My Loves

A few pictures of the kids from last week. The first two are Anna in a typical activity–trying to put on her own shoes (excuse the crazy post-nap hair). She loves to do things herself–handwashing, getting dressed, putting on shoes, etc. She says her name as “Nana.” If we try to do something for her she’ll proclaim, “Nana! Nana!” and point at her own chest for emphasis. She will usually eventually accept help if she’s not successful, but I love that she wants to try it for herself first. Okay I love it most of the time, maybe not quite as much when we’re trying to get out the door and she’s melting down because I’m putting on her shoes. The second few pictures are both kids together behind our house. We were headed out somewhere in the car so they both have their favorite animals in tow. The weather was so nice that I took a few pictures before we went on our way. I love it when they hold hands!

Maxwell is Four!

I can’t believe our sweet baby boy is a big four year-old already. At four, Max loves pizza, cupcakes, and pretty much all carbs. He likes sweet potatoes and proclaims to like broccoli, but his consumption of it suggests otherwise. Strawberries and bananas are his favorite fruits. Max recognizes all the upper-case letters and most of the lower-case ones. He can count to thirty, with occasional help. He can write his name and knows what sound each letter in the alphabet makes. He can climb up all the slides at the park and go down without assistance. Maxwell is still a huge “Blue’s Clues” fan and loves to watch the show and act out favorite episodes. Favorite books include the Arthur series, one he got for his birthday called “Why” (no surprise that one is a hit!), and the Elephant and Piggy books by Mo Willems.

Max is such a good big brother to Anna. Sure there plenty of times when he is too rough, forgets to use kind words, or need a reminder about taking turns. But those are far outweighed by his love and gentleness with her most of the time. When we tuck her in for nap he holds her in his lap in the chair and sings “Love You Forever.” He explains to her how to do new things and coaches her to say new words. Tonight at dinner Anna started to put her stuffed animal up on the table and Max said, “Don’t put that on the table, sweetie.” I love watching them together.

We love listening to him talk and hearing what he’s thinking about. The other day at dinner Max asked me, “Mama, do you remember being a baby?” I said, “No, I remember being a little girl about your age, but I don’t remember being a baby.” Then he asked, “Does Grandma remember being a baby?” I replied, “I don’t know, you can ask her tomorrow.” He thought about it for a minute and then said, “I think she does, because she’s pretty short.”

I’m treasuring these days where he wants nothing more than to be with us. Today Max and I spent the morning together, running errands and going out for lunch. At one point I said to him, “Max, I like spending time with you.” To which he replied, “I very like spending time with you, Mama.”

We had Maxwell’s official four year checkup last week, here are the official stats:

Height: 3 feet, 7 inches: 93rd percentile
Weight: 38 pounds: 65th percentile

Max had his birthday party a couple weeks after his actual birthday. We did it at the Little Gym again this year and a good time was had by all. Rest assured that there were cupcakes, I just neglected to take a picture of that part.

Happy Fourth Birthday, Max! We love you so very much.


Getting closer to caught up with the blog! We had a wonderful Easter weekend. The weather here was amazing, so warm and sunny. We had fun dyeing Easter eggs outside and had a great time at my Grandma’s–perfect weather for an egg hunt! Max remembered last Easter very well, right down to all the details of the egg hunt: “Last year, I came down the stairs, and the first egg I saw was on the gate, and it was green.” O-kay then. The kids got to do two hunts, one inside our house in the morning, and a second one outside at Great-Grandma’s. We prepped him that the eggs on the floor in our house would be for Anna and the ones in other spots would be for him. He did so well, not picking up any of Anna’s eggs, and pointing them out to her. Anna liked picking up the eggs and wanted to stop and eat the candy in each one right away. They both had a fun time with the extended family, it’s so cool to see all the little kids together, just like all us cousins growing up.

Coloring eggs. Anna did the whisk technique, Max preferred dropping the eggs into the bowls of dye. Anna was pretty covered in dye by the end.

