Archive for July, 2012

Our Tenth Anniversary

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Happy Anniversary to us!  We have been married for a decade now.  We have so enjoyed being married to our best friend for the last ten years.  Thank you to all of you for being a part of our lives.  We like writing this letter every year, not only to keep in touch with all of our friends and family, but to remind ourselves of how lucky we are. We love you!


Now what exactly happened in our tenth year together?  Well, Donovan joined our family and grew from a (sort of) tiny infant to a big boy that climbs and chases after his sister.  And takes balls from his Daddy whenever he tries to play with them.  Serenity had her first year of school, which means we got the pleasure of participating.  Chrissie is the class rep for her class, so she got to plan the class art project for the auction, and a Valentine’s Day party as well.  Eric volunteered his services for Field Day.  And in case Chrissie didn’t know what a great husband she has, nearly every teacher there commented on how wonderful and helpful he was that day!


We celebrated our birthdays this year with some great fun! Eric planned a movie event for Chrissie’s birthday.  She got to see three movies with friends and family!  For Eric’s birthday, Serenity was pretty sure Daddy wanted a ball.  So Chrissie got him a pinata filled with bouncy balls, and a Perplexus Epic.  Other exciting celebrations this year included Tina’s Wedding (Serenity was the flower girl),  Baby Everett was born (Chrissie is his godmother!!!   She is so thrilled and he is adorable!)  We hosted our annual Cookie Party and Epic Duels.  Ann celebrated her 70th birthday extravaganza and we got to attend.  Oh, and we got to go to Henry’s Countries and States birthday!  Chrissie went all out on the kids birthdays of course.  Donovan had a Beach Ball Birthday and Serenity had a Sparkly Science Birthday.


Hmm… maybe we should talk about holiday traditions here as well briefly.  In December, Chrissie blogs every day for Daily December, and we have a great advent calendar that we fill with treats, activities and surprises!  For Easter this year, we had our traditional Easter Bunny Scavenger hunt, where we hide all the stuffed bunnies we own and leave clues for Serenity.  (Yeah, we have a dozen bunnies. =)  We also did another egg hunt using maps of our house that was a blast!  In the fall we went to the pumpkin patch with Mike, Kelly, Raegan and Carson, which has become a tradition as well.  I love that we get to do so many fun things with cousins, from activities like this, to the zoo and sleepovers!


In addition to all these great parties, we also did a lot of travel.  We went on our first family vacation to a destination other than Oklahoma and California.  We went to Branson!  It was an awesome trip and you can read all about it here.  Dad went with us, which made it perfect!  We visited the Palfreymans quite a bit, although more often down here now that Gavin’s parents are back in Tulsa.  We went to Texas for Braley’s first birthday, and stayed with the Vos.  Serenity adores Samantha and often pretends she’s visiting us.  We went to Cali for Halloween (Serenity dressed as Lemon Meringue, Donovan was Curious George, and Eric was the Man in the Yellow Hat.)   We went to Diane’s cabin a few time, and especially enjoyed celebrating the 4th up there. We also had a few wonderful visitors, including Fred and Sarah Steffen with their kids Meghan and Freddie, and Brian Vo and Samantha Vo!  Ann and John came to visit us too!


In hobbies and activities, we still play a lot of games.  The big winner this year was Pandemic, which Tina gave us along with the expansion.  We played 168 games of Pandemic this year and won 61.  Yes, we’ve kept track.  We’re trying to play all the different combinations possible =)    Serenity got her first bike this year, and we are really enjoying going for walks together around the neighborhood.  For his birthday from his sister, Donovan got a little car that has a handle we can push, so he gets to ride in style as well.  The weather has actually been pleasant this summer, and Dad got us a crazy backyard pool with slide that the kids love.  We watched a little television, mainly Downton Abbey and the final season of West Wing, which we owned for years and just now watched.  Oh, and Game of Thrones.  Yeah, all addicting shows.  Our other hobbies continue as well, Eric still likes to play Magic and LOL.  He played Ultimate Frisbee and has begun playing tennis with Andy at last!  He won both his football drafts this year, which is crazy.  One of those he’d never won before!  Chrissie still does lots of crafts, especially with Serenity.  She made a lot of felt food this year, thanks to a great set of patterns she got from her mom.  She is currently watching Bunheads every week with her mom.


Work-wise, Eric’s job at Tradehelm ended.  Sad, but we’ve enjoyed having him around all the time this summer!  Chrissie is still blogging at


We still love our house, although Chrissie is getting the urge to change things up!  She painted the fireplace, the bathroom upstairs and the kitchen with the help of her Dad, and has plans in store for more!


Keep your eye out for news about Fantastico 2014!  We love you all, and thanks for reading a little bit about our lives.  =)
Love, Chrissie and Eric

Donovan is 13 and a half months =)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012


The last month and a half has been soo busy with the two birthday parties and so much summer fun, I’ve fallen behind again!  Donovan is growing and changing so much!  He is getting so adventurous!  He climbs EVERYTHING now!  The first day he started climbing, he managed to get into his high chair and nearly all the way up to the kitchen counter!  He managed to fall and hit the kitchen floor too of course.  Now nearly every day he works his way in a circle, climbing into the toy box, up onto the white table, over the couch arm, and down again over and over.  He tries to climb into chairs, up onto the desks. Fearless!  He can climb by himself into the play structure outside, and up the slide as well.  He is starting to slide down as well, although you have to catch him at the bottom, he can scoot over and kind of get himself into position now to go down by himself.

He and Barrett are kindred spirits.  It’s so cute to see them together.  Donovan tries to do absolutely everything Barrett does, whether it’s climbing the pillar in our living room or break dancing.  Donovan loves to dance.  He started out with this adorable little move, just shaking his booty and saying “dance, dance!”  He’s added a few steps now.  Sometimes he does this fast little boogie stepping from foot to foot.  And sometimes now he spins in circles until he’s dizzy.  All with his huge smile lighting up his face.  I love it!


His newest word is awesome.  Literally =)  “Awesome!”  It sounds like “awe-sa” and is said with real emphasis.  So cute.  He talks a lot now and tries to repeat nearly any word you say.  He can say a lot of words, but he’s starting to try and say whole sentences which makes it a little bit harder to understand.  It’s like, babble babble babble milk and babble babble sister babble.


He loves playing with his sister.  They wrestle and snuggle.  It often ends with him pulling her hair, or with him crying in frustration because she has him pinned, but if you separate them they immediately drift back together.


Donovan still loves hammers.  We got a wooden puzzle of tools, and he is always holding the little wooden hammer, not any of the other tools.  He uses it to bang on walls, and sleeping people.  So beware.  Bottles, bats, and other stick like objects are similarly useful.


He’s to the point that he can follow simple commands.  And hasn’t realized yet it’s more fun to do the exact opposite of what you say.  So if I say, go to diaper time, he does it!  I am enjoying this brief stage =)


We’re working on sleeping past two am.  He doesn’t need a snack in the middle of the night, I know, I know.  Eric has taken the middle of the night wakings, although I think part of the problem is that his room gets cold in the middle of the night.  I got something to deflect the air and turned the temp up a bit, and the last two nights he’s slept till 5am.  Much better than getting up twice a night, which he didn’t even do as a newborn.

Donovan loves Papa! I asked if he wanted to go see Papa and he danced all the way to the door =)


He likes the baby doll! He may have played with her more than Serenity =)



Calling Papa on the phone. He said “hi!!” As soon as he stopped turning his head to try and see where Papa was hiding =)


He looks all snuggly… but he’s armed with his hammer and a bottle.


A crazy straw toy to keep him busy in his high chair =) It actually works on them both. =)


Donovan’s First Ice Cream Cone




Donovan’s First Ice Cream Cone! Take Three =) All the pics were so cute I couldn’t decide!

Serenity’s Fourth Birthday: Sparkly Science!

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Serenity’s Birthday Party Journal


The theme for Serenity’s fourth birthday party was Sparkly Science!  Her favorite subject in school this year was science, and sparkly crafts rule in this house.  Plus they both start with the letter S, and she is all about that.  We had sparkly explosions, glitter jars, and mentos geysers.  Plus festive breakfast food, with a syrup experiment in test tubes!


