Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Traditions

OK so after reading the Blog on favorite gifts I thought I would pose another question. Which by the way you can comment on our blog. We would love to hear from you. Or you can email us-you know our emails.
Here is my question.....
What is your favorite Christmas or Holiday tradition?

I have several:
1.) a 3 way tie- Our annual Christmas Eve party. I love seeing all of our friends, plus well, I get to cook and talk, what more could you ask for on Christmas? One of my other favorites, getting out all of our nativity scenes. We have 6 of them. Each one means something totally different and special. Someday I hope to inherit the one from my childhood but for now we have made room in our living room for the entire city of Bethlehem that I married into, The thing is HUGE! This is the one nativity the girls are absolutely not allowed to touch, mainly because it is going on it's 3rd generation and I don't think the camel could handle another surgery. The fact that the girls cannot play with this one of course intrigues Katherine to no end. I know when I am not looking she plays with it because every now and again I find all of the animals surrounding baby Jesus-This is quintessential Katherine "that is what really happened Mama, it was just the angel, animals, and baby Jesus, oh yeah and I guess Jofiss (Kay's version of Joseph) and Mary where around too." At last, Cutting down our Christmas tree. Every year since we moved to Oregon (with the exception of last year in the Condo) we have made the drive to Sandy, Or. and cut down our tree. This year was special because for the first time in 6 years we got to do this on a Sunday! Which means we went to a big Farm instead of this guys backyard like we always did on Mondays-ahhh, the life of having Sundays together again! This years tree is my favorite thus far. Mostly because I let the girls decorate it and I have chilled out and didn't move any ornaments around-nothing like a 3rd child to make you step back and say "yep it looks perfect just the way it is"!

2.) Christmas morning Frittata and Leftover Mexican food for dinner all while staying in our new Christmas Jammie's! OK this one is a tie too because I love that it is always just our little family (the 5 of us now) and it always will be, sorry extendo family you can come on the 26Th or stay still the 23rd but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are all ours!

3.)Zoo Lights!

4.)This won has become a bit of a joke with us and our friends the Irwins but it is still a favorite....A walk around downtown to see the big Christmas tree in Pioneer Square-or what inevitably happens-Santa Land at Macy's!

5.)This will come as a shocker to those who know me because I don't make desserts but making Christmas cookies with my girls is definitely a favorite. This really is the only time I bake all year! I think I love this because I have such fond memories of my Grandma Ethel and me at our kitchen table making christmas cookies. Our favorite, well her special recipe for snowballs of course-and guess what, That is Ethel's favorite too! There is really nothing better for me as a Mom than cooking with my kids!

Alright now it is your turn, let us know of your favorite holiday traditions.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back to Back Posts!!!

Hey everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season thus far. We had a great Thanksgiving again this year at the Peters. It is so nice and stress free. So far getting ready for Christmas has been pretty smooth. We got our tree up and decorated. I hung the lights on the house. Julie took care of the rest of the indoor decorating. The house is looking festive. Ethel and Katherine even have our little fake tree from last year up in their room. It has become there new night light.

Ethel received her report card this week. I think it is her first report card ever. We started home schooling her midway through kindergarten and I don't think we received a report card before then. Maybe we did and didn't even look at it, we were pretty sour on that school. She is doing well in school. The report cards consist of +, and -, and other "grades" like meets, exceeds, needs improvement, ect. It's all very confusing. Reminds me of a salary review at work. In the comment section of her report card it did say, Ethel always tries hard and is willing to participate, and is respectful and helpful towards others. That's a good review, right? She really is enjoying school. I think she knows about 100 kids there. She obviously gets that from Julie. Julie told me a story of two seventh graders arguing over who's known Ethel longer.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Katherine fell in the bath tub and cut her chin. We went to the ER and she got four stitches. This makes seven stitches all together for Katherine to go along with breaking her elbow last year right before Christmas. She had her stitches out on the following Friday and seems unfazed by any of this. I asked if we could not go back to the hospital for a year, and she said "but I am going to learn to ride a two wheeler this year." referring to her bike without training wheels. I guess she plans on crashing? Her school is going fine. I think she would just as well stay home instead of going to preschool, so different than Ethel.

