Happy Memorial Day, Readers!
Memorial Day is, of course, a day to remember our fallen heroes. It also marks the start of summer – barbecues, pools, parks, and beaches! This year, we’ve decided to use it as a New Year’s Day of sorts… featuring our New Summer’s Resolutions! Two resolutions to be exact.
Resolution #1: More picnics!
Photo taken on May 19, 2012. Gotta love Kasen’s Memorial Day t-shirt featuring an American flag!
We live 5 minutes from Valley Forge National Park, which is the perfect place for a picnic. It has grass, trees, walking paths, and historical significance. (What else could you want in a picnic locale? What, Gigi? You think picnics should involve squirrels? Good news- Valley Forge has that too.)
We have hit the park a couple times in the last few weeks and have gotten into a routine that makes it easy. We keep the picnic basket ready to go and just add a couple Uncrustrables (they’re defrosted by the time we are ready to eat), chips, cookies, and drinks. It literally takes only a few minutes to get set to go. We’re all about attainable goals.
Resolution #2: Hit the Pool.
We love our house. Not only are we minutes away from George Washington’s Revolutionary War encampment (and the second-largest mall in America), but there’s a public pool here too! Okay, we know they don’t sound comparable but they all get the job done – they wear Kasen out!
Last year, we had hoped to get to the pool a few times, but with all the rain and traveling, we never made it. This year, with Kasen’s higher activity levels, we’re definitely going to need to get him in the pool to tire him out for nap time. Plus, they have a baby pool that Kasen can walk around in all by himself. So much fun for a toddler!
So, those are our resolutions. We tried to keep them attainable, so hopefully we’ll stick to them. Happy Memorial Day and Happy Summer!
Kristin ran the Broad Street Run again this year. In recent years, the BSR has become the largest 10 mile roadrace in the country. In fact, despite being open to about 40,000 participants, the race sold out this year in 4 hours! That’s a big change from when Kristin first started running it years ago, when she would register a couple days before the race.
Imagine Kristin’s surprise when she went to pick to her race packet and had to wait in this humungous line! (Yes, the line continued up about 4 stories up, into Lincoln Financial Field.)
The starting line was even crazier:
But the race itself proved to be just as much fun as usual, especially since Kristin shaved 15 minutes off her time from last year!
…and she can’t wait to run it again next year!
Turns out, retired professors are attracted to chalkboards like bees to honey. And the grandchild of a retired professor is a very good student.
Daycare was closed on Good Friday, but we still had to work. Kristin’s brother Billy was awesome enough to fill in as the care provider for the day. We knew he must’ve been an awesome babysitter because both he and Kasen slept for hours in the afternoon!
Kasen was totally attached to Uncle Billy all weekend!
It’s official. Kristin and Krister are both 31.
Kristin turned 31 only a few days ago; Krister’s birthday was a few weeks ago. Well, we technically celebrated a few weeks after his big day, so we’ll just say his birthday was more recent. We were driving home from Boston on his real birthday and that’s no fun, so (after eating a bunch of cake) we agreed that we would celebrate two weeks later when we had the whole day to ourselves.
Krister’s sister Prudence actually came down and babysat Kasen, so we could get all dressed up and party the night away at the Red Ball, a benefit for our local chapter of the Red Cross. The next day we opened presents.
For those of you who were wondering, neither Krister nor Kasen turned out to be the biggest present-opener of the day. The award goes to Gigi, who is obsessed with wrapping paper, thanks to years of getting wrapped treats on her birthday and Christmas:
For his birthday, Krister got lots of presents including some saw horses (pictured above), running clothes, and a new “beer kit” so he can brew a new batch of beer. Krister’s “real” birthday present will be a tool chest that he picked out that we’re going to put in our garage when it’s finished. Something a la this one:
(Original picture found here.) Stay tuned for more info on that one.
Kristin’s birthday was on Tuesday. We celebrated with a big party on Sunday. It’s family tradition to have a mimosas and coffeecake party on the weekend closest to Kristin’s birthday and it’s always a huge success. This year was no exception. Of course, no one actually took any photos, so you’ll just have to trust that the mimosas were flowing fast and so was the conversation.
Kristin’s big birthday present was a “mosquito grill” which is a propane grill that baits mosquitoes into its trap. Theoretically, the grill will eliminate mosquitoes on an acre of property. Here’s hoping! We want to finish and open up our patio this year, so a mosquito-free yard is a must.
On Kristin’s real birthday, we celebrated after a long day of work with sausage-and-pepperoni pizza and a delicious cookie cake!
We also received a number of super generous Home Depot and Best Buy gift cards, which you’ll see put into action soon.
Happy birthday to us!
Kristin’s mom tells a story about how Kristin and her brother Bill used to hunt for Easter eggs when they were toddlers. It goes a little like this: “They would pick up two Easter eggs, put one in each hand, find a third one, and not know where to put it! I had to teach them how to use the Easter basket.” Well, apparently Kasen was blessed with problem-solving skills that developed earlier (he can probably thank Krister for that):
The dogs had to get a time out from the Easter egg hunt because they were stealing the eggs:
After little Kasen wore himself out, the adults got to do some egg hunting too:
Uncle Billy better watch out: next year, Kasen might find more eggs!