Serenity’s party was SO much fun!  For the kids too =)  I set up the experiment table about an hour before the party started, and Serenity couldn’t wait to get started.  By the time the guests arrived her fingers were already dyed from the food coloring and all the cups were full of black water.  I dumped those and made new colored vinegar for the first experiment.
When most of the guests arrived, we got started with the outdoor experiments.  We lucked out with the weather, it was nice and cool so we could have done it all outside, but originally I’d planned to do just the Sparkly Explosions outside.  Sparkly explosions were vinegar, baking soda, food coloring and glitter.  We explored this reaction both directions.  On one table I had trays set up with baking soda, cups with colored vinegar, and pipettes.  The kids squirted pipettes onto the baking soda, watched the little fizzes, and mixed colors.  Serenity was so excited already, she kept saying, “oh, oh, my fizzes!!!”   The next table had the volcano setup.  I got lots of gatorade bottles thanks to Dad, and I had bought a pound of glitter from oriental trading.  The kids got to mix their colors of choice, glitter, and baking soda.  Then we used squirt bottles to quickly add vinegar.  The sparkles were spectacular!  By the end of the party, the table was a solid mass of glitter.  The kids kept coming back to this until the entire two gallons of vinegar I’d bought were gone.  I have to say though, I thought the explosions were even more fun in the little clear plastic cups I used to hold the vinegar.  After they’d colored the entire trays of baking soda in truly beautiful swirly colors, Samantha and Serenity went back after the party was done and dropped big spoonfuls of the baking soda into the vinegar that was mixed with colored water.  I think this looked more spectacular because the food coloring was so much brighter that way, and it took less to overflow the cup. =)  And the mess is the best part!


After the Sparkly Explosions, we came in and explored density with our Glitter Jars.  These are all over the internet right now.  Some people use them as Calm Down or Time Out Jars.  I just like them cause they’re pretty, and glittery was the name of the day. =)  For this we used fine glitter, glitter glue, clear glue, and a variety of sequins.  We had food coloring, but that backfired a bit.  Too much food coloring and you can’t really see your glitter.  Serenity’s turned out awesome, pink glitter glue and aqua glitter, plus every shape sequin you could find.  It’s almost like an I-Spy Jar.  I hot glued all the lids shut, and I just have to say, hot gluing in a hurry is a baaaad idea.  Take your time, and use a low temp glue gun =)


As people finished their jars, pancakes and eggs were coming off the griddles.  The birthday girl loves breakfast foods, so that was the menu.  I ordered custom donuts shaped like beakers and test tubes.  I made mini monkey breads, partially because they are delicious, but mostly because I wanted some place to put the cupcake toppers I made.  My sister was in charge of the griddle and made scrambled eggs.  She even put the sprinkles on top of Serenity’s pancake stack in the shape of an S.  Serenity is addicted to letters, part of the reason the party is Sparkly Science is because they both start with the letter S.  We had strawberries too for that reason. =)  The experiment part of breakfast came in with the syrups.  I filled test tubes with six different kinds of syrups for people to mix and match.  Serenity asked for pancakes the next three days so she could continue to play with her syrup stash.  Oh, we also had fruit to try and balance some of the sugar.  =)  And I made gluten free donuts with the help of my Mom’s fancy little donut maker.


After the food, we did our traditional fishing.  The kids get so excited for those dollar store prizes!  Serenity got a glow stick wand with a Grand Old Flag on top.  And she got the leftovers later too. 😉


The final big experiment was the awesome Mentos and Diet Coke experiment.  Actually, we got diet orange soda and diet Cherry 7-Up.  So our experiment was to see which one worked the best.  I think they all worked fine.  The Diet Coke maybe went slightly higher than the Cherry 7-Up, but the 7-Up was pink and pretty.  This is always a crowd favorite.  We got the Geyser Tube from Steve Spangler which made it so easy, and it was fun to play with the different tops.  The kids loved counting down to Blast Off!


After that it was mostly free play.  Serenity opened her wonderful presents (so fast I might not have written down everything people got her, so if your thank you note is wrong, I’m so sorry!  Just know she loved and plays with all her new things even if she thanks you for the wrong one 😉  I did get out the gak for my nephews to make at the end.  Unfortunately, I ended up with a teal carpet for that one.  So it’s probably better outside or at least in the kitchen.  Or just keep an eye on the ten year old with the bright blue glue. =)  It did come up from the carpet for the most part.  Miraculously.  Or not, since I’m aching to tear out that carpet.  =)


Oh, I forgot to write about the favors!  When they arrived at the party, each child was greeted with Safety Glasses, lab coats, and nametags.  The glasses were definitely a big hit.  Oh, and magnifying glasses too.  I got pictures of a few of the guests in front of the Sparkly Science backdrop.  That’s still up, I’m still reveling in my success with the Silhouette.  I may have to hang it in Serenity’s room, it matches.


The party was a blast, and Serenity kept experimenting with Samantha until it got dark.  And she hasn’t stopped since then, we’ve done dancing raisins, shiny pennies, color mixing, and just random concoctions of glitter, water, and flowers.  I love it, and I love how creatively she can play with all the science tools I got for the party.  The day after her party she woke up, gave me a big hug, and said “thank you for making me such a nice party.”  I am so lucky. =)  She’s my sweetheart.