Shameless plug for 2bar Spirits

Posted: February 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2bar | No Comments »

How can you not love this?

Bourbon-making at 2bar Spirits:

Great grains

Great grains make great booze!

Barrels

Barrels of good times


We LOVE Whistler!

Posted: February 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Kaiser family traditions, Snow/ skiing, Whistler | No Comments »

My last post was all about setting expectations: don’t expect regular or frequent postings from this blog. But this post is all about gloating: I LOVE Whistler! And I think I love it even more with kids. We were only there for a long weekend, but it was So. Fun.

Kaisers in Whistler

Kaisers in Whistler

I feel lucky to have grown up going to Whistler with my family, and now I’m lucky enough to take my kids there. Hopefully, we’ll foster a love of skiing, but if nothing else, we’ll foster a love of the amazing town center that just gets better and better with each passing year!

Whistler kid

Whistler kid

The Olympic stage, where we’ve seen kids concerts in trips past, has been turned into an ice skating rink. The playground still rocks, even when its covered in snow. Meadow Park Rec Center has an awesome pool, and I hear they have a pretty cool ice rink as well. The slopes are always great, and the accommodations are usually fabulous.

This time around, we spent a lot of time on the sledding hill that was built up between the ice rink and the playground right outside our condo door. It was amazing. Especially for Eli, who loved getting pushed around on the sled and kicking the saucer around the flats. Halleck even got to take a spin!

We traveled thanks to the generosity of my folks, who booked a 2-bedroom condo in a primo location, and treated us with opportune baby-sitting. I think Mom & Dad had a good time spoiling their grandkids, and the grandkids enjoyed being spoiled!  My folks made some awesome meals too, preparing a Chinese New Year feast since the Lunar New Year Celebration occurred while we were there.

Kaisers and Ngs - So much fun together!

Kaisers and Ngs - So much fun together!

I celebrated Chinese New Year by getting to ‘ski’ with Eli at Blackcomb, and then really skiing with my hubby and my dad all over Whistler Mountain.

Eli and Mommy skiing together!

Eli and Mommy skiing together!

Kaisers on Whistler

Happy to be skiing!

We had a couple of gorgeous bluebird days, and I couldn’t have had more fun! (The one thing we didn’t do was visit our favorite creamery. We never made it to Cows for ice cream, because Eli never fully finished his dinner! When did my kid become a picky eater?!?)

Aside from missing out on Cows, we skied, we swam and splashed around at Meadow Park (Eli even jumped off the rope swing!), and, true to our Whistler tradition, we met up with Vancouver friends, the Lanaris. I don’t think there’s been a trip up to Whistler yet where we don’t see Marc, Ann, Lucio and Nico. Thanks Eryn and Brian, for introducing us! And we started a new tradition: we made 2bar Moonshine cocktails. But that’s becoming a thing wherever we go ;)

All the boys

All the boys

2bar

New Canada sale rep?

 

 

 


Best part about this blog: lack of timely information

Posted: February 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2bar, Christmas, Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck, Holidays, Kaiser family traditions, Snow/ skiing, Travels, Whistler | 1 Comment »
2bar Moonshine and Vodka

2bar Spirits

Kaiser family Christmas with Santa

Kaisers STILL take pics with Santa

The thing about us Kaisers is that we live a pretty fast-paced life. Take 2012, for example. We thought it would be fun to have another baby 21 months after our first baby was born, all while trying to open a new craft distillery. Oh, and we left our salaried positions (not all by choice), so we’re living on our savings and unemployment benefits. Yup. Fun times!

A quick recap of 2012: Marissa skied until she was 29 weeks pregnant (but turned in her telemark skis after January, once her belly got too big to buckle her own boots). Halleck was born in April. We traveled around a bit, seeing family and showing off our cute kids. Nathan left Blue Box Group in June to focus on 2bar Spirits. Marissa left PATH in August after her maternity leave. 2bar Spirits received its final permits in late-August and opened its doors in September/October. Thanksgiving was a blur, especially since sister Ailey returned to Seattle after a year abroad just as other-sister Eryn packed up her family to move to Gunnison, CO. Sneaked in a quick trip to Hawaii with Marissa’s mom before Christmas, and then returned home to host sister Bethany and bro-in-law Dan for a few harried holi-days.

Aunty Bethany and Uncle Dan come for Christmas

Pre-Christmas brunch

All this to say that I KNOW OUR BLOG SUCKS BECAUSE IT’S NEVER UPDATED. But the only folks who really read this is friends and family, so deal. I have no aspirations to do anything other than log a few happy memories once in awhile. And this is the place to do it. When I have time. Which is never.

Even now, without a job and with two children in daycare, I can’t seem to update this thing regularly. But here’s the best part: the archives are GREAT. Full of vacations, family, cute kids and good times. And every once in awhile (like today), I’ll find a few spare moments to write something down. So enjoy the archives and maybe, maybe, I’ll post old stories and semi-old pictures once every three months :)


Hawaiian Sunset

Posted: January 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck, Hawaii, Holidays, Kaiser family traditions, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »
Kaisers swimming in the Hilton Hawaiian Village pool

Good time in the pool!

In early December, the Kaisers went to Hawaii for a long-planned and much-needed family vacation. The four of us and PoPo all flew to Oahu for 8 days of R&R, although we quickly learned that traveling with two babies doesn’t allow for much rest.

All the same, we had a great time playing on the beaches, swimming in the pool, visiting good friends, and seeing family. Marissa commented that we have so many friends and family on Oahu, we maintain a busier social schedule than at home. While that may be true, Seattle in December doesn’t offer sun, beaches and 80-degree weather, so I think we came out ahead.

Matsumoto's Shave Ice

Shave ice on the North Shore

Eli REALLY enjoyed the shave ice!

Eli REALLY enjoyed the shave ice!


We had lots of ‘mini’ adventures, all scheduled around nap and bedtimes. For example, since we were typically up by 5:30 every morning, one morning we packed up after breakfast and headed out to the North Shore. We found delicious shave ice at Matsumoto’s (mango and lychee flavors with azuki beans and ice cream on this visit), and visited the beach.

I wish I could say that we had an awesome time splashing in the waves, but the currents at the North Shore, an 8-month old, and the fact that Marissa ripped off her big toenail the day prior (I know, gross) meant that we just stayed on the beach. Then, we drove home and let the boys nap. Successful mini-adventure complete!

Most of our days were spent at the pool. Thank GOD for the amazing Hilton Hawaiian Village. The timeshare that PoPo helped us get was perfect for us and the kiddos. We had another mini-adventure just walking around the grounds and seeing the fish and animals maintained by the hotel/resort.

Fun in the pool!

We even had friends, Chase and Zack, come and visit us at the pool

Because we had a kitchen, we ate many of our meals in the hotel room or we packed a picnic lunch. We even hosted friends a couple of times! And thank goodness for PoPo who watched the boys on more than one evening while Nathan and I went out. It was a great vacation, and one that we hope to repeat again!

Halleck loves Hawaii!

"Mom, I love Hawaii!"

Beaches of Waikiki

Beaches of Waikiki

While we were gone, we missed an amazing number of awesome milestones at 2bar. Gabe and Will kept the shop running just fine, and we got home just in time to experience the excitement that a feature in Evening Magazine brings.


A follow up to Camping

Posted: September 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck, Kaiser family traditions, Travels | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Oh yeah, I forgot to post what happens to the Kaisers after a weekend of camping.

Tired Kaisers

Tired post-camping Kaisers

It’s tough to look forward to Monday when you’re this tired. Thankfully, this Monday is Labor Day. Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone!!!


Camping

Posted: August 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck, Kaiser family traditions, Travels | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

I mentioned in a previous post that I *MIGHT* blog about summer camping. Well, here it is. For 3 years running, Nathan’s sister, Eryn, has organized a family camping trip. I gotta say, it just gets better and better with each passing year! This year, even Nathan’s folks joined us!

Grandma, Grandpa and the kids (minus Eryn's belly)

Grandma, Grandpa and the kids (minus the one in Eryn's belly)

The days leading up to the annual Kaiser camping weekend were 90+ degrees, and we were all looking forward to basking in the sunshine. I wish I could say the weather stayed warm and sunny, but that wasn’t the case. By Saturday, our camping spot was overcast and cool. Most of the Pacific Northwest breathed a sigh of relief. Honestly, I was bummed. I was looking forward to an entire weekend spent in Deep Lake at Millersylvania State Park. But it wasn’t to be.

Still, the kids had a great time hanging by the lake.

Eli and Hazel

Cousins

I think Eli would follow Hazel to the moon… He also loved hanging by the camp fire, running around naked, and eating all the chocolate for the s’mores. He especially loved eating all the chocolate for the s’mores.

Halleck had a good time sitting in laps, and keeping watch over the festivities. That’s kinda what he does best.

Uncle Ritchie reads to Halleck and Hazel

Halleck keeps watch as Uncle Ritchie reads a story

Eli and Hazel, at basecamp

Too cool for this camp site!

Eli and the lake

Eli and the lake

But camping with two young kids does have its share of challenges. Eli is never one to sleep well in a new environment, and, true to form, he woke up and screamed at several points throughout both nights. Sigh.

It was just challenging enough that we opted to alter a second summer camping trip planned with friends. Well, to be fair, a confluence of things contributed to us not going away… Our friends had suffered mid-week colds, we didn’t have a camp site reservation and we were planning to hit a popular spot on the Olympic Peninsula, the weather forecast wasn’t going to top 76 degrees…

But we DID camp. In our friend’s backyard.

The backyard camping setup

Camp Goodale, Ballard, WA

It was awesome and painful, all rolled into one. Awesome because we were camping in our friend’s backyard with four young boys. Mark is 5, Eli is 2, Alan is 1, and Halleck is 4 months. We pitched the tents, we blew up the air mattresses, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores, and we all went to bed smelling of campfire. By the time us parents turned in, we also smelled of alcohol because we drank our fair share of it.

The problem with drinking with young kids around is the propensity for the young ones to demand your attention, just as the hangover is starting to kick in. Eli and Halleck took turns crying in the middle of the night, all through the night, starting just after we adults decided to put away the booze and turn in. It was about 1 a.m., and Eli had a nightmare that woke him up screaming bloody murder. There was no consoling him.

I took him inside, and we tried various rooms of our friend’s house, until he finally calmed down and fell asleep on top of me on the couch. Less than 2 hours later, I had to extricate myself out from under him when Halleck woke up, hungry. What seemed like minutes after Halleck fell asleep on me, Eli woke up wanting to eat. It was still dark. Sigh.

But the weather was perfect, there was all the comforts of home because we were essentially home, and the company could not have been beat! Did I mention that they live less than a mile from us?

Thank you Grant and Melissa, for hosting us on our epic-backyard-camping-adventure. This is one for the books for sure!


Somebody really likes basil

Posted: August 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Halleck | Tags: , | No Comments »

And that somebody would be Halleck! See how happy he is next to the basil plant?

Happy Halleck

Happy Halleck (with basil)

He’s even happier if I leave him alone so he can reach for it and pull off leaves, one by one. This is what he pulled off while I wasn’t looking…

And this is him enjoying his loot!

 


How are we so lucky?

Posted: August 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Halleck | No Comments »

Halleck is 4 months old today. So much has happened in the last 24 hours, I don’t know where to begin, but I know that we are so lucky and so blessed.

Halleck - 4 mos

Our little Outlaw

Our kids are healthy and incredibly happy, agreeable kids. Halleck started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old. And by sleeping through the night, I mean he was going down between 8-10 p.m. and would wake up between 6-7 a.m. That’s pretty much still the case.

Vitals:
He’s 13 lbs, 7 oz. which puts his slight frame in the 10th percentile for weight. But he’s a string bean, because he’s in the 80th percentile for height. Well, actually, he’s more like a lollipop, because his head is in the 75th percentile.

Milestones:
Halleck has been jonesing to catch up with his brother since the day he was born! He held up his head early, and he’s super strong. These days he’s a rolling-over machine. No more leaving him on the bed, couch or changing table. This kid is liable to roll off!

