Thursday, July 31, 2008

Out With The Old And In With The New

It's that time of year again. Time to put away the too small clothes and get out the next size up clothes. Katie was so funny. I had made a pile of clothes that I had pulled out of "the buckets" that were now her size. I told her she needed to try them on just to be sure. The cute little stinker was putting on a new dress and said, "Mom this is like your show What Not To Wear. We are taking off and putting on lots of clothes!" Huge relief from me as her initial comment made me think she thought her new clothes were a little dated and unfashionable. You know hand-me-downs...EWWWW.

I guess it's no secret what I watch around here. Chase always says he hates that show because it makes me want to go shopping. (and he doesn't like to tag along) I think he's right. I dream about going shopping with all of my very Stacey Londonish friends and finding things that make me feel less matronly. I'm starting by just trying to get out of my pajamas a little bit more.

Shelly

When you were a kid were the nickle an quarter machines a magical place to find treasures? I can still remember looking at them with longing every time we passed by a row. It must be a right of passage for all children. A must happen event in any little child's life. My children can totally check that box.


They know where every coin machine is in a twenty mile radius of our house. When we are too close for self control to last any longer they beg. When that doesn't work they resort to looking for change all over the dirty floor. (at this point I often give in and give them the money just to stop the visual image of my little beggar children getting hopelessly filthy!) When, however, I am not swayed by humiliation and being totally grossed out, they begin a frantic search of every machine. Opening one door at a time with their hand held underneath hopeful that some totally nutsy child left their candy behind. Surprisingly this method of collection is quite often rewarding.


Now a days the kids look forward to the coin machine at Dad's dental office. No candy there...but lots of cool prizes. Months ago, when we went for our first visit, Dave gave each child a token to get a prize. Katie came away with a little "squishy animal" turtle. She named it Shelly and has not parted with it in all these many months.


this picture is taken of Shelly in sleeping Kate's hands
She loves her so tenderly. She feeds her mermaid tears (those squished marble things people use to decoratively fill vases), bathes her, gives her a special sleeping spot on the post of her bed and wants to take her wherever we go. Knowing how special this TINY little turtle is we have tried to be very careful never to loose her. But as fate would have it after many months of careful watch care Shelly was missing.


Kate was beyond devastated. So badly that I actually called Dave at work and made him promise to bring home a "back-up" Shelly. I think Dave said he and his office coworkers went though 10 or something tokens before a new Shelly was delivered. You should have seen the joy when Dad "found" her precious turtle. But then of course days later the real Shelly was found and Kate was doubly excited.


Mom was smart or cruel, depending on whose side your looking at it from, and put the "back-up" Shelly away for a rainy day. Cute little Kate now comes to me whenever she has misplaced her TINY plastic pet to ask for the "Back-up" Shelly. She is just to cute.


Who knew that a child's favorite toy could be a quarter machine treasure from Dad's dental office? Such simple pleasures!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sara Keeps Growing

Despite constant requests from her Mom and Dad to stay their little baby girl forever, Sara keeps growing. She is getting so big, so quickly. And while we are having so much fun enjoying all her new tricks and such, we are already missing her old ones. So what is our sweet smilier up too?


18.2 lbs

27 inches tall

- Sara is learning how to wave. She doesn't do it at all the appropriate moments or by any means on request but she does do it.

- Sara is a pro at sitting. She has such amazing balance and plays with all her toys so happily. Just today at her doctors visit she went from a sitting to belly position by rolling right over her legs. I think Crawling is definitely in her immediate future.

- One of our favorite things that Sara does is dancing. She dances anytime we turn music on. She especially enjoys her Dad's performances on Rock Band. She is his number one fan. She sways side to side with the hugest smile on her face.

- New favorite games are pat-a-cake and pee-a-boo. She giggles with joy. Sara also loves to be an acrobat. Like her older brother before her she is always game for flying high.

- She has her own little language for the dog. It is just a bunch of short syllable grunting sounds. Man does she love the dog!

- Sara has started taking baths with Katie. I think they both love it equally. She sits in the tub playing with toys, splashing and laughing at her big sister.

- Much to Mom's delight she is sleeping in until 8:30 or 9:00 most mornings. This fits right into Mom's plans for sleeping in most mornings!

- Sara is starting to try and pull herself up on things. Just the other day she was playing in the sink and pulled herself up onto her knees by pulling on the cookie rack that was in the other sink. Scary...I wish she would just be happy sitting, I love sitting!

- She loves to have Mom trace her face with her finger. I can't remember any of my children being so happy to be touched. She just loves caresses and having her cheeks and eyebrows stroked. We have had a few really slow mornings with wonderful cuddling sessions in bed this last month.

- Sara is still bringing so much happiness into our home. What a wonderful thing it is to have such a sweet baby!!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Turning Ten


Chase just turned ten! Wow we have a ten year old. Can you believe he is so grown up? This year Chase celebrated with two of his best friends. We had Hunter and Jacob over for cake (I am rally proud of it. I saw a giant cupcake pan for sale at Sur La Table and have been so excited to us it) first and then Dave took the boys golfing. They went down to the Ft. Lewis golf course and golfed nine holes. Chase's friends hadn't ever golfed before. But as always it seems Hunter took to things like a natural. He is such an athlete! All week I have been teasing Chase that he was having a princess party. I think he was very relieved to have a golf party instead. Sorry...no pictures on the course. Dave was a little preoccupied:-)

Almost A Kitty Cat Family

When you were a little girl did you ever bring home a kitten in hopes that your Mom would take pity on the pour creature and let you keep it? I tried several times. I, an animal loving child, was doomed to live in a pet free zone. My Mom tried once with a cat and once with a dog but neither lived with us very long. Today Emily and her friend Kaitlyn brought home a little kitten they found roaming the neighborhood. It's a good thing that the girls found the owner of the kitty because I was caving quickly. We all love kitty cats! But can you imagine six people, one dog, one hamster and a cat living in our 1800 square feet? Zeke is very happy that the kitty is gone. He was not a big fan of hissing furballs with claws!

One Hundred Dollars!

Emily did it. With the help of my wonderful friends and neighbors she earned her hundred dollars for camp. She is so proud and she should be. It was a lot of work! Here are some of the odd jobs she did to earn her way to camp:


- be a playmate for a little girl so Mom could have some time to herself
- help watch a little one during a Mom's book club group
- FHE treats for a few families
- wagon rides for Kate and other lucky children
- she made cookies for a baptism
- cleaned windows
- accepted a dare to jump into the freezing cold Nisqually river
- cat sat for a family on vacation
- she had to remember all day how much her Grandma DeWitt loved her
- she babysat a sleeping Sara for me twice
-and last but not least she had a lemonade / bake sale




She leaves for camp tomorrow at 5:00 and she is so excited. Today we have packed up her stuff. We bought her a digital camera for her birthday (more for me than her...I had to have pictures of her at camp right!?). And she and her friend Kaitlyn are on pins and needles!

Cub Scout Day Camp

Chase has been at scout camp all week long. He has really looked forward to each and everyday. I think more than anything he is so happy to be spending a whole day with all of his friends, but BB shooting and archery don't hurt either. We all went up to see his skit on the last day of camp. I am so sad. I started recording it but then I was having such a hard time hearing the boys that I thought, "there's no way the sound is getting picked up on the camera" so I stopped. Then when we played it back once we got home it was clear as a whistle. So here is a little snippet of the skit the boys did. It was about how brave Webelo scouts aren't afraid of anything (even vampires, werewolves, mummies and ghosts).

video



Chase has really been into bows and arrows lately. Especially after the Arrow of Light Ceremony we had a few weeks ago. he was very happy to have archery every day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

This is my personal favorite. Sara's Bebe Pod. She spends most of her day in it. I take her on wagon rides in it. It goes to the pool, bath, sink, park, on play dates and even to Great Wolf Lodge. It is a manufacturers gift to Mothers everywhere!


I bought a beautiful rattle like this for my sister when she had her last little girl and was so sad my own children hadn't had such a lovely toy. So you can bet it was one of the first things Sara owned. It makes such a soft beautiful sound. It is so beautiful and colorful too. Sara likes that it is especially easy to hold!



The oh so handy "Hooter Hider"! Let's just say I wouldn't still be nursing if I didn't have one. This little nursing shawl makes nursing so much more stress free. I really feel like I can nurse anywhere, at any time. I love how easy it has made life so much, that it is now a staple baby shower gift from me.




This is my new Diaper bag. It is Ju Ju Be bag. I bought it while pregnant. It was one of those had to have it kind of moments. I get almost as many compliments on it as I do about how sweet Sara is. I was at a favorite children's boutique in Newport once and the store manager came up to me asking me who the maker was because she wanted to start stocking them in her store. But aside from being ridiculously cute it is very convenient. It just wipes down when it's dirty. I love the magnetic closure and the amount of storage is perfect. Ju Ju Be has really cool accessories too. I personally love the stroller clips and the little "Mommy" purse.

My girlfriend Rachel's little girl used one of these when she was a tot. We would be over playing Settlers and I would watch her munching away thinking wow...if I had only know about those with my kids. Well you can be sure when Sara came around I went and got her one. I didn't know how much of a necessity it would be. Sara chokes (like really chokes) on everything! And with this there are no worries.


This is an Ergo Carrier. Way more handy than the baby Bjorn. Don't get me wrong I also love having the Bjorn, but once Sara was old enough the Ergo is so much better. I can wear her on my back and take her on long walks without feeling like I'm pregnant again. Thank you Stephanie for that heads up.

Soccer Is Not For Me!

What I mean is that being a soccer groupie is not for me. Unless our dear boys start playing earlier and ending sooner so I can avoid the plague of mosquitoes that awakens to feast on me at 9:00pm. I think my poor little body fed the whole entire swarming community last night. After waking up to the feeling of fire all over my body I counted the bites on just my left arm. !25! No kidding or exaggerating. Add another 10 to 15 for each of my other limbs and I got bit at least 60 times last night. The only good things about having single handedly fed the entire blood sucking population of vampire mosquitoes is that my kids came home rather unpunctured. Even though we killed a zillion (that is an exaggeration but not too far of a stretch as the little vampire carcasses in our car will attest) of the little buggers in our car on the way home. Also it goes to show that even though I think of myself as a big sour puss most of the time...at least someone / something thinks I'm sweet;-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

If You Are Considering Owning A Dog...


There are lots of times like these...
























In between the times like these...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Can You See When I Am Writing This Post?

My good friend Mary tagged me. No not the fun little tags where I get to write fun stuff about myself. She tagged me with the curse of throw-up. At least we weren't in a public place. I guess that makes it sound like her kids got my kids sick. I guess she is innocent there since she is on the other side of the world...oh wait the country.

Poor little Emma has an ear infection. She must have been in a lot of pain or something to make her throw-up all over her bed just now. It is not my strong suit. You know being the cleaner upper. And there was so much to clean up. I am waiting right now for the washer to finish so I can put in another load to try and purge the stinkiness.

Little thing was so sad. She asked me, "Does Kaitlyn have to go to horse camp without me now?" I told her (THANKFULLY) that she has a whole week to get better! Thank you antibiotics!

Hope all my friends out there are having a better night or rest than me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Is How Much I Love You

Have you ever read the book, "Guess How Much I Love You?" I am sure in Kate's infant hood we read it together, but I can't think of any recent reading. And yet Kate and I have played it's little game since she could talk. We love each other all the way to Grandma's house. (whenever have to be specific since both live so far away) We love each other all the way to the ocean, into outer space, to Heaven and back, hundreds of flashes of our fingers etc... I love our little game.



Yesterday there was a letter on my bed. Inside a paper folded this way and that with little red hearts all over. Next thing I knew my sweet Katie was running into my room telling me, "that's how much I love you!" She has beaten me I think her her little mind. In her world her letter was "filled with hundreds of hearts, one for everyday".


What a very lucky mother I am to have such a little golden ray of sunshine.

Does Your Four Year Old...

sing "Rolly Polly Fish Heads" as she rides her big wheels down the street? Mine does;-)

A Weakness

So I have a total weakness for dance. It is a true love of mine. A girlfriend sent me this link today and it amazed me. I have never seen such liberties taken with classical ballet. Usually I don't approve but this was different. It was amazing. Cirque de sole meets classical ballet in Swan Lake. I don't usually post from You Tube but this is so special it's worth the risk of all those nasty clip adds you tube posts at the end of your selection. Watch it all the way through until the German guy comes on in the end. It's crazy sweet. Thanks Kathryn for a huge pick-me-up!

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=gOqxSaW05p4

Just Around The River Bend

This weekend we took advantage of Dave's time off and went camping with our friends the Phillips family. We were going to go camping at Millersylvania State Park, and actually did go but there was no room in the inn. After another failed attempt at Black Lake in Olympia we decided to go for what we thought would be a sure thing and headed towards the churches Nisqually camp ground. (It didn't dawn on us that they would be having girls camp there for the young women:-) But right before we reached the turn out for the churches property we came upon a sign that said River Bend Camping. We thought we would check it out and ended up staying. We found a really great group camp site (Fox group for future reference). There were lots of tent spots, great trees, a sizable fire ring and we were a hop-skip and a jump away from the Nisqually river. The only down sides were portapoties, an over abundance of trains running by and no picnic table.

We had lots of fun but the highlights were I think smore night. I have never seen so many smores constructed in one evening. We are total fans now of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup smores after being converted by our friends the Huillets.

The river was very nice too. The kids loved throwing in rocks, building dams and finding all sorts of "undesirable" creatures. But the best thing about the river was the rope swing a short walk up the banks. Yes...we finally found a rope swing. After striking out two years in a row at Jackson Hole we found one ten minutes from our house. That's correct we went camping ten minutes from home. It sure was nice to pack up Sunday morning and only be ten minutes away from a shower.
We also had tons of fun making glow stick pictures in the evenings. I think Dave has wanted to do this for quiet some time. He had very willing guinea pigs. We tried writing our names, making star patterns and just creating silly light pictures. The kids we very excited and more than happy to take their glow sticks to bed with them in the evening.
The other great part is that Sara was such a great sport. She spent the majority of her weekend in her hand dandy chair and loved most every minute!

Monday, July 14, 2008

July Fourth DuPont Style

I have always loved celebrating the Fourth of July in small towns. We used to go to Sierra Vista, AZ every year to celebrate. They really know how to have a good party there in Southern Arizona. Their fireworks put Tucson's to shame and it was always so much fun setting up our picnic blankets, having kid style marching bands, watermelon seed spitting contests (back when they used to have seeds) and then walking home with firework shrapnel in our hair. I missed those days when we moved to California. But DuPont hasn't let us down.

This year Chase's baseball team (sponsored by several local vendors) marched in the parade. The girls rode their decked out bikes and even Zeke got to strut his stuff. After the parade we enjoyed pony rides, train rides, games, contests, a good band, crafts, and lots of great friends!

But the best part is always the pyrotechnic firework extravaganza at the end of the day. Here in Washington we never catch fire thanks to the hundreds of inches of rain we get every year. That means a firework free for all. In a day when Sparkles are outlawed throughout most of the nation we enjoyed full blown, fire in the sky fireworks. And when your combining your own personal stash with that of several other friends it is no small show.



I love the Fourth of July. I love when people come out of their own little worlds to show their colors. Our colors. The colors of our wonderful country where we celebrate so many freedoms. Good old Red, White and Blue!

A Muddy Tradition

Last year Dave and our friend Nathan Phillips ran the Ft. Lewis 4rth of July 7K mud run together. It was so fun to watch them get totally gritty. Chase really wanted to run last year but we didn't sign him up. Since last year Chase has become a running machine. He ran a total of 100 miles with his school track club, ran the Seattle Children's Marathon, finished the last 5 miles with Dave on the Green River Marathon and has now run the 7.5K Mud Run on Ft. Lewis!

He was so eager to run with Dad this year. So we were up early in the morning once again to run and be groupies. The boys started out clean and finished recognizable only be those that love them. Poor Chase couldn't even open his eyes in the end he was so covered in mud and dirt!

But they did it together the whole 4.6 miles of hilly, obstacle riddled muddy course! I'm happy Chase and Dave have something to look forward to now every 4rth of July. Next time though we'll bring towels to cover the seats of the car!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sara's Blessing Photos






It has taken me forever to post these pictures! I asked my friend Sara Wilhelm to try her hand at taking some pictures for us of Sara to remember her special day June 1st. Then things got really busy and I never posted my favorites. Now that I am on a blogging marathon I decided it was high time. Sara did a superb job. I am so, so happy with the results. Happy enough to post a picture of myself and that's saying something. I am so thankful to have such talented friends that share their talents with me and my family!
Sara is developing her talents and will hopefully go pro someday soon. Check her out HERE

Best Things About Jackson Hole 2008

Well I am finally getting around to writing about our family vacation in Victor Idaho (Jackson Hole, Yellowstone). This is our second yeaer going and this time we had almost the whole family there. We were missing Shelly, Mike, Jen, Alex and Garrett. The weather was great and the company fantastic. Here are some highlights!

A Wagon Ride

One of the new adventures that we went on this year was a wagon train. We piled our families into two wagons and rode off in the wilderness. On the way we were warned by a mountain man that the Indians were coming and sure enough a few minutes later Indains were riding in and out of our caravan. When we finally made it to our destination ( a clearining in the woods) were dined on an excellent dutch oven dinner while being entertained with a very clever variety show. Wilcox'x of course were not shy to participate. Aunt SuSanna almost left poor Rusty for a skunk cap wearing mountain man that swooned when he saw her eyes! Next time we will be ready for those Indians and we won't have left our pop guns behind!




A Trail Ride Along The Snake

This was also a new experience. I thought for sure we would be repeating all the fun things we did last year but had no problem finding lost of new adventures. This was especially for Emily. We are always trying to satsify her love for horses. Kate enjoyed saying, "No Arapaho!" A million times to our eager to graze horse. She only lasted the first half before falling asleep leaving me riding one handed. (good thing it was a trail horse:-)

White Water Rafting


Some of the gang went white water rafting again on the Snake. The rapids were a little more intense this year with the higher volume of water so Emily couldn't go. But those who went came back on a high that could have only meant they had a great time!

A Canoe, Cold Water and Crazy Cooks!


Our desire to find a swimming hole with a rope swing were bypassed this year. No one was up for several hours of driving in circles on bumpy did rodes on a goose chase. Instead we chose a "sure thing" river we we could canoe and swim. Wow was it cold, a few people dated themselves in the the crippling grip of snow run-off. Others who sought to avoid the cold rapid currants were thrown in against their will. I made sure Sara was strapped to me. She was my little insurance policy.

Rodeo!



This might be our favorie new thing to do. We went to the Jackson Hole Rodeo with the Lane family and had a blast. Bulls, Broncos, team tying, barrell racing etc... it was all just tons of fun! Half way through they let all the kids into the arena. Two calves with ribbons tied to there ears were let loose and a hundred children tried to catch them. the above picture is Katie after NOT catching the cows.




Yellowstone


Yellowstone is just so cool. This was the only time we split up from the family. we wanted to cover new ground in this huge park. Our first adventure was on the natural arch trail which was closed because of bear danger. Yep, you guessed it we went anyway. We had fun teasing each other about being bear food if we were straggling behind. didn't see any bears but the trail was beautiful, deserted (I wonder why?) and devoid of wildlife (excpet for the prettiest hawk I've ever seen and a marmot that Zeke sent packing for home).



Motorcycles



This year Dave and the menfolk were able to get the motorcycles at our cabin running. The kids really enjoyed going on trails with Dad. Me...not so much. The helmet didn't fit and with bad vision a bunch of blurriness keeps flying at you 30 miles an hour. Not cool. Maybe with glasses next time.


Mesa Falls, Idaho


The lower and upper Mesa falls are probablly the prettiest falls I have ever seen. Dave says I haven't seen very many cool falls, but these were just so beautiful. We got there a little latter than we wanted to so the sun was setting and we didn't stay long. Also a bazillion mosquitoes made it a little uninviting. But the falls were gorgeous.


Teton Valley Ski Resort



This was our destination while the big kids went river rafting. The snake was running 8 feet higher than it was on our trip last year. I guess earlier in the season there is just a ton of snow run off. We had a great time taking the lift up to the snow. Well we meaning everyone esle excpet my girls whole cried the minute their "Crocked" feet hit the snow. The more hardy cousins weren't evern fazed. And Scott with his "Eagle Eyes" even spotted a moose for us on the lift ride.





Cousin Time

The kids had such a wonderful time with their cousins. From building outdoor forts, playing tree fairies or just reading together, they built on friendships and hopefully added to their stores of lifelong memories.

Mom, why did Heavenly Father make mosquitoes?...Well he should have shut their mouthes! -Kate

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kate Worries...

Mom, the fireworks are going to shoot the stars out of the sky. I love the stars...

Money For Summer Camp

I have found the most perfect summer camp ever for Emily. It is a week long horse camp. It would be her dream come true! She picks her horse at the beginning of the week and then feeds it, takes care of it and rides it all week long. There are other fun activities too...but let's face it...the horses are all that matter. It is a little pricey. I want her to earn it and deserve it. Does anyone have any ideas about how an 8 year old can earn money around the neighborhood? Please leave comments. I need lots of ideas.

Sara's First Pony Tail

Isn't she just so sweet!

Eagles

There is just something about an eagle that makes the adrenaline rush. Do you know when you were a child and you would sit with your friends discussing what animals you would be if you had a choice? I was never an eagle or a bird for that matter. I think I almost always chose a cat. Flight was never a big draw. (lounging and loves on my terms are more up my ally) And I can't say I am a big "bird watcher". There just isn't enough patience. Sure, it's great when they perch themselves prettily right in front of me, but searching through a forest for a finch just isn't me either.

So why am I so enthralled with eagles? The more I think about it I have come to the conclusion that they represent so many things that I love about Washington. They are majestic, like the mountains. Free spirited, like it's people. Wild, like the forests. I don't know what it is exactly but every time I see one my blood rushes and my heart soars. When I see them out of my car window on my way to the grocery store as we drive through Nisqually I forget that I am driving. This last week I have found a safer way to eagle watch. Canoeing at American Lake is the perfect place to see my fine feathered friends!

Here are some of my favorite photos...

An Anderson Island Adventure

Our good friends from dental school have come to visit us. They are canvasing Washington to check out it's potential as a place to settle. As I was trying to come up with something to do with them while they were in town, Jamie Chiara's blog kept popping into my mind. She had just posted about a little day trip they had taken and it looked like so much fun. I am always up for a new adventure and so I decided a trip to Anderson island would be a perfect Washington excursion. We arrived at the ferry dock in Steilacoom an hour early to search for sea stars and lay coins on the train track in hopes that a train would pass by and smash them for us. We weren't let down on either account. Then we drove our car onto the ferry and were off on our first ferry ride. Can you believe that in the three years we have lived here we just went on our first ride?! The kids loved it and it was so short.

Once on the island we headed down the road to the General Store for lunch and some directions. This believe it or not was the highlight of the trip for my kids. They are begging to go back just to visit the store. They were so excited about the 1 cent candy bins. Kate had found a few coins somewhere along the trip and they sat in front of the bins trying to choose the perfect candies in the perfect amounts so that they could all satisfy their sweet teeth. I wish now that I had taken a picture. I will when we go back.
Next we drove down to Andy's Marine park and went on a very cool trail (as with Jamie's kids the tree stump hoping was a hit with mine as well) to a totally deserted beach where the kids searched for crabs, sand dollars and rocks. I found a large piece of drift wood and just sat back and relaxed as the kids indulged themselves. It was such a beautiful day.

Finally we drove all over the place looking for the much anticipated swimming hole. Surprisingly the handful of people that we asked about it had no idea what we were talking about. So here is a map in case you choose to go. It is number 13. It was perfect. There was a slide in the shallow pool and one out in the deep part of the lake. Katie was so happy to see sand and played in it the whole time while her brother and sister tried to out do each others craziness on the slide.

Here is the link for the map and other visitor info:
http://www.andersonislandhs.com/links.html
We will definitely go back it was so much fun!