Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cursed Christmas Cards

So, the rule of me trying to do Christmas cards this year - if it could go wrong, it did. First problem was me procrastinating, but I still thought I could get everything done Sunday and mail them Monday. My grand idea was to do Christmas postcards, it seemed simpler and cheaper. The latter was the only thing that turned out to be accurate. Sunday Kevin wanted to stay home and clean, so I took Mason to OfficeMax to buy supplies and print the photos. The photo machine wouldn't read my camera card and I couldn't find the supplies I wanted. Mason was being a brat, so I just went home. Monday at lunch I went to a different OfficeMax, knowing exactly what I needed to buy, and still needing to print photos. I bought what I needed, but their photo machine was down. On my way home from work that day I stopped at Walgreens and ordered the photos, not to be ready for 3 more hours. So I went home, printed my letter up beautifully, had the labels all ready. I went back to Walgreens 4 hours later and they told me their printing machine had died. More wasted time and still no photos. Tuesday after work (no time at lunch) I went to Target to print photos (I was very upset with Walgreens and didn't like their photo options anyway). I chose the one Target in the city that does not have a photo machine. On my way home I stopped at the post office to buy postcard stamps, but the office was closed and they don't sell stamps in their lobby. At this point I'm near tears. I didn't think there was any way I would get my Christmas cards out in time for even New Year's! Hubby to the rescue. He suggested go up north near my parents house where it's not busy and there are a lot of businesses. That post office did not have postcard stamps either. Walmart had the right stamps, that place was a zoo. We went to CVS and successfully printed the pictures, they are lovely. So that night while relaxing and watching TV I made out the postcards and put them in the mailbox this morning. Kevin asked if it was worth all the trouble (probably on Monday) and if I had known it would be that terrible, no I wouldn't have done the pictures. But Monday everything was ready except for the photos, it seemed silly not to finish them. I'm so happy they're done and hope you enjoy receiving yours! -Erika

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Tonight we went to a community in Tucson called Winterhaven that has become a touristy holiday event. Every home decorates with lights, some quite extravagantly. They have horse-drawn carriage rides and trolleys, but we walked. There were huge displays, like the "12 Days of Christmas" and a large Thomas train going around a track. Mason almost cried when we left that one, but he was great the whole time, enjoyed the "Pitmas light."

This display was like a mini Bellagio water show. The lights and water were synchronized to Christmas music. The water was simple, but the entire display was very impressive for someone's yard! We enjoyed the neighborhood immensely, forgot we live in a desert.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

This may be our last post for a while, we will be going to Ohio for Christmas! We are very excited, it has been four years since we've gone home for Christmas. We miss our family very much! We've been having fun getting ready for Christmas. Mason loves the tree and the ornaments and is mostly good about leaving them alone. He demanded to play with the train ornaments, so they're a little beat up now, but not too bad. He loves snowmen, and loved a snowman snowglobe. We knew better than to let him play with it, but he usually listens. He smashed it once on the table and Kevin said "No." He promptly smashed it again and it broke. Still, we're enjoying the season and can't wait to see Mason's face when he opens his presents.

Mama and Mason made some crafts, Mason really likes the snowman. He is upset it doesn't have a hat, though. Mama didn't know how to do that one. Mason did well making the crafts, you can tell he's maturing. To look at him you'd never guess he was still not even three, but he still can't ride a tricycle and talks a lot of baby nonsense. Every now and then he says some really funny things. He says "Get booty!" when he wants to play the game where we chase him and then tickle his bottom :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Trains, trains, and........still trains

