Welcome to our webpage! We'll use this page to share pictures, stories and everyday life with all the family and friends that live away from us. We'll try to update frequently and keep you all posted on our exciting life in Oregon!
Updated: MAY 9 2010
GooglePages has failed me! Their new conversion has left me unable to edit and load my page with the ease that it used to. Its not fun and takes too long and all my links and a large part of my pictures are no longer functioning- so I'm finally making the jump! This page is sadly being put to rest- but you can still keep up with us at
Syonara! Auf Weidersen! Adios! GoodBye! :)
March 19, 2010
I know I know, I'm a total slacker!
November 1, 2009
Loving Fall here in Oregon. We have beautiful trees in front of our house
And the fog rolls in and out every morning. I love the view off the top deck when its foggy.
Levi is 11 months. I can't believe he'll be having his birthday by the end of this month! He crawls fast, slobbers lots, rarely sleeps all night, doesn't like anyone else but Mommy, has the cutest 7 tooth smile, and has learned to stand alone
Halloween was great fun! We started the day at the pumpkin patch...
(Do you love my choice of backdrop???)
Then to the corn maze. We split up and let the kids lead us out. It was raining and muddy and the girl's favorite part of the day.
Then to, of course, the main event. Costumes were quite the production this year! I had a good time making them and am hoping no one thinks up anything this complicated next year. (Though I'm not sure I will be ready to sew again by next year...) I think I just might go as Dorothy for the rest of my life.
Maija's chalk interpretation...
I think we have the cutest flying monkey ever! We are looking forward to a visit from Grandma and Grandpa next week and I am anxious to put away the sewing machine and get out the scrapbooks.
Hope everyone else had a great Halloween!
October 7, 2009
Yep, still here. Apparently- the number of children I have equals the number of months between site updates....
Once again- here is a catch up....
August (part 2)
--Went camping twice. The first time it rained ALL night. Second time it was 100 degrees. Kids had a blast.
--Maija, I think, is part Bat. She loves to be UPSIDE DOWN. This is her watching tv.
--Ben and I both volunteered at our church's pear farm picking pears. Ben got in his suggested 12 hours in 2 days. I got in about 5 before all the pears were gone.
-- We all took a trip to the beach for Maija's last day before school started. We roasted hotdogs on a fire, climbed rocks, found shells, jumped waves, and Levi had his first encounter with the Pacific Ocean.
--For Levi, everything tastes better when you prop up your foot
--Maija requested no training wheels, Ben obliged and took her to the track to practice. She has not attempted to ride again since.
--FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! Maija was so excited. She had been sick for a few days prior, but was feeling good that morning, and I couldn't bear to let her miss her very first day, so I gave her Motrin and Triaminic and sent her on her way. The medicine wore off way too fast and she had a hard time finishing the day- but she made it! (She stayed home the rest of the week)
--Levi pulls up to standing. His favorite place to do it....my ankles.
--And my favorite picture of the last 2 months....
Stay tuned for Halloween pictures, 3 weeks to go!
August 12, 2009
Yes we are still ALIVE. Alive and very well I might add!
(but the view is worth it, right?)
June 4, 2009
I just wanted to post a few more pictures.
We took a trip to Santa Fe one last time. We rode the train from Albuquerque and had fun at the farmer's market, eating lunch, and shopping on the plaza. We were too busy to get many pictures- but I love this one of the girls.
We also took a ride up the Sandia Tram to the top of the mountain. We explored for a little while before heading back down (after a delay because of lightening.)
Brielle loved collecting pine cones. She would pick up as many as she could carry, find a safe place to make a pile (on the premise that we could collect them on our way back) and then start a new collection.
Ben found Maija a perfect walking stick. It made it's way down the mountain and I don't think she will let us leave Albuquerque without it.
Levi has been so pleasant and fun lately. He loves any attention you give him and is all smiles when you talk with him. He has decided he likes to watch his sisters play and will crane his neck any which-way to try to look at them. He also loves to watch the cat.
He has learned to sit up
Maija made him his own tent yesterday
And today the girls finally accosted him. I've been waiting for this day....
It will make a good picture for his wedding video, huh?
May 28, 2009
Life is taking over! Seems like we're on auto-pilot sometimes and everything is happening all around us.
Here is what we've been up to the last month....
Nice sunny weather. Complete with Kool-aid, ice cream cones and swimming!
Maija wanted her ears pierced for her birthday....
Then Brielle decided she did too.
No tears from either one!
Ben took a trip to New Orleans to complete one of his last graduation requirements and present his research at a national conference. He had a great time and brought us some souveniers.
Levi wanted in on the dress-up action too.
I took Levi in for his 4 month appt (though he was 5 months by the time we got in, and now 6 months by the time I posted) He weighed 21 lbs and 26 inches. Neither Maija nor Brielle weighed more than 20 lbs til they were close to 18 months! So the kid had already exceeded the weight and height limit of the carseat. We bought a new one, but I still have to cart around the infant seat because he can't sit up yet, so I can't put him in the shopping cart. I have to pull the infant seat out of the back of the car each time we go shopping.
I finally decided I couldn't keep up with the nursing demands of a 21 lb 6-month-old, so I gave in and started feeding him real people food.
After 2 weeks of using the spoon as a crowbar to pry his mouth open, I tried carrots. Much to my surprise- I discovered he really did know how to open his mouth in anticipation for the food, he was just telling me that he absolutely did not want to eat cereal. He gladly opened up for the entire jar of carrots.
So far I'm not allowed to buy more apples or cereal. I might be ok with pears and sweet potatoes. And I'll definitely score with more carrots. Bring on the stinky diapers!
Maija graduated from pre-school
And had her dance recital at Popejoy Hall. She performed "Under the Sea" with her pre-ballet class.
And we had our first harvest today! The strawberry plants given to us by Ben's mom have finally started to put out a load of fruit, right as we are getting ready to leave.
Still working out final details with our home in Oregon. We've accepted the fact that this home in Albuquerque will probably not sell for a LONG time. A house 4 doors down with the same floor plan just listed for $20K less than ours is listed. We just can't absorb a loss like that right now, so we'll have to save up and maybe think about it in 6 months. We're entertaining the thought of renting, but it makes us nervous to turn over this yard that Ben has worked so hard on to somebody we don't know. We're getting things packed and are excited for the move. I'm anxious to have it all over with, but also sad about leaving what we have made our home here in Albuquerque.
We are taking advantage of the remaining evenings we have here. At dusk we head outside with blankets, light the tiki torch and camp out on the trampoline while we do our scripture reading. Ben and I have decided we'll miss this the most.
Good Bye for now! I'd like to say I'll post again before the move- I'll try, but no promises!
April 27, 2009
Ok- I just want to say, this post is for my sister who has been bugging me to update. (I hope you know I am losing precious sleep over this!) :)
Here is an obligatory "I'm Sorry" for being such a website slacker.
We have been very busy. So here is a quick run-down of the last 2 months.
I lost a diamond out of my wedding ring :(
Planted our garden
Had a celebratory green dinner for St Patricks day
Took a trip to Las Vegas where we met my sister and also Ben's parents (just realized I didn't get any pictures of Ben's parents!)
Levi's first swim
And visited my dear grandparents in St George, UT
Took another trip to Oregon where we met MY parents (also just realized I didn't get any pictures of my parents either!) and found a house to buy (pictures and details on that coming soon!)
THIS is why we are moving to Oregon
We rented a vacation house that had a hot tub. Maija wanted to buy THAT house.
Easter dresses (weather outside was too windy for good pics)
Took a trip to Utah for Levi's baby blessing, egg hunts, McDonalds with friends and lots of Guitar Hero.
We have a thumb-sucker on our hands
Played outside in our GREEN grass!
He is just SO cute!!
Celebrated both girls' birthdays multiple times
Levi found his toes!
I just want to say (once again for anyone who hasn't already heard me say it) I just LOVE this little guy! I used to look at my two beautiful girls and think that it was perfect that way. I used to see mommies with just boys and seriously pity them that they didn't have little girls. I used to see the word "boy" and get scared. But, wow, has that changed! I can't keep from kissing this kid! I can't keep my fingers from pinching his chubby cheeks and legs! I just love this little mister and cannot imagine life without him.
Ben is working lots of extra shifts the next month to pull in a little extra money for our move. We're not going to see much of him and it makes us all sad. We have the calendar booked until graduation and I'm sure it will come faster than we'd like. Its starting to be real that we will be leaving and its also starting to feel sad that we will be leaving such a wonderful city with such amazing people. We truly have enjoyed our time in Albuquerque and I sometimes (I said sometimes) wonder why we decided to leave.
Graduation for Ben is June 26 and we'll be heading off to Oregon on June 27 so Ben can start work on July 1! We are super excited about the house we are hoping to buy. Very excited about the area of Grants Pass and can't wait to get up there and explore. Its amazing we are finally at this point. When I take the time to think about everything Ben has accomplished in the last 10 years- it just amazes me. I could never motivate myself to do what he has done- let alone do it as well as he has done it. I can't wait to see what adventures await us at this new step in our life.
