Tuesday, December 22, 2009

making candy

Kara and I had lots of fun making Christmas candy. Of course we had to do Kara's favorite chocolate suckers. She gets better and better at them every time we make them. Here are some of the finished candies. I sent these to work with Ben for his coworkers. This year I decided to make some candy from my Grandma's cookbook. Her fudge was super easy to make and turned out really yummy. I also made those pink cloud things. They are pretty good too. I remember eating them when I would visit her as a little girl. Ben thought they were a little weird. Her cookbook is great because everything is very simple, and calls for everyday ingredients that I usually have already.
yesterday the girls were watching cartoons together on the couch. This is a rare thing lately. Usually one would be pushing the other away angrily, so I had to capture the moment.
I had to put this one, because I love the look on Kiersten's face.
Here is a shot of Kiersten showing me that something yucky came out of her nose. Ben really loves this new jacket of hers.

that's all for now! I've got way too much stuff to do before Christmas, and going to Utah!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Benni-boo!

Ben turns 28 today! So for those who may not already know, here are 28 good reasons to love him!
1 he is a good back and shoulder rubber. Even though his hand gets cramps, he'll still do a good job.
2 he will pause or turn off the tv to watch one of Kara's little dances she likes to do. This even includes football.
3 he does almost all of the vacuuming around here.
4 he works long hours so I can stay home with my girls.
5 He's a cat person. He will never make me own a dog.
6 He can cook. He is by far the better cook between us, and usually cooks if we have people over. He still appreciates my cooking and likes the dinners I make.
7 He's really strong. He once picked up me and 2 of my sisters all at once when we were trying to attack him with markers. Also, he can open any jar or bottle.
8 He's well groomed. He is always flossing his teeth and clipping his nails. He is always very clean.
9 He likes to play games. He loves to win, and usually does, but he will still play games with me if I'm better than him. Sudoku and Dr. Mario are some of the very few.
10 He knows and will sing the "bum change" song.
11 He honestly believes our girls are the smartest and cutest kids on earth. Of course I agree with him.
12 He is a loyal fan to his favorite sports teams, even when they suck. He tries to say he doesn't care about the KC chiefs this year, but he still always checks their score, rewinds sports center if he hears them mentioned, and gets excited on the rare occasion that they beat anyone. He's done the same with the Knicks and the Mets.
13 He takes endless pictures our kids. He truly thinks everything they do is so cute and needs to be recorded in a photo.
14 He is happy to just be at home with me. He doesn't usually want to go anywhere unless we go as a family. I always feel like he wants to just hang out with me, and never feel like he would rather be somewhere else.
15 He puts up Christmas lights. Even though he thinks some people should get a kick in the butt for putting up so many and wasting so much electricity, he still puts lights on our house, and points out lights for the girls to see. He lets them be excited about those extra extravagant displays, and keeps his feeling about it to himself.
16 He's honest. This has gotten him in trouble with people from time to time, but it's a quality I definitely love. I know he will tell me the truth about anything. I know I will never have to walk out of the house thinking I look fine, when I really look like a wreck. He would definitely tell me. It might sound weird, but I also like when he tells me that something I do is annoying, or rude, because then I know what things to work on. And he tells me in a loving way.
17 He sings like Frank Sinatra. Maybe not exactly like Frankie, but I love the attemnpt.
18 He can fix things. I once took my sewing machine apart, thinking I could fix an issue it was having, but then I was clueless to put it back together. Ben had never touched a sewing machine, wasn't really aware of how they work, and didn't see me take it apart, but was still able to put it back together correctly and fix the problem I was having with it. Even when he doesn't know the actual way to fix something, he can always come up with some sort of idea to fix the problem.
19 He can pick out the girl's outfits. When he gets them dressed, I don't have to worry that they will be mis-matched. He also accessorizes them very well.
20 He's a nintendo freak. This usually makes gift giving a lot easier than it would otherwise be. I love that he likes the good kind of games, like Zelda and Mario. He doesn't play those war games, or the killing type games. If you want to see him excited, be there when he's just gotten a new game. It's like an 8 year old on Christmas.
21 He encourages me. I lost a good amount of weight this year, and he was there every step of the way telling me how well I was doing, and watching the kids so I could work out. he always said I looked good and didn't need to lose weight, but was proud of me when I did.
22 He takes care of the yard. Even though he always says it is a lost cause, and a waste of time, he is always working on it and making it look better.
23 He loves cereal. And he always notices and appreciates it when I buy his favorite kinds of cereal. It's a good strategy, because that makes me want to buy his favorite kind the next time too.
24 He hardly ever leaves his dirty socks on the floor because he knows I hate to touch them. But sometimes he will leave other clothes on the bathroom floor, because he knows Kara likes to pick them up and put them in the laundry hamper.
25 He knows lots of stuff. If I ever have a random question, I ask him first, because he usually knows. He somehow retains all the little bits of info he learns here and there.
26 He makes really good smoothies.
27 He goes to the zoo all the time. We seriously go to the zoo 9 or 10 times a year. He is always willing to go, and often it's his idea. He loves to see how much fun the girls have there.
28 He lets me go to bed early if I'm tired. He will stay up with the girls, feed them dinner, and put them to bed without my help, just so I can get caught up on sleep.

Those are just a few of the reasons I love my Benni-boo. I didn't even notice I went way over 28 and had to narrow it down. I'm sure I could easily think of a hundred!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas songs!

video

Kara's preschool class singing Christmas songs

video video

12/16/09

Kara got to decorate a little tree for our upstairs family room and one for her bedroom. We unplugged her night light, and for the rest of the month, she gets to have a Christmas tree for a night light. On thursday, Ben had an office Christmas party at a bowling alley. The girls had lots of fun. Kiersten loved the bowling part, but hated the waiting for everyone else to bowl part. She had pigtails for the second time ever.
Ben had to help her throw the ball.
Kara did pretty well, but she did have a few extremely slow moving rolls.
Here she is coloring between turns. Kara is so well behaved compared to Kiersten.
On friday, Kara had a Christmas open house at school. The kids sang Christmas carols and then had a gift exchange. Kara is the one sitting to the right of the white pole.
Here is her teacher handing out her gifts to the children. they all got books and activity pages to do over Christmas break.
All of the kids were to bring in 12 little gifts, and then they were all individually wrapped and put into one big bag for them to open. She got lots of fun little things.
Saturday, Ben took the girls to buy Christmas gifts for each other and then took them out to lunch, while I stayed home doing housework. They had a fun day together. then on Sunday, Ben woke me up to tell me his sister, Nancy was in labor and at the hospital. We got a few updates from Victor throughout the day, and then we had to start getting ready for a dinner party. We finally got the news that little Tommy was born an hour or two before our guests arrived. We are so excited to have a new little nephew, and can't wait to meet him. The few pictures we've seen so far are super cute! We had a few friends over with their kids for dinner, and it was a fun evening. Kara and Kiersten loved having other kids around to play with. 5 little boys to be exact. It was a nice evening, and after everyone left, Ben played Fire Emblem. I like to watch him play that game, but it puts me to sleep every time. Ben didn't get a lot of sleep, due to his throat hurting, and when I woke up at 2:30 AM, he was still awake. He finally got to sleep a few hours later, but ended up calling in sick to work the next day. There had been a snow storm the night before, but it was mostly gone in the morning, so we went up to sam's club for some shopping. I got my flu shots finally, and boy, was my arm sore by the end of the day. Yesterday was basically just a stay home and clean day for the girls and me. Today, I'm hoping to get the rest of the laundry folded and finish wrapping Christmas gifts. We are so excited to go to utah for Christmas this year. I just hope there wont be too much trouble with our flights. This is the notorious time of year for flights being canceled and delayed. But it is worth the trouble to get to see everyone.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12/09/09

