Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Big Milestone

As of today, BOTH Evelyn and Matthew can ride their bikes WITHOUT training wheels!! It has been long in coming,  but they both finally did it. Evelyn has been riding for a while but has been lacking in confidence. Matthew just needed to work on balance and we knew he would get it. After spending a lot of time on their scooters this summer Matthew's balance improved a ton, and Evelyn seemed more comfortable on her bike each time she would get on. Today Doug told Matthew to go ride... and he DID... and proceeded to be on his bike for the next 2 hours, riding with his sister having the best time. I am sure there will be plenty of bike riding in the days and weeks to come, weather permitting!

A big milestone for my kids.. and I am so proud of them both!

Friday, August 28, 2015

4T Trail

Doug had some time off and we decided to tackle one of our city's cool attractions, "The 4T Trail". The 4 T's stand for Train, Trail, Tram, and Trolley... and it is a super fun way to see our city and experience different ways to get around. What a tiring but super fun time we had!

Waiting for the train!

This kid.... :)

The train took us to the zoo, where we started the trail portion, a 4.5 mile hike to OSHU hospital. We hoped the long, mostly uphill hike would be okay for the kids.

The kids thought crossing over the freeway on foot was way cool!

Ready to head up!

These two. They did SO SO great. NO complaining, lots of laughing and chatting. This is when we stopped at Council Crest for a snack (this is after 3.5 miles of hiking up. Thankfully the last mile was mostly downhill)

Love these three!
One of my fav's from the day!
Finally!! The tram!! The kids were probably most excited about this part! 

They LOVED it!

Very pretty views from the tram...

Waiting for the trolley. Matthew was really tired at this point. Thankfully we got him a snack after this and he perked up!

Trolley time!

We took the trolley to downtown and then caught the MAX train back to our car. We decided to celebrate by going to one of our favorite places, Azteca!

This may or may not have been Doug's and my favorite part of the day..haha!!

Such a fun day.. so glad we tackled it!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pittock Mansion

Each year as summer approaches, we  make a "bucket list" of activities that we want to do once school gets out. One thing on our list this summer was going to one of Portland's famous landmarks, Pittock Mansion. We invited our friends the Stenejhem's along today and had a fun time exploring this historic beauty!

The best part of the property... the magnificent view!

I didn't get a lot of photos, but it was a very fun morning with our friends, and a beautiful piece of history to explire!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dear Matthew

Dear Matthew,

 My sweet boy, it is hard to put into words how I am feeling about you starting Kindergarten in just 14 days (yes, mom counted!). I know you are ready. It's me who is not ready to have you gone 6.5 hours every day. This new full-day kindergarten requirement has shaken me quite a bit, as I was so hoping to enjoy you going to school for only 2.5 hours, just like Evelyn did. I am trying my best  to be positive and be excited with you and for you.

It was so fun to get some "Matthew/Mommy" time with you today while Evelyn was playing at her friend's house. I love that you had a plan! You wanted to go to the Lego Store and buy legos with your own money, finally get a big pretzel from "the pretzel place" at the mall, and read books and snuggle with me. I am glad we got to do all those things and cherished that time with you. 

When I asked you what you were most excited about starting kindergarten, you said "doing science and math", which did not come as a surprise to me as you are much like your daddy in this area. When I asked you what you were most nervous about, you said "making new friends and reading".

Son, you are the most thoughtful, big hearted kid I know, and I have a feeling making friends will NOT be a problem, and I am excited to see you bloom socially when school gets going. I am praying that you continue to stand up for what's right and make wise choices at school when it comes to having friends and being a friend. As for the reading, this too is something I know you will do fine with. You have worked SO hard on your speech and your reading this summer. I am so proud of the progress you have made in both those areas. Will it be easy? Probably not. Will you get it? Yes you will, and me, daddy, Evelyn and your teachers will be cheering you on and helping you become a super reader!

Matthew, the joy you bring to our family is immeasurable. Your love for Jesus, love for your family, and love for life is contagous. I am going to miss you so much when you are at school. I hope you always know that I am just a heartbeat away, and that I am so very proud to be your mom.

Thanks for the fun time this afternoon!

With love to the moon and back,


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Last Swim

Even though it is common in these parts to have sunshine and warm weather into October, I really wanted to close up shop on our pool and get it drained and put away sooner than later. And with the school year creeping up on us quicker than I want to believe, it was time for the kids to have one last swim.

 They were sad that their time in the pool was coming to an end, but they are now even more excited about swimming next summer!

The pool has been so great for us this summer, better than I could have even imagined. Even though it has been a labor of love to keep the pool clean and the chemicals all up to spec, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time splashing around and keeping cool in it. I learned a lot about it in this our "rookie" year, and know that next year it will even be better!

Thankfully the "tear down" of the pool went smoother than Doug and I thought it would. Even with that process we learned a lot and will do some things different next year.

Thanks for making the summer fun, pool of ours! Enjoy your hibernation for the next 8 months or so! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Justin and Tori's Wedding

My sisters and I were the only grand kids on my mom's side of the family for years. Until my cousin Justin came along when I was 12. He was the cutest baby and we all were happy to have him around, even if it meant a few less Christmas presents...haha!  Justin (my mom's sister Chrissy's son) got married to a sweet girl named Tori on Saturday up in Everett. It was the first wedding in the family in 13 years and such a fun weekend to celebrate and spend time with my mom's side of the family.

On the road... they are such great travelers!

My mom and my beautiful cousin Brooke

Hayley and Chase seeing who is taller.. it was really too close to call! 

Waiting for the ceremony to start
This one. He was so sweet and was very interested in the whole ceremony, listening very intently!
My cousin Hayley and my Aunt Carolyn (with my cousin Dustin winning with the photo bomb!)

The bride and groom with their parents
Both Justin and Tori have children from previous relationships. Together they make a beautiful family of SEVEN! 

The Vanwinkle bunch. It is still hard to believe Tyler (my cousin who passed away in December) is gone and his absence was tough for all of us. My aunt Chris was so strong... she really wanted to find true joy in the day and not be sad. It was so hard for her! I am so proud of her!

Sweet Joanie. She and my aunt Chris have been best friends for over 40 years. Always fun to see her and catch up!!
The happy couple!
Aunt Carolyn and my little people. They like her a whole lot. She pretty much rocks in my book, too! :)

She is so like her father.... (bunny ear girl)
It was an afternoon wedding, and we didn't stay for all the dancing and other shenanigans so we got back to our hotel at a decent hour. We surprised the kids and we watched Star Wars (the very first one).. the first time for the kids. They LOVED it and want to watch it again so they can catch things they missed the first time. It was a fun evening to end our fun day!

In the morning we got to see this  pretty lady!! My sister and niece couldn't make it to the wedding, but they were in Seattle.. for the Taylor Swift concert! They went to the rehearsal dinner and helped decorate Saturday before heading to the big show. SO happy we got to see them!
My little people were happy to see her, too!

..and glad to see "their" Abby! :)

This house. 8522 9th Avenue. My grandparents lived her for almost 50 years, and I spend a lot of time here as a child and young adult. So many memories. We drove by on a whim and it was SO good to see the house in such great shape, as it was pretty desheveled the last time we drove by. Sadly the tree and the little grassy hill are gone from the front yard, but overall it looks great.

My mom and her Doug took the RV up to the wedding and stayed at a RV park close by. We happened to find them on the freeway as we traveled home and so we stopped and had lunch together. It was fun to see them on the road!

So happy for my cousin and hope he and Tori have a wonderful life together, and so happy for another fun weekend away with my family!