Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fun Times in Issaquah

Wednesday was a lot of fun for us. Joey, Claire and I drove to Issaquah to meet our friends from church, Ming, Evan and Caitie. We went to an inflatables play area called Kidz Bounce. It was nice. We had been to the one in Bothell, Jump Planet, which is also nice and has about 12 inflatables. This one had two rooms, each with 5 inflatables, but it wasn't very crowded and the inflatables they did have were very nice.

Ming, Caitie and Evan sliding.

Brenda, Claire and Joey sliding.

Group photo minus the photographer.

After we finished jumping we went back to Ming's place for lunch and more playtime. When it was time for us to go home we bribed the kids with candy so we could take their picture.

Say Cheese!

Be Silly!

Both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home. Joey even fell asleep with a half-eaten taco in his hand. It was a fun day for all.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fish-Keeping: Round 2

These are our new fish.

So I managed to kill 3 GlowFish. I feel bad. The current theory is that they were overfed. The snail is still doing well. Last Saturday the kids and I went to the pet store to get two new fish. We chose guppies this time. They are brightly colored with fan tails. Joey chose a purpleish-black one and named it (Are you ready for this?) Doggy Z-bot. Claire chose a yellow one and named hers Abby. These guppies behave differently than the GlowFish. They are more bold. They approach and bump the snail with their mouths, they "kiss" each other and are generally more active. Hopefully I can keep them alive a bit longer than the GlowFish. It has been a week so far and they seem to be doing well except for the fact that they appear to be hungry all the time. I hope I don't UNDERfeed these ones. Everytime I walk near they swim towards me and when it is close to feeding time they go crazy. It is a true feeding frenzy when the flakes actually drop in. Crazy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I hope you all had a nice St. Patrick's Day. I made corned beef in the Crock Pot. It turned out great. Joey said it was YUMMY. Claire didn't try any because she had an upset tummy today. Matt isn't home yet so we'll see what he says. This is the best picture I could get today. It was taken on Joey's camera and the kids wouldn't hold still.

Monday, March 15, 2010


We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful family. Our kids are loved by so many grandparents and great-grandparents. Let me introduce you to them.

*Oops. I need to insert some thoughts here. This post has taken me two weeks to create and three weeks to mill around in my head. I am so thankful that these wonderful people are in our lives and it is hard to put that into words with as much appreciation as I'd like. This post won't do them justice but I will try.*

This is Grandma Nelson. She has done so much for us over the past 4 years. She provided meals and moral support and went grocery shopping for me when I was pregnant with Joey. She spent the night at my house the first night I was home with Joey without Matt. She rescued me many times in different ways in those first few months of motherhood and quite a bit since. When I went back to work 9 weeks after Joey was born, she watched him one day per week. After Claire was born, she started watching both of them on my work day. The kids like going to her house to play with all of my brothers' old toys, raid her sugar cereal pantry and get lots of cuddles. I feel that my relationship with my mom has strengthened since having kids. I guess that is because I realized all that she went through with me and how much she loves me. This is a picture of Joey and Grandma trying out Joey's new rocking horse that she gave him for Christmas in 2007.

This is Papa Nelson. He is great at soothing fussy babies. When they were little he would hold them and bounce them in front of the bird paintings that hang in their dining room while making the birds' calls. Last year he spent a lot of time helping Joey jump on the giant trampoline. Another game that they like to play is "lights". Joey sits on the bed downstairs and Papa gives him flashlights one at a time. Joey turns them on and off. I think they chase each other's lights on the ceiling, too. This is a picture of Joey and Papa at the Bothell 4th of July Parade in 2007.

Here is Papa Fitzer. The kids like his beard. They touch it and he makes funny noises and they giggle. We have met for visits at the zoo, the Science Center, the Rain Forest Cafe and many other fun places and sometimes he just comes to our house to hang out. We have even been on two road trips together to visit my aunt and uncle in Vancouver, WA. They love riding in his truck because it has a DVD player. This is a picture of Papa giving Claire a ride on his 4-wheeler at the ranch in Elbe. Joey got a ride, too. They both loved it.

Meet Papa Seely. He is the kids' great-grandpa. He loves to snuggle newborns. We like it when he comes by and surprises us with a quick visit when he is in the neighborhood. Papa likes to tickle the kids and play hide-and-seek. He is very helpful when we have yard projects and gives us good financial advice. Today, when we were at his house, he took Joey for a walk around the neighborhood and to the mini-farm across the street.

Ok now, how many great-grandmas do you know who can/will climb into a cube with their great-grandsons? Well, Great-Grandma Seely can and does. She comes to our house once a week to play with the kids and help me with household chores. They love playing and working with her. They will help her pick up pine cones or apples out of our yard, rake, sweep, fold clothes or just about anything else for hours. Before Joey could talk well, he would call her Mama Ess, or even just Ess. When he was around 2 yrs old, he started to cry when she would leave on her visiting day. We found that if he got a "bye-bye treat" that would help alleviate the sadness so she started bringing treats every week. What started out as one bye-bye treat for Joey has turned into a need for her to bring four treats, one hello AND bye-bye treat for each kid. Both of them look forward to her visits and like going to her house as well.

