Showing posts with label summer fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer fun. Show all posts

Friday, August 12, 2016

lost in the remodeling dust

I don't really feel like we've had a summer. We are in the thick of things on the small bathroom remodel, there's a lot of life stuff going on, and we haven't stopped to do anything fun.

So this morning I loaded up the kids and headed for the beach. I hate taking on solo trips by myself, but the beach isn't too far from us - just over an hour - and we have a great spot we go to that has a shallow stream. Chasing two kids around the roaring ocean waves isn't very fun, but finding a nice spot along a shallow river on the beach is perfect for me. Today my hands were very full, and the kids didn't care in the slightest about seeing the ocean, so we didn't even attempt cresting the small rise for a view. We walked straight to the stream and crashed with all of our things.

I went all out for our trip. I hauled every sand toy we own, as well as the giant beach ball, and packed extra outfits for everyone (although I forgot my extra clothes bag and had to buy an overpriced sweatshirt from the market so I didn't freeze while we waited for the fog to burn off). I stopped at the store for chips, chocolate and watermelon and let them eat that for lunch. I didn't even add turkey or cheese to the menu even though I packed it. I let them eat out of bags and containers, food mixing with sand and cold water from the stream. I let them be messy and busy, I let them wade a little deeper than I was comfortable with, and wander a bit farther than I normally do.

Instead of sitting at home searching for bathroom vanities and flooring while the Olympics played in the background and getting frustrated when the kids asked for snacks (every hour - seriously) I spent the day on the beach watching them splash, build sand castles and make friends.

By this time next month B will be 5 and we'll be back to the school year schedule. August is for beach trips and blackberry picking. Splash parks and hikes in the cool woods. Time spent outside before the seasons change and draw us back indoors.

Bathrooms can wait. Finding bathroom vanities and flooring can wait (I am SO ready to hire a designer). Dishes, laundry, and watching the Olympics can wait. My babies will be 3 and 5 this fall. Now is the time to soak them in and enjoy our days together.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ft. lewis / ocean shores / more car problems

Remember when I said I would never buy a mini-van?

I would like one now, please.

We picked up the car Friday night, drove to Washington Saturday morning, drove home today, and went straight back to the car mechanic.

Our Subaru is in a state of extreme rebellion. And it's not even that old! Well, it's a 2008 model, but that's new for us! Jon's car is a 1998 model!

I do have to congratulate the Subaru on getting us to and from Washington. It did not break down on the side of the road, which I am very grateful for.

The kids love our annual trip up to Ocean Shores to see Jon's parents. This year we took a little detour on our way up so that Bennett could experience the Ft. Lewis Military Museum.

The museum is on a military base, so we had to be prepared to get on the base, which we talked about and planned for, and still nearly failed at. We needed various forms of documentation to gain access to the military base, but when we placed our vehicle registration in the folder of forms and documents we did not realize it was for Jon's vehicle. Thankfully we had a vehicle registration ticket in the glove box of the Subaru. I was so worried we wouldn't be able to go in, but it all worked out, and Bennett's attitude was wonderful.

Most kids would fall apart at the thought of a promised fun event snatched from their hands, but Bennett just says, "Well, we'll see. Let's just wait and see." And then when we were finally let through Bennett said, "You had the right password, Dad? Great!" His attitude is 1,000 times better than mine. I'm taking notes.

Bennett ran around the military museum hollering his head off, "look at that gun, look at these tanks, look at this sword!" I momentarily felt bad because my 4-year-old is really into weapons and military life, but there are a lot of things I can teach him about life, our country, and other countries in the pauses between yells of excitement so I've decided not to let it bother me. Military tanks are his thing right now. When he was 1 it was the moon. When he was 3 it was construction machines. Who knows what the next interest will be and when it will strike.

(Who knows ... that reminds me of a story: as we were leaving on Saturday we stopped at the store to get sandwiches for lunch. I was waiting with the kids in the car and pointing out various interesting things. I pointed to a horse trailer, we talked about horses for a moment, and then Bennett said, "I wonder where they're going."

"Who knows?" I replied.

"Well Mom," he said, "They do. They know where they're going.")

After we visited the museum we drove out to Ocean Shores for a few days. The kids are enamored with their grandparents house as it sits on a canal, has a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, play house, tire swing, canoe and plenty of wildlife watching opportunities. Jon's dad rigged a sling-shot in the play house so Bennett spent a lot of time bouncing between the tire swing and sling-shot.

Next fun trip: camping. I was hoping for the Redwoods this year, but I never actually planned the trip, so right now we're just scheduled to go with my family like we have the past couple of years. Next summer I'm determined to get a Redwoods camping trip planned.

