Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Surprise visit

Sunday morning Vander came in to wake me up by saying, "Uncle Freddy and Aunt Annie are here." I assumed he meant they were on the computer on skype. He also said, "they can't come back here, which solidified in mind that it was skype, but it turned out they had their shoes on. They came into town and definitely surprised me! How awesome...two full days of fun ensued! We had lots of quality time and played lots of board games. The first night we made it a drinking game night. The second day we went to Children's Discovery Museum (Colby bought us a year pass for Christmas) and I'm not sure if Freddy or Vander had more fun. We went out to Red Robin for dinner (Justin didn't get to come because the boys were already in bed). Annie and Freddy's trip was quick, but fun! One funny quote while they were here...Vander says to Uncle Freddy who told him beer was for adults, " I can drink a beer in my high chair when I get older."

Christmas Eve and Day

On Christmas Eve Grammy and Pops took Vander and Oliven for the morning, while we stayed home to see if Santa needed any help assembling things. (Colby came down the day before to stay with us for a week). The boys came back and took a nap. Afterward, we went down to Larry and Theresa's house for Christmas Eve dinner with Colby and Mitch. The boys each got to open one Christmas present.
On Christmas morning we woke up and had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We all opened our stockings and Vander and Oliven got to see the playhouse Santa brought them. Vander was super excited. Grammy, Pops and Mitch came over for brunch and we opened all of our presents. The boys took their naps while we played games (Saboteur). When they got up we hung out and played Wii. We ate a fabulous Christmas dinner of tri-tip roasted on a spit, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, and corn bread with chocolate and chocolate mint pies for dessert. It was a great day and a very Merry Christmas. It was our first time hosting and I think it went pretty well.

Christmas in the Park

We took Vander and Oliven down to see Christmas in the park. I had thought about going during the day with a friends, but it just seemed so daunting by myself. We took Justin and had a blast. Vander loved looking at all the different displays and trees and so did Oliven. It was a nice family trip. We ate dinner at a sandwich shop afterward. (Justin and Vander did a special man "date" out to all you can eat sushi earlier that day). I ordered a sandwich with alfalfa sprouts on it and Vander shared with me. He took his first bite and said, "Oh no! Mine has grass in it."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This years advent list (for future reference) of activities were:
1. Make a snowman decoration
2. Color a Hanukkah picture
3. Write a letter to Santa
4. Go to Grammy and Pop's house for Latka's
5. Almaden Holiday party
6. Make a reindeer ornament
7. Play Wii with daddy
8. Go see holiday lights
9. Eat a candycane
10. Go out to sushi
11. See Santa and South Valley 2008 party
12. South Valley 2010 party
13. Build a fort
14. Paint a Christmas picture
15. Make a Christmas ornament
16. Play Wii with daddy
17. Gingerbread party at Sarah's
18. Gilroy Gardens
19. Make cookies
20. Decorate cookies
21. Roll coins
22. Go out to dinner
23. Make hot chocolate
24. Make a plate of cookies for santa

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ginger bread house decorating

We went to Polly's house this morning (Hannah's mom/Zade's grandma). She has a gingerbread decorating party every year. It's so much fun. Vander really helped out a lot this year. Mostly he was busy wowing and amazing the women with his verbal skills. He really is impressive with his vocabulary and grammar. He was very sneaky...one candy for his house, then one or two or three for his mouth. I was able to convince him to eat some good food beforehand. ; )

Sugar cookie decorating

One of the holiday traditions that I have never partaken in, but always wanted to was decorating sugar cookies (I went to a decorating party once and loved it, but it's been a long time). I want this to be a traditional yearly thing where we invite the family over and we all decorate together. Justin isn't a big fan of sugar cookies, so we made chocolate sugar cookies. Vander got to help cut out the cookies and decorate. He couldn't seem to get a cookie decorated without eating it as well, so he didn't actually get any finished. Grammy and Pops came up to decorate with us. We ended up with 74 finished cookies. Time to go share the fruits of our labor. :)

Gone with the Wind

So, 10 years (or so) after my 1st Gone With the Wind watching party I was asked to have another one. Of course I obliged. This one went much better than the last, and everyone (except Justin who never had any intentions of watching with us) made it through the whole movie. It was a fun night with the girls. Anyone who wants to see this movie, let me know in about 10 years. ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Vander really enjoys looking at pictures on the computer, which is great. He almost always requests to see the duck races pictures. We are very clear that he can't touch the mouse pad or mouse or anything else by the computer and he is pretty good about it...usually. The other day I found him with a pencil and I didn't think much of it until I saw that he had scribbled all over the notepad. It's just paper, no biggy, until...I saw the computer screen. I showed it to Justin and he took a very very deep breath, put Vander on time-out and did a great job not loosing it. It was quite a work of art on our computer monitor. Luckily it came off with screen cleaning gel for the tv monitor, but it caused Justin quite a scare. Toddlers... we still haven't gotten all the crayon off of the wall.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Busy holiday weekend

   Friday night we took Vander to Gilroy Gardens for their big lights and lazer, but we didn't realize that it doesn't really start until 8:30, which is currently an hour and a half past his bed time. We think it would be okay to keep him up, but didn't really think it would be fair to do the same to Oliven, so hopefully we can try again when Larry and Theresa can watch Oliven at our house, so he can go to bed on time. Either way it was very cool. They had tons of holiday lights on and we got to go on lots of rides with no lines, which is always nice. Vander really enjoyed himself.
  That night I got the stomach flu that is going around and was incapacitated for several days afterwards...and I had just told Freddie that I hadn't thrown-up in like 5 years, should have knocked on wood.
   Anyway, Saturday Justin took the boys to go see Santa and to Josh's birthday party. I can't be super clear on the specifics since I wasn't there, but I think they had fun. In the afternoon Justin took the boys to Vander's South Valley holiday party.
   Sunday, even though I wasn't really feeling up to it I went to cookbook club cookie-palooza. I had already made the cookies so it seemed like I should go. I got a couple really yummy cookie recipes. After that we went to Oliven's holiday party with the babies. Thank goodness it was low key. Justin helped Santa out with pictures. Vander refused to look at Santa claiming that he couldn't use his eyes. He kept telling us he wasn't going to be afraid of Santa, but maybe next year he'll be able to hold it together. It's okay to be scared of strangers with beards, I think they can be frightening too. :)

Ollie's feet

We just got back from a Dr. Godley visit and Oliven's feet are doing great. Dr. Godley says to just keep doing what we are doing and that his feet look perfect. Yay!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our 2010 Holiday letter

December 2010

Dearest Friends and Family,
The biggest news of course was the birth of our second son, Oliven Clark Katz on April 22nd. In case you are wondering, the answer is yes, he is named after Superman (like Vander Bruce Katz is named after Batman). He is a beautiful, bright, and happy little baby man. He was a nightmare for the first six months: crying and fussing all the time. This is not to say that it wasn’t justified. Oliven was born with clubbed feet (his feet were turned in and up), so he had to wear casts from 6 days old to 3 months. He then had a surgery to lengthen his Achilles tendons. He then had to wear braces 23 ½ hours a day for the next 3 months. He currently has to wear his braces 14 hours a day until he is 4 (it’s not so bad since it’s during the night and nap time). At 6 months he started sleeping through the night, sitting up, and not wearing his braces all the time, and he became a complete joy to be around. Now, at 7 months old he is crawling! I still can’t believe it!

Vander has really blossomed into a little toddler man, no more baby to be found. He started really talking at the beginning of the year and just never stopped. He is very very verbal and can hold his own in a conversation. He still loves Sesame Street. His birthday party this year was Elmo themed and he still talks about Elmo cake. He sleeps with 7 Sesame Street buddies every night (and 2 bear blankets to keep his buddies warm). Buzz and Woody made their impression on him this year as well. He even named his feet Buzz and Woody. As for sports, Vander has gotten good at throwing and catching as well as jumping. He is super interested in game playing, which is very exciting to us since we love playing games. His favorites right now are Memory, Candyland, and Chutes and Ladders. Vander loves playing in the backyard. Vander is an avid reader and enjoys books of all kinds. Story time is one of his favorite activities of the week. He also loves cartoons (nobody is surprised). Vander took swimming lessons this summer and did really well. He is excited to be in water any time, anywhere. He liked to float around on a fun noodle all by himself. He is very much like his daddy and enjoys the cold, every night in the tub he requests to have his head rinsed with cold water. Crazy kid! He knows most of the alphabet by sight and can count pretty well. He has also started singing a few songs including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Happy Birthday.

Vander and Oliven play very well together and love each other very much. Vander shares his toys and gives lots of hugs and kisses. Vander does his best to calm his brother down when he is upset. He laughs really hard when Oliven cries to try and calm him down. It’s super sweet. Both boys enjoy rolling balls to each other. When we meet people, Vander introduces Oliven as his baby. We go to playgroups on a daily basis for both Vander and Oliven and they both enjoy being around each other’s friends.

Justin is back working for his original boss again, and says, “work is work.” He spends his free time being a fabulous father, watching movies, playing games when possible, and talking about fantasy baseball. For his birthday this year I took Justin to an archery tournament. It was his first time shooting a bow and arrow, and we had a really good time. I also made him a bow and arrow cake to go with the theme.

As for me…the first part of the year was tough, because being pregnant is not an easy time for me. I had gestational diabetes this time as well. I did my very best though, with lots of help from Justin and was able to carry Oliven full term. After Oliven was born it was a rough few months because he was so fussy. I had to make sure I did everything I possibly could to make sure I didn’t get diabetes so I had to loose the pregnancy weight as fast as possible. It involved a strict workout plan and diet. Not easy when you aren’t sleeping, but I am proud to say I lost the weight. I also am now the director of Oliven’s 2010 baby group. I keep the boys and myself very busy and always try to find new places and activities to explore. If you would like to keep up with our daily lives my blog site is: www.vanderkatz.blogspot.com, I also post pictures monthly, if you would like me to send them to you, please let me know.
We hope this letter finds you happy and healthy this holiday season.
With Love, Justin, Ashley, Vander and Oliven Katz

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vander's letter to Santa

Dear Santa Clause,
  Happy Birthday! I have been a good boy this year. For Christmas I want a play house and Toy Story, okayyyy? Oliven has been a good boy too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3 firsts today!

The first two belong to Oliven. His two top front teeth broke through the gums, so he officially has 4 teeth now. He can no longer sing "All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth." His second accomplishment today was pulling himself up into the standing position using the bottom of one of the chairs! He constantly pulls himself up on mommy and daddy with help, but I garentee the chair didn't help him! The other first belongs to Vander. For advent their is a special activity each day and today's special activity was playing Wii with his daddy. For the first time he was able to play all by himself and actually accomplish his goal (not just hold the remote and suck on it). Vander bowled a 98 all by himself including picking up 2 spares!

Monday, December 6, 2010

1st Christmas party and Throw up

December really is a month of celebrations. On many days we have 3 things going on...it's a bit crazy, but fun. The Almaden holiday party was our first party where Santa made an appearance. Vander told us he wasn't going to cry when he saw Santa, but he couldn't hold it together. Santa got Vander a Count Von Count doll, so Vander was pretty happy about that. He decorated a gingerbread cookie and Hannah read the kids a Santa story.

On a side note, Vander throws up when he is not sick, but is still coughing and it is very frustrating. He had a very sensitive gag reflex (like his dad). Often when he coughs he just throws up, but you never know when it's going to happen, so he has thrown up like 6 times in the last few days, but isn't sick and feels fine. Often he asks for food right after he throws up because he is still hungry! I hope he grows out of this soon!

Bella's birthday party

Carrie is the most creative lady I know and she took on an ambitious task and had a cooking party for Bella's 3rd birthday. The kids got to make their own english muffin pizzas, help make smoothies and decorate mini-cakes. Vander thought frosting on his pizza was pretty yummy and also obsconded with another boys cake, then sprinkled sprinkles on other peoples cakes. He had a great time. Carrie also made super cute aprons for all the kids.


This year Hannukah fell on the 1st-8th of December and we decided that the Holidays would have a Toy Story theme since that is what Vander is really into this year. Grammy and Pops brought Chinese food down on the 1st and chicken on the 3rd (Justin had to work late, then went out of town for 2 days, so he missed the first three nights of Hanukkah). Then, on the 4th we went down to Grammy and Pop's house for Latkas with Heather. Vander has really been enjoying Hanukkah and even got to help light the candles this year. Vander got a glider bike for his big gift from Grammy and Pops. We got 3 excursions in New York (we're going for my 30th birthday), so that was super cool. As a family, they got us season passes to Gilroy Gardens.