Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sad good-byes

I love match making, and I even think I am pretty good at it (mostly because I won't set something up unless I really think the match will work, and I have one marriage under my belt). My best friend, Alex married the guy I introduced her to, and now my sister is dating a guy (one of Brett's college roommates - Iain) that I thought she should date almost a year ago!

It all started last year on my birthday when both Katelyn and Iain came over to celebrate and ended up spending about 12 hours hanging out with us. That night I decided that they should be together; however neither was in a position to start a relationship so I kept my mouth shut (something that is admittedly hard for me).

This past New Years, Iain was avaliable so I let him in on the secret that I thought he and my sister would make a good match, unfortunatly my sister was still dating someone else.

However, around Valentine's Day my sister was going on vacation with us to Massanutten and moving home AND (more importantly) had decided to split up with her then boyfriend. Iain was also coming on the trip, and the two of them ended up hitting it off. After a month or two they offically admitted to me that they were dating and I couldn't have been happier.

Then one day Iain (who was job searching after getting laid off) announced that he would be moving to Dallas for a new job. Less than a week later, Katelyn dropped bomb #2 - she was moving to Utah to take a new job as a recreational theropist. I was really excited about both of their job opportunities, but so sad to hear they were leaving.

The good news is that do plan to stay together... I just wish their jobs took them closer to me too!

You can read more about Katelyn's job and cross country move on her blog.

Welcome Lydia Hayes Wirtz!

Within the week of me posting a blog about my friend Lexie's baby shower, she had the baby!

On May 20 Lydia Hayes Wirtz was brought into the world!

Lexie's water broke at 3:00 am that morning and after 13 hours the baby wasn't coming naturally, so they went with a c-section at 6:15 pm.

She's 7 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long with lots of hair! We cannot wait to meet her (I think it will be love at first site for Aaron ;).

Summer Intern

A few months ago I received an email from our Pastor asking if anyone could take a recent college grad into their home during the summer while she interned in DC.

As the girl, Sally, would be unpaid during the summer she was willing to trade house work or child care in return for room and board. Brett and I decided that we would like to help out and that it would be a great set up for us, so we offered our home to Sally, who excepted.

Sally arrived this Wednesday, and has been a delight since she moved in. She is a recent graduate of Valparaiso University (VU), Class of 2009 with a double major in Philosophy and Music; and will be interning this summer at the Ethics and Public Policy Center ( in Washington, DC from June 1 to August 7.

We look forward to having Sally this summer, and hope you all get to meet her!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More bath-time fun with the Gardner boys

Every couple weeks we get the video camera out for bath time because the kids always have so much fun, and tend to be pretty funny.

Our most recent taping was on May 11, when we were teaching Peter how to sign "I love you":

And Peter saying animal names and sounds:

Peter had a little sore throat that night, so he ended up getting out of the bath early.

Aaron stayed to play, and show off his new "sound effect" - a clicking noise he makes with his tongue:

Aaron played for a long time, and was all smiles for the camera:

But eventually he got tired and it was time for bed.

I am sure we will have more pictures and videos of baths in the future because it seems to be a favorite time of day for the whole family!

Monday, May 25, 2009

1 Fish, 2 Fish

Saturday of this weekend we went to the Annandale Carnival and won a goldfish (more on the carnival to follow as soon as I get the pictures from Mike & Sarah).

After the goldfish lived for two nights we named him Dale and put him in the living room to live.

This morning (not thinking about Aarons nick name "fish") I pointed to the fish and told Peter, "look son, a fish!"

Peter responded by pointing to the fish bowl and questioning, "Aaron?"

Built in Entertainment

When people see how close my kids are in age they always say some variation of, "Wow, you must be busy!"

And I am; but not as busy as you would think. Having the boys so close together provides them with an playmate, and they are constantly entertaining one another.

On walks in their stroller, in the bath, or in the car; this is what they do all day long:

Caps Vs. Pens - Game 4

Back when the Caps were still in the NHL Playoffs (man I miss those days), Brett and I got our friends together for every game to cheer on our team.

For Game 4 we all headed back to Union Jacks to watch on the big screen (in hopes that it would be good luck again!).

My sister and lots of friends came out to help us cheer again (I am slowly turning them into hockey fans!).

This time we left the boys at home with a sitter, but maybe in retrospect that was a mistake (they might have been good luck)!

The Caps ended up losing for the second time in the series, so the evening didn't end on a good note.

We blamed the loss on Brett because he had vowed to eat the "Victory Burger" (a burger we made using a slider and a chicken finger) if the Caps scored again in the third period and when they did score he only ate one bite. Maybe if he finished the victory burger the Caps would have brought home a victory?

Katelyn was very sad and headed home after the game, but Brett and I stuck around for a little while hanging out with friends.

Union Jacks did end up bringing back the luck 2 nights later when my sister and I went back to watch the end of Game 6 where the Caps won with an over-time goal!

Date Night

Brett and I started dating on September 17, 2005, and we were then married a year and a half later on March 17, 2007.

Due to the fact that both of our anniversaries are on the 17th we try to make the 17th a special date night every month.

In all honestly we are really bad at this, however we have been working harder at making sure we take the time for ourselves.

For our April 17th date night we decided to go to a new restaurant called "Current" in DC.

Current was having a special 5 course pre-fixed meal special so we decided to eat off of that menu and loved everything we got!

After sharing 5 courses of sushi, salads, spring rolls, skirt steak, chicken teryaki, and custard; we were stuffed!

The night was really fun and reminded us that we need to make it a point to go out on the 17th every month!

Easter 2009

Easter this year was very fun because it was the first holiday where Peter sort of understood what was happening (and even took part in an Easter egg hunt!).

After everyone was up and dressed we did the Easter egg hunt, caught here on video:

After we found all the eggs, Peter and Aaron got to check their baskets for loot!

Peter's basket had a sports and Elmo theme with some books, Sesame Street socks, a play cell phone, sports eggs, and an Elmo bath toy.

Aaron's basket was fish and water themed with all bath time items including a bath toy bag, facet cover, and bubble bath.

After we opened baskets it was time for Mommy's Easter treat - McDonalds! I had almost made my weight loss goal of being 20 pounds down by Easter (I was at 18.5), but more importantly I had given up meat for Lent and was dying for a breakfast sandwich that had some bacon!

Next stop was church, where we got to see my mom sing and see lots of our friends.

Then it was off to Damascus to have Easter lunch with Brett's family at his grandmother's house. We love going to Grandma Gardner's, because she is an amazing cook and great with the kids. But this year we were also excited because Brett's cousin Eileen was there with her husband and baby (who was born a month after Aaron).

After lunch we headed home, and stayed in that night for dinner with my mom and sister (steak!!!).

It was a busy but fun day and even though I ended up with a bad belly ache from all the meat it was so good to be eating it again!

Catching up with old friends

A month or two ago Brett and I had a babysitter for the evening and decided to stop by Union Jacks for a drink. I knew a friend from high school worked there, but was surprised to run into a bunch of old friends who we ended up hanging out with all evening.

It was a very unexpected night, but we had a great time and hope to see people again (not in over 3 years like last time!).

Reston Zoo

During the week following Sun and Nick's wedding my Aunt Marilyn stayed with us to visit with the kids. One day while she was here we made a trip out to Reston to visit the zoo and an ice cream shop that Marilyn had been to in Florida and was raving about.

The Reston Zoo has a large petting-zoo as well as caged animals, pony rides, and a safari ride through a field that is home to camels, ostrich, bison, zebras, and more.

Peter loved the portions of the trip to the zoo that included feeding the animals and running around, but when we tried to make him wait in line for the safari ride he had his first real public temper tantrum (not pictured).

With the help of Marilyn holding Aaron I had both hands free to wrestle Peter into submission (that sounds much worse than it really was), and we did get to go on the hay ride.

Peter was happy again, but only when he could watch the big tractor wheels moving. Every time the driver stopped to tell us about the animals Peter slowly started melting down again.

Needless to say, we were done with the zoo as soon as we got off the ride!

Next stop was "Iceberry" a frozen yogurt place that was DELICIOUS (and more importantly kept the kids pretty happy!).

We decided to each share our selections with the kids, thinking that they were too small to finish their own. However, both kids were Iceberry crazy and ate everything in site!

The day ended up being fun despite the tantrums, and Brett and I have been back to Iceberry once already! Thanks for the recommendation Marilyn!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spelling lesson

Brett and I are always trying to repeat the A-B-Cs, spell out words when we write them for the kids, etc. to start teaching them the building blocks of words and reading.

Peter now knows that P-E-T-E-R spells "Peter" and recognizes his own name and Aaron's name when they are written.

He also seems to know that a series of letters make a word. The only flaw in his particular method of spelling is that he only wants to use 2 letters: "A" and "O" (we think this was picked up when we were spelling Aaron's name for him).

In the past few days Peter has decided to start spelling things before saying what they are:

He walks up to the dog (we are dog sitting) - "A-O-A doggy!"

He walks up to me - "A-O-A mommy!"

He walks up to Aaron - "A-O-A Aaron"

Oh, and speaking of Aaron; Peter recently started calling him by name, but he procounces it "E-ann" (or Ian).

Hopefully we will have a new video camera soon to start catching this stuff on video!

One liner...

One of the many things that make our marriage work is Brett's and my insainly corny sense of humor. We crack each other up on a daily basis with silly-ness and wit, as proven tonight:

I was had just come into the bedroom after brushing my teeth and Brett was sitting on our bed reading news on his iPhone.

Brett - Oh no! The voice of Mickey Mouse died today.

Me - Gosh, that IS sad; but the rest of him is OK, right?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sun and Nick get married!

The first weekend in April was a very exciting one - my friend Sun married her finance Nick!

Sun and Nick had started dating the year before, and it was clear from the start that they would be spending their lives together. In the 10 years that I have known Sun I have never seen her happier, and I was delighted to help celebrate their nuptials.

To help Sun and Nick keep their wedding budget lower Brett and I decided that he would stay home with Peter and I would bring Aaron as my wedding date.

Aaron wore Peter's old tux from his God Parent's, Alex and Troy's, wedding last year and he was absolutely the cutest guy there!

Nick's father is a minister at the church where Sun and Nick were married and preformed one of the nicest ceremonies that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. He obviously loved the bride and groom as individuals and as a couple, added humor and a personal touch to his words, while talking about the importance of faith in their marriage.

After the service we joined the wedding party back at the hotel for dinner and dancing at the reception.

For the father/daughter dance, Sun changed into a traditional Korean wedding dress and kept it on for the remainder of the wedding.

The DJ for the evening was a friend of Sun's who did a great job with crowd involvement, including asking everyone who was married for 20 or more years to come up on the dance floor to give the bride and groom advice on how to make their marriage work.

The #1 answer from the men was "She is always right!"

Aaron danced a little with my Aunt Marilyn, before he passed out and we decided to head home.

The wedding was so beautiful and we are so happy for Mr. and Mrs. Wilkoff!

More pictures can be found by clicking here, and using "sunshine" as the pass word.

Wedding anniversary #2

Back in March Brett and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary!

We decided to go to "Color me Mine" - a pottery painting place, and then dinner at P.F. Changs.

At the pottery place there were TONS of pieces to pick from, but since we wanted to give each other something we would use a lot we chose to make each other coffee mugs.

After carefully planning out design and color schemes we spend 2 hours painting (they said for best results you need to make 4 coats of each color).

By 8:00pm when they closed we still were not done painting, so they kicked us out! We had to take home our unfinished pieces home and will bring them back to finish at a later date.

Dinner was great, and we finally got to talk. During the painting we were so busy focusing on our mugs that we hardly said a word to each other!

We look forward to the "China anniversary date #2" when we go back to finish our mugs, so we will post those when the project is complete.

P.S. Thank you to Mike and Sarah Merrill for babysitting!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

No so "Jammin" Java

I have written before about taking the kids to Jammin Java in Vienna for their kids shows. Usually we go on Tuesday to see Mr. Don or Friday to see Banjo Man.

However, back in March we tried going on a Monday to see Miss Belle.

Miss Belle target audience must be little girls, because most of the audience was 2-5 year old girls who all danced in a circle together and didn't seem interested in letting Peter join them.

We still had a good time, but I think we will stick to Tuesdays and Fridays from now on!

Visits to Damascus

At the beginning of this year Brett and I made a resolution to visit his father, Steve more often so that he could see the kids and we could be better about staying in touch.

Since then Brett has been taking monthly (or sometimes more than once a month) trips up to Damascus with the boys. I have taken a few trips with them, but usually this is a way for them to have some male bonding and I stay home. Brett has also done this when I am out of town, sick or just needed a morning to clean the house!

These trips are a high light of the weekend whenever Brett goes. Steve is absolutely wonderful with Peter and Aaron and they always have a really good time playing at the house with Steve's dogs or going to the park near his house.

Here are a couple pictures from a recent trip: