Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Slacker Moms: Easter 2011.

By Liv

As it turns out, it's much harder than I ever expected to be a Mom. All this cooking and cleaning is enough to make a girl crazy but add to that the expectation to both REMEMBER holidays and then actually plan and execute some type of special tradition on those holidays. How's a girl supposed to do all that?

Easter was largely forgotten until – say the day before. Luckily, Marlane had psychically forecasted my slackerness regarding Easter and she had sent me along with all the fixings for an Easter basket for Stella. Jess ran to the grocery store with just a few hours to spare and landed a few extra goodies for the girls, but to be honest, the only things in their baskets were a handful of jelly beans in plastic eggs, a stuffed animal and a helium balloon. How lame are we?

You know, when our Mom was alive, she would make up these ridiculous baskets overfilling with everything from expensive candies to clothes and jewelry for Jess and I. I'm talking Easter, Valentine's Day, even Christmas and our Birthdays. She did this every year until she passed away when I was 23. So the thought of Jess and I NOT recreating this for our daughters is a little absurd. We promised ourselves to make next Easter much more exciting, but in all actuality, the babies didn't even notice. Phew!

The funniest part of Easter was when we arrived 20 minutes late to the public Easter egg hunt. We were quickly informed by a very kind man that the hunt was over and all the candy had been claimed. When his two daughters saw that Stella and Seren's Easter baskets were completely empty, those two little girls were kind enough to share a handful of foil-covered chocolate eggs with Stella and Seren!

At this point, I'm sure you're wondering what kind of fun it is to just be GIVEN a handful of Easter candy for free - without even having to hunt for it. Well, as it turns out, it's NO FUN at all. So what were we to do? You guessed it – we took the girls to a ball field nearby and chucked all their chocolate eggs in the grass and taught them to pick them up and place them in their baskets.

Stella and Seren were so excited and overwhelmed with joy at this new game that they didn't even notice that we were continuously taking those chocolate eggs that they had been picking up so diligently and redistributing them on the grass. They did this repeated egg hunt for about 10 minutes until we decided they had had enough Easter hunting. It was cute, though, and I'm sure this will be the last year we will be able to pull that trick on them :)

Here are some photos of our little darlings. They were so fun on Easter and I'm so glad that we were able to spend the day with my Sister and her family.

 Wearing the Easter dress from Oma (Grandma) Marlane.

Last stop: Seattle, Washington.

By Liv

Last but not least, we ended our whirlwind trip in Seattle with my (crazy) family. The over-indulgence in eating continued, as did the beer and tequila drinking, along with my 2-week-long birthday celebration. The highlight of this stop was definitely seeing my little (well, she's actually pretty big now...) niece, Seren. Stella and Seren sure love each other. Stella spent most of her day calling for Seren, "Say-Say! Come!" and chasing my Dad's dog around the house.

NOW I remember why people choose to live so close to family when they have kids. I can't remember the last time Stella was around so many people who love her!

Fun at the playground with the girls:

Cooking: what we do best.

Eating: what we do even better.

Mid-morning dance party!

The McClurkens.

Stella and Seren have matching sheep. Stella obviously loves hers :)

Opening my birthday gift from my Papa.
New earrings!

Birthday cupcakes. My favorite one was the red velvet cake. Yum.

Jess and the girls.

Dad thinks it's hilarious when Stella rides Zeta.

Cousins even share bubbles :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our old "home" - Visiting Portland, Oregon.

By Liv

After spending a couple of weeks in California, we flew up to Portland to visit with Nick's parent's and our friends – many of whom we haven't seen in over a year!

We spent most of our time in Portland hanging out at Mike & Marlane's house and watching Stella enjoy all of the awesome kids toys that they have. Nick and I were both glad to see how much Stella enjoyed being around her grandparents, too. And as it turns out, they had just as much fun as she did!

First off, let me start by saying that I have the best in-laws ever. When we arrived to Mike & Marlane's house, it was just a few days after my 30th Birthday and I was welcomed with this beautiful birthday gift:

There's a reason why Stella loves her Grandparents: because they are fun!
Their house has the best toys - including a sandbox!

Fun at the playground in Vancouver, Washington.
This place isn't just for kids!

A quick visit over to Paul & Annie's house was just what Stella 
needed. She quickly remembered Ava from their time together in Germany 
last summer, and the girls went straight to work getting in to all sorts of trouble...

"We've got a phone and a wheelbarrow... what kind of trouble can we get in to?"

Plotting and scheming.

Ava doesn't have to say anything, her face says it all!

They are pretty sure there's something hidden in these cupboards.

Just in time for us to say goodbye, I hosted a dinner for a group of my 
girlfriends and their kids. I've never seen all of them together at the same time, 
so this was a special treat. Stella especially enjoyed all the other babies :)

She loved holding Cooper :)

Friends since I can remember: Autumn and her beautiful twins: Joselyn and Cooper.

Maria, Autumn, Melissa, Me, Tiffany Jarvis, Tiffany Turner, Angela, Shaun & Syreeta.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Liv hits the big three-oh.

By Liv

I woke up, like any other day, to the soft and sweet voice of my daughter whispering, "Hi, Mama!"

Nick had scoped out a breakfast joint that he really wanted to take me to. It was called "Dharma's" and was 100% vegetarian and organic. We had a tofu-scramble breakfast burrito and some delicious coffee. My tummy was full and I was content to go home and change in to my beach ware and sit in the sand all day...

Somewhere between breakfast and the beach, Nick side-tracked and pulled in to a Spa. He then announced that I would be spending the morning in a state of ultimate pampering. I cannot explain my excitement at this point :) I spent the next 3 hours being covered in gooey body-firming concoctions, inside a steam tent, then massaged and relaxed and finally with a skin rejuvenating facial. Just when I thought my spa day was over, I was greeted with a personal tea service for one. Ah... I could do that every day!

The remainder of my day was spent eating delicious taqueria tacos, walking and playing in the sand on the beach and wrapping up our day with a sushi dinner followed by a birthday key lime pie. I can't say exactly how different it feels to be 30, but I can say that I'm glad I have such a loving family to share the day with me.