Just Keep Swimming

To sum up how we have been since my last post in two words: extremely busy.

Between finishing my Master’s degree, working, juggling everyone’s schedules and the holiday season it feels like I am finally just starting to be able to come up for air. Here’s hoping that our 2014 will be a little more stress free and full of amazing adventures.

Things that we have been able to squeeze in during our free time:

  • Attend three super cute kids birthday parties
  • Took the cutest trash can and ladybug you’ve ever seen trick-or-treating
  • Ran another 5k that benefited the Woodland Park Zoo
  • Had a nice visit from my Mom and step-dad Gary for a long weekend
  • Took Jimi and Cecilia to their first movie in the theater
  • Celebrated James turning 30 years old with a jam session and an old fashioned house party
  • Take Jimi and Cecilia for a trip on the Santa Train on the Snoqualmie Railroad
  • Had a nice surprise visit and dinner with James Aunt Ali and her boyfriend Dan
  • Celebrated and early Thanksgiving with my family
  • Had a date night via Jimi’s preschool’s parent’s night out
  • Stated taking Jimi to speech therapy once a week (hopefully I’ll get to another post on that soon)
  • Had a fun and delicious Thanksgiving with James’ Dad, step-mom Karen,  his Jennifer, and Grandma Dorothy
  • Traumatized Cecilia and made Jimi’s dreams come true simultaneously when they both met Santa
  • Enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve with James’ Mom, step-dad Jamie, and Jennifer
  • Spent Christmas with my Dad, his girlfriend Ann and my sister’s family

know there is more but my brain is fried. If I forgot anything super awesome that we did with you, please forgive me.

And just because I love looking at pictures of my cute family over and over here is a little slide show of the last few months. Enjoy!

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Jimi’s Garbage Truck Bash

When I asked Jimi several months ago kind of party he wanted to have for his birthday he quickly insisted that he wanted a garbage truck party. I kept asking him for the next couple months and he never wavered. At one point I almost had him convinced that he wanted a Curious George birthday party, but then he informed me that his dad wanted a Curious George birthday party. (Surprise honey!).

I was a little nervous trying to figure out what to do for the party but if you search pinterest and etsy for garbage truck parties there is a surprising number of results.

Decorations for Jimi’s party were pretty easy. We put balloons on the recycling bins and garbage cans in front of the house (green and yellow for Waste management colors). But it was raining too hard for the balloons to stay up.  I went to the dollar store and bought a foam wreath which is wrapped with newspaper that I frayed and then hung one of Jimi’s toy garbage trucks in the middle of (I forgot to take a picture of that though, sorry).

For inside decorations we went some good ol’ streamers and balloons. I also spent a ridiculous amount of time making a streamer garland with newspaper and plastic bag strips in it to give it a recycled look. It took me a while to get the hang of tying the streamer and newspaper pieces on without them tearing. You have do it really gently and don’t pull it all the way tight.

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We happened to go to a “Touch a Truck” event in Marysville the week before. (Which is exactly what is sounds like. The city had a ton of different types of city vehicles, buses, firetrucks, excavators, etc out of kids to sit and climb on and mess around with). At the “Touch a truck” event they had two different garbage trucks for Jimi’s viewing pleasure. I took a picture from the event and it printed in 16×20 at Costco. I hung in the middle of a wood frame that I’d been hanging onto  that came with a dishwasher delivery. To make it look a little nicer I made a mini pennant banner to hang across the top.



We didn’t do anything too special in the way of theme foods (who wants to eat trash?) but I did make some good old fashion dirt cups. a garbage truck cake and some green cake pops with yellow sprinkles.  We also had a veggie  tray, chex mix, cheese and crackers, pigs in a blanket and a delicious brisket that my Dad started smoking at 4 am (THANKS Dad!!!)

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Thank you to everyone who was able to attend Jimi’s party and help make his birthday special!

To Jimi: Three Years Old

My sweet Jimi boy,

When you read this years and years for now and notice the late posting date, please forgive me, we have been a bit busy in our house lately. But that doesn’t make you any less special or awesome.

Here is a quick recap of your last year, your accomplishments, and overall amazingness.

  • You have greatly expanded your palate and now will eat pasta (no sauce), steak, broccoli, spinach leaves, hot dogs, pork loin, and more.
  • You started your first year of preschool and LOVE IT.
  • You love your sister to no end.
  • You ask “why?” to just about everything.
  • You are very good about minding your manners and are make sure mom and dad do to.
  • Your vocabulary has grown immensely.
  • You have held an alligator.
  • You went to Universal Studios Orlando for the first time this year.
  • You rode on Thomas the train, a monorail, and several small trains at zoos, amusement parks, etc.
  • You are very stubborn when you want to be.
  • But you are also very sweet and compassionate and love to give hugs and snuggle.
  • You took two trips to the East coast in the last year.
  • You LOVE garbage trucks.
  • You even got to sit in two garbage trucks this year.
  • You also had a garbage truck themed birthday party.
  • You were fully potty trained just a few weeks after your second birthday.
  • You also love trains, dinosaurs, trucks of any kind, and holidays.
  • You impress Mommy and Daddy daily with how well you can form sentences, questions, and complex ideas.
  • You are begin to start imaginary play and it is pretty much the cutest thing ever.
  • You have no fear of animals, heights, or climbing on dangerous things.
  • You help wash the dishes and take out the trash.
  • Your memory is impeccable and you frequently surprise Mommy and Daddy with your knowledge.
  • You are intelligent, funny, handsome, and kind.

You are such a joy and we are so blessed to have you in our family. I LOVE you!




P.S. At your three year check up you weighed 32lbs (54 percentile) and 38.25inches (64th percentile)

Cecilia 12 month check up and photo shoot

I forgot to mention on my previous post about Cecilia that she recent had her 12 month check up at the doctors and a little birthday photo shoot (not at the same time).

Cecilia’s Stats: Weight- 20lbs (51st percentile), Height- 29.5″ (56th percentile)

This was the first appointment that she has been in a higher percentile for height than weight.

Cecilia and I both caught a nasty bug on the airplane and got hit pretty hard with stomach sickness the day before her 12 month check up. So needless to say she wasn’t her usual perky self for the appointment and probably weighed a little bit less than before the stomach bug. It also means that we get to go back for a second appointment so she can get her vaccinations.

Next week she has her first dentist appointment!

Almost a year ago I stumbled upon a new photographer who a few friends from high school had used, Ashley (Photography by Ashley Mae). We used her for our family pictures last Fall and are hooked. We love her work.  She took Cecilia’s 6 month pictures, 12 month pictures and we already have scheduled an appointment for Jimi’s 3 year pictures. If you live in Washington and don’t mind traveling to the Camano Island area, I would definitely check her out. She’s great with kids, super patient, and has a great eye for getting great shots.

Here are some of Cecilia’s pictures:

Cecilia’s cupcake themed birthday party

In a little more than 24 hours we will be heading to Birmingham, AL and the Orlando, FL area for two weeks. Which means we will be out of the state on Cecilia’s first birthday (July 28th). We decided to throw an early birthday party for her this past weekend so our friends and family who won’t be on the trip were able to join in on the birthday celebrations.

We held her “cupcake” themed birthday party at Legion Memorial Park in Everett, which is one of our favorite parks to take the kids to. I ordered her invitations and all of the coordinating party pieces from The Paper Blossom Shop on Etsy. The turn around time was very quick and I was a little obsessed with the chevron cupcake design. For her birthday outfit I used Etsy again to order her a pink cupcake “pillowcase” dress from the Sprinkled Sweet Design Shop.

For decorations I made tissue poms poms with help of funny bloggers like this one. I also saw some pretty cute cupcake liner garland on pinterest and make a few of those. Who ever made the original pin did not do it correctly so I just had figure out how to make them on my own. I first measured some white thread for the length I needed it. I tied one end into a thick knot, attached a thick sewing needle and just started threading the liner through the middle onto my string. I alternated color liners and directions.

Her smash cake was made using the giant Wilton’s cupcake cake mold. And I made cupcake cake pops using the Bakerella’s Cake Pop book. I also made good old fashioned cake pops and cupcakes. I cheat and use box cake mix but I did make my own buttercream frosting with a hint of cream cheese using the recipe found here. It’s my new go to frosting and I think it’s pretty delicious.


Cupcake liner garland


Giant cupcake smash cake


Cupcake cake pop favors


Chevron cupcake pattern


Opening presents and sporting her awesome birthday dress

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Thank you to everyone who attended Cecilia’s birthday party and spoiled her with love and gifts! We appreciate you joining in our celebration! I cannot believe my sweet baby girl is almost one year old already.

James had a Birthday!


James recently had a birthday but I won’t say his age because it makes him sad. For the third row in a year now we celebrated James’ birthday with friends at Diamond Knot Brewery. He also requested the same dinner for the third year in a row (I’m thinking he doesn’t like change…), I made him blue cheese steaks and mint chocolate chip cake.

For one of his birthday presents I booked a  brewery tour with Road Dog Brewery Tours. They took us and a small group around Seattle in a cargo van to three different Seattle breweries.We went to Georgetown Brewery, Hale’s Brewery, and Hillard’s Brewery. It was a lot of fun and a great way to experience different Seattle beers that we hadn’t tried before and to meet new people. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area.





Georgetown Brewery


James at Hale’s Brewery


With our fellow tour goers at Hale’s Brewery


The outside of Hillard’s brewery


Learning about Hillard’s canning process001






For Jimi: 2 Years Old

Dear Jimi,

Well it happened, your Dad and I blinked after your first birthday party and then you turned two. The last year has been amazing to watch you grow, learn, explore, and become an independent little man. You love to give hugs and kisses and push all the boundaries and our buttons at the same time. Although there are struggles with learning how to manage an independent two year old, you light up our lives every day and we can’t wait to see how much more you learn in the next year. At your two year check up you weighed 29 lbs (63 percentile) and were 35.5 inches (80th percentile).

Here’s some facts about you this year:

  • You have yet to sleep through the night (except for the two nights you stayed with Aunt Stephanie)
  • You are a big brother
  • You love to hold, kiss and talk to your little sister
  • You are picky eater. You stick to meat and carbohydrates
  • You have a strong obsession love of garbage trucks and trains
  • You have begun the process of potty training
  • You know the colors blue and green without fail
  • You speak in three word sentences.
  • Sometimes you speak in four word sentences.
  • You scrunch up your face when you are trying to say something new that is hard.
  • You are a pro at walking up and down stairs with no assistence
  • You love to run and jump and climb on everything
  • You get a lot of bruises from all of your running, jumping and climbing
  • You give amazing hugs
  • You are taking medicine to help you go #2
  • You have been to the zoo almost a dozen times
  • You love the children’s museum
  • Your favorite number is two. You like to have two of everything
  • You caught up in the teeth department and now only need your two year molars
  • You sleep in a big boy bed (twin bed)
  • You love going to the park
  • You’ve had three haircuts
  • You have pet a kanagroo and fed a llama
  • You like following around big kids
  • You talk about your cousin John and your friend Miles
  • You have rode on a pony
  • You love Toy Story but you call it Buzz and Woody
  • You love to draw
  • You like to help mommy and daddy cook
  • You run to your sister for a hug when you are hurt
  • You like to do everything by yourself (you tell us”do it self ” all the time)
  • You are a little parrot and mimic mommy and daddy
  • You constantly amaze mommy and daddy with how smart you are and how much you know and understand
  • You are an opinionated little two year old
  • You like to ride in the hiking backpack
  • You sleep with a glow-seahorse (named Ted), a Mariner’s moose, a lamb, a polar bear hat, a monkey security blanket, a water bottle, and two blankets every night
  • You are amazing and we are lucky to have you as our son

We LOVE you!

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