Sunday, October 5, 2014

Celebrating Fall

Summer was a whirlwind of insanity. A never ending parade of chaos and whining and sweaty kids demanding hugs and difficult bed times because the sun was still awake.

And then Fall crept in like a beautiful tiger of red and gold and brown. Darkness comes just in time for bed time, the days are finally cooling off, knitting is even more of a joy because now holding warm yarn is nice and comfy.

So we decided to celebrate Fall.

 We colored in two sheets of cardstock with all the crayons of Autumn colors. Reds and oranges and greens and yellow and brown.
Then, while the kids put the crayons away I used a paper punch to make a bunch of hearts. I wanted leaves, but I didn't have a leaf punch and wasn't about to interrupt a lazy Saturday to go buy one.

 While they looked at the hearts I quickly cut out two trees from scrap book paper I had in the closet. I could have drawn trees, but this seemed like fun. I glued it down and set them to work putting their leaves on the trees. We tried glue sticks, but a dot of white glue worked out better for us.

I think it went pretty well!
 And I sure love the end result!

I've been knitting like crazy too. So much I have been wanting to make! I finished a shawl this summer that I need to get some pictures of, and a blanket for my cousin that I need to ship and a HUGE white blanket for a friend along with many other small projects in between.

 Also I will have to post an update soon when I get my sweater for Liam finished. It is my first time knitting clothing other than hats or scarves or that cape for Evie.

All in all, YAY for Fall! We are so happy to have it here!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Last Trip of The Summer - California

Last summer we went to California to visit my family there. My mom and my grandma and my aunt all live there in the Bay Area, along with a few friends who mean the world to me. I decided to repeat that this trip this summer and will probably do it again next summer as well.

We left on a Wednesday and made it down to Grants Pass and stayed the night with my dad and step mom, then finished up the next day.  I am glad we went because it turns out my mom had been in a minor car accident that left her with some vertigo and she needed my help.

In between helping out my mom, we did get in a few activities. Beach trips and park trips and visiting my grandma and swimming and so much else. I love seeing my family.

 In Grants Pass, after I let them out of the car, the kids ran wild around the house. Who can blame them after 5 hours in a car?

 Shasta Lake was really low. The drought in CA is very real and a bit on the scary side.

 One of the first things we did upon reaching California was take my mom to the chiropractor and then stop for some cupcakes while she was getting fixed.

 Mama's neighbor has chickens, we went over to get a few eggs and show the kiddos what chickens are like. They were very interested in them and very gentle with them.

 You can't be in Santa Cruz without seeing the little local aquarium, it is small but fun. The Marine Discovery Center was just the right size for these two.

 We spent a morning at my favorite beach in all the world, Bean Hollow's Pebble Beach. The kids and I had fun with the rocks and the waves and the little caves.

 Liam enjoyed climbing the tree in Great Grandma's backyard. Visiting her was hard. I wanted to take a picture of her, but I don't want to remember her stuck in a bed unable to walk. I chose not to photograph her that way. I don't think I will regret it.

 We spent a morning with my Michelle. This girl is one of the most loyal people in all the world and has been my friend for a long time. She loves my two little ones and has a lot of fun with them. She showed them the tide pools and one of her favorite beaches. I miss her.

 On my last day there I stopped by the reservoir at the bottom  of Hwy 17, the water level is the lowest I have ever seen it. It felt more than a little heartbreaking, but also made me glad to be heading home to my beloved rivers in Portland.

Our last stop was seeing some friends in Dublin, CA. We met them by chance in the park and it turned out that the girl went to the same school Liam was going to be starting at, but then they had to move. A few hours with them was a great morning and a good way to end the summer trip.

And of course I had to stop at a yarn store in Santa Cruz and pick up a little something for me.....

Yummy! I have plans for these!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Trip Number 2 - Camping!

Talk about milestones..... some people love walking, or talking, running maybe. But me, I love things like first beach trip, first time making a mud pie, or first camping trip!

I have been trying to get my husband to get us out camping for a while now. He talks a good game, but actually getting him out the door is hard sometimes. Finally it all came together.

We decided that for our first trip we would stick close to home in the event something went terribly wrong. We picked Oxbow park, as it was only 20 minutes from our front door.

 I had no expectations, no notions of perfection... just a propane powered cookstove to heat milk for my almost two year old who still takes a bottle to fall asleep (shhh, don't judge me! She has a sleep disorder, I will do anything to get sleep) and being over prepared for two nights out in the wilderness.

We packed up the car, dropped the dog off with our friend (no pets allowed at Oxbow! I am glad about this. Means more wildlife to see) and headed off to the park.

 We arrived at the park and the kids spent the first little while just exploring. Touching everything, running all over, just being in awe of the world. I snapped a few pictures and then put away everything in the interest of just spending some family time.

 In the morning we had a little squirrel come and share our muffins with us. Liam was finally quiet for the firast time in weeks, just long enough to watch the squirrel eat. Dan headed home to grab somethings we had forgotten and decided would make our second night easier, and I kept the kids amused getting them ready to head down to the river to play.

After getting slathered with sunscreen, putting on swim suits and packing the bag for the beach, Dan still wasn't back, so we took a little walk down the path. The kids looked out at the river and I found some wild huckleberries to nibble on.

 On the beach was another time where I promised myself just one time taking pictures, then put the camera away and enjoy time with the family. So we found this fallen log and the kids explored it. Then we looked at rocks for an hour, Evie fell asleep and I put her in the carrier on my back to walk back to somewhere semi shaded for a little rest. Liam and Dan and I dug in the sand and played with rocks and water for the rest of the time until everyone was hungry and ready to go back.

 As we were prepping for dinner we saw a mama deer and her twin babies coming along the path behind our camp site. Evie saw them and screamed "DOGGY" and took off crashing into the underbrush after them.

 Liam got cranky and fell asleep, Evie got a few marshmallows (she preferred them un-toasted, but still on a stick) and finally fell asleep.

After Evie dozed off, I got a few pictures of the sunset and the pretty things around the camp. We fell asleep and then woke in the morning to RAIN! it was pouring rain. We ditched the idea of a leisurely morning slowly packing up, made a wet mad scramble throwing the kids into the car and then the gear and a soggy ride home. I would totally do it all again. Well. Maybe not the rain. It wasn't supposed to rain!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summertime Trip Number 1 - Grants Pass

We took a few days to go see my dad and step mom down in Grants Pass Oregon. The trip down took about 7 hours, 2 hours longer than it needed to, mostly because the kids, once you remove them from the car, do NOT want to get back into it.

Of course, there was the one funny stop. We had just gotten back into the car after stopping for a meal and were just back on the freeway when my son announces with great urgency that he needs to poop. We get to the next stop as fast as we can and figure we can fill up with gas while he poops. He is a rather shy pooper, so we have a little training potty from IKEA in the back of the car for him to use. We got him sitting on that while the car filled with gas. We didn't really NEED gas, but figured it was better to get it while we were there. My son ended up taking longer than expected to do his business and there was a line starting to form behind us. I had taken off to make my own pit stop and my husband made the decision to ever so slowly drive the car away from the pump. With the 4 year old sitting on his potty in the back of it. Yes the door was shut, he only traveled about 40 feet, just around the building to get out of the way. We spent another 15 minutes waiting for my son to finish up before we had to get him back into his car seat and clean the potty and finally get back on the road. As I sat there leaning on the car waiting for my son to poop, I had one of those "this is something only parents get to experience" moments and couldn't stop laughing because it was all so absurd.

We made it to the house late at night, around 9:30 and after unpacking and getting the children into pajamas, they took forever to fall asleep. At my dads house, there are guest rooms downstairs, but of course my son will not sleep there, and my daughter will not sleep in a playpen or even her own bed. No. She sleeps on a dog bed.

She ran around with my dad and the dogs there. The yellow labs are his, the grey and black Aussie is our dog, and the retriever is a neighbors dog who has adopted my dad and step mom as his own family and they treat him like one of their own.

So we got Evie's dog bed set up, and we pitched a tent in the living room for my son to sleep in. He likes it. Around 11pm we got him settled and asleep after reading a few stories, and then we tried to get my daughter calm and sleepy, but she was so keyed up that every time someone came or went into the main room she had to see what was going on. Well, my husband got the idea that she needed to watch some My Little Pony to fall asleep, but the TV was not set up to access the on demand stuff. My husband and my father spent an hour trying to get it set up, during which each time they left the room and I got her almost calm and sleeping, they would return and she would pop awake again. Finally, around 12:30, Ponies was happening, and the baby was dozing, and then my husband tried to move her into the other room. Yes. He did that. Of course she woke up and screamed. So it was back to the living room with her where she spent the night on the dog bed.

In the morning, we headed down to the Rogue River to play and splash and look for rocks. It didn't last long as the kiddos were tired and snoozy, but we had a bit of fun! Before we left, Liam spent some time talking to Amber about planes, and everything else that mattered to him. Amber is a good listener.

The kids spent the afternoon with Grandma Kathy and made home made ice cream, while my husband and I spent the afternoon with my dad. He is convinced that there is some gold on his property and we needed to help him dig up dirt and pan for gold. In a dry creek bed.  We tried, but found nothing but mica. Maybe in another spot on the mountain, we can try next time. When there is water running, so we don't have to haul dirt back to the house in a bucket. The kids had fun licking ice cream off the blades when the machine was done making it, so did the dogs....

We left in the afternoon on Tuesday after having lunch at this great little burger place, Jimmy's. Wow those were some tasty burgers, and truly hand made onion rings and frickles (fried pickles, YUM!). The drive home was a lot shorter, as the kids were already tired from all the having fun, so we could make it in great time with no stops.

Oh, and I almost forgot, before we left Evie got into the baby powder while I was packing the car and decided to make a mess. In my bedroom. That was fun to clean up!

And I even managed to get a nice picture of me and Evie, complete with her messy face!