Fun at Great-Grandma’s!

Anna wanted to try out the big kid swing. She held on tight!

“Put down the camera and open this chocolate for me!”

Florida Pictures, Final Round

Two blog posts in one night! I’m on a roll here, folks. Here is the final batch of pictures from Florida. I’m loving looking at these again as I put them up here. Such a fun time had by all!

Hanging out on the pier

Love that Anna is just chillin’ with Grandpa in this one

Ice cream time!

Grandma Helen and Max were playing in her office one afternoon. They put a sheet over the big table she has in there to make a tent. Jeff and I were upstairs and after a while they came up with Max all wrapped up like a ghost. He got a kick out of “scaring” us.


Our last day in Florida could not have been better. We spent all day at the beach and Helen planned a great birthday celebration for Max. Family from Michigan happened to be in town so they joined us, along with Alex and Kelli who live locally. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen Steve and Marg and Julie, and I loved having time with them and the chance for them to spend time with the kids. It was the perfect way to cap off our trip.

Birthday picnic!

Max was SO cute opening his presents. Each time he would exclaim in excitement, “Oh my gosh! Wow!” as he opened a gift. He was thrilled with everything and we were quite entertained watching him.

Just three guys, sitting around chatting and enjoying the beach. Side note: You can tell Alex is the local by how bundled up he is, while us Seattle folk were in shorts.

Searching the beach for shells with my cousin Julie

Florida Pictures, Round Four

Trying to get caught up on blogging! One more batch of Florida pictures coming right after this one, and then I’ll work on Easter and Max’s birthday. It’s been a wonderfully busy spring so far and I’ve neglected the poor blog. Here are some more photos from our amazing trip. Thanks again, Dad and Helen, for everything!

Max and Grandma Helen played with Play-Doh one evening. Max wanted to make a snowman, so they did. Then we asked what the snowman’s name was and he considered for a moment and then said with a grin, “Trash can.” Funny guy.

There’s a cool nature preserve not far from Dad and Helen’s house. It has a little playground area, lots of walking paths, and an observation tower. We had a great time wandering around and enjoying the view from up high.

Anna insisted on climbing all the steps to the top of the observation tower. Didn’t want to be carried at all!

Max wanted to push Anna in the stroller. His steering leaves a bit to be desired, but it was so cute to watch.

Max making fresh squeezed orange juice with Grandma Helen. Delicious!

Fun with Grandpa’s iPad:

Florida Pictures, Round Three

More fun in the sun!

Walking to the neighborhood pool, pool noodles in tow.

Playing dominoes is a favorite Florida activity. Chester Bear got in on the fun.

One night we were finishing up dinner while the kids played in another room. I went to check on them and found them snuggling in this cozy chair:

We were getting ready to go somewhere and the kids both brought their favorite animal. They were being so cute, giving them big hugs.

Evening beach visit:

Florida Pictures, Round Two

As promised, more pictures from this year’s trip to Florida. There’s at least one more batch coming.

Max loved running into the water up to about his knees, then running back out and laying down in the sand “to dry off.”

Sharing snack al fresco

Feeding the seagulls before we leave the beach is a must-do

Anna got restless while out to dinner one night, so Grandma Helen took her out for a walk

Florida 2013

We are very lucky that my dad and Helen not only have a home in Florida but very generously host us there every spring. We look forward to this trip all year, it is so wonderful to have a taste of sun and warmth but more importantly to have a week with them! The kids are blessed to have such amazing grandparents in their lives. Thank you Dad and Helen for taking such good care of us and spoiling us when we visit. We love you very much!

We spent lots of time at the beach as usual this year. The kids loved playing in the sand, standing in the water, searching for shells, and going down the slides on the beach. One beach visit Anna spent over an hour playing with a bucket of water–scooping sand into it, splashing her hands in the water, putting shells in and taking them out. We also visited Max’s favorite local restaurant twice. They serve an amazing buffet that includes a salad bar, a variety of pizzas, and ice cream for dessert. This year Max proclaimed it, “The best pizza I’ve ever had” so we had to go back for a second visit.

Another treat this year was overlapping with my aunt and uncle and cousin who were visiting from Michigan. We hadn’t seen them in far too long and I loved watching them interact with the kids. They joined us, along with another local uncle and aunt, for a beachside picnic to celebrate Maxwell’s birthday. Helen put a lot of work into it and it was a great success. We had a picnic lunch, cupcakes, and Max got to open presents. He was so excited by each present, it was really cute. Each time he would say, “I wonder what’s in this present” and then would gasp in delight as he opened it, exclaiming “Wow!” or “Oh my gosh!” (the latter is a new favorite expression, I’m guessing he picked it up from someone at preschool).

We took about 800 pictures and it was very hard to narrow them down for the blog. I’m going to do a couple installments, so below is just the first batch. I’ll do another post soon with more.

The trip down. Both kids did great on the flights. Anna had a few bouts of crying, mostly when she had to be seated for takeoff and landing, but overall she did really well.

Playing with the iPad was a hit with both kids this time:

We love the beach! This batch of pictures has lots of me and Anna, there will be some of everyone else in the next round.

More photos to come!

A Walk in the Woods

We’ve been rather housebound for the past few days since Anna has been sick. Thankfully today she seemed pretty close to her old self, other than she still doesn’t have too much of an appetite. So we went out for lunch and then after rest time we took the trail through the woods to “blue slide park” (Max differentiates our neighborhood parks by slide color). The air was crisp but the sun was shining, and it felt great to be outside. On one stretch of the trail there’s a steep hill. Max instructed me to pretend that I had never seen it before. Then I needed to be “a little bit scared” and he gave me reassurance and encouragement as I climbed it. We enjoyed time at the park and then walked home again. Perfect Sunday afternoon together!

Max said “Wow! Look at that! It’s the tallest tree I’ve ever seen!”

Having fun in the stroller:

This is his “I’m smiling for the camera” face:

Managed to coax a “real” smile also:

And one more of our punkin:

Star of the Week

Max was the “Star of the Week” at preschool this past week. As such, he got to wear a special crown at school both days and bring it home. When he arrived at school on Tuesday, Miss Megan went to get the crown that the other kids had worn. She quickly discovered that it would not in fact fit his head. So he got a custom crown. Maxwell was excited to pick an item to put in the “secret box” and bring to school to share (a ball with stars). He wore his crown at home Tuesday and wanted us to make a matching one for Chester bear.

The things he says are so funny. A week or so ago he told me, “Mama, you look so pretty when you get home from work. But only when you get home from work.” Um, thanks? He loves when we are silly and will often feed us our lines and reactions: “Okay Daddy, can you be silly and not think that this toy piggy bank will make a sneezing sound, and then make that funny face when it does?” His birthday wish list is getting quite long and now includes a piano (that one’s going to be a few years, buddy). He asked at dinner recently, “Will you and Daddy come to my birthday party?”  When he explains something important to Anna (e.g. “Anna, don’t knock over my block tower”), he leans in really close and says it about an inch from her face. She doesn’t seem to mind.  I love watching his brain work and engaging in conversation with him. Here he is with Chester in their matching crowns:

While I was taking the above pictures, Anna was doing this:

You might notice she’s not wearing pants. This is a common occurrence these days, because she wants to put them on herself after every diaper change, but isn’t quite able to get them all the way on. When she says her name it comes out, “Nana.” So we’ll start to put her pants on and she’ll shake her head, push our hands away and insist, “Nana! Nana!” She’s also added the word “Up” to her repertoire, and uses it most frequently when I’m attempting to make dinner and she wants to be held RIGHT NOW. She loves the kitties and does her best to give them pats and kisses, though it can be a challenge to get them to hold still long enough for that. I love watching her pretend play–she’ll make a fake crying noise for one of her babies and then pick the baby up and give him a hug and kiss, and then the crying stops. So cute!