Mason's typical day: wake up, play "choo-choo", eat breakfast while watching Thomas the train, play choo-choo, go outside, play choo-choo, watch Thomas, nap, play choo-choo, watch Thomas, play choo-choo, go outside, play cars, play choo-choo, maybe watch Thomas again, then bed. He is officially obsessed now. His favorite book is "The Caboose That Got Loose." We read it twice a day and he must have it memorized because he read an entire line himself: "The engines were steamers with puffing smokestacks" (though pronounciation was not precise). So, when he vomited on that very book this morning, panic set in. Erika tried washing it, which only got the entire book wet. That damage on top of the already degrading binding means we'll be asking for a new one for Christmas. Don't know why he got sick, he's fine now. We went to the library and got more books by the same author, but they don't have the caboose book. The positive of his train obsession is that the train set we bought him last May was not a waste of money. He also loves the Disney movie Cars and has a few diecast replicas of the characters that he loves. He's very much into the transportation theme. We've already gotten him a few Thomas trains for Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a fun Turkey Day, relaxing in the house and cooking as few things as possible to reduce leftovers. Though Mason usually likes chicken/turkey, he would only eat bread, tomatoes, and marshmallows. Untypical of the desert is that it rained all day, leaving us inside on Mama's day off:( Not that it totally mattered since someone had vandalized the playground and completely ruined the slide.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, everyone will be thinking about Christmas, especially toymakers. Mason was looking very intently at the Toys'R'Us ad. Thank goodness he doesn't understand what it is or that Christmas is coming.

He's such thoughtful boy. We bought new tennis balls for Dizzy and Mason wanted to give one to her. He said to her, "You have it."

He was being so cute one day, wanted to wear Kevin's hat.

He loves rough-housing and made up a car-crash game in which he would slam into Kevin's car and they would fall to the ground.

Mama stepped in to give Kevin a break, tile floor is not pleasant to fall on.

Yea! OSU beat Michigan, go Buckeyes!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nana in Town

Nana came to town and we of course have been non-stop busy and having fun. We went to Chiricahua National Monument where we did an easy, amazing hike. It was cold there, we were at about 7,000 feet elevation. But Mason did great. He only got upset when we showed him the lizards and we wouldn't let him out of the backpack to play with them. He was quiet on the hike and got tired of us wiping his running nose (because it was so cold), but when we finished he said "That was a nice hike." Then we came down the mountain and had a picnic in a slightly warmer valley.

Mason loves his Nana, but really misses Paw-paw who couldn't come on this trip. Nana is so great about taking Mason to fun places and doing fun activities. She made bathtub fingerpaints and Mason loves making a mess with those!

We did like the instructions said and played with the paints in the tub, and that was such a mess! Mason did little painting and they just dissolved in the bath water. He needed a separate shower after that.

The next day Nana gave him the paints in the shower with no water and he put his creativity to work! He still got a shower afterwards, but the adults felt better about him not sitting in dirty water.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

In Loving Memory

Last night our cat Vedder passed on. We knew he was sick, and he had a vet appt Monday, but he quickly declined over the weekend. We knew at that point there was nothing the doctors could do, so we let him pass. He didn't seem to suffer. He was a wonderful cat in his youth, but became more solitary after Mason was born. We'll remember his quirks, like how he woke us up for treats, loved being outside, and demanded ice in his water.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

First Trick-or-Treat

10-31-08: Mason's first halloween spent trick-or-treating was slightly disappointing, though he was the cutest cowboy on the block. He was terrified of all the scary costumes and refused to go to most peoples' doors. We made it around half the block and came back to our house, and he refused to go on anymore, didn't even want to stay outside to pass out candy. On top of that, Erika got home so late from work she didn't even have time to change out of her scrubs. She put on her scrub cap and pretended to be in costume as a surgeon (though the neighbors knew it was a farce). Kevin was great at passing out the candy, Erika would have eaten it all herself!

The trick-or-treating pair.

Speed treating!

He of course loved the candy.

The following day we went to Madera Canyon to camp. Unfortunately we got there too late (stayed in town Friday to trick-or-treat), so the campground was full. We had a picnic, did an easy hike and Mason played in the stream.

Mason's new thing is to squeeze his eyes closed and say "cheese!" when you take his picture. It was funny at first but now we're having difficulty getting good pictures!

Today we finally got around to carving our pumpkin. Mason was a little like Erika at that age and less than interested, perhaps slightly disgusted. And Erika hasn't changed, still finds pumpkins to be one of the grossest things on the planet. Fortunately her gag reflex has matured and she tolerated the ordeal. Though Mason didn't care about the carving, Erika and Kevin had a blast making jokes about each other and Erika's bizarre aversion to pumpkins.

This shot may look familiar to some people.

Erika had no problem putting her creative skills to work so she could carve it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Apple Annie's Orchard

Last weekend we went to an apple orchard in Wilcox, AZ. Unfortunately it was so late in the season that there weren't any apples on the trees (would have been rotten), but we bought yummy treats. Then we crossed this disaster of a dirt road on which we thought the car was going to just start falling apart and spitting parts (Wilcox is in the middle of BFE AZ) to the same co.'s pumpkin farm. Mason picked a pumpkin, played in a tub of corn, went on a hayride, and was so cute! He's been talking so much lately and it's so much fun hearing what he has to say. He loved the "tractor" and "pumpkin patch."

"Too heavy!"

This was a huge washtub of dried corn! The kids thought it was the greatest thing in the world.

Yes, it is still the desert.

Mason jumping from the haybales.

It was really disappointing not to pick apples from the tree, but it was a really fun trip. We definately want to do it again next year.
Sadly Erika finishes her surgery rotation tomorrow and will begin a five-month rotation at the VA podiatry clinic Monday. At least it will be the end of her long days. Some days she would be in surgery past Mason's bedtime. This week she missed the family dinner three times. Those long days are hard on everyone, but at least she's learning a lot. The hours will be better next rotation (8-4), but won't be as exciting. She's finalizing her contract for a job here in Tucson. Only eight months left!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Green Bug

In our yard we had some type of jumping insect (maybe a katydid) that Mason found fascinating. Perhaps it was a juvenile, because it did not flee quickly. First Mason just watched it and poked it.

Then he got the courage to grab it and pick it up.

Unfortunately, nothing good can become of an insect in the hands of a two-year-old. If it was anything but a bug, Mama or Dada would have cared enough to save it. But its sacrifice was worth Mason's joy and appreciation for science.

Mason loved that insect, asked for it for days. We had to look in the yard everyday for another.

Everyone's sick right now with a cold, so we're not having very much fun. We were going to go camping this weekend but decided it probably isn't the best idea if we're not 100%. Hope the warm weather continues for a while.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finally Fall

Today was a beautiful day in Tucson, around 60 degrees and sunny. Mason was so excited when we told him we were going hiking. In the garage, he went to the backpack we carry him in and tried to put it in the car! We went hiking in Madera Canyon on a new trail called Dutch John Spring. It's a lot like the others in that area, shaded by tall oaks with lots of wildlife. We saw deer and water!

Mason saw this log and screamed "Oh! Alligator!" then ran and hid.

Dada trying to show Mason it's just a log, and Mason still hiding.

Snuggling to keep warm.

"Another stick!" Mason is oddly fascinated with sticks right now.

He really wanted to go near the water, but it was too cold. Next warm weekend we'll hopefully go camping there and have lots of time to play.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lion sheep

Over the weekend we went to a reptile show with Mason. He loved it, ran up to the cages saying "wow!" They had a petting area, he got to pet a giant tortoise and an alligator! No pictures of that unfortunately. He liked all of the snakes, turtles, frogs and lizards, but did not like the gila monster because of it's name.

Mason had bubbles all over his lion bath toy and Erika said, "Hey, that looks like a sheep!" Mason said, "That's not a sheep, it's a lion!" But after Mama explained how it is a lion, it just looks like a sheep, Mason now enjoys putting bubbles on the lion and calls it a "lion sheep."

So much fun with bubbles!
Dizzy just cannot have most toys, she promptly destroys them. The one above is supposed to be a duck, she ate the arms and feet off!

The culprits looking dejected and guilty.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Balloon game

This little guy will find the strangest activities fascinating. He thought touching the balloon, screaming, and throwing himself to the ground was hilarious! More amusing was when he handed the balloon to us and said "your turn!" That video will not be seen by the public.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dancing Cowboy

Mason has hit a developmental growth spurt and is doing astonishing things everyday and amazing us with his antics and talents. He is saying more sentences. Our favorite was "No Woowy, go away! Mama is making crackers." The poor guy is always being chased by Woody when he's eating. His motor control is improving, he can jump and land on two feet at the same time and build an elephant out of play-doh.

Nana and Papa came to visit and were as amazed as we are with the little man. We had so much fun with them: Erika's favorite part was the hike on Mt. Lemmon; Mason's was probably the swimming.; Kevin's was the football (the game we did win).

It was so mild at the top of Mt. Lemmon that there were a lot of plants and even flowers blooming. It was beautiful, Erika vowed to spend more time up there during the hot summers, it was such a nice way to get out of the heat.

Nana and Paw-paw in front of a "hoodoo" or tall thin spire of rock. The geology of Arizona is amazing.

Mason is turning into quite the climber!

He loves this roller slide and would only go down backwards.

Mason put on his cowboy hat today and was so happy to have it on. Kevin took him to the bathroom to look in the mirror and he started dancing! We had to dance with him and if we stopped he would say "Again?" We were exhausted from dancing so much but he was having a blast!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Columbus Lookback

We have new pictures of our trip to Columbus, and we're finally getting around to posting them. That was a great trip, and Mason misses his great uncles and aunts and especially Great-Grandma very much.

Nothing new here, everyone has been in great moods and we will count our blessings that nothing is going wrong right now (someone find me some wood).

Quote of the day by Kevin: "No, you can't use my nuts as a stepping block!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Swimming at Nana/Paw-paw's

Mason is getting even better at swimming, goes all over the pool by himself as long as he has his swimmies on. He of course never wants to leave, even though he's exhausted and freezing cold. He would have passed out in the car on the way home if clever Dada hadn't have stopped for "chicken and sauce" at BK. So Mason ate chicken tenders the entire way home and was able to take a good nap once we got home. But he woke up tired and puffy-eyed, the sacrifice for a day of fun.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Peeing mystery solved

For the past month one of the pets has been peeing in the house, in Mason's toyboxes, and then finally on the guest-bedroom mattress. This has been very frustrating for us. We finally figured out which animal has been peeing in the house - Vedder (the cat). He did it right next to Kevin, which was the first time we had caught the culprit. After inspection, it didn't smell like cat urine. We had never suspected him because none of the pee had smelled like cat. At least we have proof, but we still have to get the peeing to stop.

Sweet Pea (center) left yesterday after a week with us. Everyone had fun!
Addendum to previous post: Kevin loves taking care of Mason, but a person needs some adult interaction to keep the brain stimulated.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Love our boy

Mason has been a cutie today. He has been hamming it up for every picture, and saying "cheese!"` This was after we had been playing with the garden hose making rain.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Desperate for money

We've been looking into ways for Kevin to work from home for a little extra money. He noticed a large demand for Coach purses, so he found a reputable site that sold authentic coach purses. Of course, they turned out not to be authentic. It is illegal to sell knock-offs, so we're stuck. We'd be happy just getting our money back, they were $50 each. They are beautiful bags, no one would know they're fake and you don't have to pay $300. I kept one myself and love it, I get compliments on it and feel stylish and trendy and am proud that I didn't pay a fortune for it. If anyone would like one, I can give more details and pictures and ship it to you. They are both on the large size, the smallest one is 14"x 10", both have lots of nice pockets inside.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

C is for Cookie

Mason loves his sweets like his Cantrell/Christenson roots demand. He's devouring a cookie, M&M's first. He even got chocolate up his nose.
Today we finally found two matchbox cars that Mason has been asking for (for days). They were in a Ritz crackers box! Leave is to kids to hide their beloved toy where no one would ever look.