Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Which Way Did He Go, George?

Do you ever see something that strikes your funny bone and you can't help but laugh?  This recently happened to me on my way home from work.  I followed this truck nearly the entire distance home and I laughed the whole time.  Lucky for me, I had my camera handy.  What did I see?  A white truck with three llamas in the back.  One had his head poking up over the railing and the other two were hunkered down for cover.
   I couldn't help but think of the Bugs Bunny cartoon and with a bubble above the llamas head thing of the quote "Which way did he go, George?  Which way did he go?" 
Meanwhile, Betsy and George are down below saying "Bob, would you get your head out of the wind?    That Bob, you know, he's never been the bright one in the group, always bobbing his head in and out of trouble.  If he's not careful we'll go under one of those low hanging over passes and he'll be knocked silly.  Well, sillier than he already is, you know."

OH... he must have gone to Quincy Avenue!
Ahh.... it still make me laugh to think of that llama with his head poking up, looking side to side as if to say to his friends "Which way did he go, George.  Which way did he go?"  
Maybe you had to be there to think it was funny.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Up and At 'Em

The birthday weekend continued with two parties for two kiddos on Sunday.  One for our friend's son Alexander who turned two and one for our friends son Cole who turned one.  This photo is of the back seat as we parked outside of Alexander's house.  Now that Kellan is one whole year old, he is facing the world straight on, just like his big brother Oliver.  Looking back at this photo I can't help but notice how much Oliver's facial expression looks like his Grandpa Garner when he falls asleep in the living room chair.  They both defiantly get the G Brow going.
This video cracks us up!  We couldn't have planned this response if we would have tried.  The initial reason for the video was to capture Oliver snoring.  It is hard to hear him snoring but you can't help but notice the quick response to the announcement of a birthday party.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Gift of Memories

I believe that the best gifts involve memories.  Memory making moments or memories captured for a life time.
This year for my birthday, my Mom (AKA Grandma) found an online company that would print our blog in a hard cover book.  I can't express how much I love it!  We have the first two years of the blog in print.  The first year in yellow and the second year in pink.
The books capture every word that was written and every photo that was posted.  The only piece missing is the video clips.
Mom asked me if the second book was bigger.  Well, maybe a tad. :)
To my amazing and thoughtful Mom, thank you for capturing our memories into books that I will cherish forever.  

