Tag Archives: Family

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013

So, obviously this post is about a month late, but it was such a fun year this year that I just had to share!

A lot of people think that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, and to a degree, it is. But I also think it’s such a fun day to show each other that you care – not that this shouldn’t happen throughout the year. I find it important to show Madeleine that you should show others why you love them and take some time to be selfless, caring, appreciative and kind. That being said, for Valentine’s day, we did a number of things.

First, school: They didn’t do anything super formal, but did decorate paper bags for their Valentines. Anyone who wanted to brought in Valentines and the friends all got to take their bags home that evening to see what their friends put in their bags. I did Valentines with Madeleine. Nothing fancy, just the ones you get at the store. But, I had her choose which version she wanted to give to each friend and then she signed an “M” on each one. 🙂

Second, her daddy: I didn’t feel the need to do anything elaborate or outlandish, but wanted to make sure it was thoughtful. I decided to help her write him a note about all of the things she loves about him. See the photos, below, for the details of this letter. She had a little bit of a hard time with the concept, so a few of the answers she gave were quite hilarious. Others were just super sweet, and yet others were a little bit…shocking? You can view a video of her showing her daddy his present by clicking here. At the end you even hear her say “You can say thank you to me?” LOL! We’ve been pretty strict about manners and she calls us out sometimes. 🙂

Letter - Page 1

Letter – Page 1

Letter - Pg 2

Letter – Page 2


She wrote "daddy" in much the same method she wrote her own name. :) I told her what letters to write and she did it!

She wrote “daddy” in much the same method she wrote her own name. 🙂 I told her what letters to write and she did it!

Her artwork for him

Her artwork for him

And finally, our own celebration as a couple: I made a trip to Portland with some girlfriends in January for my future sister in law’s wedding dress hunt!! You can read about it on my friend’s blog here. While there, we did some shopping in downtown Portland and I picked up adorable little mini-notecards with matching envelopes, a heart seal and red seal wax. I forgot to take photos of them after they were sealed, but I planted them throughout Alex’s work bag, car, etc so that he would find them throughout the day. 🙂

 I had been planning on making a delicous dinner, but Alex said he didn’t feel I should have to make dinner on Valentine’s Day. So – he took us out to our favorite Mexican restaurant down the road. We didn’t want to deal with the chaos at any of the “traditional” Valentine’s places and it was a nice little night out with my two loves.

Getting a good picture out of my little ham is next to impossible. LOL!

Getting a good picture out of my little ham is next to impossible. LOL!

M and mommy!

M and mommy!

And of course, what would Valentine’s Day be without red roses from my hubby??

❤ ❤ ❤

Hope you all enjoyed your Valentine’s Day this year!!!


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Happy 3rd Birthday Party, Madeleine!

Happy 3rd Birthday to our baby girl! She is already 3 – My goodness, time really flies! My mom seems to be making a tradition out of flying out to Seattle to visit on Madeleine’s birthdays, and this year was no different. 🙂 

It is such a joy to see Madeleine growing up and learning every day! She is such a big girl with a very clear idea of what she likes, wants, dislikes, doesn’t want.  And, since this is her first big birthday party and the first one that she will probably remember – I let her be a big  part of deciding what she wanted for her party.  Her decision? “Butterflies! And purple!”

Again: Since it’s her first “real” party (the first year she couldn’t have other kids there because of the chemo, and then 2nd year she was recovering from major surgery) I went a little bit crazy and fear I may have set the bar for future parties way too high.  I really wanted her to have an amazing time and I was so excited to see her play with her little friends and enjoy herself. 😀 So, once I had her theme, I was off!! I chose an accent color of teal to go with the purple because I thought it would keep the colors young and cute for a 3 year old.

I began by pinning a bunch of ideas to a board on Pinterest and then officially started by making custom invitations on Vistaprint to send to our friends and family.  Then, I began calling around for party locations, cake costs, etc. Madeleine got to help choose the cake flavor by taste testing several mini-cupcakes with different flavors. She went to the party store and helped me pick out decorations and put them in the basket. She was quite a good helper and was thrilled to do it. In fact, she even helped me shop for her birthday presents. Haha! I always do that because at least I then know it’s something she wants.

We have been heavily planning for about a month and Madeleine had been asking about going to her birthday party for that same amount of time! She was beyond excited.

Once I decided on a venue, I went to meet with the party coordinator for that location and selected balloon colors, clarified what I would do vs. them and continued refining details. One of the things I really wanted was a beautiful cake/dessert table for her. I saw a number of them on the internet while doing my search and was really excited to put hers together.  I had a cake and mini-cupcakes custom made (by my former boss! :D) to match the theme. I made Madeleine cookies at home and had some to put out on the table, but also used them to put in mini-food bags for guests to take home. I had a little mini candy bar out with theme colored candies. It was pretty fun!!

