Saturday, August 25, 2012

Alderbrook Park Adventure

We were recently told about a fabulous park outside of Vancouver (to the northeast of us in the middle of no where), called Alderbrook.  I guess it's been around forever, but was recently purchased and refurbished.  It's now open to the public on weekdays, so the kids and I headed there with some friends to explore and enjoy the day.
There were so many fun things to do and it would be easy to spend the entire there.  The kids had a blast!  It was cheap, huge and offered a wide variety of things to do...we'll definitely be going back.
There was a maze and big pirate ship where the kids could run and play.  The moms were able to stand off to the side and catch up a bit.

There was a small lake where we got to ride paddle boats.  It was shallow enough to see fish and salamanders, so we tootled around there for awhile.

I did the majority of the pedaling, but unlike kayaking, it was relatively simple.

Carter & Kennedy and Emery, Brevin & Shannon

They had a fun pool where we ate lunch and then let the kids swim.
I think Kennedy would swim all day if we let her
I love her sense of fearlessness when it comes to the water...I pray that she keeps her sense of adventure and that it takes her to many wonderful places throughout her life.

After swimming we fed fish at the lake.  They were jumping out of the water and splashing the boys - it was great fun!

Olivia and Kennedy
There was a little train that went around the perimeter of the park which we rode a few times.

Drinking fountains with pink lemonade! 
This was a hit with the kids, so exciting!

Another loop on the train...
notice their blue mouths?  We enjoyed giant shaved ice treats and they turned their lips all kinds of colors.

While petting zoos are not my favorite, Kennedy loved it.
There was a llama (or alpaca, not really sure of the difference) with very soft wool.

A goat

a cow
(and some bunnies that we couldn't touch)
I guess they sometimes have pony rides, as well, but they weren't available the day that we visited the park.  Maybe next time.
Such a fun day with friends, discovering a new park and enjoying the outdoors.
Oh, how I am going to miss summer...

{a reunion of sorts}

As many student head back to college around this time of year, I am always reminded how much I loved Linfield. 
I loved my four years there and left with some amazing, life long friends. 
Between living in various cities, jobs and kids, we don't see one another nearly enough, but when we do we always have a fabulous time.  We managed to plan a little summer get together to coordinate with one of Ali's already planned trips home.  Byrd and Sarah made the drive down from Seattle and we enjoyed a few hours together, shopping, eating, talking, laughing and celebrating Melissa's soon-to-be sweet pea.  It was a glorious few hours and I sincerely treasure our time together!
Andrea, Carrie, Melissa, Ali and me
(you may notice that Sarah is conspicuously absent from our picture...saddest story - after packing up her two littlest ones, she made the 3+ hour drive from Seattle, stopping multiple times for potty breaks and snacks.  She arrived in Portland later than planned but was able to meet us at Nordstrom for a quick bite to eat.  We wanted to do a little shopping before we headed over to Carries, so after a few stops Sarah headed into the Nordstrom dressing room with a couple of pairs of jeans and both kids.  Since West had been couped up in the car seat, stroller and Ergo, she let him down to crawl a bit.  Unfortunately, Julia moved the tri-fold mirror and baby West's fingers were between them.  There was a lot of blood but Sarah stayed super calm - who knew that Nordstrom had a trained medic on staff?  And he was cute, too!  Anyways, I digress.  The medic got West's finger bandaged as well as he could but suggested that Sarah get it checked out and evaluated for stitches.  We found a near by urgent care clinic but they weren't able to stitch his finger because he was so young.  Sarah then had to drive to St. Vincent's ER...West was sedated and received 5 stitches.  Terrible!  So, all in all she spent over 7 hours travelling to spend less than an hour with us.  It was so sad, but I was so impressed by Sarah's attitude and calmness. She was amazing.  Next time, we're coming to Seattle, Sar!

Love these girls

Sweet little Drew was the only kiddo in attendance this time around
(Sarah would have had her two littlest ones had the unfortunate incident not occurred)
He's such a great mix of both of Ali's other two...and such a love.  He was a trooper shopping with his mama and me, barely fussed at all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Swimming - my little fish

One of my favorite parts of the summer has been the kids' swimming lessons.  We tried out a new place, an outdoor pool in our neighborhood, and it worked out well.  The instruction wasn't the best, but the kids got time in the pool to practice and play and I got 60 minutes of restorative sunshine and great conversation with my sweet friend, Kathy.  It was like a mini vacation each afternoon.  A little bit of heaven!  And the kids had a ball.  They both love the water and love to swim so much.  Kennedy continues to be fearless and has actually shown some progress with her strokes this summer.  Carter had a great foundation and has definitely enjoyed his time in the pool.  It was even more fun that they got to swim with their friends.  I think we'll return to our normal pool in the winter months, but this was a great change for the summer.

Matching swimsuit day
There were cute twins in Kennedy and Kaitlin's class, so Kathy and I coordinated with their mom and had the kids wear matching suits one day.
Such cuteness!

These two have really enjoyed each other this summer and I'm thankful for this new friendship for Kennedy.  Both girls are strong willed so it can get interesting at times, but they have many similar interests and have fun playing together.

The diving board was new - no fear!

Diving right in!

Carter getting a little instruction
so happy to be in the water

Carter and Andrew were in the same class and had a lot of fun together

Getting ready...

jumping in!
It really was such a fun two weeks and I feel blessed that Carter and Kennedy are able to do these sorts of things.  I hope that these times provided fun summer memories for them.

kick-off to soccer season

Kennedy was so excited to play soccer this year...we had hopes that she'd love to be on the field, running free and showing some of her aggressive spirit.  Um.  Not so much.  She sure loved shopping for the gear (pink on her cleats of course and a new pink soccer ball were necessities) but when she got to the field she was shy and hesitant. 
Each year our soccer club puts on free mini-clinics for the youngest players before the season starts.  They are run by high schoolers so it is what it is - a lot of little drills, some more successful than others.  Kennedy did fine at first but I think the combination of the heat, the late hour and just her feeling like she'd had enough didn't make for a good end to the night.  I went out on the field with her and tried to help the situation, but she did not want to play.  At all.  This all lead to one of the worst temper tantrums she has ever thrown.  And it was in public.  A big crowded space with 100+ parents, no less.  Perfect.  We marched off to the car while Carter waited in line to get a snow cone for himself and Miss K proceeded to scream until we got home.  Not the great start to the soccer season that I had hoped for.  Thankfully she did better the next week, but she remained timid and doesn't seem to be enjoying it much.  Kyle and I are hopeful that once she gets on her team (with a few friends) and has familiar coaches (Daddy is assisting) that she will enjoy her season.  If not, this could be an awfully long eight weeks. 

My little soccer players
(she really did seem excited)

The first 45 minutes went really well...
running back for water with a smile on her face,

but things started to go down hill at this point. 
A little overwhelming and the girls were not having it.  That's Lauren chewing on her hair as Kennedy picked at her finger nails.  Oh boy.

Carter seemed to enjoy it and he and Andrew will be on the same team again.  I am not sure how long Carter will continue with soccer, though.  His talents don't lend themselves to being an awesome player, but as long as he's having fun we'd love for him to continue.  I think it's a great sport for little ones and a great way to stay active and play with a team. 
I am hopeful for a good season for both of them.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weekend on the Water

I am trying desperately to get caught up on my blog before the end of goal is to finish all of our summer posts by the end of August, so that I can start back to school and fall activities without feeling like I'm behind.  I'll do my best.

A few weekends ago, a heat wave hit the Portland area so we took advantage and headed out to the lake.  Unfortunately, every other boater in the metro area had the same idea and both lakes (Merwin and Yale) were full when we arrived.  Thankfully I was able to sweet talk our way into launching at Yale and Kyle was able to sweet talk a nice old man into letting us park.  It worked out, albeit with a little stress.  We had invited our friends, the Zeamers, to join us for the day so the 9 of us piled into the boat and headed out.  It was a little rough of a start, but once the kids got comfortable everyone had a wonderful time.  The day was gorgeous, perfect to be out on the water and the scenery of these particular lakes is simply breathtaking.  It is my favorite place to boat.  I definitely need some practice driving the boat (as everyone can attest too) but we survived and had a lot of fun!
time to swim!

what would boating be without some snacks

Kaitlin and Dan

My little fish - Carter had attempted water skiing a few weeks earlier and had no interest in trying again.  I wanted so badly to try to help him but tried not to push it.  He has started talking about it again, and I am hopeful that next time we go out I can get in the water with him and help a bit.

This one loves the boat and the water - she's fearless!

It was a wonderful day with fabulous friends!

The next day, we headed out to the river and spent the afternoon with the Pikes.  Shannon's parents have a house on the river, so it makes boating so much easier!  They picked us up at the house and then we headed over to the little area on the island that they had set up.

I'm not such a fan of the river, but it was a really fun day with friends. 
The kids were able to tube, Kyle wake boarded a bit and I just soaked up the sun.

the jet ski was a new toy and the boys couldn't get enough  of it

Thinking we might need to invest in a double tube next year.  It was so much for the kids to be able to ride together.
Brevin and Carter had a blast!

Kennedy and Emery wanted to go faster!!!

Shannon can drive the boat a lot better than I can and Kyle was able to enjoy some time out in the water.

all four kiddos went for a ride on the tube

silly girls playing after dinner

more time in the water
Such a fun weekend spent with friends, enjoying the sunshine and fun in the water!

Berry Picking

We chose the most perfect morning to head out to Sauvie Island and do some berry picking.
It's a great farm where the kids can run and play, pick and eat tons of berries and get filthy dirty.  They had a blast!
We enjoyed picking raspberries and blueberries and then had a picnic lunch - a wonderful way to spend a cool summer morning!

Emery & Brevin and Carter & Kennedy
I thought trying to get two kids to look and smile at the camera was hard - trying to get all four kids to stand still was nearly impossible! 
 This was the best I could get.

Off to pick the perfect berries...
I do believe that Kennedy ate as many as she put in her container but that is all part of the fun. 

A fun tractor ride to the other side of the farm
It was getting towards the end of raspberry season so we had to hunt a bit for the good ones.   

What would time outside be without a tree to climb. 
At the front of the farm there were some peach trees so we picked a few and climbed some trees.
Kennedy found a good peach!

Such a fun way to spend a summer day - outside enjoying the beauty of God's creation with good friends.  I love summer!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Time with Family

Stacy and Sloane made a quick weekend trip up to Portland a few weeks ago and we got the chance to spend some time with them.  It was wonderful!  Sloane has grown and changed so much and is such a happy and fun little girl.  Such sweetness!  I always leave our visits wishing they lived closer.  
Sweet Sloane

Auntie Stacy and Kennedy (with Rainbow - a newly created friend that Kennedy lovingly made during a date with Daddy)

Carter enjoying the sunshine on the patio

Impromptu dance party after dinner...
This picture doesn't really do the scene justice.  The music was blaring and the kids were having so much fun!  These are the moments when I stop and am so thankful to have a loving and fun extended family for our children to grow up with. 


The two girls - I can't wait to see their friendship develop as they grow up.  Such cuteness!