Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nickel City fun

  It's been a long time since we have been to Nickel City and it's just so much fun for cheap (though not nearly as cheap as it was a few year ago, the price of games has doubled), but we just bought a groupon the other day for up to 6 admissions, 100 tickets and $2 in nickels for $7, so how could we pass that up??? I wanted to find something fun for the boys and for Colby, so we headed out for some fun. We had a great time hoopin' it up. Vander and Ollie liked the car ride, Colby likes the nickel drop that scrapes the money and I like the ball drop. Ski ball was a favorite of everyone. Pick your nickel loosing poison. :)
  We had fun and then went home and looked at Christmas lights before eating a yummy spinach lazagna. We ALWAYS love hanging out with "Uncle Colb." Now he is headed to an adventure pushing coffee in Keystone for the next 4 months. I hope he has a blast!

Cookie decorating party

  I decided to use Hannah's recipe for cookies and frosting this year. Super yummy, but my gosh was it a TON of time and work. First you make the cookies, then you chill the dough, then then you roll it out, cut the cookies, and bake them. Wait for them to cool, ice the cookies, but first outline them (two kinds of icing). Then wait for that to dry to actually decorate them. They were fun and looked awesome, but I think I'm looking for an easier way next year. Anyway, Vander was really into this year and decorated MORE than he ate! Ollie, not so much. Larry and Theresa came up to help out. Larry was more of an overseer. We had a really good time and I'm enjoying this tradition.

Gingerbread decorating at Polly's.


 This was our third year attending and our fourth year being invited. Polly puts on quite a spread. She makes a ton of gingerbread houses, icing, and gets all kinds of candy. She also makes huge gourmet quality meals. It's truly amazing. She has been doing this party for 20 years. This was her twins 21st birthday and she started it for their first birthday. Polly is my ideal of a mother. She is truly inspirational.
  Colby was lucky enough to be in town for the party for his second time, so he got to enjoy it with us again this year. This was Justin and Oliven's first time. We had a fun time decorating and eating. I'm pretty sure Vander tasted each and every piece of candy that was there.

Neighborhood lights

  Christi and I got the neighbors together for apple cider in our garage and cookies, followed by walking around the block and looking at the lights. Afterwards we headed over to Christi's for more treats and voted on our favorite houses. I tried to get people to carol, but was out-voted.
  Christi had made "fake" snow for the kids to play in. Our house was voted the best lights of the year and we won the golden pine cone.
It was a fun evening and the boys thought it was super cool that they got to go out in their pajamas to hang out with their favorite neighbor, Nathaniel.
We opened our first holiday gift earlier that night as Justin had gotten us a family set of beanies. How cute are we???

Happy Hannukah


  We have gotten the chance to spend Hannukah with family several nights this year. We kicked it off (a few days early, but who is counting) at Robin's house for a yummy dinner with Robin and Mitch joining in the fun. We went down to Larry and Theresa's again on Wednesday night (Larry cooked the latka's on the BBQ for the first time and it was a huge success) and they are coming over with Chinese food tomorrow night.
The boys have really enjoyed themselves and are very much into the spirit of Hanukkah and Christmas. It's been a very fun and festive December.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gilroy Gardens Holiday lights

 For the second year in a row we took Vander to Gilroy Gardens Holiday lights. This year we were prepared that the lights show didn't start until 8:30pm. He was pretty stoked to be out way past bed time, though he was yawning quite a bit, and was a bit of a cranky pants the next morning. Anyway, he loved going on the rides and being with his parents. He was worried we might miss the lights the whole time however. We bought him a make your own smore. He really liked that. It was his first smore. He said that he was really sad that Ollie couldn't come with us. We thought one cranky kid the next day would be enough this year. 
  We were supposed to get in free with our 2012 season passes, but through miscommunication we ended up having to pay. Either way, it was a good night and we had lots of fun. The laser lights show was pretty cool and it included lasers, holiday lights, and fireworks all to music. Vander got to see Santa for the 3rd time this year, and this time he sat on his lap. This is HUGE progress for Vander. He wouldn't get near him the first time, the second time he talked to him, but kept his distance and this time he sat on his lap. No pictures of your own allowed at Gilroy Gardens though.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cake Decorating


I took the Wilton Cake Decorating Class #3. This is the 3rd and final class, at least until they come up with another one. ;) Here are some of the things I learned to make. The pink one wasn't mine, my friend Kristin made this one. Justin said that my cake looked like an old ladies hat.

