Saturday, April 20, 2013

We {heart} Walt Disney World

For Ethan's 3rd Birthday, we surprised him with a trip to Disney World.
We all couldn't wait :)
On his birthday, February 8th, he got this WDW Countdown Calendar:

Everyday he got to take off a pair of Mickey ears as we neared D Day!
{Also helped with learning numbers, counting, days of the week... and of course... learning to anticipate and wait}

Ethan had his Bouncetown Birthday Party then the very next day we left for the airport!
This was the first time the 3 of us rode on an airplane alone... without any other family members.

We chose this hotel because every morning we could look outside and see wild animals in the backyard savanna. It's like being in the heart of Africa!

When we arrived, however, the sun had gone down. If we wanted, we could have used the night vision binoculars to see the zebras and warthogs...

Instead, we opted for dinner!

We got a rose upon arrival...

We ended up eating dinner at Jambo House...

This silly goose delighted in taking his shirt off in public... at the restaurant.
The more Mark said "No" the more encouraged Ethan was... like a game.

Mark did all the parenting on this one... I couldn't help but snap away at the cuteness.
Yes... sometimes his cuteness trumps his defiance.
This would be - as I like to call - a parenting fail on my part.

But like I said... it was Mark's turn ;)

He really does crack himself up!

Good morning zebra, giraffe, yak...  savanna animals!

First Park: Disney Hollywood Studio
First Party Foul: Skinned Knee {while running towards the gates of glory!}

(1) Special Powdered Donut Breakfast (2) Bus Ride to the Parks (3) Ouch! (4) Buying our Passes


It rain stormed that day... but we made up for it with popsicles :)
This was our wettest and hottest day.

That night we dined at T-REX in Downtown Disney.
It was the best restaurant for our 3-year-old boy!

They had an area where the kids could dig up dinosaur bones...

Here's Dr. Ethan, Paleontologist, uncovering prehistoric jewels!

The rest of the restaurant is like the Rainforest Cafe but with Dinosaurs instead of Rainforest Animals.

I ordered a cotton candy margarita... it was delish :)

We had annual passes to Disneyland in California, and we found it cheaper to upgrade our passes to the "Premier Passport Pass"

How appropriate to have a Passport Pass in Epcot where you can see the world in a day ;)

China with his 1/4th Chinese boy

Now this was funny...
Ethan begged to see Chip and Dale! This meant that we had to wait in line to meet them.
By the time it was our turn, Ethan became unusually shy.
Unusual if you know our Ethan.

It was so odd.

In one snapshot it looks like he's praying with them.
You can see C & D making an effort to warm up to him
I tried helping but he was already over it.

So different from Ethan 5 months ago in Hawaii with these same characters

More shy boy pictures



Mark and I have been to WDW together 3 times before.
Each time we've tried to get into Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot's Canada.
It's close to impossible to get a reservation...
Fourth time's a charm, apparently.
And this time, we got to bring our little mini me who loooves steak!


Safari Ride

Dancing in the streets...
Ethan wasn't diggin' it. 

Back to Epcot for more food and fun...

Dinner at Chefs de France... one of our favs :)
Ethan having fun playing footsie with Mama



Dole Whips all around!

Magic Carpet Ride

Pirates of the Caribbean Gift Shop Fun!
So many weapons... 

Beauty and the Beast Town and Castle

Last dinner

Cheers to a San Francisco Treat... and no, not Rice-a-roni.
Ghirardelli Sundaes!!

Several nights we came back to the hotel and watched a show in bed, popped popcorn, and snuggled. 
It took a while to adjust to Florida time but we were always up for the fireworks!

A collection of videos from my iPhone 

We look forward to our next Disney trips when Ethan is tall enough to ride Star Tours and other fun rides. We have 1-2 more inches to go, but until then... we'll enjoy every last minute of the stage Ethan is in now: sweet, cuddly, fun, excited, full of life, thrill seeking, Mommy and Daddy loving, goofy, precious, and all (little) boy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ethan is THRE3!

As of February 8th, 2013 our sweet, baby boy is 3! 

Everyday I have the privilege to spend with Ethan, I get to know more and more about this little boy God created and blessed us with. 

If I could use one word to describe Ethan today, it would be JOY. 
He has it all: joy, zeal, imagination, energy...
He is truly a bright, beaming light... not a silent light... but shiny none-the-less!

Since I discovered I was pregnant with this little man, I've prayed everyday for him.
Among the laundry list of prayers I have for my two boys, for this one in particular, I've prayed that he would be a bright light for Jesus and he'd have a huge heart for God.
I can say with a grateful heart that Ethan is the light of our lives (and a few others ;)) and his heart is BIG.

Here's an update on Ethan Mark's Favorite Things:

Foods: noodles, tofu, chicken nuggets and french fries, BBQ meat, broccoli, frozen peas, edamame, popsicles, popcorn, lollipops.
Drink: Hot chocolate milk and sharing Daddy's smoothies at Jamba Juice and strawberry lemonades at restaurants.
Phrase: "You're kidding me, Mommy! You're just tricking me!!" and "Why?"
Toy: swords and bow & arrows
Friends: Emma, Ollie, & Nevaeh.... but cousins are always something to squeal about!
Movie: Robin Hood, Robin Good, Peter Pan, and most recently Toy Story
Pass Time: Sword Fighting, Wrestling Daddy, Chasing, Tickling...
Book: Children's Bible

He loves his "Gommas and Papas" more than anything. He is still a little fish and after several swim lessons can jump in the water and swim to the "island" or back to the wall. Ethan rides tricycles and scooters... builds castles and of course, knocks them down.  He isn't interested in crafts in the slightest but loves anything musical. He has greatly improved at circle time and sitting on a "polka-dot" in a group at church. Ethan is very social and loves kids and babies. He was potty trained for 2 months at 2.5 years then insisted on staying in diapers. 

E knows all his sounds and a few blends. Reading hasn't clicked yet... but we keep trying whenever I find the rare opportunity of interest. His asthma was better this year - Praise God! - and he can even hold his own mask for the nebulizer. His imagination is vivid. I often hear him creating stories and plots... many times involving Ham Giants, Fire Breathing Dragons, and Monsters. He is quite skilled at the bow and arrow and is brilliant at exposing his Daddy as a "softie". 

He loves "Family Noodle Nights" (at Mongolian BBQ) and "Family Pizza Nights". He asks "Why?" and "What?" far too much and still snuggles up to us... never enough. His fears have grown this year and is currently taking up residence in our room, in a toddler bed, because he gets scared at night. His hair is wild in the mornings and his heart is always full. 

He started picking his Mommy flowers and calling me a princess. Daddy is his "best friend ever" and still gets a running, leap-into-your arms welcome home hug each night. Daddy tucks E into bed and reads him "just one more" Bible story each night. 

E starts several words with an initial /g/. For example:
Ganana for Banana
Mr. Gatato Head
Gavaeh for his friend Nevaeh
Gatend for Pretend

When I ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he says "a Daddy."

We treasure our long weekend getaways to Disneyland where Ethan's favorite rides are Pirates of the Caribbean and the "Dinosaur Twain Wide" (Train that circles the park). He is becoming a skinny little thing but a good eater. 

I could go on... and I already have in his Birthday Journal Entry. Longest entry yet! I guess the longer I love him, the more I have to say... 

But I must stop somewhere.

For Ethan's 3rd Birthday, he chose a Thomas the Train theme at Bouncetown in El Dorado Hills.

Here are some snapshots of the party taken by my beautiful friend, Jen. 
She's slightly embarrassed with the way these pics came out (I'm thrilled!) because of the lighting.
Please check out her blog for AMAZING pictures here.
While you're at it, LIKE her Facebook page too!

Thank you, Jen! You have a gift, my friend!!


A few of the party animals...
(I just love the cousin love in the lower right)

Bounce One, Bounce All!


Group Photo


Cake time!

We love you sweet boy!
You have blessed our lives beyond the beyond!
Here's to another year packed with JOY, love, and adventure!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Sweet {New} Sister

My brother, Ryan, and his girlfriend Louise have been together for years. 
Too many to count on one hand...
While we were still living in Boston, she joined the family :)

This is us... back in 2007... or was it 2008?

As of January 2013, she is now my sister!
Ryan proposed to Louise during her birthday party.

Isn't she beautiful?

Here are a few pics of the party...
Everyone was there...
even Gibson ;)

Louise's Mama in the kitchen
Bros and Sissys chattin' away
Ethan playing "twains" with Jacob
Handsome Man eating his veggies :)

Family, Friends, and Canine!

Ry popped the question after the piƱata drop. Louise was the only one blindfolded... when she took off the blindfold, he was down on one knee.

She didn't even say yes, but instead ran and jumped on him!

Actions speak louder than words ;)

Welcome to the family, Louise!
I'm thrilled to have you as my "Sissy-law"... you are sweet, thoughtful, and loving.
You give the BEST BEAR HUGS ever and you make my brother so happy!

Congratulations to you two and Happy Birthday Louise!