Ruthie is becoming a little ham. She makes noises and laughs all the time. She is always grabbing at phones and remotes, anything with buttons. She wants to eat all the time. Last night she rolled herself under the Christmas tree, knocked over the Nativity scene, and started grabbing branches and shaking the tree. I swear it all happened in about 3 seconds.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What was your best Christmas gift?

I though it was about time I actually post on our blog. I was intending to be on top of posting maybe a couple of times a week, but once the blog was set up Julie was off and running. And doing a fine job! So now the pressure is on to meet the standard she set and come up with a good post. Here I go. It looks like Christmas is approaching fast. This reminds me of the best Christmas gift I ever got. I was 7 years old and living in Dallas, Tx. My family was in the mists of moving to Phoenix, Az. I was more than apprehensive about the move. My parents still talk about how I drove them nut with all the questions I asked about Phoenix. And I thought there were no bad questions. Anyway, My first grade Teacher Mrs Parker and I had built a strong relationship that year. Initially I was scared of Mrs Parker. She had a reputation of being all business. I was one of the older kids in the class due to my September birthday, and it was like she expected more from me. She pushed me from the get go. I did not like her. After a month Mrs Parker and I started to click. I was doing more work, had more responsibilities, and more privileges than the rest of the class. On the last day before the Christmas break, my last day at school before we moved, Mrs Parker pulled me aside and told me that she was going to miss me and that I was her best student in the class and gave me a gift. It was a pocket knife. When you are a 7 year old boy or really a male of any age there is a central question you ask yourself, " Am I man enough?" It's a question of status really. Am I man enough to climb this fence? Am I man enough to run faster than this kid? Am I man enough to catch this ball? Do I have what it takes to hang upside down on the monkey bars? To skip bars or go backwards on the monkey bars? Can I jump off the top of this slide? How long can I pop a wheelie? These are the questions of little boys. Am I man enough to have my own pocketknife? Mrs Parker said yes. It was a great gift.

So what was the best Christmas gift you ever got? Was it a special dolly? Maybe a truck or a G I Joe? Was it jewelry? Tell us.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Fall update

Finally another entry. This blogging thing is way above me!

It is well into Fall now in Portland. We have yet to slow down and enjoy our favorite season. We went all summer without one trip to the beach-this is the first time in 10 years! Now I am craving the winter storms and must see the ocean. We did make it to the Pumpkin Patch and made it successfully through the corn maze without loosing anyone.

We have had such a busy time adjusting to the school schedule, family in town visiting and the start of my (Julie) business, we have yet to stop and smell the rain, sleep in, or just play in the puddles. Soon all the leaves will have fallen and it will be a long COLD (our furnace is going, going, gone soon) winter.
So here is the recap of Sept, Oct. and a little bit of Nov.
In Sept. I decided to officially license myself and start my Personal Chef/Catering Business. For those of you who don't know it is called "EthelKay's" with the hopes of one day morphing into "EthelKay's Bistro- A taste of Home". A life long dream of mine and Pax's to own our own
restaurant. So I decided just to go for it because it's not like I have a ton on my plate now or anything......Well, our wonderful church has used EthelKay's for several events! It has been so wonderful. I really have found my niche I guess you could say. I do so enjoy doing this. The girls have enjoyed helping me get organized for the events, packing boxes and coolers, Ethel enjoys shopping for the events with me and Katherine enjoys the whole process of testing out the menu prior to the event. I have no doubt that child will be a chef someday-if nothing else she is going to make her Husband very happy with her cooking!

Ethel is doing great at school. We LOVE her teacher and couldn't have created a better community if we tried. She has several friends at school (like we had any doubt she would make friends). Our good friend Jackson goes to the school but isn't in her class. She does see him several times during the day, as well as his mom Megan who seems to always be there. Ethel thinks this is so cool that she see Megan there! We also know kids from our church that go there so to say Ethel is well connected is much of an understatement.
Katherine is at the same preschool and has the same teacher as last year. We love her too. A lot of the same kids are in her class again. All that really matters to Katherine is that her friend Leah is in her class and that she can do 5 flips in a row on the playground! KayKay does more crafts at school than any kid I have ever seen and she never seems to be tired of making pictures for Ethel (she really does admire her big sis)! Speaking of big sisters KayKay has turned out to be a wonderful big sister and I new from the time that child was born she needed to be a middle child. She is enjoying her days with just Mommy, Daddy and Ruthie where she gets to run the show!

On to Ruthie.....Ruthie is well, a baby. She is completely mixed physically and every other way too. She is both Ethel and Katherine. She has the overall happiness and laughability that Katherine has (basically goofiness) and the patience and will that Ethel has. Is that the perfect Baby or what! She has just started rolling over, she says DaDa, KK and lots of goo's. She is eating babyfood but only likes oatmeal, bananas (not mixed) and greenbeans with rice? NO FRUIT, NO other VEGGIES. Go figure? She has found her special time-5 minutes after the girls go to bed until about 11:00pm. This is when she gets Mommy and Daddy all to herself! OK so you may be asking why is Ruthie's name not in the Business? Well, I really started this business about 4 years ago but never fully launched it. The name was EthelKay's then for obvious reasons and it just stuck. So we have decided when we open the Restaurant we will have a blueplate special everyday and instead of people asking "what is your special"? It will be "what is the Ruthie today"?

Here is my recap of October......I can't remember much except Pax's Parents came for a visit. I have to say that it was the best visit thus far on record. We had a great time with them just hanging out with the kids, swimming, going to the pumpkin patch, shopping, oh and the best part was they blessed Pax and I with a night out and they took all 3 kids-Yep, all 3 for the night! It was so exciting, Pax and I got to see a real movie-by this I mean not a rental or a cheapy, a full price movie and go to dinner all in the same night! It was one of those-what do we do with this time, moments? We hope they come back soon-not just for the nights out but we really did miss them, and the kids had fun too.
I had my first official "back at Mosaic volunteer opportunity" at our church in October. I helped out with the Halloween party they had. I had the face mask room. It was a lot of fun, very messy but still fun to see all the kids and families at our
church. I admit I missed being involved with the kids. Miller don't take that the wrong way-I'm in no way ready to come back! Ethel was Hannah Montana for Halloween, Katherine was a witch (not a scary witch but a nice witch-her words), Ruthie was a pumpkin but looked more like a butternut squash! We spent Halloween in our usual traditional way......with the Peters of course! I think this will continue well into the teen years, probably longer. Jackson made a very fine Indiana Jones-all about the accessories with that boy.

Nov. has flown by and I cannot believe it is half over and we will be eating turkey and putting up Christmas decorations in just a few weeks! What an amazing year it has been. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with another round of the Peters! Again another tradition I hope will continue into our golden years-or at least till Megan kicks us all out of her house. Our friend Dana (the one worthy of just one name) will be there as well. As I have said before, I love catching up with her. She is one of those people you can live vicariously through.

My dad is here for a visit as I type (well he is probably at his hotel asleep right now).
We have been having a good time with him, sharing stories, listening to how he is converting from PC to MAC (he has been taking classes almost everyday at the apple store-funny). KayKay has taken a special liking to Pappy and wants to be with him all the time. It actually reminds me a lot of how I was at that age. Ruthie as well always has big smiles and laughs for her Pappy. Ethel, well, just a bunch of dry humor and bad jokes, that's Ethel for ya!

So to sum things up....Fall in Portland has been very busy but life is good for us all and we have been extremely blessed by the Lord. Farewell for now-enjoy some update pics-PS the dog (Maggie) is a friends we sit for at times when we are missing ours. We (the girls) are still working on the 5th member of the family to come around to our doggie situation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summer News

