Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fun with Nana

Of of the reasons why I love summer is because my mom usually spends a big chunk of time here with us.  We are lucky.  Lucky to have her.  Lucky to have her help, love, support and fun energy.  The kids love having her stay with us and it instantly becomes our new normal.  They go to her room in the morning and she quickly adjusts to our routines.  It's always more fun doing special things with an extra set of hands, so during her visit we made a trip to the beach and enjoyed lots of summery activities.  Mom, thank you for all that you to help and all that you did to make our summer more fun!  We love you!

Kennedy had an appointment with an ENT up at OHSU, so we took that opportunity to ride the tram (something that we've talked about doing forever).  It was a quick ride up and down but the views were amazing.
The pictures are on my phone, so I'll need to add those later.

Since we were already downtown, we headed to NE and enjoyed lunch at the Grilled Cheese Grill.  This is such a "Portland" restaurant - ordering from an old trailer and eating in an old, tricked out school bus.  The kids loved it!  The sandwiches are fantastic, so we enjoyed it too.

Nana and Pops took the kids to the zoo one Friday.  
Look how tall Carter is getting!!!  Pretty soon, he'll be taller than Nana.
They enjoyed special ice cream treats and a ride on the train.

little monkeys at the zoo

Train ride - even though we've done this dozens of times, the kids always enjoy it.

A day wasn't complete without some time spent crafting.  Nana happily obliged and had fun creating with Kennedy.

Thank goodness Nana can handle rides - a trip to Oaks Park wouldn't be complete without a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl.  Bleh.  The kids loved it!

Braving the little roller coaster on their own

After a morning spent at Kids Club, Nana treated Carter and Kennedy to a special lunch at a little diner.  They had delicious breakfast foods (for lunch, how fun!) and a waitress who thought they were darling.  They ate it up!

Off to the berry fields for some yummy raspberry picking.
They picked for well over an hour and came home with over a gallon of berries.  
Good work kids!

On Nana's last day, we went miniature golfing and enjoyed a fun lunch.
This place is retro and has been around forever, but we all had a lot of fun.

Kennedy needed a little help

We love you Nana and look forward to our time together next summer...we'll start thinking of fun things to do now.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Australia Friends

Each time my dear friend, Jackie, and her family make it to the states (they live in Brisbane, Australia but manage a trip at least once a year), we try to squeeze in a visit.  It's amazing how quickly the kids grow and change and it's been fun documenting our visits with a photo each time.  We always have a wonderful time and feel like we could talk for hours more.  Jackie and I have been friends since junior high and I know that we'll remain friends for a lifetime.  I'm blessed by friendships like these - effortless, comforting and constant.  It's so fun to see our children together, laughing and playing and having a wonderful time.
It was a fantastic morning spent with cherished friends.
Here is our brood:
Ava (almost 2), Alessia (5), Sienna (7), baby Luca (4 weeks!), Kennedy (4) and Carter (6)

Mamas and kiddos

Kennedy and Alessia waiting to go for a ride
Jackie's parents live on an acre in Vancouver and have the most fabulous back yard - perfect for a summer play date!

Carter and Sienna
It was cute to see the kids pair up - Carter and Sienna got a long great and had a lot of fun together.

trampolines are always fun!

big kids got a turn on the 4-wheeler driven by Fil
Our time together is always special and we are so grateful for the Nucifora's hospitality.  We all had a great time!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

little ballerina

Kennedy started ballet and she is thrilled!
She absolutely loved getting dressed up in all of her gear and really enjoyed her first class.  I'm going out on a  limb here, but I'd hazard to say she may never be a prima ballerina, but what she lacks in grace or skill, she certainly makes up with enthusiasm.  She loved it!
She happily posed for pictures before we left for class

sweet little ballerina feet

let's go, Mom -  
She was ready to dance!

Lauren is taking the class too, so that made the first one easier
Such cute friends

Look at me
Checking back with Lauren to make sure she was okay

comparing, trying, helping, encouraging?  Not quite sure what what going on here, but they were too cute.  The whole class was extreme cuteness, I assure you.

Trying hard to get her feet just right...
She has a ways to go, but as long as she likes it we'll encourage her to stick with it and try.
Good job, Sis - we're proud of you!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

a day at the beach

Our summer wouldn't be complete without at least one trip to the beach...I love the Oregon coast, it is truly one of my most favorite places on earth.  Each time I visit, I am impressed and amazed at the beauty of this particular spot in the world.  (of course I wish it were a tad warmer, but for this type of beauty I won't complain)  It was a gorgeous drive out through the coastal range, and I was hoping we'd have sunshine.  And we did...until about three miles outside of Tillamook, then the clouds gathered and grew thicker and we were socked in for a bit.