Halleck also has a GREAT belly laugh.

 

This a rough and sudden transition, but I learned yesterday evening that a friend’s son, about Halleck’s age, passed away suddenly. My heart is broken for Stacy, Ryan, and the remaining Miyashiro twin, Daniel.

Andrew and Daniel Miyashiro

Daniel and Andrew Miyashiro

Andrew Miyashiro

God bless you in heaven, baby Andrew

Little Andrew is no longer with us.

I don’t know what I’ve done to be so lucky, but I’m kissing my boys a little more frequently.


Summer Tales

Posted: August 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cabin, Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck, Kaiser family traditions, Travels | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Wow. So it’s been close to two months since our last post. We’ve been kinda busy having fun. So here’s a few tidbits from our summer thus far….

July 4th 2012

4th of July Parade!

Per Kaiser-family tradition, we spend Independence Day at the Kaiser cabin. We’re trying to log in as many days as we can at the cabin, because word on the street is that it’s getting torn down after Labor Day. That’s right, folks. Keith and Susie have decided to upgrade by building a new cabin. Which will probably be more like a huge vacation house. But that’s another post for another day.

I digress… Since neither Nate nor I had anywhere else to be, we spent the entire week at the cabin. We sunbathed. We swam. We kayaked. We rode the jet ski. We luxuriated. We loved it.

Brotherly Love

These boys are best buds. Thank God they like each other.

Two brothers

Brotherly love at bathtime

Eli and Halleck

"Outshide! At the cabin!"

Nathan reads to the boy

My boys. How can you not just love these guys?

 

When Eli wakes up in the morning, he’ll always ask to see “Baby Hayeck.” (We’re still working on saying our ‘L’s. And ‘G’s which come out more like ‘d’s. And ‘C’s which come out more like ‘t’s…) If Halleck sneezes, Eli will say, “Bless you, Baby Hayeck!”

And if Halleck’s having a rough day, I ask Eli to give Halleck his binky. Halleck’s cries will turn into coo’s and smiles. It’s about enough to melt your heart, they’re so sweet together! I hope this lasts!

More Friends and Relatives

A whole lotta Kaisers

Kaisers!

Most awesome: We got to see Aunt Ailey!!! We also got a visit from cousin Brett (who Eli refers to as “Udder Bedt”).

And we’ve been to a crazy number of birthdays and BBQs with friends and their kids. Now I get it… this is how parents socialize.

Milestones

  • Eli turned 2. We celebrated over the span of 2 weeks, starting on June 30 with the extended Kaiser fam at the cabin. Celebrations culminated on his real birthday where, after talking up a soccer game to Eli all day long, we realized that the Sounders game started waaayyy past Eli’s bedtime and promptly left him with PoPo and GungGung, and enjoyed the game ourselves. Yup. We’re those kind of parents.
  • Nathan turned — Well, we’ll keep that number between us. Nathan and I celebrated his birthday by leaving the kids with PoPo and Uncle Josh, and hitting up downtown Ballard. We ended up at Ballard Pizza Company. Nice place. Good pizza.
  • It was Friday, July 13, and I was struck by weird deja vu. Three months prior on Friday, April 13, I went into labor. Halleck was born on Saturday, April 14. And now he’s almost 4 months old! GA! Time flies, especially when an infant is around.
  • Eli got his first stitches. And he was a rock-star patient! (The hot doctor helped a LOT.)

    Halleck sucks his thumb

    "See Mom, I don't need my binky. I found my thumb!"

  • I know you’re not gonna believe me, but Eli’s just about potty-trained. He still wears Pull Ups a lot of the time, but he’s getting pretty good at letting us know when he has to go potty… or when he’s just pooped in his pants. Ahh well, we’re nearly there!
  • Halleck found his thumb.
I won’t promise regular updates, but I’ll try to be better. Quick, simple posts, I keep telling myself. (I’m obviously not taking my own advice.) But here’s the tricky thing about maternity leave: getting on my computer is HARD. I can one-finger punch away at my iPhone all day long, but two-hand typing on a screen bigger than a 2×4 inches is just about impossible. (On a side note, I did ask for an iPad for my birthday, which is coming up in September.)

