Sunday, December 23, 2012

Downtown We Go!

A new favorite tradition for the boys and I is to head down to the city center one afternoon after school to see the Christmas star and tree. As always, the boys were full of wonder and delight at all the bright lights and the hustle and bustle of the season.

Here are the boys in front of the star (which would have made a nice Christmas card photo. I should remember that for next year!)

We all took a whirl on the carousel. Jack is in a semi-anti-carousel phase right now, so we compromised and rode on the sleigh seat, not a horse. Of course, once the ride was done he kept shouting about wanting to do it again and again. Maybe next year he'll be brave enough to ride a horse again.




Gus insisted on taking a photo with me in it. He did a really great job getting a shot!

Jack's turn with the camera. Again, not bad! I'm loving Gus' raised eyebrow smile.

This Christmas season has felt in many ways overwhelming and rushed, so I am very grateful to have had such a lovely afternoon with the boys just enjoying the season and having fun.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 15, 2012


Okay, first let me just get something out there...I'm lazy. There, I said it. Whenever I think about updating this blog, I think about how much easier it is to just put stuff up on Facebook and this little blog sits forgotten for months. I really do enjoy posting here, especially when I look back over the years and am reminded of so many small moments in our family's life that would otherwise be forgotten. I will try to do better!

Here are a few photos from our recent day trip to Leavenworth. Looking at these pictures you really wouldn't know that we're in Leavenworth, given that we failed to photograph anything remotely Bavarian, but trust me, we were there.

Max on his way into a bookshop, AKA his most-favorite place to go ever. That kid LOVES to read, which makes me so happy!

Gus on the bookshop balcony:

And we can't forget Jack:

These two aren't quite as enamoured with book stores, so they hung around outside and made silly faces:

Ice cream!

This is Jack's "I'm a trouble-maker and I will always demand my way" look. No, seriously. He's a trouble-maker and he always wants to get his way. And that's the look he gives me.

Something that made me so very happy was that right before we were going to head to Leavenworth, Gus asked if I would create bingo cards for them. I quickly scrambled to make some, complete with liederhosen, accordions and beer steins on them:

One thing we didn't get any photos of was the amazingly gorgeous fall colors on the drive through the mountains. At one point, looking at a particularly vibrant scene out the window, Max exclaimed, "Wow! It looks like Gryffindor threw up all over the mountain!"

And if you're on FB you've already heard that.
But it's still funny.
Posted by Picasa

Backyard - Before & After

This past weekend we finally finished up our backyard project. We are so grateful to our friend Scot, of Scot Eckley, Inc., for his vision, guidance and generosity. He took our over-grown, ugly yard and turned it into a beautiful, relaxing space for us to enjoy for many years to come.

Here are the 'Before' photos:


And the amazing 'Afters' (some with Jack in them because he insisted on it!):

Now we just need summer back - HA!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Book Shower for Julia

I was so delighted to have the chance to throw a baby shower this afternoon for my friend Julia, who is a member of our community group. She is expecting her first baby and wanted a book shower to begin building a library for her little one. This was probably one of my favorite showers I've thrown, given how much I love children's books. I found a collection of Dick and Jane books (not vintage, but a reprinted compilation of a few different books) and used that as my starting point for the decor. I decided to go with a red & aqua color scheme since Julia opted not to find out if she's having a boy or a girl.

The shower was held in our backyard and it was so sunny that it made it difficult to get shots that weren't totally bright. What you can't really see is that I made a red/aqua bunting with the words 'welcome baby' cut out of the Dick and Jane book. I made tissue paper pom poms to go on either side of the bunting and it made for a very cheerful greeting.


For the tables I cut out images from the Dick and Jane book and folded them into cones, which I filled with shredded pages from another Goodwill book and a fork & knife. I should mention that it took me a good week to get up the nerve to cut these books up. It just feels so wrong! At one point I told Mark he may have to do that part for me, but I ended up just going for it.

I had intended to purchase flowers to go in the mason jars, but I ended up running out of time to get any, so I quickly changed course and made these. They are just jars filled with more shredded paper, another Dick and Jane image and a portion of a poem that I really love. It read:

"You may have tangible wealth untold;
caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you never can be --
I had a Mother who read to me"
-Strickland Gilliland

I tried to keep the food simple, just a kale salad, some fruit and veggies, cheese and crackers and a cake. Nothing too fancy. I used old Scrabble tiles to put a sign by the food that said "have some". I also used Scrabble tiles on another table that said 'gifts', obviously so that people would know where to put gifts.

Here's the happy mom-to-be!

One of the cool things about this shower is that I didn't know 80% of the guests. It was really neat getting to meet people from Julia and Elliot's families.

I had only one game, a quiz about classic children's books. Elliot's mom won and she received a set of book plates that I had printed from a template I found online.

Our friend Heidi brought her 4 month-old daughter, Mabel, and she got lots of love from the guests. This is Elliot's grandmother holding her.

Julia, myself, Heidi and Elliot's mom Leslie enjoying time together:

Gift time! Julia received some wonderful books and her little one is sure to have hours of enjoyment listening to the many stories contained within them.

Such a lovely day!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 30, 2012

On the Coast

We've just returned home from our annual camping trip on the Oregon Coast. We had such a fun time! Lots of bike riding, baseball playing, food eating, sightseeing and general fun was had. I barely took my camera out (shame on me!) but I did bring it to the beach and captured some great memories.

Here are the boys in front of the Peter Iredale shipwreck:


Writing names in the sand:

The Kaetzel Boys:

I love this photo of Jack:

Father and Son:

It's amazing how much the shipwreck has changed over the years:

Shortly after we got there, we met up with the boys' cousins. Love seeing them all together!

Another shot of a very happy Jack. He loved the beach.

I told them to look tough. Mark needs a little work on his menacing looks I think!

My nephew, Blake. I love this photo of him.

Best buds hangin' on the beach:
Posted by Picasa