February 16, 2009
I need your help!
I had a friend do some BEAUTIFUL pictures of my kids. Of course it helps to have beautiful subjects, but I just may be a little biased.
She too over 200 pictures and I love almost every one! Check out the photos and let me know which ones you would pick to print and display....(Humor me just a little bit, it took me all afternoon to resize and post these- and keep in mind, this is less than half of what she took!) Any of these can be photoshopped to change colors or remove background "noise." Click on any of the pictures to see them full size.Send me an e mail (or facebook) with your favorites! I'm having a terrible time deciding! My favorites so far are the ones displayed larger than the rest.
Here is a sample: (but please check out ALL of them thru the link-pretty please!)
She is amazing!
Thanks for your help!
We had a wonderful Valentines Day.
First- Pink heart-shaped pancakes....
(Well, the batter was pink before it got cooked)
Both girls had a valentine (same as mine!)
And our kitchen is its own garden!
This one just bloomed today. :)
February 5, 2009
Sorry about the limited posts lately- I'm too busy cuddling my baby. Here are 3 pictures of the last couple weeks....
I tried getting a good picture of Levi for his 2 month old birthday- but all I got was crying or sleeping....
Brielle dragged a chair into the kitchen to investigate a pot of pasta cooking on the stove. She then took a tumble and brought the pot down with her. Fortunately, she didn't actually touch the pan, and the water only splashed on one arm. She had 2 big blisters- one on her wrist and one on the back of her elbow- and the rest of her arm was pretty red for a week. New rule at our house: NO CHAIRS IN THE KITCHEN.
Maija wanted a haircut. She wanted to cut it "like mommy's". I was so proud of her for wanting it all on her own, but as soon as they started cutting I almost started to cry! All that hair! All my baby's hair! But you have to admit, she looks pretty darn cute- even with 8 inches shorter hair! (And she is only allowed to wear sleeveless dresses at home in the winter....I promise I dress her appropriately when we go out! BUT it was over 60* today...)
January 20, 2009
For the Grandmas....
Someone is getting big WAY too fast!
Maija loves her new CTR ring
Its warm enough to play outside AND Maija put on pants....VOLUNTARILY
December 28, 2008
A few more pictures from today....
December 27, 2008
(and happy 1-month birthday, Levi!)
We hope you all had a lovely day!
I made the girls matching Christmas nightgowns....
and Levi's cute jammies come from my mom...
The kids went to bed better than they have in months. We took advantage of the chance to sleep in til 8- knowing this may be our last chance to do so. Santa brought Brielle a new toddler bed (he must have known Levi needed the crib!) and both girls got Tinkerbell bedding and singing Barbies (Mom and Dad love the singing barbies). Ben spent the day playing new Wii games and I finally got my Kitchenaid mixer. We had a nice dinner on Christmas Eve, so Christmas day was spent lounging in PJs and snacking on leftovers and candy.
Thank you Grandma Sill for the fun Fairy Tutus!
By about 5 pm I had cleaned up toys in the living room far too many times and decided to clean out the girl's bedroom to make room for new toys. The next day I mentioned cleaning out the kitchen pantry, to which my husband said "you want help?" and proceeded to do it all on his own. :-) I have 3 growing piles of Goodwill donations scattered through the house, piles of garbage and a pile of stuff to be boxed up and taken to storage. I guess I'm finally feeling motivated to get the house ready to sell.
Levi is growing too fast. Has it really been a whole month? I forgot how much fun it is to sit and hold a tiny baby all day. Somehow it just doesn't feel like a waste of time. He eats well, poops well, and sleeps well. Last night he slept for 5 hours in one stretch. I've decided I am WAY too lucky in the baby department. All 3 babies have been good sleepers with no colic or reflux. I should just quit while I'm ahead. He loves to be held, have his back patted and being snuggled in a fuzzy blanket with a full tummy. He hates getting his diaper changed, hiccups and being cold. I can't help but kiss his little cheeks all day long- I'm sure if he could roll his eyes at me he would. I've added a link on the left for his own page.
I love seeing all the other new babies being born to my friends across the internet! Its so fun to experience it together, even if its just through blog pictures.
November 28, 2008
He Is Here!
Levi Randall Sill
November 25, 2008 4:51 am
7lbs 6oz 21"
All went well....and fast. We had to do a bit of scrambling since Ben's parents weren't coming til Wednesday. Thanks to good friends- we succeeded with the middle-of-the-night delivery. Also, thanks to those that picked up Ben's work shifts. Levi wins as the most painful delivery- even with the epidural. (Kick me if I ever say I can do this again) I know I said in the post below I really wanted him to come- but I started rethinking that when I was reminded of how it feels. :) But we will still keep him!
We are doing well- Thanksgiving was wonderful and we are still making up sleep. The girls love their new brother. Now for more pics....
And I owe Levi a big thank you! (see below)
November 24, 2008
Dear dumb dog-
You are seriously SO lucky you are still alive and still reside in my home. The only reason you still live here is because I know my husband will be relentless and never let me live it down for as long as I live if I dispose of you in any way. BUT if you ruin one more of my daughter's favorite toys, keep eating cat food, puke on my carpet, dig more holes in the backyard or scrounge in the garbage can anymore- I may be forced to take one for the team and endure the relentlessness of my husband for the rest of my mortal life.
Dear ants that somehow keep finding a way into my home-
Dear people at the store that always say "You have your hands full"-
YES I do have my hands full- but my hands are full of darling little angels that make me smile and bring a special joy to my life that I never would have had if my hands were "empty." Thank you.
Dear anyone that has ever told a pregnant woman that she looks like she is going to "Pop"-
Just to clarify- pregnant women do not pop. Nor do they like being compared to a balloon that has been blown so big that it can no longer handle another breath. Believe me, women that are ready to have a baby know very well how big, clumsy and awkward they look. They know they waddle. They even have visions of giant beached whales everytime they try to roll over in bed. Do NOT tell them they are going to pop. I'm sure they would like to- but it won't happen- more like a slow, excrutiating deflation, that probably won't come soon enough.
Dear friends that came to my little mini-shower on Saturday- Thank you so much for all the CUTE clothes and stuff! I now officially like blue! I cannot wait to dress him in such adorable little outfits!
Dear all of my friends that were due AFTER (or close to) me that have already had their babies- NO FAIR!!!
Dear friends who still have a long ways to go before they have their babies- I'm sorry.
Dear Maija and Brielle-
Today it was fun to look at your baby pictures- but it made me sad....STOP GROWING.
Dear new baby- I cannot wait until you get here. Thank you for making the last nine months as pleasant as possible. Thank you for not making me sick. Thank you for not making me swell. Thank you for not giving me more heartburn than you did. Thank you for not giving me three teenage girls to deal with all at once in ten years. You will get a BIG thank you if you decide to come out tonight. I would be very happy. But I will be thrilled whenever it is that I meet you. Thank you for making your big sister so excited. Thank you for giving me a new tiny person to hold and cuddle and love. See you Friday (or sooner if you want).
October 31, 2008
We had a great day! Maija couldn't wait to get on her costume and insisted on wearing it most of the day. We had fun at our ward Trunk-or-Treat and then visited our neighbors. I think the girls had more fun passing out candy at our own house than they did Trick-or-Treating!
Here are some fun pics!
Ben and I's costume from a party last week...
And the girls from today....
(If you can't tell- Maija is Wendy and Brielle is Tinkerbell- take a good look- because these may be the last batch of homemade costumes!)
Hope you all had fun!
October 22, 2008
We are back! We've been busy, but having lots of fun.
First news- it looks like we have decided on
It was a hard decision to make. I'm afraid Maija will be disappointed since we will still "have to drive so long" to visit Grandma and her cousin Sarah- but Ben and I are both getting excited. Ben can't wait to get himself a boat (or 2 or 3) and pick up fishing again. I'm excited about being close to the river and ocean along with all the excitement a change and new place can bring. Start making plans to visit! There is plenty to do within an hour's drive, we'll be within 2 hrs from the beach and 4 hrs from Portland.
Last week, a long-lost friend of mine came to visit. We lost track of one another in high school and she just recently contacted me again. We are still good buds, even after a 10 yr void. She told me she wanted to visit and I was ecstatic, since not many people make an effort to come visit- let alone visit ME and not just my kids.
Jenny has 2 adorable kiddos, close in age to Maija and Brielle. Brielle and Ethan are only 2 days apart! They played the entire weekend and had so much fun.
We started the weekend with the Special Shapes Rodeo at the Internation Balloon Fiesta, that just happened to be going on.
Maija and Brynn
We continued our adventure with a stop at IHOP. I'm afraid the restuarant issued a warning to other area restaurants to be on the lookout for 2 women with 4 unruly children.
Saturday the balloon ascension was cancelled due to wind- so we slept-in and spent the day at the Botanical Gardens and Aquarium.
