Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby!

My baby turned two. Amazing, isn't it? We love him so much more now than we ever have. Even with all his newly-discovered independence and his frequent assertion of the freedom of speech, we just continue to be amazed by what a giant spirit and sweet heart this boy has, and humbled by all the joy he's brought to our lives. He's learning so fast and stringing together sentences that amaze me. Tonight and last night he asked me to sing "Walk in a light" to him (Teach Me To Walk in the Light," and he sang along! This last week he's been saying "Robin Hood come to our house." Not sure where he got that from and it hasn't happened yet, but I'm still kinda hoping it will. His command of pronouns is particularly surprising, and his speech patterns are pretty correct for such a little guy. None of that matters, of course, because all we really notice is that he still has that cool hair.

So to celebrate this amazing guy's 2nd birthday we started out by taking cupcakes to play group.

We didn't want anybody to feel obligated to bring presents, and quite honestly I didn't feel up to throwing a party (I love toddlers but having 10+ of them in my tiny apartment is not appealing in my 7-month pregnant state). We then invited Uncle Kyle over to go bowling with us, and brought in our neighbors for the birthday cupcakes and presents.

Reece preferred to kick the ball, which resulted in several getting stuck halfway down the lane.

I hope Reece felt loved, as he is greatly loved by everybody who knows him (if you know him and don't love him, you are a monster).

He piled all his presents on the table and couldn't wait to dive in and open them all. He was so polite and said "thank you" after opening each one. And he even spent time with each present, making me feel like I didn't waste money in buying them. The kid's smart.

So happy birthday to my special little guy. I am so blessed to be your mama. You truly amaze me every day and make me happier than I ever thought I could be. (Side note: Paul won't let me post the picture entitled "Real birthday booty," with Reece sitting on his new potty chair for the first time. But just know that it's adorable, and perfect blackmail material for later in his life).

Seattle and Vancouver, BC

I got the best birthday present of my life this year from my darling husband. He woke me up on Friday (March 4) saying he wanted me to open one of my presents early. It felt like a three-ring binder so I was a bit skeptical, plus I love sleep so I thought, "This had better be good." I wasn't disappointed. It was a binder, but inside was a fully planned four-day vacation agenda, including maps, hotel reservations, and two different options for how to spend the day of my birthday. I have to say I was very impressed. It was the PERFECT present for me, because I am always the one to plan the vacation, print the maps, book the hotels, etc. So by the time we get to traveling, I'm not nearly as excited because I've already seen everything via the internet (or I'm just tired of thinking about it). The best part of all: Paul said, "You have about six hours before we leave." He had taken off work early that day, AND taken off the next Monday so we could have a nice, long weekend with which to enjoy ourselves. Pretty amazing guy, right?

We had been discussing the desire to travel to Seattle and Vancouver, BC but I had come to the conclusion that it just couldn't happen with the weather being sketchy and our baby coming in late spring. But Paul made it happen, and I'm so glad he did. He somehow convinced the weather to be beautiful all weekend (like seriously, miraculously beautiful). He booked the perfect hotels for us, right downtown in Seattle and within two blocks of Stanley Park in Vancouver. And he even planned an alternate "Twilight Tour" of Forks, WA, just in case I didn't want to drive to Canada. I don't know any other guy who would spend hours researching Twilight locations and histories (no, he has not read any of the books) just to give me the option of spending a day there. I wasn't super interested in the Twilight stuff (though I have read the books and have gone to two midnight showings), but I loved that he planned it.

We started out by getting to Seattle around 7 PM (thank goodness for portable DVD players or we wouldn't have survived the trip with a toddler). Then we hit the town, wandering around the streets, eating street crepes for dinner (my favorite street food) and marveling about how nice the weather was.

The next morning we hit Pikes Place market, the monorail, and the Space Needle. Then we found perhaps the biggest gem of all (or as I look at it, Paul's reward for planning such a nice trip for me): Seattle's ComiCon. We kept seeing random comic book characters on the streets and headed pretty quickly for the convention center. I have to say, Reece may have been more excited than Paul to see all the "bot-bots," which included everyone from Darth Vader and a storm trooper to anyone wearing a mask.

