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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beach Trip 2014

 Thanks to Oma, we were granted another fabulous trip to the beach.  We decided to our favorite beach, Cape Lookout on the Oregon Coast.  We drove through Tillamook, Oregon and spent the night in Tillamook, just 15 minutes from the beach.  

One of our favorite places to stop: the Blue Heron in Tillamook.  It is a really neat shop with all kinds of food, ice cream, treats and animals.  And this great cut-out of animals that my kids love posing as.

If you ever wondered what those weird contraptions in hotels were there for, here is your answer.  And you thought they were to place your suitcase!  Silly you!  And yes, I absolutely love Keen shoes for my kids.  Perfect for beaches, fishing, and any other day you may need a good sandal.  Plus, Abby has never ever managed to ruin one.  Pretty impressive.  Especially since she just managed to break her first Saltwater sandals.

Sandangels.  I had sand in every piece of laundry we brought back.  Especially the clothes that Abby got wet and then made sand angels with.  But the girls love doing this.  Abby had so much sand in her hair.

The nifty little pop-up tent my mom's money purchased for Hannah (or Hanny as we call her).  It protects her from the sun, especially since she is too little for sunscreen.  And the older kids can use it later to play with in the backyard or in their rooms.  Copper had so much fun on this trip.  He loved being with us everywhere.  We are really glad we took him along.  He was so happy and got lots of exercise.  He also hurt his tail but the dink in it went away after a few days.  

Nathan and Abby splashing in the ocean.  David is with them and the water is still very shallow.  There were some kids really deep in the water and they made me very nervous.  Not looking forward to the day when Nathan and Abby are that age, going to the beach with their friends and making not so wise choices.

Beach, glorious beach.

Copper came along on this trip as well and he loved it.  He didn't go to the bathroom for a long time. We kept taking him to places and gave him his "pee or poop" command but it took him a long time.  Finally he went.  He absolutely loved the beach.  The only thing that was disappointing was that Dave had looked up and found that all Oregon beaches allowed dogs to run off-leash.  When we got to Cape Lookout though, it stated that he had to be on the leash.  That made for less exercise.  Later on we ran into people who told us as long as we have control over the dog, most people let them run.  So we did.  :-)  That way he got tons of exercise.

Little girl and the ocean.  Isabelle was very tired and torn about coming with me to the water.  She finally decided to come along.  She did get scared of the water.

Cutie Pie.

Dada and the little tiny one.

This is such a great feeling, toes covered in sandy water.  It always amazed me how you can walk on the beach but if you stand for a little while, your feet start to sink.

Cape Lookout is a great beach.  The beach is sandy, they have cliffs (little ones), trees, hiking paths, a campground, and not many people go there.

On our way home we found a really great campground park, Fort Stevens.  We wanted to remember it for next time as it had great campground, wonderful biking routes, a historic site, a lake for fishing and a playground.  Here we are visiting the historic site, Battery Russell David.  It was neat to be seeing it because Nathan and I have been watching lots of documentaries on WWI and WWII.  Battery Russell and the Fort it is in, according to a memorial stone, is the first fort that was attacked by sea (from Japanese) since the war of 1812. We had lots of questions because unfortunately no markers are there to guide you.  Nevertheless, it was neat to walk through and take guesses.  Plus, we found a website once we got home and were able to have many questions answered.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Nathan Hosts His First Sleep-Over

 Ever since Nathan had his first sleep-over, he's been begging me for more.  Since the O-boys had him over, we asked if they'd like to stay the night at our house.  The boys were pretty excited.  At long last the day arrived.  Nathan must have asked me every hour when his friends would arrive.  He had also asked for pizza for dinner and wanted to play the Wii as well as go swimming.

The boys hopped in the pool pretty much right away.  Emmit and Nathan stayed the longest, they were not tiring of the water that day.  Caleb would have periods where he came out and spent some time talking to me.  Both of the boys are so very nice and I really enjoyed the conversations with Caleb.  It was strange though since Nathan is a boy of very few words when it comes to conversations.  Caleb on the other hand was very easy to talk to.

Nathan and Emmit in the water.  The three have a really good dynamic too.  We've always talked to Nathan to make sure to not exclude Emmit when he was younger.  Now the age difference isn't so big anymore and all of them truly enjoy each others' company.

After a lot of swimming, the boys asked to watch "Lego Ninjago".  I hadn't even realized there were new shows and it started another Ninjago epidemic in my house.  Pretty sure we are mostly over it now.  Let's now count the chickens before they hatch though. 

This was the most fun event of the night to me.  I had the kids take bites out of a lime.  Love Abby's face here.

Caleb found this to be non-challenging.  His eyes were a little wide but he definitely was not that affected by the sourness of the lime.  I started to doubt its potency until....