We’ve mentioned a couple of times that we’ve been traveling like mad over the last few weeks. We drove up to Boston to see Krister’s family, flew down to Florida to see Kristin’s mom’s family, and then flew out to Vancouver where Krister gave a poster presentation at a pathology conference.
So, we’re going to catch you up in one (huge) post with lots of pictures!
We spent several days up in Boston. We got to see Kasen’s Uncle Billy, Uncle Kendrick, and Aunt Paula. He hadn’t seen any of them in a while, but made up for lost time.
But, despite spending several days there, we only managed to take one picture:
That’s an action shot of Krister letting his parents’ ducks out in the morning. They come flying out of their house at full force and splash into the water without wasting any time. Kasen found himself obsessed with the ducks (and the chickens). As time goes on, Kasen becomes more and more fascinated by ducks.
Probably one of the reasons we didn’t take too many pictures was that during our trip (in mid-February) is that Kasen decided to start walking while we were there. He took his first steps just after his birthday back in December, but was not really interested in walking. He loved crawling. We got him some new shoes in February and off he went! During this trip he decided that he was done crawling (even though only a couple days before he refused to walk!).
Sanibel Island, Florida
A week later, we set out for Florida.
Kasen had fun playing with Bapcia and his great-grandparents Grammie and Grampa.
He also had a great time in the pool!
Gigi enjoyed some fun in the sun as well.
We were only able to spend the weekend there, but we certainly made the most of it.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Only a week and a half later, we set sail, err, flew out to Vancouver, British Columbia so Krister could present a poster at a pathology conference. His poster was called Sox11 Is A Marker Of Myxoid/Round Cell Liposarcoma. He’s smart.
We spent a lot of time in Stanley Park, which is a big park right in the city – and near our hotel. Krister even made it out with us a time or two.
And the weather behind Krister is an accurate reflection of what the weather was like the whole trip. At first, it was all sunny and then, when you wander a little too far from the hotel and wham! sleet, rain, snow. Like on this trip into the park, where Kristin and Kasen got caught in a major hail storm (don’t worry – Kasen had a rain cover and snow cover on so he was dry and warm):
If you look closely, you can see that it’s hailing so much that the hail is actually accumulating on the ducks’ backs.
Kristin and Kasen celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Vancouver’s “CelticFest” – a big party downtown with Celtic music and various vendors. Then we set out for famous Granville Island. Granville Island is an artsy little shopping area with some cute parks and lots of good shops. Then we set back to town on a colorful little ferry.
Oh, and did we mention that Kasen is obsessed with ducks? Well, he thinks all birds are called ducks, so that includes geese.
We even were able to take a very quick trip up to Whistler, but Kasen wasn’t too sure about the snow….
The rest of the time we spent at the Vancouver Aquarium. The Aquarium was also close to our hotel and kept our little dude quite entertained.
And now we’re home-sweet-home for the indefinite future. Thank goodness because travelling with a toddler is exhausting!
Now that Kasen is old enough to express himself, he’s also old enough to have an opinion (No!). Although usually he tells us how much he does not like things (I hate this food so I throw it on the floor!), we have found a few things that he really enjoys.
The kid is obsessed with fruit of all kinds – oranges, pears, peaches, strawberries. You name it. And he can eat them in huge amounts. Once he ate a family-sized containers of blueberries. We usually limit him, but it’s so hard to say no to just a little more fruit….
He likes picking up a piece of fruit, putting it on his spoon, and then feeding himself with the spoon. Super cute.
(2) CLIMBING STAIRS
Well, you have to work out all the fruit sugar somehow. Our little guy likes to climb the stairs. He’s been climbing stairs as long as he could crawl, but somehow it never gets old.
(3) “GO TO SLEEP”
He thinks it’s hilarious to pretend to go to sleep everywhere and anywhere. Of course he loves to “go to sleep” on soft, warm surfaces, but he was very surprised when he tried to “go to sleep” in the snow a few weeks ago…
(4) “TALK ON THE TELEPHONE”
He also thinks he’s funny when he pretends to talk on the telephone. And he has decided that anything can be a make-shift telephone (including, but not limited to shoes, the palm of his hand, a plastic toy car….). He prefers to “talk on the telephone” with the toy telephone that his Aunt Cathy gave him though.
(5) GO OUTSIDE
Playing outside is way more fun the playing inside.
(6) PLAY IN THE REFRIGERATOR
It’s apparently a lot of fun to take food out of the refrigerator and put it back in. And take it out again.
(7) PET GIGI
Sometimes this results in pulling Gigi, turning Gigi into a pillow (see # 3, above), whacking her in the face, and/or throwing toys at her. Let’s just say that Gigi is very tolerant.
Now that he has a small working vocabulary, he really wants to talk more. He knows that learning words means that he can communicate and get what he wants. He tries to mimic every word you say and wants books read to him constantly. His vocubulary now includes:
We’ve heard him say “outside” and “Gigi” and “tickle” before, but they were never repeated again. He really wants to be able to say “book” but right now, it just sounds like “ka”.
(9) READING BOOKS
No, our 14-month-old toddler cannot read. He mostly enjoys turning the pages, although books with holes or textures (e.g. “touch and feel” books) are loads of fun too.
We snuck off to Orlando last weekend to see Kristin’s dad and step-mom. We had a great time enjoying beautiful weather on the beach and exploring the neighborhood zoo before we had to head home. Here are a few highlights: