Saturday, June 23, 2012

When Baby Says Your Name

When my friends' children, nieces and nephews first said my name... I loved it. Just add it to the list of things that are different when it happens with your own child. Elyse started saying my name last Sunday. I heard her down the hall. Another new moniker, she kept saying, "Ma! Ma!" And then I thought I heard it, "Ma! Courtney!!" I said to Bill, "I think she is saying my name." A half hour later, he heard it too. Yep. She was. And real proud of herself too.
It is funny to hear her say it and super cute. But, I do prefer Mama - thank you very much. It was a bit of a payback. She's been shouting Bill's name down the hall for months now.

Here is a quick video. I had an issue when downloading so it goes a little weird halfway through.

Can you say Courtney?? from Courtney on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Best Dad

It has been so much fun watching my husband grow as a father. He loves our little girl - happily filling up her sippy cup when she begs at our feet, "cold? cold?", chasing her giggles down the hallway and learning the art of tying ponies in her fine baby hair. He diapers baby dolls upon her request, makes her omelettes brimmed with goodies and will read every book from the bookshelf that she brings him one by one.

Bill and I have been together almost eight years. He has taught me so much about being a nurturing spouse. He is so generous - fatherhood has only expanded his thoughtfulness. He just delights in looking after his girls. We are so fortunate.

Happy Fathers Day, Honey! We love you!

Camping and Weekend Trips - Here We Come!

One thing Bill and I definitely have in common - we are big time planners!

We have seriously been looking at purchasing an RV since 2010. It is harder than you think. We didn't want a motorhome, no fifth wheels, nothing over 21 feet and have had a strict budget. We increased the budget slightly over the years, but still nothing! We have had a lot of CraigsList stalking, emailing, phone calls and conversations with each other like, "Are you up to driving to Yakima/Vancouver/Sequim/etc. tomorrow?" Most RV lots charge too much and the CraigsList stuff is super frustrating! Most sellers only let you email and they get so inundated, they never respond and when there is a phone number, we almost never hear back. Just a couple days ago, Bill and Fred even drove to Puyallup only to find a trailer with damage, no keys to anything and no title = no good.

Patience and persistence paid off today! I just happened to be on-line when an email response came in on a CraigsList ad. The woman and I corresponded a bit. She was pretty overwhelmed with emails, but said it seemed we were serious if we were willing to drive an hour away! She was expecting someone to come take a look, but it fell through and she asked if we could come right away. Within ten minutes, we woke up Baby Girl and were out the door and on our way to Kent!

We got a fourteen year old Mallard RV that is on its second owner (these owners knew the first family). Get this - it has only been used a maximum of ten times! They were a super nice family. It is amazingly clean, great condition, no odor, and they threw in a ton of supplies! They have a daughter and even gave us some toys (woohoo, Elyse got a Barbie jet)! The whole thing just felt meant to be! We even paid under our budget!

I can't wait for the adventures we will have. From weekend camping in the dirt to travels around the state and not having to stay in a hotel - I just can't wait.

I've already started a camping checklist on the iPad. Nerd alert!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Five Years Without Mom

Mom, Grandma and Me - 1992

I still don't like today. There's nothing about June 12th that I like. My Mom died on this day at 2:45 p.m. five years ago.

I don't cry about it as often. I don't expect it to be her on the phone. But, when I let myself feel it or when it hits me without me expecting it - it hurts just as bad as it did five years ago.

I haven't been to her gravesite in at least two years now. I hate going. I hate it for the same reason I hate today. I hate thinking about her death. I hate the pain I feel when I think about her absence.

I really do try to focus on the memories of her life. In the picture above we are in Honolulu, HI. It was 1992 and Mom was the same age I am today. Mom, Grandma and I are all decked out in our tourist gear - check out the fanny packs. I'd lost one of my hard contac lenses. Mom felt so bad for me wearing my glasses and squinting in the bright sun, not able to wear sunglasses. She paid who-knows-how-much to have my prescription contac lens sent overnight mail to us at the hotel the next day. She loved me.

She loved me like I love my daughter. I thank her everyday for that. I'm the mother I am today because of her. I thank you, Mom, for the choices you made to always love me. I am comforted every day when I look at my daughter. Somehow, it helps me to cope in the loss of you. She is such a blessing in so many ways and brings such light to our lives to help ease the pain of our losses.

I will always love you. I will always miss you. I will never forget.

Katherine Lee Wallis - 7/29/55 - 6/12/07 

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

A This and a That

First up, it is garage sale season 'round here. Marcie, Elyse and I hit a good one yesterday in a big neighborhood near here. Elyse spied this baby and well, could you have said no to this face?

My favorites of the day were the couple riding around on their tandem bicycle with walkie talkie headphones on their heads. LOVE it. We also got a kick out of a guy chasing me down asking me how much we paid for our stroller brand new. I LOVED telling him, "We got it at a garage sale!!"

I mean, I do love Nordstrom and there are certain things that are worth buying new, but there are a whole lot more things I have no problem buying secondhand. It is cheaper, greener, and more fun when you find a good deal!

Here's a find from a garage sale from last weekend. It is actually from my friend, Wendy! Great way for our gal to burn off some energy!

Speaking of deals, check out these super cute shoes I found for Elyse on Ebay. They are still too big, but will be super fun this fall or winter!

Next up, is a quick pic from last week's playgroup. Here is Elyse next to two of her friends - Gabby and Lucien. In this picture, you can really tell the size difference. Yes, these two are in the smaller of the growth percentiles and Elyse is in the larger (she is in the 90th percentile for height/weight). And - just to keep it real - if one more person says to me, "Boy, she is a big girl" - yes, I might want to punch you (in my mind). Sorry, protective Mama here. I can't help it. You wouldn't believe the number of perfect strangers that say that to us! Grrrr...

More for keeping it real. We took Aunt Sue on a tour of our hometown last weekend. Here is where I grew up from sixth grade to high school. We had a lot of good memories in that little single-wide. My parents worked very hard for what we had. If I tell you often that I feel fortunate - here is just one example of why.

Lastly, here is a video of Elyse and I having one of our "Can You Say...?" sessions. She really has tons of words now, but it is still fun to do. PS: Her new term for milk is "cold".
Yes, you hear Christmas music in the background. She listens to music on her Ipod and you just never know what tune we are going to land on!
She is so fun. When she wants to listen to music on the Ipod, she asks for her "G". If she wants her coat or her shoes off, she says, "Owww." When she is all done with her food, she says, "Dada." Yes, toddler-speak can be confusing if you don't have the kiddo's dictionary!

Enjoy your day! I need to run, need to list some more things on Ebay before a little girl I know wakes up!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Elyse loves to play and one of her favorite places to go (besides "bye-bye" in general) is outside, or "outsie" as she calls it.

We've been talking about getting her a nice playset since before she was born. We've been watching CraigsList and they are rarely on there and when they are, and at a decent price, they go quick. We've also watched the pricing at Costco. When we saw a good set for $999.99 we were pretty impressed and close to making our decision. Then, we saw it was on sale for $799.99 through April 22! This was a GREAT deal. We were going to wait until the end of the sale to buy it. Then we remembered the one and only problem with Costco. If things sell - they can be gone - never to be seen again. I went in one afternoon with Elyse in early April and sure enough - they were sold out. I was pretty disappointed when I was told they were gone and they a) weren't sure if they would get more and b) couldn't guarantee if they did that we would get the sale price. I will spare you the details, but let's just say this involved a few conversations with the manager in person with me, later with Bill and then over the phone with both of us. A week or so later - we got our playset at the sale price and we'd even saved some gift cards from Christmas to help ease the hit (yay!). We were so happy!

Poor Bill. This playset came with just thousands of parts. He really wanted to do it on his own. As hard as this was to watch him go at it alone - I do understand. Projects like this can be frustrating! The instructions said it would take 12-15 hours with two people. Bill worked on it over three weekends. He did an amazing job!

Here is Tanner on the set - it was about halfway done at this point.

Elyse getting smooches from Grandpa Fred.

Tanner - helping Elyse shut the door. He is so sweet with her. My nephew has the most gentle heart.

Bill - and crew!

The first group to officially break in the completed set were Lucien, Gabby and Elyse one morning at playgroup.

Lucien and Elyse were playing in the dirt. Check out that face - the sign of a good day!

The following weekend was Mother's Day. It was a beautiful morning at the zoo and a lovely afternoon for time in the backyard!

Grandma Deanie - check out the shoes! Perfect for pool day!

The End!

PS: I'm still behind on blogging. It is a chilly June day today and seeing these warm weather pictures makes me envious!!

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