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!


Who Is That Kid?

It was passport picture time for Harlan and an amazing thing happened. He took a pretty phenomenal picture. So phenomenal that AJ talked about getting him setup to be a child model (all in jest mind you). But judge for yourself, definitely one of the best passport photos I have ever seen.

harlan-passport zoolander-01







Kneel before Harlan’s Blue Lightning Zoolander!


Christmas Cookies 2015

Growing up, it was a family tradition to make and decorate sugar cookies. It was a tradition that to this day is a wonderful Christmas memory from when I was a kid. I can’t hear the Bing Crosby or Wayne Newton Christmas albums without remembering the sugar cookies.

As a dad, this was a tradition I definitely wanted to continue, and this year Cora is old enough to really help. She was in charge of sprinkles and added her own panache to the cookies.

The first step is to break out the cookie cutters and start making some cookies.

xmas cookies 01

The next step is to decorate the cookies with homemade buttercream frosting and sprinkles. Cora has turned out to be a prolific user of sprinkles. To the point that I referred to her as “Sprinkles”. She promptly said “I’m not Sprinkles, I’m Cora!”

xmas cookies 02

The fruits of our labors! AJ also helped with the more artistic cookies, but all of the color is Cora’s.

xmas cookies 03

It was a great time, and a fantastic continuation of a family tradition that I have had for as long as I can remember.


Cora’s Masterpiece…Just the Beginning

cora masterpiece 01This was a piece of art that Cora came home from school with. This was an amazing picture that she came up with all by herself. In Cora’s words….

“This is my family, Mama is in the middle, then (top to bottom on the left) Daddy, my brother (I made him a little small because he is so small), then me, and alien on the bottom. (Top-right) Those are jack-o-lanterns and the sun (top-left corner).”

Some of the art is a reflection of Creative Galaxy, which is a show that she has been watching. On Harlan and Cora, in the picture, you can see elements of pointillism which was from one of her favorite episodes.

Cora has definitely loved to draw and it is great to see her really starting to express it.


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!



The Table is FINISHED!!!!!




It definitely took longer than expected (2 years), but the table is finished. It originally started as a train table for the kids, but it turned out to be a really nice piece of furniture, and is contending for the nicest in the house. I think the table will be a general purpose table that the kids can play on as they see fit and there will not be any restrictions on what they want to do on it (That is why there is a pretty thick layer of polyurethane all over the table). It looks great and I hope the kids use it as a nice play surface for legos, trains, coloring, painting, or whatever their imaginations can think of.

Here was the original Sketchup drawing of the table two years ago. It turned out to be pretty close.

cora train table web formatted