Happy 3rd Birthday, Collin!

We celebrated Collin's 3rd birthday with friends and family at Lake Padden Park Sunday afternoon!

Naomi (Neighbor)

Dexter (Blossom Buddy in O's class) and Collin


(Seattle Friend) Riley is Queen of the Castle.

Riley serves up smiles.

Collin slides down head first.

Ella (Blossom Buddy) rides the porpoise!

Neighbors Christina and Katie

Owen climbs to the top of the big slides!

Dexter prepares to slide ~ adorable.

Taylor, now 14 months, learning to play tee ball with our friend Mike.

Me and Nancy

Collin and Sean race across the field!

Collin shows his skills and blasts the ball!

Smile for the camera, Natalie!

Oh, smile "nicely" for the camera!

Seana and Aiden (10 months)

Aaron, Riley, and baby Keira (3 weeks)

My sister made an amazing Goofy puzzle cake! Everyone was in awe, and if she'd have lived nearby and had had business cards, Chrissy probably would have a thriving party cake business on her hands!

After 45 minutes on the playground, Collin spotted the cake. He was dismayed to hear everyone had to eat lunch before he could cut into it. So ~ he sat by it and waited ...

Kevin grilled up burgers and hot dogs and served a picnic feast!

Natalie, Uncle Jared, Aunt Janae, MaryJane (Blossom Buddy) and Mom Clara (my hair magician) enjoy O's antics!

Goofy as ever, O played peek-a-boo with his plate while waiting for his hot dog!



Grandpa C gives O a boost.

Taylor and MaryJane join in the games!

Steve and Katie took Collin, Natalie, and Marley for a "nature walk."

Steve, Natalie, and Katie (and Baby Sawyer in the belly!)

Ben (Blossom Buddy) and Riley take turns sending the rocket soaring!

Mike's daughter Jaime practices her swing and shows the little kids how it's done without the tee.

Ella (Blossom Buddy) and Owen swing away!

Grandpa J and O bond over laughter.

Neighbors Laura and Mia show Mom Brittany how to share.

Finally ~ cake time!

Pictured: Ella, Riley, Laura, Naomi, Collin, Marley, Dexter, Jaime, Kelly, Great Grandma G (Triple G!), MaryJane, Taylor, Ben, Natalie, Mia, Owen.

Missing Kids: Aiden (10 months), Keira (3 weeks ~ born to Aaron and Renee), and Oliver (born to Art and Kathy, who showed up later, also 3 weeks).

After waiting patiently (only sneaking a few finger-swipes of frosting!), Collin can't seem to scoop the cake in fast enough!

Mom and Owen

Tuckered, Owen passed out on Uncle Jared's shoulder after finishing his cake.

Mike and Nancy gave Collin his first kite, and all gift-opening was halted as the kids buoyed for a turn to fly it.

How perfect! I spy with my "little eye" a boy with his first magnifying glass!

Collin was showered with wonderful gifts ~ thank you, All!

The girls literally huddle around Collin as he unwraps the packages.

A true believer in "snail" mail, Collin thoroughly enjoyed opening each and every birthday card! He'd never received so much "mail" at one time! I was thrilled to see how many of the kids had decorated or created their own cards for Collin's birthday!

We had a fantastic time! Thank you to everyone who was able to share in our special occasion!



For those of you that I have not had the pleasure of seeing in the past two weeks, this may sound unbelievable to you. But those who have seen me recently (like everyone at Collin's birthday party Sunday) would probably vouch for the fact that my body has taken to this pregnancy quickly and grown outwards dramatically.

For example, with Collin, I was asked if I was pregnant based on appearance at 14 weeks. With Owen, someone asked at 7 weeks. With this baby, I was asked at 3 weeks ~ twice. By two women within two days of each other. That's twice merely one week (approximately) after conception ~ 4 days before I could even take the 4-Days Earlier Pregnancy Test!

At first I was shocked that anyone, especially women, would dare ask so early. But in hindsight, the bump really was so pronounced, they had no idea they were being "rude." I appeared much further along than 3 weeks.

Now, at only 5 weeks, many have started making bets and talk of twins is rampant. I have grown out of nearly all of my pre-pregnant pants/skirts in record time and most suspect I am due in December. So, I did a little research.

Is it twins?

From BabyCenter.com
Sure, twins run in families and you're more likely to be carrying multiples if you've undergone fertility treatments, but any woman can become pregnant with more than one baby. Could you be one of them?

Your overall odds of carrying twins

• Your likelihood of having twins is about 1 in 32 (or about 3 percent) and your chances of triplets and higher multiple births is about 1 in 555. About 95 percent of all multiple births are twins.

• Identical twins happen by chance and aren't influenced by family history or fertility treatments. Only about 12 percent of twins born in the U.S. are identical. Your likelihood of having identical, or monozygotic, twins (when one fertilized egg divides in half) is about 1 in 250.

Factors that influence fraternal twins

• Fraternal twins run in families, so if you're related to twins, you're more likely to have a set yourself. Your partner's family history doesn't appear to affect your odds of having twins.

• Fertility treatments dramatically increase your odds for multiples. On average, 20 to 25 percent of women who take fertility drugs or undergo in vitro fertilization and other reproductive techniques end up carrying more than one baby.

• The older you are, the greater your chances of having fraternal twins or higher multiples. This increase has nothing to do with infertility treatments. Researchers aren't sure why but think it may have something to do with hormonal changes in older moms.

• Fraternal twins are more common in African Americans and less common in Hispanics and Asians.

• Being well nourished increases your chances of having twins and being malnourished decreases your chances.

The more pregnancies you've had, the greater your chances of having twins. In fact, by your fourth or fifth pregnancy, your likelihood of having twins is four times higher than it was for your first pregnancy. [*This is my fourth pregnancy.]

• Once you have a set of fraternal twins, you're twice as likely to have another set in a future pregnancy.

Symptoms of a twin pregnancy
The most common symptom for women carrying twins is rapid weight gain early in pregnancy. Measuring large for your stage can be another giveaway. And many twin moms-to-be (but not all) suffer much more intense morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms due to the increase in hormones caused by two babies.

Collin's Baby

At 5 weeks, Collin's baby is thriving! Collin shows his belly to me each morning within moments of waking me up and reports that the baby inside is getting "bigger and bigger and biggest ~ bigger than Baby Sawyer" every day.

*Baby Sawyer is the neighbor baby due to join the world any day ~ you can imagine that his mommy's belly (Katie's belly) is much bigger than Collin's or mine, but Collin has very high expectations for his "baby."

Collin has a remarkable connection with his baby, and he is acutely aware of when his baby is awake, asleep, resting, or moving. At random moments, he will suddenly report, "My baby is tired now. It's going to go to sleep." Or "My baby is moving. It makes my tummy feel funny."

Yesterday, interestingly, the baby was thirsty so it hopped out of Collin's belly, got a drink, and hopped back in. (Bet Katie wishes Baby Sawyer would do that!)

Disturbingly, the baby died this morning. It was the first time I've ever heard Collin even say the word "died" or any word even associated with death. I am not even certain what his understanding of death is as he has not, to the best of my knowledge, experienced any death. But I can assure you that within 10 seconds, his baby was healthy and very much "alive" in his belly again. Hmmm ...

Stay tuned for more of Collin's pregnancy journal as the weeks continue! : )

BTW ~ I'm feeling great. I'm tired and wake up "hung over" each morning ~ it takes me a good hour minimum to shake it ~ but this is over-shadowed at the moment with "honeymoon"-like emotional responses. I am filled this week with a wonderful sense of peace and contentment. We received our first Baby gift for the tamale-to-be, and it all became so wonderful and whimsical and dreamy to me. I may never feel this way again as I know we will have our "hands full" (a terms everyone tends to throw out so often) so I am relishing in this feeling and loving this moment. Hopefully this pregnancy, and the future, will be filled with many similar moments, but for now, I'm enjoying this one.


Random Night in the Cul-de-Sac

After dinner almost every night you can find kids and parents racing around Mahonia Place, our wonderful street that is coveted for its kid-friendly layout - two cul-de-sacs are connected by a straight road and it is relatively untraveled except by the residents. We are so lucky and LOVE where we live. But our love for our neighborhood is only in very small part because of its layout ~ our neighbors make it the best place on earth!

Nightly After-Dinner Club

Collin ~ Well known for his lack of fear, Collin fell at least 6 times on this evening (drawing blood on one occassion) and jumped back on his bike with a huge grin each time, leaving the other parents in shock at the lack of tears, need for bandaids, and cries for help.

Rylan and Owen want so badly to run with the Big Boys!
Rylan (on Owen's trike)

Owen (pushing Rylan's truck)

Owen ran to meet Dad, who raced down the hill riding the Plasma Car!

Natalie ~ The youngest biker-chick I've ever met!

Racing down from North Mahonia Place ~ Collin can ride all the way to the island, turn, and shoot straight down at top speed with no fear!

Brennen, Naomi, Collin (Steve and Natalie are in the background)

Natalie and Collin

South End of Mahonia Place

Bike Gang: Natalie, Brennen, Naomi, Collin

The Moms: Jen, Christina, Me, Katie
Note: Each of us protested the wisdom of this pic as we had TOTALLY not been prepared for a photo, but in our four years in the North Sac, it's the first time we were all together WITH a camera!

Natalie and Owen

Top: Rylan (2), Natalie (2 1/2), Owen (1 1/2)
Bottom: Collin (3), Naomi (4), Brennen (5)

Brennen and Naomi

Natalie gives "Three Cheers" for our Friends!