Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Sven from Sveeden"

Today we took my sister to the Olympic time trials in Park City.  I had never been to an event like this but was captivated!  It’s one thing to see ski aerials on TV but  another to be there in person. 
Blake was decked out in his new sunglasses for the first time.  We could not get over ourselves!  We were laughing so hard.  He put on those sunglasses, put his hands in his pockets and began to strut!  He knew he looked cool.  We started to call him Sven from Sweden.  So entertaining. 
And leave it to Park City to build a whole play area for the kids and booths to keep them entertained.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Do you want to build a snowman?

My sister and I took Louie to the movie, Frozen.  I think we LOVED IT and he just really liked it.  The voices were incredible.  20 minutes into the show, my sister is looking online to see who they are.  Well of course, one of the voices is Elphaba from Wicked.  And the other was Kristen Bell.  Who knew she had a voice???  It was excellent and totally set up for Broadway in the future.  So of course the next day, Louie wants to build Olaf the snowman.  Well, our snow wasn’t packing too well that day and he turned out on the small side.  But cute nonetheless!  And not to be missed in the picture, Stormfly and Toothless (Blake’s dragons) were placed as close as possible.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Ohhhh, Louie and Blake were up EARLY today!  I don’t think the sun was up yet.  Somehow Cody and I rallied to make breakfast and break open a Diet Coke. Even Grandma Marcy had a Coke.  The boys were running around in their jammies waiting to open presents while we got breakfast on the table.
 Yesterday, I found this yummy breakfast recipe that included chopped up cinnamon rolls, eggs, cream and butter.  I figured any dish with those four ingredients would be deserving on a Christmas morning for breakfast.  It was divine.  I think this might be a repeat for next year.  
After breakfast, we opened a few gifts while waiting for our cousins to join us.  Blake loved all his new DRAGONS.  And Louie was delighted that Santa did remember the T-Rex after all!   Blake was a little confused why ALL the presents under the tree weren’t for him? We had to coax several presents out of his hands and redirect him to his dragons!  We came close to a few botched surprises for the cousins.
 Marcy prepared a delicious Christmas lunch with beef tenderloin and ham this year.  Afterwards, we opened stockings from Grandma Marcy and then gifts from our cousins.  Louie could not be more pleased with his green candy cane.  

 This is an attempt at a panoramic picture of a few of us opening gifts on my phone.  

 We had a very Merry Christmas this year!  It's always surprising to me out of ALL the gifts that the boys received, they truly just hold onto the one thing they asked for in their letters to Santa.  Louie loved his T-Rex.  And Blake loved his dragons.  Note to self!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Our boys have been talking about making snow angels, building snowmen and skiing since Halloween.  They couldn't be more excited to jump into the fluff!
Ready to pounce the snow!
Ready to pounce Blake!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

So Grown UP

Blake has a fetish with dinosaurs now.  Sometimes he will ROAR in response to questions.  We have to kindly remind him to turn off his inner dinosaur and use his words.  He also invents words to sing his dinosaur songs.  Such as…”Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, ROAR, ROAR, ROAR, ROAR, ROAR, ROAR, ROAR, ROAR, ROAR.  Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs ROAR, ROAR, ROAR all through the town.  He even incorporates them into familiar stories, “Dinosaur, Dinosaur.  What do you see?  I see a dinosaur looking at me.”  And of course as a previous teacher, I am elated to hear the familiar rhyme of Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  What do you see?  In this photo he is ROARING as I am trying to get him to smile.  No such luck.
 In my further attempt to get a picture of my baby "all grown up" I realize (as usual) I need to go with the flow and embrace it.  So in my baby's "all grown up" photo, there are his dinosaurs of which he could not be more proud.  Surprisingly, there are only two dinosaurs... usually there are at least four... two for each hand.  Today must have been a light day. 

Eventually, I did sneak a quick pic as he was telling me all about his dinosaurs.  Such a happy boy in the world of dinosaurs!

Monday, December 9, 2013

So Excited about Santa...Maybe.

Yep, it's Santa Claus!

Just going to keep on walking...your turn Ludie (Louie).
 Louie and Santa.  Louie made a red paper airplane for Santa.  And Santa had a gift for Louie and his sick dog, Murphy. 
Now Blake's turn.  Just keeping a few feet distance but really wants that present.  Walking back and forth... not sure.  Finally, goes in with a safety
We eventually get a "thanksh!" from Blake.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween!  We had a little decorating party with our friends Benny and Max.  Pumpkins, bats, cats and witches were decorated and sometimes redecorated with a different choice of candy or sprinkle.  Yummmm!
Or sometimes the frosting didn't even make it to the cookie and was directly deposited at the final destination... some may call this cheating... others might call it efficiency.

While we were waiting for another batch of cookies out of the oven, Blake provided us with some entertainment with his latest trick of kicking up his back leg.

A quick picture of Blake with his friend, Betty/Wonder Woman.  Not sure where Blake's boots went to his Woody costume?!  But he sure couldn't take his eyes off Wonder Woman. 
Trick or Treat! with our buddies, Max and Benny.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

When in Rome...

do as the Romans... and we did.  We had three days to take in Rome at our leisure.  Louie and Blake slowed our pace to take in the streets of Rome in addition to a few famous sights. One of our favorite times of the day was from dusk into the evening.  Our boys were rested from their naps and ready to pick up the pace.  We saw many of the monuments at night, enjoyed dinners in the cool autumn air and stopped for gelato whenever it presented itself. 
Louie at a children's wooden toy store dressed as Pinnochio
Trevi Fountain...Blake is always curious to see if Louie smiled for the camera.

Roman Colleseum

The history of the Sistene Chapel was my favorite.  Michelangelo had to be talked into taking the job and only on the condition that he would design it his way.  When he started the figures were smaller and more detailed.  As the project began to drag on, the figures on the ceiling began to get larger with less detail.  I guess we all have deadlines.  But I loved it.  Cody and I traded off with the kids to best concentrate on the amazing art and details of the history.  Saturday morning we visited a local farmers market.  So interesting to shop in their spice bins, gawk at their gorgeous flowers and smell their rich leather.  Sunflowers instantly make me think of this market.
As we were walking down the street, I watch Blake as he rounds this corner at top speed.  Not sure if he's invaded someone's private courtyard or just walked into a government office, I run after him and literally stopped in my tracks at this scene...

Not a soul is in there but Blake running around on the cobblestone paths. When the paths soon became railroad tracks and I knew this would not be a quick stop! 
The Spanish Steps and gelato are the perfect combination...slowed down our steps to enjoy the view.
And this was only the first three days of our family vacation.  We loved Rome and were sad to leave.  I think this will be a favorite repeat destination in the future.
Our vacation continued on a cruise to Sicily, Athens, Ephesus and finally the island of Crete.
Sicily:  We ventured beyond the port to a small village called Terra Mina.  It was a series of switchbacks to this village at the top of a mountain.  I ventured into a little shop which caught my eye with handwoven linens.  I have to say this is not a typical store for me.  Usually, I am caught up in the pottery stores or bookstores collecting children's stories from other countries.  But today, I spent time talking to the owner about her products, life in Sicily and our children.  Early in our conversation, I had mentioned both of of our boys are adopted.  She shared they had two boys and had always wanted a girl.  They were contacted by their priest saying there was a young woman at the convent who was pregnant and her elderly boyfriend wouldn't marry her.  So she came to convent seeking help to place her baby.  The priest contacted the shop owner.  Sadly, she couldn't take this baby girl that she really wanted to join their family.  Since it wasn't through proper government channels, the shop owner was afraid of extortion and eventually loosing the baby to the government.  So they they chose not to take the baby girl at all which made her very sad.  But she ended the story telling me how much she loves her two boys but claims that adopted babies are loved twice as much.  First they are loved because they were wanted.  Second, they are loved when they are placed with a family.  I thought that was a really beautiful way to explain it. 
It was overcast this day.  But this is a view below the town of Terra Mina.  

Athens:  We can't talk about it too much.  It was one of those days we have to focus on the end result and not the details.  Cody HAD to get a family picture in front of the Acropolis.  Simple enough.  We can do this.  However...downpour of rain, no umbrellas, only sandals, carried the kids up huge slippery stone steps with 10,000 other people, temps dropped, got the picture of us drenched, meeting point didn't work, were separated for two hours, took a break for hot chocolate and somehow met back at the cruise ship. 
Athens, Greece:  Acropolis.  I don't know how the camera made us look dry.  Its actually pouring down rain?!
Warming up with hot chocolate!  

 Ephesus:  What an adventure!  At the port, found a local bus to take us to the ruins.  Local bus means a van packed with people sitting and standing and windows opened for ventilation.  Hilarious.  Through some sort of communication, we figured out that the local bus stop was 5 km from the ruins.  Thankfully, there were a few taxis and caught a ride.  The ruins of Ephesus were amazing.  Loved the Rick Steves audio that Cody downloaded from the website.  Blake slept most of time in the stroller as we learned about ancient society's way of life and learning.
This two story building was their library.  At this time in history, this is when they switched from writing on stone and created books out of papyrus.
I don't have a picture of it... but the public bathroom was designed in a circle.  Why?  Because this is where the men would take their time to do their business -- in both meanings of the word. As we exit the ruins, we come across the souvenir shops and were stopped in our tracks nudging each other at the sign below!  
On the local bus heading back to the cruise ship.

Crete:  A gorgeous day at a gorgeous location!  The temperature was a perfect 70 degrees while we walked along the boardwalk and soaked up the sun.  Before getting back on the ship we enjoyed a crepe and shopped the markets. 
Life on the cruise ship is the best kept secret for small children.  We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony and were able to examine other cruise ships as we came into each port.  On this particular day, the cruise ship examinations seem to be more interesting than breakfast.

Louie was old enough to go to the kids club.  They were great!  He enjoyed different activities and themes through the day:  pirates, dinosaurs, art, games, cooking, animals and insects.  Below, Louie in his chef's hat.

At the end of the week, the kids club put on a talent show.  This drew quite a crowd.  Here is Louie doing the "chicken dance" with his age group.  Hysterical!
Here is his "Royal Caribbean Medal" for participating in the talent show.  So proud!
Then of course, Blake had to have one like his big brother, Louie.
Overall, the trip went by too quickly!  We had a great time!!!  I think cruising will be in our future once again. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Last Bite of Summer!

We have had a summer full of swimming, playing with cousins, soccer, summer corn on the cob, reuniting with friends and family, hiking, Bear Lake raspberries, boating, and riding their scooters in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.  We have tried to take in every favorite restaurant, outdoor summer concert, lunch dates with friends and weekend trips to see family.  And we have loved every minute of it!  However, I think the boys are ready to go back to school and get back into our routine again.  I know I am!  :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Play Date with Blake's Birth Siblings.

This picture is telling of our day with the Larson Family.  Louie and Blake were having so much fun with Blake's birth siblings that we could hardly assemble them for a picture! Lots of tickling, giggling and camera's pointed in their direction.  In this photo are the four birth siblings older than Blake.  Too bad you can't see it in this photo, but Blake looks just like Olivia (is sitting next to him on the stairs) who then in turn looks just like Ryan (Olivia's adoptive father--who is a brother to the birth mom of this crew!).  The only missing birth sibling is Chase who had already started school in Arizona.
It was a small Larson reunion (Blake's birth siblings and their Larson cousins).  We congregated at Paige's house which in essence is a rural Disneyland.  The kids loved feeding and petting the chickens, playing in the "sishy pond" (Koi fish pond) tether ball and badminton.  All the kids have grown up so much since our visit last summer.  Blake gravitated to the older Larson teenage cousins.  They would indulge him with any request.  Hence the picture below.  Blake is strumming a really nice guitar!
I love that we have started this tradition of play dates with birth siblings while the boys are young. They easily play with both sets of birth siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.  They are blessed to grow up with an "extended" extended family. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

RV Trip with Dad

Cody has always had this dream of taking his family on a road trip in an RV.  This could stem from his history of watching too many Chevy Chase vacation movies!  Who can say? 
Anyway, this year he decided to take the boys on an RV trip while I spent my annual week at the beach with my girlfriends.  I like to refer to this week as "Juju Appreciation Week."  I think the RV trip this year might have amplified the appreciation part.  :)
I helped Cody pack the RV with everything he could possibly need for two boys in the wild, lovingly kissed and hugged all my boys good bye and waited for the first report that night.  After three hours, I get a phone call from Cody explaining to me how he has had to stop the RV three times so that Louie could go to the bathroom.  Louie was so excited there was a "kitchen with juice" and a potty in the car. Cody would drive as far as he could while they were sleeping and then camp for the night at an RV park.  The days were filled with
exploring the terrain of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  At one point I got a call from Cody saying he wanted to buy property in Montana due to the gorgeous rivers and mountains.  After five days, they were suppose to end their trip in Bear Lake for a few days.  Knowing they were close to home, Cody pressed on to make it to their own beds and skipped Bear Lake.  If you know Cody, this is highly unusual.  He LOVES Bear Lake.  However, I think "Juju Appreciation Week" may have only needed 5 days this year rather than seven!  Here are a few highlights from their trip...
Cody really wanted to stop and visit with the locals and try out the specialties at the drive-ins and diners.  Here they are indulging in shakes at a local diner in Wyoming.
The Infamous RV.  Cody slept on a queen size bed in the back.  Louie slept on a top bunk above the drivers seat.  And Blake slept where the kitchen table converted to a bed.  There was a shower in the size of an airplane bathroom and a small kitchenette with a microwave.  Let's be honest... all you really need is a microwave and some hot dogs.

Super happy to be out of the RV and exploring the river.  Water is usually a guarantee of a good time.
Coming to the end of a fantastic boys road trip in an RV.