Hello All.
Here are a few Pictures of our new house as well as a recap of our Summer.
The beginning of summer was spent with a visit from our Grandma from Phoenix (Julie's Mom).
Grandma came and stayed with us for 3 weeks. The time was spent going to Ethel's baseball games, shopping, listening to violin concerts, playing in the sprinkler, and good old fashioned board games and of course the occasional karaoke night. We had a great time and are looking forward to her return.
After Grandma left the girls took their usual summer swim lessons where Julie hung out by the pool with Ruthie and many of the girls friends parents-This is a favorite of ours, to go take lessons at our favorite pool over the summer. We always get to play catch up with those friends we only see at the pool in the summer.
Forth of July was a little different this year. For starters Pappy (Julie's Dad) was not here to celebrate with us. I think this was the first time in 5 years we didn't celebrate 4th of July with Pappy-However he did call us that evening to see how the fireworks were! Early in the evening we went to our friends the Peters to celebrate at their block party. We had a great time hanging with our friends (the sleepers where there too). We had every intention of staying to see the fireworks but Ethel was not having the whole messing with Tradition and all. So around 7:00 we headed out t0 Blue Lake Park for our usual 4th of July picnic and firework show! When we returned home around midnight we realized our new neighborhood enjoys 4th of July as much as we do....3 houses on our block and the house behind us all put on an illegal firework show that went on until 2am, Wow-what a difference from our old neighborhood!
The next week we went on our summer vacation to SunRiver with our friends the Peters, Sleepers, and Dana (she is worthy of just a first name)! We love this vacation, it is so relaxing and all the kids get along so well. It is one week full of Swimming, Biking, Eating great food, Megan and Bill's fantastic mixers (beer tasting for Pax and Bill), Great stories, music and just plain laughs. It is always sad when the week is up, but all good things must come to an end, and there is always next year-Or New Year's!
At the end of July we had an Open House and baby dedication for Ruthie Party. It was great to see all of our friends and a few family members (Pax's Aunt Pam, Uncle Bob, Grandma Keen, cousin Julie Fretwell and her 6 kids and cousin Michelle Richards all came). We are so thankful for all of our wonderful friends here in the Northwest, it truly is home to us and our friends have really become family to us and our kids.
In August Ethel celebrated her 7th birthday with just the 5 of us at Red Robin for lunch, a trip to Target to check out ipod shuffles (she thinks she wants one with all of her b-day lute), the catch a Movie (WallE-go check it out it is great) and then a dinner of popcorn shrimp and a dip in our favorite pool for family swim to round out the evening. The next day she had her Birthday party....A Luau Theme and 10 girls ranging in age from 4-10-Wow what a day! This was her first ALL GIRL party, we of course where bummed since up until now we always had the family BBQ thing and was always a great way to finish up the summer with our friends. I guess this means she is growing up.
Enjoy the summer pics. There is one more week of summer and then school starts So I will update you all soon on how that is going, have a great rest of summer!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

News from the NorthWest

Welcome to our Blog.  As many of you know (or should know by now) we had another baby girl in March of 2008.  Ruth is now 5 months old and growing rapidly.  She eats and sleeps a ton- we are very thankful for that.  Ethel and Katherine are So happy to be big sisters and at times think they are the Mom!
Ethel and KayKay are doing great.  Ethel will start 2nd grade in just a few weeks at a local elementary school (no more homeschooling for her).  KayKay will start her 2nd year in preschool and we will supplement a few days and homeschool her.  She is most excited about lunch!  That's our KayKay!
Things are going great here in the Northwest.  We are settled in to our new house now and loving it as well as the neighborhood and our neighbors.  There are a ton of kids so our girls have enjoyed the summer riding bikes (no more training wheels for Ethel-whooHoo), playing in the sprinkle, taking swimming lessons and hanging out at our great local parks for fresh produce and free concerts!
Ethel is going into her 3rd year of playing the violin-She still continues to enjoy it and will be learning her 4th finger soon.  It amazes me she can read music and has such an amazing ear and plays things from memory!  Of course we are working on our piano fund for Katherine-She reminds me everyday when she turns 5 she gets to take piano lessons.  We joke that Ruthie will take up the Drums or guitar and then we will have a girl version of the Jonas Brothers on our hands!
We hope you all enjoy our updates and hopefully this will not replace our yearly Christmas letter!

Welcome to McBee5

Welcome to our blog.  We hope to use this blog to keep friends and family updated on the day to day of our lives.