Mommy Carrie's Birthday

Birthday season is officially upon us.  Kellan kicks it off followed Mommy (Carrie), Oliver and then Daddy (Keith) brings it home.  The unique part about the Ham Fam birthdays is that we have two in August with Kellan on the 23rd and Mommy on the 25th.  Then in October Oliver's birthday is on the 14th followed by Daddy on the 22nd.  It is a whirlwind of birthday celebrations.  
Two days after Kellan turned the BIG ONE, Mommy turned a bigger one times a few.  To celebrate on this Thursday night, we went out to dinner at Merle's in downtown Littleton.  We LOVE their fried pickles.  Can you possibly thing of a better way to tip over the mid-thirty mark on your way to forty?
On the way there, I was serenaded to with a traditional Happy Birthday song.
(I also see evidence that Oliver knows how to unhook the top of the shoulder harness.  Time to keep an eye of that sly guy!)
A Hamilton Family dinner portrait.  Not bad for a Thursday night!  This was Oliver's fourth day of Pre-K and Kellan's third week of the Toddler classroom.  By the time mid-week comes around they are a bit crazy and cranky from exhaustion.
We love Merle's for their fried pickles and their open air atmosphere.  They are an old gas station so they open up the garage doors and let the fresh air (and occasionally Harley noise) in.
Mmmmm Fried Pickles!!
From a lower point of view (Oliver's), Kellan is enjoying his evening with the family.
"YO, what's up Bro?!"
Ok, not a prize winning shot of Mommy but at least it's a photo and proof that I was there and having fun.  Oliver has become more eager to be behind the camera rather than in front of it.
MMmmmmm Back on the Pickle Kick.
Kellan LOVED his first fried pickle experience as well.
Oliver having a pickle with a peak inside the basket.
First his eyes were shut for the photo... 
... then they were wide open!
Kellan and Daddy sharing some time together on their side of the table and conspiring about the next pose to give Mommy.
Pose of choice... Mouths wide Open and Tongues Way Out!
On the other side of the table we had a Happy Birthday Girl and a Grumpy Gus.
Ahhhh aren't we cute together?  Even Oliver has a grumpy day now and then.  Even if it's his Mom's birthday.
"No Mommy, not another photo.  Can't you see it's Thursday and my patience for photos has completely run out?"
After dinner we went for a walk around downtown Littleton.  Sadly, we saw evidence that fall was blowing in.
On Saturday morning, we went to the park so that Oliver could ride his Strider down the hill.  It's not much of a hill but it is long enough that he can get a good coast going the entire distance.
Kellan had more fun sitting by the curb with his new birthday bath tub markers.
Saturday night Keith and I went out with some friends to The Rio to celebrate.  Keith's parents were in town so they stayed with the kids.  (THANK NANA and PAPA!) Somehow, I don't have any pictures from their visit.  I have no idea how this could be possible, but it is.  Next visit, more photos!
As we arrived at The Rio Keith took a photo of the birthday girl outside under the sign.
Moments later, we were inside for a famous Rio margarita.  We hadn't been to The Rio in YEARS!  The Margaritas are yummy but I couldn't figure out why the glass didn't feel right.  It dawned on me the next day that it had been so long since I have had a margarita that I was holding it like a wine glass and not a margarita glass.  Geez... get this girl out more often!
Our friend and neighbor Theresa.  You can take the girl away from her kids for the night but she may still insist on having a kiddie cup on the table. (ok, for real, they brought the limes for her beverage in a kiddie glass.  That in itself is interesting.)
Some of the guys; Tim, Keith and Chris.
The girls from the hood: Tammy, Theresa, Carrie and Andrea.
Ben, Stacy, Keith, Carrie, Kristi and Patrick.
Thanks to Nana and Papa for watching the boys while we went out and thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate.  It is shocking that everyday I keep sliding closer to 40 rather than leaning back toward 30.  Regardless, we had a great time!!  THANKS EVERYONE!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kellan's First Birthday Day

Kellan's first birthday was a big day, yet not with the typical events one might expect.  Since his birthday was on a Tuesday, it was another day of work and school for the Ham Fam.  However, since it was a school day, Kellan got to have his first birthday at school with all of his friends in the Toddler classroom.  He moved up about three weeks prior to his birthday.  It was a bit early but he was excited to have more space to rule run around in.  He treated his classmates to mini blueberry muffins and they were a big hit.  Such a hit that each kiddo had at least two and Kellan had THREE!!
Since his birthday was on a Tuesday, he also had his One-Year check-up with Dr Mike (Brazelton).  Dr Mike is like a good box of Kix cereal; kid tested and mother (and father) approved.  We love Dr Mike!!  Keith and I love his expertise, experience and practical side about kids.  The kids love him because he is fun and probably because he resembles something out of a Dr Seuss book with his tall and lean stature, matching bow tie and converse shoes and fun curly hair. Kellan weighed in at 23.5 lbs and in the 60th percentile.  He was a wiggly 30" tall and in the 59th percentile for height.  His noggin is almost as consistent but still overflowing with brains in the 69th percentile.  
Kellan is also doing great with all of his developmental milestones.  He is extremely active, which I could have predicted from very early in pregnancy as the kid was never still, ever!  There were numerous time that I would hold my belly when I was pregnant and just say "STOP" in hopes that he would calm down.  He never did and that trend continues as he anxiously tries to keep up with his brother and maintain his status of Life of the Party.  He crawls everywhere and pulls up on everything.  We have been working on walking but he hasn't taken his brave first steps yet.  He has been spotted free standing at tables when he forgets that he is suppose to hang on.  He crawls up the stairs and will get to the top in no time if we are not watching.  We are currently teaching him to crawl feet first down the stairs but he prefers head first.  He eats everything he can get his hands on.  This includes food and non-food items.  Recently he was doing laps around the upstairs area when we noticed he sounded funny.  It could have been the wiffle golf ball that was in his mouth, which had convenient holes for breathing.  (big sigh)  He has discovered the convenience of carrying items in his mouth while crawling, much like a dog. (Oliver has been asking for a dog, has he been training Kellan?  Hmmm)  Shortly after this event we had to rid the lower hemisphere of the house of small balls.  He loves edible items too and now that he has six chompers (2 on top and 4 down below) he especially enjoys blueberries, watermelon, chicken, bread, broccoli, green beans, cheese, ham, cheerios, gold fish crackers... the list could go on and on.  It may be time to start a grocery fund along with the college fund!  Kellan has a love of music and can be seen clapping and bobbing along with a catchy toon.  He chats up a storm and it can become quite noisy at times between him and his brother.  He also likes to squeal, which drives us all a bit nuts.  Then he laughs and laughs and laughs.  He has a very contagious laugh which hasn't changed much since the first time I heard him laugh at his Dad when he was one week old.  The only difference is we see it more often and for longer periods of time.  His favorite character to laugh at/with is his big brother, Oliver.  Oliver is probably his most favorite person on earth followed closely by his Mom and Dad.  He is a cuddle bug that likes to hand out big hugs, open mouth kisses and most recently, he has been blowing kisses.  We love Kellan to pieces and he has truly completed our Ham Fam.  To me, he is like candy; completely irresistible and I just want to eat him up! (I may have been known to take a nibble hear and there)
Happy Birthday Big Guy!
After Kellan first year Dr visit, complete with FIVE (yes, FIVE) shots (WOWZA) we picked Oliver up from school early and then headed home to play with some new birthday toys.

