Getting to Know Our Newest Cousin

This evening we got to go to the hospital to visit baby James. The boys were very excited, and when we got to the hospital, Simon kept saying “doctor”. I told him that actually, we were there to visit baby James, and he yelled “Baby James!” and practically ran the entire way to the room.

The boys were pretty full of energy while we were there climbing on the couch and other such escapades. However, they were very careful around their cousin. I could tell Elias really wanted to get closer, but wasn’t sure what to do. I explained that he couldn’t touch James’ face, but he could kiss him on the head. He did so once, twice, and kept coming back for more. This prompted Simon to want to do so as well. It was quite cute.

P1210491 P1210492It was fun watching the boys starting to bond with their cousin. For my part, it felt good to hold a baby. Especially one that I love so dearly already! It’s great to have a baby in the family again. Nathan said I hogged him, but I did eventually give Nathan a turn.


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More Birthday Fun!

Somehow we’ve managed to spread Simon’s birthday celebrations out into many different weekends. This weekend, we had some friends over to celebrate. Nathan and I were up late last night doing some last minute decorating and craft preparing. Then this morning the fun began!

Simon chose a Mickey Mouse birthday theme. He and his friends made Mickey Mouse canvas bags and played together with lots of toys. We also had a pinata. When we went to the party store to pick up a couple of supplies, Elias started begging for a pinata. He had had a pinata at his own fourth birthday and loved it, and wanted to repeat the experience. At first I said no because it was Simon’s birthday and we don’t always need to do pinatas. But then Elias started changing his tactics. He started trying to convince Simon that he wanted a pinata. That, of course, worked because Simon wants to do everything Elias does. Pretty soon I had Simon saying “pinata” over and over again at me as well. I caved. I showed Simon all of the Mickey Mouse pinatas, but he wanted the basketball one.

The kids had a tough time breaking the pinata, but I think they all had fun. Everyone got a few turns if they wanted.

11004496_777189375683671_337822285_n 11020422_777189349017007_1233529143_nAfter lunch, we sang “Happy birthday” to Simon. He had quite a funny look on his face during the song, but he did enjoy it, and he especially liked blowing out the candles.

10997182_777189229017019_200533429_nAfter the party, Simon took a nice long nap. Then we came back down stairs and he got to open his presents.

P1210467Simon took his time and wanted to play with each new thing. Thank you to everyone who helped make Simon’s birthday party special!

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The Newest Bartle Generation!

We have a new family member! At 10:10 this morning our nephew, James Kealoha was born to my brother and sister’s waiting arms. The Bartle name lives on for another generation! (and hopefully many more!)

The boys and I were running around like crazy this morning trying to beat the clock (or beat the labor I guess you would say). Simon had his 2 year well check, and then we had to go to a number of stores in order to get some last minute things for Simon’s birthday party tomorrow. While we were at Winco, I got the text that he had been born. We left before I had gotten everything I needed…I didn’t even realize it until much later, though! I see a very late night trip to Winco in my future.

Anyway, I raced the boys home, packed a lunch, changed a diaper, and headed off to the hospital waiting room. Here were all of James’ cousins in the waiting room.

P1210425 After James got his first bath, it was our turn to go and see him. Just Nathan and I went first, then the boys came a little later. I was so proud of my brother getting right in there learning how to change diapers.

P1210427Look at how cute he is! Just perfect! And look at that hair!

P1210444My brother picked up a comb and started combing James’ hair as he was warming up after the bath. James really seemed to love it.

P1210449P1210448After he was warm enough then we got to wrap him up all comfy and take a turn holding him. Proud Daddy!

P1210454Proud Auntie!

P1210455Proud Uncle! (Nathan just happened to need to drive a van out the data center west to pick up some equipment so he stopped by the hospital. What luck on the timing!)

P1210458And the boys got to meet him too! Simon had absolutely zero interest. Well…I think he did point at James once and say “baby.” Elias was a little nervous, but was whispering to James things like “Hi James” and “I’m Elias” and “I’m your cousin” These were things I prompted him to say, but it was a huge step up from two years ago when Simon was born!

P1210464Elias talked about James most of the way home in the car. He is very excited and kept saying “I have three cousins now!”