I treated Jenny to New Mexico green chile Chimicangas for Sunday dinner and she treated me to an oh-so-luxurious pedicure. She even brought her soaking tub and exfoliator, mask and special lotions. (Sorry about my uneducated terminology in the area of esthetics!)
Jenny decided to stay an extra day so she could check out Santa Fe. We looked at the old churches and strolled around Old Town to thoroughly wear out the kids- then stayed up way too late that night trying to pack in the 10 year of conversation and gossip before she took off on Tuesday morning.
Miss you already Jenn!
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!!!
Sunday afternoon after Maija's first Primary Program- we took off with some other good friends on a final 2008 camping trip.
I love exploring new places in New Mexico and I fear that the three years we have been here haven't given us enough time to see all the cool things there are to see. This time, we headed south towards Silver City for some October camping. For you Utah folk, October camping in New Mexico is like summer camping in Utah. It was beautiful during the day and slightly chilly at night- but not freezing like I thought it would be. We camped next to Lake Roberts where the kids had fun fluffing cattails and frog hunting. And the dog made off without getting sprayed this time. She was actually afraid of the wildlife- she ran off faster than the deer did.
The kids had so much fun. Monday we went to the Gila Cliff Dwellings
We took the short hike up to the caves. Things were beautiful with the leaves just starting to change.
See how Ben is swinging Brielle? Every time she holds his hand, she puts both her hands up and pulls up her legs for a ride. She keeps trying to get me to do it too, but I'm not that strong with just one arm!
After lunch, we took another, slightly longer hike to search out some Hot Springs. Everyone had lots of fun soaking in the hot water. It was so hot they had to allow the cold river water in so they could actually stand it! I opted out this time, on account of my current motherly state. Didn't want to risk the "Revenge of the Gila River".
Ben is always quite content in a hot tub.
Ignore the color of the 'water'.
Tuesday, after another motion sickness filled drive through the canyon (thanks Brielle), we went to the Catwalk of Whitewater Canyon.
After this photo, my camera batter died, since I hadn't charged it since before the Balloon Fiesta. I'm disappointed because the slot canyon was lots of fun. I also didn't get to capture any of Ben and Weston's rule-breaking which involved jumping over guardrails, crawling through tunnels made by fallen boulders, and jumping into ice cold waterfalls.
We drove home a different way, and I believe I can honestly say I have been to the middle of nowhere and back. It was a long stretch of 55 mph flat cow fields, but we survived (much to Maija's disbelief). Since my camera died, I didn't see the point in stopping at the VLA (Very Large Array- how's that for an ingenious name). What's the point in stopping somewhere when you can't take a picture to prove it? But for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture stolen from Encyclopedia Britannica
Today is, of course, a laundry day. As all post-camping trip days tend to be. Ben is starting several shifts working in Gallup and I'm working up the nerve to continue sewing Halloween costumes as soon as my mountains of laundry are cleared out of the kitchen.
Baby is doing well. My doctor is on-call the night after Thanksgiving, which is also the beginning of Ben's 3 1/2 weeks of paternity leave- plans are to induce that evening. I used to scoff at those people so callus as to schedule their baby's birth out of convenience, but I think I've grown to appreciate the idea of 'convenience'. So- if all goes as planned, this little guy will have a birthday of Nov 29 or 30.
Sorry for all the LONG posts! Check back after Halloween for more fun pictures.
September 30, 2008
Its a good thing I didn't buy a slip-cover yet....
Yep- and this time it was Maija. You'd think I'd learn to put it away huh? But Maija has been having such a fun time painting her own fingers and toes- and she is so very careful. Except for today when she said "I didn't watch where I was going." AND its on the flip side of the cushion that was painted less than 2 months ago- so I can't pull the same trick and just flip it over. If we weren't moving in nine months I'd cave and get a new couch- but I still think I might want to wait to see the decor style of our new house. And besides- this would make a lovely play-room couch. I could even let them loose with the Sharpies and finger paint. Get it all out on THIS couch, girls, and we won't have to worry about Mom's new leather couch that she is dreaming about.
September 14, 2008
Sorry about the lack of posting. I don't have an excuse for being really busy- just tired!
We took a fun camping trip with friends in August. The girls had a blast playing with friends- but since I'm lacking energy to chase kids up the mountain and across the creek- I didn't get many pictures- and few turned out. Here is good one my friend took on our hike- I left my camera in the car...
I also gained an appreciation for leaving the dog at home when we go camping. Ben brought her inside the front vestibule of the tent when it started raining pretty heavily during the night. As soon as it stopped raining- she snuck out and went hunting and managed to get sprayed by a skunk! She also positioned herself right by our car- so our rear tire got the bulk of the spray. I can STILL smell it on the car. My friend Stephanie has a much better description of the camping trip and some awesome pictures here.
We have also been experiencing the joys of nature in our own backyard. Ben found an interesting looking lizard one day and after researching it online- decided it was safe to play with before we let it go.
AND we have cherry tomatoes and green chiles coming out our ears! The girls love to go outside to forage in the garden/jungle to find red tomatoes.
We just returned from a 10 day road-trip through several places with ER job openings that we are interested in. No- Ben does not graduate from residency until next June- but this is how they do it in the ER world. Several of Ben's colleagues already have contracts signed for a job next summer. I'm going to break down the trip by day- so you can see how much time we spent enjoying each other's company driving in the car! :) (AND I apologize in advance for the LONG and BORING documentation ahead- I did it mostly for my own journaling sake. Feel free to skip over it if you wish.)
We started in Colorado Springs, a place we love with its proximity to Denver, the mountains and a good family friendly community. There were no jobs available- but Ben met with a director to make connections.
We did the same in Grand Junction- another place we enjoy because of the sunny weather, smaller town feel and closeness to family. Next we headed to Utah. (Ask Ben sometime about me burning the clutch in his new car trying to get on the freeway.)
Maija only asked "Why is it taking so long?" about 267 times.
Ben connected with a couple docs in Ogden area- he will fly up end of September for a formal interview. But Utah is not at the top of our list. (Sorry to the Grandmas) Ben can't get his 5 acres and it snows. (nevermind that it snows in Colorado too.) We spent the rest of the day visiting with family, since its been more than a year since Ben has been to Utah. He even included a trip to my favorite chinese restaurant, The Mandarin. That night we left the kids with Ben's sister and drove to Boise.
Woke up early and headed to the Tri-Cities area in Washington. Ben had an interview that afternoon while I checked out the mall that was conveniently located next-door to our Priceline'd hotel! The hospital treated us to a fantastic seafood restaurant right on the bay of the river.
We met with a realtor who took us on a tour of the community (area includes cities of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland). Ben and I met with a doctor at a second hospital in town, who actually invited us to his home for lunch!
We really enjoyed this area. We were reminded by everyone we talked to that this is a fantastic place to raise a family. Population of the 3 cities is about 100,000. LDS community is strong- they even have released-time seminary and a temple. The area boasts the highest rate of PhDs per capita. The homes we looked at were beautiful and very reasonably priced. Weather is great, dry, but close to 3 rivers- and almost NO snow. :) Overall, its a very professional, family-oriented community. Despite all the things we loved- it is sort of in the middle-of-nowhere. Out in the eastern Washington desert by itself. 4 hrs to Portland, 4 hrs to Seattle, 9 hrs from Salt Lake. Also- no mountains. Camping, backpacking and mountain biking (aka: the things that keep Ben sane in his life) are about 2 hrs away. Also- all docs are considered Independent contractors- and therefore self-employed. That means all benefits and taxes are our responsibility. Its on our list.
That evening we drove to Ben's sister's home in Portland and enjoyed dinner with them.
Left Portland at 4am to get to Grants Pass Oregon for Ben's interview by 10am. I met up with him for lunch with some of the hospital staff. We then met with a realtor for the community tour. A fellow UNM residency grad from a few years ago invited us to the park for a picnic dinner with his family.
Checked out the Grants Pass farmer's market downtown. Also an Asian festival in the park.
We enjoyed Grants Pass. It is also surrounded by rivers, and so is very green with lots of trees. Its a smaller community of about 45,000- but has plenty of the necessities and a cute little touristy downtown full of fun shops and boutiques. And its only 30 mins from Medford (see below) where there is a temple, Costco, mall etc. Most homes here come with plenty of land. Lots of the nice homes in our price range are in wooded areas in the hills with at least 5 acres. Ben started dreaming of a horse and by the time we left Oregon, it had multiplied to 5 horses and several cows. The hospital staff was great and just "Ben" people- outdoorsy, spontaneous, athletic, adventurous. Pay here is less than in Washington, but Ben would be an employee and get a full benefits package including a sign-on bonus and moving expenses. 4 hrs from Portland, 12+ hrs to Salt Lake. On the list.
We spent the afternoon seeing a movie and dinner (hey, we were childless) in nearby Medford.
