Our Special Treat

It's funny to think that 30 years ago Al and Lorraine were exactly where we are now. Well not quite, they had not one but TWO kids already and they were living in a scary little apartment in down town Toronto. In fact when Al helped us with our big move, he walked into the apartment and just shook his head, "You aren't struggling nearly enough!" lol. We are really blessed to have this awesome apartment but aside from our living accommodations we are feeling just as they did 30 years ago, like poor, POOR students!

Al told us about a Swiss chalet that was just across the parking lot from their apartments. They didn't have much money but every now and then they would run across the parking lot for a "special treat." I think he said they had some kind of cheap lunch deal and that while they were out east that was what they considered to be their big splurge for the month.

I can officially say the we have found our "Swiss chalet" so to speak. Since moving to Portland we have discovered Winco. It's a great store where you can get all your groceries and other items for low prices. Not only that but the have the most fabulous pizza. Every now and then Aaron and I splurge for the 15'' pizza. Since it's and extra $1.00 if you have them cok it and put it in a box we opt. to cook it at home. It cost 10.00 and can usually serve as dinner and lunch the next day which (or sometimes breakfast if it's up to Poy!) which is a pretty good deal. Anyways these pizzas are to die for and we each grab a $0.43 pop to wash it down. So there you have it, our special treat!

Here is poy being a hand model, he didn't know that I zoomed out to get his whole body in! Isn't he hilarious!?!
Here is AJ celebrating the fact that we finally got Apple Juice again. We only get two free cans a month and with my two boys that dosen't last long! (I know it's not a great picture but I get introuble if my posts don't include at least one picture of AJ.)


Living the Good Life.

Last night as I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep to no avail, I started reflecting on my life and all that I have been blessed with. I was overwhelmed to say the least as I began to acknowledge the Lords hand in my life. Since being sealed to Aaron almost three years ago we have been showered with blessings at every turn. All though I may not always feel deserving I am truly grateful for all Heavenly Father has given us.

First and for most we have our son AJ. He is perfect in every way and has brought us more joy than we could have possible imagined. Of course we have our good days and our bad days but even his bad days are really just wonderful because he is here and he is ours! So far we have been blessed with our health, so many of us take this for granted, but as I watch our extended family struggle with health issues I can not help but feel blessed for the healthy Temples the Lord has give to us.

Last spring Aaron and I decided that we would move to Portland to pursue his career in Chiropractics. I probably would have been nervous to move 12 hours from home if the other option hadn't been 36 hours away. After hearing about Al & Lorraine's three day car trips home from Toronto each summer with 2 or 3 children, the trip to Portland seemed like a breeze! His acceptance to WSCC was the first in a long list of blessings as we prepared for this new phase in out lives. Aaron and his Dad made the first scouting trip down to Portland, they had a great time checking out the school and coast line, but that was about all they did. It was just a month later that Lorranie and I decided we had better head down a do the REAL work of finding a place to live. We found a great place and felt like it would be a good home but then at church we meet Nicole and Steve Wagner. Nicole stopped to introduce herself and see if we were just visiting, long story short, they got us into Sandstone! Not only that but we are now close friends (aka we spend everyday together!) all because of that Day at church! After giving our notice back home we moved in with my parents for our last 7 weeks in Canada. In the end it made it harder to move away from them, they were very reluctant to let AJ go, but we saved a lot of money and made some great memories! After Al, Grandpa Chuck, and Jared helped move us down we were on our own, but not really! Our ward family welcomed us in and soon we felt at home. Aaron's schooling has been hard work and long hours but he is doing so well and pulling off grades that he is more than happy with. All though he is gone a lot we find a way to balance it all and stay close. Blessings, Blessings, Blessings!!!

Our home is now filled with the Christmas Spirit, it may seem early but I just love the feeling of it all and couldn't resist getting everything started. In three and a half weeks we will be on our ways home for the holidays, which we weren't sure we could afford, but after paying our tithing and going over our finances were we able to swing it! I just can't wait to see everyone, there is however, one person I am more excited to see than anyone else. Baby Tolman. I still have a hard time grasping the fact that I am soon going to be an Aunt, I see the love that our brothers and sisters have for AJ and how much we love our little Abby and Sid and I just can't wait to feel that for my first little nephew. What a blessing he will be to all our family during this special season. Not only will I meet him at Christmas but since Dustin and Lyndz were able to get an apartment right in our complex, I will get to be closer to him than anyone else! (Sorry Grandparents!)

Our lives are not perfect we have our struggles and our trials, just like the rest of the world. However when viewing my life with my "gratitude glasses" on I just can't help but feel like one of the Luckiest women in the world!


Tub Time.

It is no secret that AJ loves his time in the tub. Every night he runs t the bathroom and tries to undress himself as soon as we mention the bath. It has been a while since I took any cute pictures of him playing in the bath and so last night I snapped a few shots to share!
This is AJ blowing bubbles and usually drinking the water as well.

We now have to close the curtain during his splash portion of tub time. He has proven that he can completely soak the entire bathroom in a matter of seconds.Finally this is "Polar Bear AJ" he makes this face when we as him what the bears at the zoo say.

Captin Crunch

The other day Captain Crunch was on sale and since we never get sugar cereals anymore we thought why not treat ourselves. It was a small box and would only be enough for 2 or 3 mornings but it was fun. On Friday Aaron pored the first bowl and gave AJ a little bit, SOLD! AJ was an instant Captain Crunch fan. Over the weekend he had a small bowl and ate them for a snack once which made him one happy, hyper boy!

Well this morning AJ got up saying "Capin, Capin!" however the Captain was all gone. Here he is at 6:15AM throwing a major tantrum and refusing any other food.It is of course my fault for letting him have it in the first place but holy moly was he upset. After 10 minutes on the kitchen floor and another 5 in his crib for a time out he calmed down and had some yogurt. Just another fabulous Monday.


Deck the Hall!

I am a true lover of Christmas. It is my favorite time of year and here a just a few of the many reasons:
1. It is the season of giving. Most people are more generous this time of year and tent to be more charitable which is such a beautiful thing.

2. The Decorations. The world seems to get a little prettier this time of year with all the beautiful light, fluffy snow (or soggy rain), and the decorations in our homes and local stores.

3. The food. This is a no brainier, Christmas and baking go hand-in-hand, which for me is a big plus. I love being in the kitchen baking away and Christmas gives me the perfect excuse.

4. Family. I have always lived close to home and getting to spend time with my family was a weekly occurrence, however our time together at Christmas was always a little more special. I think it will be even better this year. what's that saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder"

There are many more but I only have so much time to dedicate to this post so I will cut it there. Since I love this time of year so much I am always itching to get the season into full swing, which means decorating the house. This year Aaron was able to hold me of until today, November 15th, which I think is perfect!After a morning of study time for Aaron, cookie making for us, and a nice afternoon nap we were ready to get started. Last year we waited for AJ's bed time before we did the decorating but we decided that he was old enough to help out.

I was loving every minute of AJ's first tree decorating, it was a very special time as a family and I will never forget his little face when we opened the box of tree ornaments. It was a lot of work, but work that I love and we finally finished up and it is now time to enjoy! Hope you're getting ready for the holidays as well, Ti's the season!
P.S.Stop judging me, you don't have to look cute to decorate for christmas!!!


Family Date Night

On Friday Aaron was done school early, I thought that he would be hard at the books all night but instead he suggested a family date night. We really love getting out together and so when AJ got up from his nap we headed out for our little adventure.

Aaron did a little research and found this great little park that was built completely by volunteers called the imagination station. A few of our friends have been there before and said that their kids just loved it and AJ was no exception. As soon as we got there AJ went running to the park, since the park is not really built for parents it was hard to keep up with him! (especially in my big bulky coat!) It was a little chilly so we only stayed for about 45 minutes but we had a blast, there was no wind, no rain, and no clouds in t he sky. Mount Hood looked beautiful, most days it's pretty hard to see but today it was crystal clear.

After the imagination station we wandered through the trout dale outlet mall. It is out doors but we stopped at quite a few stores and were able to keep the chill of. AJ LOVES riding in his stroller and had a great time just relaxing as Aaron and I window shopped. It's probably good he was the only one with a bank card, his self control is much better than my own, he he! Anyways it was nice to be out of the house especially in such good weather. I am adjusting to the rain but have yet to get proper rain gear which makes being outside a little tough. We tried to go straight home but the "Red Robins" pull was just to great and we ended up eating dinner out. For the very first time we had to order AJ dinner, which was so fun! Their kids menu was made up of pictures so AJ was able to choose (macaroni and cheese!) He was great and we all enjoyed getting pampered and eating out. Of course we are now officially broke, in fact with out our WIC we wouldn't even have milk! (Nice priorities, he he.) All I can say is it's a good thing out train tickets home are already bought and paid for!

Girls at the Zoo

We took the Kids to the Zoo on Thursday morning. Wednesday was the rainiest day here so far and I was a little nervous that it wasn't going to be nice enough to go but the weather did a 180 and it turned out perfect. We meet at the Zoo at 10:30 and wandered around for a few hours. It was Nicole and her 2 girls, Katie and her 3 girls, Nachelle and her little girl, and then me and Sabrina with our two little boys. We had a ball visiting and letting the kids play. The sea lions are by far AJ's favorite animal, I swear he could stand here all day watching them swim and giving them high fives as they swim by. When we got to the Elephants we got to see baby Samutra and he was so playful we couldn't get enough of him! I hurried to get a picture of him while he was out and playing and then heard a loud "MOM" behind me. I was so egar to snap the photo that I completely forgot to grab AJ so he could see too. Needless to say he was not impressed!
I know looking at animal pictures can be a little boring so I won't post a million but Hippos are my favorite so I have to put at least one up(Isn't he so Cute!!!). Last time I went all we saw were their butts! Thanks to the girls for coming out to the Zoo it was nice hang out and get some (kind of) fresh air! lol. Stinky Penguins!


Love From Canada

Today we received our first (of hopefully MANY) care packages from home. I have never served a mission or live far from home for school or anything so getting packages in the mail is not a regular occurrence for me but I gotta tell ya, I love it!! After visiting teaching we stopped to get the mail and our package form my parents had arrived! AJ & I had the best time opening it up and seeing all the little treasures they packed into our parcel.
I cut it open and then gave it to Age to explore. He was so excited to see his Bear (Radar) which we forgot in Canada but their happy reunion was cut short when he notice what radar had been covering.....
New toy cars, form his new favorite movie "Cars" he was so cute he just keep saying "oh, oh, oh, CARS!!! MOM CARS!" followed but "open? open?"

He played with them for the next 45 minutes and then it was nap time. While we still lived in Lethbridge I got the best smarties cookie recipe from Dee and have been craving them ever since I got down here. Unfortunately for me they do not have the same smarties down here as we do there for, no smartie cookies. We'll Dad just couldn't let me go with out, hence the ginormous bag of bulk smarties he sent and now I have enough smarties to last for our whole Portland stay, lol. Anyways I am so exited for these cookies, it has been far to long so I am off to make them while AJ snoozes! Thanks for the care package, we really enjoyed it!


AJ has finally discovered the joys of coloring. Every day he sits at the table and plays with crayons and felts while I get my kitchen cleaned. Since the paper slides all over the place I he started taping it down at it works like a charm!
I love the crayola company for making these great markers that wash right out of clothing, hair, carpet, you know the usual placed you would use them.

Pictures of AJ

This is AJ's all time favorite coat. Once we put it on him it's impossible to get it back, he likes to keep it on at friends house's, all through Church, and even when we are just hanging out at home.
P.S. Can you tell this is one of his fav. poses?
This is AJ having some fresh chocolate chip cookies, the Wagner girls were here and they really seemed to enjoy them. I know that it seems like we spend a lot of time eating cookies but these pictures are actually from a month ago.


Bill's and Junk Mail

I know this sound a little silly but I LOVE to get the mail, ever since me and Poy got married I go out each day to collect the mail. Most of it is Bill's, Flyer's, Junk mail, and Credit card pitches but every now and then you get something fun. Aaron hardly ever checks it because he knows that it's my thing and I love to do it. After I started my Maternity leave I would get so impatient I would often end up checking the mail once or twice before it even got there, I know it's weird but I love it. One of the Pro's for Portland over Toronto was that I could check the mail 6 days a week instead of just five! lol. Any way's this post is a big shout out to Jay and Steph Anderson, last Friday I finally received my first fun mail. I was so excited, when I started taking pictures Aaron just shook his head at me. Anyways I love it and am looking forward to getting all your Christmas cards over the next 6 weeks, he he!


Saterday Afternoons

Most Saturdays require at least a few hours of study time for Aaron and since we are living in fairly close quarters it's hard for Aaron to concentrate. This past Saturday I was in the mood for some Gilmore Girls and Aaron was in need of study time which means the TV needs to be off or REALLY quiet! I went to our room to read instead but Aaron wouldn't have it, he took me by the hand out to the living room to show me his answer to this little dilemma.

Aaron had actually moved the couch right up to the TV, so I could be comfortable and still hear it when the volume was basically off. Please notice that I am only about 10 inches from the TV! It was so hilarious, what a cute husband I have! Love ya babe.


Milk & Cookies

Tonight after dinner Aaron had his traditional 5 cookies dunked in Milk, well AJ thought that was the greatest thing he had ever seen and soon they were sitting side by side dunking away. AJ wants to do EVERYTHING just like Aaron and that includes eating his cookies with milk. Earlier at dinner he even tried to drink his soup like Aaron dose, it was really cute. Here are a few pictures that I thought were so cute I had to post them!


Getting Creative

When moving to Portland we found ourselves a nice little 2 bedroom apartment, it's less than a 100-o square feet but it's really nice and we feel so blessed to be here. Living in such tight quarters means we need to get out almost everyday, hwever the weather is not always inviting, unless you LOVE the rain. (Which we are learning to do!) Anyways after runing to the store and reading a few book AJ was already bored and so.... I got creative.
What the Heck!?!? That's right this is our kitchen table.
Here is AJ discovering his brand new fort!
Taking a good look around......

Oh yeah! he loves it. AJ has been playing in here since I made it and he dosen't seem to be leaving anytime soon.
I wounder where we will eat dinner??