Round the world again!

As I write this, I’m shaking my head because I really should be sleeping. But I am WAY too excited for what this post will unveil… We’re going to Australia tomorrow!!!!

As an undergrad, I studied abroad in Brisbane, QLD. I honestly didn’t know if I would ever get back there. Since then I have had the privilege of visiting many other amazing places as well, but Australia will always have a special spot in my heart. I attended my first Olympics there, I almost died a few times but made it out ok, I made some long time friends that I am looking forward to seeing again, and I learned a lot about myself. I’m excited to be going back with my own family now, to see the town I lived in, finally see the amazing Great Barrier Reef and visit with some of those old friends again (Rebs, watch out!).

We’ve got a slightly bananas itinerary for our two weeks abroad (as if I know any other way to travel):

  • Sydney, NSW
  • The Red Center, NT: Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)
  • Cairns, QLD and the Great Barrier Reef
  • Brisbane, QLD
  • Motorhome from Brisbane to Sydney (sorry Western Australia, I’m skipping you again)
From Google Maps

From Google Maps

We only did any prep for this trip because our dear friend Turbo was excited and kept us on task, despite hectic family, work and volunteering demands the past few months. Not to mention, 3 days of a stomach bug for both kids this week to slow down prep. So a huge thanks, Turbo!!!

I won’t make any promises, but we intend to track our travels and adventures here, and of course, wish us luck!


See ya, diapers! Round 2

Harlan will no doubt appreciate this post in ways I can’t even begin to enjoy til he’s much older and has friends.


This picture amuses me most because Harlan really took being potty trained to heart in this moment,  even if it meant we spent 45 minutes taking care of business at 10pm.

But I digress, this post is meant to be a celebration of progress! Harlan had seemed relatively uninterested in ditching the diaper and its convenience despite my insistence on starting at 15 months. And with an upcoming two week trip to Australia,  I was getting real militant about being diaper free.

But H was not having it, until one day,  he did undies all day with no accidents.  Just like that.  No doubt it was the team effort at preschool and home,  but it still seemed somewhat magical in its transition.  Like most things in child rearing,  it’s not black and white,  in dialers one day,  completely in underpants the next.  We’re still keeping the diaper making industry somewhat happy;  you can’t beat the confidence of mess free on long trips (like our upcoming 15  + hour trip to Australia)  so the pull up diapers are still on hand.

What has been the most rewarding of the transition to mostly diaper free  was the change in H’s behavior and the pride in himself with using the toilet vs diapers. I have so few pictures to really capture the emotion, but his whole little face lights up when he goes any stretch without an accident.


Harlan was treated to a celebration dinner and dessert the week after we said goodbye to majority diaper. Here’s the evidence.


Merry Christmas 2015

We traveled to Houston to celebrate Christmas this year.  We still have family in Texas,  me with a lot more than Sean,  so we appreciate the trip as a way to reconnect. This year it came with a warm surprise due to higher than normal temperatures for Christmas day:  balmy, sunny 80 degree temps.

I attempted to find a picture of us outside while we were there and couldn’t as we obviously avoided the heat.

However we did enjoy some very warm holiday traditions:


A picture with Santa in the airport.


Putting together presents on Christmas Eve.


Building gingerbread houses,  at breakneck speed.


Cute Christmas pajamas and sibling cuddles,  or chokeholds, depending on who you ask.

I’ll add more to this post as I collect the evidence of merry!


Happy 4th Birthday, Cora!

Another year had passed and this munchkin is 4 years old.

That first birthday,  celebrated in two cities with family and friends:


To a new home in Seattle where the  fans come to her:


Stories for my birthday with Grandpa

The sky’s the limit for this 4-year-old, proclaiming she’s almost 5 as soon as her birthday arrived.


To celebrate, we had our 2nd annual bounce house birthday bash at our home and invited friends from all over.
We made a cake, brisket and had the classic kid birthday party fare, reminding me of the parties my mom used to throw growing up.

All these fantastic photos below are thanks to Tara Urs. I apparently was busy bouncing myself silly and eating too much food…


Busy… eating… can’t …talk …now.


Bounce HOUSE!


Sadly we didn’t get any pictures of Cora thoroughly enjoying birthday cake as much as Harlan.


Harlan being chivalrous.


Just kidding,  me first!


This is only my first juice box,  honest.





Happy 2nd Birthday, Harlan!

On this day, two years ago we celebrated your arrival.


Although you don’t look so happy about it.
You have blessed us with your big, healthy, and generally good spirited self everyday since then.  Today we didn’t really get to look back on the years,  now that we’re plural,  but we are grateful for the present moments we shared to celebrate.


Still kind of grumpy.

But wait.



Here’s a little something to smile about.

Some favorites leading up to your birthday:

“Wake up,  Cora!”

“It’s like trying to pick up a black hole.”

Hugger Harlan – Giving hugs and kisses for any size owie for any body.

Jumping on to my lap from any distance with a big smile.

Drinks at meal times make great dipping sauces.


Persistence in most tasks, and the “focused face”.

Trains,  trains,  trains.

Love for big sister.  “Where Cowah?”

I could go on and on,  but then I would never finish this post,  and it’s time to get back on that wagon. 


Fun things pre-schoolers say

As I dust the cobwebs off the family blog, I had to make sure I got some posts started about the great things Cora says. It’s really fun to see how the human brain processes information.


I was trying to explain comparison:

Me: Mama is taller than Harlan. Cora is taller than Harlan. When we talk about two things and how they are related we compare them.

C: Like when you eat an apple and a pear?

We’re at a friends house and she sees some rawhide chew toys for their dog on the floor.

C: What are these?

F: They’re dog bones.

C: The dog lost it’s bones?

We’re home from work and usually have a snack. Cora finds a packet of M&Ms and asks for them.

C: Can I have some M&M’s?

Me: I guess, but just a few.

C: Do you want some?

Me: No thank you, I’m going to have some popcorn, a healthy snack.

C: And I’m having a sick snack!



Cora Marie is Turning Three!

Well it’s been a minute since she turned three, but we need to properly commemorate the event here on the family blog. We had just moved in to our new home in South Seattle the weekend before, so we weren’t quite in our right minds. I had decided that what one does with a large yard is put really big bounce houses on them. So in July I had ordered a bounce house to have for 4 hours for the party. I then of course had to invite a ton of people (trying to keep the party about Cora, but of course getting a little ahead of myself).

You need this.

You need this.

I like a little hokey in my life. Here’s the in invite to the party:
Party Invite

Party Invite

We’re proud to announce 
Miss Cora Marie
Will gladly greet 
Her year number three!
We’ll party outside 
But enjoy some shade
And if you like to jump
You’ve got it made!
Hope you can make it! 
Sean, AJ, Cora and Harlan

Fall is here – Pumpkin Patch Time!

We really enjoy taking the kids to the pumpkin patch. Our very first trip was when Cora was a little nugget. I’ll have to find the pictures from that because it certainly is a foggy memory. But the last two years, we’ve gone with her preschool – Preschool Adventures and their sister preschool Learning Express. It always makes for great pictures and muddy fun.

Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm really knows how to do the pumpkin patch experience. He has it all, a hayride, pick your own pumpkin, the real deal Holyfield corn maze, a cow train tractor ride, a huge selection of pumpkins and gourds for decorating, cooking, and baking, and a large farmers market selection of fruit and veggies. Not to mention the decadent ciders, kettle corn, lemonades, and hot donuts.

Cora had a healthy helping of those (snuck a few past my watchful eye).

Big thank you to Henry (Max’s daddy) for taking and sharing these great pictures with us.