Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Final Week of Summer

James had a conference to attend in Sacramento area.  We went up with him and while he worked we got to play with cousins for the last week before school started.  It was 
We went to explore the Black Chasm Caverns.  We've been to another set of caves in the area.  It is amazing how different they can be from each other.  This one had helictite crystals, which grow sideways out from the cave and were very interesting.
Close to the Black Chasm Cavern was the Indian Grinding Rock State Park.  We hiked around the area as we explored and learned about the Miwok village.
It was a warm day but the area was beautiful with a lot of interesting things to see.
Some of the other things we did were exploring Old Town Sacramento. 

We took another day trip up to Coloma to learn about the discovery of Gold in California.  
And went to play in the American River close by.
It was cold, but the kids (and Grandma) were brave enough to jump in and float the river.  The kids loved that, and also the trip to Sunsplash water park that we didn't take pictures of.

Even with all of our outings, the kids always just love the chance to be at home and play together.  Elise had an idea to make candy art, which ended up being a fun activity for everyone.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Summer of Cousins

It wasn't all planned out at the beginning, but it ends up that the kids were able to spend their whole summer vacation with cousins...In different places and from both sides of the family.  It's been a full summer with lots of opportunities.  The kids have loved it.  Everything is more fun with cousins.  Here is a glypse at a few of our activities during summer break:
Checking out the helicopter with 9 out of the 10 Finlay grandkids.
Swim lessons (with 8 Finlay grandkids all having swim lessons during the same time slot).  
Free Slurpee Day
A week in Idaho to visit and play with the Asay cousins
Boat Tour
Playground trips
Boulder Rolling
Touch-a-truck and other outings
Morro Bay with the Allisons
too much fun playing games
The zoo with Bo and Alana in town from Georgia
playing at Tongva Park in Santa Monica
The summer has been packed with fun.  We didn't have time for some things that we planned, and didn't have the down days we'd expected...but everyday is a good day when you get to spend time with family you love.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

House Renovations-Floors and Walls

Before-Living and Dining Area
After-Living and Dining Area
I've been waiting to post about latest house project until it is completely done...but, it's going to be awhile.  The floors and walls are done, however we've been busy playing and traveling this summer, so haven't taken the time to move everything back into the house, re-hang up pictures or decorate. 
 We did finally move our furniture back in after living in a bare house with mattresses on the floor for a few weeks.  We actually liked how open everything was without the furniture, but it was strange to have no where to sit and we wanted to park the car in the garage again.
The wood floors were on the top of the house project to do list when we moved in.  The section by the front door looked so worn that we worried it would wear through.  We also noticed wear (and termites) in the bedrooms so added those to the list.  After having a few estimates of having the front entry and bedrooms refinished we discovered it wouldn't be too much more to also tear up the carpet (white carpet in the dining room area wasn't too functional for our family.)
And, since we were moving everything out anyway, it seemed like a good time to repaint the interior of the house also.

Before-Master Bedroom
Before-Boys Bedroom
During-Carpet Tear up.
The padding under the carpets was very worn in some places it was patchy and left spotted residue all over the floors.
This is the master wear all the termites were enjoying the taste of our floors.
Preston and I spent a lot of time supervising at the house during the work.  
He loved being involved and helping.
The workers were very kind to let him pitch in and observe.

During-after floors, before paint
We ended up going darker than we'd planned with the stain color to cover the spots left from the carpet pad.  We like how it turned out though and are happy with the changes.
After-Paint, base and crown moldings complete.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Preston 3-year-old Interview and Stats

My name is: Preston (aka: PrePre, Friendliest Friend, PJ)
I'm: 3-year-old
Things I love: Airplanes! Trains, trucks, music.
Catch Phrase: Can I go on an airplane tomorrow?  'Roar' Welcome (randomly, without being thanked for anything)
Favorite Song: depends on the situation.  In the car it is 'On Top of the World", for Family Home Evening it is "We Believe" (usually the 4th Article of Faith song), for bedtime has been "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" everynight for the past 6th months, but when asked at parent ed class to choose his favorite song to sing it was always "Jingle Bells"
Height: 40.63" (97%)
Weight: 37lb 15oz (93%)
Sleeping: About 12 hours 7pm-7am.  After struggling with sleep for months and months, I finally decided to drop his nap.  He was napping great with no problem going down, but couldn't go to sleep at night until really late despite how early or short his naps were.  So, about 2 months ago I had him stop napping.  He does fine without a nap, but enjoys still having a quiet play time on his own.  Stopped nursing soon after we moved, with the changes in rooms and schedules through off his normal routine.  Officially weaned himself at the end of February at about 32months.