BTW, this post is inspired by the fact that I’ve been in bed with a fever for the past two days, and I’m just now feeling better. It’s 11:20 p.m., Halleck has been asleep since 9:30, and Eli & Nathan are in the backyard “camping” in the tent. (The big boys are gearing up for next weekend when we’ll be sleeping in a tent for real. Maybe I’ll get my act in gear and post about our camping trips within a reasonable span of time… Maybe.)

Eli in his sandbox

Eli got a sandbox for his birthday.

Aunt Ailey!!!

Aunt Ailey!!! At Denny Creek.

Eli and Halleck

Eli chose his own accessories.

Eli, Silas and dads

At Silas' 2nd birthday

And on that note, until next time. MAYBE after camping.


“I see cows!”

Posted: June 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck, Kaiser family traditions, Texas, Travels | No Comments »

Yes, in Texas, one has an enormous potential to see lots of cows. And Eli was so glad we were in Texas where we saw LOTS of cows and some horses too! We also rode “boda” also known as the Kubota ATV, went fishing, collected lots of rocks, and had a great time seeing friends and relatives. It was officially the Halleck introduction tour of Texas, but Eli often stole the show.

The Kaisers and the cows

Grandpa, Momma, and Eli check out the 'wildlife' on the 2bar ranch

In preparation for the trip, we asked Eli a few questions:

  • “Eli, what does a cow say?” – Moo!
  • “Eli, what does a horse say?” – Clop! Clop! Clop! (the sounds of a trot)
  • “Eli, what does a cowboy say?” – Yee Haw!
Eli and his airplane "pac-pack"

"It's my pac-pack"

And thanks to our good friends the Swifts, Eli was all prepared for the 4 hour plane ride with his airplane “pac pack” filled with toys and books. He and Halleck proved to be great travelers once again. Eli had his very own seat on the plane, while Halleck happily slept in someone’s arms through both flights.

We landed in the hot and humid metropolis of Houston, Tx, and got to spend a wonderful few days with octogenarians Jap & Louise Lott. Jap is a WWII pilot who married a pistol of a lady over 60 years ago, and Louise has since dedicated her life to keeping him in line. Louise is Nathan’s grandfather’s first cousin (I think), which would make them cousins twice removed (right?). Susie can clarify that one for me.

But more than being in Texas, we decided that the 2bar ranch is heaven to a toddler.

S. Kaiser 2-Eli did the following on any given day at the ranch:

  • I see cows!
  • I feed cows!
  • I ride boda!
  • I go fishing!
  • I feed fish!
  • I swim!
  • Yucky cow poo poo! (and yes, Eli played in cow pies)
  • Yee-haw cowboy!
  • Lizz-zard! I see lizard!
  • I wear base-ball hat!
  • I get rocks!

We all see cows

Eli rides "boda"

Eli rides "boda"

Eli sees fish

"Big fish!"

Eli swims

Swimming

Eli in his baseball cap

Halletsville cattle auction cap

Eli finds a rock

Eli finds a rock

Halleck also had a good time meeting his relatives and enjoying the heat. Texas temps were in the 90s the entire week we were there. The sun was scorching (save for an enormous tropical storm that hit Houston minutes after our plane landed… we were lucky to land when we did!), but we managed to get away from the humidity in Yoakum. Through it all, we decided that Halleck likes the heat. He didn’t complain once about being outside. But then again, he didn’t complain about being inside either… He was gettin’ love and snuggles where ever he was at!

Meeting his great-grandaddy was an especially precious thing. Halleck slept a LOT while he was in Great-Grandaddy’s arms (and only slightly less so in Grandpa’s arms).

Three generations of Kaiser men

Three generations of Kaiser men

Nathan says this was the best trip to Texas ever. All I know is that we all had a great time, and we can’t wait to go back.

Low and behold, as we touched down on the tarmac in Seattle and began taxiing to the runway, Eli fell fast asleep. Halleck hadn’t done anything but snore for the previous 2 hours and landing wasn’t going to change that. Even though it would have been nice for Eli to fall asleep 2 hours earlier with Halleck, it was a good way to end a trip.

