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Monkeying around

And a big congratulations to Rico! He has completed his Certified School Business Specialist training in Accounting “which is one of the highest standards of professional ethics and competence for school business staff.” He even got a write up in the local paper :) http://www.auburn-reporter.com/news/262782481.html#
He can now use Rico Lopez, CSBS as his signature!

We’ve been hard at work fixing up the house. When Rico gets motivated, he likes to get projects done in a hurry. This was done on Mother’s Day…

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After completing the fire pit out back, we invited the neighbors over for some homemade Cochinita Pibil (Mayan Pulled Pork). I had to practice for a few days to be able to even say it but it was delicious!

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We’ve also been dealing with a minor house emergency. On the morning of Friday May 30th, I came downstairs after a shower to discover the water heater leaking. Water flooded our laundry room, hallway and the office/storage room downstairs. We are so grateful we caught it before work. I can only imagine the damage it would have caused if we’d come home after work to find it leaking all day!

Our neighbor happens to be a flood recovery specialist so after I woke him up at 5:15 in the morning, we were able to get the plumber out here to replace the water heater. Insurance covered everything except the cause of the damage. So after all said and done, we were out of pocket the water heater and a $250 deductible (our deductible is $500 but Liberty Mutual gave us a credit for our labor of moving everything out of the damaged areas and mitigating the damage). I wouldn’t say LM was great at initiating the claim – took them 5 days total to assign us an agent (they promised 24-48 hrs) – but once we had an agent, the process has gone pretty smoothly. Now all we’re waiting on is the flooring replacement. The material has already been delivered and is currently adjusting to our house climate. Scheduled for next week.

Ironically, the office/storage room that got flooded is actually a room we were planning to have the flooring replaced in anyway so this just expedited the process. And with that, it’s reenergized Rico and now we’re renovating the downstairs. We’re in the process of taking down the drop ceiling. We plan to repair the drywall that the original owners chose to cover with the drop ceiling so that will open up the rooms a lot.

The other major plans include getting the electrical replaced – whoever lived here before did a crappy job of rewiring – and refacing the fireplace.

Rico wants to do some before and afters so those will be coming soon :)

Catalina’s most recent obsession is with trains, airplanes and fire trucks. She constantly talks about riding on the choo choo train and since mommy rides it work everyday, she gets to watch them pass by at the daycare. Anytime we hear sirens, it’s a firetruck and we’re always on the look out for garbage trucks and buses! And of course, airplanes are always going to “obamas” (Grandmas) and she wants to ride it.

She’s doing great at knowing her colors, and she counts to 10 on her own for the most part. She loves the ABC song and we sing Happy Birthday to all her friends every night.

She was 23lbs (just shy of 24lbs) and 2’9″ at her last appointment. Her weight is still at the bottom of the charts but nothing to be concerned about – she’s on her normal curve. Her height is now around 15th percentile – long and lean is what the doc is predicting :)

A couple of weekends ago, we took her to the Museum of Flight since she loves airplanes so much.
MOF 9

For the most part, she was not impressed. Maybe they were just too big for her.
MOF 8
MOF 7
MOF 6

She finally warmed up enough to try it on her own…
MOF 5
MOF 4
MOF 3
MOF 2
MOF 1

We’ve (I say we, I mean, Rico & Billy) been working around the outside of the house now that it’s warmed up a little bit and has dried out somewhat.
The new addition to the front yard this year:
House front 2
House front 3
House front

Before & After House

A new addition to the back yard and we’re already putting her to work!
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Though supervising is her specialty…
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The garden is back this year with zucchini, squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, garden tomatoes & grape tomatoes, and 3 kinds of strawberries. Oh and 1 hot pepper plant for you know who.

But after a long day, you just need a few friends to cuddle with!
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Apparently I forgot to post this back in April – it’s just been sitting in my que until today. Sorry!

Cherry blossoms 2

Cherry blossoms on green

Cherry blossoms

The Puyallup Spring fair is only a weekend long so we took Friday off and headed down to beat the crowds. We were really happy that they thought of smaller children more this year in picking some of the booths. They had an entire building filled with reptiles, bubbles, gardening, puzzles, arts and crafts (a bonus that all of that was included in the ticket price).

Her favorite… the bubbles by far.
April Puy Fair
April Puy Fair 2
April Puy Fair 3

Planting a sunflower for mama’s garden
April Puy Fair 4
April Puy Fair 5

Her latest obsession is firetrucks. She hears the sirens and gets so excited. Recently, the daycare had a smoke alarm go off which automatically called the fire station. It apparently made the kids’ day to see the truck. At the fair, she even got to ride on a firetruck ride. She had 4 rides she was tall enough to ride, the Firetruck, helicopter, a 4×4 truck and of course the carrousel. She doesn’t look like it in the photos but she really did have a good time :)
April Puy Fair 6
April Puy Fair 7
April Puy Fair 8

Spring 2014

Every Saturday morning, we go to The Little Gym. This monkey loves it!
Spring 2014

With Easter Sunday being the only day of sun in the near future, we took a chance on the blooming trees and headed to Curran Apple Orchard in University Place. It was warm and gorgeous and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Catalina had her own mini egg hunt too.

Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014

After all the eggs were collected we took some updated family photos :)
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014

“Egg-cited” for Easter!
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014
Curran Apple Orchard Easter 2014

Spring in the PNW

Here’s a little Catalina to brighten your day! We’re slowly warming up and the trees are starting to flower. Rico and I are taking Friday off for a family fun day. We’re going to the Spring Fair to take advantage of the smaller crowds and better weather than the fall version. Followed by a date night – yay! On Sunday we’re trekking up to the tulip fields. They’re popping earlier this year than the past few years so hopefully it won’t be too muddy since we’re supposed to have a few dry days before hand.

These are from a few weeks ago and Catalina’s showing off her future career! I couldn’t resist the dress when I saw it :)
March Cherry Trees

Cherry trees & cat

Cherry trees & cat
Cherry trees & cat

Cherry trees & cat
Cherry trees & cat

Cherry trees & cat

Cherry trees & cat

And a bonus video we haven’t shared on Facebook yet!

December 2013 Wrap up

December was a busy month with all the holidays and a trip to North Carolina.

Let’s start with the great weather we had at the very end of November/Thanksgiving.











For Christmas, I had been wanting to do family photos at a tree farm. Keren Fenton Photography was offering a tree farm mini session. I am so happy with these images.


You probably recognize a few from our Christmas cards :)







In early December, Catalina & I made a trip to NC to visit my side of the family. We were supposed to have a 30 minute layover in Houston before meeting Mom at Norfolk. Definitely my fault for scheduling such a short layover but I was nervous about long layovers. Boy did I step in it! I was waiting for them to bring up the stroller from the Gate Checked baggage. After everyone had gotten their stuff and the pilots were deplaning, we were still waiting. They checked the ticket and they had apparently lost the stroller. I was a wreck, stressed about making the connection, carrying/dragging Catalina & our carry on luggage, 1 tram ride and a whole terminal away, we made it to the connecting flight only to have missed the boarding call and the doors were shut. Because of bad weather and the extra fuel, they couldn’t allow any other passengers/weight onto the plane.

We had 2 options, either wait until the next morning for a flight as this was the last direct connect flight to Norfolk that day, or fly to another airport then connect to Norfolk. We chose option 2. At first the only flight they could find was to New Jersey but that was only one seat (I’d paid for 2 since Catalina is over 2 and now needs her own seat). There was no way I would be able to cram all of our stuff into one seat and have her on my lap. They finally found a flight to Charlotte, only it wouldn’t depart for another 4 hrs, then we’d have another 2 hr layover in Charlotte. Que the long layover I was dreading.

Surprisingly, Catalina was great considering the circumstances. We wondered around the airport, had a long dinner and proceeded to walk around the terminal 20 times. She loves the moving sidewalks! She also loves running in circles and in between the long rows of chairs. Normally she’s super shy with new people but that day, she was very outgoing and chatty. She’d go up to people who were napping at the gate and let everyone know they were “seeping, shhh” (sleeping). She’d gotten about a 30 minute nap on the first flight which apparently rejuvenated her until we got on the plane. As soon as we were in the air, she climbed on my lap and went to sleep.

Charlotte wasn’t too bad, and we ended up with 3 seats to ourselves for the final leg. The flight itself only lasted about 30 minutes. We arrived around midnight, about 8 hrs later than we had planned. Luckily, Mom & Jus were at enjoying their extra time at Olive Garden during the long wait!

I didn’t take as many pictures as I normally do, unfortunately. But we did get family photos done while we were visiting (as separate post is coming with those once I have them in hand).


No highchair for this little lady, she loved the stools so much.




We visited Christina & Hunter and got to play outside for a little bit.

This little guy spent most of the airplane ride, blowing his nose!

Here’s a preview of the family photos, taken with Mom’s phone.