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Finger Painting

Simon received a couple of birthday gifts today. One of them was a finger painting set. Both of the boys were very excited about it, and wanted to try it out all day. At first I said no because we had to eat lunch. Then I had to clean up lunch. Then it was time for naps, and then I wanted to get the boys outside for a bit in the clear weather. Then it was time to make, eat, and clean up dinner.

And FINALLY (according to Elias) it was time for finger painting. I knew it would be messy so I stripped the boys down to diaper/underwear as a precaution. I also very strictly instructed them not to touch anything except paint and paper.

Well…you see how well they did:

P1210416 P1210417

The boys had a really great time, and while the finished products (you put the art work inside a cool flower or bug shaped frame) do not look like what is on the packaging, I think they turned out really cute.

I have to admit I lost my patience at one point when one of the boys touched my shirt with the non-washable paint. I wish I hadn’t. I feel like I ruined a good time. Expecting a two and four year old to keep things pristine on a finger painting project was unreasonable of me. But I am not perfect either so I will try to forget it and just enjoy the artwork, as I hope they will too!

The good news is that there are plenty more for us to try again another day!

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Flat Audrey, Bridge Lift, and Valentine’s Day Fun

A couple weeks ago we received a visitor in the mail….Flat Audrey! Our niece is doing a “Flat Stanley” unit at school, and she has been sent on a mission to find out about where we live. Since she arrived she has mostly been hanging out at home with us. However, today we decided to take her on an excursion to down town Portland. Since the weather was great, we knew the boys would have a good time walking around down town as well. I took about fifty pictures, only a few of which I will show here. Most of them will be sent to Audrey’s class, and she’ll do a presentation after she returns home. We were ready for some good old family fun on Valentine’s Day.

We buckled everyone up in the car.

P1210352When we arrived down town, we parked near Daddy’s work so the boys (and Audrey) could see the building. Here they are crossing the street. The boys were very preoccupied by the trains and buses.

P1210357Audrey got a bit tired from all the walking so we let her stop by a Benson bubbler.

P1210363Our first big destination (although we saw a lot on the way) was Portlandia.

P1210369We had fun exploring on this beautiful day.

P1210373Eventually, we made it down to the water front where the boys mostly wanted to look at geese. Here is Audrey standing on the Hawthorne Bridge.

P1210384And the boys enjoying a closer look at the river….

P1210387Next we walked along the sea wall, and snapped this picture of the Morrison Bridge.

P1210398I am so lucky to be married to this man! He is a very good Daddy too!

P1210401While we were standing there looking at the river and the sky and the beauty of the morning, the Spirit of Portland cast off, and the Hawthorne Bridge began to raise. I was thrilled, but poor Elias was so nervous from the big honk the boat’s horn gave that he was in tears for most of the spectacle. The horn was really really loud!

I did manage to get a few pictures of Flat Audrey and a few members of our family during the bridge lift, but we just stood and watched most of it.

P1210408P1210410After the bridge returned to its normal position, we found a bench and ate a picnic lunch. Then we walked back to the car and went home for nap time. It was a fun excursion for Valentine’s Day. The boys did really well walking everywhere since we forgot the stroller! I think we only carried them about four blocks total!

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Simon Turned 2!

Simon is now a big two year old! We spent the morning dedicated to hosting a big valentines party for our friends. That tuckered Simon out because he napped two and a half hours! I don’t think he has done that since he was about three months old! He woke up a little groggy, and there were only a few minutes until Daddy got home so I turned on some Curious George for the boys to watch while Simon rejoined the land of the awake.

Once Daddy got home it was party time! We had a pizza party. Then while Nathan and I cleaned up the dinner mess, the boys played. Simon chose puzzles. Here is my big two year old:

P1210327Then it was time for him to open presents from Mommy and Daddy. He wasn’t the only one excited about it.

P1210335After the first present he wanted to stop and read it. That’s my boy.

P1210337Elias quickly tutored him in present opening by saying something like, “Put that book down! Open another present!” And so he did. We got him a small bowling set that the boys had fun with. (Although later in the evening as we approached bed time it caused more tears than happiness because their sharing skills were diminishing by the minute).

P1210347The main thing we got Simon, though, was a mini basketball hoop. Both boys had a blast with it.

P1210341 P1210343After play time, Simon got to have a little bit of dessert: strawberry ice cream. He thoroughly enjoyed it. (Please ignore my hair in the picture. I think there is a weird shadow effect going on with the flash. It did not actually look like it appears below….or maybe it did and no one told me. I live with three boys after all).

P1210348I am now the mommy of a two year old again. Yay!

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Valentine’s Fun With Friends

It’s all in having a sense of balance.

Earlier today we had about 25 people over at our house for a fun valentine’s celebration. There were kids and toys everywhere. I have to admit that at times it may have been a bit overwhelming with that many people in a relatively small space. But I thrive on the pitter patter of feet and the squeals and giggles of delight. I thrive on messy paint hair and sticky glue. I thrive on cars whizzing by and moms chatting it up while watching our kids play.

As long as there is balance.

The party ended. We cleaned up a bit more. We ate lunch. And now one of the boys is napping and the other is having quiet time. I am sitting here now and all is quiet. It is peaceful.

P1210325It makes the crazy fun of earlier today even more worth it.

Elias talked all through lunch about playing pretend balloon fighting with his friends and about all of the valentine treats he received. Simon was in a mood during the party…who knows why. He was very clingy. But during our attempt at a picture he just sat there all angelic. I think the picture taking was Simon’s favorite part of the party. We are missing two kids from this picture, but it was the best I could do. Have you every tried to get fifteen kids to sit in one place all at the same time? As you can see, some are happy, and some are not so happy at being forced to sit all together. I promise everyone had some fun at one point or another, though!

P1210322Now I am going to try and read or maybe even take a fifteen minute snooze before quiet time is over!

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Snippets From Today

Sometimes I just like to write down a few of the things my children are saying for my own memories. Today, some of them may even provide you a laugh. So here you go…some snippets from Elias today:

1. Who gives babies their first bath?

2. Why do babies come out all yucky?

3. I’m choosing a red bracelet because red will be my favorite color soon. Red will be my favorite color in March.

4. You clean at home. I only help clean at school. (I guess I’m glad he helps out at school…but you better believe I had something to say to him about that comment)

5. Me: Ok time for prayers

Elias: Can you pray tonight? I will pray in March. (I don’t know why he is all of a sudden fascinated with March)

6. Do you want me to help you get some water, Simon?

7. I love Hermione

8. I forgot to sing Mrs. Kimball the pink pie popcorn song.

9. Come clean me please!

10. Simon is a good boy.


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Simon’s Almost 2!

Simon is almost two years old. I can’t believe it. My baby….is not a baby. We took some time to celebrate his birthday with my family over the weekend. He had a blast seeing and playing with everyone.

P1210310I baked him some chocolate cupcakes for dessert since those are his favorite. I gave him one, and since they are just mini cupcakes, I gave him a second one when he asked. Then he somehow convinced my mom to ask me if he could have a third and while I would usually never allow that, I decided to say it was ok since it is his birthday after all.


Meanwhile Elias had partially licked the frosting off of two different cupcakes, but otherwise left them untouched on his plate at the table.

At some point while I was cleaning up a bit and everyone else was socializing, Simon discovered those two unattended partially licked cupcakes. I caught him about halfway through the second one and took it away. This resulted in a short but very loud tantrum. He was quickly distracted by the balloons and ended up having a bunch of fun after that, but I can’t believe he ate four and a half mini cupcakes.

I guess there are worse things that could have happened.

All in all it was a very fun birthday celebration. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us!

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Far Too Much Satisfaction From A Sticker

P1210320Last night I went to pick up Elias from AWANA. When I got to the door and they called his name, he ran up and immediately showed me his hand.

“Look, Mama! I got a sticker!”

One of his teachers who was guarding the door (making sure no kids escaped with the wrong adults) told me that he got the sticker for listening well.

Pride immediately bloomed in my chest. As a teacher, I know how great it is when kids listen. Good for the kids, good for the teachers, good for fellow students. I was just so happy that my child was one of the ones who was a good listener…and not the sticker-less variety.

I know this is just one instance, and if I had to choose the one of my children who was better at listening and following directions, I would probably tell you it was Simon. It made me think, though, and I realized that while Elias may not always obey or follow my directions, he is always listening. He is always soaking in what is happening around him, and he is a good kid. Listening isn’t only about following directions afterward. There is so much more. I was also glad that when he is away from home and I am not there, he is showing respect to his teachers and being a good listener.

I got far too much satisfaction from that little sticker.

Don’t worry, though, I’m keeping a level head about it. At the dinner table this evening, he announced that when he grows up he just wants to do armpit farts. So he’s a normal boy after all.

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