Holiday parties

   Our first holiday party of the 2011 season was the South Valley 2008 party, which was really nice. I got to use my home-made fondant to make a snowman cake, which I got lots of compliments on (for both the decorations and the taste, so that was good). Vander and Ollie got to do some fun ornament making and Hannah catered a burrito bar, Arielle did a little Hanukkah corner with a Hanukkah story, which Hunter informed her was not a very good story. They also did a book exchange, so overall a good time.

  Today we went to Vander's pre-school party which was really cute. They had a pajama breakfast party and Oliven and I were invited back at 10:45am to make wreaths with the preschoolers. It was a super cute family activity. The best part though was at the beginning when the kids sang Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (with their little noses painted red). The kids also made us cinnamon rolls and had a smorgasbord of candy canes, cookies and doughnuts. I almost forgot Santa showed up and gave each of the preschoolers a gift. Vander and Santa ended up having a very nice conversation.  He still wouldn't get that close to Santa, but he did tell him that he wasn't that scary. Vander also told Santa thanks for the note he wrote.
   Oliven's holiday party was just as fun, but twice as crowded. We enjoyed spending time with our friends and eating Italian food. We also ate the chocolate reindeer that we made. Yum.

No muss, no fuss debauchel

My friend Sarah posted this super easy, no mess project as a possible project for our holiday party. I thought it looked fun, so I bought some glitter. That was my first mistake. The project is that you cut thick paper in red and green to look like Christmas balls, then you put double sided tape on in stripes and let the kids shake glitter onto it inside a ziplock back. Sounds pretty no muss, no fuss right??? Boy was I wrong...
  After Vander did his first shaking he decided he knew what he was doing so he was going to do it himself. He had seen me shake the glitter into the bag and decided he would do a different color. He took it upon himself to open an entire shaker of glitter by the big opening (not the shaker part) and it dumped out all over the kid table, the floor and all over Vander. Luckily Oliven was far enough away not to be caught in the cross fire. Immediately he decides to rub his eyes and says, "owww, my eyes hurt!!!" I was thinking if I don't clean up the glitter I will have two boys with glitter in their eyes, so I told Vander to just let himself cry to get the glitter out and to stand still until I could clean the rest of the glitter up. After I got it cleaned off the floor I took him to the sink where we tried to get the glitter off of him for the better part of 10 minutes. I then had to pin him down to put eye drops in his eye. I have since picked at least 4 pieces of glitter off his eye lid that have teared out of his eye. Let's just say I won't be doing that art project again for a very long time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our holiday letter 2011

I have sent out all my holiday letters already, so I am going to post it so that I remember what was going on. It's a nice year in review each holiday season. I printed it on rose petal paper this year.
  

12/2/2011



Dear friends and family,
             As this year comes to a close, it’s nice to reflect on the year that has passed. We hope this letter reaches you at the close of your best year yet. It has been a really fun, but also challenging one for us. We started off the year with Justin’s 30th birthday in which his birthday wish was to play 30 games in one weekend. I am proud to say we accomplished that goal.
            Justin is still at his same job at Lockeheed, which we are thankful for everyday. He really likes his boss and even got acknowledged at a corporate training this year for a program he helped to write. He had to take some trips to Washington D.C. for trainings this year, which were rough, but overall worth his time and effort.
            I was able to take a special weekend trip to Guerneville with my two little brothers, Freddie and Colby. It was truly magical. We stayed in the cabin owned by my mom’s best friend’s family. It is right next to where our mom grew up and where our great grandparents lived in the middle of the redwood forest. Grandma, Grandpa, Freddie, Annie and I drove up to Humboldt for Colby’s college graduation. We are so proud of him! I also made it down to San Diego to see family. For my 30th birthday, Justin and I were able to take an amazing trip to New York City to hang out with Justin Williams and see the city. Thanks to Larry and Theresa for watching our children while we were gone (we know that was no easy task). We got to see Book of Mormon , Wicked, and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (with Daniel Radcliff )all on Broadway!!!
            The boys have been super duper busy this year. Vander is still working on potty training. He started preschool this fall and absolutely loves it. He becomes giddy when I tell him it’s a preschool day. He is an eloquent conversationalist and has even been dabbling in some math. Oliven became a toddler this year, and he is beyond adorable. He loves looking at photo albums and is talking all the time now. Both boys got a chance to take swimming lessons over the summer. Vander enjoyed them so much that he asked to be enrolled in more swimming lessons. They also got to attend some gymnastic classes, and Vander got to go to some gymnastic camps as well. Vander and Oliven got to spend some quality time with their cousin Heather this year while we went to my best friend, Andrea’s, wedding and Justin’s best friend, Mick’s, engagement party.
            As a family we have taken full advantage of our annual passes to both Gilroy Gardens and The Children’s Discovery Museum. We also took a family trip with Justin’s side of the family to Colorado over the summer. The boys had a blast. We got to spend a week out in the fresh air. Vander still asks me all the time if we can go back to Colorado where his whole family lives. Every time he sees an airplane he asks me if they are going to Colorado or Washington D.C. In October we took the boys to Disneyland and California Adventure for the first time. We had a great time. Jon, Ruth and Andrea all met us there for some memory making. We are going to San Diego for Christmas this year. We get to see Freddie and Annie’s new house, and celebrate my grandparents, Gretchen and David, both turning 80 years old. See vanderkatz.blogspot.com to read more about our lives.
            Much love and good wishes for the year to come,
 Justin, Ashley, Vander and Oliven Katz