Daddy was working late so Mommy treated the boys (and herself) to Pizza.  See, Kellan putting in his order as the laptop is entering his preferences on the right.
Hey Mom, what's happening!
Kellan was amazingly happy after all five (YES, FIVE!  UGH) shots in the leg.  We expected some kind of side effects but he was such a trooper that the only side effect he had was 30 seconds of crying.
Finally, three days after the party the balloons came down to a decent level that Kellan could properly play with them.
"Hey, why do they keep running away?"
"Ah Ha... Gotcha!"
The generosity of our friends and family was so enormous, we had gifts to span several days.  The day after Kellan's birthday we broke out another gift for Kellan (and Oliver) to explore.  
Kellan was very excited about the cars in the top of the box and probably would have been happy with that for some time.  However, it was killing his three-year-old engineer minded brother to not break into the box and start assembling.
Oliver trying to put together the new toy while Kellan looks for his weapon.
Here are a few videos (captured in 20 seconds or less) of the boys putting together the new car ramp.
Watch closely as Kellan hands out some sword swinging on Oliver's work and Oliver is quick to lay down the law.
What three-year-old asks for directions?  Only one with a big brain!

Happy First Birthday Kellan Alexander Hamilton!!!
We love you to Pieces (and sometimes, like Reeses Pieces.  MMmm)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oliver Goes to Pre-Kindergarten

Three years and five months ago, we dropped Oliver off at the Primrose School for the first time ever.  He was only eleven weeks old.  Now, at nearly four years old, he walks in as a Pre-Kindergartner.  We are very proud of how much he has grown.  We have moved from carrying him in with his bucket (car) seat to watching him bust in and cruise the hall like he owns the place.  It has been fun to watch him meet friends and grow with them from infant through the toddler and pre-school years and now well on their way to Kindergarten.  We have also watched our United credit card miles grow from nearly nothing to enough to take us all to Texas this Thanksgiving.

The morning began as they all do, with a snack and a drink on Mom and Dad's bed.  I can't tell if the photographer is getting two sets of stink eyes for taking photos at 06:30 or for standing in front of Curious George on the TV.
Dad asks "If you're ready to go to school, raise your foot!"
Oliver is one foot excited.  Pre-Kindergarten is exciting, but basically he thinks it is just another move up in the same school that he has always been in.
Kellan is SO excited that he raised two feet in the air.  He knows that it's hard to pass up a morning with Miss Alice.
The Oh So Handsome, Mr Hamilton.
Oliver giving the grand tour to his new Pre-Kindergarten classroom.
Oliver putting away his backpack on his new hook in his new classroom.
"Come on Mom, I'm smiling.  Take the picture, Pllleeeeaaasssseeee!!!"
Ah, a quick Mother Son photo.  This is one proud Mama!
Congratulations on going to Pre-Kindergarten, Oliver.  We are SO proud of you!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kellan's First Birthday Bash

In Hamilton family fashion, we threw a birthday BBQ for Kellan's first birthday and invited a few friends.  A few turned into a few more and then a few more than that.  Before we knew it, we had a Birthday Bash!
Oliver was an excellent helper and was very excited for the party.  He went with me to pick up the balloons and he was officially in charge of holding the ribbons while I strategically STUFFED the balloons into the car.  Imagine a clown car but with balloons.  When I got in to drive away, I couldn't see him.  We made some space for him to breath and then I took a picture.  
When we got home, Kellan was in awe of all of the colorful balloons.

At one point he managed to get the balloons tangled around him enough that they followed him around.  He wasn't too thrilled about it.  Good thing we didn't have anymore balloons or he may have floated away!
Kellan's gourmet cupcakes.
Two boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix, two containers of frosting, a bit of food coloring and a lot of love.
Imagine this... nearly three years ago, we (I use the term "we" loosely since you know Keith was just going with the flow on this to make a first time Mamma happy.  Two bonus points for Keith!) bought gourmet cupcakes for Oliver at $2 a piece.  Yes, TWO WHOLE DOLLARS EACH!  They were displayed on the table and when I moved them outside, they went sailing (quickly yet in slow motion) through the air as the cupcake holder tipped.  To this day, I have no idea why the cupcake holder tipped. I do know that I saw $2 cupcakes hit the deck, literally.  (The look on Geoff's face said it all as he was probably asking himself: Is she going to cry? Is she going to fall apart? Is she going to have a nervous laugh?  What do I do?  Smile, be sympathetic and don't forget to eat one, maybe two.)  Yet, everyone was a trooper and still enjoyed the cupcakes.  Probably, because they were over priced and it was Oliver's first birthday.  Since then, "we" have learned that kids love boxed cupcakes just as well (if not more) than gourmet cupcakes.  Most of all, they love bright frosting.  Thank you Duncan Hines for taking the stress out of cupcakes by providing cake mix, frosting AND fabulous food coloring choices (which make for fun pancakes in the off season).

Julie and Alex stopped by but since they are the lucky holders of Broncos season tickets, they had a pre-season game to scoot off to.  A pre-season game that the Broncos WON!  GO TEAM GO!
Meanwhile, in the backyard, the guys were in their places.  Keith was at the grill while his audience of friends watched and waited for the grilled burgers.
Keith, Chris, Tim and Dan
On the opposite side of the wall, the ladies, Michael and babies were enjoying the A/C.  Michael is such a trooper.  He arrived early before Michelle so he was on baby duty with the ladies.
Cole and Kellan doing what guys do best, talking football over a fishing pond.
Cole is only a few days younger than Kellan.
Cole's brother Owen is only 10 days younger than Oliver.
Crazy, eh?
The party may have been for a one-year old, but it expanded over the horizon with the gang of big kids.  We had the big kids (again, loose with the terms.  They were 2-8 years old) bring their bikes.  We opened the back gate and let them loose in the church parking lot.  Once the dinner bell rang, they dropped their rides like a bad habit and headed in for chow time.
Parker taking a stance about carrots at the head of the table.
Charlie, Oliver and Evelyn diving into their BBQ.
Kellan admired the party from his throne.
Oliver and Freddie entertaining Geoff at the kiddie table.  
Someday, we'll graduate Geoff to the adult table.
Geoff and Keith.
Do these two ever NOT look suspicious?  They may want to work on their poker face before heading off to Vegas anytime soon.
The kiddie table expanded a bit with Brady, Freddie, Oliver, Charlie and Cole.
Birthday Hat Time!
Speaking of looking suspicious, Oliver and Charlie are headed off with a purpose.  This look usually has a parent trailing close behind them.
The crowd headed out for the birthday cake festivities.
Happy First Birthday to our Sweet Boy Kellan!
Hey big guy, strike a pose for the crowd!
Kellan: Help me Mom, I can't take anymore of this singing.
Mom: Smile and wave, Kellan, smile and wave.
Ok Kellan, time to blow out the candle.  We know that we have never taught you this skill and we are expecting you to have it perfected on the first try in front of a large audience.  You're an over achiever, right?
Mmmm Maybe not this time.  Mom and Dad jumped in to help.
Mmmm... Cake.
Curious but Cautious.
Hey, now we're talking.
Bright Green Frosting!