Sunrise on our way home. Our flight left before sun break and flew into an approaching snow storm. We were lucky to get the last flight out to Seattle before the cancelled the rest.


Homeward bound:


She still talks about “fly airpane wheee” (flying in an airplane, wheee!), lol. Everyone said she did really well on the airplane, no complaints. She didn’t cry once and for that I’m grateful.

Christmas morning was a less than pleasant event this year. Catalina was fighting a fever and a cold, tired and grouchy. She didn’t want to eat, drink or open presents. The first gift she opened was a toy vacuum which didn’t go over very well because she’s scared of vacuums (we got it so she wouldn’t be scared of mine). She has since changed her mind about her vacuum and now loves it but still hates mine (she hides under her blanket on the couch and pretends it can’t see her.


Loving her new jacket & train set Uncle Tim, Aunt Jodie and Cousin Jade got her :)

Luckily, within an hour of Nana & Grandpa coming over, she finally started feeling better and actually ate a ton of ham for dinner.

Rico’s big Christmas gift: front row tickets to the final game of the regular season between the Seahawks and the Rams

He even made it on TV!

Apparently right after this, his phone started blowing up with everyone texting to say they had seen him!

We are finished with binkies, finally. We took it away last Saturday. It’s been a long week but she’s pretty much stopped asking for it. Unfortunately, she’s never been the kind of kid to self soothe, so getting her to go to sleep has been the hardest part. It’s been taking her 2-3hrs to go down.

And here is a 2013 wrap up for us:

Bithday Weekend Wrapup

We celebrated my 30th birthday a week early so Catalina and I each can have our own “day.”  I requested a date night.

It started with Rico sending flowers to my work.

Nana Erika graciously volunteered to watch the munchkin so we could head to downtown Seattle for an early dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery.  Delicious beer cheese & pretzel bread and yummy burgers.  We were too full for dessert so we took a walk down to the waterfront to catch an amazing sunset!

Sunset birthday dinner

Seattle Great Wheel October 2013

Seattle Great Wheel October 2013

Seattle Great Wheel October 2013

Seattle Great Wheel October 2013

Seattle Great Wheel October 2013

Seattle Great Wheel October 2013

Rico wrapped up the night with dessert at the Cheesecake Factory! I am one spoiled lady!

For Catalina’s birthday weekend, we started with a morning at KidQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue. Her favorite part…washing her hands after playing with the shaving cream art.
Pumpkins & Play-1

Pumpkins & Play-2

Pumpkins & Play-6

She had to have washed her hands about 7 times during the 10 minutes at the table, lol.
Pumpkins & Play-7

Pumpkins & Play-8

Pumpkins & Play-11

On Saturday afternoon – we threw a small party with pizza and cake for Catalina. Rico also baked Catalina and I each our own jumbo Texas sized cupcakes.

On Sunday, we took advantage of the dry weather. We headed for Thomasson’s Family Farm in Enumclaw. Catalina rode her first “horse” and loved it!
Pumpkins & Play-12

Pumpkins & Play-14

Pumpkins & Play-16

Pumpkins & Play-18

Catalina helped Daddy toss some apples…
Pumpkins & Play-19
Pumpkins & Play-20
Pumpkins & Play-21

Then we picked out a few pumpkins.
Pumpkins & Play-22

Pumpkins & Play-23

Pumpkins & Play-24

And because Rico has slight pyro tendencies and loves Halloween…this is what Sunday night looked like…

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Flaming Pumpkin

Flaming Pumpkin

Flaming Pumpkin

Flaming Pumpkin

Flaming Pumpkin

Flaming Pumpkin

I have to say – 30 ain’t so bad ;)

2 years ago, Catalina came into the world, taking our breath away. She’s a precoucious animated handful who is a momma’s girl and loves to rough house! She’s a little monkey that loves to hang on anything she can reach and loves to be a big help in the kitchen putting away dishes and closing doors and drawers.  She’s also now tall enough to unlock both front doors!

Catalina – you are beyond anything I could have imagined. You surprise me everyday with how much you know and how much you pick up, even if you don’t say it. I love that you reach for me even when you’re asleep, when I check on you in the middle of the night. You & your daddy make my world go ’round. Some days, I look at you and can’t believe how much like a little person you look. You no longer have your round baby face. You’ve never been a chunky baby by any means, but now you’re so tall, lean and strong, it’s hard to picture you at your 4lb birth weight. You make my day when I come home and you come running to me on your tippy toes, yelling Momma!

Favorite food: Any kind of fruit
Favorite activity: coloring (scribbling), jumping on the couch, reading
Words: Thank You, Please (peas), Cheese, Momma, Dadda,  I Stinky (whenever she’s wet or dirty), shoes, Elbow, Mouth (mou), Uh Uh, Up, Nose, Juice,
She knows her body parts and can point to them: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, elbow, knees, toes, fingers, belly button, feet (see video below)
Favorite song: Wheels on the Bus

Height: 2 ft 8 inches
Weight: Somewhere around 21 lbs
Clothes: Size 5-6 shoes, 18-24 month tops, 18-24 month pants (Slim fit only – all of the others are too big in the waist).

Lighthouse 9

Lighthouse 8

Lighthouse 7 bw

Lighthouse 5

Lighthouse 3

Lighthouse 3 bw

Lighthouse 1

Lighthouse 11 bw

Lighthouse 13

Lighthouse 12 bw

Lighthouse 14

Lighthouse 16 bw

Lighthouse 17

Lighthouse 19

Lighthouse 20

Lighthouse 21

My how far you’ve come!
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chair 1

baby food sweet potatos 3n1

11 months 7

6-7-8 month comparison

Catalina Feb 2013

May Play

falls 4

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Fall is here

And it came in with a monsoon and a tornado – literally. We had a tornado touch down briefly 2 days ago, which is an almost unheard of occurance.

We ended summer by taking a family trip to a cabin in the woods and spending some quality time with Nana Erika.

Cabin trip 1

Erika picked out a cabin that had river front access so we went and explored before the rain started.
Cabin trip 3

Cabin trip 4

Cabin trip 5

Cabin trip 6

Cabin trip 7

Catalina also tried King Crab for the first time and absolutely LOVED it. Apparently I’m already outnumbered in the seafood department!

Summer

Summer is here and I’ve been neglecting this blog again.

We’re in the beginning stages of potty training with Catalina. For the most part, she just likes playing with the toilet paper.

Our garden is exploding. When we transplanted everything in June, I wasn’t sure that anything would actually grow considering my history with plants (and them committing suicide on me!).
But then this happened!

Just slightly overgrown! Rico wants a larger plot for next year so we can expand :)

I photographed my first live birth. It was a scheduled C-section and the doctors were great and let me into the operating room to photograph everything. It was incredible and I wish I could commit more time to this genre. Unfortunately, with the new job and the commute, I can’t be on call like I could when I was with Emerald Downs.

I photographed 4 weddings as a 2nd shooter. One of which was had this incredible view!

Rico transformed one of the cabinets into a chalkboard wall. The top is a menu board for us and the bottom is a chalkboard for Catalina to play with.

On Friday, I drove out to Mt Rainier for a star photography class.
It started with sunset at Tipsoo Lake.

Before the stars could make an appearance, we got this view.

Then the clouds you see in the picture rose out of the valley and headed straight for us. We took shelter in our cars, hoping it would blow past relatively quickly. Not so much. Lightning, thunder, hail and winds. I do have to admit, sleeping my car is more comfortable than I anticipated it would be. The stars finally made an appearance about 3:30am for about 15 minutes.

The clouds came back and obscured sunrise so we explored a little.

We’re going camping next weekend. Our first trip with Catalina so this should be interesting. We also have a cabin trip planned for September with Nana Erika. We might be glutton for punishment but we’re going to attempt Great Wolf again for our birthdays. Though for mine, I requested a date night out in Seattle so I can photograph the new ferris wheel they’ve added to the sky line.

The new job is going good. A lot of getting used to. My commute went from 10-15 minutes to an hour. I now take the Sounder train into Seattle and take a short bus ride up to Union where I work. I’m also doing payroll for 8 different companies so it’s a lot more workload than I was doing. Era has been really great and welcoming.

Fun in the Sun!

While the East Coast is getting soaked, we are thankful for our week-long stretch of warm sunny weather.  Usually we have to wait until July 4th before it clears but apparently the sun gods arrived almost 2 weeks early this year.  Hopefully that doesn’t mean they leave earlier than mid-September.  While it would absolutely amazing to have air conditioning, we’ve done our best to keep cool with trips to the park, a blow up water island pool and Rico made a “kid wash” in our backyard.  It’s more like an adult mister because Catalina doesn’t like cold water, lol.  But it will be fun when we have Aiden’s 5th birthday at our house.

Catalina was fascinated by the baby pigs.

She was not impressed by the bigger animals though.

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