Switching to Matt's side of the family, let me show you Great-Grandma Swenson. There are many unique things that the kids like about visiting her. One of the first things they have to do when they go to Papa and Grandma Crouthamel's house (she lives in their downstairs) is to go to Grandma Swenson's apartment and check to see if she refilled their treat containers (which, of course, she always has). The containers and treats vary by the season and the kids are always excited to see what they will get. She also has dogs. They love to visit the dogs, sit in the dog beds, walk the dogs and play the Mess Game with the dog toys. Another fun thing about her apartment is her gas fireplace. Joey likes to get permission to click it on and then they both sit on the hearth and warm their backs. Grandma Swenson often watches one kid to give the upstairs grandparents a break. Claire, especially, likes to hang out with her and gives her lots of hugs.

Here we are with Papa Carl (Crouthamel) at the Museum of Flight. He lives in California so we don't get to see his wife, Jeanne, and him too often. When they do come up for a visit, Jeanne brings the kids neat toys or blankets (some of which she has made herself), and Papa Carl likes to find out what the kids have been learning and see how they are growing.

Now we come to Pete-Mete. Before Joey was talking well he couldn't say Papa and Grandma Crouthamel and one day it came out Pete-Mete so that's what we call them now. Papa is Pete. He is also called Papa Crout sometimes. The kids love to be silly with Papa. He can often be found covered in stickers or My Little Ponies. He has begun taking them to the garage to help him with wood-working projects (see above) which they love. A couple of weeks ago he took both kids to a park near their house all by himself. This is no small feat. It is quite a distance away. It wasn't necessarily "a walk in the park" (pun intended) but he did it and I was very impressed.

Mete, Grandma Crout, is also a huge blessing to us. She has done a lot of babysitting for us over the years including two 48+hr getaways and has been watching the kids on my work day in 2010. She often lets us crash her house on the weekends when we just need something to do. She took the kids for me when I got the swine flu and cleaned my house when I was in the hospital after Claire was born (and at other less needy times). Mete does fun things with the kids like take them to McDonald's or grocery shopping, creative art projects, baking, etc. I feel so fortunate to have the wonderful in-laws that I do. We all get a long so well.
So now you know our kids' Grandparents and Great-Grandparents. Aren't they great? We sure think so.

Conversation With Joey

Joey: Why did you lock the door while we were at the store?

Me: Because I didn't want anyone to come in our house while we were gone.

Joey: Oh, but I just want the little squirrels to come in our house while we are gone.

Me: I don't want squirrels in our house. They will eat our food, make a mess and go potty all over our house.

Joey: I will show them where the bathroom is and flush for them.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Last week a gently used, highly recommended parenting book was ordered off the internet.

It arrived on Saturday.

Sunday night, Matt suggests we read it.

I retrieve it from the kitchen and flip it open while walking towards the bedroom.

Two tickets pop out from between the pages.

The tickets are for a very special event and are hard to get.

"Hmm," I think. "Someone must have used their old tickets as a bookmark."

I check the date.

November something.

I look at the ticket again and find another date: June 2010.

"Oh no," I think. "Someone left these tickets in this book when they sold it. Shoot, now I need to contact the online bookseller and find out if they know who sold them this book and try to return these tickets to their owner...But I would really like to go to this event...Well, the right thing to do is to try to return these tickets...But it would be so fun."

"Um, Matt."


"Someone left tickets in this used book I bought online."

"Tickets for what?"

"A very cool event."

"Are they expired?"


"Cool, then we get to go."

"But we need to..."

Long pause and deep thought.

"Oh!" I exclaim. "You bought these for me for my birthday. How did you get these? You are so awesome. Thanks honey!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Funny Quotes and Stories

Here are a few funny things the kids have been doing and saying lately.

Joey's Bug
Joey found a bug today in our house. He picked it up and let it walk on his hand and arm for a while. Claire came over to admire it as well. He said it was a cute bug and that the bug loved him. We found a plastic container, taped 1/2 a toilet paper tube to the bottom, placed a cooked noodle in the container with the bug (I have no idea what kind of bug it is or what it eats) and poked holes in the lid. We were about ready to meet some friends at the park and Joey insisted that his friend, who is a girl, would like to meet his bug. So the bug came with us. It survived a stroller ride, a few trips down the slide, multiple spins on the merry-go-round, a few drops and some running around. What a hearty bug.

Claire's Gross Quote
While holding her finger out towards my face she says, "I gotta boogie."
Me: "That's nice. Let's find a Kleenex to wipe it on."
Claire: "No, Mama. I put it on your face."

Joey's Gross Quote
This quote is heard anytime he smells a BM or someone passes gas.
"There are poo-poo's in my nose!"

Claire's Grumpy Birthday Quote
After a very grumpy day, we were trying to get ready for her small family birthday party. She started to throw another fit and I asked her if she wanted to have her birthday party with pizza and cake. After pondering this for a moment or two, she replied, "No pizza. Yes cake."

Joey's Helper Idea
The other day, Claire spilled almost an entire Costco-sized bag of egg noodles on the floor. I tried to enlist everyone's help to clean it up. They were making a half-hearted attempt at helping when Joey declared that his hand was a shovel and he was scooping the noodles off the floor and dumping them back into the bag. I took advantage of that great idea and we happily scooped and dumped all the rest of the noodles back into the bag.

Garbage Man Joey
One evening, towards bedtime, Joey decided he was going to take the garbage bare his the dark. He has only taken things to the outside garbage once or twice. Well, who was I to stand in his way? I gave him some garbage and he took it out. Then I gave him some vegetable food waste and told him to put it in the yard waste bin. This went on for about 15min. He emptied every garbage can, big and small, took out a stinky diaper, all the food waste and all of the recycle. He thought it was great fun. Now if I could just get him to still have a positive attitude about it when he is 13.