Sunday, May 5, 2013

Exciting News

Brent just accepted an offer that will transfer us to Southern CA.  I never thought I'd live in OC again, but you never know what life is going to bring.  It's a good job opportunity and we are excited for this new adventure in our lives.  Now that we really feel settled and at home here in PA, we're moving on.  It'll be sad to leave so many good friends and such a beautiful part of the country.  We're super excited to be closer to family and friends in the West again.  We'll be there in June/July.

Preston - the past 7 months

I started out strong - posting every month or so and then nothing.  So, here's a catch up post - Preston is now 14 1/2 months old.  I can't believe how fast the time is going.  At his 1 year checkup he 29 3/4 inches 17 lbs 3 oz. He started walking about a month ago.  It's nice to have him on his feet.  He walked on his knees for at least 2 months before that.  It was funny to see him on his knees all the time.  He is into everything. He can open doors already, so you never know where you'll find him.  He loves to play in the bathroom or his brothers' room.  He loves to go upstairs and hide.  He loves to play with the phone. He loves to get into everything!  He is a master of destruction and quite mischievious.  He loves to climb under and through things.  He loves to put things in his mouth and crawl around like a dog.  He still doesn't talk much.  He doesn't even say mama or dada.  The only things he says are more and bye-bye.  But he babbles all the time.  He's as cute as can be. 

Preston is our big kid.  Here are his stats along with Elliott's and Derek's at 1 year for comparison.
Elliott 29 3/4 inches, 17 lbs 3 oz
Derek 29 inches, 18 lbs 3 oz
Preston 31 1/2 inches, 21 lbs 9 oz - he's in the 95th percentile for height and 50th for weight

While Preston was well over 20 lbs at 1 year, Derek was just shy of 20 at 15 months and Elliott still hadn't hit 20 at 18 months.  Preston currently weighs more than Elliott at 2 years old.  Crazy!  He's giving me some good arms.  :)

8 months
9 months
10 months
11 months
almost a year
stair blockade - for a long time we kept trying to find ways to keep Preston off the stairs (before he mastered coming down).  One day he finally showed us that he could get past anything we put in his way with a little determination and tears.
1st haircut, just before his birthday
1st birthday - what a serious kid!

13 months
14 months

Washington DC

We finally made it to Washington DC at the beginning of April.  I can't believe it took almost 3 years before we actually went.  We had a great time.  We stayed with our good friends, the Straits.  It was so much fun to spend time with them and so nice of them to have us all in their home.  They joined us in the city our first day.  We spent 2 days exploring the city and the evenings hanging out having fun.  I'm so glad we finally made the trip!  There's so much more to see.  I would have loved to see more of the memorials and Brent would love more museums, but there's only so much to be done in 2 days with kids.  We were hoping to get lucky and see the cherry blossoms when we were there.  Unfortunately, the predictions were off and they didn't blossom until 2 days after we left.  Apparently they were only really nice for 3 days before the wind an rain took them away.  We still had pretty decent weather so we won't complain.

Day 1

top left - waiting for the Metro - so excited, first subway ride for all the kids
others - on the Metro (Elliott and Derek took books to read the second day since they didn't have friends to entertain them; Preston is playing with my phone)

Washington Monument (under renovation due to earthquake)

Lincoln Memorial
We enjoyed our lunch on the grass below the memorial, what a beautiful picnic spot!

top left - WWII Memorial
bottom right - Vietnam Memorial

 The White House
center - Preston in front of the National Christmas Tree
bottom right - just a really cool bunch of trees near the White House

We finished the day at the American History Museum.  I guess I didn't get any pictures there.  Most of the cool stuff is off limits to pictures.  The most memorable thing we saw was the flag that inspired "The Star Spangled Banner."  It is huge!  It's interesting that people for a long time were cutting pieces off of it as keepsakes.  So there are parts missing and some patched parts, but what a neat piece of history. 
Day 2

Ford's Theater
Elliott's teacher told him he should go to Ford's Theater.  Unfortunately, we got into the city too late to be able to go inside.  They still perform shows there, so it is only open limited hours for tours.  The house on the right is the house where Lincoln died.

National Archives
This was my favorite, even though we had to wait in line for over an hour.  I thought it was so cool to see the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.  The writing on the Declaration, I believe, is pretty faded, but the others are still easily legible.

Natural History Museum
The kids only had so much energy, so we didn't explore the whole museum.  Besides, I've heard that could take a couple days.  :)  We did see the bones, gems & minerals, and the Hope Diamond.

Air and Space Musuem
There are a lot of cool things at this museum - the Wright Brothers plane; The Spirit of St. Louis; Amelia Earhart's plane; Apollo 11 command module; space suit worn on the moon, with moon dust still visible, and more.

 This is as close as we got to the Capitol Building - just a couple blocks, but a couple blocks we weren't willing to walk.  The bottom picture is the Smithsonian.

Day 3

Arlington National Cemetary
On Sunday before heading home, we stopped at Arlington.  We got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  That is a really neat, solemn experience. 


We went to Gettysburg at the end of March.  It's one of those things that's been on our list of things to do.  It's not the funnest outing for kids but they actually did well.  Preston wasn't that thrilled with the trip, but he did okay.  Elliott and Derek thought the cannon and monuments were cool.  Elliott really enjoyed the displays in the visitors center with all the guns that were used.  After our initial stop in the visitors center, we drove around the battlefield.  It's amazing how huge it is.  We did an audio tour in the car as we drove around.  After 1 1/2 hours or so, we finally skipped the end of the audio because it was taking a little too long.  It would have been nice to take our time and really listen to everything, but the kids could only handle so much time in the car.  It was neat to get out and look at the monuments.  I believe they said there are over 1400 monuments on the battlefield - more than anywhere else in the world.  That's a lot of monuments!  The coolest place to stop was Little Round Top, site of the most famous engagement at Gettysburg.  The boys got to feel how heavy a real musket is and see how hard it would be to tote that and all the gear around.  It was really neat to go to Gettysburg and experience the history that took place there.  

Visitors Center and monuments around the battlefield

view from Little Round Top

Little Round Top

Gettysburg Cemetery, site of Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg Museum
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Christmas 2012

We had a wonderful Christmas.  I think this was the first Christmas where no one had a meltdown, everyone was happy and entertained all day.  It was a really enjoyable day.  The boys were excited with the presents they received. We loved being able to Skype with grandparents.

Christmas preparations
Christmas programs - These are always fun.  I love hearing and watching the kids sing all their cute songs (especially the preschool ones - they are adorable).  The elementary kids did a great job too.  I was thrilled to hear a religious song sung by the 4th grade classes. 
Merry Christmas!

9 Years Old!

Happy Birthday, Elliott!  It's hard to believe I have a 9 year old!  Where does the time go?  Elliott has grown and matured a lot this year.  He is a great big brother and becoming a good helper.  It's nice to have an extra pair of hands some of the time.  We celebrated his birthday by going bowling as a family.  We had a great time.  He had Cub Scouts that evening, so he quickly opened his presents before he was off.  He had a birthday party the following Saturday with 9 of his friends from church and school.  We kept it simple with pizza and a movie here at home.  The kids still managed to go crazy, but it was a mostly-controlled crazy.  :)  They were rambunctious but no one got hurt and everyone had a good time.  Elliott requested an ice cream cake which turned out delicious!  Elliott was really excited to get lots and lots of LEGOs for his birthday.  He got 6 new sets from his friends plus one from us.  Needless to say, he spent a few days doing nothing but build LEGOs.  He loves it.  He's also looking forward to spending his birthday money (perhaps on more LEGOs).  He and Derek have also been having fun with some dart guns.  All in all, I think he had a great birthday.