For her attire, I found some things online and B was kind enough to make her a color coordinated tutu to wear with it! Unfortunately, M was feeling a bit finicky and refused to put on the same skirt she had been asking for non-stop a couple of days prior. Oye! I did manage to snap some pretty adorable photos of her in the skirt for her 3 year photo shoot, though. Stay tuned for that post.

Overally, the party was a great success! The kids had a fantastic time, from what I could see, and Madeleine was thrilled to see everyone. 🙂 We hired a music instructor to play music games with the kids. This was a great way to engage the kids with something cute and fun and Madeleine had the biggest smiles during this part. At the end, we finished with a nice song and turned out the lights. Then we used flashlights to create stars on the ceiling (and then also the floor). In fact, when I asked Madeleine what her favorite part was she said “the lights on the ceiling and the floor!!”

Now I’ll get on with it and post photos. Thank you to all of those who came to the party to celebrate with us!!

The kid’s table


Cake table from afar!

Cake close-up with mini-cupcakes on mini-cupcake stands. Also take notice of the butterfly glitter on the table. hehe!

Checkin’ out her cake table. She could barely keep her hands off of all the goodies!

Ready to start the music time!

The kids getting Maracas!

We needed to make sure daddy had a maraca, too!


The kids sat down for dinner. 🙂

Pizza was a hit!

So cute

Madeleine and her “little buddy” James. She met James at her former school before we had to switch facilities and she adores him sooo much and specifically asked if he could come to her party. She grinned SO big when she saw him again. They fell right into step just like they were when she was still at school there.

Trying to wrangle the kids into a group photo proved more challenging than one might think. The kids were all far too distracted by all the treats on the table. haha!

The “best” with everyone in it.



Singing happy birthday before she blew out the candles!!!

Mmmm – cupcake time!

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!! There are tons more, but it’d be a bit much to post every photo. 🙂

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A few weeks back, we took a family roadtrip to Canada. Vancouver, to be exact. Alex had a Super Spartan race that he agreed to run with a co-worker. Madeleine and I went along for an adventure!

Since we rarely travel and never do family weekend trips, we decided to splurge a bit and stay at a nice hotel and reserve a suite so that Alex and I could stay up and have a little date night while M was sleeping. 🙂 When we arrived, they told us that they’d upgraded us to the Presidential suite on the top floor of the hotel!  Amazing. 🙂 We felt like complete rock stars.  Below are some pictures of the suite – which, for the record, Madeleine thought was ah-maze-ing!

The guest bathroom. Yes – the suite had a guest bathroom. How ridiculous is that!!??

Looking from living into the kitchen area

The chess playing and office/work area


Madeleine had movie time and snack time!

The view was pretty amazing

This was a super fun game. It’s called “Let’s make crazy faces in the mirror.”

Our bedroom. We had a rollaway bed added near the bathroom wall for Madeleine.

Alex showing M what all the different chess pieces do.

We had a great time!! Madeleine and I hung out on Saturday, went out to dinner with Alex and his co-worker and then had some nice family time on Sunday. Vancouver is a beautiful city. 🙂

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Mother’s Day/Father’s Day 2012 Combo

Since I never got around to posting about Mother’s Day 2012, I figured I would combine it with a Father’s day post.

Mother’s Day:

What a great day! We woke up early to go kayaking in Seattle. Madeleine had a blast and has not stopped talking about kaying since. We need to go back when we have another day of decent weather – we could hardly get her out of the boat when it was time to go to lunch!!

“I go a kayaking!”

Then we were off to the Greenlake Bar and Grill, which was very nice, as well. We had an enjoyable lunch together and headed home for Madeleine’s nap. The rest of the afternoon we just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.


Father’s Day:This year, Father’s Day Weekend was a bit of a disaster. I had plans for Alex and us to celebrate and it all was thwarted by a migraine and some bizarre allergic reaction to something. I’m still not sure what, but it hasn’t happened in a week and a half, so I think we’re ok. Needless to say, I spent the entire weekend in bed just trying to get my migraine to go away. Those of you that know me know that I don’t use the word “migraine”. I always say “headache”.  I find it incredibly annoying that people use the term “migraine” so loosely and complain of having one when they really have a headache. So, the fact that I’m using the term here means it was that bad. In fact, it was bad enough that I had Alex drive me to the doctor because I’ve never experienced anything like it. But, enough of that. The weekend was ruined. 

So, this weekend we had a Father’s Day “Re-Do”! What is that, you say? Well, we just pretended that today was Father’s day and did everything we were going to do before.

The day started out by taking some breakfast in bed to Alex along with his Father’s day present. A couple of friends of mine did a “child’s survey” for their husbands for Father’s Day and it was so cute, I wanted to do it for Alex. Only difference is that I had her decorate a canvas, and then put the survey in the middle for him. We went to the craft store and she picked out all of the supplies, stickers, etc for it. Also note how she stuck the different animals together, like little families. 😀 Then I modge-podged the entire thing and ta-da!! Ignore the lumpiness in the photos. It hasn’t dried completely and was much flatter after all was dry. Also, M and I added some lavendar rhinestones, because she loved them at the craft store. Those aren’t shown in these photos, either.

First, the survey.

The whole thing!

Alex should be spending more time in his office at work, too, so this is meant to be something for him to take to work and put up in his office. 🙂 Once he was done eating his breakfast and opening his present and getting some much needed snuggles from Madeleine, we all got ready to go out. Out where? To see a movie! Unfortunately, the rainy weather today prevented us from going to Remlinger Farms, like I had planned. So I had to make last minute adjustments. 

“No, my dress is not pretty. It’s buuuutiful!!” (Yes, she actually said this today)


Trying to get a cute picture, what a goof!

Such a sweet pair. 🙂

We went out to see Brave, which was really cute.  We got there early, so M and Alex played a race car game in the lobby.

Go fast!

“I feeding a daddy! I sharing!”

  Brave is the first movie that Madeleine got scared at, which was also adorable. She kept squaling and then hiding her face behind my arm. She ate lots of popcorn and drank lots of water and overall had a nice time. At the end we asked if she liked it and she said “Yeah! It’s scary!” LOL. After the movie, we went home to feed M and get her a nap. She’s been fighting a cold since about Thursday, so she desperately needed it.  After she woke up from her nap (she slept a loongg time!) we got ready and took Alex out to dinner.

❤ them!

This year was fun, as it’s the first year where we feel Madeleine was truly able to understand what these two days are about – and it’s really fun to see her spoil her daddy for all of his love and care that he gives her.  In fact, this evening she said to him “You’re the best daddy in the whole world!” 😀

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She’s a Clever Little Monkey

Madeleine is really starting to get articulate. Her speech is exploding even more than it had been before and she’s routinely speaking in full sentences now. With that ability to portray her thoughts, she has come up with some very clever little comments.

Play Time!

Madeleine loves to run. I don’t stop her from running in the house, mostly because I don’t have an issue with it at this age and I’m just so glad that she can. But evidently it was posing problems for the teachers at her (former) school. More on that in another post.  The lead teacher began working with her on using her “walking feet” and then described the following incident to me when I was dropping her off one morning.

Just before nap time, when they were trying to calm the children down, Madeleine would not stop running through the classroom riling the kids up again. (whoops!) So the teacher asked her to please step into the hallway by the restroom and wait for her there. When she want to talk to Madeleine, she told her that she needed to use her walking feet inside, slow down and calm down for nap and Madeleine’s response? “But my walking feet go fast!!” LMAO!

Ok, seriously! She is so funny! That is both not the right response but also so clever and hilarious that I could not contain my laughter when her teacher told me. Said teacher agreed with me that it was a very clever response, and they continued working on using walking feet inside from that point until this week.

Next up was a moment where she was playing with her toys in the house. I can’t recall what I was doing, but she was playing with some of her stuffed animals in/near the kitchen. When I went back to the kitchen, I found this:

I proceeded to ask Madeleine why the animals were all lined up like that (because it looks a little strange, no?) and she said “Animals sleeping!!” LOL! Oooh, ok. That makes much more sense, because sleeping on her tummy is something that Madeleine does, too. 🙂

We use lots of experiences as teaching lessons, because we like to explain to her how the world works. Here Alex was showing her how chop sticks are used to pick up food.

The story that Alex loves to tell most has to do with an octopus. Shortly before he graduated, Alex’s school had a Veteran’s Day celebration which included honoring those veterans who were graduating. We went as a family and after the formal ceremony things broke out into “grab a snack and chit chat” time. We grabbed a little snack for Madeleine and found a table. While she was eating she had her legs out to the sides of the chair, instead of in front, and wiggled her arms around and said “I a octopus!” Pretending to be different animals is something that’s become quite frequent around here these days. So, Alex said to her “Really? How many legs does an octopus have?” To which Madeleine furrowed her brow, looked down at her legs and said pointed to each leg as she counted “One, two. Two legs!” Hahaha! We about died laughing at the practicality of her response.

Daddy’s girl!