Drove back to Grants Pass to go to Sacrament Meeting with a local ward. Drove back to Medford for a meeting with a hospital there. Medford is a bigger city, with more ammentities, but doesn't have that small-town feel. Not near as green as Grants Pass and it also gets a nasty inversion, similar to Salt Lake, since it sits in a valley. Not on our list.
After lunch we drove to Klamath Falls Oregon. The hospital there put us up in a nice resort. We had all kinds of fancy treats waiting for us in our room. If we had more days- we should have stayed here longer. We met some ER staff for dinner at the resort.
Ben interviewed with the hospital while I went (surprise!) shopping. I love checking out unique boutiques and fun shops. Not as much to offer as Grants Pass, but we hit it all at the end of the tourist season, so a lot of stuff was closed. I met Ben and some hospital administration for lunch, and then we went out with another realtor.
Klamath Falls is a pretty town. Slightly smaller than Grants Pass, and further from Medford (about 1.5 hrs). Its nestled up in the mountains near a lake. There is plenty to do close by. Crater Lake, snow skiing, water skiing, camping, hiking, biking, lots of BLM land to run crazy in. (All of this applies to Grants Pass as well.) Homes were nice, but not as appealing as the others we had seen. Being on the lake made for A LOT of bugs. Swarms of them. Ben didn't seem to really enjoy the hospital staff as much, and the administrators got downright carsalesmen-like when trying to convince Ben to take the job. It also snows here. And freezes into June. Dreams of a thriving garden were shot. We might be more excited about Klamath Falls had we not seen the previous spots. Probably not on the list.
That evening we drove to Reno to spend the night.
Woke up too early and headed to St George Ut. Ben let me sleep that morning and I woke up to the car sputtering up a hill and Ben yelling "come on!" Apparently, gas was too expensive in the small town we passed through 90 miles ago, and there was no warning that there were no services available. We luckily coasted into the gas station. We learned that the new Subaru Outback can go 90 miles when the "miles to empty" only said 70.
Pulled into St George at lunchtime and took advantage of another day in Utah territory and had Cafe Rio for lunch. mmmm. Ben went for a quick visit with the ER director that he knows. No jobs available there- not for a while. My mom and sister showed up with the girls and Ben couldn't get out the door fast enough. He missed his girls.
Spent the evening with my mom and sister at dinner and swimming at the hotel. It was so great that my mom was willing to meet us in St George. It saved much time for us not having to drive back through Salt Lake- and I KNOW that Maija appreciated it too. She would have truly died driving in the car that much!
Took off home for Albuquerque. We decided to check out the Grand Canyon on our way home. Obviously, I didn't take any pictures the whole time Ben and I were childless. What fun is that? But as soon as they girls were with us again- the camera was once again in use.
First- a quick stop on a bridge spanning the Colorado River outside the park. Brielle got car sick just before the stop and rather than risk her soiling clean clothes- we decided not to dress her until we got to the actual canyon.
When we got to the canyon- our first stop caught us in a downpour. Seriously- how many days does it actually rain in the Grand Canyon? We took shelter under a tree to wait out the worst of it. Notice Brielle is dressed...
We hopped back in the car to drive to another lookout point and Brielle managed to get sick again. This time it was the raisins and chocolate candies she had picked out of the trail mix. So after clearing out the box of Huggies wipes and cleaning the car seat, we headed out to our final lookout.
We grabbed lunch outside the park, Brielle managed to keep it all down, and then the girls slept almost the rest of the way home!
We had an eventful trip and are now trying to decide where is the best place to transplant our family next summer. We narrowed it down to Tri Cities and Grants Pass- but are also entertaining the idea of checking out a few more interviews. We can both see ourselves in both Washington and Oregon and I think both places would be the "good" choice. We just have to choose between the two. I'm reminded of a time in high school when I claimed Peter Pan was going to come take me away to Neverland before I had to grow up and make these kinds of decisions. Obviously, he never came and now I'm stuck trying to decide between two great places. Maija is no help either, all she says when I ask her where she wants to live is "Close to Grandma, so we don't have to drive so long."
Any words of wisdom are welcomed!
And a HUGE thanks to our families that helped out so much with Maija and Brielle. It made our trip so much less hectic to know they were enjoying themselves with family instead of being strapped into a carseat all day.
and Sorry about the epistle of a post.
August 6, 2008
Time for a Slipcover....
I had to giggle at a recent friend's blog post, here, about how her 2 yr old daughter covered her couch in Desitin and she couldn't get it clean. Thank goodness my kids never did something like that.....
HA HA HA
Maija has enjoyed carrying around my little basket of nail polish and counting them and sorting them and playing store. I suppose I should have been more concerned with the where-abouts of it. Brielle has taken a liking to it as well and managed to somehow throw the FULL bottle of BRIGHT PINK polish in a way that it broke and spilled. Not just in an isolated puddle- but also inside the crack between the two cushions. So- apparently, nail polish works on EVERYTHING....nails, fingers, white pants, couch cushions, nail scissors etc. BUT Nail Polish REMOVER only works on fingernails. I scrubbed for half an hour and gave up. She seems quite pleased with her masterpiece...
She has also decided that biting is an appropriate way to try to get what she wants. I went to visit a friend I hadn't seen in 10 years and when I left her house her son had bite marks up and down his arm. Maija takes the brunt of the abuse...
This bite mark on her arm is 3 days old. I can't figure out how Brielle can bite hard enough to make a week-long bruise, but not break the skin.
That is all I have photo evidence for....but believe me, there is more. Yesterday she turned the lid of the toybox into an abstract piece of art with marker scribbles. Twice this week she has managed to turn on the backyard hose long enough to turn the backyard into a lake. Today, while I was making dinner, she climbed onto the computer desk and emptied it of all its contents- including my camera, a vial of lidocaine that she managed to break, several piles of Ben's homework AND a half-full 32 oz mug of water as a topping. She has also picked up whining and high-pitched screaming. AND she IS NOT CLOSE to being potty trained- as evidenced by the poopy white pants in the wash.
If anyone wants her- she is up for grabs. I'll pay shipping.
Maija on the other hand is being quite a sweet and curious 4 yr old. Last week we received a new issue of the Friend magazine. In it, there was a picture to color of a baptism and confirmation. I tried to explain to her that after you get baptized when you are 8, you get a special blessing, like a prayer, that gives you the Holy Ghost. Then the Holy Ghost can be with you all of the time and help you to be like Jesus and choose the right and be happy. Mommy has the Holy Ghost and Daddy has the Holy Ghost and He will go with you wherever you go and help you be good. She listened quietly and then looked up at me with her big eyes and said .... "Mommy, are you teasing me?"
Looks like we need to do some extra Family Home Evening study!
Last week, I was telling her about how we might be moving to a new house next year. She said she wanted to go live by Grandma's house so when we went to see her, we didn't have to "drive so long." I asked her why she wanted to go live by Grandma and she said "Because I LOOOOVE her!"
Maija, at the moment, is NOT up for grabs.
On second thought, I think I might keep Brielle too- even with her bright pink fingers.
There are a few new stories and posts on our individual pages.
July 18, 2008
We had a VERY fun BBQ with some great friends to celebrate the 4th of July a little early. Here is a link to some pictures...
July 15, 2008
Maija is VERY happy.....
Do you know why?
Here is a hint...
Maija's wish came true. Now we don't have to give the new baby to someone else. I'll spare you the graphic pictures of how we are aboslutely POSITIVE its a boy and just give you a couple of alien looking ones....
I'm glad my guesses were correct. BUT after thinking about it, I really am scared to have a boy. I have developed an eye for pink, I ignore blue. Once I went shopping for a friend's boy-baby's gift and I actually went to the store 3 different times because my attention span in the blue department didn't last long enough. I'm afraid of the diaper thing. I'm afraid of the dirt and the cars and the ninja-transformer-sword-yielding-dudes. And as much as I was afraid to have THREE teenage girls- the thought of a teenage BOY scares me just as much. I know, I know....I'll love him and as soon as I have him all my fears will go away but I'm being honest here! Despite the fears- I'm very excited for a new adventure AND new baby clothes!
Maija was so cute- as soon as she understood she was really having a brother- she kept saying to me over and over "I'm going to LOVE my brother!" I hope she is not expecting a brother to be less bothersome than her sister.
We just spent a week with Ben up at the Philmont Scout Ranch. It was so fun! He managed to pull some strings and get us a VIP cabin (which came in very handy to have our own private toilet when Maija caught a stomach bug the first night we were there) and also get us registered for the LDS training week. All meals were provided in the cafeteria (aka: no cooking), they had a child-care class most afternoons, and we were surrounded by hundreds of young families just like us along with the General Presidents of the Young Mens, Young Womens, and Primary.
One night they had a children's costume parade. The craft room had an endless supply of paper- so all the costumes were, of course, made of paper. Maija wanted to be Tinkerbell
And Brielle wanted to be a Princess
They marched along in the parade (Maija actually MARCHED. She lifted her knees and stomped along)
They had a fun carnival after with face painting
Then we went on a beautiful hike as the sun set.