Just a quick update today. Although we are pretty busy around here lately, things are really great for us. The girls are doing well and everyone is finally done being sick, I think. Kara had a field trip on monday to the dollar store to go Christmas shopping. She has been so excited about it ever since. She is keeping it a secret what gifts she bought, but she tells me she got one thing for mommy and one thing for daddy. She didn't get anything for Kiersten, but I think I'll take them maybe tomorrow or next week to get Christmas gifts for each other. I think they'll like that. She got an award at school for learning all of her numbers and being able to count from 1-100. Her teacher told me that she is only the third child to get the award. The other two that have gotten it are 6 and 5 years old. I think it's great that Kara really loves to learn, and is always asking questions and learning new things. I know she already knows things that I certainly didn't know until I was 5 or 6. So we are very proud of her doing so well in school. We are thinking of getting her into a more challenging school next year, but it can get pricey, and also, it might be good for her to just have another year of fun preschool before she starts kindergarten. I like being able to pick how many days a week she goes, and having the flexibility to keep her home if we have something else going on. (like visitors). The latest with Kara, is she has become a little mini me. She loves to clean and help with anything she can. She also tries to "mother" poor Kiersten. She asks every night if she can set the table for dinner. If Kiersten spills something, instead of telling me as she used to, she gets a rag from the drawer and cleans the mess and Kiersten if neccesary. Kiersten has definitely had enough of Kara cleaning her face this past week. She has also started trying to take care of me. She'll get a cup and fill it with water and get me one of her special twisty straws, and then she'll bring it to me and say something like, "here you go, mommy. I got a drink for you. If you drink it all gone, you can have a treat". It's very sweet, but I'm not sure why she suddenly started acting this way. It's helpful sometimes, like if Kiersten starts crying, Kara will try to comfort her if she can. She'll tell her it's okay and kiss her boo-boos. It's also nice when she cleans up her toys and even encourages Kiersten to clean up. But it can also be a little annoying and sometimes dangerous. Like when she thinks she ought to clean the toilet, or wants to help me take the cookies out of the oven. I also worry that it is causing issues for Kiersten. She knows Kara is not her mother and is not in charge of her, and she hates it when Kara acts that way. I guess I can understand, but she really has started acting out. If Kara gets to be too much, Kiersten will push her, pull her hair, and scream "go way!". So we'll have to start teaching Kara when to back off, and make sure she knows her boundaries. I wouldn't want this to be a life-long issue between them. Kiersten is growing up so fast. It seems like she didn't stay a baby very long. She is really funny with her baby dolls and stuffed animals. She always has one with her, wherever she goes. There are a few favorites, but she will switch it up a little. Her vocabulary is getting bigger all the time. Sometimes I have no idea where she heard some of the words, or how she learned them. she is using more sentences now. I love to hear her say, "shake yo booty" and "bunny hungry". Another cute thing she does when we are all together, is she will point to each of us and identify us, "dada, mama, Kara," then she'll point to herself and say, "baby!" She rarely says her name, she just thinks of herself as baby.
Ben is working hard as usual. He's working late nights all this week. That's never fun, but I appreciate that he does it because it means I get to be a stay home mom. It's a wonderful thing for me, and even better for the girls. The girls both have apointments for H1N1 vaccinations this afternoon.Our pediatrician ran out early, and has just gotten more. Kara might also get her seasonal flu shot, but I don't know if they'll want to give her both or not. I wasn't sure if they should get it, because it's a newer vaccine and I heard all the horror stories of the vaccine they created for swine flu in the 60's. But medicine now is different than it was then, so we decided we'd rather risk the slight possibility of side effects, than risk them getting the flu. today is our last normal day before a really full and busy weekend, so no big plans for tonight. Just a quiet evening together, and hopefully Ben will get home at a decent hour.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December to remember

Growing up, my family always used to decorate our Christmas tree on Dec. 5, because it is Sinterklaas day in Holland, where my Dad is from. I like to try to keep that tradition, but usually only end up doing it on the 5th, if it falls on a weekend. So I was happy this year that Sinterklaas day was on a saturday. Ben and I put the hooks on and tried to let the girls do most of the decorating themselves. I did move some of the ornaments up higher so they wouldn't be only on the lower branches. Kiersten was only helpful for a few minutes before she decided to start un-decorating instead.
the girls checking out Kiersten's first christmas ornament from last year.
Kar really loved decorating the tree. She always wants to decorate the house. She had fun hanging window clings, and putting out Christmas towels in the bathroom as well. Today she even went through the boxes and got out a few things I hadn't planned on using this year to decorate the livingroom and kitchen.
I wanted to put candy canes on the tree this year. It has been several years since we have, due to having young girls who we thought would just eat them at will. I thought this year, they are both old enough to understand that they are not to touch or remove anything from the tree, including candy canes. I was wrong. About Kiersten anyway. I think she's already eaten them all off the tree. Kara is the Christmas tree police. She's ready to tattle on Kiersten for going anywhere near the tree.
Kara had a dance recital on saturday as well. Here she is in her school uniform ready to go. She absolutely loves wearing her tap shoes.
Kiersten with a mohawk. I don't remember why she was crying... probably because we took a candy cane away from her.
Kara's class was second to perform, so we decided to sneak away early. It was extremely crowded and hot in there.
Here she is, dancing her way down the stairs.
They have a gazebo there, so we let her do the dance for us again.
Kiersten tried to do the dance with her, pretty cute.
2 of our major december events down, and countless more to go.

Monday, November 30, 2009

thanksgiving weekend

Ben's mom, Vicky, and his siblings, Jason and Katie drove out to our house for Thanksgiving dinner. Kara was so proud to be able to set the table. She loved counting out 7 of each item to be set. She went around to count the people a few times to make sure 7 was the right amount. She set out the place cards and everything. I especially love how she put the silverware on the plates. She also set one piece of celery on each plate, but it didn't make it into the picture. I'll have to put her in charge of setting the table more often. Kiersten with her aunt Katie.
we played lots of games. Here is Kiersten hanging out at the game table in her warm jammies. Look how long her hair is getting.
friday after shopping the sales, and after Ben came home from work, we went to see the zoolights at point defiance zoo. The girls loved it and so did the adults.
We always spend a lot of time inside the aquarium. I love how Kiersten waves to the fish and giggles at them.
both of the girls had glow batons. of course, the first thing they did with them was sword fight.

if was lots of fun, even though it was pretty cold.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Papa and Grams

Ben's dad, Kerry, and step-mom, Lana came out on saturday for a visit. Ben took Kara with him to pick them up from the airport. She was so excited to go, and even more excited when they all arrived home together. She loved showing off by spelling words and reciting the pledge of allegiance for them. Here is a picture of the girls "helping" me make a cheesecake. Ben made a blueberry glaze for it that turned out really good. Especially since he didn't really know what he was doing, he just threw it together.We let Lana take a nap, since she was up since 1AM getting ready to leave. While she slept, we watched Tropic Thunder. It was pretty funny. We took them to dinner at Ben's favorite mexican restaurant, La Palma. Then we came home and watched Kara's new movie, UP, and had the cheesecake.
Sunday we decided to go to the NW trek, since everyone usually likes going there when they visit us. It was raining the whole time, but not too cold. We didn't mind the rain too much, except I forgot to change my shoes I had thrown on to run to the store. I meant to change into boots, but forgot, so I was walking through puddles and rain with slip-on ballet flats and no socks. Here we are watching a beaver show off.
Ben got a picture of the mountain lions since they are not always out on exhibit, so we don't see them as often as the other animals. Kerry and Lana said one of them looked like she had recently given birth. I can't tell those things, but if anyone would know, it'd be those two.
After NW trek, we went home and had the roast Ben started the previous night. He made up a really good recipe that everyone seems to love. It was tasty as usual. Kiersten, Lana, and I took naps while the guys watched football. Then we watched Transformers 2. It was an okay movie. That evening, we all watched old movies of the girls when they were babies. They were pretty fun to watch and remember all the silly and adorable things they did, and how cute and little they were.
Monday morning, Papa helped the girls ride their bikes around the block several times. He is always such a great sport about playing with them and letting them do whatever they want. Lana made us all a delicious breakfast, and of course we had to have her make some baked beans. Ben made sure I took note of all the ingredients for the beans, and I was supposed to watch her make them, but she had them already done and cooking in the crock pot by the time we woke up. They are much earlier risers than we are. Lana took Kara and me shopping for clothes, and she is just too generous. I kept trying to tell her I was just letting her get me one thing, but she kept taking everything I so much as looked at, and handing it to the cashier. She took the receipt and ripped all the tags off everything on the drive home so I wouldn't know the amount to reimburse her. She also insisted on getting Kara anything she wanted, and got a stuffed toy for Kiersten too. It was fun shopping with her, even though I now have to think of a good way to pay her back.
Kerry and Ben stayed home from shopping. They played in the backyard with Kiersten. It is so cute to hear her say, "papa! where are you?"
After we got back from shopping, Ben grilled some steaks for all of us, and we had Lana's baked beans. It was a tasty dinner. All of us girls took naps again while the guys watched more football. the girls played with Papa and Grams the rest of the evening and got just spoiled with love and attention. Here is Kiersten perusing a toy catalog waiting for us to come home from the store. I asked Kara to look through the toys r us book, and circle the things she would like to ask santa for. She circled all but 6 items, which she crossed out, so I will have to go through it with her again to find out what things she would most like to ask santa for.
They flew out early tuesday morning, and we all miss them already. Kara has a list of things planned out that she wants to do with them the next time we go to Idaho for a visit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Disney on Ice

Yesterday was a pretty fun and busy day for us. In the morning, Kara had her first dentist appt. It went very well. She loved all the attention she was getting, and she had no cavities. I took the girls to lunch at McDonald's because we have a whole bunch of coupons for free items there that will be expiring soon. I let them play for a long time so they would get tired and take naps. After nap time, we drove up to meet Ben at work in Tukwila. We went to dinner at spaghetti factory with Kelly and her hubby and baby. After dinner, we headed down to Kent to take the girls to Disney on Ice. It was the worlds of fantasy themed one. It was really fun. I thought they would like it, but I didn't know how much they would love it. Here they are waiting for the show to begin. I was worried that Kiersten might act the way she does at the movies, but she loved every second. She kept saying, "wow!" and waving to the characters and saying hi. One of the highlights for me was when Donald duck came skating out, and she excitedly said, "Donny!" and pointed out at him. She was really cute clapping and watching the entire 2 hour show.
Ben bought this crown for Kara. He got Kiersten an Ariel necklace.
I like this profile shot of Kiersten watching the cars driving around on the ice.
This Tinkerbelle hat came with some cotton candy Ben got the girls. Now Kara has something to wear to crazy hat day at school next week. I've been wondering what I would send for her. None of her hats are very crazy.
Lightning McQeen and Mater both got lots of applause when they came driving out.
under the sea. this was one of the most lively and colorful scenes.
I thought they would be just skating around, but there were lots of great lifts, jumps, and spins. It was very impressive. This is Ariel and Eric.
baby Simba and his parents at the beginning of Lion King.
Ben and I were both surprised how much of each story they were able to get in. We also were impressed by pumbaa.
some of the fairies in pixie hollow. Kara kept asking the whole time when she would see Tinkerbelle. This was definitely her favorite part of the show.
Tinkerbelle flying around. She even landed on the ice in her skates.
The grand finale. The main Disney characters came back out at the end of Tinkerbelle's story.

This was a really fun thing to do with the girls and I would definitely go to it again if they come around again next year. It was very worth the money.