Wednesday, February 18, 2009


And just to answer the question you are all thinking....yes - we really were the pastiest pale people on the beach!

Pros of Cancun:

  • A beautiful beach.
  • Water so clear that it is hard to believe it is real.
  • Not cooking for a week.
  • Swimsuit versus a parka
  • No homework, scouts, Activity Days, soccer, piano lessons, etc., etc.
  • No cleaning, laundry, or grocery shopping
  • A week away with your sweetie
  • A week away from the kids
  • Traveling with a fun couple
  • Sleeping in as late as you want - or even taking a nap!
  • Reading a book that didn't involve flaps, hippos, or Dora the Explorer
  • Did I mention being with your sweetheart for a full week!!!

Cons of Cancun:

  • Being away from the kids for a week.
  • Having to travel the roads with the virtually non-existant driving laws (I was seriously scared a couple of times).

Cancun was amazing! We spent time on a beautiful beach with perfectly soft white sand, went kayaking, snorkeling, sailing (thanks, Curtis!), ate to our heart's content, visited the ruins of Tulum and Coba (AMAZING!!), went on a zipline, visited a Mayan village - it was fantastic! We had to laugh because after we finished going across the zip-line over some water we looked down and there were alligators (or crocodiles? - don't know which) in the water. Oh well - another sign that we weren't in the U.S. anymore! The trip was wonderful. We missed the kids and were ready to come home after a week, but totally look forward to going again!

Thanks Liz and Curtis for a great trip, and thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Wagner for babysitting the kids so that we could go!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We always knew Sammy had a great heart!

Last week we went in for Sammy's well-child visit and we discovered that he has a flow murmur in his heart. Although the doctor wasn't too concerned, he wanted us to have Sam do an echocardiogram just to be sure. I thought Sam would be nervous but instead he kept telling everyone who would listen how excited he was that he was going to have pictures taken of his heart. He couldn't wait! We took him in and he was a champ. He thought it was pretty amazing and the doctor printed out a couple of pictures for him.

The results are back and he is fine, but he is still anxious to show anyone he can the ultrasound photos!

There is a true romantic in the house! isn't Ted or me. Emma is the romantic that lives here. Our Valentine's Day celebration this year was truly unique! This year Emma emailed Ted and I several days before Valentine's to invite us to a Valentine's Day dinner at 7:00 in the dining room. A few days later she emailed us a menu and asked us to choose a few of our favorites, and she would then choose from our choices what she would make -- that way it would still be a surprise.

Valentine's Day arrived, and she and her friend went to work. They fed the kids and had them in the basement busy with other activities. Ted and I were banished to the upstairs while they busily prepared the dining room. When we came down the table was set for two with the chargers, china, and goblets along with candlelight and soft music playing in the background. The meal began with homemade rolls, then a Caesar salad. (The salad was presented with her offering to put fresh ground pepper on it - where did she learn that?) Following the salad she brought out our dinner of chicken cordon bleu, mashed potatoes, and green beans with candied almonds. Can you believe it? We couldn't. They had also made a no-bake cheesecake which they brought out for dessert.

As if all of this wasn't enough to completely make the meal special, Emma had printed out a few Valentine's Day poems for our reading enjoyment, and then at the end of the meal she played one last song and said she would keep all of the kids away so we could dance. It was so sweet the way she was making sure that our night was full of romance.

Of course, Tessa couldn't resist trying to run in and blow out the candles, and the boys wanted to see what all of the hullabaloo was about so they tried to sneak in several times, and with Emma and her friend working so hard in the kitchen to try and make our evening special -- who wouldn't feel the love?

Thanks for a great Valentine's Day, Emma, and a special thanks to her friend, Sarah, who helped with the food preparation and serving! It was wonderful!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tessa turns two!!

The only thing that makes me believe that she is already two is that she is acting like a two year old. Lots of the time that just means a bit more independence, sometimes it means an outright tantrum, but most of the time it means extra kisses, her vocabulary growing exponentially, and a contagious excitement about everything. This isn't her best picture ever, but she insisted on wearing her new dress, had Dora icing all over her and her hair, and she wouldn't relinquish the Dora toy from the cake. Did I mention her independent streak?
This year she celebrated a day early since Ted and I were going to Cancun, and we had a Dora The Explorer cake - she LOVED it. It is fun to see how excited she will get over little things!

Ten great things about Tessa:

1. Have I mentioned Dora? She loves Dora the Explorer. I love hearing her yell "backpack!" from the other room in the morning!

2. Tessa loves to shower. She will get in the shower all by herself (with us nearby of course) and will wash her doll and play in there every chance she gets.

3. Tessa loves to color. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a child who would sit and color - the boys HATED it. Even now when they are asked to draw something it is a stick figure and just the minimum required to complete the assignment. Not Tessa: she loves to color. We have even seen a few of her masterpieces on our walls, our computer monitor, and her arms and legs. We are now working on using paper as the preferred medium for her creativity!

4. Tessa is our only child who does not have red hair. We love her long brown hair!

5. Tessa's name combines "Ted" and "Les" into one and her name actually means "fourth child." The fact that we discovered all of this after we chose her name doesn't really matter does it?

6. Tessa loves her siblings, and they love her right back. I was worried that Ted and I would spoil her since she is our last, but I think we need to worry more about the kids spoiling her!

7. Tessa loves to dance. If there is music playing then she is dancing.

8. Tessa loves shoes. If there are shoes out, she is trying them on. This only becomes a problem when she tries shoes on at the top of the stairs.

9. Tessa has a knack for knowing where all the candy is hidden. She has even forced Ted to relocate his stash a couple of times.

10. Tessa loves to be outside. She will stay outside in any temperature, any sort of weather, for as long as we will let her. Again, usually this is a great thing, but we have had to train all of the older kids (and neighbors) to leave our backyard gates closed at all times!

Happy Birthday sweet 2-year-old!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sammy turns six!

I know that I say this all the time, but where did the last year go? I can't believe that sweet Sammy is six! He was so excited asking how many more days until his birthday beginning the day after Christmas! He had a special day going skiing alone with his dad, and when he came home he had his favorite dinner of white fish (Tilapia) and pasta-roni, and then he went on a treasure hunt to find his presents. All of the excitement was capped off when he blew out all six of the candles (on his first try) on his cake. His cake was decorated with our best attempts to make it look like Wall-e. It may not be perfect, but he knew who it was! Here are 10 things about Sammy:

1. Sam loves everything and anything Star Wars. Wall-e and Ben 10 may be a close second, but it is Star Wars first. Those are the first things he learned how to spell!

2. Sammy wakes up happy every morning. I love hearinghis sweet "good morning, mom" everyday.

3. Sammy loves to spy - which means he loves trying to be sneaky and move throughout the house without being seen.

4. Sam has invented a game which is now a favorite among his friends: Laser baby. They all let Tessa follow them and then if she gets too close to them she is like a laser. Fortunately Tessa still thinks this is great so she doesn't mind when they don't let her get to close to them - she thinks it is great fun too!

5. Sam is willing to try anything, and has a good attitude about it. Even when his older brother and sister are complaining about the cold or are tired from skiing, Sam will keep on going, and will be happy about it!

6. Sam loves beating his brother to the bus stop each morning. There is a silent uspoken race each morning, but if you watch you can see who wins each day.

7. Sam has just discovered Lincoln's secret for not having to make his bed each day -- sleep on top of the covers with one blanket over you. This is now his preferred method of sleep. I guess it is easier to fold one blanket rather than make your bed.

8. Sam had a hard time speaking clearly and hearing for a while, but now he has worked so hard and will self-correct when he makes an error. We are so proud of him because this has taken a lot of hard work and consistent effort - and it shows!

9. Sam loves Caesar salad. He won't even touch a salad with Ranch dressing.

10. Sam loves sports. Last year he was too young to play baseball so he was the bat boy for Lincoln's team. He took his job very seriously and would carefully line up each helmet and bat neatly for the team. He was watching the game closely so that he could get out there and pick up the bat as soon as it was dropped. At the end of the season several parents and the coach pulled me aside to make sure he got a trophy because they had noticed how seriously he took his job and they said he was the best bat-boy they had ever seen! Also, when he played soccer he mastered the move of putting your foot on the ball and pushing it backwards to stop it from going towards the other team's goals. All the kids thought this was great and they dubbed it "the Sammy move."

Happy Birthday Sammy!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Okay, so now that it is a few days from Valentine's Day, I guess I better put up a few pictures about Christmas! We had a great year and loved that it was a white Christmas too!

The kids favorites this year?
Emma - a new cell phone; Lincoln - Mario Kart Wii game; Samuel - his clone trooper helmet; Tessa - her doll and stroller.

Ted and I - knowing that we were going to Cancun in a month!

It really was a great day!