Preston's Response to his 3-year-old Interview Questions 
We had an informal interview while at the park.  I didn't have any specific questions in front of me.
What is your name? Preston
How old are you? 3 ('free')
What is your favorite color? Blue and Green
What is your favorite food? Hummus and Brocolli Soup Cheese
What is your favorite book? Dinosaur Books
What is your favorite movie? Dinosaur
What is your favorite treat? Dinosaurs
What kind of birthday cake did you want? I had a Airplane Birthday Cake
What do you want to do when you grow up? Play with Daddy
What time do you go to bed? 49
What does Daddy do? Go to Work
What does your mommy do? Stay at home
Anything else you want to tell us about turning 3? No

Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Preston!

Preston turns 3 today!
He has been so excited, singing happy birthday to himself for a couple weeks now.
He specifically wanted a black airplane cake with m&ms on it this year.  James and I worked together to build and decorate.  James added the finishing touch making a propeller out of k'nex, and covering it with fondant.
Preston asks to go on an airplane at least once every. single. day. I thought he would move past it when we went on an airplane trip to El Paso in February, but as soon as we got back he continued to ask to go on an airplane ride.  Luckily for him we have a couple more plane trips planned this year.
When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday meals, he said just the airplane cake.  So he has been pretty easy to please this year.  We celebrated with family on Sunday, and are doing some fun stuff with friends today to keep on celebrating.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Brielle 9-year-old Interview and Stats

Brielle is sweet and kind.  She is a great helper with younger kids.  She notices other peoples needs and tries to help without being asked.  She always has her nose in a book and is often in the middle of 3 or 4 books scattered throughout the house.

My name is: Brielle (aka Ellie, Miss Biscuit, Brie-Brie, Bo, Bo-Bellie)
Height: 4ft 9in (97%)
Weight: 65lbs (54%)
Sleeping: about 10 1/2 hours (8pm-6:30am), takes a while to fall asleep thinking about life and when she has the chance likes to lay in bed and read when she wakes up.
Hobbies: Reading (constantly), Volleyball, Piano, Science
Brielle's Response to her 9-year-old Interview Questions 
What is your name? Brielle
When is your birthday? A week ago.
How old are you? 9
What is your favorite color? Turquoise
What is your favorite song? Fur Elise (I've been playing it on the piano)
What do you want to do when you are a grown up? I want to teach a 1st grade class.
Where do you want to live when you grow up? California, Los Angeles
What is your favorite food? Lasagna
What is your least favorite food? Corned Beef and Cabbage
What is your favorite animal? The Okapi
What is your favorite movie? Cinderella (not the cartoon one)
What is your favorite dessert? Strawberry Cheesecake
Where do you like to eat? Souplantation, In n Out, Cafe Rio
Who is your best friend? 
What is your favorite book? Every book that I can get my hands on
What is your favorite thing to do? Read
What does your mommy do? Read
What does Daddy do? Videochat
What was your favorite thing you did when you were 8? I went to Europe
What are you excited about with turning 9? Going to Ecuador this Christmas

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy 9th Birthday Brielle!

Brielle turned 9 on Wednesday.  What a fun age!  She is sweet and kind and thoughtful.
Brielle and her cousin Abigail have birthdays just 2 days apart.  They were excited to have another joint birthday party to celebrate with family.  They have tender bond and love to be together every chance they can, despite their 7 year age difference.
Abigail wanted a tea party cake and theme.  Brielle loved that idea.
I was happy about it also, because prior to the teacake theme suggestion Brielle had wanted a complicated dolphin cake that I wasn't sure I could pull off very well.  She decided that didn't go very well with the theme and instead wanted a cookie dough ice-cream cake.  She still really wanted fondant and wanted to decorate it herself.
She colored and rolled out the fondant and cut out all the letters, choosing not to have any specific decorations.

And, as for the food requests this year:
For our extended family dinner she wanted Lasagna, Breadsticks and Caesar Salad.  I will have to look back, but I'm pretty sure this has been her exact menu for the past 5-6 years. 

Her actual birthday menu requests were a bit different as we were traveling.  We were home for the morning of her birthday for which she requested crepes with nutella, bananas and raspberries
After breakfast we joined her Gramma Finlay at a conference in the Palm Desert area.  At a reception that night she was surprised by being called on stage as the group of adult conference attendees all sang Happy Birthday to her.  This kind guitarist gave her a copy of his CD as a present as well.
She chose to go to Souplantation for her birthday dinner that night, very happy that there was one close to our hotel.