Monday, June 22, 2009


Somehow, Spring got away from me. As I looked through our pictures over the past month, I realized how much we did right here at home and how much I didn't blog about it. It seemed every day brought on three changes of clothes: cold mornings, hot afternoons and wet rainy evenings. As the days got longer and longer, we filled them up with getting dirty, getting naked and getting creative. Here is a packed collage of our daily May activities (some of the pictures are quite small, but were just too great not to on the collage to see it enlarged):

1) Fearing the disappearance of her beloved "blowies," Brooke decided to collect all the dandelion seeds she could fit inside a jelly jar. She now sleeps with it at night.
2) A night-time rain walk
3) My three naked ducks enjoying peanut butter and milk on the counter top
4) The daily thunder and lightning storms fascinated us all. We would sit on our outside porch and just watch (with an occasional dash around the house). This one in particular brought huge hail (and no dashing).
5) Andrew's approach to the blowies was a little bit different than Brooke's. Something about "Kill the weeds!"
6) "Go away, mom. We're just coloring." These two seemed to sense that I needed a little more rest than usual and became much more independent of me and more dependent upon each other, setting up their own games, adventures and activities.
7) Same night-time rain walk
8)The first run through the sprinklers of the season. It wasn't even that warm yet and it didn't last very long...but it was fun.
9) Dragon dress-up
10) The first watermelon of the season: "Does this mean it's summer?!"
11) Twirling with blowies
12) Our strawberries growing
13) Brooke is very serious about her play dough
14) Batman
15) An actual view of our front yard (covered in dandelions, blowies and buttercups). You can actually catch a small glimpse of the freedom our kids enjoy here: hills, barns, yards and bike paths right outside our door. Can you tell why we love Knonau so much?
16) Discovering how much fun mud is after a rain storm
17) Hiding in the sandbox
18) Wet sand is pretty fun too
19) Matthew's love of water and fountains followed right in his sibling's footsteps
20) Chicken man

And my three favorite from the mix:

We also enjoyed a warm day at the beach this month. The water wasn't warm by any means, but that didn't stop these guys:

It was a great month. So many things I'm going to miss about the wonderful place we live seemed to be everywhere: the quiet, the freedom, the safety and the beauty. This place will always be special to us; where our "baby Matthew" turned into a talking toddler and where Brooke and Andrew changed from talking toddlers into big kids.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little Monster

Brooke and Andrew joined me for my 26 week ultrasound. The entire time, Brooke kept saying things like, "Aww, look at his tiny hands! I can see his nose! He's so cute!" Andrew was pretty quiet, so at the end I asked him what he thought of his little brother. He said, "I think he's going to be born a little monster."

That night, my wonderful friends threw a joint baby shower for my two pregnant friends and me. Thank you for such a great night, ladies!

Monday, June 15, 2009

House Hunting

We did it: 4 days, 4 ceremonial counties, 3 wards, 15 districts, 3 tanks of gas, 20 houses and 1 winner.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"I two!"

His actual birthday was June 8th (the day we celebrated), but I've been catching him sing, "Hap Birt-day to Maf-ew" all month long. This perfect little third child LOVED having a day all about him (finally). Happy Birthday, Bear!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spain Trip

Provence, France:
Avignon, home of the Popes in the early 1300's. Highlight: Jumping on the hotel beds

Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct. Highlights: skipping rocks and catching frogs in the river

Arles, with a Roman arena that is still used for bull fights, birthplace of Constatine II, and home of Vincent van Gogh (until he was institutionalized). Highlights: Charming buildings, muffins from the hotel restaurant

Les Baux, site of a fortress since 200 BC, and the place where aluminum ore was first discovered (hence the name bauxite). Highlights: Seeing "real" knights sword fight and launch the catapult, climbing on rocks

Candyshop in Les Baux. Highlight: everything

Catalunya, Spain:
Barceloneta Beach. Highlights: "It really is a beach!", Surfing, building a swimming pool

La Rambla and the Mercat de Sant Josep. Highlight: delicious fruit, leaving La Rambla and wandering the side streets

Barcelona. Highlights: speaking Spanish (and actually understanding what people say again), crepes, tapas, guitar man, running around the Picasso museum

The Gaudi masterpiece, El Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia. Highlight: witnessing the work in progress. We plan to return in 20 years when it is finished.

Rhone-Alps, France:
Annecy, a cute little town that made a nice stopover on our way home. Highlights: hotel swimming pool, pastries

Appendix 1: Travel with 3.5 kids:
Multi-child feeding system, double stroller converted to triple stroller (quadruple stroller/wheelchair when Ashley gets in), Matthew in the Beco (baby carrier) with Andrew on shoulders, Andrew in the "Backpack Beco" with Matthew on shoulders (because Ashley has Brooke in the real Beco in addition to one in the tummy Beco). These all make for a lot of dirty looks in Switzerland and France, and a lot of laughs in Spain.

Appendix 2: Budding Photographers:

Candids taken by Brooke and Andrew. Some of them are better than the pictures we take.

All in all it was a great week-long vacation. The kids fell right back into "seasoned traveller" mode and switched between "Gruetzi," "Bonjour," and "Hola" with surprisingly little confusion. I'm always amazed when I pack every single DVD and we end up only watching one the entire trip, when I stash ziplocs in every available nook and then no one gets sick or has accidents (a big one now that Andrew and Brooke are recently potty-trained). 28 hours in the car, three countries, four hotels, and one very happy family. One of our last family trips as 5 people. Just when you think you've got it under control...