Yep!  Still makes me laugh when I see that picture.  Just love it.

Emmit also was not that challenged by the sour taste.  This contest goes to the O-boys.

David made a fire in our pit and we had the kids roast marshmallows and make s'mores.  We also let them each have one soda, which just about made Nathan's day.  It is amazing these kids even went to bed after all that sugar.

David had suggested they watch "The Sandlot" and the boys loved the movie.  They were laughing and giggling the whole time.  Just look at Emmit's face on this picture.  He was still giggling minutes after the last joke.  And more junk food - chips.  :-)

All in all, another successful sleepover.  Nathan loved having his friends over.

Nathan's Second Sleepover

Nathan loved his first sleep-over with Caleb and Emmit and was super excited when a second opportunity presented itself.  Owen from his baseball team invited him for a birthday party a with sleep-over.  Nathan was thrilled.  What better could there be?  Friends, cake, sweets, sleep-over.  While we weren't at the party (Dave stayed for just a little while), here are the pictures Owen's mom sent us.  They very obviously had a great time.

Love the birthday hat!

Nathan has been gifting sports items this year.  His favorite is usually a football but only if he knows his friends like it.

Nathan was the youngest of the boys but he loved every minute of it.

And silly string.  How much better can it be???

Summer Parades

 The town next to us has a fantastic summer parade every year.  And what makes it even better is that we get a lot of people together.  Aunt Megan, uncle Rusty, Rosie and Olive come every year and then Megan's great mom and some of her family members usually come as well.  Mitch (Jen's husband and Megan's dad) could not make it this year and we missed his hilarious comments.  Mitch always makes us laugh.  Plus, he is the only person we know who appreciates the job of the "pooper scooper" behind the horses in parades.  No one ever cheers for these great servants.  Except Mitch.  And ever since, we have also appreciate these volunteers.  And of course the kids LOVE their cousins.  So hanging out with them was a lot of fun.  Bethany and Betsy (Megan's best friend and her daughter) joined as well as Jessica and Cody (Megan's sister and her husband).  We are very fond of Megan's family.  It is really nice to get together with them.

Here is our little set-up.  We are also strategically located in front of a fast-food place.  Yum-yum and bathrooms close by.  :-)  Abby and Olive are peeking to see when the parade is starting.

Dada and Hannah (it's her first parade - just in case you didn't realize that...)  All the kids were dressed in red, white and blue.  Well, except now that I say that, I realize that Nathan changed his outfit!  He's not wearing blue!  Sneaky boy.  

I styled Nathan's hair that day and I solemnly swear it looked better than that.  Either way, he was really excited about his hair.  Oma brought him some gel and he loves getting his hair styled.

Pretty little Olive and Abby.  Those two have become so close.  It is wonderful seeing their relationship blossom.  Hopefully they will be close when they grow up.  Hoping Megan and Rusty will not up and move away!

Our newest addition, a metal cart.  Love that thing.  It is so very useful for a big family.  And it folds nicely to be stored in the trunk.  Best of all, it is a favorite for little ones to be pulled in.  Olive and Isabelle enjoyed this ride.

On the way back from the parade, we hit a little playground area that also has a water feature.  The kids loved ending parade day this way.  And the weather was great.

So long, peeps!  See you next year.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Swim Lessons

As a gift from my mom, the kids took swimming lessons locally at a private home for two weeks.  They had a lot of fun and learned a lot.  By the end, Nathan actually had a very nice back stroke and could swim really well.  Abby can now swim really well under water but is a little too confident in the water now.  Isabelle had an unfortunate encounter with a broken floaty and it took us a week to get her over it.  Even during the last session where parents were allowed to participate, she clung to dad and wouldn't really swim on her own.  However, in our pool she feels very comfortable and shows great form swimming, keeping her face out of the water and controlling her breaths.

Little swimmer.  Abby loves swimming in the water.  Her challenge during the lessons was to open her eyes under water.  She didn't think she could do it, but then she did two days before lessons ended.  Abby is having a hard time saying good-bye to her pink swim suit this year (it is too small now).  While she loves this new one, the pink one is still her favorite.

So comfortable under water.

Nathan, swimmer boy.  The only problem he ran into was that after a week of swimming, his eyes really hurt him.  The teacher made an exception and let him take his goggles.  He is a good little swimmer after these lessons and once again amazed me with how quickly he learns.

Isabelly with some of the evil floaties.  I forgot her puddle jumpers at home and all bravery left her.  She clung to dad the whole time, I believe (Hannah and I had to leave the very hot tent early).  But she does show us at home in our own pool, with her own floating device, what she has learned.  It is pretty impressive what these ladies teach these different age groups in such a short amount of time.  
Thank you Oma for another wonderful summer activity funded by you!

Abby's Tea Party

 Abigail loves tea parties.  I started having them after an Apples of Gold participation for bible studies at our home.  And Abby has taken quite a liking to them, enjoying to help me decorate my tables.  Recently she started asking me if she could have her own.  She's had one or two with cousin Olive and Rosie and Grandma and Megan but she had something a little bit more planned in mind.  A while back we bought her a really great tea party book, "Let's have a tea party" by Emilie Barnes.  The first one we bought at a garage sale was missing pages.  A month ago we finally bought a complete copy.  Abby picked a garden-themed tea party as her first official tea party.  We picked some things to do that were within our budget and made a guest list.  She colored pansy-shaped invitations and wrote half of them out (for Aunt Megan, Rosie, Olive and Grandma).  We made a "stick-the-tail-on-the-donkey" in the shape of "put-the-bees-on-the-flower" game out of a flower we drew on paper and then printed some bees off the internet.  Those were glued on yellow sticky papers and then colored by Abigail and Isabelle.
The day of her party, Abigail took a bath and got Isabelle all cleaned up as well.  Then she went on to do both of their hair and selecting dresses for both of them.   Giggling they danced downstairs to present themselves to me and explaining all the hair doings and dress selections.  Abby even put a bunch of clips in Isabelle's hair (you can scarcely see them).

Here is how Abby dressed herself and Isabelle.  Even Bear got dressed up in a very special dress.  And Abby tried to straighten her hair using Isabelle's brush!  Bad girl.  :-)

I helped Abigail set the table.  We chose Oma's new table cloth, my green and white china along with Abby's two cups and saucers.  Both fit the garden theme perfectly as they had flowers on them.  On the table you also see the garden-themed scavenger hunt we printed out.  The girls started but enthusiasm quickly faded as more exciting games were suggested. Abigail had also decided on raspberry-pomegranate tea as our main tea.  So that is what is in the tea pot.

Abby's snack she wanted to serve was bug cookies.  Here are all the different "bugs" Abby made.
As the guests arrived, we were fortunate enough to have Grace (Nate's sister) join us as well.  And she even brought more dress-up clothes!  What fun.

All the little girls hovering over little Hannah who is somewhere underneath them in the bouncer.  They ooh-ed and aah-ed over her all day, especially Grace and Rosie who loves babies.  Rosie is in love with baby Hannah.  It will be neat to see how their relationship will develop as they get older.

Abigail also decorated each place setting with either hydrangea leaves or strawberry leaves.  We had hydrangea flowers and white phlox decorating the table and aunt Megan brought lovely pink carnations.  Blueberries were not only a nice splash of color, they were also very, very yummy.  The girls at some point decided to add them to their tea.  From the left-overs I gather this was not a successful food combination.

The tea party started with all the girls sitting at the table, having tea, various fruits and a cookie.  It was hard for Abby to not pick first and to let ALL the other girls pick first.  In the end, she got her favorite cookie anyway.  As soon as everyone had eaten, they dashed off and dressed up with the great clothes Grace had brought along.  They added some of their own and the bigger girls helped all the little ones to dress up.  As you can see from the pictures below, they had a blast.

From left (because maybe one day the cousins will be like: "Wow!  That is Rosie???"):  Rosie, Isabelle, Grace, Olive and Abby.  The kitty ears are one of the fantastic gifts from Olive's recent birthday party where her other grandma, Jen, made all the kids some kitty ears and tails.  Abby is holding her kitty tail in her hands.

From left: Tinkerbell, Elsa (Frozen), Rapunzel, Strawberry Shortcake and pink kitty.  All accessorized by Abby as well with various purses, magic wands and the likes.

Auntie Megan with Hannah.  Megan is such a great Aunt and the kids just love her.  She is fun and creative and knows kids so well.  She studied to be a teacher and that is obviously a wise choice for anyone wanting to be a mom some day.  Auntie Megan helped a lot with taking care of the girls, especially when they all decided to go into the pool.  She is also starting to enjoy my favorite Chai tea.  Well, not my favorite but the easiest one to make.

Grandma also came for the party.  She enjoyed spending time with all her grand babies and of course the cookies.  Grandma looooovvvveeeesss cookies.  :-)  And babies.  And grandkids in general.

The girls ended the tea party in the pool.  They all had a blast and just a little too much sugar (evidenced in the picture here).  All in all, they had a great party, and all got along so well with each other.  I don't think any of them ever got left out either.  
Nathan played with Nate while the girls were doing all these girly things that he has no understanding for.  :-)  Nate and Nathan were sure to play real manly things, like wrestling, swimming, and other such guy stuff.
And Abigail is already planning her next party.  As long as we don't run out of summer....