Friday, November 30, 2007

Winter Wonderland

The kids have been begging to decorate for Christmas since we put away our Halloween decorations. Sunday and Monday evening we pulled out the Christmas music and enjoyed the evenings decorating.
This picture isn't that great but I thought it was cute to show how all the kids relish this time of year.Following my parent's tradition we give our kids an ornament every year. This year (actually I always buy them at the previous year's clearance sale) I knew we were going to go to New Hampshire. These ornaments were just perfect to remember our family fun that we had at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps. When Alysee opened hers she yelled "Oh yeah, a life jacket for my Barbie!"
Coop loves taking the ornaments on and off of the tree. Sounds like a normal eighteen month old.
Yesterday we woke up to six inches of snow. The kids were up at 5 am begging to go sledding. By the time school started (it was delayed two hours) they had already put in about three hours of sledding and making this great snowman.
I ventured out ONCE to take this picture. I am a Hawaii girl--not a snow girl. Birch will have to be the one to get the shots of the kids sledding.
Snow AngelsIf you look closely at Alex's mouth you can see what he wants for Christmas this year--his TWO FRONT TEETH (plus a couple on the bottom too).

Thanksgiving Fun

I should have posted this earlier this week. We had a great Thanksgiving. We were blessed to have Birch's mom, youngest brother Andrew, my Grandma and her husband Rudy, and my cousin Karl for the weekend join us.

Birch and Andrew had a fun turkey-bowl game in the morning. About 10:00 am the missionaries arrived and we ate TONS of tasty appetizers for two hours and played games. The afternoon was relaxing. By 6:00 pm we were hungry for dinner and finished the final preparations to our Thanksgiving feast. We were a bit non-traditional with having a marinated grilled turkey breast for our meat. It was all super yummy.Our Thanksgiving feast. The kids favorite part was the Italian Sodas.Coop loved helping Birch rake leaves Thanksgiving afternoon.
My grandma is such a crack up!! She hadn't come prepared for the cold weather that we were experiencing so she went in and found this "hat" to wear. Look more like a custom wig? She was totally serious. Luckily Birch found a hat for her to wear before she went on her walk.
My cousin Karl lives in Victoria, BC. We haven't seen much of each other for the past ten+ years. Until recently he was serving in the US military. As you can tell the kids had a great time getting to know him.
The post-Thanksgiving crowd.
Karl and Coop

Kitchen Finale

I've wanted to take a picture of how the kitchen turned out but getting the kitchen all presentable during daylight has been a challenge.

The hardwood proved to be quite the undertaking. Birch did a good chunk of the work. We ended up putting a water-based finish on since it is non-toxic. Not sure how we feel about that finish now--it scratches SUPER easy. At least we know how to refinish it in the future when the kids all move out! Birch sanding the finished maple hardwood floor.Quartz/Granite sink with oil-rubbed bronze fixtures.Walnut Travertine Backsplash with mushroom colored grout.Deepstar Agate Wilsonart Laminate countertop with hardwood edging and oil-rubbed bronze handles and knobs.
BEFORE AFTER

It was a huge undertaking and I am not sure that I could do it again anytime too soon. We LOVE the final outcome!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Road to Eternity

Eleven years ago today we began the road to eternity together. We have experienced much over the years and have grown to love each other even more than we thought possible. Love is amazing!
Our engagement 1996.Wedding Day at Portland, Oregon Temple November 27, 1996.
The love flame keeps on burning-September 2007.

We will celebrate quietly tonight (seeing how lately I fall asleep by 8pm). We struck a deal with the kids that they would go to bed early tonight in exchange for us enjoying some quiet take out and then on Friday we would take the kids to the Yakima Sun Kings Basketball game. Aren't we the wheelin' dealers!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our little jelly bean-9 weeks gestation

I just got back from my first "real" appointment at the doctor's office. Thankfully everything looks great! Our little baby is the size of a jelly bean but even in this 3D ultrasound picture you can make out the little arms and legs. This is a face on picture.
The nausea and throwing up comes and goes. I have had several hours of feeling good in the past few days; possibly it could be the amount of food that was consumed at our house while we entertained. The official due date is June 28th! We'll have our more thorough ultrasound done at 16 weeks gestation. Hearing that heartbeat is always so comforting!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sixlets

After the kids caught me losing my oreo cookie ice cream sandwich in the toilet yesterday, we decided it was time to let the good news out. Alex figured it out last week when he spotted me wearing my blue Sea-bands. He blurted out, "Are you pregnant?" Guess he remembered from last time when I wore the bands--desperate for anything to help with the nastiness.

So this is the earliest we have ever shared the expected news but if the kids know there is no sense trying to keep it down low. I'm just eight weeks prego -- the end of June will make us a pack of "sixlets!"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kitchen Demo Part III

We didn't waste anytime this past weekend. My parent's arrived Friday night and we spent the evening washing down the cupboards in preparation for rejuvenating them on Saturday.
Saturday we grouted and sealed the tile. It wasn't really a hard job--but it was quite time consuming. The kids all were such a great help.My dad and Birch put together the new sink.We were short a couple of parts so we didn't end up having a working sink and dishwasher until Monday morning--OH BLESSED DAY!!
My mom was busy sanding, organizing, putting on new cabinet knobs, entertaining the kids, etc...
Monday Birch and the gentleman that we hired to do the countertops started on the hardwood floor in the kitchen. Birch worked from 5 AM until 10:30 PM yesterday. We are about half way done laying the floor. Hopefully by tomorrow the floors will be sanded and ready to seal. We are also having the maple hallway refinished.
So it is chaos at our house! The kitchen island is the in the living room with all the hardwood, couches, dining room table, etc... The fridge is on the front porch. The kids are all being really patient and helpful and mom is trying to do the same. I love everything so far!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kitchen Demo Part II

I'm not sure how many "parts" this kitchen demo segment is going to have but I am hoping not too many more. We have been working hard this week. I think everything takes at least ten times longer when you add kids, work, colds, and life into a remodel. I am STILL without a sink and stove top but boy does our new backsplash look awesome.
Tuesday Alex and I hauled in 22 boxes of unfinished maple hardwood for the new kitchen floor. We were both exhausted by the end. It took us about an hour and half.
Monday Birch and I started tiling the backsplash. We've spent several late nights since then doing the finishing touches.Coop is displaying the almost finished backsplash. Since this picture was taken we have totally finished tiling and tonight we will do the grout work. We are planning on using a trick I read online--put the grout in a frosting bag so the grout does not get in all the crevasse's that are naturally in the travertine tile. The countertops are just about done. The wood trim work still needs to be stained but supposable that is supposed to happen today. The clock is ticking...

My parents are on their way here right now. We will grout tonight and then spend tomorrow rejuvenating the cabinets with some stain and new knobs. Monday Birch and another hired man will start in on the hardwood floor. I CAN'T WAIT TO HAVE THIS PROJECT COMPLETED! Patience!!! I hoping that that sink and stove will go in tomorrow so I can at least run the dishwasher once before we are banned from the kitchen while the flooring is being done. By Thanksgiving we should have a beautiful kitchen!

A Blast at Raptor Reef

We had a great trip to Spokane this past weekend. Friday was spent at Raptor Reef, an indoor waterpark. We took the kids last year and had the best time. This year there were a few more families but we still never had to wait in a line for any of the slides. Brent (Birch's brother) and Deena's family joined us. The kids all had a great time playing with their cousins. Andrew also enjoyed a day off of work and the kids had a great time horsing around with him.Alex enjoying the life...he LOVED all the slides this year and went non-stop the whole day.
Nate, Jacob and Malia (cousins), Alex, and Alysee on kids waterplay area.
Alysee and Mom
Birch and Coop
Tyler crusin' down a waterslide

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pressure of the oldest grandchild

This past summer you might remember me writing about our fun annual Ditto family reunion. The past several years we have enjoyed the water fun at Lake Cavanaugh. Anyway, today we had parent/teacher conferences for the three older kids. Each of them is doing wonderfully and the teachers had lots of good things to share.

When we met with Alex's teacher she was expressing how much she enjoys his writing. She shared the following piece with us that Alex wrote at the beginning of the school year. I thought it was too cute to not share. For those of you that know the Ditto family there is much joy (and pressure) to being named among the talented waterskiers. Personally I haven't skied for years--it takes a lot for me to want to dip myself in cold water.

If you click on the following you can feel Alex's joy, fear, and triumphant over his first experience waterskiing. I can just hear his grandpa cheering him on!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ditto Demolition Part I

This weekend is the beginning of a long awaited exciting project--KITCHEN DEMOLITION! We already tackled the tile backsplash and have a few dry wall repairs that need to happen now. The kitchen sink, which proved to be quite the challenge was removed the other night. The gas cook top is safely put away in the shop. So out with the old turquoise kitchen and bring on the rich cocoa brown. We are going to Spokane this weekend to have fun at an indoor waterpark. While we are gone the new countertops will be installed. Monday we will put in our new granite sink and finalize what we are doing with the floor. This next weekend we are so grateful that my parents are going to come up and help us with refinishing the cabinets. Then we will conquer the tile backsplash (something we have never done and are a little nervous to do). I've found killer deals on ebay for everything from the travertine tile, granite sink, faucet, cabinet knobs, and sink stainers. Such an exciting time at our house!!
The old cast iron sink proved to be throughly stuck to the countertop. Birch tried using the car jack to get it unstuck but finally what worked was hammering a screwdriver around the outside edge and then using a crow bar. Good thing we had already planned on replacing the sink because now we have quite a few chips to the outside of our old sink. The sink was SO heavy that I made a 10 pm emergency call to a friend with more muscles than me to come help Birch pull the sink out. This is me in Alex's costume glasses. I figured it was important to protect my eyes from the flying tile pieces.

Stayed tuned for part II.

Halloween Festivities

Monday night we had a great time carving our HUGE garden pumpkins. The flesh was like three inches thick and proved to be quite the work out for Birch to cut out all the kids designs. I stuck with Alysee and Nate's little pumpkins that they had got at a local pumpkin patch.

I was impressed with Tyler for actually touching the "guts" this year. Alex dove right into cleaning out his pumpkin; unfortunately he got an allergic reaction and got a rash all up his arm. Coop loved stirring the inside of the pumpkin with a spoon; Alysee nearly threw up when she saw what was inside the pumpkin; Nate was too busy trying to sneak a knife to cut his own pumpkin that he didn't mind the guts.
We had a great Halloween party at church last night. There were lots of carnival games for the kids, chili and hot dogs, and then a mad twenty minutes of trunk-or-treating. Alex created his mad scientist costume by himself this year--pretty creative. Tyler and Nate were both scary spidermen. Last minute I threw Coop into a superman costume. And Alysee...were still not sure what she was. She woke up yesterday morning saying that she was not going to be a princess anymore but a gymnastics/ballerina girl. She knew what she was and was proud to be it...isn't that what matters? Somehow I escaped the picture and I actually had quite the fabulous witch costume. I was in charge of Alysee's school Halloween party yesterday. We had a great party complete with a witch's cauldron of rootbeer. Happy Halloween!!