My favorite part was when Reece met Sauron from Lord of the Rings. We told him who it was and he was very forward in saying hello, or rather, "Hi, lord of a ring guy!" Then he cuddled up close and whispered to me, "Scared." But he didn't show it and he actually still talks about Sauron/lord of a ring guy.

That afternoon/evening we walked down by the waterfront and watched the sunset. I still can't believe how amazingly beautiful it was. I'm so used to constant, or at least intermittent rain, and I expected it to be even worse further north. I think it was God's birthday present to me. Thanks!

Sunday morning we found a local church house and attended Sacrament meeting, then jetted up to Vancouver. We took a detour (which Paul had also planned) so we could drive along the coast.
When we finally got to the border we had a loving encounter with the border patrol. I wish we had this on video. Paul tried to be friendly with the patrol guard but it only led to further interrogations. Things like, "Why is your car registered in California?" "This is a pretty short trip to come all the way from Portland." And my favorite, Paul asked the guy where he was from (thinking he may be either American or Canadian) and the guy asked, "Where are you going?" Paul: "British Columbia." Guy: "Then where do you think I'm from?" The full interrogation took probably three or four minutes, but I guess we are kind of dangerous-looking people. Especially Reece in all his toddler glory and me with my belly. Who knows what I could be hiding in there?

So we got to Vancouver around three and immediately headed to the Capilano suspension bridge. It's about 450 feet across and 230 feet above the ground. And most importantly, from wikipedia: The bridge has been featured as a setting in episodes of several television series, including MacGyver, Sliders, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, and Psych.

After the bridge we headed up Grouse mountain (site of many of Vancouver's Olympic events) to check out the ski slopes. We were probably the only people up there that weren't skiing, but we had a great time checking out the views of Vancouver, the hundreds of "bot-bots" (Reece was in heaven because one of the robots/skiers talked to him on the gondola ride down...we were glad nobody knew what he was talking about when he kept calling them robots. But in his defense, they were all wearing head gear and goggles, so it's kind of an easy mistake for a toddler to make). Riding gondolas up mountains is one of my favorite vacation activities, so Paul gets extra points for planning this.

We spent the rest of the night crashing in our huge hotel room and enjoying Canadian TV (also a vacation tradition). The next morning we walked through Stanley Park, chasing geese and counting dogs.

Then we jumped in the car in the hopes of beating traffic for the long drive home. Overall we had a fantastic time and I'm not sure how Paul's going to beat this next year when I turn 30. Good job, babe. You are amazing!

Finally, our favorite tradition: stocking up on foreign candy. That's one happy pregnant woman.

Boring Post

The title of this post in no way indicates the nature of the post itself. It is only meant to describe, in short, our amazing adventures in the town of Boring, Oregon. That's right, there does exist such a place and yes, we did visit it. It took about three hours of driving round-trip and we spent about five minutes total outside of the car. So you can see the necessity of blogging about it because otherwise the trip was kind of a bust (don't tell Paul I said that...he's been asking me to post about this trip for weeks now).

Paul thought it was cool that the middle school was called "Boring Middle School." Not much incentive for the students to attend. Nor can the parents ever argue that school is not actually boring.

But I guess the students don't have much to complain about when they, themselves, are also boring.
This was the only sign we saw that suggested there was something interesting going on behind the scenes.

Reece Rhyme Time

I have so oh, so many things to blog about and I have fallen oh, so far behind. I apologize to all of you loyal followers (Ryan, Kyle and Owen), and I hope these little videos keeps you going until I get the gumption to post some of our other pics and stories. These were both taken this last week. In case you don't speak Reece-ese, the first is One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, and the second is the church and steeple rhyme. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Webcam Shenanigans

First, the world debut of Reece and mom singing "You Are My Sunshine."

And now a bit of "Little Boy Blue." You don't have to think it's cute. This is all for me.