Thursday, September 29, 2011

our little gymnast

A few months ago Kennedy started a gymnastics class at a gym here in Camas. It was a little chaotic during the summer months (she had a few crazy boys in her class), but she is now in a class on Monday afternoons with Lauren and a few other girls. She really loves it and I think it's great for her coordination. Almost daily, she will ask "Is it gymnastics today?" I really wanted to sign her up for a dance class, as well, but I think gymnastics is more suited towards her personality at the moment. Maybe we'll rethink ballet for next year.

I'm always amazed at the people who have the patience to teach preschool aged children. Often their class is like herding cats, but this sweet Bulgarian man never seems to get flustered. He likes them to pay attention, but he directs them in a very positive and patient way. He's great at keeping them moving and switches activities often so they don't get bored.

We're probably not Olympic bound, but it's great fun for Kennedy!

Hakuna Matata

After church on Sunday, we took advantage of the rainy weather and went to the movies to see The Lion King with the kids. It has always been one of my favorites (and Kyle's too), so we were excited for Carter and Kennedy to experience it. I got goose bumps during the opening scenes when Simba was presented to the animal kingdom. The music is amazing and the movie was as good as I remember it. The kids loved it too, and Kennedy sat quite still which was a first.

Oh and one of the more comical happenings while at the movie was when the preview for Happy Feet 2 (we haven't seen the first one) was shown. The little penguins were rapping to Justin Timberlake and Carter thought it was HILARIOUS! His laugh was so loud that it made other movie goers laugh, too. He's still talking about it. Excited for the show to start

And this little one was so tuckered out after a busy weekend that she fell asleep on the couch after the movie and pretty much slept until the next morning. Nothing like 13 hours of sleep to refresh a person!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Special Mommy Daughter Day

While Carter was at school for a full day on Wednesday, Kennedy and I took a special trip to the zoo. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I thoroughly enjoyed our special time together. It's not often that we have several hours to just errands to run, groceries to buy, laundry to do or house to clean, just uninterrupted fun! It was great to explore the zoo at Kennedy's pace, as well. We go often, but the two kids are usually running in different directions or have different attention spans for the various animals. Today was all about Kennedy and Mommy!

Self portrait in front of the giraffes. Kennedy declared this graceful animal as her favorite of the day.
Excited to see the water shoot up from the geyser.

Not quite as tall as a sun bear

The orangutans are new to our zoo, and I've always found them to be fascinating animals. This sight was somewhat heartbreaking for me (and one of the reasons that I sometimes struggle at the zoo. My mom is the same and it's why we didn't visit the zoo as frequently go growing up), she just looked so sad. Her eyes were so expressive and she seemed to be looking at the children with a longing to be outside those walls. Definitely the hardest part about seeing animals in captivity. I always feel the same way with the chimps.

Monks being a monkey with the elephants

The proverbial photos on the statues...I wonder if there will ever come a time when the kids don't want to play on these neat statues? The best part is that I am almost always guaranteed a good picture!

Making music with the African instruments

Birthday party fun

We were fortunate enough to be able to help Lillian celebrate her 2nd birthday last weekend. We had to rush out early to make it to Carter's soccer game but not before we enjoyed a great lunch, wonderful entertainment and fun with friends. Kirstin is an amazing party planner and we had a great time!

Kirstin's dad made this great wooden bus that sat on the porch welcoming guests. It was a great prop for photos, too.

Here's the birthday girl, sitting with her Aunt Jackie, enjoying the music of Mr. Ben with her cousin, Mallory.

Sweet Ethan and his Auntie Katie - I love this little guy!
Kids always love Kyle and Ethan is no exception. He thought it was hilarious to feed Kyle veggie straws.

The kiddos grooving to Mr. Ben

What a wonderful idea for a toddler's party - Mr. Ben was mellow, engaging and played great songs. He brought the birthday girl a ukulele and she loved it.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Lillian! We love you.

River Ride

Trying to take advantage of the last days of summer, we packed up our bikes and headed down to the river after church. There is a wonderful path that runs right along the river's edge and it's fairly flat which lends itself as a perfect bike trail for little ones. It was the perfect way to spend a sunny, Sunday afternoon.

All ready to head out

Kennedy didn't last more than 1/4 of a mile, but thankfully Kyle still has the seat on the back of his bike. He stored her bike in some bushes off to the side and she rode along for the rest of the ride.

After our great ride, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch sitting on the patio of Beaches. My neighbor had suggested it as a great family friendly restaurant and it didn't disappoint. The kids got a sand bucket of crayons and toys and after lunch, they got to help the waitress make their own sundaes. They loved it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fun & Learning

The kids and I had a few science fun adventures last week. We took advantage of Carter's day off on Wednesday and headed to OMSI. We have a pass, so we've been several times but we've never had more fun exploring and experimenting. The chemistry and physics labs were both open and we were able to do some experimenting there. Carter enjoyed the fiber optics/holograms lab and we all had fun seeing various animals/insects/reptiles in the life sciences area. It was such a great way to spend the day!

Taking after Mom -

Future scientists in the making...

Earlier in the week, we headed to the Columbia Springs fish hatchery. We've driven by dozens of times, as it's located right on the old Evergreen Highway and Carter loves to drive that way to see the river and train. I had intended to take a trip this summer but never made it. It was awesome and the kids loved seeing the fish. They had great informative displays and information posted, so the kids got to learn about the life cycle of the fish and see the different ponds and tanks.
It was all very exciting!

They had one pond where the kids could feed the fish and you could really see them. They would cluster and jump out of the water. It was amazing.

Space shuttle launching and landing

Yes, I know this post probably highlights my nerdy streak, but I really do enjoy doing things like this with the kids. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such awesome opportunities and I'm so thankful that I have the time in the day to introduce them to new things. I love to see their curiosity peak and the light of knowledge spark.

Kicking off another soccer season

Carter has started another year of soccer and seems to be enjoying it. He has the same coach (a saint, really, with a load a patience) and enjoys being back with his teammates from last year. I don't think it's his favorite sport, but he likes being out on the field running and (mostly) watching the action.

Gearing up for the first game. We played a Vancouver club team and it was obvious their coach was much more intense and they probably practiced several times a week! It was a fairly close game, because thankfully the other team was composed of four year olds.
At times it's kind of painful to watch Carter out on the field. I almost hate to admit it, but Kyle and I are both so competitive that watching Carter be passive is tough on both of us. We will just encourage him to be aggressive and go after the ball. Carter scored one goal and was very proud of himself! It's so fun to watch him get excited.

Game #2

What a difference a week makes - it was 90 degrees and hot the previous Saturday but rainy and cold for the second game. We arrived a little late (after rushing from a bday party) but Carter headed right out onto the field. Another club team from Vancouver and this time it was a much more lopsided game. They had one stand out kid that was so good, our players were a bit intimidated. Carter would come off to the side and say, "wow mom, that #6 is really good. He scores every time!) Looking forward to playing Camas teams from here on out!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It doesn't seem so long ago...

It doesn't seem so long ago that my little boy looked like this...

Or that his sister was just a tiny little baby.
It seems like yesterday that my two children were learning to walk and talk, dressing themselves was impossible and two naps a day was standard.
Look how far we've come in a mere blink of an eye...
They both started school on Tuesday morning, kindergarten for Carter and preschool for Kennedy. I found myself constantly asking the question, how can this be? How is it that they are both old enough to be on their own, learning and growing away from home for hours each day? Carter on the first day of kindergarten
5 years old

Ready to start the new school year

Kennedy on her first day of preschool

3 years old

Backpack on, ready to go!

All set!

Of course they had to be silly

I was an emotional wreck all day. It was a mix of shock, sadness and pride as I watched Carter walk away, following his teacher, and enter into this new experience. Thankfully Kennedy threw a big fit after we dropped Carter off, so I was distracted and managed to hold it together. Just a few tears, hidden wisely behind my sunglasses, as we said goodbye.Daddy went to work a little late, so that he could come to school too.

We arrived at school and were welcomed by the zebra mascot. Carter thought it was super cool - what a great way to dispel some of the tension and apprehension of arriving at a new school.

Waiting in line...this is where we had to say goodbye. No getting to walk him to his classroom or snap pictures at his cubby. He was nervous and a little anxious but did great! His biggest complaint of the day was that they had to listen to playground rules instead of playing on the monkey bars or swings. Some recess, huh? I love that recess can make or break the day.

My prayer for Carter as he started this big adventure was that he'd find a few nice friends and continue to enjoy learning. I prayed that his teacher would show him love and nurture his natural curiosity for things. I prayed that he'd stay confident in himself and his abilities. This is a big step for all of us, and I hope it starts to feel normal soon.

Kennedy hanging up her backpack on her pink gumdrop.

Whereas I was nervous and anxious for Carter to start school, I couldn't wait to drop Kennedy off. I feel so comfortable at our little preschool and know that she will be loved and nurtured by the entire staff. It gives me peace to know other families and have experience with the teachers. I'm so thankful that they'll incorporate God into lessons and pray before eating's a fabulous environment! It didn't hurt that Kennedy was being her typical challenging self that morning. I said adios and headed to Starbucks - an hour of freedom was mine! Hers was a shortened day, so next week will allow for more productivity on my part, I hope.

Sitting down at the table and jumping right in...I was worried that she might cry about being left on her own, but she did super. She loved her day and gave me all the details of what art projects they had done, who had what job and what toys she played with outside. She was a little chatterbox, so I felt completely informed about her first day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day fun

I'm actually blogging about Labor Day a mere two days later...gasp. Can it be so? Am I really caught up? I'm anxious to post pictures from the kids' first day of school, but I wanted to get these fun photos posted before I move on.

Our holiday weekend was a busy, fun filled three days.

Our attempt at a group shot - unfortunately we waited until the very last moments of our time together, so kids were tired, outfits and hair were rumpled, but there they are...still four darling kids.

Luke (2), Kennedy (3), Emi (5), Carter (5)

The weekend started off on Saturday morning with a visit from my dear friend, Ali and her two equally sweet children, Luke and Emi. We don't get to see them nearly as much and our few hours together only made me miss them more! Ali has a heart of gold and is such an encouraging friend. She gives wonderful advice, always has a thoughtful perspective and has an rock solid faith that is inspiring. Our time together is never long enough, as I imagine we could talk for two days without running out of relevant topics, but it is always special!

Emi and Carter have always played so well together - she has the purest heart and sweetest disposition and it must rub off of on our crazy boy. There wasn't an argument or a time out and I don't even think I needed to ask Carter to be quiet or settle down (which usually happens every few minutes, or so it seems). At one point, Kyle was reading them books and these two sweet, five year old souls, sat holding hands and rubbing each other's backs. It just doesn't get any more precious than that.

Along with Carter's love for Emi, Kennedy also developed a great admiration for this sweet girl.

Giving hugs before they had to go.

We love you Williams' family!

Daddy and Carter gearing up for the big game on Saturday night. Unfortunately it did not turn out the way we had hoped.
Sunday afternoon, Auntie Carrie and Ethan stopped by for a quick visit. Love this little guy and his big, blue eyes! He's on the move and I'm sure will be running around in no time. Kennedy and Carter enjoyed sharing some books and toys that they no longer use.

Sunday afternoon brought us together with the Grice Family. They are a dear family with four young children. And while we've socialized at church for the past few years, this was the first time that we'd gotten our families together. It was a fabulous filled with great conversation, meaningful fellowship and fun! They were wonderful hosts and the kids had the best time running and playing outside. We are definitely looking forward to getting together again soon.

Kyle was the biggest kid of them all! He's holding David and Kennedy as torpedoes and running around after the other kids. Kennedy and David were born just a week or so apart.

Kids being silly!

Samuel is a bit older than Carter while Audrey is just a little younger.

We headed out to the Partain's new home on Monday for a BBQ and time with friends. The kids were pretty tired, Kennedy especially, but we stayed a few hours and had a great time.

Buddies - Carter and Adrian - snacking away!