Thursday, August 21, 2008

Welcome, welcome ...

... to the newest nephew in my family (the Leach side). My younger sister Shauna just had their second baby this week. The last I heard the name was still being debated, so I've taken to calling him lil' baby D (for dos - which is two in Spanish. Perfect since he's their 2nd child). He was 8 lbs 13 oz and 21 inches long - and that's being born early (37-ish weeks).

Look how fun their little family is! I'm sure Shauna will kill me later for posting this, but I think it's the cutest picture ever - so bring it on sista! WE LOVE YOU!!!

(thanks Gma Leach for the pics & Gpa Leach for posting them online)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie

On Wednesday a little bird fell out of the plum tree and onto the soft grass. The mother bird was chirping furiously as Ryan tried to rescue the little guy. However, we couldn't find a nest anywhere in the tree so we didn't know what to do with him once rescued. So I made a make-shift nest (more like a bed of grass) in an old lettuce container.

The kids were thrilled with their new little friend. Finley wanted to hold the container and protect him from Berlin. Finn sat so still so as not to scare him, then chatted him up for a bit. Berlin wanted to hold him too, but her giddy excitement was a little harder to contain/control so she just got to look at the bird (she was NOT happy about this - hence the scowl below).

Once the kids were done looking we put the bird on the planter wall in hopes that it's mother would come for it. When Ryan checked on it a few hours later, the bird was gone. Ryan was very excited thinking the momma bird had come and helped it fly away or something. Worry-wart me was sad thinking that 1. it had hopped out of the container, 2. fallen inside the planter only to die overnight, or 3. a neighborhood cat got it, or 4. it was lying in the grass just waiting to be mowed... you know, all the negative stuff I could think of. I should probably work on being more optimistic.

Either way, our little birdie friend is now gone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

our Family ABC's

I saw this on my sister's blog (Becky) and thought it was super cute. So, with Finley starting preschool in a few weeks, I thought I would brush us up on our ABC's. I omitted pics to keep it shorter - Sorry!
* * *
A: ADVENTUROUS - we love to travel and try new things. Ok, well Ryan and I love to try new things. We're working on the kids being more brave, but that will come with time. New food, new destinations, new activities, new experiences ... we welcome you with open arms (that doesn't mean we do so without butterflies in our tummies). ADULTS - yeah, Ry and I are adults, nothing new, but sometimes it's hard to believe and it amazes myself. But it's pretty great.

B: As in our last name. BERLIN, as the greatest little snuggle-bug I could ever ask for. She is also known as BOO around our house. BEAR LAKE, the best place to retreat to during the summer. BENTLEY, the most loyal and sweet dog a person could hope for.

C: CYNTHIA, that's me - the big kahuna. Someday I will relinquish the big part back to Ryan and become the little kahuna once again. COOL BLANKIE - Finn's lovingly named security blanket.

D: DOG - Bentley and his incessant love of the water and chasing & catching the tennis ball. DOGGY - Berlin's obsession with all things doggy is very funny. She has a built in doggy radar. DIET COKE - enough said. DISNEYLAND - the place that Finley asks for on a daily basis. Guess we should have thought better before promising him a trip to Disneyland once he was all pottytrained because he's cashing in those chips as we speak. And the possible location for Ryan's next big family vacation (or so I've heard).

E: ENDURANCE. Sometimes it's just about enduring through potty training, through tempertantrums, thru gym routines, etc. Then it's about ENJOYING the rewards, less diapers to buy & change, happy silly kids ready to play and listen and give hugs, and someday seeing the weight start to fall off. ETERNAL FAMILIES - it gives purpose and meaning to what I'm doing in this life. Without it the ups & downs of raising a family would mean nothing. ELLIPTICAL TRAINER - my current fave piece of equipment at the gym.

F: FAITH in knowing that every sacrifice we make is recognized and rewarded by our loving Savior. FINLEY, the silliest, most imaginative little guy I know. His giggle brightens my day and makes me smile inside & out. FAMILY & FRIENDS - they give me sanity & strength to get thru the day.

G: GERMANY - the birth place of both of Ryan's parents, one of our favorite travel destinations, has some of the best food out there, home of Ryan's fave international soccer league, and the place of our next BIG vacation (Fall 2009)! GIRAFFE - Berlin's favorite animal at the zoo. Finn is informing me right now that he has no favorites and in fact hates all the animals at the zoo. Hmmm.

H: HOPE - that if we endure, the blessings will be had. HOT - the way mother nature intended it to be. No snow, no cold, no ice. Just hot summer days with the occasional rain shower.

I: iPOD - our personal jukebox courtesy of Ryan, our in-house DJ. The source of music for our many spontaneous dance-offs. Berlin shaking her booty is a pretty cute thing indeed. IKEA - Finley's favorite restaurant and my fave place to walk & shop.

J: JUMPING - for JOY that Finley's potty training is pretty much done. That he went in the potty at Target yesterday instead of wetting himself. JUMPING from the couch to the ottoman which are Finley's favorite things to do. JEDI - Finley just achieved Jedi status and received his very own Green lightsaber for having pooped on the potty 5 times in a row!!!

K: KICKING soccer balls - one of our favorite backyard activities. Finley and Ryan can often be found outside in the evenings practicing their goal kicks and celebration dances for Finley's new soccer season starting in Sept.

L: LOLLIPOPS - Finn & Berlin love these and Dum-dums are a staple in our home. LUKE Skywalker - this is whom Finley has decided to be for Halloween. Should be pretty easy. We already have the LIGHT SABER and belt, and Finn's hair is totally rocking the shaggy Luke look. All I need is the white karate uniform.

M: MONKEYS - phew! Finley does like atleast one animal at the zoo right now ... the Tamarind Monkeys (the little orange ones) that always seem to get frisky when we visit. MONEY - the one thing I don't seem to have enough of.

N: NOSE - my ever growing one. Looking at old pics the other day I realized my nose is bigger than it used to be. I totally blame my head-butting children & nephew :) for all the times they caught be off-guard and wacked their solid-as-a-rock noggin into my hose. NOGGIN - Finley's very large and hard head, Berlin's very small yet hard head.

O: OCTOBERFEST - the one time of year where it's not "odd" to dress Finn up in his lederhosen is COMING!!! And this year Berlin will debut the festivities in the Dirndle we picked up in Germany when I was 5 mos preggo with her. Ry and I have already begun planning the festivities for our first ever Octoberfest KWGCS party (sans the alcohol of course).

P: POOL - we try to go every Tues & Thurs at the Wightman's house. Finley loves it because he gets to play with all the girls, Berlin loves it because she gets to snack on all sorts of goodies, and I love it because I get to chat with my girlfriends while the kids swim & play. PLAYGROUNDS - one of kid's favorite places to go. POTTY TRAINING - once the bane of my existance, it is now a rewarding experience for Finley and I, and as of this past week is pretty much done with pull-ups except at night. HOORAY!!! Just another fact that PRAYERS are answered :) PACKING - almost done, almost done. PRESCHOOL - Finley starts preschool the end of Sept.

Q: QUACK QUACK - one of Berlin's favorite animal sounds. She loves to quack at home, in the car, outside, just for fun. She's actually a whole barnyard of sounds these days!

R: RYAN - the best father, husband, and friend a person could ask for. RELAX - something I really truly need, but don't seem to do/get lately. RAIN - something I love and can't wait for this fall. Rainy days are the best!!!

S: SEWING, SCRAPBOOKING - things that I love to do in my spare time. Aww .... SPARE TIME - something I don't have enough of these days. SUMMER - which is sadly coming to an end. STAR WARS - Finley's current obsession. SLIDE & SWINGS - favorite activity at the playground for both Finley & Berlin. SAUERKRAUT - I have had a long & loving relationship with this food item since I was a little girl. Guess it was all in preparation for marrying a German. SASSY - Berlin in a nutshell.

T: TRAVEL - without which I would go crazy. I love that Ryan is a traveler and that he is always game for exploring the many countries out there. France, Belgium, Austria, Germany, and England ... here we come Fall 2009!!! TREATS: Popsicles & otter pops. TICKLING - our favorite thing to do. We love to tickle the kids and they love to be tickled.

U: UNBELIEVABLE - that our house sold in less than 2 weeks, especially in this market. Unbelievable that we will be out of our home in a week. UNDERWEAR - spiderman underwear, Finley's fave choice. He helped pick them out. UNDESIRABLE neighbor - the one thing that makes moving from this house bearable.

V: VAMPIRES - the subject of the latest book sensation that has been the object of my tired eyes. I just finished Breaking Dawn. Hooray for happy, if not anti-climatic & cliche endings. VAL - my closest family member (in terms of distance) who will no longer be my neighbor - the one bad thing about moving.

W: WINTER - we hate you and all the snow & ice & cold that you bring. However, I am very excited for Christmas this year. So I guess you can come our way. WALKING - one of my favorite activities. We take long Sunday walks as a family and during the week the kids endure walking to the park in hopes of getting to play on the playground.

X: X-RAYS - the one thing I dread ever having my kids get because it usually means something bad happened ... broken bones, cracked skull, etc. Just not good. So far we've been lucky to avoid them.

Y: YODELING - Finley does this every once in a while and I have no idea where it came from. But it's pretty darn cute. YELLING - something that I find I do way too much with the kids. YUCK - Berlin says this anytime she had dirt or lint or food on her hands. She doesn't like dirty hands.

Z: ZOO - the place we go once a week for Finley to quickly peruse the animals and then rush over to the big snake slide. zzzZZZ's - something I don't seem to be getting enough of these days, or more apprioriately nights.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympic Park

Ryan's sister is in town from Baltimore and yesterday his family all went up to the Olympic Park in Park City.

Finley was pretty impressed with all the ski jumpers - well, for about 15 minutes or so. Then he just wanted to jump and run and play. But Ryan and I were pretty impressed - especially with some of the younger kids learning the ropes. It was fun to watch them while we waited for everyone to arrive. Maybe when Finley is older we'll consider one of the ski-jump camps they offer for kids.

Then we went to the Quiksilver Alpine Slide and the Zip line area. When we got there all Finley wanted to do was ride the lifts. We could have just ridden those all day and he would have been just fine. Of course, Ry did take him on the alpine slide a couple times. The first time around he was all grins at the bottom. The second time not so much - only tears ... because this time Ryan tipped the sled off the track and it kinda freaked him out a bit. But he was fine within minutes and running around with all the cousins.

Ry and I did the Extreme Zip line which was pretty cool, though it could have been a bit longer for the amount of money it cost. Guess we just need to go to Costa Rica to get some true zip line thrills. After 4 hours at the Olympic park and fightingcranky kids tired of taking pictures, and lack of real food & sleep, we went over to Peter & Lynnes home to watch the Opening Ceremonies (not really watch, just mock the team outfits) and eat Chinese food. It was a really fun afternoon/evening and we were so glad to share it with Ryan's family.