Last Saturday


  Talk about a busy day...We started out by going to breakfast with Santa (a yearly event put on by our loan officer). We had breakfast, then took pictures with Santa, which sadly are not worth posting. Vander wouldn't get near Santa and was also leary of Mrs. Clause. Ollie was close enough for a high five and nothing more. We entered the raffle (we didn't win, but all three of the boys won last year, so it really wasn't our turn to win), then we went and did holiday crafts and got some balloons made. Vander got a monkey on a candy cane and Oliven got a bunny hat.
  We decided to stroll down to Christmas in the park and enjoy the scenery and the trees, which aren't as cool in the morning as they are in the evening, but it was a fun activity.
   When we were done it was only 10:45am, so for a special treat we took the boys to The Children's Discovery Museum (this was special because I had taken them the day before as well, and this time daddy was with us).
   We stopped by the post office on our way home to have lunch. After quiet time we went to Vander's friend Bella's birthday party. It was a princess theme, so we bought Vander Fairy Princess wings to wear. He was having a hard time deciding whether he wanted to be Vidia or Tinkerbelle. They made playdough and had a pinata. Super fun with our friends, then came home exhausted and went to bed. Justin and I had Chinese Food from our favorite place for dinner. What a fun packed day!

Christmas decorations

We have all our our holiday decorations up and enjoying them. We are also adding to them daily with our advent adventures. :)

Poop in the potty!!!

3 days in a row now Vander has gone poop in the potty!!! Yay. We are so proud of him!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My little author

Vander and Oliven both love to read, "The Daddy Book." Deb gave this book to us about 4 years ago, and it has been a favorite from the beginning. The premise is all the good things about Daddy's. For example: Some daddies sing to you in bed, some daddies bake cookies, some daddies have a lot of hair, some daddies work far away, all daddies want you to be who you are...so, Vander and I came up with the idea to make a my daddy book. I can write this in my blog before Christmas because Justin doesn't read my blog.

Vander's book, written by Vander, penned by Mommy:
My Daddy Book by Vander Bruce Katz
Dedication: To Daddy. I love you very much, and Ollie and Mommy; our whole family. December 2011
My daddy reads books to me.
My daddy hugs and kisses  me.
My daddy plays legos with me.
My daddy takes me to fun places like Target and Toys R' Us. He also takes me to Gilroy Gardens, Disneyland, Great America and California Adventures.
My daddy makes dinner for me.
My daddy throws balls with me.
My daddy shares his breakfast with me.
My daddy helps pick my clothes out.
My daddy puts me to bed at night.
My daddy lets me eat grapes and cookies in the grocery store.
My daddy takes baths with me and my brother.
My daddy taught me how to walk and run. He teaches me new things every day.
My daddy records cartoons for me and watches them with me.
My daddy says he loves me every day. He loves me very much.


I think that is pretty awesome for his first book. I hope Justin likes it. I drew some pictures for Vander and he colored them in.
        

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent this year

This is the list of what we are doing for advent this year:
1. Making a garland
2. Making a Christmas tree with a paper plate.
3. Breakfast with Santa and Holiday lights in Willow Glen
4. Making a bell necklace
5. Painting a snowman using marshmallows
6. Play Wii with Daddy
7. Roll coins
8. Marshmallow reindeer
9. Gilroy Gardens 4-9pm
10. SV 2008 Christmas party
11. Lights walk
12. Snowflake ornament
13. Play Wii with daddy
14. Polar bear/reindeer ornament
15. Make a fort
16. Make holiday cookies
17. Decorate Holiday cookies (invite Grammy, Pops, Mitch, Katie and Heather).
Hanukkah @ Katz parents?
18. Gingerbread houses and Holiday party SV2010
19. Light walkaround
20. Holiday craft
21. Snowman pizza
22. Hot chocolate
23. candy cane
24. Make a plate of cookies for Santa

GGpa's 80'th birthday

 GGPa's 80th birthday was lovely. It was delicious and everyone had a good time. Salmon with bread, salad, fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts. We got a group picture. I don't know if anyone else appreciates the pics I take, but they tolerate it pretty well, so I'll take that. I got to work on my cake decorating skills and try my new heart cake pan. Happy Birthday GGPa!

Rabies!

  We were going to put the rest of our Chrismas lights up this afternoon, but...

  So, we had a little scare today...it wasn't a big deal, but Vander almost had to get a rabies shot. He met Zoe, Katie and Mitch's dog, and they got along pretty well. Some how they ended up running into each other and Zoe's tooth scraped against Vander's tummy. It wasn't a big deal, but when blood is drawn the medical community says their is reason for concern.
  It turns out Zoe is not up on her shots because she is a hemophiliac, so Vander had to go to the doctor to get checked out. As it turned out he did not get a rabies shot. The $30 co-payment was all the loss that was suffered- thank goodness. I am really glad he didn't need a shot because I was worried that at 3 years old he would associate playing with dogs with shots and it would be a real bummer if he didn't like or was scared of dogs. All's well that ends well.

Frames

I wanted to have a place to showcase the artwork the boys are making without it being all over the place and the fridge is just not big enough. Besides that Oliven just loves to take things off the fridge and throw them on the floor and/or carry them around. So, I decided we needed some frames on the wall to showcase their beautiful hard work. I got some 3 foot frames that came in the packaging of Oliven's crib. They are now painted with 2 coats of magnetic paint, then 2 coats of blue. I think they turned out pretty good and they are looking pretty stable, so all is well. The boys are putting them to good use already.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving

 We went to Larry and Theresa's house again this year for Thanksgiving. Mitch, Heather, GGMa and GGPa joined us. We are thankful that we all got to share that time together. We always lovie seeing the GGs. They are in town for a visit. We got to visit with them a couple of times this week.
We tried on Thanksgiving to get a decent picture of our family that we could put on our Christmas cards this year. I would not call it a huge success, but I did get a pretty good picture of the boys enjoying some time with Pops. I attempted to make a chocolate pumpkin pie, but sometimes the original is just better. Justin didn't like it anyway, so it's back to the drawing board.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dear Santa 2011

Vander wrote his letter to Santa Clause this morning. He knows we are going to a breakfast with Santa. I asked him what he wanted written and here is what he said:

Dear Santa Clause,
  Thank you for all the toys. Vander wants the JustinceLeague movile and Ollie wants the super hero toys. Mommy and Daddy would like something for Christmas too. Plesae would you give me some Sesame Street toys too, and thank you for coming to breakfast. That's it.
Love you, Vander and Oliven