The only thing Maija wanted to do was ride the pony, and ride the pony she did...
We also painted ceramics in the handicraft lodge and got sunburns walking back and forth from the health lodge to our cabin. Brielle enjoyed all the pretty flowers and was quite confused as to which flowers she was allowed to pick. But she smelled them all.
The mountains were so green. I was a little wary of spending that long up in the mountains at some 'boy scout' camp...but we are so glad we went! I was impressed with how big this place is, its beauty and the history along with it. Its called Philmont because the biggest donor of land was Waite PHILlips, who is actually the brother of 2 other brothers who started the oil company Phillips 66. I'm sure you all feel like smarter people now. :) Ben is enjoying himself with high adventure rescues via walkie-talkie and meeting some great people. He wants to be able to do this every summer.
I just have to share Maija's latest drawing. I am loving that she is now drawing people with hair and bodies and arms and legs. This is a picture of Maija, Brielle and I, along with the dog and the cat looking at the rainbow that accompanied our rainstorm 2 weeks ago. (Daddy isn't in the picture because he was "at camping"). Oh and the littlest person is Maija's doll. She had absolutely NO help with this and it makes me so happy to look at it! I love how she interpreted the animals and how everyone even has shoes!
Tomorrow morning we are off for a week with family and friends in Utah.
And, of course, with all the excitement today, I sort of forgot (we'll be celebrating when Ben and I both get back from our adventures)
8 yrs ago at this time I was standing in my wedding reception line, wondering if I was EVER going to get a piece of that cheesecake!
Happy Anniversary to us! (Look how young Ben looks! Of course, I look the same ;-) )
Hope everyone is having a fun summer! We'll be back with more pictures soon!
June 18, 2008
I kept thinking I needed to post some updates- but couldn't think of anything to post about. I took the girls camping (story below), and after taking 6 pictures realized my memory card was FULL! I scrolled through my pictures and found lots of stuff I forgot happened in the last little bit!
Maija had her Spring dance recital. Pretty much the same thing as the winter one-except this time they did The Locomotion instead of Animal Crackers.
Brielle spent an afternoon playing out in the rain. (The only DROP of rain we've had this spring/summer.)
The girl's had their first ice cream cones of the season. Note Brielle's wardrobe of diaper only. I swear she starts out the day with clothes on, but for some reason by dinner time- she is down to the diaper and she spends the evening playing in the backyard looking like a redneck baby.
Both girls have had swimming lessons the last two weeks. Friday was their last day- and they got to play around and go down the waterslide. The played in the pool, having a blast until I asked them if they wanted to try the slide. We spent the remainder of the hour going down the slide, after which Brielle would say "DOOT AGAIN!" and we would climb the stairs and wait our turn again. I don't have any pictures of the actual swimming lessons, since I was in the water with Brielle the whole time (which is why its called a "Parent-Tot" class) but here are some pics from the party day.
So my friend Sarah and I decided it would actually be fun to take our 5 kids to the ward campout without our working husbands. We loaded up the car and took off. There were plenty of trips, scrapes, bruises, tears and band-aids- all within the first half hour of arriving. With the help of plenty of generous ward friends (without which, we would NEVER have considered going) we set up the tent and packed all our gear to our site. Despite Maija peeing her pants because she refused to use the latrine- the kids had a blast and slept well. The moms ate lots of junk and chased kids. We were all exhausted the next day- but it was so fun to spend time with my friends and Maija and Brielle love being with all their friends and running around.
I wish I had thought of taking a picture of Sarah and I. We were told we were 'Brave Mommies' all night.
Our bestest friends L-R: Poppy, Eden, Hannah, Gena, Maija, Brielle
This is how I found the girls in the morning. I don't know why Maija wants a brother so bad- she loves her sister so much.
Thank Goodness the church provided breakfast!
I should have taken pictures on Father's day- since I always make a point to do it on Mother's Day- but I didn't even think about it. Ben was home most of the day and we made him his favorite cookies.
Monday I took the girls to the Aquarium/Botanical Gardens. I left early so we could beat the heat (my car said it was 100* today!). We had a good time, even though none of our friends could come with us. I got some cute pictures.
I thought I was doing really well, but I was so tired. When I got in the car I realized it had only been 2 hours! We can usually spend all day there! I am such a wimp lately! I keep thinking one day I will magically wake up and have all that second trimester energy they all talk about- but its not here yet! Two hours at the Aquarium put me out of commission for the rest of the day and while I was vegging on the couch Brielle got into the junk drawer, just happened to find a red PERMANENT marker and decided to put it to good use...
(Thats my fridge, if you can't tell) I just about collapsed on the floor in tears (something I've contemplated quite often lately). I keep thinking about all this house needs done to it to try and sell next year (IF we sell next year) on top of having a new baby, and I couldn't fathom having to replace the fridge in order to sell the house too! I actually decided to act mature about it and took a picture. Then I scavenged my cleaning supplies and - by sheer inspiration I'm sure, grabbed my soft-scrub with Bleach. I NEVER use this stuff. In fact, I don't know why I even have it- because I hate the film it leaves on everything- even when you rinse it. BUT I must say, I will be keeping it on hand permanently now- since it worked wonders on the red marker on the fridge (did I mention it was PERMANENT?!) It came of like it was a Crayola marker.
Another thing for the shopping list: latch for the junk drawer...oh and some more soft scrub. :)
We snuck in for another ultrasound today to try to find a reason to stop calling this baby "IT"- but no luck. We were really hoping too- since Ben is going to be gone most of July- right when my 20 week ultrasound would be done. As anxious I am to find out what the baby is- It makes me sad to think he might not be there- I'm hoping the doc may be ok to let me wait 2 weeks, til he gets back from his Boy Scout adventures!
Til Next Time!
May 30, 2008
OK- I should be preparing my lesson for Sunday. BUT I kept trying to figure out how to post this and I decided I just needed to do it....
AND If you didn't get that- here is another hint...
There- I told. Since lots of you already know- and since I have already have someone actually ask me (I didn't think I had a tummy yet!)- I thought I should save anyone else the inner-conflict they might have when they start seeing me unbutton my jeans.
I am 13 weeks- due December 3. I have found out this week that 2 friends are also due that same week- so if anyone else has an announcement, feel free to chime in... :)
Maija is CONVINCED that she is having a brother. If I tell her it might be a sister, she gets pouty and says "but I wanted a brother." She told me a whole list of things she is going to teach her brother when he gets a little bigger....how to growl, how to eat cookies, how to be nice, how to play with cars- she has the whole relationship planned out. She doesn't like any of the names we have suggested- she says they aren't cute enough, and her little brother is going to be so cute. She even broke the news to my parents when they came to visit 2 weeks ago by blurting out "I'm gonna have a brother!" We even met Ben at the hospital today to snag a quick ultrasound (one of the perks of his job) to see if we could find out for sure if it was a boy or not, but no luck. The baby is just too tiny- but definitely there, bouncing around and pumping it's tiny heart. I was hoping for a picture to post- but Ben was already late for his shift.
Aside from daily exhaustion by 4pm and tight fitting pants- I am feeling VERY good. Hardly any yucky morning sickness.
So there ya go. Life at the Sill house just got a little more interesting. I may be making requests for an on-call birthing coach since Ben is actually scheduled on an out of town rotation at the time of my due date. (Hopefully it won't come to that, but with his schedule- who knows where he may be.)
May 18, 2008
WARNING: SOMEWHAT SAPPY POST AHEAD!
OK- I was going to sit down and complain about how my sweet little Maija actually got KICKED OUT of primary today because she was being too wild. And how Brielle took off her shoes in nursery and was using them to swat at other kids. Or how she wanted to drink her own sacrament cup but managed to spill it all over herself and then proceeded to yell " NO Mommy!" throughout the rest of the sacrament because, apparently, it was MY fault that it spilled or something. BUT then I remembered the last site post I was thinking of doing- but I haven't got around to it yet and figured it would be more uplifting.
My kids and my husband all know that I am in a major funk lately. I don't want to do anything. The house is a disaster, the kids pretty much fend for themselves- I don't even want to scrapbook! Ben is being more than patient with the growing pile of dishes in the sink-and my patience fuse is far too short- BUT I do have plans to start doing SOMETHING besides cleaning out my DVR this week- but anyway- I digress....
The other day the girl's played nicely outside while I spent a good part of the day loading new songs on my new iPod. (see all my mother's day/birthday presents on my link on the left.) We had a simple-inspired (though not healthy by any means) dinner of chicken nuggets and tater tots. We even had a picnic on the living room floor. Then Maija said she wanted to watch a movie- with me. She has been doing that a lot lately and it makes me realize how much I really DON'T sit down and spend time with her.... SO- I told her to go pick a movie and I would watch with her- what better excuse to do some more sitting around? Then she totally made my day- she excitedly brought me the movie she wanted to watch- picked out all by herself with NO prompting from me:
Now I'm sure very few of you realize what this means to a girl like me. I worshiped this movie as a kid. Probably started when I was just about Maija's age. I sang 'Tomorrow' like there was no other song on earth. I had 3 Annie dolls, (that i can remember), a locket, a nightgown that I convinced myself was just like Annie's- and I even WISHED for red hair and freckles. Even into my high school days I had this sick fascination with red-headed boys. My freckles wish was granted (no one else can explain their existence)- though I still have brown hair. The lyrics of all the songs are so ingrained into my sub-conscious mind, that even after at least 10 years of not seeing this movie- I could recall every word. SO when my own 4-yr old daughter jumped in front of me and told me that THIS was the movie she wanted to watch- needless to say, I was quite thrilled! We watched the movie- she danced while I sang. Then we watched all the extras, the sing-a-longs and the interviews. I let her stay up far too late- but it was worth it right?
SO my point with all this babble is - even though I am 'in a funk' and tired and, lets face it, LAZY- and my patience is shot- I still love being a Mommy. I love when my daughter shows interest in things that I love too. I love being able to cuddle up on the couch with her and watch a musical. While some days- I mandate a solid hour of outdoor play before they can come inside again- or I cannot wait until bedtime- I still cannot imagine doing anything different with this life of mine. What fulfillment would I get from fixing paper-jams in the copier or binding completed tax returns? (or worse yet- actually completing said tax return, shudder)
I tend to defend myself to people when they ask 'what do you do?' I go to Ben's work parties filled with MDs, PHDs and all other kind of Ds and I feel like I have to tell them I did graduate from college. I HAVE to tell them I'm interested in going back to school and getting a masters degree- in something really conscientious- like Social work or public health. But I really should kick myself for that- I should tell them how much fun I have taking my kids to the zoo and seeing them get excited about the sparrow that we could have seen in our own backyard. Or how fulfilling it is to play hide-and-seek in the same 4 hiding places over and over. Or how about how it feels to wake up in the morning to someone poking your cheeks saying 'Mommy' - or what it feels like to watch your husband dance with a 2 yr old in a princess dress. So I guess I just wanted to say- I'm so happy I'm a mommy. I can't think of anything that I would want to be called more than 'Mommy'. And, I think 4 yr old minds know just when Mommy needs to be reminded of that.
May 8, 2008
Ok- sorry to the Grandmas that have been waiting for Disneyland pictures- I have been avoiding the computer lately because 1) Ben has been home and if I happen to snag the computer while he is outside or scrounging for snacks- he just comes in a minute later and starts tapping me on the shoulder- which is code for "get out of my seat." 2) When I sit down at the computer, I have to (yes, I have to) check both e mail accounts, respond to new e mails and check a countless (and growing) number of blogs and websites- so it takes too long! :) But here I am....Ben is at work so no shoulder tapping!
Disneyland was great!
BUT- we started the trip at the beach. Maija jumped right into the water with no apprehension. The girls had a blast running around and splashing in the waves- even though it was cloudy and a little chilly. I took the role of photographer- so of course I couldn't go into the (COLD) water with my camera, now could I?
Maija collected a bucketful of seashells to show to her preschool class. They had so much fun, I can't wait to take them back on a day when it stays sunny all day!
3 days in Disneyland was so fun! Long enough to get in everything we wanted to, even do our favorites twice (or more). The first day was annoyingly hot, close to 100, but it cooled down after that. The girl's had so much fun and slept great every night, but did so well trekking through the park all day. Brielle only had one screaming meltdown (and of course it happened while Ben was off riding Space Mountain), but the other 2 days she managed to get in a short nap in Daddy's arms. Our first ride was Buzz Lightyear's Astro blasters- which is like a video game you ride through and shoot laser guns and get points. These pictures are from the second time we rode. I won the first time- but then I gave Ben such a hard time about it, he insisted on riding again and he crushed me.
Maija was awfully disappointed. She thought we came to see the princesses and had a rude awakening when the first thing we did was a 'BOY' ride. So- we headed over to the teacups- which I think we rode about 6 times during our trip!
We got to meet up with some old Medical school friends that live close to Disneyland. The Frandsen's have almost 5-yr old Michael and adorable 2-yr old twin girls, Abby and Bekah. Maija and Brielle had a great time playing with other kids, and it was fun to catch up with friends that shared such an important part of our life with us. They have annual passes to Disneyland, and knew all the ins and outs and gave us lots of good tips. Maija said her favorite part of the day was "playing with Michael in the fence" They found a little patch of fenced off grass and squeezed (is that a word?) through the fence and ran around for a while. It was perfect for the Mom's and Dad's to take a little rest and enjoy a DoleWhip (mmmm). But, next time we can save the park tickets and just find some grass, huh?
The Princesses were the highlight- though Maija wanted only to meet Belle and both times we waited in line to see the princesses, Belle left just before we got to our turn. We did see Belle in the parade, and she waved right at Maija (wink, wink). All in all, I don't think Maija seemed to care too much.
Jasmine 1 (this was right after Brielle's 2-yr old meltdown- hence the binkie- that really isn't allowed outside of bed anymore)
Snow White 1
Snow White 2
Got all that? Ok- Lots of other fun was had too- Brielle loved the new Nemo ride and also the Monsters, inc. ride at California Adventure. We even got to meet Sully.
I think she was more concerned that I took the sucker out of her mouth.
On Snow White's scary adventure the queen turns around and is the witch- it scared Maija so bad she jumped down underneath the seatbelt and onto the floor of the car! She must have thought it was fun to be scared, because she wanted to ride Snow White everytime we gave her the choice. She was also timid about Pirates of the Carribbean, she said "I didn't want them to get me." but we explained to her that they were just pretend pirates and tried it again and she loved it. She thought it was so fun to go down the waterfall in the dark.
Watching the Pixar parade
Maija and Ben on the Matterhorn (The only 'fun' ride Maija was tall enough to go on)
King Triton's Carousel
Bugs Life 3-D movie
She thought this bug was so funny. 'Funny Bug!'
Making faces while waiting for Daddy and Maija on the Matterhorn
Last day- all tired out! Brielle got these toys and Maija picked out a Tinkerbell playset and hoodie. I think she decided Tinkerbell was cooler than princesses over the course of 3 days.
It was lots of fun to go and we are glad we did. We can't wait to go back- maybe after Maija grows to 40 inches. :-) Highly recommended! Good use of that government stimulus money that we haven't received yet!
April 24, 2008
FOUR YEARS OLD!
Maija had been counting the days for her birthday! She was so excited when I went in to wake her up she jumped out of bed. She went on a special date with Daddy that morning to IHOP and got some kind of pancake "breakfast" that included blue & pink frosting, sprinkles, chocolate chips and a lollipop stuck on top of it all. She also got a bowl of ice cream and a birthday serenade. That is my kind of breakfast!
She invited her friend Genevieve over for lunch and we had pizza, presents and cake. Maija saw one of these cakes online a while back when I was looking for Brielle's cake and this is all she wanted. I tried talking her out of it- just so I wouldn't have to buy a doll AND a pan, but she wasn't having it- "Mom on my FIVE birthday I will have this cake and on my SIX birthday I will have that cake, but on my FOUR birthday I want a Tinkerbell dress cake." (bytheway, she has her cake and party theme picked out until she is 9) I did my best.
She got lots of fun presents dolls, bears, dresses, a 'kid camera' and a brand new shiny PINK big girl bike.
She rode really well for a couple of days....
But then she crashed and got an owie (This is a couple days old) And we can't convince her to ride again. Either the sun will get in her eyes or its too windy or some other random excuse. She is greatly disappointing her daddy.
We are all VERY excited at our house as we are getting ready to leave this Sunday for a very fun, last minute trip to the Happiest Place on Earth!!!
See you next week when we get home! (Prepare yourself for the mother of ALL Princess posts!)
April 13, 2008
Just a weekend recap-
Maija got her FIRST haircut!
She acted very shy, but won't stop talking about it. She decided all on her own she needed a haircut and wouldn't stop bugging mom about it until she got it!
She cut off about 4 inches. I love the bangs, and they even gave her a 'headband braid' that is going on its 3rd day.
We also planted the garden
This is a before picture- stay tuned in a couple months when we are swimming in Zucchinni.
The girls enjoyed helping Daddy plant the seeds while mommy planted flowers.
I forget what these are called but i LOVE them!
And Maija could not walk away from a pink rose at Home Depot, so we brought it home.
And we even planted flowers in the playhouse
April 5, 2008
I've been putting this off because I have so much to document....
Here goes.... (And take this as your warning- it is 10pm, and I have an entire night ahead of me as my husband will not be home until tomorrow morning-more than 24 hrs AFTER he started his shift.)
BRIELLE IS TWO!!!!!
We celebrated a day late since Ben had to work all day on her 'real' birthday- but, really, I don't think she noticed. Can you all believe she is 2? I keep calling her my baby, but really, when Maija was two, she was no longer the baby. Why do they get big so fast??
Brielle got lots of fun presents. But, she had to sit and stare at them all wrapped up until Daddy woke up and Maija got home from preschool. She did wake up to this cute table and tea set for the playhouse...
And she loved the cake more this year than last.
I do think Elmo is on his way out, but he needed one last 'hurrah!'
( I think he turned out quite nicely, if I can say so)
We taught her to blow out her candles, but we forgot to teach her to wait until the song was over. Then, each time she blew them out she said "AGAIN!" I think she blew them out 3 times. Next year, we'll get her the trick candles- she'll love it!
Maija will hardly let Brielle play with her new toys (especially the Ariel doll Maija picked out to 'give to Brielle') and Maija cannot wait til her own birthday. Its a good thing they are so close together. I can't even think of how it would be if I still had months of daily trips to the calendar to explain how many more squares until her birthday!
More birthday pics on Brielle's page.
TWO weeks ago we headed up to Utah for Easter and baby sightings!
The girls were very girly in their frilly PINK dresses (I TRIED TRIED TRIED to get Maija to go for the cheaper blue one, but you can obviously see how that turned out.)
AND shocker of all- I FORGOT my camera! I left it in Albuquerque and I truly felt NAKED all week. My mom was wonderful enough to let me use her camera....and well.....I PROMISE THIS IS THE LAST TIME I COMPLAIN.....But I missed my own camera dearly! While her camera has plenty more megapixels than mine, the shutter/focus delay was extremely frustrating when trying to catch a picture of a two year old that hasn't quite learned how to pose like her sister yet. ANd the processing time was also frustrating as I had to wait between shots to take another. BUT it all worked out- and gave my mom an excuse to unload her memory card that had pictures from 14 months ago! I honestly took more pictures of ONE easter egg hunt than she had taken of her entire 10 day Panama Canal Cruise! Ok- enough about the camera....
More of my pretty girls...
What a perk it is to have Easter while visiting the grandmas! The girl's got TWO fantastic "Grandma" egg hunts. They ate candy non-stop for 3 days.
We stayed busy all week playing with cousins, Grandpa's birthday, watching Enchanted (about 100 times), and, of course, shopping at IKEA. I got to finally see my sister's sweet baby boy, Blake,
who kept her bed-ridden for 3+ months and also a dear friend's beautiful baby girl born just the day before my sister's.
SO the initial reason for the trip was to SHOWER my lovely sister with plenty of baby presents. The turn out was amazing and the food was yummy. Here is all the sisters- who are also all MOMMIES. (Look at her all skinny in her size 4 pants already!)
Any guesses as to how many blankets she got??
I also loved seeing all my old friends! Sam, Michelle, Erin, Michelle- we must do it again! (AND I promise to catch you next time Amanda!)
The weather here has been wonderful. High 60s low 70s and I've even had to start using sunscreen with several sunburns already under our belt. We took a trip to the zoo a couple weeks ago and I got some fun pictures.
More pictures on our other pages. Til next time!
March 4, 2008
Its a stretch this time- I opened my pictures and have taken a total of 30 pictures since my last post- which is not enough to be exciting- especially when I take 10 pictures of the same thing in hopes of getting 'the one'.
First- I took Maija down to the mall to meet the Doodlebops. I know many of you don't know who they are- or even care to after seeing them-
But they are the ultimate pre-schooler rock band. You can catch them every morning on the Disney channel! Maija was shy- but she loved seeing them and came hope with all their signatures on a special tambourine.
That truly is the only real event that we have done this month! Ben has been on a couple busy rotations and I'm starting to get sick of this single- mother/be-quiet-daddy-is-sleeping/go-to-church-by-myself/go-everywhere-by -myself thing they call residency. (I know, its not all about me...but I think I deserve to complain a little bit.) But don't be misled- we still find excitement.
I love to see my girls playing together
And while I'm getting tired of Brielle climbing like a chimpanzee- this makes me smile
She uses Maija's bed as a ladder and props herself up on top of the bookshelf for some reading. She throws the books on the floor when she is done- and when she has run out of books- she yells for someone to help her restock so she doesn't have to climb back down.
I promise it was 60+ degrees- but really, is it that hard to keep your clothes on??
And of course what would a Sill Experience post be without some cheese?
In an effort to fill up this post- I thought I would do some flashbacks. Both girls have birthdays coming up and just thought this might be fun...
Okay- now I'm feeling old.
February 6, 2008
I used to think Utah was the best place to live because there were so many different, really cool places you could go see within less than a days drive. The longer I live here in New Mexico, the more I think its just the same here as it is in Utah- and I wonder if I will think that about any place that I end up living....This world we live in is just amazing!
We just went on a fun trip to southern New Mexico to see Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Monument. Lots of fun!
Maija loved the caves. She says her favorite part was the "batses". We tried explaining to her that the bats have migrated to Mexico for the cold winter, and there were, in fact, absolutely no bats in the cave while we were there- but its still her favorite part.
Brielle decided that the entire stretch of guardrails was a four mile jungle-gym and proceeded to swing and climb through the entire exploration.
My camera is not quite the same since I dropped it in Seattle, and we exhausted the battery trying to take pictures of the amazing formations inside the cave- but it was just too dark and my jammed lens couldn't focus on something it couldn't see.
We spent the night at a resort up in the mountains. This is the view from our room....
We expected to spend the morning playing in the snow- but its too warm here, even in the mountains to have enough snow.
The girls enjoyed feeding the ducks
Searching for pinecones
Making footprints in what little snow they could find
And making a 'baby' snowman
BUT by far the most exciting event of our trip was Maija's wardrobe
YES, my friends, she is wearing PANTS. And we didn't even have to tie her up to do it. We simply told her you can't wear dresses in caves and that was that. As she dressed each morning she mentioned 'when I get home I can wear a dress.' All this time I thought asking her to wear pants would be the biggest tantrum in my lifetime, I was proven wrong.
We drove over to White Sands on our way home. The place is exactly what it sounds like. Lots of WHITE sand. Driving through it felt like driving through snow. We had a blast making footprints, getting buried, climbing up the dunes, rolling down the dunes, and just playing. We only left because we forgot the sunscreen and the bright sand was threatening 4 toasty lobsters if we didn't get out of the sun.
Oh, and did I mention is was in the high 50s? We played in jackets and bare feet. No- I'm not missing Utah right now (just in case you are wondering.)
In all honesty- it hasn't been THAT warm here in Albuquerque, and we actually did get some snow Monday. Maija couldn't wait for there to be enough to go outside and make a snowman.
She kept saying- "Yeah! Our snowman is going to be PERfect!"
Then she wanted a snow-dog
Brielle loves snowmen. She has a shirt that has a snowman on it and she walks around talking about her snowman all day- so when she actually got to meet a REAL snowman- she couldn't keep her hands off him
I'm sure you can tell by the amount of snow surrounding the snowman- he didn't survive til lunch the next day.
Maija was been attending a little pre-school a friend of ours is doing in her home and she LOVES it. She got absolutely giddy last night when I told her she had school in the morning. (Back in a dress, of course. And sporting her new favorite hairstyle- 2 braids)
Brielle has FINALLY got enough hair to do something with and has been sporting this cute little ponytail this week
Today, while I was getting dinner ready, Brielle was sitting on the counter and got a hold of the cheese while I was looking for the grater. Say Cheese!
This is her new shirt that I bought her yesterday. It was far more than I would normally pay for a shirt- but I couldn't pass it up....it has double meaning here at our house!
(Any of my medical buddies interested- I found it at Target)
January 25, 2008
Happy New Year! The holidays were great, but its been so nice to just get back to a normal routine without all the shopping, parties, baking and wrapping.
I'm so excited about this post....
They were here in Albuquerque, and since I religiously watch this show every Sunday (its a permanent DVR setting) I thought I would participate as much as I could.
The family lives in a part of the city known as the 'warzone.' The dad runs a church and also plays a large part in helping people that are down on their luck, or otherwise homeless. The Martinez's were living in a tiny duplex, with only a hotplate to cook on, and were opening their home for others to stay with them.
I went down on the evening of day 4 to be a volunteer. After I achieved the 'volunteer' status (aka: fancy blue t-shirt and hard hat) they sent me up to the job site to take Hooters hot wings to the construction workers. Since they were still finishing the basics of the house, there wasn't a ton for me to do and I ended up 'babysitting' furniture in a VIP tent.
I tried again Saturday and Monday to go help and didn't get there early enough before they started turning people away.
SO the next best thing was to go down to watch them 'Move that Bus!' I talked a good friend into coming with me and we both took our 2 little girls down to the 'warzone' to watch the reveal. It was fun to be there with so many people that were genuinely happy for this family.
Here is the finished house....
They also refurbished a sanctuary and added another building that I think is lodging for all the people they invite into their home. Here is the finished block...
The rumor is the episode will air sometime in March.
And here are a bunch of pics of random stuff from our day (TY included!)
This was the only signage I got- Ed. He was so sweet calling everyone 'Darlin'
This is my good friend Erica that was nice enough to spend the day with me and share her pictures from her camera with AWESOME zoom! (no, we really weren't that close to Ty!)
And poor Maija was so sick. She had a miserable cough. I get the 'BAD Mommy' award for taking her out when she felt so miserable.
And on to other things.... This is our latest EBay win
Its springless and its short- so the girls can get on and off by themselves...
Its been decent weather here, feels cold in the 40's; but then I just talk to all my buddies up in Utah and realize, 40* is good. :)
Here is (finally) a picture of the painted playhouse
And I can't resist showing off my cutie
Updated: December 27, 2007
Here is some of our Christmas adventures....
First, here is the girl's "Christmas Tree" they made out of my cans of onions and refried beans from the LDS cannery
Sunday we took pictures in Christmas dresses...
Needless to say, Brielle was not cooperating.
After church, we decorated my first attempt at gingerbread cookies. They tasted good, even though all but one pan turned out painfully hard...
There were more sprinkles and sugar on the floor than the cookies and it took two baths to wash the red and green sugar stains off of Brielle's feet.
The biggest hit of the day was these freaky-looking giant Disney princess dolls Santa got for the girls. They have been dragged everywhere, slept with and danced with. Belle is Maija's new sister. I think she enjoys the fact that she can do whatever she wants with her and Belle won't protest.
Brielle got her own ballerina leotard and slippers. She could not strip out of her pj's fast enough...
Here is Maija with her headlamp from Daddy and her 'big-girl' Belle doll from Grandma Sill
Ben dragged us all to the top of Sandia Peak to get in our 'White Christmas'. As much as I wanted to stay inside my warm house, we had fun. Brielle loved the snow...she would NOT let anyone carry her. She wanted to feel the crunch of the snow under her feet. Maybe we should take her skiing? And see that coat? Its a size 6-12 month! One of these days she might grow a little!
Grandma and Grandpa left this morning. It was fun to have them here for Christmas. Brielle knows how to say Grandma and Grandpa and it was fun to listen to her ask where they were if she couldn't see them.
We missed seeing a lot of our family that we have seen every Christmas until now- but we had a good time.
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
December 19, 2007
Happy Holidays everyone!
Here a few pictures of recent stuff...
We have seen Santa twice- only once would Brielle get close enough for a picture...
Maija had her dance recital yesterday- she does a mean Animal Crackers dance!
November 19, 2007
We are off to Utah for Thanksgiving in the morning- just wanted to share what we have been up to....
First, I decided to rent a booth at a craft fair with a friend....
I spent the last 2 months making blankets, magnets and hair clips...
We set up the booth
and waited. We waited and waited....
Turns out craft fairs are NOT my thing. I sold a couple $2 hair clips and finally sold a blanket in the last half hour of the fair.....purchased by none other than my friend's mother. I think she felt bad for me. :) SO I have 6 lovely blankets left if anyone wants to purchase one. I even set up a website on the off chance that I would sell out and have to refer people to another source....but as it stands, all but one of the blankets I have posted are still available.
Despite my days at the sewing machine, the girls have been very good and entertained themselves well. Brielle has turned into a true girly girl and loves to wear Maija's ballerina leotards and doll herself up.
Maija has turned into a little mommy and is constantly leading Brielle this way and that saying, "Brielle, I be the mommy and you can be the kid"
She also LOVES LOVES LOVES to color. I found a pack of 32 markers in a back-to-school sale bin for $1, and she has been hard at work creating masterpieces. This is her portfolio after just one week...
If you look closely, you'll notice that MOST of the pictures have a girl, wearing a dress with SHORT SLEEVES. Nothing else will do. I actually bought her jumbo book of princesses because we exhausted the short-sleeved dresses in all our other books. I'm not sure where this girl got so particular in her preferences!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
November 2, 2007
I know, I know- its been a LONG time. But I have not abandoned my website-ing ways. Beware- this post will be long.
I'll start with Halloween, then go back to reviews of Sept and Oct.
After trying my hand at a very fancy princess dress, I was all sewed out, so Brielle 's costume was improvised.
Presenting 'Belle' and 'Bells'.
Despite the looks on their faces, they had a good time at our ward Trunk-0r-Treat and enjoyed getting candy.
Maija was too worn out to Trick or Treat much more, but after the candy was counted, her energy level perked
Brielle caught on very quickly
NOW- back to September-
Worst part of the month was saying good-bye to some truly dear friends. I would not have survived the transition to Albuquerque if it were not for Felicite and her adorable daughter Xenia. We miss them terribly and hope they are doing well in Tuscon, AZ. (Here's a shout-out to my "WestSide Sister"!) Here are some pics of our last day with them at the state fair... (I hope its ok I posted these Felicite!)
The next week we took off on our adventures across the Western US. Our first stop was Las Vegas, NV for the InterBike expo.
Ben had fun ogling bikes and the girls and I had fun taking in the sites (Bellagio is still my favorite), swimming and visiting old friends.
Then the girls and I took off to Utah while Ben flew back home to work 8 night shifts in a row.
Grandma and Grandpa Sill were only around for one visit before they took off on their adventure in Europe. (Next time, they are taking me with them!) We're so glad they got to go and can't wait to see pictures.
Highlight of the trip was, of course, the Scrapbook Expo! I love going with my sisters and finding great deals on scrapbook 'stuff'! (An entire alphabet stamp set for $1!) I wanted to show you my stash before I put it all away, but I got on a cleaning kick one day and dismissed the idea of taking a picture....Here is my greatest purchase (Not sure Ben will let me go expo-ing again!)
If you don't know what it is, just trust me, its C-O-O-L.
We had a great time with family and, as always, completely destroyed Grandma's house before leaving.
NEXT we took off on a plane ride to Seattle, WA.
Flying alone with 2 girls was an experience. Thankfully, my dad was willing to help us check in and got a gate pass to help us lug Maija's carseat all the way to the plane, just to find out its not FAA approved and can't be used anyway. This only after waking at 4:30am for our 7am flight and changing Brielle's clothes after she got sick all over herself. That all said, the girls did very well on the plane and were anxious to see their Daddy in Seattle.
Ben attended the Emergency Medicine conference, but left plenty of time to play with us.
The girls enjoyed the children's museum
And Ben was a sweetheart one day(well, he is everyday, but...), taking the girls on a boat ride and sending me out shopping with the ladies. (I don't think he will do that again! $$$)
We also went to the aquarium, but I dropped my camera right before we went inside, so I didn't get any pictures. (like I need more pictures huh?)
We flew back to Salt Lake, spent the night and loaded up the car to drive back home to Albuquerque....phew! We are still recovering, and have been busy since we got home. BUT are GLAD to be here. :)
We finally decided to paint our playhouse, and while pictures of that will follow in another post- here is a list of things we have learned while taking on this project:
1. Take out stock in Home Depot. Any project like this requires at least 30 trips to the store, and a nice increase to their yearly profits.
2. Measure twice, cut once.
3. Count on triple your budget.
4. Wear sunscreen when tacking on shingles.
5. Put away any wet paint rollers, unless you want your dog and grass painted 'Heffalump purple'.
6. Dogs eat anything, even paint.
7. Put away the hammers BEFORE the playdate.
8. While painting a playhouse, keep an eye on your 1 1/2 yr old daughter, so while she traverses your vegetable garden, she doesn't bite into one of these...
9. While trying to console the fiery taste in your 1 1/2 yr old's mouth, don't forget to WASH HER HANDS before she rubs her eyes...
(The effects of those dang tabasco peppers lasted all day! It was her hands that were burning by bedtime)
Sept 1, 2007
Here is a quick update on the last 2 weeks...
I just got back from a fun overnight trip with my mom and sisters. We went to Denver to see the pre-Broadway preview of Disney's Little Mermaid.
It was so much fun. The way they distinguished between the water and land was so clever. All the fish and mermaids wore those Heelies shoes so they glided instead of walked. The new songs were lots of fun and the cast is quite accomplished- including the man who played the voice of Jafar on Aladdin, Prince Eric was in the movie Chicago, and lots of seasoned Disney veterans. I'm so glad I got to see it so close to home- I'm not sure if I would have picked this one had I been in New York, though now that I've seen it, I would see it again.
We had tons of fun hanging out with the girls with no kids or husbands!
We ate lots of yummy food and, of course, went shopping!
It was nice to get away- Thanks to all the Daddies!
Oh- and Congrats on the news I learned on my trip- my baby sister will have a baby of her own in April!
I'd like to introduce you to Maija's new best friend
This is Belle. This is her purple dress. This is the only dress she can wear. There are 20 dresses. None of the other princesses can wear this dress. These are also ALL of the stickers that came with the toy. It came with 12 sheets of stickers and they all ended up on Belle's "boo-tifully" dress.
Maija spends a good part of every day seated here at the kitchen table playing with the new dollies she got from Grandma Nilson.
And Brielle has decided that nothing is worth doing, unless someone else is already doing it...
Ben, Natalie, Maija and Brielle