"Hey kids, you might be running around thinking you're hot stuff on those cool bikes but there is NO way you're getting my bright green frosting.  I'm keeping my eye on you."
Parker diving in to his cupcake.  Do you think Jen is trying to convince Parker to just have a nibble?
Kellan's cake action is still going strong.
"Seriously Mom, must you capture every second.  Can't a boy eat in peace?"
Owen and Evelyn loving cake time.
Ahh... the sugar is kicking in and the smile is starting to emerge.
I think the sugar high is evident by the happy glaze in Kellan's eyes.
Happy Birthday Buddy!
The party was AMAZING but we were all going different direction.  We took a quick pause to scoop up the boys for a family photo.  It was fast, furious and fun, just the way the Ham Fam rolls.
Jonny and Kellan getting ready to dribble (not to be confused with drool) the ball a bit.
In the back forty (also known as the church parking lot) the gang of bikers were ready for action.
This was the scene from the back yard.  Numerous little bikers scurrying around the church parking lot like a bunch of ants.
Evelyn was excited to try her bike with no training wheels.
Owen and Oliver paused quickly for a Strider Rider photo.
Three of the Four Strider Riders: Freddie, Owen and Oliver.  Parker was missing as the Fourth Strider Rider.
They're Off!
Oliver in action riding down the hill.
Watch Out!  Here they come!
Owen, Freddie and Oliver.
Oliver and Owen.
"Watch Out Mommy!  We're SUPER FAST!"
Owen and Oliver for another quick pause.
Freddie chillin' on his ride.
Oliver and Owen in action again.  Yes, they went back and forth over and over and over...

Back at the house, Evelyn was taking a foot bath in the fountain. A girls got to do what a girls go to do!
Mommy and her birthday boy!
Happy Birthday Kellan!
The church parking lot had many uses.  One of which was for Parker to push Noah around on the John Deere.
Go Parker Go!
Good thing you've got your fast shoes on!
Parker, get your back in to it, Man!
As people started going home, Oliver asked several times when we could open gifts.  Since we were winding down, we had Kellan open a few gifts from the people who were still here.  Or, maybe it was more like Noah, Parker and Oliver helped Kellan discover his gifts.  They were just SO excited it was tough to keep their gift opening skills under wraps.
Oliver, Noah and Parker continuing to dust off their gift opening skills while Kellan plays with the wrapping.

Look Kellan, you got a new Fire Truck!
Ooohh, this one Kellan got to open on his own but you'll see that Oliver is keeping a watchful eye to make sure proper gift unwrapping protocol is followed.

One of Kellan's favorite gifts of the evening was this little green truck.
The true test of greatness...
the full mouth taste test.
Look Ma, No Hands!
Meanwhile, Owen was happy chillin' out.
Noah and Parker enjoying one of Kellan's new books.
Kellan even shared his new book with Owen.
"Hey Dude, check this out. Are you my Mother? It's a best seller and a fast read"

After everyone left, the excitement of opening gifts still loomed on since there was a table full taunting Oliver.  Kellan was ready for bed but we let him open one more.  It was possible that Oliver may have burst at the seams with anticipation.
"Whoa Kellan, we got a new tool set."
(Oliver likes to say "let's pretend the gifts are for both of us." We're working on the birthday gift concept)
"Look Kellan, it comes complete with a tool bag that talks."
Kellan: I had better get a good look at this before it ends up in Oliver's possession FOREVER!
The next morning, the fun continued.  Kellan kicked it off with a morning beverage.
and a morning stretch.
Oliver and Keith performed their morning ritual of jokes and jabs.
Kellan enjoyed the fact that his balloons were losing their helium and finally coming down to play.

Ah Ha, caught you in the corner!
The true test of greatness, the full mouth taste test.
As always, the wrapping is just as exciting as the gifts.
I didn't know that Elmo had been invited to breakfast.

I see little toes sticking out of the Elmos disguise.
While Oliver was entertained by the bag, Kellan FINALLY got some quiet time with his birthday loot.
There is something cute about a naked baby with an "I Love Mommy" bib on at the breakfast table.
Love You Too Big Guy!
After a GREAT first birthday bash for Kellan (and a few cups of coffee for Mom and Dad), the whole family was all smiles.
Happy First Birthday Kellan!
We Love You Bunches and Bunches!
Thanks to everyone who came by to celebrate our baby turning ONE!  We were overwhelmed with the love and generosity that surrounded us.
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