Boys, fast asleep now that we're home

Good timing for a nap... or not.

 

 


Big brother Eli – 23 months old

Posted: May 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck | Tags: , | No Comments »

The Kaiser boys and their Gung Gung (or "Doh Doh" as Eli might say)

Eli is an amazing big brother. Since Halleck’s been born, Eli has gotten more affectionate and even more verbose. I love this kid. He wakes up every morning asking for Dada or Mama. And when he’s been rescued from his crib, he’ll give us a big hug and say, “See baby?” Since Halleck’s been born, Eli’s begun giving out lots of hugs and kisses. There’s nothing like a slobbery, wet kiss from a toddler who loves you!

She threw the cap, but the gown is still on!

Eli can say just about everything in a repeat-after-me fashion, but it’s deciphering the words that’s often a challenge. His c’s come out sounding more like t’s or th’s. We were in the Bay Area last weekend to celebrate Auntie B and Uncle Dan’s graduation from their respective master’s programs, and Eli saw a cat on the walk back from commencement. “Tat! Tat!” he called, pointing to something beyond my shoulder.

I had no idea what he was saying, so I responded, “Yeah. That!” After this go-round a couple of times Eli got frustrated and finally said, “Meow!”

Oh! C-at! Riiigggghhhht. And “open cup” sounds more like “ah-bee tup.” Since he’s a big boy now, Eli often asks us to remove the top from his sippy cup so he can drink from a “tup.”

Speaking of Auntie B (since we all agreed that “Auntie Bethany” was way too many syllables for a 2-year old, and “Auntie B” sounded like a good alternative), she just got her degree in speech and hearing pathology! We’re so proud of her! And she’s been awesome at filling us in about Eli’s language development. For example, it’s more difficult to say “k” and “g” sounds, so they’ll likely come a little later.

Eli and Halleck went to visit "Doh Doh" at work with Mom and PoPo

Eli can pronounce my mom’s name just fine… He’s been saying “PoPo” for months (not to be confused with “poo poo,” but that’s a separate issue), but he can’t say “Gung Gung.” Instead, Eli’s been calling my dad “Doh Doh,” which we think is H I L A R I O US and oohhh so cute! But he’s turning the corner… just tonight Eli started saying “Doh Doung.” I’m going to miss “Doh Doh.”

Eli’s also stringing words together for the last month or so, saying sentences and making his requests known. Interestingly enough, “Doh Doh” is often part of the pairing.

  • Doh Doh outside – (Gung Gung, let’s go outside.)
  • Doh Doh home? – (Is Gung Gung at home?)
  • Doh Doh tum home? – (Is Gung Gung coming to our home?)
  • Doh Doh work! – (Gung Gung is at work.)
What I’m so proud of, though, is that Eli has some manners. He’s not afraid to ask for “help peez!” We’re still working on “thank you” but he’s repeated it after me in the past week, so that’s progress.
Toddlers learn and show so much development every day, it’s a constant amazement to watch his changes from one week to the next. I can’t keep up with them all! But I love it. I love him.
In other news, Halleck takes a bottle without issues, and Eli is working on potty training.
Wish us luck!

Halleck had no problem taking a bottle from PoPo

The octopus and Eli at the Seattle Aquarium


Happy 1 month birthday, Halleck!

Posted: May 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck | No Comments »

Halleck (and the entire Kaiser family) has had a very full month! I can’t believe it was one month ago (plus one day) that he joined our family and blessed our lives. Time flies when you’re having fun!!!

Halleck’s had all sorts of adventures in his first month. There’s the standard newborn activities…

Halleck - a very new newborn

New newborn

Proud father Nathan

Proud dad

Eli meets Halleck and points to his nose

Meeting his brother

Meeting family for the first time, heading home from the hospital, visiting the pediatrician for the first time, and getting his first bath…

Heading home from the hospital

Headed home from the hospital (note the awesome yellow booties!)

Halleck's bath

Happy bathtime! (Not his first bath, so he's actually enjoying himself :)

There’s lots of visits with new friends. And then there’s a few unique adventures. How many newborns that you know have a distillery to visit?

Yeah, Halleck visited 2bar when he was just a few days old. Mom was proud to pose for a picture with him! (We also went to Costco together when Halleck was 3 days old and then visited Blue Box Group. We visited PATH a few days later.)

Halleck's first visit to 2bar distillery

First distillery visit

Being related to Arlene Ng, Halleck has had his share of photos taken of him. But we took a few professional photos at Yuen Lui before his first week was up.

Eli gives Halleck a kiss

Brothers

Family of four

Happy family of four

And since Halleck was born during a season of gorgeous sunny weather and warming temperatures, we’ve already spent our share of time outside. This makes Halleck’s brother Eli very happy!

After a particularly lovely afternoon BBQ at our place, all the Kaiser boys took a nap.

Sleeping trio

Sleeping babies

And throughout these four weeks, Halleck has continued to grow and change. We love you little boy! Thank you for blessing our family!!!

 

 


Memories of my grandmother

Posted: May 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs | No Comments »

In Chinese, the word for maternal grandmother is ‘PoPo.’ My PoPo and I were very close. It was one year ago that she went home to heaven.

Mae Mark aka "PoPo"

My mom calls May 9 the anniversary of PoPo’s homecoming. I think that’s a very appropriate way to describe the date. A year ago we all gathered together at the hospital where my PoPo lay on life support after a massive heart attack. We said our good-byes, prayed over her, and let her go. Amazingly enough, she raised her arms, praising God and saying good-bye back to us after the monitors and wires were pulled.

My Uncle Byron put together a slideshow that captured some of PoPo’s 83 happy years. This is a modified, slightly shorter version: Slide Show Commemorating Mae Mark

And I gave a euology at her funeral a week later. I called it “She Taught Us How to Love.” Here’s the text:

In memoriam of Mae Lim Mark; January 14, 1938 – May 9, 2011 

Hi, you all know me. I am Mae’s oldest grandchild Marissa, born to Mae and Al’s eldest child, Arlene. Since I’m a maternal granddaughter, I called Mae “PoPo.” Many of my cousins called her “Ngin Ngin.”

To all of us, she was a consummate grandmother and matriarch, no matter how we referred to her. She showed us all what unconditional love is.

And I presume that many in this room would share in this sentiment: Mae, Mom, PoPo, Ngin Ngin, Auntie… taught us how to love.

Since I was the firstborn grandchild, and the daughter of two working parents, PoPo and Gung Gung were very active in my rearing. I spent my early years at Mark’s Pharmacy, playing with pill bottles and containers for birth control. And I have distant memories of the big house in West Seattle, with the gorgeous views and the big swimming pool.

From my child-mind’s eye, I remember big family gatherings at that old house—I’m sure many of you remember this much better than I—steaming platters of No Mai Fan, soy-sauce chicken, big slices of watermelon. PoPo always had an amazing reputation for good food.

But my fondest memories of PoPo in that big house are not of the big family gatherings. Rather, they are of the intimate moments she and I shared together. I think, for me, this is how the foundation for a grandmother’s love is set.

I recall sitting on her bathroom countertop as she gently and delicately pulled out a splinter. And I got a lot of splinters on that long deck!

Her nurse’s touch helped heal me, whether I had a splinter, or a cut, or a cold. And her nurse’s touch didn’t stop because I grew up. Nathan and I called PoPo with questions regularly!

She was always eager to put those nursing skills to work. With that gentle touch, she showed us how to love.

Even after PoPo and Gung Gung moved out of that big house, no matter where she was, I experienced her unconditional love and caring, and I saw her caring for others.

At their house in the U-district, she took in exchange students and ran a daycare for all my cousins. She changed diapers, she took us to and from school and our many lessons.

I can still hear her singing, “Down by the station, early in the morning…”

In the early days with our son, Eli, PoPo’s was one of the few tunes I would sing to him. She showed me how to care for this baby. She showed me how to love.

And it’s in my adult life, she’s meant the most to me. From her infinite wisdom and gentle urging about how to talk to my mother, to her marriage advice to my husband on the day of our wedding—“never go to bed angry”—she showed me the true meaning of love.