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chuck E. Cheese's

  The other day when I asked Vander what he was thankful for he included Chuck E. Cheese's. I thought it was a little strange since he has only been there once, in San Diego, when he was like 14 months old. Needless to say, I don't think he remembers that trip. (Sorry Annie and Freddie, but he was really young). Anyway, Justin took the week off of work for a "stay cation" since he has been away so much recently. We thought Chuck E. Cheese's should be on our list of places to go as a family. I didn't realize this previously, but he mostly knows about Chuck E. Cheese's because it is a sponsor of Sesame Street, so there is always a commercial for it before Sesame Street. He always points it out to me when he sees it (that and parks and basketball hoops- apparently that is his thing).
  So, we went to a  2 story Chuck E. Cheese's and both boys had a blast. They ran around and played the games as fast as their little legs could take them. Vander says he enjoyed the "popcorn machine" the best and taking a ride on Clifford the big red dog's back. Oliven was a huge fan of ski ball- who doesn't enjoy throwing balls? I enjoyed the sketch machine, because very uncharacteristically I forgot my camera. Justin got to play 2 free games of Mario Cart, so he was pretty stoked about that. Then the boys got to buy silly straws with their tickets, so everyone came out a winner.
  After all the fun, we were pretty hungry, so we headed over to 5 Guys Burger. Yummmmm in a bun. This is the second time we have eaten there and it's hard to admit, but I think I like it better than In and Out. Please do not tell me how many more calories it is as nobody wants that information. Oliven and Vander are both huge fans of shelling and eating peanuts with there burgers. Overall, a very fun family outing. I know I'm a little tiny bit biased, but I have the two cutest little boys there ever were living with me. I am one lucky lady!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful

I talked to the boys about what they were Thankful for-Oliven was very straight forward. He is thankful for: books, legos, and cookies. Vander said he is thankful for:food, water, candles, paper, cookies, Grammy, Pops, turkey food day, presents, breakfast seat, placemat, trick-or-treat, having friends over for play dates, Chuck E. Cheeses, painting,magnets, family people, music,ears, and hair. Some are obviously more thought out and some come from what he was seeing at the moment, but overall I think that was a prett good list and he got the important stuff in.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Season of Giving


  It is now the season of giving and we are getting in the spirit this year. We donated 2 boxes of necessities/fun stuff to children in 3rd world countries. One from each boy to two little boys aged 2-4. We did this at our second annual Charity Ball. We got together to fill the boxes with goodies while the kids and guys played with balls in the other room. Some were dressed in their "ball gown" attire. Then we had a hotdog potluck lunch. It was fun and as a group we put together 20 boxes for Charity. The boys helped fill the boxes with stuffed animals and Disney key chains.
  We participated in the Las Madres canned food drive and Vander is donating 12 cans of food to his pre-school's food drive. They are trying to provide food for 75 families between the preschool and the church!    
    One of our Las Madres groups did a Second Harvest Food Bank fundraiser, which we donated bagels, sandwiches and chocolate marshmallows, and then bought food to support the cause. They ended up making $410 for the cause.
   Our other group is working on adopting a family for the holidays.
   I think I will also donate the $ that I would have spent on a Christmas gift for my mom to the MS society for further research.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Children's Discovery Museum

Oliven and I went to the Discovery Museum while Vander was in school today. I felt a little guilty going without Vander, but as Justin pointed out to me- I didn't feel guilty taking just Vander before Oliven was born. Point taken. Ollie had a blast in a leisurely fashion. He made some great art and enjoyed his mommy time.







We also had some fun with the air blower. This is what I would look like as a troll.

Sweet Tomatoes

We went out to dinner with some of our closest friends and got to use the party room. It was lots of fun. It was really fun to have all the 3 year-olds sit together at a table. They really seemed to enjoy each others company. It was fun and only $20 for the whole family. We should definitely do that again! What fun.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Justin out of town for 6 days again!

   No es bueno!!! Justin is in Washington D.C. for a training week again. He is actually really enjoying it and getting a lot out of it. He says he has been leader in several of his groups. Good for him. This is what he wrote to me yesterday, "During my work class at our corporate offices, the project that I helped create at eh financial tool for was mentioned and highlighted. It was even given some credit for it's creation by name which was pretty cool." I thought that was definitely worth sharing. Good for you Justin!!!
   We miss him, but we are doing our best to keep busy. Larry and Theresa were over for dinner last night (thanks!) and are coming back on Thursday, and Theresa is coming back Friday. That is a huge help to me. It just gets overwhelming without help. I honestly think the hardest part is not having adult conversation and someone to decompress with in the evenings.

Flames for breakfast

Sunday morning we decided it would be fun to go out for breakfast since Justin was flying out to Washington D.C. that morning. Time had changed over night (and we forgot) so we were all up an hour early. A little background- the day before we had run into Casey, Jason, Addison, and Jake at Gilroy Gardens and we joked about who was stalking who. Well as we were getting the boys out of the car at Flames Casey and her family pulled up into the parking lot. We couldn't have planned it better if we had actually planned it...it was really fun to have breakfast with them. A little chaotic with all the kids and Oliven decided he loves to eat jelly out of the little single serving container. Then we took Justin to the airport. It was a fun morning.

Oliven's new shoes

Oliven got his new orthopaedic shoes. This is only his second pair. He got the first pair when he was like 4 months old, so it's been over a year. It was about time. His toes were over the edge of the other shoes, but the doctor kept telling me they fit just fine. He's the expert.Anyway, these look like kid shoes instead of baby shoes and his bar is much longer now. You can't tell very well the size difference in the pic, but the old shoes in the little ones in the middle. They gave them back to me in case I wanted to bronze them.

Gilroy Gardens with Nate and Christi

We always have fun at Gilroy Gardens, but this trip seemed to be Vander's favorite with our neighbor Nathanial. Vander was beside himself with joy. It was really fun, as usual.

Rooster T. Feathers


Justin and I went to Rooster T. Feathers comedy club on a date night. Our goal this year was to go on 6 dates, we have now made it on 5. The comedy show didn't start until 9pm in Sunnyvale and had a 2 menu item minimum so we decided we better have dinner there since Justin doesn't drink anything but water, but ordering 4 drinks for myself didn't sound like the smartest plan. So, the doors opened at 8pm and we were there waiting and very hungry as we usually eat at 5:45pm. The food choices ended up being nachos and hot dogs. So that is what we had. I got a warm chocolatey drink to go with it and Justin got popcorn. The first couple comics were decently funny, the headliner was hilarious! We had a really good time and enjoyed each others company very much.
It's nice to know that 7 years in I love Justin so much more than I did even yesterday. He is an amazing husband-he is so thoughtful and helpful. I appreciate him every day and am so lucky he is the father of my children and my husband.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween madness

Wow, 3 Halloween parties and trick-or-treating...what more could two boys ask for? (Actually Vander went to 4 parties). Anyway, Halloween time was a blast. They both really enjoyed their costumes, loved all the sweet treats and really had a great time trick-or-treating. Vander was a pirate, he says he was Jake from "Jake and the Neverland Pirates," Ollie was Woody, I was a red witch, and Justin was a doctor. We had some painted pumpkins from a pumpkin painting party and Vander decorated another pumpkin at his preschool party (where the kids sang Halloween songs for the parents).
We also had two jack-o-lanterns.Grammy came over for a dinner of mummy dogs and candycorn pizza (made with squash, not candy corns). Earlier that week we had brought a squash and greenbean spider and mummy cupcakes as Halloween themed food for potlucks. Anyway, Grammy had dinner with us and Pops joined us when he got off work. They stayed at our house and handed out candy while the boys trick-or-treated. Vander came up with a trick-or-treat song..."We are here to trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat." Super cute!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin carving party with Pops and Grammy

We had a great time with Vander at the 13th Annual Pumpkin Carving Festival at Oakwood last night.  Vander was the sweetest looking pirate ever!  He meet many of Grammy's friends (he wanted to know all their names and if they had "nicknames!") and was thrilled to go to the Scholastic Book Fair.  Vander ate some hotdog and a cookie plus drank lots of water!  He listened to the book, The Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, read by Mrs. Helvey, and participated in the activities (stomping of the feet, clapping of the hands, etc) the book prompted with all the other pre school through Kindergarten Oakwood students.  Vander also played Pumpkin Bowling and Grammy painted a pumpkin on his face.  A very nice friend of Grammy's gave Vander a certificate for a free book at the book fair, so Vander, with the help of his Pops, picked out a fun looking book called Duck at the Door.  We hope he likes it!


It was a great, fun time for Pops and Grammy, and Vander, too, who stayed up way past his bed time, but was a happy, friendly pirate the entire evening!
~ Written by Theresa Katz (Grammy)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Little things

So Oliven is really into coming up to an adult with a book. He hands it to you and says, "READ IT." It's really super cute...not very polite. He also comes in from being outside and looks at his feet and says, "dirty." 
Vander is working in his new preschool workbook and loving it. He gets so excited. His fine motor skills are not too great, but his letter skills are amazing. He knows all the capital letters, what sound they make and which words start with which letters. He can count almost up to 40 with only 16-18 tripping him up and needing some prompting on the numbers 20 and 30. Still, I'm impressed. He has also been doing some adding and subtracting..."well Mommy, I asked for 5, and you gave me three so I need 2 more."