And finally, tonight. Most of you probably know that Alex has been doing some motorcycle riding as of late. So now we watch motorcycle racing videos and Madeleine is completely fascinated by the entire sport/activity. She knows the names of some of the best professional motorcycle riders out there. She points out motorcycles every time we see one in an shrill, shrieky, excited voice. She talks about needing to wear a helmet to keep safe. And about how she doesn’t ride motorcycles, but instead rides bicycles. LOL! Alex has set the DVR to record a motorcycle race this weekend to watch with her and tonight he was telling her which racers would be in it. Before bed, she brought it up again so I asked who her favorite motorcycle rider was and do you know what she said? She said “My daddy a favorite rider!” 😀 Alex was there and just beamed when she said it. Truly, it was the sweetest thing. She is in a bit of a daddy’s girl phase right now, too. They are so cute together!!

Stay tuned for an update to come regarding her latest MRI as well as her change in child care facilities!

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He’s a Master of….

Congratulations, hubby!

This past weekend Alex had commencement for his Tech MBA from the University of Washington Bothell campus. He has worked very hard for the last two years and we’re so proud of him!!

As a family, we make the decision to continue with his education despite Madeleine’s diagnosis with the theory that it won’t get any less stressful over time. He had just been accepted to the program and was month or so away from starting when Madeleine was diagnosed with cancer. Since I was out of work, a majority of her care fell on me, but I was fine with that. I knew it was important for him to power through his education so we could move on as a family. Boy, are we glad we made that decision because he is finally done!!!

After two long years in the program and 5 years of school since 2007, he had many long days and late nights. We’ve both seen promotions, cancer treatment, both of us starting new jobs at about the same time (a year ago) and a very demanding work/life balance for our family. However, we can check one box off the list! Alex has done it. 🙂 He is officially an MBA graduate!

Some of you might wonder why I am talking about myself in this post…and I am only because it’s been hard as a family. Much of his free time has been spent studying which drastically reduced his ability to spend time with us as a family. Drastically reduced his ability to help around the house, give me a break on the weekends, etc. However, he somehow still managed to get up early with her on Sundays when I was completely exhausted and needed an extra hour of sleep. He still somehow managed to help with housework when I was completely overwhelmed with my workload for work and was working 70+ hours a week. He is amazing and some might call him “super-dad!” I cannot state often enough how proud we are of him and how glad we are that he is such a hard worker for his future career and for our family.

So – that brings us to Sunday. Well, technically Saturday. We went over to Alex’s former co-worker’s house and classmate in this program. They’ve turned into good buddies and he was having a BBQ as a graduation party. It was really fun to be around a bunch of other couples with kids of similar ages to Madeleine (we don’t really get out much – see above for lack of family time notes 😛 ), and she thought it was awesome! Madeleine ran around with the other kids, ate dinner, entertained the baby and played with the dogs. We stayed out too late, but I think both Alex and I were having too good of a time to want to leave when we should’ve.

So mischievous – and she has her daddy’s eyes!

On Sunday much of the day was spent with Alex getting ready for graduation. He had to leave early so he could do the rehersal piece. I stayed home with M so she could get some sort of a nap in. Since we’d stayed out too late the night before and she woke up earlier than normal, she desperately needed it. The ceremony was nice, despite being unable to link up with Alex’s family whatsoever. Talk about a crowded arena! We finally found Alex in the mass of black robes on the floor and when he walked across the stage we cheered “Whooooooooooo!” M helped, even.

Afterwards I called my parents to let them know that he was officially a graduate and they were asking M all sorts of questions about what happened that day. I asked her, “M, what did daddy get today?” and in true 2 year old form she said “Daddy got a new hat! And a new book!” HAHA! I about died laughing. The new “book” was the blue cover that they put the faux diploma in. Oh, to see life out of the eyes of a 2 year old is a constant form of entertainment.

The fam

Afterwards we went to dinner with his family to celebrate, which was nice. Madeleine got to spend time with her Uncle Trevor and both sides of Alex’s family. We are so proud of you, honey!! Congratulations and here’s to many more years of success. 🙂


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We have had a house guest for the last month and a half or so. Who is it??

It’s Madeleine’s Uncle Paul! He got a job in the Redmond area and needed somewhere to stay quickly before his job started. Madeleine is quite fascinated and adores him! Everything is “Uncle Paul” this and “Uncle Paul” that and sometimes it’s just “Uncle Paul! Uncle Paul! Uncle Paul!” And when she wakes up in the morning it’s “Downstairs? Uncle Paul?” And before we leave for the day it’s “bye bye Uncle Paul!” And sometimes it’s “Uncle Paul Doing???” (what’s Uncle Paul doing?).

Exhausting for poor Uncle Paul, I’m sure, but super fun for Madeleine. 😀

So, for now, Uncle Paul has a little hang-out in our dining area and Madeleine has a new BFF. 🙂

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