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. 


All Hallows Eve 2014

Never get the hang of stopping for a picture in our costumes before the craziness that is trick or treating with small children. Here we are in the crowded bustle of Columbia City in Seattle during the Halloween business walk, or whatever it was called. It was too many people in a small space getting candy from… not their neighbors. We did that for about 45 min then made our way to dinner.

The first one here was sadly the only picture we got of all of us.

After we got home, our new street had lots of candy givers and takers about. Made me want to join. So we got our costumes back in order and headed out to meet some more neighbors and trick or treat door to door. Once that was accomplished, I felt as if Halloween had been adequately observed.




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.



Cuteness Is…


Well the kids have been champs will all that’s going on in our lives. Planning for the move, house all in chaos with boxes and Sean traveling a lot for work, my volunteer activities at a fever pitch, they have been really sweet to put up with all of it with a smile. That is not to say that they don’t have their moments that have me pulling my own hair out. But, I have been enjoying those moments as they approach their 1st and 3rd birthdays.





9 Months on the Outside

Better out than in, in the words of a green ogre of Pixar fame.

Harlan has achieved a 50% duty cycle for you engineers out there. The trip was a great experience, so much so that I think Harlan was saving a lot of growing and change for our return so he didn’t miss anything. Why might I say this? We’ve only been back a week and he has accomplished the following (most of these by last Friday):

  • started crawling
  • pulling up on any and everything
  • cruising on any and everything
  • 4 new teeth have broken through
  • sleeping 8 hours at night

Some might say it was just time, having reached 9 months old on May 31st, but we think it definitely was the wide open expanse of our living room (as compared to the RV dinette floor) that spurred the rapid motor skill development.



Spring 2014

A lot has happened this spring, and it’s all been leading up to a really nice break for our family. First a quick summary:

  • AJ completed her Masters from the University of Houston in Physical Education – Motor Behavior
  • Sean has had a really successful quarter with new business and connections at work
  • Cora is potty trained and has a huge vocabulary.
  • Harlan has continued to grow and flourish with new teeth, new skills (pulling up and rolling both ways).

In less happy news, my grandfather passed away in February. Rev J. Bob Thomas went home on February 12. We traveled to Dallas for the services and then on to Houston to spend time with my dad and mom. He was a great guy who was very loved in his community. He will be missed.






We also traveled to Houston a short month after that to celebrate the wedding on my dear friend Kim to Faheem on April 12. Crew Phi Crew is slowly but surely marrying everyone off!








In short, a lot has happened this spring and we’re only going to follow it up with more craziness as we get ready to embark on our 5.5 week trip cross country in May.


My Babies


My lap was the only one available at the time apparently.

Couldn’t resist a cuddle, look at that brother and sister love!!



2 months of CRAZY!

Having a newborn in the house is a significant change to your family. I want to say a disclaimer that we’re really grateful that nothing too life altering really struck us, but we had our share of difficulties this time around. After two bouts of mastitis, 4 colds, and two frenotomies, a possible diagnosis that would require surgery for Harlan, I was pretty done with health issues. Mastitis is no joke if untreated, and while having having dealt with it twice, knowledge of what it is and how to treat it makes it much more tolerable. Breastfeeding was my biggest goal with this child, part of the reason I decided to take more time off and spend it at home with Cora and Harlan. I wasn’t about to give it up after two months!

Cora was having breathing issues which caused our GP to recommend nebulizer treatments. As it stands, the winter season is nigh and respiratory related illnesses are just beginning. All is well now, but I’m sure I’ll be back whining again as another strain of the runny noses, coughs, etc hits us.


The Beards Say Thank YOU!

We are incredibly grateful to the family and friends who have shown support through gifts, time, and of course food as we adjusted to having Harlan in our lives. He’s a lucky, lucky guy and I hope those who have helped with material and temporal gifts, will also help him to learn how important it is to give back to others and to your community.

As we’re living the MINE and NO phase in full effect with Cora, it seems impossible a concept to share with a very young person. To give Cora credit, she has become an incredibly helpful member of the family, bringing me blankets or pacifiers for Harlan. She’s learned to say “It’s OK” when he’s crying to try and soothe him. She even set the dinner table yesterday while I was making dinner. The attention span certainly isn’t that of an adult, but her understanding and desire to help people is already pretty broad. So I ask myself what are the best ways to instill charity and volunteerism and when do you start? Is it something you have to put into a lesson? Like the concepts of money, or fractions, or please and thank you, how do you get a little one to really understand what they mean and not have them just be a Pavlovian response you drill into them?

Then a wise friend once shared with me a parenting trend that answers the how and why question for me: the CTFD Method. Parenting styles aside, I hope I can find the time again with two at home to get back into giving back, teaching more classes at the Red Cross, volunteering at the YMCA, getting to know our elderly neighbors, whatever it may be, so that our kids can not just hear it from our mouths, but also see it from our actions.

Knocked OUT, Goodnight Moon is right!

Knocked OUT, Goodnight Moon is right!

How YOU doin?

How YOU doin?