Dr. Godley update

Oliven went to see Dr. Godley (his foot doctor) and was told that his feet are looking good. He still doesn't step quite normally, but he doc says he will over time as long as he wears his shoes consistently, which is does. It is time for him to get a bigger pair of shoes so they are supposed to call for a fitting within a week and we'll get bigger shoes. Thank goodness because the ones he has are from when he was 4 1/2 months old. His feet are much bigger now. :)

Giordano Farms pumpkin patch

We headed out for the boys' second trip to the pumpkin patch this year and my first. We got to pet goats and see bunny rabbits. The boys also got to ride a "fun size" train. It was really sweet because the conductor mentioned that the train jostled a bit at the beginning and she was concerned for Oliven. So, I put Oliven on the end and asked Vander to put his arm over him like a seat belt. He did and he kept it there the whole time to keep Ollie safe. What a great big brother. The kids loved the train ride and really liked when the fake volcano exploded water because it scared them every time. They also both loved the corn maze, but the true highlight was running through the hay tunnels. I think they liked the thrill of running through the dark.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mick's engagement party

Heather came over and watched the boys so Justin and I could go to his best friend, Mick's engagement party. Vander convinced Heather to put the carrots in the oven. He tells me they were really delicious that way. They boys had a great time with their cousin, but I think they were a little post-Disneyland cranky for her. One of these times they are going to be really good for her, I just know it.
  We are so happy for Mick and Marisol. Justin is going to be in their wedding in Hermosillo, Mexico in January. The engagement party was great. Lots of people dressed up pretty and lots of talking and catching up. One of Justin's friends from high school, Paul, was there with his fiance and we had a great time hanging out with them. There was an open bar so I got to have some yummy wine. We also had a great dinner and heard toasts that brought me to tears. Overall a good time. (Sometimes when you drink things get turned upside down).

Disneyland

  What an amazing place...it is named the Happiest Place on Earth for a reason (besides marketing...it's also pretty fantastic). We started our trip by leaving at 3:10pm on Tuesday afternoon. We drove down to Jon and Ruth's house for one very hot night. We got there around 9ish. On the way we stopped for dinner and a pajama change (we also got gas at the same time). The boys were really good for most of the drive, a little wired when it got past bed time and they refused to just close their eyes. We woke up early, around 6am and drove to the hotel to check-in then walked over to Disneyland. No reason to pay for parking twice. The boys were both very excited. We went from ride to ride and Jon was super awesome waiting in the long lines while we took the boys on the short line rides in the mean time. It was a blistering hot day at Disneyland in the high 90s at least.
Here is a list of the rides we went on in order...Justin's goal was 20 rides per day.
Disneyland:
1. Finding Nemo submarine
2. Tea cups
3. Storybook land
4. Tea cups
5. Alice in Wonderland
6. Mr. Toads Wild ride
7. Dumbo
8. Carousel
9. Peter Pan
10. Pinocchio
11. Casey Junior train
Lunch-hamburgers and pizza
12. Snow White
13. Small World
14. Buzz Lightyear space blasters
15. Enchanted Tiki room
16. Jungle Cruise
17. Pooh ride
18. Haunted Mansion-nightmare before Christmas
19. Train around the park
20. Main street parade
21. Mickey's toon town playground
22. Toured Mickey's house and met Mickey Mouse
23. Roger Rabbit ride
24. Small World
Left the park around 6:20pm for dinner.
The highlight of the day for Vander was the Buzz Lightyear blasters. Oliven did not enjoy the carousel, but seemed to enjoy the rest. Oliven and I both liked Small World the best. It was just so much to look at. Oliven took a little nap in the Tiki Room. Justin enjoyed Peter Pan the most, but only by a scosh. Both boys got to meet Mickey Mouse. Oliven liked the idea, but also got a little scared. At 6:20pm the boys were both worn out so we headed over to Coco's for dinner. It was a fiasco. Oliven was whine crying and Vander was climbing up walls, or in this case the booth, so we took our food to go and got the boys into the bathtub. After dinner we all went right to bed. During the night Oliven started coughing. 
  We had a nice leisurely morning since California Adventure didn't open until 10am. We met Jon and Ruth in downtown disney at about 9:30am and they let us in the park early, but not on the rides. As soon as the gates opened the people flooded in. We ran to the Toy Story ride, which was by far, hands down the coolest ride ever...we went on that one twice thanks to Jon and Ruth saving us a place in line the second time. That ride had a 40minute wait 20minutes after the park opened. Turns out lots of people know how awesome that ride is. Poor Oliven rubbed sunscreen into his eyes before 10am and was miserable for a while...he wasn't feeling too hot and his eyes were hurting from rubbing them, but how do you get a one year old to stop rubbing his eyes? 
  We went on a great sourdough bread factory tour and the bread was so delish that even though the temperature was in the 90s Justin still ordered a breadbowl of hot clam chowder. Oliven was just spent at that point so I walked him back to the hotel for a much needed nap while super Vander powered through. When we got back Ruth's sister, Marcy and her son, Garrett, had joined the fun. Garrett is Vander's age, so that was cool. Vander enjoyed some rides with Garrett. Vander and Oliven loved the Disney Junior show where they got to See Mickey Mouse clubhouse pals, Little Einsteins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Handy Manny and the Tools. They even dropped gold doubloons and party streamers from the ceiling. Vander and Oliven enjoyed seeing all their cartoon favorites on stage right in front of them. We missed the Phineas and Ferb dance party as it doesn't happen on Wed. or Thursday. Bummer.
At around 5:15pm Andrea Lombardo joined us. We finished up at the animation station with Andrea and went on the Little Mermaid as our last ride. We went to dinner at Tortilla Joe's in downtown Disney. Marcy left before dinner and Jon and Ruth left afterward. We headed back to the hotel and put the boys down for bed. Andrea stayed and had ice cream with us before heading out. Justin and I went to bed knowing we were planning to get up and head home at 4am.
California Adventure
1. Toy Story Midway madness
2. King Triton carousel
3. King Triton carousel
4. Mickey Ferris wheel spinning
5. Toy Story Midway madness
6. Water show and Disney rocks show.
7. The Little Mermaid
8. Sour dough bread bakery tour
Lunch- Chinese food and clam chowder in a bread bowl.
Ollie went back to the hotel for a nap.
9. Tough to be a bug
10. Dots water park
11.  Flik's Flyers
12. Ladybug Boogie
13. Bumper Cars
14. Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
15. Muppets 3D
Ollie and Mommy come back.
16. Disney dancers show with Mickey.
17. Monsters Inc.
18. Flic's Flyers
19. Ladybug boogie
20. Disney Jr. In 3D show
21. Turtle Talk with Crush
22. Animation Academy Sorcerers workshop
23. Little Mermaid
The boys slept for the first couple hours of the drive and when the sun came up we went to Denny's for breakfast at Harris Ranch. Unfortunately Vander developed a cough the second night at the hotel, so throwing up was inevitable for him. He didn't quite make it to the bathroom. (Vander has the easiest gag reflex of anyone of ever met, just like his dad)! The rest of the ride was pretty good. Overall a very successful trip.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Long and eventful week without Justin

Justin took off Sunday morning for a 6 day business trip. I did pretty well until about Thursday afternoon. About that time I REALLY needed a break, but obviously that was not in the cards. Here is an idea of what our week looked like in a nutshell. It didn't play out exactly like this as things always change. We went walking with Christi and Nate Monday and Wednesday. Sandra's playdate got cancelled so we had a tea party with Christi and Nate on Tuesday. Friday's playdate is now a pool party.
The funniest mom momentwas Wednesday night after I took Oliven out of the tub and dressed him in a one piece jammie and had his shoes on...I went to get Vander out of the tub and while I was drying him off Oliven snuck over to the tub as it was draining and splashed around. His arm was drenched up to his elbow.  I was already running late for bed and was looking at a 20 minute fiasco just to undress and redress Oliven with the shoes...so I cut the sleeve off of his jammies and put him to bed. Justin thought that was pretty funny, so I figured I'd post it so other people could enjoy the redulousness and comic relief it brought to me the next day.
The tea party.
Oliven enjoying "The Jungle" ball pit.

On Thursday Vander's preschool had Grandparents day with soup, bread and cookies. The kids brought the ingredients for the soup and helped prepare it. Grammy came to join in the fun and Oliven and I got to come too. It was a very fun hour and a really delicious meatball minestrone soup (seriously, I need the recipe). It was a very special morning. A huge thanks to Theresa for getting off work to join Vander.