Friday, January 30, 2009

Indoor Fun

The weather here has been cold, kind of misty wet and generally not superb. We have taken advantage of the little sun that graces us on occassion, but we are not getting outside as much as we would like. So, if we can't get Holly outside for hard play then we bring it inside. Tonight she spent almost an hour and a half playing in her bouncy house! She had a blast and burned some serious energy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Photo Collage

Little Owlie

Isn't this the cutest? Holly loves birds, as we all do in this house. She asked to create some bird art projects for her to do and this is one I came up with. We have also made a snowy white owl very similar and we'll make a pink and red valentine owl soon. She has adored owls this week and I have gone with it. We have also been reading many owl stories, such as Owl Moon, Owl Babies (my favorite), The Littlest Owl, Owl at Home and a couple of more factual books on owl. It's been a fun few days!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweet Girl

ABC's of Life...

For Christmas Bryan & Holly gave me a little decorative plaque that I picked out called the ABC's of Life. I had seen one of these years ago while out with a friend, fell in love with it then and have always wanted one. I love that you have a nice little life reminder around daily - something that makes you kind of stop and think for a moment about what is important, how to approach the day, how to share in the love of life and if nothing else... something to make you smile a bit. I still have a lot to follow or learn - a good little life lesson. I really like what it says - so, I thought I'd share it here. Enjoy!

Accept Differences Be Kind Count Your Blessings Dream Express Thanks Forgive Give Freely Harm No One Imagine More Jettison Anger Keep Confidences Love Truly Master Something Nurture Hope Open Your Mind Pack Lightly Quell Rumors Reciprocate Seek Wisdom Touch Hearts Understand Value Truth Win Graciously Xericscape Yearn For Peace Zealously Support A Worthy Cause

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Love is in the air....

Holly has been working with me on making some cute Valentine hearts to hang above our dining room table. We had a really nice together making these and they turned out pretty cute & sparkly!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Ferry

Just playing with my new lens. I have had little time outside with it since the foggy weather is NOT cooperating, bummer. These were my *very* first photos using it... obviously I have a lot to learn, ha!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Finding Balance

This past weekend Hawk pulled out some old photos and ephemera to share. In it we found a newspaper article about Bryan and an old hobby of tying fishing flies and selling them when he was a teen. The author had made a quote similar to "Bryan's hobbies have outgrown his wallet" - which caught him. Reading the article it was actually quiet amazing to see how Bryan was pretty true to who he was then and who he has become. He set the article down and mentioned two things (things I also noted) - 1) "This was good, I know who I am and have not waffled on that" (which is true!) and 2) "My hobbies still surpass my wallet"... again, true!

However, it has really made me think about the hobbies portion and finding balance! I think we have a lot of hobbies or beginnings of hobbies we both enjoy - and fitting those into the everyday is important and hard. Important because those hobbies help make us who we are and neither of us wants to pass that up. Important because recognizing we each need our own personal time to explore our interests is healthy. Important because this helps make us stronger people and in essence a stronger family unit. Important because we want to role model our individuality to Holly and have her appreciate that. Important that we don't pass on our loves in life and change for the other, but stay true to who we are. Important because... well, it is just fun!

Now it is also hard because you have to fit those hobbies into life, daily life - make a point to sometimes schedule it in. Hard because sometimes you are asking the other to give you that space and time; and you might feel bad about that. Hard because sometimes, at least for now, your hobbies may not include Holly. Hard because we stretch finding the actual space to store our hobbies, enjoy our hobbies and expand & explore our hobbies. Hard because you want to encourage the other in their hobbies which sometimes take from your own, especially in cost. Hard because you have to find a balance!

We do a good job of finding balance I think. We have always made it a point to enjoy our life with our united interests and unique interests, not just constantly head out for the mutual family day as our only source of entertainment or fulfillment, but rather to head out and enjoy our time alone or with a hobby companion. And, yet we appreciate all these moments the same - family and alone! Funding these hobbies, well that is something I suppose all folks ponder. But, we do make it a priority and that is good - I'd much rather have our enjoyments in hobbies than a new kitchen counter, microwave or the latest in home decor. We find peace in that, others may not get that, but we do -- a weird agreement we enjoy! Also, I want to see Holly grow and experience our hobbies with us, get her feet wet in them and stretch to pick up her own. It is exciting to think of her interests and how they will grow into a new passion... one more we'll have to fit into our balance, fund and create personal time for. Should be a fun journey, who knows maybe we'll pick up a new hobby along the way!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Weekend Fun & New Toys

This past weekend we decided to head over to Anderson Island and visit with Hawk - as well, we kayaked. It was cold, really cold - but we hit the water and enjoyed a peaceful trip around the lake together - what a nice treat!!! It is not too often we get a few moments together, but to get those moments doing something we both enjoy a lot is really nice!

We also added some new technology to our home. First of all I finally have my new camera lens - I am soooo excited! I can't wait for some good weather to get out and use it. Of course it has been super foggy and you can't do to much with that. We have also finally added a camcorder to our household. We can record our family for fun memories - too exciting. We have been playing with that already and recording some fun stuff! Holly has taken a liking to the camcorder and wants to see her footage... a movie star in the making? Ha! And finally, we have a new TV - yes a new TV. Very un-Pierce like... but it is true! It is pretty too!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chilly Park Morning

We are definately experiencing Winter - it is chilly! However, it has been dry... I love that mix, a crisp clear day. With Winter weather it is harder to get outside and burn energy, some much needed burning. Holly is starting to bounce of the walls, literally. So, we hit the park this week with some friends, went for a stroll, fed the ducks and played. It was nice, for us both!

Just a note: See her 'climbing' the wall in this photo? A sure sign we needed to play... outside!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Isn't She Beautiful!!!

Holly & Strawberry

A New Chapter

Reading is huge in our home. Books are everywhere. We have outgrown our bookshelves and the books are now spilling into other rooms, baskets and the car. The library is like an old family friend we visit weekly.

Holly is no exception for the love of reading in our family, she adores it. I have mentioned that she is now sounding out her own words and is doing a really nice job. On our last trip we picked up some simple phonetic books for her own enjoyment and she is loving them. It is a book she can do all on her own. From these books she is also learning some sight words, like 'the', that we have not really covered yet. Very exciting!

But, what is even more exciting is that we have moved over to chapter books! I am so happy about this simply because this opens an entire new world of literature for her to enjoy! The past couple days and nights we have been enjoying the story of Cinderella. She was intently listening and you could see her envisioning the scenes, magic and tales from the story. It was wonderful! She now wants to read Beauty and Beast, so we will begin that this afternoon. I can't wait!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winter Zoo Day

Having some fun in the toy area!!!
Yesterday we decided to head to the zoo as we really wanted to get out side, move around some and do something as a family. So, we headed to the Point Defiance Zoo - which was really quiet... perfect! I almost feel like we had to the zoo to ourselves. We packed a nice hot lunch of soup, bread and a few snacks and headed out dressed warmly. The animals were pretty active for the most part or at least right where you can see them up close and personal - not the tiger.

The two parts that stood out though was the polar bear as it was so playful and active. It was wonderful to enjoy watching him for some time. But, the best natural part was the second tiger. He was pacing his area, over and over. Suddenly he stops and crouches down, into a stalking form. Well, if you looked over outside his cage you could see the tops of bamboo moving. We thought it must be a caretaker, however no one arrived. We waited and watched as this tiger continued to stalk that corner, hunkered down he slowly creeped over to the edge of his space and was ready to pounce.
So, we peeked to see exactly what he was doing this too, and it was a.... child!!! *yikes* Someone had misplaced their kid (about 5) and he was playing off the path in the bamboo patch near this tigers home and this tiger was full on stalking him wanting desperately to pounce I am sure. It was so natural and instinctual. While really cool it was a tad creepy too. Certainly made my day. We wandered over and I asked where his family was and he took off - we saw he was reunited, but what they didn't know is that their son was being stalked by a tiger. Eeek!
Anyhow, on to some photos:

Love Birds

We have been busily working on some cute little Valentines projects. I found a really cute craft called Love Birds and we made some the other day - here is a photo of our little Love Birds that each of us made, yes even Daddy made one. Aren't they so cute in a silly kind of way?

Counting Coins

Our local library offers various educational boxes that you can check out for two weeks. Themes range from sea life to farm animals, weather to transportation as well they have a few Leap Frog branded activity boxes you can borrow. We borrowed a box that contained the Leapster... and Holly was hooked.

This was a few weeks before Christmas, actually a day before we left for Leavenworth which was perfect timing to bring along a hand held computer game. After just a couple of days Holly was ready to change her entire Santa wish list in for a Leapster... good thing Santa already had received Holly's letter though. Then she said she would use her 'bank money' for one. We shared with Holly that she would have to wait until after Christmas before we would talk about a Leapster game.

That did not leave Holly's brain at all.

Within a few days of Christmas she brought it up again. I reminder her that we would need to wait and talk with Daddy and I also said maybe we could wait for a while. So, in a couple weeks she once again brought it up - this time prepared to ask Daddy and ask to use her Christmas money. Smart girl for 3 1/2!

Well, we did some research and said yes to a Leapster2. She counted out her coins that she received from Christmas from Grandpa Hawk and we rolled them out, brought them to the bank for bills and then headed to the store.

Holly is now the proud owner of a pink Leapster2. We let her choose one game to start and she chose a Diego game. The Leapster also has a neat little art program in it and another little game, but the art game seems to be her favorite so far.

Through this whole process we really talked about her money, saving some, spending some and the lessons that can come with that at her age. Overall, I am pleased because I think she learned a lot through her whole coin counting and bank transaction. In the mean time... happy playing!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Interview with Holly

I am starting a new tradition with Holly. At the beginning of each year (and maybe her birthday) I am going to interview Holly to learn about who she is, what her favorite things in life are, etc... should be fun!

Holly at three and a half years old:

What is your favorite color?
Black and Orange

What is your favorite animal?

What is your favorite vegetable?

What is your favorite fruit?

Where do you want to go on vacation this year?
Grandpa's Restaurant to eat

Where is your favorite place to play?
At my friend's house

What is your favorite toy?
Rocket and the Little Einsteins

What is your favorite game?
Hide & Seek

What is your favorite drink?
Watermelon juice and Root Beer

If you could change your name, what would you choose?
Mi Mi

What is your restaurant?
Old MacDonalds

What is your favorite thing?

What is your favorite TV show?
Little Einsteins

What do you love about each person in your family?
Daddy: because he can get me stuff down from high up places
Mommy: because she makes me dinner

What is your wish for this year?
I wish I had a kitten

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Creativity Overflows

Santa gifted Holly with a wonderful art desk this past Christmas and he really knew what he was doing because she has played with it daily. Watercolors, markers, coloring, cutting and creating have been keeping Holly busy as well as filling up our art wall.

Typically I give Holly a little guidance to an art project and then let her go, but since she has had her desk she has really taken to her own creative freedom. Cutting and pasting appears to be a favorite ~ topped with watercolors in metallic paints. Our house has bits of construction paper trickled about, finished projects overflowing and a happy little girl who is enjoying her creative side. Life doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Clean Slate

Well, the time came... we packed up all the holiday decor. Not sure why, but the house always feels empty when I do this - each & every year! It is no surprise I am putting stuff away, it happens every year - yet every year it still feels empty. Oh well... we have what you would call a clean slate once again.

Now we are working on some purging, rearranging and storage solutions - all requirements of living in a small home. Yesterday I picked up a new storage bin organizer for Holly's kitchen arrangement (really organized her stuff), we moved her mini art studio (aka desk & easel) to the living room, moved her old storage bins to accommodate all her Little Pet Shop character, My Little Ponies and Ponyville characters and her 5 gazillion plastic animals. The funniest part of all this is when I move an old toy to a new location or new bin... it was suddenly *new* again! I love it! She played with plastic animals for a long time last night - introducing her Ponyville characters to her horses and dinosaurs.

In the mean time I have some ideas for a festive Valentine house. Holly is pretty excited for hearts, pink and sweets (ha!). So, we'll start getting this house all prettied up with some frilly hearts (which she has already created some at her new art desk), valentines, candies and the such!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

2008 flew by it seems!!! I honestly feel like this past year sailed by before I had a chance to say farewell, and we are pretty good at making sure we slow down to take life in. This year we need to be even better about it I guess.

For those who know us well we have a family motto each year. Some past years have included the "Year of Change" or the "Year of the Non-Procrastinator", etc... This year we are simple and reorganizing some, so our motto will be the "Year of the Home, Boat & Body". Our focus will be on finalizing some home projects and hopefully settle on our plans for 'home'. We will soon be taking on an exciting new project of building a boat thePygmy WineGlass Wherry . And, of course... the body - for us all - is on the forefront of health! Lose a little, ensure good health and live an active lifestyle!

As for day one - well Bryan started off with some basic rewiring and the installation of a new heater in our bedroom... that was a long time coming!

Wishing you a wonderful new year - may all of your personal goals and dreams fill each day!