Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hannah's Big Day!

Today is Hannah's 4th birthday and she has been so excited to turn 4! She told me this morning she thinks she's a little bigger today. We started the day with some chocolate chip pancakes and strawberries for breakfast. Originally I had planned for us to spend the day together just as a family doing lots of fun things with Hannah, since we've just moved and don't yet know many people. Also, with all that's been on our plate after a big move, that just sounded easier. But during the last week I decided to switch gears because Hannah has been pretty sad off and on missing her friends in Nashville. So, I decided to invite the few kids we do know at the last minute for a party at the park. I thought if 1 or 2 show up that will be great. Everyone I invited came plus a couple of extras! It was awesome and Hannah had a blast! And it was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside.

Here's a good sister pic.

Of course she had to have a Princess cake!

Here's all the kids that helped make Hannah's day so special!

How many girls can you fit on a tire swing?!

Kaitlyn doesn't need company to have a great time.

This park is awesome. The girls are at the foot of a big hill about to go exploring on some trails through the woods.

Kaitlyn found a new favorite - the slide. She finally worked up the nerve to slide by herself and after landing I'd pick her up and she'd point to the top and say "again". So I'd sit her at the top and off she'd go.

After leaving the park we joined our new friend Addison and her brothers at Subway for lunch. I think these two will get along just fine!

After Subway Hannah got to go on a Toys 'r Us shopping spree, thanks to Grandma. She came out with quite a loot! Here are Grandma and Hannah with 2 of her favorites - Belle and Cinderella!

Hannah's been wanting to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for awhile, so we took her there for dinner. Kaitlyn could hardly sit still in her high chair in the concert room. She literally danced through dinner!

And finally, we gave Hannah her first bicycle. She was very excited to get it and was riding it fairly well down the street this evening.

We are so very thankful for Hannah and the joy she brings to us. And after only being here a little more than 3 weeks we were amazed at how things came together for Hannah to be able to play with so many new friends. God knows just what she needs and has shown us today that He's providing for her too. She even met a new friend at Chuck E. Cheese's tonight. They were inseparable, so of course I had to exchange phone numbers with her mom so the girls can play again. Thanks to our sociable daughter, we are getting to meet people pretty quickly! We are all exhausted, but it's been a very good day!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Birthday Surprise

Hannah was surprised yesterday by an early birthday delivery. Eddie & Brenda and Kevin & Tricia, her former IBC Sunday school teachers and good friends sent her a cookie bouquet. The delivery guy called us before arriving, so we let her answer the door. She felt so special to receive her very own personal delivery! The funny thing was she couldn't quite understand how our friends got the cookies here all the way from Nashville! They were good to send them early. It's going to take her at least a week to eat these cookies - maybe less with a little help. :)

Exciting Discoveries

I've discovered 2 things this week that really excite me......

1) Chevy's Fresh Mex - We had Father's Day dinner here and I must admit that I was delightfully surprised. I never dreamed this Texan would like a NW Mexican food restaurant this much. But it was the most like Tex-mex I've ever tasted, not being in TX. I mean, it ranks up there with Papasitos, people! Not quite, but almost. And that's good enough for me. The best part is, it's not even 10 minutes from our house! :)

2) Fred Meyer's Playplace - Fred Meyer is kind of like Wal-Mart, except all of them include groceries. I've been twice this week. The first time, I get into the store and realize I left my lengthy grocery list at the house. So, I'm having to shop by memory, I don't know where anything is and I have Hannah who is asking a question a second and Kaitlyn who doesn't want to sit still. I end up having to cut my trip short b/c Kaitlyn gets too upset to continue. So, today I went back to finish shopping. I had less than 10 items so I'm thinking, "We can do this." Since I still don't know how this store is set up, I'm walking back and forth looking for my 8 or so items, mostly with Kaitlyn in my arms as I'm pushing the cart. She kept standing up in it and refused to sit. Then Hannah says she needs to go potty. I only had a couple more things to buy, but I definitely didn't want an accident to add to the fun. I finally found the restrooms at the front of the store. As we were making our way there we passed the "Playplace". It's basically a staffed play area where you can drop off your children, ages 2-5, while you shop! They do have a time limit of 1 hour, but who wants to be in a grocery store for longer than that anyway? They had me read and sign a list of rules, show my ID, sign Hannah in and out and they gave us matching bracelets, so I felt comfortable leaving her there while I finished shopping. It's genius. I can't believe this idea hasn't caught on in more places. I will definitely choose to shop there over other grocery stores - especially when Kaitlyn reaches 2! I had to laugh though after my 2 experiences this week - that I didn't even realize it was there until we were almost done today!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mt. Rainier

This past Friday we visited Mt. Rainier and it was some of the most beautiful creation I have ever seen personally. It is about 75 miles south of Seattle and towers in the city's skyline on a clear day. It is a part of the Cascade Mountain Range.

The girls' favorite part of the trip was getting to play in the snow. Hannah loved having snow ball fights and Kaitlyn loved eating it. Snow ball fights in June - never would have thought we'd do that!

The scenic pictures don't do it justice, but at least they give you an idea of our experience.

The following are pictures of Mt. Rainier's peak.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Change. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's not. For me it's almost always a challenge either way. Here are a few interesting changes, for better or for worse, we are having to get used to in a new place....

1. Wearing jeans and sweatshirts in JUNE. Yes, the weather has been quite chilly even during the day. People are telling us that this is unusual for June. I'd say. I do feel bad complaining too much though since our friends in Nashville and TX are sweating in the 90-degree heat! We do have a nice gas fire place that comes alive at the flip of a switch. That's pretty cool.

2. Living in a 2-story house. I know I'm out of shape when I'm feeling a little sore simply from living in a 2-story for 2 weeks!

3. Having a microwave that is smarter than I am. For instance, if you want to reheat pizza. You push "reheat". Then it gives you a choice of several food options, pizza being one of them, so you push "pizza". Then it gives you the option of choosing "thin crust" or "thick crust". Once you've made that choice, then it asks how many slices you are reheating. Once you've inputed all the appropriate information, it automatically sets itself and the pizza is heated to perfection. Amazing. Some of you may think this is no big deal. But, up until now, we've had a hand-me-down microwave that was probably one of the first ones out on the market.

4. Living in a brand new house - no remodeling necessary. Hallelujah!

5. No Blue Bell Ice Cream - This one's a tough one. We finally got it in Nashville a couple of years ago, then we left. Shame on us!

6. Seeing snow-capped mountains in the distance as we drive around town. This is very nice.... very, very nice. In fact we are about an hour away from the nearest ski slopes. Can't wait for ski season!!

7. No Sonic or Chick-fil-a. In fact, while there are a variety of fast food restaurants here, they are not on every corner as we are used to. No Taco Bell either. Although there is "Taco Time", which we haven't ventured into yet.....

8. Seeing the sun come up around 5:30 a.m. and not go back down completely until almost 10 p.m. It's definitely got Hannah confused about bed time!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Downtown Seattle

After a week and a half of mostly unpacking, painting and settling in, we went sight seeing today downtown with my parents. It was a nice June day with a high of 59! No rain though.

Our first stop was lunch at Ivar's right on the Puget Sound. We ate fish 'n chips and then fed our left-overs to the seagulls. They were eager and Hannah got a kick out of it!

Then we headed to the famous Pike Place Market. Wow! We'll have to go back to experience it fully - 3 levels of cool restaurants and vendors selling fresh farm produce, flowers and many other items. This picture is taken right in front of the fish market. We even saw them throw a few.

Here's the group (decked out in jackets) just after seeing the very first Starbuck's. It's really not much to see. Just a coffee shop - and a small one at that.

After Pike Place we visited the Seattle Aquarium located right on the Sound as well. Kaitlyn's favorite part was posing in this octopus. Really. We could hardly get her to leave this spot. She also really liked looking at all the colorful fish and pointing at them.

Here's Hannah being "attacked" by a huge octopus! It's a good thing she escaped b/c she had a blast going through the aquarium.

These last pictures are of us at Kinnear Park on Queen Anne Hill overlooking the city and the Sound. It's really a beautiful place. If it was a clear day you could see Mt. Ranier just to the right of the skyline. Kaitlyn missed out since she was sound asleep and we dared not wake her.

Being in the NW has made us all a little crazy!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hannah's "Pre-Birthday" and Other Pictures

Today we celebrated what we called Hannah's Pre-Birthday. She will turn 4 on June 25. But since Grammie and Pawpaw are in town, we celebrated with them today. The theme, of course, was Princesses. We had chocolate cake and banana splits.

Here's the big gift - a sandbox! It's one thing we can actually fit in our back yard. It was a big hit as you can see. Thanks Grammie & Pawpaw.

Kaitlyn thought the sand looked tasty. The little dab on her chin is the left overs.

Here's Hannah going to town on the drums. Dale is so excited that we finally have some space for them. We have a great little music room stocked with his drums, guitar and our piano. It's already made for some great conversation starters with delivery and installation people who have been in our home.

We decided to have an indoor "beach party" today since it's too cold to have a real one. It's been in the 50's and 60's during the day here!! Is it really June? I need some summertime weather!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Airport Adventure

Janet didn't know what she was getting herself into when she offered to take the girls and me to the airport last Tuesday for our flight to Houston. But I sure don't know what I would have done without her!

First, we park. Then we begin unloading the car. As I am attempting to get Kaitlyn out I notice some stuff on her arm and then the stench hits me. My first thought is, "Surely, this isn't happening NOW!" As I explore, my fears are confirmed. Yes, poop has exploded out of Kaitlyn's diaper and it's all over her and the car seat. Since I am exhausted, overwhelmed and emotional BEFORE this incident, the next few moments consist of exclamations of panic.

If someone had videoed the next several minutes I'm sure we could get some money from it. The Shrum vehicle happened to be stocked with a bath towel and a comforter. So, I take Kaitlyn out of her seat and wipe her down as much as possible with the towel. By then Janet has laid the comforter on the parking garage floor. So, I lay Kaitlyn on the comforter, strip her down and use most of my wipes trying to clean her lower half. All the while, Hannah is yelling from inside the suburban, "I want to get out! I want to get out!" Thankfully Janet had me laughing about all of this or I might have had a major breakdown. So, I pull a new outfit from the suitcase, restock my wipes and Kaitlyn is good to go. In the meantime Janet is trying to clean the car seat as best as possible with some baby shampoo. It helps a little. We put one of my t-shirts in the car seat as a buffer between it and Kaitlyn and back in she goes. We calm Hannah down and convince her to roll her own suitcase and between the 3 of us somehow get all of our stuff into the airport.

Once in the airport the action never stops.... check the luggage, get through security with 2 small children, grab something quick to eat for dinner at the gate... By the time we get to the gate we have about 10 minutes before we begin to board. We say our goodbyes to Janet and I am left to get the 3 of us successfully on the plane, which was a bit of a chore.

We finally get settled in at our seats and I am just beginning to catch my breath when Hannah says, "I need to go potty." "Of course you do!" I think to myself. Janet and I both tried to get her to go potty before we got to the gate and she adamantly refused. By now everyone on the plane is seated. Not wanting another accident, I flag a stewardess to see if we have time for a potty break before we start taxiing down the runway. We do. So, with Kaitlyn in one arm and Hannah in front of me we make our way to the very tiny airplane restroom. The 3 of us squeeze in as I assist Hannah with getting onto the seat and then washing her hands, all while holding Kaitlyn. Thankfully she's so laid back she could have cared less where she was at that moment.

The rest of the trip was comparatively uneventful. Although about mid-way through I began to smell Kaitlyn's car seat. I just prayed the people around us couldn't!

Insights Gained: 1) Always arrive at the airport really early when traveling with small children. You never know what might happen. 2) In such an event, it's helpful to have a friend along who happens to keep random household items in her car, can help you see the humor in it, and will still talk to you later. 3) Baby shampoo doesn't mask a poop explosion for long. 4) Without children I wouldn't have nearly as many interesting stories.......


Here are some long awaited photos....

Hannah and Kaitlyn trying to stow away in a box as we're packing in Nashville.

The boys took lots of pictures of their road trip. Here's a few:
St. Louis, MO - the first big city they went through on the trip.

Kansas City, MO

The grand state of Iowa. Dale said this is what the whole state looks like.

The guys tried to see Mt. Rushmore but it was too overcast to see it. They were pretty bummed about that! But seeing the famous sculpture of a bull's head in South Dakota brought their spirits up....... What in the world?!

Here's our moving truck towing our Saturn in Wyoming.

Some beautiful Montana mountains.

The Columbia River in Idaho.

And here they are at our house in Seattle! They look pretty good after a 3 1/2 day road trip!