Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pre-Christmas Bliss

A couple of weeks ago, we went downtown to take the kids for a ride on the Christmas Trolley. Here are a few pics, and I am working on Christmas pics too!
While we were out and about, who should we run into, but our little adorable friend, Will Rosling.

Gabe was all about Santa, but it took a lot of convincing to get Sofia to sit on his lap. I guess it is kind of strange that we don't force our kids to sit on stranger's laps, but then all of a sudden, we are convincing them to sit on some old dude's lap with a red cheap santa suit on :).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Normal Life in a big family

In case any of you have small families, you may wonder what it is like when lots of little cousins get together. It is chaos and craziness but so much fun.

My little piece of heaven

So I know that many people have asked for us to post some pictures of our house, and we haven't.... but I did find this picture that shows part of our lovely yard. Isn't it lovely? Can't you just imagine.... a huge garden, composting, chickens..... I just get giddy thinking about this summer. I am figuring out the composting right now, and I would be happy to accept help from any master gardeners or chicken experts as I really have no knowledge or skill to back up my enthusiasm. Oh, and I really need someone to help me learn to prune fruit trees/grape vines. Come hang out in my yard with me this summer. (P.S. I am really trying to get my act together to post about Christmas... I promise).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Love/Hate relationship with Technology

I really have had a love/hate relationship with technology through the years. Technology is a blessing to our society and families, but it can be a curse as well. I could go on and on citing a million examples of this relationship, but I will list a few.
Cell Phones
*I had a cell phone from the time we got married until a year after moving to Corvallis, so I have been cell phone-less for more than 4 years now. Initially, I just dropped my plan to save money, but it has ended up being a very good thing overall.
Cons of not having a cell phone-It makes me a little nervous when I am driving down south to visit family with the kids by myself. There is also a very rare occasion when I feel flustered that I don't have a cell phone. When my sister was picking me up from the airport as I just flew a red-eye flight alone with the kids a few months ago, we didn't find each other at first. I was exhausted, and I remember feeling very frustrated that I didn't have a cell phone. I actually am thinking about getting a phone where you pay as you go for the minutes, so I can have it in case of an emergency, but not something that I would use on an everyday basis.
Pro of not having a cell phone-It forces me to interact with human beings more. When I am at the park, I can't ignore my kids while I text message the whole time (not saying a lot of moms do this... but I've seen some). It allows me to be present when I am with people more. I am not interrupting someone's train of thought so I can respond to a text message really fast. It is only after not having a cell phone, that I realized how rude many cell phone habits are. It is also really dangerous to talk on a cell phone while you are driving. I have already been accused by Chris of not being the best driver in the world, so I really don't think that I want to do anything to ad to that. I'm not trying to make people feel bad at all if any of these habits describe you, because like I said, I was only able to notice these things after I got rid of my cell phone. Oh and the last thing.... I don't want to be accessible to the world 24 hours a day. I love talking to famliy/friends on the phone, and I have many opportunities to do so when I am at home.

As we were moving into our new house a month ago, we were looking at finding any bills that we could cut, and we decided to cut t.v., at least temporarily. Chris was a good sport about it, because it is just the beginning of basketball season.
For me, I have really enjoyed not having cable or any channels. I have really been taking advantage of the great resources of our library by checking out dvds to watch(I also like to think I am helping our city run nicely with my overdue fines :). I am currently watching Season 2 of Lost, and when I am done with that... I can get even more reading done. It's a good thing. I check out a couple of dvds from the library (like Blues Clues and Sesame Street) for the kids to watch. So obviously we are still watching shows, but no commercials, and I get to be really picky about what the kids watch. Although my kids still watch limited dvds, they definitely aren't watching as much as they were when we had channels and on demand. I am happy keeping our arrangement how it is now, but Chris and I will have to decide if he can continue to live without the Blazers. We shall see.

Facebook has been my most recent love/hate relationship. I have a bit of an addictive personality, so I was not one of those people who could only check every few days or even once a day. I definitely was not on there doing all of the strange quizzes like "What kind of vegetable are you?", but I was feeling like I was on there way to much for my liking. I loved loved staying connected to good friends and family and socializing with people, but there is this whole other part of facebook that I hate. I hate that people who don't know you at all try friending you. What, do they just want to check out pictures to see if I got fat? I've had several incidences where I would deny a request for someone I didn't know very well, and they would try to friend me again (or 6 times in one person's case.... that's just creepy). I hate the fact that a person on facebook could get 100 happy birthday messages, but very few of those people if any would actually call the person in real life to say happy birthday. It all was starting to feel a little superficial to me. I was online chatting with people, some who I hardly know, and in real life, I had real friends and family that I sometimes feel like I neglect. Like I said, I wish I was one of those people who could just check every once in awhile, but since I wasn't able to and I was on too much, I decided to just deactive my account. It's been a few days, and I am doing good so far. I strangely feel like a recovering drug addict or something... with my drug of choice being facebook. When I told people I would be taking a break, a few said "You will be back within a few months. Everyone who I knows who tries to quit.. always comes back." Wow, thanks for the encouragement. Anywho... I will stop now before I blab on. I do not mean for this post to seem self righteous at all. I am probably still on the internet too much, but I am trying to take baby steps to try to live in the present more and enjoy my great life. What do you all think? Are you addicted? Have you tried giving up any part of technology...even for a while?


I just had to hurry and write down what Sofia has said in the last 1/2 hour.
1) Chris asked Sofia: "Sofia, what is the purpose of life?" Her response: "To love each other." This girl is so insightful.
2) As Chris got up from dinner leaving his plate on the table, she said: "Daddy, you are not being a very good example. You need to put your plate up." Amen girlfriend... you read my thoughts :).
3) On the lighter note, just a minute ago, she said: "I wish that God didn't make people fart." I can so relate Sofia.
Who knows what the next 1/2 hour will bring?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sofia Turns 4!!

Sofia turned 4 on November 7th, and she was able to share the day before her birthday with my parents, then we took off to the coast for her actual birthday with Chris' parents. Here are some things I love about Sofia right now:
*She is such a perceptive person. She notices everything around her and listens to everything we say. She knows when people around her are sad, stressed, and she doesn't forget anything.
*She is such a good big sister. Although the kiddos are starting to fight a little more, for the most part, they get along so well. Sofia is always hugging Gabe and comforting him. She is such a little mother.
*Sofia makes our family be better. She is always reminding us to pray, have family home evening, and reminding me to "chill out."
*I'm not sure I have ever met a more curious kid. She talks and talks and talks. She asks questions upon more questions all day long. I am used to it (for the most part), but people who aren't around us very often often comment that they have never heard of a kid who talks so much. Maybe it gets old to them, but I think her curiosity is a wonderful thing. They say that we spend the first couple of years teaching our kids to talk, and then the rest of their childhood telling them to shut up. When we were at the coast with Carlos and Sharon, Sofia was laying down with us (to go to bed) while we watched "Pride and Prejudice." I told Sofia that she couldn't talk if she wanted to stay with us, to which she responded: "But mommy, if I can't talk, then I can't breathe, and if I can't breathe....I will die." FYI, she talked and asked questions the entire movie.
*I could go on and on about why I love this girl. She brings drama, exhaustion, fun, energy, and joy to our lives.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


(pics by Steve Wagner)
I just don't think I have it in me to be a hard core blogger. I may blog more now that winter is coming upon us, and I am cooped up more. These are things that have been going on in our neck of the woods lately.
*We have been in our new house for a few weeks, and we are loving it. Our neighbors have cows and alpacas. We have fruit trees, a grape arbor, garden area, huge yard... ah... we are loving life. We will at someday post pictures for everyone, but that is just honestly not a huge priority right this second, so the best way to see it is to come and visit us :).
*Sofia just turned 4. I will post more on that later.
*I am slowly getting out of shape. Help!! I need people to consistently push me out the door!
*Life is great right now. We are excited to spend our first Thanksgiving in our house!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Free Falling

Tonight when Sofia was saying family prayer, she asked to sing the prayer. It took me awhile to recognize the tune, but she was singing her prayer to Tom Petty's "Free Falling." Classic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Teachable Moments

Don't you love those teachable moments that you have as parents when you have the opportunity to share something that you believe in with your child? I often times feel like I miss teachable moments, because I am too focused on other aspects of my life or day. The other night, Chris was such a good example to me of taking advantage of a good moment to teach Sofia.
Sofia was for some reason really scared to go to sleep and crying, because we were leaving the room after laying by her for awhile. She usually goes to bed really easily. so we were concerned with how scared she was. Then Chris calmly told Sofia,"You know Sofia, if you are scared, you can pray to Heavenly Father any time to feel safe, and he will help you." She perked up a bit and said, "I can pray whenever I want, and he will help me?" We said a prayer together as a family, and she immediately went to sleep.
The next morning (bright and early I might ad), Sofia came and laid by me, and the first thing that she said was,"Mommy, last night I prayed to Heavenly Father a hundred hundred hundred times. I responded,"Did it help?" She cheerfully responded,"Yep."
This sounds like such a simple incident, and it was, but it made me feel so good that she knows how loved she is by Heavenly Father. I couldn't help but think afterward, that although I 100% know that Heavenly Father is there for Sofia any time she prays, I sometimes don't know if I believe that for myself. At times when I need his help the most, I withdraw from His help and love. I need to start calling upon His love and share my appreciation more, because He really does love each of us and wants nothing but the best for us. There is so much for me to learn from this whole parenting gig, and so far it seems like the majority of the time, my kids are the teachers, and I am the student.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What's your laugh like?

Don't you just love those people who laugh so easily and naturally? They make you feel so funny, even when you are pretty sure, that you aren't being comical? It's good for the ego either way :). Or how about those people who have those full on belly laughs. Their laughs are so contagious that you are just happy to be around them. Then there is me... the silent laugher. Chris and I were talking the other day about how I don't really laugh out loud all that often. Don't get me wrong, I think that things are funny quite often, but although many times my heart is laughing, I just can't get the sound out. Why does this matter, you may wonder? Well, it really doesn't... except for the fact that I feel bad when people are being sincerely funny, and they may not think that I think they are funny, because I have a wussy laugh. There of course are times, when people really aren't funny to me (I have a strange sense of humor)... in which case.... it would be convenient if I could do some sort of fake chuckle just to be polite... but I just can't (literally). Is there anything I can do to make my laugh known more so that people really are aware when I think that something is funny? I do smile a lot, however, so if I smile at you a lot, consider it as good as a laugh.
So, I ask you all... what kind of laugh to you have? Do you laugh easily? Were you that flirty girl in college who laughed at everything and made guys fall in love with you, because their egos were soaring around you? Do you laugh easily? What kind of humor do you have? What can really get you laughing. Here are a few things that get me laughing (perhaps loud enough to hear):
-My kids. If anyone can get me to laugh heartily, it would be these munchkins.
-Chris when he dances or is in a cute teasing mood.
-A good episode of Ellen.
-Often times when a friend recounts a funny story.
-Occasionally my own jokes get me laughing pretty hard (no one else usually is laughing as hard as I am, however).
I know, this is a random post... but these are the random things that I think of.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Gabe!

Doesn't this little guy just melt your heart? We celebrated his 2nd birthday a few days early with family, and besides Sofia's hair catching on fire (see video on Chris' blog), it was a great day. Here are some things about Gabe that melt my heart right now:
-Before naps or bedtime when he wants me to lay by him, he says, "I lay by you mama." Or if he wants us to carry him he says,"I carry you mama" in his sweetest little voice,
-Speaking of voices, boyfriend can sing. When Gabe is trying, he can sing in tune, and he loves loves to sing. Do I foresee a boy band like the legacy his father left :)?
-He mimics everything people say, especially Sofia.
-He says the cutest prayers before dinner.
-He loves to yell out,"Family Hug," and we all run to each other and hug. So sweet.
-Before bath time, he is loving to do a little pee pee on the toilet every day. Even if he lets out one drop, he jumps off the toilet and yells,"We did it, we did it, we did it hooray!!" and does a little victory dance.
-He loves books. No matter where he is, he usually finds the pile of books and plants himself to read on the ground for a long time.
-His boundless energy is exhausting, but he has such a zest for life, you just can't help but fall in love with this little guy.
I got all teary eyed looking at his baby pictures the other day. This child brings such joy to our lives, and we love him so much!

A few Virginia Pictures

Of course my camera was still broken when I was in Virginia, so here are a few pics that Kim sent me!

Isn't this the life? This was the property of Kim's friends that we went to. It was so beautiful!!

Sofia could not wait for her swimming suit to jump in the water. Oh well. Isn't childhood great?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Family Picture Special

Chris is running a family photo special for the month of October. Check his blog for more details. The weather is supposed to be great this week, so book him now!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Your Baby Can Read (but shouldn't)

Am I the only one who keeps hearing ads on the radio and tv for programs that will help teach your baby (yes, I repeat BABY) how to read? I've also had a couple of moms in my baby classes in the last year ask me my opinion on these programs. Although I usually feel like I am pretty good at giving a semi-unbiased answer to moms when they ask me questions..... I just can't on this one. I STRONGlY disagree with teaching an infant how to read with these crazy canned flash cards (or videos). However, I believe that most parents who use these programs are really good parents who are just being lead astray by misleading advertising and societal pressures. Even if these programs can teach a baby to read off words on a flash card, they have absolutely no context to help this to be beneficial. There is no good research to show that these programs would have any long term benefit on infants/toddlers, and in fact, most good research would tell you to avoid these programs like the plague (well, maybe not like the plague... but maybe like you would avoid having stomach issues in a foreign country). The fact that we try to teach tiny infants to read... is so telling of how many parents today are pushing their kids to achieve earlier and earlier. I know that as a parent, it is worrisome to think that maybe your kids are going to be behind or not be given the right experiences that they need to thrive. I remember when Sofia was a toddler, there was a mom who proudly told me that her 22 month old daughter could say 454 (or something like that) words. She wondered how many words Sofia could say, and I had no idea. I hadn't realized that it would be necessary to keep track so that we could all compare... but I knew that it wasn't 400 something.
It is always comforting to me (and should be to all of you great parents out there), that research tells us that the many of the things we do intuitively as parents are the best things that we can do. Reading to our kids a lot, singing with them, playing with them, giving them opportunities to explore and learn, hugging and snuggling them etc....... I am no where close to being a perfect parent, and in fact, most days I feel like I feel short in many ways, but I am just chipping away at my imperfections (does anyone else remember Bro. Rookhouzen saying that all of the time in Sunday School). Babies are for snuggling and loving on, not for drilling with flashcards. If anyone is ever interested, I love BAM radio. Rae Pica (a leading expert in childhood health and movement) interviews different leaders in the field every week about different parenting topics. Scroll through and listen to the interviews that look interesting, but I have loved having the information from these 10 minute interviews as I don't have as much time to read as I would like.
Thanks for letting me vent on this topic. I feel better now :).

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Sofia to Gabe right after he woke up from his nap: "Oh little boy, it's okay. I know, you need a big sister to take care of you. I can take care of you little boy." Pure sweetness.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Family Pictures 1

It's family picture time again. These are a combination of pictures that Chris snatched and that Steve Wagner took. We haven't seen many of the ones that Steve took, so I will post more when he sends them to us. We are so lucky to be able to switch with the wagners. Nicole is a big time makeup artist in Portland, so she was so nice to do my makeup for the day. Now if only I could ever figure out how to do that on my own.....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Catch Up

I blame my lame blogging skills on the fact that I am just now getting my camera back (but now I have to find the battery). Life has been pretty crazy, but here are some highlights from the last month and what we are up to:
The kids and I headed to Virginia to see my sister Kim. I will post pictures when Kim sends them to me. Besides adjusting to the Eastern Time Zone and the kids getting sick one night... Virginia was great. We hung out a lot, went swimming, boating, and kayaking (mellow versions with wee ones :). Kim and I went to Williambsburg one day, and the kids loved playing with their cousin Jackson. It was so nice to bond with Jackson more since we don't get to see him enough. He is such a cutie. While Virgnia was fun... the flights... oh mercy that is a different story. Some ugly/pitiful sides of Kara came out during the flights. Sofia was literally comforting me as I cried at 3:00 in the morning, because my kids would not sleep on the red eye flight and I was crazed and delirious (as were they as you can only imagine). I am very glad that we made the trip, but I am quite confident that I will not attempt flying with the kids alone for a very long time ( at least cross country).
-For those of you who don't know, we sold our townhouse, and we are now living in an apartment. We have a house that we are hoping to buy in the next few weeks if all guys well (so far the process is going well). We will give more updates on that after the appraisal!

Now for the kiddo updates:
Sofia: Sofia is definitely my daughter. Lately, she is all about trying to be funny. The majority of the time, her jokes really aren't that funny, but the effort sure is cute. After doing something silly, she always asks,"Was that funny?" She cracks herself up, and that is all that matters. I tend to also crack myself up when no one else around me seems to think that my jokes are that funny, so perhaps one day Sofia and I will bond in our unfunniness, and we will both have someone to laugh at our jokes :). Sofia is going to start a little OSU gymnastics class in a couple of weeks, so that should be fun for her. We opted to hold off on preschool for now, so the kids and I will also be taking a creative development class together where we will do art projects and play with other moms and kids. Fall is my favorite season, so I am excited to just enjoy and play a lot!
Gabe: Although Gabe is doing adorable things all of the time, I am so exhausted by this kid's poor sleep. No matter what time we put Gabe to sleep, he is usually waking up between 6:00 and 6:30 at the latest (oh... and he gets out of bed at least 10 times before he will fall asleep). Too early folks. We usually try to ignore him for awhile and encourage him to either lay with us or look at books on the floor. He almost never falls back asleep, and once he says the word "cereal" or "I hungry," we know there is not even an ounce of hope of getting him asleep. I really dislike the word "cereal" now, because that means that I have to face my day really early again. You think that I would just get used to it and jump out of bed and try to be peppy, but every morning I find myself so tired, because I don't go to bed early enough. I am going to work on the peppy factor, but oh I miss our crib days. Gabe is not ready to be in a bed yet at all, but because of his extremeness, the crib was not a safe place for him to be anymore. Oh well. I'll keep him, because he sure is cute.
Well folks that about wraps it up. I need to go to bed, because 6:00 is creeping closer and closer. Buenas Noches.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Whoas of a public restroom

Don't you hate it when you take your toddler into the bathroom stall at Target and he figures out how to open the door immediately. As you are sitting and peeing... you are whisper yelling "Gabe.... shut the door" over and over again while he swings the door open and shut. And what else can you do... really? Few times in life have I felt so powerless.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hood to Coast

This is a late post, but last weekend, I participated in the Hood to Coast Relay. I think that the relay is almost 200 miles, starting at Mt Hood and ending in Seaside, with 12 participants on each team. I have been so busy this summer, so I was really worried about how I would do since I knew that I wouldn't be in great shape for it.
Here are some highlights from the race:
*The ladies on my team were so great, and it was so nice to get to know them all better. Most of the ladies were from Corvallis, but there was one lady who came up from San Diego.
*My first leg was a 6.5 mile leg running through a trail in Gresham. I surprised myself and did better than I thought in this leg.
*Leg #2 (where my journey ended :(). My next leg was running 7 miles at 3 in the morning in the pitch black forest (except for an occasional runner passing). Yes folks... 3 in the morning. The first 1.5 miles were all uphill (which I suck at hills in general), so I was very happy that the remainder was downhill. With about 2 miles left, a car came towards me with its' brights on. I was running pretty fast down the hill, so with the light and momentum of going down the hill, I totally biffed it down the hill trying to get over to the shoulder as the car passed. I fell and couldn't get up at first. Two ladies passed, and after trying to reassure them that I would be okay, they left me. As I was trying to stand up, Peter from Lake Oswego passed. He asked if he could help, and I tried to reassure him that I was fine, although it was very obvious that I probably wasn't. He told me that if his wife were in this situation, he would hope that someone would help her, and he insisted that he wasn't going to leave me. Then nice old Peter, stayed with me to help me gain my balance, start walking, and eventually run again. After 10 minutes of running with me on a sprained ankle, I insisted that he go ahead of me and finish. Peter from Lake Oswego, seriously saved the day. If he would not have stayed to help distract me from the pain in my ankle, I don't think I would have been able to finish. It is so nice to see that there are Good Samaritan's out there still who care more about helping someone than the race. I was really touched by his kindness.
*So, the end of my second leg ended my hood to coast career (at least for the year). There is no way that I could have run my last leg (the easiest leg... dang it). The ladies on my team all did so well, and I hope that I will be able to do the race again someday!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The picture drout has ended... can you give me an hallelujah!!

So sorry for the lack of kiddo pics over the summer. My camera has been broken and hasn't been sent back to me yet, but it has also been ridiculously a crazy summer. Here are some of the events that have happened in the last month:
*My High School reunion. I was in charge of planning the family picnic. It was so nice to reconnect with some people and see a couple of beloved friends, but over all, it was not the most exciting event of my life. Blah blah blah... I am sure I could post more about the reunion, but it really wasn't that eventful.
*Selling our town house!!! Our house closed last week, and we are currently renting an apartment until we find a house that we like (we have a couple of prospects already). This was my first time moving with small children, and it was more insane than I imagined that it would be. If you want to see Kara in a psychotic mood (and who wouldn't??), you should have seen me the day that Gabe dumped gallons of paint all over the carpet and hardwood. Long story.... blah blah blah.... but that just kind of sums up moving with small children. Anywho.... apartment life has been great, and I inherited the most awesome neighbor ever, so life is good.
*Running Hood to coast. That will be my next post/story... hopefully with pictures if I can track some down since I didn't have a camera.
*The kiddos. My kiddos are awesome. I love them so much and missed them while being away for 2 1/2 days, but it was also a much needed break. Sofia is such a great kid. I see good things in that kid's future. She is still as social as ever, and still adds some nice drama to our lives. She is such an amazing big sister, and my heart seriously melts every single day seeing how good she is to Gabe. Gabe is just down right hilarious. Don't you all love this age right before 2 when almost everything they say is so funny and precious? He is still crazy energetic and part of the reason I am tired all of the time. It is good that I am having kids young, because I already feel like I lack energy to chase after that boy. Love him. His smile is so contagious, and I am so grateful for the chance to be able to grow as a person being responsible for these sweet spirits. So sorry to all of you that I have been ignoring or losing contact with over the last couple of months. Life should slow down this week... and then it is off to Virginia with the kiddos by myself to visit Kim... so maybe not. I guess this is just how we roll around here.