Friday, December 31, 2010

7 Years and Counting

Yesterday Brian and I celebrated our 7th anniversary, and it was the BEST ONE EVER! In the past, our routine has been the same: dinner and a movie. As boring or cliche as that sounds, it was always magical because neither of those activities is something we do without our kids other than the one night a year basically.

This year though, we decided we'd better take advantage of having only 2 kids for a sitter to watch and Devon's unmarried availability (until this March) and Devon stayed with the boys OVERNIGHT! Brian and I headed up to Portland yesterday and had an amazing 24 + hours child-free.

We started at McGraths before leaving town where Brian's boss graciously comped our meal for us. Brian surprised me with the hotel and I was delighted to see this:

Alright, so technically, that's the back and I never saw it from that side. But any pictures of the front (see below) don't do it justice. This was definitely the nicest hotel I have stayed in that I can remember. (Note to unmarrieds - pick an anniversary date that's off season) It had the grand piano in the entry and and a fancy restaurant that looked over the river. The Red Lion Hotel at Janzten Beach was like it's own village. Very large. Our room looked so luxurious and the bathroom was at least twice as large as ours at home, plus generally much nicer.

This was the view from our room, a little foggy because I couldn’t get the door open.



After checking in, Brian and I found our way to the Max station – the local train. I should mention that Brian’s “gift” to me was to come without his laptop. Unfortunately our GPS crashed and burned minutes before we left for Portland earlier that day, so this was a technology-free trip. It was actually pretty fun to get ourselves around with one map (of Portland Downtown only) and rough it like that. Thank goodness I married a boyscout because I never had any idea where on earth we were or how the heck Brian managed to get us anywhere. Anyway, we found the train station and rode it into Downtown Portland.


It was FREEZING cold outside (we reminisced about Rexburg quite a bit) but we made our way to Powell’s City of Books where we thawed out and bought a couple books. Downtown was beautiful with the Christmas tree and grand buildings and lights. We loved it!


Back at the hotel we ate dinner at the restaurant overlooking the river and called it a night.

This morning we had our delicious breakfast at Denny’s (o.k, first of all, we love Denny’s anyway, but they have for a limited time a “cranberry orange pancake” which I highly recommend. I think we’ll start making our own pancakes that way all the time!) and found our way to Lloyd center. We wandered around the mall for a while then got our slick on for some ice skating.

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All in all, we agreed this was our most favorite anniversary ever. I love my wonderful man I’m so excited for the next many, many anniversaries to come!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some Thoughts on Learning

I would put this on my "musings" blog, but I think this video is REALLY worth watching, and only, like, 2 people look at that other blog ;-)

The video really struck a chord with me as a parent with children entering the school system. A couple years ago I did a research project in support of separate-gender classrooms. In that research I learned SO much about the differences in how boys and girls tend to learn. As a parent of boys, it's hard to swallow the sad fact that our school system tends to work much better for girls than boys, which is why boys are so much more likely to fall behind, demonstrate supposed ADHD, lose interest in learning, and drop out of school. Anyway, the movie isn't about gender issues, but to me it's all related. We've GOT to really think about the American school system and if it's meeting our needs individually and as a society.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boy for Sale

For sale: 1 boy, age 2 and 11/12ths. As is. Will deliver.
Very cute and sweet. Enjoys getting into markers and drawing on furniture, clothing, slippers, hardcover books, bedding, doors, laptop, and carpet in parent's room - at 11:30pm while you doze downstairs.
Follows up the previously mentioned activity with climbing onto the bathroom counter and getting into lotions and toothpaste.
No returns or refunds. Make offer.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Children are Funny


Asher cracks us up! Some time soon I hope I’m going to write an update on him and try to capture with words what makes him so darned irresistibly cute. It won’t be easy, but in the mean time, here’s an Asherism.

Not every night, but occasionally – and more often lately – Asher will sneak out of his room at night. I usually hear something suspicious, like an extra loud sneeze, and know that he’s out, but I generally leave it alone. He usually goes back into his room when he’s ready to sleep, and while he’s in the hall he just plays or hangs out near silently. He has a special spot, you see. In our small hallway we keep a communal laundry hamper which sits very close to the boy’s bedroom door, about a foot or less away. This is Asher’s nook. When he is being sneaky, it’s where he hangs out. Brian and I have always gotten a big kick out of it.


Twice in the last week though, Asher has fallen asleep there. The first time was a night when Brian was at work, and he asked me if he could be the one to move him after he got home. Asher woke up too soon though and I helped him to bed. The other night, Asher did it again and this time Brian and I didn’t know it until we walked upstairs to go to bed ourselves and heard soft snoring amidst our conversation. That kid is just too fun. For some reason, we love finding a little boy sleeping in the hallway, tucked into his nook and blocking his door. It just makes us smile.


Brennan has been making this Christmas season… interesting. The child is trying SO hard to reconcile the idea of Santa with his understanding of the gospel. He constantly asks questions that make me have to think way too hard to make it all fit together for him. “Will Santa ever die? Then how can he be resurrected?” “Why did Heavenly Father make just Santa’s reindeer able to fly?” “Did Santa visit Adam and Eve?” “Who were Santa’s parents?” Don’t even get him started on elves! I mean, where do they fit into the plan of salvation?!? In general, he’s always been a worrier about “what ifs” too, so I get a lot of questions about possible scenerios that Santa might encounter (and not just your usual, “what if there’s no chimney?”) I don’t think he knows anything about the concept of “global warming,” but on his own he seems concerned about things like “what if the North Pole melts?” Brian and I both don’t remember having such a problem with the existence of Santa, especially without a tip-off, which Brennan hasn’t had. I never thought including Santa in our Christmas celebrations would confuse a child or make my brain hurt so much!





And the Ugly Tree Award goes to…

The Stevensons!



As usual, I had rather high hopes for my tree this year. It started off on our traditional search for lights of a certain color. Several stores later, no avail, so I had to stick with what I had including white cords and several different ones being hooked together. Once I got the lights up, Brennan and Asher excitedly attacked the tree with ornaments and I didn’t have the heart to stop them. Brennan stood on the stool and placed all his ornaments in one spot, while Asher stood below doing the same. In the end, the tree had one vertical stripe of ornaments and a bead/chain thrown up half-hazardly in another spot. I intended to “fix” it after they went to bed, but was too tired. It’s been almost a week and I’ve just left it. In the mean time, Brennan broke 2 bottom limbs, disrupting the lights among other things. I’ve always let the kids hang up soft crocheted ornaments on the bottom even though they don’t match. They like to remove them just as often so it never really made the tree look all the worse, but this year the clashing colors seem more obvious with all the other disasters going on. (Incidently, the tree looks even worse in person. Being a super cheap artificial tree, it’s not actually as “full” as it looks in the pictures, and it’s a pretty gross color green.)

In the end, I’ve decided to just leave it alone. After Christmas I’ll get us another (and better) tree on clearance, and hopefully the lights I want online. In the mean time, I have no plans for company and we’ll be out of town over the Christmas weekend anyway, so I’m going to let this just be The Year of the Ugly Christmas Tree (which the kids love just as much;-)