Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Alderbrook Park

What a wonderful summer day we spent with good friends at Alderbrook Park.  We discovered this gem of a park last year and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to go back.  For a mere $5, we were able to spend the entire day playing, laughing, swimming, exploring and simply having fun!  I must have remarked a dozen times, that an activity like this one is the perfect way to spend a summer day, everything about it seemed to highlight the simple joys of summertime fun.  
I loved every minute of our time there and so did the children!
our fun bunch
Matthew, Kennedy, Kaitlin, Andrew and Carter

ahoy mateys!

two cuties having fun on the pirate ship!

The paddle boats were so much fun!  Andrew and Carter wanted to venture out on their own and they managed to do a really good job.  I found the boats a bit challenging to maneuver but the boys did great!

Matthew and Kathy were in another boat...

and I was the lucky one to be with these two sweet girls!  
It was hilarious to paddle, listening to their squeals of delight, their shouted orders of directions to turn...and I just laughed.  And laughed.  We did a lot of paddling in circles but thankfully the lake is small and we made it back to the shore eventually!

The day was a little on the cool side and the pool was quite chilly so we didn't last too long in the water!

Carter and Matthew wanted to play mini golf, so I walked over to the other side of the park with them and enjoyed watching them play.  Carter even got a hole in one!

Usually there are special drinking fountains with lemonade instead of water ~ unfortunately they were out of order (or perhaps turned off due to bees?) but the kids were able to get cups of lemonade in the Alderbrook Cafe.  
Cheers to fun summer days and treasured friends!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Eagle Crest ~ 2013

We all look forward to our annual summer trip over to Eagle Crest.  We usually go towards the end of August, so it's a great way to cap off our summer.  This year more than ever before, I felt like our time was so relaxing and rejuvenating.  Our life is often hectic and rushed, so to be able to just relax and be together felt like a true gift!  The way the juniper smell welcomes us, the deer that we see throughout the day, the constant sun and warm weather and just the slower paced days, it was a slice of heaven!  I love that the kids are in play clothes, hair usually askew or in a swim suit begging to go to the pool.  Everything about our trip is laid back and I love it!  It's always fun to be with family and this type of trip is so conducive to a big family gathering.  Our days were lazy, mostly filled with outdoor activities and our evenings always included a big dinner together. It is the perfect ways to spend a few summer days and we are so grateful for the opportunity to go each year with Kyle's parents.

Kennedy was Auntie Val's shadow for most of the trip!  She sure loves her auntie!

loves her daddy, too!
and this was an hour of my afternoon ~ pure heaven!

Grandma arranged to take Carter golfing one afternoon.  He was so excited!  They had a great time together on the Challenge course.  Grandma commented that Carter played well and also had very good manners (music to my mama ears!)

my little man is growing up so fast!

Brady is quite the little golfer, too!  The kids took advantage of the grassy area behind our condo and played throughout the evening!

my boys.  my loves.

I know I have said it before, but it's worth repeating ~ I love that the kids have cousins close to them in age.  They always have so much fun together! 
Brady can't get enough of Carter and Kennedy and they are so sweet to him, as well.

love this free spirited one.  
love to see her running free, laughing from her toes, living and loving.

There were a few fawns outside one morning.  Carter was able to get fairly close and take a few pictures.  
It never gets old seeing deer up close and this is another thing that I love about Eagle Crest.

a few of Carter's pictures

Papa took the littles up to feed the horses ~ Kennedy was a little timid but still managed to give the horse a couple of carrots.

Brady was happy to give the horse a snack!

The weather was a little cooler on my last day but we still made a trip to the pool.  I absolutely love this picture of Brady ~ he was so happy!  Kyle is such a great uncle!

Carter doing a cannon ball!

Kennedy with a diving assist

Unfortunately, I had to go home a few days early so that I could go to work but the kids and Kyle stayed and enjoyed the weekend.  Ken and Diane were headed to a wedding, so I was able to bum a ride back to Portland.  It worked out nicely but I was sad to have to leave.

The kids on a hike

Brady feeding the ducks

a very happy girl!
And a very happy time at Eagle Crest this year!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Summer Road Trip ~ Belmont and SF

We made it to the bay area!
It took us about six hours to make it to San Francisco from Medford.  It was so nice to be able to split up our trip and the kids did great!
We were so excited to finally get there and see Auntie Stacy, Uncle Justin, Bennett and Sloane.
One of the best parts of our trip was just relaxing at their place and letting the kids play.  The weather was sunny but not too warm. We weren't over scheduled, and we just enjoyed spending time together.  It was a fabulous and restful vacation.

Uncle J with Kennedy

The crazy kiddos had such a fantastic time playing together.  There were dance parties, lots of scooter riding and a ton of good ol' fashioned fun!
Of course Kennedy found a map!
We got up early on Saturday morning and headed into the city to do a few touristy type things.
It's such a great city and we could have explored all day, there is so much to do.

Our first stop was a ride on the cable cars

We were quite the crew!  It's a miracle that we made it back with all four kids.  During our cable car ride, I was so worried that Sloane was going to jump off!  She is a mover and a shaker and it wasn't easy getting her to sit still for the ride.
A view of China town area from the cable car

Next up was a walk around the Ferry Building, which is located on the bay.
They have a huge farmers market going on, so there were lots of people and lots of fun things to see.  We were a large group, so it was a bit tough to navigate through.  We did a quick walk around and then headed out to the pier where the kids could run more freely.

Carter on the pier ~ the Bay Bridge is in the background

The World Cup sailing races were going on and we were able to see a boat being towed in the bay.  Down the wharf a bit farther, there was a ton of things that had been built just for the races ~ concert venues, a museum and other gathering spaces.  It was really fun to see it all.

Sloane is a character!  She is such a spunky little one and was so much fun!  Her vocabulary is amazing and it's so much fun to hear what she'll say.  She's a crack up and we love her so! 
It was a beautiful day in the city
Kennedy got a lift from Daddy

We happened upon a new play ground and the kids had fun climbing and exploring!

Our four crazies!
This was one of the few pictures that we got with all four cousins, because it was so hard to get Sloane to stand still.  She was trapped in the swing, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to snap a picture!  You can tell she's ready to get out!

Carter-Man and B
These two are great buds ~ it's so sweet to watch them together.  I am very thankful that my kids have cousins close in age.  It makes family time a lot of fun!

Stacy arranged for a sitter on Saturday night so that we could go out to a nice dinner.  It was so much fun! 

We headed into San Mateo and enjoyed one of the best meals we've ever had!  We ate at an Italian restaurant (which of course I can't remember the name of now) and tried lots of different dishes and great wine.  It was such a fabulous way to spend the evening.
Stacy and Justin were such gracious hosts to us while we were visiting and we are so thankful for our time together.  It was a wonderful few days!
Before heading home on Sunday, we went over to Justin's parent's, Julius and Michelle's, house.  They live in the East Bay, so it was on our way ~ they have a lovely home and were so kind to entertain us.  It was lovely to see them and spend some time together before we started our ten hour trek home!  A great way to end our trip.

We loved our time in the bay area and hope to go again soon!