Perfect time for a stop at the cheese factory!

The kids love the Tillamook - they are cheese lovers and the fact that there is always an ice cream cone at the end of our tour didn't hurt.  They love ice cream even more! 

Carter the farmer and Kennedy the cow

Look at all that cheese!
I was impressed by the volume and speed with which the workers moved.  There were a ton of cheese bricks moving all around - the info along the tour was equally impressive.  Millions of gallons of milk are processed into millions of pounds of cheese - daily.  Carter was into watching and learning, we did a lot of theorizing about what the workers were doing and how they made sure each loaf was perfect.  

cheese tasting, yum!

free ice cream samples, this is my kind of place

a biggie, no kiddie cone for these two, they wanted the big one.  
wow.  that is a lot of ice cream!  Some sort of berry pie for Carter and...

chocolate for Miss
A LOT of chocolate
So if you're keeping track, that's two ice cream cones each...all before noon.  I love summer!

We piled back into the car and headed north towards Manzanita
The sun was out and was warm, but once we stepped onto the beach, the winds were blowing so hard Kennedy nearly fell over.  It really was too bad, because without the harsh winds it would have been absolutely gorgeous!

I took a ton of pictures so I will let them speak for themselves:

 After an hour or so at Manzanita, we headed further north towards Cannon Beach. 
 I love Cannon Beach.  I love the shops, the beautiful beaches, the cute cafes and the gorgeous flowers.
The clouds returned, but there was a lot less wind here, as well.
These flowers were too pretty not to snap a few pictures.

I am humbled by the vastness of the beach and ocean.  
Just a reminder of how very small we are...

The kids had so much fun twirling, running and playing.  This was after dinner, so it had cooled down but they would have stayed here for hours.  The beach was mostly deserted, so we stayed and played a bit before driving back home.
A wonderful day at the beach!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday!

My baby girl is 4...really, 4.  Wow, how did that happen?  She just seems so little, although she certainly has a big personality.  She is loud and loving, stubborn and sweet, sensitive and strong willed.  She's our wild card - you never know quite what you're going to get with her.  She adores dresses, bows and jewelry but also loves to find bugs, slugs and snails.  She favors princesses, Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy but will happily watch Kung Fu Panda and do karate with her brother. I can't wait to see how these likes and dislikes will help shape her life.  Kennedy, you can do and be anything that you desire.  You are a special girl and we thank God for you and the joy that you add to our life! 

Kennedy was so excited to be four and we did our best to make the day a special one for her.
a special breakfast with a number "4" blueberry pancake and a candle

this was going to be a happy day!

the birthday girl couldn't resist a little silliness when I was trying to take pictures

Happy Birthday!

A few presents to start off the morning...it's hard to wait all day!

a party hat worn at lunch
Kennedy received several fun crafting kits for her birthday and has been crafting away ever since - she loves to paint and create.  This was one of her first projects - fitting for the birthday girl, I'd say!

A quick stop at the park to play

She humored me with a few pictures
(I'd like to figure out how to edit these a little better, because they are kind of dark and shadowy)

A fun afternoon with Carter, Nana and Mommy


Off to the movies
She chose to go to the theater to watch Brave
(kind of scary for the kids but over all they enjoyed it)

Daddy's girl
Dinner at Red Robin, birthday girl's choice

The day was made even more special because Nana and Pops were here to celebrate with us!

more presents

thrilled with her new tea set
it's been a constant tea party ever since

care for a spot of tea?

her very own cd player, can you feel the excitement?
(this one ended up not working properly, so she now has a pink Hello Kitty one instead)

Kennedy has been begging to start ballet and I told her when she turned four she could take a class...so Nana got her everything she'd need: shoes, tights, a leo and tutu and of course a cute bag.  Her first class was three days later and she loved it!

Ready to dance!

a very happy birthday
Kennedy, Miss K, Sister, Lovie
I love you with all of my heart and soul...you are what I wished and hoped for.  I pray that you will always know that you are loved and adored, that you keep your confident spunk and that you grow to trust in God's love and His plan for your life.  I hope that you will be a kind friend with a generous spirit, showing empathy and compassion for others. 
May you grow this year and enjoy being four!