Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

We enjoyed seeing what "Santa" brought as well as helping Brayden open his gifts. It was a fun time for us 4 and we ended the day with a nice ham dinner!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let It Snow...Let It Snow....

We've had such a fun week full of snow, snow and more snow!! School was cancelled for 3 days in a row- talk about houseitis! Today it has "dumped" on Vancouver, and of course Emily had to get in on the action. We spent the morning running errands and looking for a sled, but there were none to be found. I got my creative juices flowing with some help from a friend (thanks Rachel), and tied Emily's jump rope to a laundry basket and hauled her down the driveway. It was a blast!! A neighbor let us borrow their sled too so Emily and her friend had a ton of fun! As I type this 4 hours later it is STILL snowing. What an experience this has been!

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Know You Are In Washington When....

It snows not even a quarter of an inch and your child is out playing in the "snow." I had to take pictures of this classic moment for Emily. She went outside twice yesterday in all her glory!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Baby Is Growin' Up!

This past weekend we took some digital photo's to make holiday cards out of. They turned out really well. Now that we are a family of 4, it takes a lot of patience, coordination, good moods(critical for our youngest), and A LOT of wine afterwards for me to make it through this process. Emily was a gem and smiled pretty for the camera in most of the shots. This particular one I fell in love with, not because it's the greatest, but because it's the most casual, easy going photo of them all. I looked at it and got teary realizing that she looks SO grown up now and changes daily before our eyes! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Craft Project

This year I decided to do a little recycling craft project. We took old glass baby food jars and decoupaged red and green tissue paper on the body, stuck a candle inside and covered it with holiday material that Emily picked out. It was really fun and Emily loved helping. We are giving them to the neighbors along with some homemade peanut brittle. This was my first experience making it and quickly realized it's not as simple as I thought when I burnt the first batch! Second time is a charm and turned out pretty yummy so I will be making more soon. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Emily's First Christmas

I remember 2003 like it was yesterday. Emily's first Christmas was so wonderful and it was our first as a "family." I remember we got our first family photo done and the picture below to have Christmas cards made. Emily has always been photogenic and I loved her chubby cheeks. It is always fun to look back and remember those times. Now I look forward to this grown up Kindergartener who gets VERY into Christmas and helping me decorate. She is eager to see what Santa will bring her even though her dad keeps saying "a lump of coal." "Daddy you are just teasing" she says with a grin on her face. Each year becomes more special as she begins to comprehend the true meaning of this special holiday season. Happy December 1st!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This time of year I tend to be more "thankful" but I am trying to change my thinking so that this mindset is year round. We are so blessed in SO many ways but I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts....It helps me to remember the "good" things when I tend to feel down and complain about stupid things.

*I am so grateful to have the most amazing husband, ( who by the way thinks I don't do enough blogging about "him" so I hope to change that!) provider, and father to our 2 children. He works countless hours, goes on MANY business trips to Texas, yet still helps around the house when he can. He helps with our nightly bath time and takes Brayden in the late evenings so I can relax, watch TV, read or spend time on the computer. It helps my mindset and gives me a much needed break.

*We have been blessed with 2 amazing children who are bright, so full of life and love to smile and laugh. Yes, they have the typical red-headed personality but life would be REALLY boring without them. :) They keep me on my toes during the day and their faces light up when "daddy" comes home from work.

*I have to say something about the family I married in to. Yes, I was warned- in fact I laugh every time I think about that. A lot of people cannot stand their in-laws, but I happen to be very fond of mine as well as my two sister-in-laws and their families. I do not have sisters so Nikki and Holli are about as close as I'll ever get! Even though we are all spread far apart ( from 1 coast to the other) we still find time for Holsan family gatherings and next year it will be Holli's wedding! I love Holli's finance Pete. He is the nicest guy and the kids all love him, he'll be a great addition to the family.

*I am so fortunate to have my own supportive parents who are still living and together after many many years. My mother is my rock, my sounding board, my best friend and I don't know what I would do without her! My dad cracks me up with his funny emails and "mellow" personality. He doesn't let much phase him since retirement. I keep a special place in my heart for my brother and his family.

* I am very appreciative and blessed to live in such a wonderful neighborhood and have such great neighbors. We live on a street with lots of young families and kids. It is so fun to see them all out playing, riding their bikes, or digging for worms, bugs and anything else they can find. This is the first neighborhood that we've lived in, where I feel totally comfortable, supported, and most importantly safe.

* Finally I am thankful for my own health and well being and that I've been blessed enough to become a stay at home mom. It is the HARDEST job in the world but I wouldn't take a second back for anything. This season I am trying hard to simplify things and really remember why we celebrate the holidays. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Peek-A-Boo Look What I Can Do!!

Today was a BIG day for Brayden! We had to finally bust out the "cage" because he is everywhere and into everything! Brayden has played in it a lot today with his favorite toys and as you can tell from the pictures, has learned to pull himself up to a stand! Not bad for 7 1/2 months! I rejoice at all his recent accomplishments- crawling, sitting on his knees and now standing- but where did the time go? My baby is turning into a mobile, slobbery, devious little boy! In one of the pictures he has this "look" about him that says " I am trouble!!" The last picture really reflects his personality. HA! I don't think we're prepared for this. Oh well, I guess I'm just happy to have something to blog about!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged

I've been "tagged" by my good friend Audrey, whom I met in Kansas, but now lives in Oklahoma with her hubby and two boys and one on the way!

1) Post the rules on your blog
2) Write 6 random things about yourself
3) Tag 6 other people at the end of your post

1) I drink a lot of coffee every morning loaded with flavored creamer! My holiday picks are peppermint mocha and carmel apple. I love Starbucks and my favorite drinks are "white chocolate mocha" and "carmel macchiato." Love 'em sweet and rich!

2) I am STILL in transition from working to being a stay at home mom. I can't decide which is more work. I love the social life of working but wouldn't miss being with my kids for anything!

3) I need more sleep. I require at least 8 hours a night and I can't remember the last time I slept through the night! My son is not a very good sleeper like his sister was, so we are still in a daze over this one!

4)I have joined a Wed. night book club and I love it! There are lots of women with young children with a lot in common- my cup of tea! Right now we are studying "Living Simply" by Joanne Heim. It is the BEST book ever and for you Christian moms out there it is a MUST READ!!!

5)I love the Pacific Northwest! I like to find cool places to hike, trails to walk, and paths to explore with my daughter. I love the sunny days even more and the glorious mornings after a solid week of dark and rain! The wine here is plentiful and I love living near water, hills, Mt. Hood and St. Helen's! Sure beats Kansas!

6) Last but not least, I am trying to simplify the holidays through cooking less, shopping less, eating less and spending more time as a family, praying, sleeping, reading, walking and chatting with friends on facebook! ( can't forget that one- I'm hooked!)

People I tag:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can We Praise Children Too Much?

This seems to be the topic of the day for the Holsan household. I quickly found out at the bus stop today that we are not the only parents that ponder this question. I have learned a very humbling lesson today through dealing with my daughter who got in trouble for the first time today in her class. I began to wonder if we praise her too much for everything she accomplishes. After all, we are only trying to build her self esteem and make her feel good about herself. I also wonder if some of these issues stem from my childhood, but that is another story for another day... So I quickly googled, as I often do and came across an interesting article that I'd like to share with all of you. It made a lot of sense to me as I had an "ah ha" moment to myself. So here it goes....

This exerpt is taken directly from the article- good old copy and paste method. Not attempting to plagerize just really tired and don't feel like putting it into my own words :)

We’re often told that when we praise a child, we’re boosting their self-esteem, helping them become more confident and increasing their happiness. But now it appears that all types of praise are not equal, and some forms of praise may be detrimental to children. A 2007 article by Po Bronson, featured in New York Magazine, titled “How not to Talk to your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise,” references a study conducted by psychologist Carol Dweck.

Dweck’s study of 400 fifth graders revealed some interesting details about what occurs when we praise a child for being intelligent. From the study, Dweck discovered that telling a child “You’re smart,” corresponds to underachievement in the classroom. Conversely, if we praise a child by emphasizing that their work is helping them to “grow their brain muscle,” or to amass greater intelligence, they are more likely to have higher achievement in school. Students who were acquainted with the concept that attaining intelligence was a process, instead of the concept that they were naturally smart, tended to be more inclined to take on harder work. Some students in Dweck’s study group were told that the brain was like any muscle. It developed more the harder it was worked, and many responded accordingly even choosing to work on more difficult material so they could “develop” the brain muscle.

Children who were considered “smart” or who were praised for their intelligence tended to have two responses to this information. When work appeared hard, they generally didn’t want to do it, and typically underachieved in the classroom. They made the logical leap that work should be easy because they were smart, and when it wasn’t they became easily frustrated. They also, given a choice, chose easier work so they could showcase and prove that they were smart.

So I am going to reword/rethink my praise and see what happens. Emily is generally a very good student and well liked by her peers and teacher so you can imagine my horror/dismay/upset/dumbfoundedness when her teacher let me know about today's situation! I guess in a weird way I needed this to happen so I can learn and grow from the situation to become a better parent!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our Crazy Cat!

This morning Emily was playing with Taz, our male Seal Point Siamese cat, and when I checked on her, this is what I found! Taz LOVES Emily's soft dog and likes to lie in laundry baskets, so he was in Heaven! Taz is the most lovable male siamese cat and he's SO good with the kids. He's like a big teddy bear and I don't know what we'd do without him. He's 8 years old and shares the house with his half sister, Keisha, who is a Blue Point Siamese. Keisha is a typical spastic female but we love her none the less!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Brayden's New Toy

While my mom was here, she did her Christmas shopping for Brayden and Emily. Brayden got to have his early because he REALLY needed it now. :) Besides, at 7 months old, who is counting? (Emily of course. To help with that my mom gave her some pj's early.) He loves to jump and goes nuts over the lights and toys. It's amazing how far he's come in a month. He rolls all over the place and is up on all fours rocking back and forth. He gets his legs going and tries to move his hands, but his torsoe falls. Quite humorous to watch! He looks like a little frog. His two bottom teeth popped through and I can tell more are coming! Never a dull moment....

Emily's Big Day

This past Sunday Emily had a VERY big day! She lost BOTH her teeth. One in the afternoon and one after dinner. She pulled them both out. They needed to come out so bad because as you can tell from the picture, her new teeth were very much in! She was so brave through it all and the tooth fairy came Sunday and Monday night taking 1 tooth at a time. :) She was proud to put $4.00 in her kitty bank. My baby is growing up!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Inspirational Evening

My mom is in town for a week to visit and last Wednesday we went to a lecture and saw the renound psychic Sylvia Browne. Many of you may not even know who she is, some may know a little and some of you may be fans of her work. What made this evening so special is that my mother and I share a belief in her work and spiritual philosophy. I have read many of her books and agree with most of it, but have adopted the philosophy about life " take what you want/need and leave the rest." I'm trying to encorporate this in every aspect of my life.

Some of you have asked what we learned, what she predicted, or what her philosophies are. My mom and I put together the following categories for easy reference. The lecture was good, very humorous, and she answered a lot of questions. So, here is my recap....

This is what Syliva refers to as "Heaven". The Other Side is very real and a place most of us visit eventually, except for Dark Entities, which I will get into later. The Other Side is 3 feet above our ground level, which is why when you see spirits or ghosts, they float and appear to not have feet. We are all age 30 on the Other Side and are more "solid" than here on earth. When we pass we do go through a tunnel with a white light and all our loved ones greet us INCLUDING pets, yes they too go to the Other Side. They usually are the first ones to greet us. In her book "Temples on the Other Side" she describes various "Halls" that we go to upon entering and furthering our beings and the first is the "Temple of Wisdom" where we view our entire life. If you are interested in more, the book is really good.

She talked a lot about the meaning of Christmas, really celebrating in these hard times and it would be great if we could give our children oranges and they'd be happy because it's about the meaning of Christmas and the thought that counts. She talked about people's perception of Jesus and that he really is very dark olive complected with dark eyes and hair, unlike what people have created. She talked about the Father God and Mother God and the trinity. Do you know we are the only ones in the world that don't believe there is a Mother God or female entity to the trinity? Something to think about. She said that whenever she prays to Mother God, she always gets answers and help with whatever troubles her. The best part is, she believes that spirituality is about finding your OWN truth, not someone elses. It doesn't matter where you meet or even if you meet anywhere to worship.

Sylvia touched on this a little bit. The economy will get better by next Summer, gas prices will go down. She believes that the Earth will slowly lose population in the next 95 years. Infertility is on the uprise and it is because fewer spirits are coming to Earth, they are done and want to stay where they are. So, the biggest one was that OBAMA will win the election, that she wasn't happy with either candidate, but that it couldn't get much worse. She made a few political jokes that were quite humorous and well fitting for the Portland audience that she had. I felt right at home:)

This was by far the most useful to me. She said resolutions are useless because we break them and then feel guilty and we don't need to. She said instead, take a piece of paper and on the left side, write down everyone you know. Then on the right side, write down 1 word to describe them. Then look at your list. If you have any negative words, get rid of that person in your life, they are a dark entity. Dark entities are people who feel they are always right, and you are always wrong. That their truth is the only truth. Most often described for reference as sociopaths but some not so severe. Dark Entities do not go to the Other Side, but rather reincarnate right away again after they die into another life. They cycle through this again and again, where as non dark entities, complete a life, spend some time on the Other Side and then reincarnate again if they choose, or if they want to accomplish more on Earth. Reincarnation is another story for another day...if you want to read about it, she covers it in most of her books.

So, there you have it. Now you know some of what I believe. I'm completely open to everyone's philosphies and have adapted them to fit into my own spiritual journey. I'm on the fence about organized religion because I believe in finding my own truth and not being told how to live or what to think. I'm about to enbark on a new book study group and continue to go to a bible study every week where I am learning how to appreciate the bible more as well as make new friendships. It's all about gathering information to find my own truth. Hope you've enjoyed reading what I wrote and maybe it will get you thinking outside the box.
Books I recommend to help with that--" The Mystical Life Of Jesus", "Prophecy" and "Temples on the Other Side."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Fun!

Yesterday was full of fun! In the morning we had our friend Molly over for some crafts, UNO, snacks and of course play time! The girls had a blast and loved showing off their hair pretties that matched. Too cute!

Later we got all dressed up for trick-or treating! Emily was a witch and Brayden a pumpkin. Emily and I went out trick-or-treating for 2 hours and it was INSANE! SO many kids and fog all over to boot. Made for an "eerie" evening. Grandma Jewell had fun tending to Brayden while Jade handed out candy. We almost ran out! It was a fun evening.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Emily had fun yesterday at her class fieldtrip. The am and pm Kindergarteners in two classes went to Bi-Zi Farms to get a pumpkin, go through a bale maze, pet various animals and climb a hay pyramid. They even saw a hen with her eggs. I went as a parent volunteer and quite enjoyed getting to know Emily's classmates. Fun times had by all!

End of Soccer Season

Soccer season has officially come to an end for the infamous "Pixie Chicks". Emily and her team celebrated this past Tuesday at Round Table Pizza with shirt signing, trophies, pizza and a soccer cake. We sure had fun going out with a bang! Emily is already looking forward to next year and is asking when soccer starts again. We have a while to wait! Below is a team photo taken at their last game.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

13 Reasons Why I Love the Fall

1- the leaves changing colors on the trees
2- crisp leaves on the ground that Emily has been collecting
3- cooler temperatures with sun (not ready for the rain yet)
4- Brayden finally cutting 2 teeth ( not really about fall but happened in the fall)
5- first Parent Teacher Conference ( Emily is doing fantastic!)
6- apples, apples, apples!
7- lots of baking with apples
8- Halloween! Emily is going to be a witch and Brayden a pumpkin
9- warm adult drinks and snuggly blankets
10-lots of scary movies to watch brought home by my horror movie junkie hubby!
11-my mom coming to visit for a week ( not ever Fall, but this one for sure!)
12-Emily hopefully losing her bottom two teeth ( a Kindergarten milestone)
13-finally getting to be a stay at home mom to experience all of this to the fullest!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

They are alike! DUH!

I thought I would do something fun and post pictures of both kids at 6 months of age so family and friends could see how much alike they really are! DUH! Most of you already know that, but it was fun for me to do. Nothing much else is going on these days- just crip, cold fall weather. I will do a Fall posting soon. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ahhhhhh......a SNAKE!!!!

This past weekend Emily and her friends were out riding bikes on our street and one of them found a small snake! It was the talk of the day and the kids loved holding it, touching it, throwing it, and putting it in a bucket. The dads got in on the action while us moms stayed our distance. The fun just never ends around here!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bathtub fun

Brayden got a new bath seat this past week and LOVES to sit up now and play with one of Emily's balls. It keeps him entertained and his favorite thing to do is throw it in the water and lean over and try to pick it up. It's cute to watch and this method of bathing is proving to be much easier on the back and more enjoyable for him. We all win!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Teething joys....

One thing I had not even considered having a 5 year old and 6 month old, is that they would have teething issues at the SAME TIME! Emily's two bottom teeth have been loose for months now and we discovered her new teeth are sprouting right behind the wiggly ones! No wonder all I hear is "ouch, my teeth!". So then there is Brayden, who has been drooling excessively for months with NO sign of teeth but feels warm all the time, is cranky, needy, and wakes up frequently at night. Emily never had a problem until her 2 year molars came in so this 6 month business is new for me. So, being the panicky mother that I am, called the dentist who reassured me that this was normal for Emily but that I could bring her in if I wanted to. We'll wait and see how bad it gets first....praying for a visit from the tooth fairy soon!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Good morning!

We had some extra time this morning so I took some candid pictures of Brayden attempting to get up on all fours, and a cute PJ picture of the Emily and Brayden. Not much has been happening lately so this will have to do!! Have a good week!

Pretty Rainbow

Last week we had a decent rain storm amidst partial sun. I took this picture out our back door. If you look hard you can see that it is a double rainbow, with the second one really faint. It was fun to look at and Emily had fun out in the rain with me taking pictures!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The joys of Kindergarten...

So, Emily and I were talking about her day today and she said "you know what mom, I have a boyfriend!" I asked her what his name was and she said "Dayton, he's in my class." So the conversation went on and I asked her if she played with him at recess and she stated "not necessarily." I asked her who she played with and she named her friend Molly. So, then I was curious and asked "Em what makes him your boyfriend?" She matter of factly replied "I told him he was and he said yes." Really? They start this young huh? I'm slowly finding out that Kindergarten isn't what it used to be AT ALL!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Brayden- he's not so little anymore!

Where does the time go? I've been so focused on Emily with her schooling, soccer and friends, that I've forgotten to do a recent post for Brayden. I can't believe he'll be 6 months old next month. He's a mover and a shaker and loves to be on his belly. He bounces like crazy in his exercauser so we tried him in the Johnny Jump Up tonight and he got the hang of it quickly. I love being home with him and getting to spend quality one on one time while Em is at school. Having a boy has been such a blessing and I feel so much love for the little guy. Enjoy the pics- still can't get him to smile long enough, he doesn't like the light of the camera!

Last warm day of Summer!

Last week Emily and her friends Molly and Arianna had so much fun playing on a really big inflatable water slide that Arianna's parents set up in their backyard. The girls had a blast and the weather was perfect. What a great Indian Summer we've had!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"A" is for apple and all that good stuff......

I can't believe that we are almost half way through September and it still feels like August in the Pacific Northwest. Our temps have been in the 90's and we're STILL enjoying all the fun summer activities with one difference, SCHOOL!! Emily just finished her first full week of Kindergarten and had fun learning about the letter "A" and the aaaa sound. They had an A party with applesauce and muffins, made apple graphs, placed the alphabet up the coconut tree and painted apple trees. Emily comes home exhausted each day saying "mom Kindergarten is hard work." I think what she finds hard is the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, pay attention and follow the rules! She is beginning to spell phonetically and learning to write her name in lower case letters. I am amazed what she is doing already!

While she is away at school and Brayden is busy playing, I am experimenting with different recipes to use up the 100 apples we have on our tree!! So far I have made apple crisp, apple cake and applesauce. I will make an apple pie soon. For those of you who know me well, know I have to bake gluten or wheat free, so I've been on the internet searching for those fun recipes that don't taste weird using different types of flours. I made an apple cake that was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! Ask my neighbor Sarah, she dreamt about it! I will share the recipe for those of you who like to bake... also doing applesauce in the crockpot was about the greatest invention there is. Washington is sure a great state to grow apples in!!

Apple Cake- Gluten Free Recipe
Beat together:
1-3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs

1 Cup oil, mix until creamy.

Sift together:
2 Cups gluten free flour ( I used brown rice flour- my fav.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. xanthan gum ( to bind)

Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture. Fold in 2 cups sliced apples and 1 cup chopped nuts ( I used almonds). Batter will be stiff. Turn into 9x13 inch pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 40 to 45 min. Top with powdered sugar if you wish.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Holsan's

Bottom left to right: Emily(5), Addie(7), Jada(12), Holli, Nikki, Pete
Top left to right: Jade, Brayden(4m.), Kirsten, Gary, Linda, Ron (missing Dane(2), asleep in the car!)

We celebrated Holli and Pete's engagement at the Nordic Inn in Alpine Wyoming. Jade's parents are from Star Valley and this was a perfect setting for a party! We enjoyed good food and drinks along with getting to meet more friends and family. The weather held out for the most part and family pictures were a success! It was a great way to spend Labor Day weekend.

Family Photo's

The Wahlstrom Clan
Bottom left to right: Emily(5) ,Jewell, Seth(3), Ethan(7), Dave
Top left to right: Jade, Kirsten,Brayden(4m.) Erik, Jennifer

On our trip Emily and Ethan got to play quite a bit and had a blast together. Their favorite activity as the night progressed was throwing toy cars in the back yard and taking a flash light and trying to find them. Cheap entertainment- love it! We had a Wahlstrom get together the last night we were there celebrating Ethan's birthday a little late with dinner and ice cream cake- yummy! The favorite toy of the night was a remote control "Wall-E" that Ethan got from his grandparents. It was quite the hit with all the kids and they had fun making it move around the house. It was good to see my brother and his family and get the cousins together!