Emma and Bryce had lots of fun this year with various Halloween activities. As already mentioned in the previous post, we went to the pumpkin patch (Emma still says in her prayer "We thank thee for going to the pumpkin patch"). We also went to the Ward Halloween Party and Trunk or Treat. Emma dressed up as Little Bo Peep, and Bryce was her lost sheep. After going home and allowing Emma to change costumes (tell me about it), I went back with her to the Elder's Quorum Party, where we posed with the Grim Reaper for bottom photo, and went on a "pumpkin hunt" -- kind of like an Easter egg hunt.

In addition to that, Emma had a Costume Party at her pre-school class. At the end of class, the kids marched in a parade, and got to sign some songs for senior citizens and the kids parents at the Community Center (co-located at her pre-school).

It was a fun Halloween.


A few days before Halloween, Emma, Bryce, and I made a trip to a local pumpkin patch to pick out our Halloween pumpkins. The pumpkin patch was unfortunately overrun with school children on fieldtrips (I counted 3 school buses!). Despite the crowds, we did find some good pumpkins. We had fun exploring the corn maze (in the above picture Emma and Bryce are clinging to each other as school age children dash around the maze at top speed). We also were able to ride a train ride which the kids enjoyed and Emma was thrilled when the sales lady gave her a pumpkin sugar cookie after we bought our pumpkins. I am often amazed at what little things can bring my children the most joy and create the most lasting memories.
Bryce is a cookie monster! A couple of weeks ago, I left Bryce playing downstairs to go and help Emma in her room for a few minutes. When I came back downstairs, I found Bryce happily gobbling down an Oreo cookie that he found hidden in one of our cupboards. He was quite upset when I took the package of cookies away from him and put a bib on him, but cooperated with this picture when I let him finish eating the cookie he had in hand. To this day, he continues to rummage through the same cupboard hoping to find more cookies!


Trip to Ohio

In October, we took a trip back to Ohio. Fall is my favorite Ohio season because of the wonderful Fall colors and mild weather. It has been years and years since I have been back to Ohio in the Fall and so I was particularly excited. It was fun to get to spend time with Mom, Dad, Andrew, and Dinah! While we were there we also took a trip with Mom to Palmrya to see some of the Church historical sites and then on to Niagara Falls.

In Palmrya, I found the Grandin Publishing Building, which I had never visited before, especially interesting. It was here that the first edition of the Book of Mormon was published. We learned about the tedious and exacting process required to print and bind the books in the 1820's and 30's. Grandin printed 5000 copies of the first edition, an enormous number at the time. It was the primary focus of his business for more than a year, and by far the largest order Mr. Grandin ever took. Interesting, considering that he was never a member of the Church.

In Niagara Falls, we got to ride the Maid of the Mist boat. Emma and Bryce were very cute in their blue rain ponchos. Emma and Bryce did great on the boat. I was surprised that they weren't afraid! The only thing that upset Emma was that her pants got wet. This was quickly remedied by the purchase of a very cool replica of the Maid of the Mist boat that is also a piggy bank of sorts. She is always on the lookout for change (she knows where we keep change and I have discovered her raiding the stash) to put in her boat bank.

Emma started preschool in September. This is a picture of her just before leaving for her first day of school.

I have been a little surprised at how little Emma will actually tell me about what she does at preschool. She always seems to have an excuse to not answer my questions when I try to pry any details out of her. Lately she just makes any sort of nonsense noise in response to my questions or she will frequently say, "I have food in my mouth!", meaning that since she is observing proper etiquette, she cannot answer my questions.

I did have the chance to go and be the parent helper one day and was able to see first hand the things she does at preschool and so I feel a little more informed about what happens on a typical day. Every once in awhile if I ask the right question, she will tell me about a story, song, craft, or friend from preschool. So for now, I just cherish the little bits and pieces that she does share with me!


Happy 3rd Birthday Emma!

We had a music theme birthday party for Emma and several of her friends. We made some simple music instruments together (a bell necklace and a paper plate shaker) and played some fun games before enjoying cake and ice cream. It was neat for Emma to have her friends there to celebrate her birthday. It was a fun day.

I have been meaning to post something about Emma's birthday for many weeks now, I just seems to take me that long to catch up now a days!


Yesterday was Bryce's 1st birthday. As with Emma on her 1st birthday, we gave Bryce his first taste of cake and ice cream. At first he was a little stand-offish about the new food (he is already showing signs of being a very picky eater like his dad), but once those sugar taste buds started to dance, he was all over it.

After dessert we had him open his presents. As was to be expected, Emma ended up opening many of the presents: a cool little toy truck from Grandma Shirley, several fun books from Grandma Everett, and a big-wheel sized dump truck from Mom and Dad. Emma had lots of fun pushing Bryce around in the dump truck. It also doubles as a walker, and Bryce likes to push it around as well.


In Utah we went on a hike to Stewart Falls, (pretty ambitious for the toddlers in our group, but we all made it there and back, despite some complaining) and enjoyed the beautiful falls. Emma wanted to put her feet in the water like many of her cousins were doing. She was surprised by how cold the water was. She would put her feet in for a few seconds, pull them out and then want to put them back in.

Peter, Leah, and kids have a gentle cat named White Socks. Emma was instantly in love with him. She would excitedly look for him and pet him. One afternoon she made a tea party for White Socks. He had a cup and a plate and Emma poured him his drink. He even stayed around after the party for a nap and Emma explained to me how she made a pillow for him out of a plate. Good old White Socks.

Emma, Hannah, and Sage playing on and around the swing together. They took turns swinging and pushing each other on the swing.

Emma only participated in this photo because we agreed to include White Socks.

We recently returned from our family reunion vacations to both Lake Tahoe and to Utah. Emma and Bryce met all 24 of their cousins (Everett and Griffin), many of their aunts and uncles, and both sets of their grandparents. It was wonderful to be able to spend time with so many family members. It was fun to watch Emma and Bryce interact with their cousins.

Emma fiercely wants to be independent sometimes. She was particularly frustrated with her dependence on either me or Craig in the pool. She had a breakthrough though when she was able to swim with her cousins Mirielle and Jasmine. Jasmine played motor boat with the two younger girls and they were just in heaven. Emma even ventured out breifly on her own in the big pool with swimmies on her arms.

Bryce unfortunately does not exercise the same caution as Emma, and as in most activites he engages in, entered the pool and splashed around with wild, unbridled energy. He sure did enjoy himself!

Whose afraid of the big bad wolf? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

We belong to an online book club of sorts that sends out a kit every month that has a book, stickers, cd, and some sort of activity. This past month the theme was nursery rhymes. Emma was thrilled to have the masks of the wolf and the pigs to use when she acts out the story of the three little pigs. She and Craig run around almost nightly playing out the story and changing parts repeatedly. Emma is very animated in her portrayal of the story. It is quite entertaining for the whole family.
Let's go fly a kite!

Emma is pretty pleased to be flying her Tigger kite all by herself. She runs across the field near our house happily with the kite flying behind her.


Emma baking cookies! We had fun making chocolate chip cookies during Bryce's nap today. Emma's favorite part of making cookies is licking the spoon and then going to check out her messy face in the mirror.


We are now making almost daily excursions to the
"yellow swing" park near our home. Emma loves to
play hide and seek at the park. She closes her eyes
and counts and then excitedely yells "ready or not
here I come!"She then looks around the park and
says "where couldthat mommy (or daddy) be?"
until she finds me or Craig. She also likes to ride
her bike along the path and to swing on the yellow

Bryce is now using anything and everything to pull
himself to standing. I feel like a human jungle gym.

These are a few pictures from our latest excursion to
the yellow swing park.


Giddy-up Bryce! Posted by Picasa


Emma had a grand time hunting for Easter eggs with some of her cousins in Sacramento. They ran all over the yard gathering the eggs and were just thrilled.

Emma continues to enjoy being read to and one of her new favorite activities is listening to stories on tape. Her favorites to listen to are of course the Disney princess stories. I was amazed when I overheard her a few days ago reciting portions of the book word for word. Emma also likes to sing and often favors us with rock a bye baby, hush little baby, part of your world (Ariel from Little Mermaid), Once upon a dream (from Sleeping Beauty), A dream is a wish your heart makes (from Cinderella), just to name a few. It is fun to watch her learn and to feel her excitement for all the new things she is discovering.

Peek a Boo Bryce! Peek a Boo is Bryce's favorite game. If we ever want to make Bryce laugh out loud we start a game of peek a boo. Bryce even puts things in front of his face and then pulls them away to play peek a boo with us. Emma enjoys joining in as well.

Bryce is such a social baby. He loves it when people smile at him and will reward them with huge grins in return. Many times during storytime at the library, or playing in one of Emma's classes, or in the foyer at Church, Bryce will just crawl over to someone else and crawl up on their lap to say hi. He moves his arm up and down like he is giving you five when he says hi.


Bryce is very much on the go these days, and quite pleased with his new found mobility. He is a social boy and very much wants to be around others and in the middle of any activity he can find. He especially likes any toy that Emma is playing with or book that she is reading. He has taken to following me around with his scooting crawl. I have to be very cafeful where I walk! I am amazed and often surprised at how quickly he can move. He has also sprouted two teeth!


Here are some recent photos of Emma and Bryce. These days they are quite a handful: Emma is very busy, seldom content with just doing one thing for a while. First she wants to do finger painting. Then she wants to read books with one of us. Then she wants to do puzzles. Then she wants to eat a snack. It's enough to wear us out each day.

Meanwhile, Bryce has learned to crawl, and is always getting into the wrong things. I'm just curious: why do kids 7 months old prefer things like electric cords, remote controls, and his sister's toys (always inciting Emma), when we place perfectly benign toys in front of him. I don't know, maybe there's a market for toys that appear dangerous.

At night before bed, we can barely have them in the tub together anymore because Bryce is a wildman. We'll set him down on his bottom, but he'll quickly "jump" forward, doing a bellyflop halfway down the tub. Once on all fours, he'll splash and splash, and kick and kick. He also manages to crawl around the tub in a way hazardous to his health; he keeps banging his head against the walls. But he never screams, and completely loves the bath. It's just when Emma is in there with him that problems arise.


The last time we updated the website, Bryce had just been born. He is now almost 6 months old. He and Emma are both keeping us busy, so busy in fact that we have neglected our website.

Bryce rolls all over the place now. You can put him down to play and a few moments later look down and he is out of sight. Unfortunately, he can only roll one direction and so although he manages to twist around corners, he often gets stuck against pieces of furniture or the wall. He is starting to sit up on his own but still face plants or tips to the side sometimes. The developmental milestone that we are really anxious for him to achieve is sleeping for more than a few hours in a row. One thing at a time I guess.

Emma has been, for the most part, helpful during the transition phase of no longer being the only child. Emma has really developed her vocabulary and can communicate most things to us; even if we don’t understand everything she’s saying immediately. Once we do, we usually realize that she was indeed saying the right words. Emma is a master puzzle solver now. She quickly completes all the 24 piece puzzles we give her completely on her own. After a few times on the same puzzle, she can do them very fast. She also really likes to play dress up and almost always refuses to wear anything but “beautiful dresses” each day.

Becky has returned to work at Lucille Packard Hospital as of the New Year. She generally works 2 weekends a month, and while it’s definitely a bit stressful during those weekends, we figure (hope) things will run a little smoother as time goes on.

Until next time---enjoy the pictures.