Monday, January 27, 2014

Minivan Ownership

Since we learned we were going to be parents of two last summer, we've been thinking we will need a bigger vehicle for hauling around double strollers, portable potties, and making the occasional trips elsewhere.  Katie and I agreed that a minivan was more practical for us than a three row SUV.  For several months we've been spending parts of our weekends looking at minivans, which surprisingly, is not the most fun thing to do.  Especially when there is a toddler involved who wants us to buy every one she sees!

Pretty early in the search the Honda Odyssey EX-L emerged as the nicest possible choice. The only problem being that it was the 2014 "refreshed" version that had everything we (OK, moreso me) wanted.  Meaning that the ideal option for us was not available used.  Just before New Years the search was resumed and it was time to make a decision - no more wasted weekends at car lots for a long time!  Instead of compromising on a less appealing vehicle, with the end of year incentives we decided to take the plunge and buy a new 2014 Honda Odyssey EX-L!

The new vehicle is definitely newer and nicer than what we were initially thinking of buying.  But so far we've been super impressed with the vehicle!  My personal favorite feature is the keyless entry and push button start.  Shockingly to myself, I am now of the belief that taking car keys out of one's pocket is an old-fashioned 20th century act of drudgery.  All of the other bells and whistles - Bluetooth, satellite radio, trip computers - are pretty nice too!  It is also nice to have so much room, even with two car seats installed.  Oh, and Claire loves to nap in it too, which can either be a good or bad thing.

The coda of this tale is that our trusty 2001 Ford Escape is no longer a member of the family.  It was a great car and will be missed - especially if/when the next hiking trip comes about!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Playing Catch-up (Part 2)

When we last left you, our loyal readers, we had just finished up a great visit from Nana & Papa Vickery, back in October. Since then, there have been a few notable happenings, including Claire's first time Trick or Treating on Halloween, as well as (American) Thanksgiving & Christmas.

Claire was a dinosaur for Halloween (a blue & green one - there's a picture or two of the Claire-osaurus Rex in the Picture link at the end of this post). She loved shaking her butt to wag the tail of the costume, which was pretty entertaining! We decided she was old enough to sort of understand the idea of Halloween, so while Zach gave out candy at our house, Claire & I went to about 10 houses in our neighbourhood to Trick or Treat. Every time we walked up to a house, I asked her "What do we say when they open the door?" and she was very good at saying "Twick or Tweat!"...but as soon as the door opened, she was mute! She did manage to say "Thank you" after she got candy, but it was a little overwhelming, I think! That being said, she did tell us that it was the "Best Halloween...EVAHHHH!" multiple times that night (and since then!), so she clearly had a good time! She also got to give out candy with Zach when we got home, and loved saying "Happy Halloween!" to the Trick or Treaters!

For American Thanksgiving this year, we were lucky enough to be invited to dinner at Gary & Bonnie's, where we had a delicious turkey dinner with all the fixings. Not only did Claire get to hear Uncle Gary play the guitar, but she was also entertained by Bonnie & Gary's two Dachshunds, Maggie & Cudjo - they were a little worried about her, since they aren't used to a crazy toddler running around, and she was fascinated by their barking - they'd bark at her & she'd laugh in their faces! Poor dogs! Thanks again for a delicious dinner, Bonnie & Gary!

This year's Christmas was different from past years, since we didn't travel anywhere. We stayed home (I couldn't fly & wasn't comfortable driving 11+ hours each way to/from Vancouver in potentially nasty weather, especially at 8 months pregnant!) We went to a Christmas Eve church service at Southminster Presbyterian - they had a good mix of traditional carols & hymns, a candlelight portion at the end of the service, and some more contemporary aspects like a puppet show (Claire loved them - they sang "Bethlehemian Rhapsody" - a nativity song to the tune of, you guessed, Bohemian Rhapsody!). The minister's sermon also included this Youtube video of Extreme Sheepherding!

On Christmas morning, we opened our stockings & Claire opened her present from us - the dollhouse that my Grandpa made for Megan & I when we were kids (which Claire's cousin Emily also played with). We did some renovating, repainting & re-wallpapering/carpeting, since the 30+ year old flooring & wallpaper was starting to peel & show it's age. I also found some cute dollhouse furniture & a family of four...Claire seems to really like the dollhouse!

Bonnie & Gary came over for Christmas morning brunch, which included eggs, home made cinnamon buns, fruit, some different cheeses & bacon. We loved having Bonnie & Gary over, it was great to sit & chat. After Gary & Bonnie headed home, we opened presents (it was a wrapping paper explosion in our living room!) - Claire loved this part, it's amazing what a difference a year makes when it comes to Christmas present unwrapping! She was excited about all her gifts & I promise Thank You cards are coming shortly! We loved our gifts, too - it was a great year & we were all spoiled!

Our New Years was also quiet - no partying for us! Now that 2014 is here, we're in the throes of getting things ready for Baby #2, as well as painting our guest room (which will become Claire's new room in a few months). Everything's going well on the baby front - only 2ish weeks to go until my due date of January 31st,! My mom will be flying down a few days before my due date, which will be MUCH appreciated! Then Jan will be coming out to visit & meet the new tyke once she's fully recovered from her knee surgery (which was December 18th) - she's doing great on her recovery!

So, I think we're all caught up now! As always, sorry for the lengthy novel...there was a lot to talk about! Here are a whole bunch of pictures & videos for your viewing pleasure. Next time we'll try not to wait so long, and we'll be sure to post a quick update when the new baby arrives!

Claire New Years Update Pictures
Climbing at Gordon Harris Park Video
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Video
Uncle Gary Plays the Guitar Video
Claire in the Snow Video
Snowstorm Video
JumpTime Video
I Want a Hug Video
On the Rings Video
Claire Dancing Video
Christmas Morning Video
Claire Opens Lego From Grandma Video
Claire Opens an Ornament From Nana and Papa Video
Claire Opens Her Doctor Kit From the Aprims Video
Claire at Chickalay Video
Claire Plays With Markers Video

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nana and Papa Visit Boise

In October (yes, we are behind!!) Nana and Papa Vickery came to Boise for a visit.  They arrived on the 10th and got to spend a week with the three of us - it was a great visit! Claire was very excited about having Nana & Papa around for so long (not long enough!).  Highlights included going to the park, showing Nana & Papa around Boise, lots of book reading, and going to Linder Farms. The Linder Farms Pumpkin Patch was a big hit with Claire, especially the Corn Box (which is exactly what it sounds like...a box..filled with dried corn!) and the petting zoo. All in all, we had a wonderful time with Jan & Ron!

Nana and Papa did a much better job than us taking pictures and videos so here they are for your enjoyment!

Nana and Papa's Pictures