I knew that PoPo was praying for me every night.

And not just praying for me, but praying for all of her 8 children, their spouses, all of her 14 grandchildren, and their spouses, praying for her great-grand son, praying for her siblings, her siblings-in-law, her nieces and nephews…

She loved her family so much. It’s what she lived for. She taught us how to love.

So a few lessons that PoPo taught me that I’ll leave with you today:

  1. Respect your elders
  2. Stand by your man
  3. Say your prayers
  4. Love your family

PoPo’s caring transcended family. And that’s why we’re all gathered here today.

She taught us how to love.


The days leading up to being a family of four…

Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Happy May!

It’s been an eventful few weeks for the Kaiser household since my last post, and I’ll post some pics and stories from our adventures soon enough. But first I wanted to share about the days and hours leading up to Halleck’s arrival, before we became a family of four.

A few things about my pregnancies and my babies (given the current sample size of two that I have to go off of):

  • I carry pretty small. With both Eli and Halleck I gained maybe 17 lbs.
  • I get false contractions toward the end. Clinically, it’s called Braxton Hicks, but I call ‘em annoying as all get out. With Eli, I had false contractions for a good two weeks prior to going into labor. With Halleck, I was plagued with Braxton Hicks for at least six weeks. That means that I would have regular, consistent tightening of all the muscles around my belly every time I did any physical activity. It was exhausting, both physically and, toward the end, mentally. It’s tough when you know labor is approaching, get all the physical signs that things are moving forward, but know that it’s not really labor yet. Gah!
  • Despite being saddled with these contractions, I stayed pretty active through both my pregnancies. There’s video of me and ‘Outlaw’ at 32 weeks pregnant skiing down a black diamond called Challenger at Big Sky, MT. I was on alpine skis by that point, because there was no way I would have been able to buckle my own telemark boots, but I was still tearin’ it up :) Incidentally, the weekend after Big Sky, I was bed ridden with Braxton Hicks. Yeeaaahhhh, maybe Outlaw didn’t like the skiing as much as I did…

So here’s a couple of pregnancy pics of my last month with Outlaw:

Pregnant belly: 36 weeks (one month to go!)

39 weeks (just days away from delivery!)

I don’t love having pictures taken of me and my pregnant belly. And Nathan never really thinks about taking pictures, so I had to ask him to take these. Not the best quality, but you get the gist.

The day that I went into labor was a gorgeous, sunny, warm day in Seattle. Since I have Fridays off, I’d spent the day running errands. BORING. So I’d hoped that Nathan would be up for enjoying the evening with our toddler and dog. I loaded up Galt in the truck and headed downtown to pick up Nate and Eli.

What I didn’t realize was that Nathan was immersed in work, and he wouldn’t be able to mentally distance himself from it until he realized that THIS IS REALLY GO TIME!!!, which didn’t happen until hours later.

Instead, we (the entire Kaiser clan, including Galt) hung out at Nathan’s office while he tried to eek out a few more minutes of productivity. The truck sat in the load/unload zone, and the kid was getting antsy. Galt loves the office and couldn’t have cared about going anywhere else, except that he might have had to go to the bathroom.

Finally, around 6 p.m., I asked Nate if we could get going. Reluctantly, he agreed, but he noted that he’d be back that evening because he had SO much work to get done. We headed out and decided to grab dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. We even got to sit in the train! Eli had fun, and so did we.

Coloring the Spaghetti Factory menu

Even if Nathan was absorbed with work, he knows how to enjoy time with his kids. Or at that point in time, kid. Little did we know that this would be our last evening as a family of three :) But yay for me who was about to not be pregnant anymore!


Introducing Halleck Michael Kaiser!

Posted: April 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Eli, Family - Kaisers, Marks, and Ngs, Halleck | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

We welcomed Halleck Michael Kaiser on April 14 at 4:29 in the morning. He arrived healthy, lively, and with a full head of hair! He’s just a smidge over 7 lbs 0.9 oz, and 18.5 inches long.

We’re reveling in this time, getting to know each other, and celebrating his arrival with family and friends.

Eli was especially sweet as he met his younger brother: