Thursday, June 27, 2013

Splash Pad 1.0

One of our summer bucket list items is to hit every splash pad in the surrounding area.  Our first one, ironically enough is the closest one to our house, yet we've never been there in 2 and 1/2 years.  We stopped by last weekend, and although it's not large, it's water and the kids had a ball.

My oh-so-classy daughter... "Look Mom, I'm peeing!"
and not to be outdone by his sister.....

Soaked to the skin and happy!

Friday, June 21, 2013


It seems I have a lot of pictures taken while playing at Harritt.... My kids are so used to it now,it doesn't even phase them when I randomly halt their play and say, "Hey, come do this ..."  It usually starts out as me fooling around, practicing some function of my camera or shooting technique, but with kids this photogenic, I usually get some good shots.  Today I was working on not wasting frame space, and really filling it up with my subject(s).

Today was a banner day, as I got my girl to look at the camera!!  

 the obligatory pile-at-the-bottom-of-the-slide-picture, which my kids think is hilarious.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The Friday before Father's Day we got news that Brandon, Jaraid and Krystyne were coming to visit for the evening.  Brandon and Krystyne had gone to Hanford for Jeremy's high school graduation, and brought Jaraid back with them for a month long visit.  As we hadn't seen Jaraid since the summer the boys lived with us in 2007, we were excited to say the least.

We were also a little apprehensive about what the visit with Jaraid would be like.  When we saw him last, he was barely older than Jacob is now.  The almost 6 foor tall young man that got out of the car on Friday has changed a lot in the last 6 years but on the inside he is still the same sweet, playful kid.  He greeted all of us with hugs and blended back into his family like he never left.

This picture makes me smile for 2 reasons - 1, I can see the resemblance between the boys, especially in their smiles and 2, Jaraid never looks at the camera, just like Leah.
This was how things looked for most of the weekend - all the kids together, playing games, talking or hanging out.  The big kids were always sweet and patient, looking out for the littles.
On Sunday afternoon we went to Colton for a Father's Day celebration.  The kids all spent most of the time in the creek.
 An almost perfect picture - 5 of the 6 looking at the camera.
 Leah was in 7th heaven feeding Boo.
 All of the cousins on Brian's side, minus Jeremy (who is working this summer and couldn't make the trip).
 The men, trying to be serious.  Jaraid's barely holding it together.
What's a little hair pulling between sisters  brothers?  What you can't see is that Jaraid had a firm grip on Brandon's underarm hair... and came away with a bunch.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


One of our activities this summer, aimed at keeping my kids' little brains sharp, is journal writing.  I came up with the idea after reading through Austin's writing journal he brought home from school this week.  I was amazed at how crazy much his writing has improved over the last 9 months, and I loved getting a glimpse inside his brain, seeing what he chose to write about and what was important enough for him to record.  It was sweet, funny, and totally him.

My kids love to write, so I knew this was an activity they would be totally on board with.  I even gave them new composition books to write in, and you would have thought it was Christmas around here.

I Googled "children's writing prompts" and found a website with 180 different writing prompts to get kids started.  There will be days when they could free write for hours I'm sure, but there will also be days when they need a little push.  I weeded through some of the ones that didn't apply to my kids (tell about a time you  traveled to a different country, for example), sliced the rest up into strips and put them in a glass bottle.
Every day, or at least every day that we journal write, we can pull a topic out of the bottle and get started.  Today has been rainy and blah, so we went with a topic.  "Pretend you are an icicle melting, describe what it would be like".  The kids responses were awesome!  They loved the activity, and it's something that corresponds nicely with quiet time.  I promised them that I would do free write with them sometimes too.

Even though Leah can't write yet, she still joins in the activity by drawing in her journal, and telling us the story she would write down.  Yesterday she drew a picture and had me write a few sentences about what she had to say.  It was precious!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

End of the Year

September 2012
 June 2013
I couldn't be more proud of these 2 and what they've accomplished this year.  It's hard for me to believe that this fall Jake will start his final year in elementary school!  They've both grown so much -  mentally, spiritually and definitely physically!  Check out their height versus the window panes...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Day Salvaged

Yesterday did not start so well.  I got a call from my biggest boy at 7:45 while I was still at work...  "Mom, I don't feel good.  My head is stuffy, my nose is running and my eyes are itching.  I just wanted to tell you".  By the time I got home he looked like Rocky Balboa, eyes red and almost swollen shut.  No doubt about it, my boy has inherited his dad's nasty allergies.  I doped him up on Alavert, and the kid actually took a nap, which he never does.  We stayed housebound until 5:00, when he felt better and we were all a little stir crazy.

The kids and I decided that this summer, we want to become tourists in our own city.  We've lived in Salem for 6 1/2 years now and there are plenty of places we have yet to discover.  Last night we set out to check out a few.  We started at the Mirror Pond next to City Hall.  The kids were fascinated with the water skippers and tadpoles, and spent most of our time there bent over the water's edge:

 I give up on this girl.  She finally looks at the camera for a picture and this is the face she gives me.
 From the pond we followed the path under the bridge along the water.  It was amazing that this kind of beauty exists right in downtown, sandwiched between City Hall and a slew of restaurants.

 Prime spot for some pictures

 I. Give. Up.

 After we left downtown, we headed out to check out Minto Brown park.  Of course within about 60 seconds of what should have been our arrival, Leah had to pee RIGHT NOW so we took a pit stop at Jen's before heading onto our destination.  The kids thought it was so cool that there were signs posted about a cougar sighting, and we scoped out a lot of good trails and play areas to go back to with bikes and toys.

Last on our stop - the Union Street Bridge.  We've lived in West Salem for 2 1/2 years and have never taken it across the river.  We wandered across the bridge and then down along the water front, stopping at a closed Gilbert House to sit in the big chair.
 Jake was starting to feel not so great by this point, as you can tell...

All in all, we were gone less than 3 hours, but it was such an enjoyable evening and we were all glad to have salvaged what otherwise would have been a lousy day.