Wednesday, December 30, 2009

6th Anniversary

This last year of marriage has been as wonderful as the first 5. I’m so thankful for Brian and his goodness. I’m thankful for both of our parents for their examples of successful marriage relationships, and I’m thankful for our little boys who somehow manage to drive us crazy but humble us with their sweetness and hilarity at the same time.

Our anniversary this year has been… just a regular day really, since Brian had to work at the restaurant tonight. We did give each other cards and a VERY simple gift each, and that’s about it. We’ll go out Friday night thanks to Devon’s kindness in volunteering to babysit.

Brian and I enjoy picking out that “perfect” card for each other. I had to show Brian’s card to me this year. I laughed when I got it. Also, if you’re a Brian Regan fan, you’ll get the inside joke of this card. (See video clip below) Love you Brian!

IMG_2237IMG_2238

Jokes.com
Brian Regan - Greeting Cards
comedians.comedycentral.com
Joke of the Day Stand-Up Comedy Free Online Games

Christmas Eve Fun

video

I LOVE spending Christmas with Family. Yes, that includes my inlaws. Brian and I have always switched off on whose family we spend Christmas with. This year was a Templeman year for us, AND among the Templeman side it was a Corvallis year (as opposed to a Grants Pass, Oregon year). What this meant is that it was our first Christmas sleeping in our own house since Brennan was 8 months old!

Since we were in our own home, we had our own Stevenson family Christmas eve. Brennan and I made cookies, which we left for Santa of course. After dinner, we did the Nativity story as a puppet show. The video above is a condensed version. I loved doing it that way. As much as Brennan would have enjoyed dressing up, I think puppets simplified everything-he could easily cover all the characters without time-taking costume changes. I loved watching the production!

After the show the boys got to open their pj gifts. Finally, Brian read "The Night Before Christmas" to them, a tradition from Brian's house. It took the boys hours to fall asleep that night, but we enjoyed our Christmas Eve.

video video

Monday, December 28, 2009

Surprise! We've Moved...



...to Blackfoot, Idaho. Located in Eastern Idaho, Blackfoot is a small, but homey community. A great place to raise a family.


This move came as quite a surprise to many, especially our Bishopric who had no notice of this impromtu relocation. The surprise was greatest however, for Brian and I, for we had no plans to move to Blackfoot.
It all started Saturday evening as Brian was working on the Corvallis 2nd Ward bulletin. When he tried to log in to our stake website on LDS.org, he found himself sent to Groveland 2nd Ward in the Blackfood Idaho Stake. He asked me to try logging in, and sure enough, I was also in the Groveland 2nd ward. Brian didn't mention it when he emailed the bulletin to the Bishop for review, but the Bishop responded, "So it looks like you haven't moved to Blackfoot." Our Bishopric had already received word that our records had been requested and sent.

This evening I got a call from the Ward Clerk in Groveland who sounded quite mystified... he told me that our records had shown up, but there was no address (which it sounds like does not usually occur). I told him that we don't know what happened, but that we're actually in Oregon. He was like, "Ohhh, so you're still there?"

I did eventually explain to him that we are not even intending a move to Blackfoot. He responded, "Oh, o.k. I was thinking, 'why would they move from Oregon to Blackfoot where the winters are like this?'" He also told me that he has a child (or two) in Corvallis and when he saw our records arrive he had been excited to tell them of our move from there.

Anyway, sounds like it's being worked out. There might be a few glitches, such as Brian still having access to the website with his calling as the Stake website specialist. Also, I was hoping to renew our temple recommends in the next few days, but now I'm not sure if we can do that without our records being here yet.

We've had some good laughs over this though. Over the weekend we joked about whether we were going to be read in to our new ward, and if we would be extended callings. We joked that that means we must by default be released from our Corvallis callings. Yesterday was our LAST 9 a.m. church meeting time until 2011, and as we struggled out of bed, we almost convinced ourselves that surely we didn't need to go since technically, it wasn't even our ward anymore! =-) No one seems to know how this happened, but it's been interesting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

God Bless Us, Everyone

Our Ward party was Friday evening. the theme was “A Dickens Christmas Carol” and went smoothly enough I guess. It seemed to fall significantly short of the vision for those of us on the committee who knew it, but I suppose that happens when the leader (whose vision it was to begin with) was gone the night of and the weeks previous to the event. There were aspects that we all assumed were being taken care of by someone else, but never officially assigned I guess. Anyway, the food was good, the company was enjoyable, and the program… well, happened.

IMG_2202 Like the previous two years, which were VERY awesome (the program leaving people in tears, 8 ft tall themed back-drops, etc) the members were encouraged to attend in costume. The last years were a Bethlehem theme and about 98% of those in attendance decked themselves out in bathrobes, and such. This year however, only about 5% of us gave that a go. I think that had to do with the availability of options. Brian thinks the Dickens costumes would have been easier for people, but that they were just lazier this year. I don’t know. Anyway, we all dressed up.

IMG_2195

IMG_2207 I got some pictures of my boys in their attire. In my case, I had already changed out of my dress to skate on the street, but I had a costume dress that worked well.

IMG_2203

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Asher on Ice

It's been an interesting season so far. Very, VERY cold lately, as I understand is true of most the U.S. Last night Brian and I showed up for our ward party early since we're on the Activities committee, and the weather outside was fine. Within a half hour others arriving were talking about how slick it had become outside. When we left after the party, we slid our way to the car, during which time Asher was laughing and laughing! When we got home, a neighbor and fellow LDS family were taking their son on a skate around the street. We did the same with Asher (Brennan didn't want to) and he loved so much, he got upset about going inside.

video

Boys Will Be Boys

video

Monday, November 9, 2009

Asher a Cappella

Asher, Asher, Asher. Such a silly baby. I believe I wrote in a previous post about his lack of real-word speech. I suspect that he knows more than he lets on, and that when he decides to really talk, he'll start with full sentences.

A few days ago as he and I were grocery shopping I realized he was singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Without clear words, it was hard to tell (and the tune is used in so many songs you know) but I took a guess that that's what he was singing and by his reaction when I joined him I knew I was spot on. So, I started inviting him to sing it with me over the last few days. I realized that he was accentuating parts where he knew the word was coming up. He actually knows the song pretty well, but when I sing it every night (and other times throughout the day) he'd never joined me. He just silently learns stuff.

Two nights ago I was thinking about that, and thought, let's see what else he knows. So I specifically invited him to join me in "I Am a Child of God" and he excitedly joined in, again accentuating certain words that he knew were coming. I can't believe this child. Again, it's a song I sing at least once a day, part of our bedtime singing routine, and he's NEVER sung with me until I invited him. What a nut.

Here's a clip of him singing. The parts were he drops off are areas that he often sings... he gets distracted easily. At the end, there's an encore clip of his favorite animal sound.

videoHe also (not as consistently though) enjoys singing "The babyies on the Bus say Wah Wah Wah;" "The Mommies on the bus say shh shh shh;" and "With a Moo Moo here, and a Moo Moo there"

And yes, Asher IS that child you hear busting out a tune with the hymn book open on his lap in the middle of Sacrament Meeting.

This ‘n That

I have a bunch of random stuff that I’ve been wanting to add…

IMG_2113When Brian and I moved into Camas Commons 4 years ago, cable TV was not included in the rent like the previous place, so we used antennas and watched a few select shows through fuzziness and frequent adjusting. When it all went digital last June, watching TV has become a huge headache. We lost a a few channels, including a favorite, FOX still comes in the old way, so to watch it we have to do all sorts of switching, and the rest of the channels are nice and clear, if you can get them to come in at all. (So, rather than a little fuzzy that never bothered us, it will just freeze frame or not come in at all). One night Brian was doing his usual dance of trying the antenna out all over the room. We just wanted to watch something while I gave him a haircut. He tried that thing EVERYWHERE, and the only place this particular channel it came in was suspended above the couch. One centimeter to the left, right, forward, backward, etc… and it was a no-go. This EXACT spot was the ONLY spot. (Until the next day when the hot spot is somewhere completely different). Anyway, I found a toy that was just the right size to hold it in its spot. I couldn’t believe it. And it only took 40 minutes of hunting around to find that night’s hot spot for that particular channel. Woo hoo! It was a lucky night.

videoThe other morning when the kids got up, the train set was still out from the night before. I was so impressed watching them play with something together and not fighting. Asher has more than learned to hold his own... a lot of times he throws a tantrum when his attempt to take things away from Brennan is unsuccessful. Then he comes crying (translation - tattling) to me that "Brennan won't let him have that toy!" It's Brennan's own fault - He's been teaching by example for the last year and a half. Anyway, unless or until Asher trys pulling that stunt, they usually play really well together these days. Brennan has learned to just claim 2 or 3 toys at a time as the one's he's playing with, and knows and accepts that everything else is fair game. And Asher seems to be catching on that he is welcome to play with Brennan as long as he minds the rules (like not taking). Incidentally, this particular train set was mine as my chosen birthday present when I turned 7... or as Brennan likes to call it, "Moms train from when she was a little boy."

videoAsher's nap time, a.k.a. "quiet" time is not always quiet for Brennan. However, he is pretty good about settling down for some personal play time. On halloween day he was doing just that while Brian did homework and I did whatever random stuff myself. I love listening to Brennan play, the little conversations always make me laugh, but they're usually too complex to remember well enough to share. This isn't an example of complexity really, but I just got a kick out of watching him play in his own little world, hardly aware of Mom and Dad just a few feet away from him.
*Warning* you may find this boring, but as his Mother I enjoy every second of it, and I'm posting this more for me than for anyone else :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween 2009

We had a fun Halloween, but unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the kids or activities. Ha ha. The only pictures for the day were of the food I made for a party. It’s a spinach/hummus dip with crackers to represent tombstones (some of them with writing like RIP and “Saul T. Snack”) and a pretzel fence. It’s a graveyard scene, the idea from a magazine, though my finished product looked nowhere near as good as the original.

IMG_2110

Anyway, it was a fun day. While Asher napped I took Brennan to the Library for their Halloween party. It was a free event (my favorite kind) with all sorts of activities like mini bowling, ring tosses, fishing, and all those kid favorites. After their turns the kids could choose a trick or a treat. (the tricks were little toys). We didn’t stay too long, but Brennan had a good time. We got home (through the HORRIBLE post OSU football game traffic) just in time to hit the Camas Commons (our neighborhood) Mormons & friends party. It was much quieter this year for some reason. We then headed to Mom and Dad’s for the kids to show off their costumes and trick-or-treat to a few of their neighbors, and finally we got to the Trunk-or-treat activity at the church. Asher had a wonderful time, and was so cute to watch. At houses, he would follow Brennan, and as soon as he would see someone with candy opening the door, he would drop his bucket and RUN the rest of the way. At the church, I eventually stopped holding his bucket out because he couldn’t care less about the candy. He just loved running around free in a parking lot.

It has been so fun to do Halloween with a 4 year old. Each year Brennan gets more and more out of Halloween. It was cool to have a child understand and anticipate the activities, and enjoy them on that level. The first 2 or so years, you know it’s more for you than it is for them. This year, Brennan did it for himself!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Brian and I have done some rearranging about 14 times in the last 3 months.  The most recent one was to bring our desktop computer downstairs and keep it hooked up to the TV in the living room.  It’s been interesting to attempt to get around on the computer now that the text is too far away to read well.  Also, Brian somehow found and AMAZING deal on Windows 7, (which we don’t recommend the company that sold it… it took Brian 2 1/2 weeks, several phone calls (for which the customer service number is only found after an intensive search over the internet), and many emails, to in the end be able to download his purchase through (shhhh) tapping into someone else’s wifi.  ANYWAY… this is the long explanation to say that all the pictures I’d uploaded to the computer in the last few weeks have been difficult to access for a number of reasons.  Now that I’ve got them, I’ll try to do some catching-up.

In mid-October we made it to our usual farm for the pumpkin-patch/corn maze activities.  Activities you will see include a duck race with old-fashioned water pumps, kids playing in the corn boxes, the tractor ride, and picking the pumpkins.  It was an absolutely perfect fall day-warm enough to strip off the sweater in fact.  This day was right in the middle of many days of rain however, so the ground was quite muddy.  We carefully tromped around the pumpkin patch and were home clear… until Asher gleefully ran into the deepest, thickest mud bath a few short feet from the tractor.  He was several feet into it, and up to his calves in mud before he lost his balance and fell onto his hands and knees.  Brian was less than pleased, but I thought it was kind of funny (which is why it was then my job to deal with the muddy baby).  Asher loves to shake things up for us.

The other adventure was doing the corn maze.  Brennan absolutely hated it.  Just panicked.  Brian and I had to pretend we weren’t lost, even though we became quite so.  I guess it was a difficult charade to keep up because we obviously weren’t exiting despite telling Brennan we were on our way out.  He kept crying about how he wanted to get out, and unfortunately, we had no idea how.  Clearly, we survived to tell… but it was a little more taxing than we’d bargained for.  At least the rest of the day there was fun and wonderful!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloweeeeeeennnnn…

Now that I’m not in school any more, it was time to put the effort into Halloween that I’ve always wanted to.  For the first time since I was pregnant with Brennan, we carved pumpkins!  I gave Asher a small one and a sharpie with which to color it, but quickly realized that was asking for problems.  He did color it a little though, as you might be able to see from the pictures.  (His is the far left pumpkin).  Brennan quite enjoyed helping scoop out the guts.  He sort of drew a face (or rather, just colored the pumpkin) and said he wanted a jack-o-lantern face.  Although I did the cutting, Brennan is quite proud of is pumpkin.  Mine is the sunshine, and Brian’s is the fancy-schmancy Darth Vador.

IMG_2085IMG_2086 

Yesterday was a busy day.  In the morning when Brennan asked what we were going to do that day, I started rattling all sorts of stuff off, then I stopped.  I knew he’d keep asking me all day as he tried to remember, so I got a step ahead of him.  I drew out our plans as little pictures on a piece of paper.  Brennan absolutely loved it.  Every half hour he would grab the paper and explain to Brian or I, pointing at the corresponding pictures, “First Asher will have a nap time, then we will go trick-or-treating at the stores [i.e. Downtown Corvallis], then we will visit Jodie, then we will come home and have a snack, then we will go to the birthday party, and then we’ll come home and go to bed!”  Asher ended up napping until 5:00 (the time the birthday party started), but I managed to get those 3 main activities accomplished.  They put their costumes on and we spent about 20 minutes downtown just hitting the stores on either side of one block, then we did a quick stop to visit Jodi and give her some Halloween decor Brennan made, and got the birthday party with plenty of time before the piƱata and all.  The kids had a GREAT time yesterday.

IMG_2106 IMG_2102 IMG_2103 IMG_2104 IMG_2105

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chuggin' Along


We're all doing great, just chugging along. Brian's still in school. We're still poor, but still blissfully happy and greatly in love. That's all we need, right?

It's beginning to occur to us that Brian's expected graduation in less than 4 months away. Yaaaay! Unfortunately, it's also beginning to occur to us that Brian will need additional training before he's ready to really enter the work force in his chosen occupation. His degree in information technology is simply not offering the level of experience in specific areas that he really needs. So, (and I don't know if this will start before February), Brian will continue his education through certificate degrees in specific things like FLASH. Of course, when your field of study is technology, there's bound to be continual certification for the duration of his carreer. Anyway, we're hoping start wrapping things up and getting him ready to be completely qualified and confident to start a *real* job.

Kids are good. Really good. Brennan is a busy and silly little boy as always. He is such a thinker. You can't reason with him anymore... or rather, he'll out-reason you. He's definitely in the "why" phase, and it blows my mind the extent he can follow a discussion as you attempt to answer all of his questions. When you try to simplify your explanations, he seems to call you on it, and things get totally complicated. The other day he was asking me what energy is and trying to make sense of my blustering answers. "Is energy breathing?" (As in, equal to) "Well, we use energy when we breath" "We use it?" Etc. Also, one of my favorite Brennanisms occurred about a month ago. On the way home from church I was telling Brian that I wanted to visit Jodi after lunch, a lady on my visiting teaching route who resides in a nursing home. Brennan piped up from the backseat that we wanted to visit Jodi as well. I politely declined for whatever reseasons. Brennan responded, "But Mom, I just really want you to share your life with me." Brian and I laughed the rest of the way home. Where did he hear such a phrase? We have no idea.

Asher is also doing well. The highlight of his life it taking Brennan to and picking him up from preschool 3 times a week. Asher knows exactly what building and room to go to with the abundance of toys. Man, this kid is growing up so fast. He LOVES LOVES LOVES balls. When we're at a playground, he ignores everything to try to jump in to a basketball or soccer game... well, he'll try to steal the ball at least. He's darn good at catching too. Has been for quite a while. Definitely our little athlete, though who knows where that trait came from. I'm sure it starting with the couch jumping. Asher still babbles all the time, and says very little of actual words. We're hearing him say more and more, like last night he was identifying boats shown on the TV. He can say it perfectly. Interesting that he knows "boat" and not words like "milk" or "more." I think a lot of it has to do with my not picking things out. Like with Brennan, all words were "da" or "dada" for a long time, until he started obviously improving on pronunciation. With Asher, I susbect he says "milk" in his own pronunciation, but it's mixed in to a full sentence of babble and I'm not activitly looking for identifiable words. Anway, it's just a thought.

There is a movie made by Leapfrog called "Letter Factory." We borrowed it from a friend when I was telling her how Brennan has never been a big TV/movie watcher, much to my often dismay (when he was younger at least) when I wanted to get things done. This movie is all about the sounds the letters make and it proved to be as big a hit as she told me it would be. The movie uses the tune to "the farmer in the dell" to sing each letter's sound. Tonight as I was getting the kids ready for bed, Brennan requested it, so I started singing, "The A says ___" and right on cue Asher sang out "AH" I was surprised, so went on, "The A says _____" Again, Asher answered, "Ah." I finished, "Every letter makes a sound, the A says____" And again, on cue, Asher sang "Ah." I couldn't believe it. All this time I've been singing with Brennan, Asher's been listening. A few minutes later, as we started the song again, we did A, then B, then on. "The C says ___" and Asher responed *bhe* because that's what we had said the previous verse. I'm so pleased to discover he's soaking stuff in from observing me work on stuff with Brennan.

Anway, this was supposed to just be a quick check-in because originally I didn't have anything to write about. Geez. So, we're doing well and looking forward to all the upcoming events in our lives.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Yesterday was a beautiful day... not the first as of late, but for some reason it attracted the neighborhood. One of Brennan's friends came over and invited Brennan outside. It didn't take long for the band of boys to start chasing each other around the houses with their pretend guns and cool gadgets. I couldn't resist. I just had to snap a few shots of the neighborhood Sunbeam Boys.


Asher also enjoyed himself outside. He loves running after the big boys, but is as equally content to stay close and play with anybody hanging around. I started playing with some camera settings.

(Totally unaware of the approaching Sunbeam Brigade)


Asher is notorious for his serious facial expressions. I get so many comments about what a serious baby he is. It's just a front though. If others aren't around or he thinks they aren't looking, he's all smiles.

(A neighbor's popular recycling truck)



















...See ;-)

September 2009


For a period of time last month Asher became a huge fan of couch-jumping (and consequently Brennan a fan as well). One night, as they were having so much fun together, I indulged them, and shot a bunch of pictures as well. I love my cute boys!








I love this picture. Look at those eyes!

The glare people know and love =-)



video

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Brian Turned Twenty-Something

Last Sunday was Brian's birthday. I hope he had a nice day. My Corvallis family members were all able to stop by for dessert and presents, so that was pretty cool. Brian received from the boys a box of Lego's (which I swear since I've known him Brian has frequently talked about how much he wanted Lego's to play with his kids), and from me an electric skillet, and some kitchen utensils including a nicer-type chef's knife. It was sort of last minute because his birthday gift had originally been the dog, so I didn't have enough time to get some sort of stinkin' awesome gift. However, I think he likes the kitchen/cooking stuff... the only night he had off this week is tomorrow, and he's already volunteered to make dinner.





video

Brian, you are the most wonderful man--far surpassing my growing-up fantasies of my future husband. You are such a great husband and father. I feel so blessed to have you as my example and forever sweetheart. I love you SO much! Happy Birthday.

O.k. I admit, I didn't go to a whole lot of effort to find the *perfect* photos. These are the ones that happen to be near the computer, and I scanned them in.

Baby Brian, 2 days old

Taken as a practice by a fellow trainee at Bell Photographers, summer 2003

Brian on mission

Fall 2003, holding neice