, he saw me dressing Blake and cooed, "Awe, a baby buzz year for baby Blake!"  He was so excited for him and I was over the moon that this night could possibly be drama-free!
We only trick or treated to a few houses of our favorite friends.  They loved it!  A few hours later, Louie and I were on a plane to Croatia with Cody and Blake to follow two days later...see our next post.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blake's Metamorphosis

When Blake was born, he had very dark hair.  We were told eventually it would grow out and turn blond like his other birth siblings.  Blake has such dark hair and a ton of it that I just couldn't imagine him any other way.  Well, it happened!  Here's how Blake went from having dark brownish/black hair to a Swedish blond...
 In this photo, Blake is two months old.

Four months old.
Five months old

In this photo, Blake is six months old and a little blondie.  Can't believe it!