Jon and I agree that camping is a lot of work, but really fun for the kids. We also think that people who don't grow up camping have a hard time learning to love it because it's so much work and they don't have stores of fond growing-up memories. I'm talking real car camping here. No trailer. Tents and sleeping on the ground, but there are showers. Do you like to camp? Did you grow up camping or did you learn to love it as an adult?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

on birthdays and camping and skunks

Or maybe I should just call this one 'everything but the kitchen sink?'

When one doesn't blog for a while there is a whole lot to cover.

I've been blogging less for a variety of reasons. I've been thinking a lot about why I blog, and who it's for, and how much I want to share/should share about our lives.

I've never felt less compelled to blog - in the few years I've been doing it - than I do right now. I don't know if it's because life is so busy, or if it's the touch of depression I can never quite shake, or if it's something else entirely. I just feel weird about the whole thing right now, and I'm not sure why.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Birthdays always make me introspective and moody, so maybe that's it?


On to a completely different topic.

Last week we went camping with friends in the wilds East of Eugene. I just love where a forty-five minute drive from a large city can lead in Oregon. I would not recommend the campground we stayed at, but I highly recommend the swimming holes in the area (Fall Creek Reservoir).


When it comes to camping you either love it, or you don't. I think I like the idea of it more than the actual doing of it. It's really hard right now because of Ainsleigh's age and desire to put everything in her mouth.

This trip was fun because we were with friends, but it was a little too hot and buggy for my liking. The lake - one of the main reasons we picked the campground, wasn't safe for swimming (though a lot of people ignored the recommendation to avoid the water), but we found an awesome swimming hole.

And there were skunks. I hadn't seen a skunk up close and in person before this trip. Our skunk friend was not nearly as nervous around humans as he should have been. In fact, when J shone a flashlight on the skunk from 20 feet away it came at him instead of scurrying away. Thankfully nothing - and no one - was sprayed.

We spent a lot of time in the water. We ate a lot of junk food. We saw big bolts of lightening and fell asleep to the sound of rain on our tent - one of the best sounds in the world. And I left with the desire to pack up and do it all over again. Even though it was hot. Even though it's hard with kids. I think it's good for them - and me - to sit in the dirt for a few days.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

summer project: water table

When I brought up the idea of buying a water table guess what J said?

J came up with ideas for the water table off a few different projects he found online, but the concept and design is all his. I cannot believe he can make something like this without a plan or blueprint. He said it doesn't look good, because he forgot the seal before putting down the epoxy so the blue ran a little, but the kids don't care about how it looks.

J added these handles so the kids can easily turn features on and off.

J made the water table self generating .. that's not the exact term I want, but J is passed out on the couch after a nasty encounter with a yellow jacket so it will have to do. When the table needs cleaned out every few days we'll use the water on our garden then fill it up again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Adventure! Camping at Nehalem Bay

We went camping at Nehalem Bay State Park last week. Oh my word, it's gorgeous! I don't know that section of coast very well. It was nice to break away from our usual beach spots. Nehalem Bay campground is located between the ocean and bay, so we had beach time as well as a canoe trip to keep us busy.

Ainsleigh did really well on her first camping trip. Sleep arrangements were difficult (I now have a pinched nerve - OUCH -) but we only ended up staying one night because J fell ill. Our second night, in the last available hotel room on the coast apparently, was rough too. But we still had fun!

(When camping with little ones bring a lot of clothes and expect them to be filthy the entire time.)

Ainsleigh watching a remote control car fly across the sand.

Determined Northwesterners. The wind was blowing so hard we were in danger of losing a toddler, but my sister was determined to have her beer and beach situation. Maybe the taste of sand makes the experience more authentic.

Cuddles with Aunt Christina 


My superhero. He wears the baby and roasts marshmallows to absolute perfection.

First s'mores! I forgot the dairy free chocolate. I almost cried. B didn't notice.

Boy battle. Gotta love the water bottle in a pink beer koozie B found on the ground.

Five minutes after we arrived B was eight feet up in a tree with one of his cousins.

5:30 am in a campground. Shhhh!

Nap with Grandma

Cousin conference

Watching the guys canoe around the bay. My sister let me borrow this awesome stroller that converts into a backpack. Seriously. You just fold it up, kid inside and put it on your back. She found it for $7 at a garage sale. She always finds the best deals (confession: I never look, too lazy).

I was fascinated by the campsites with horse corrals. I took B for a walk around that loop because I wanted him to see the horses. We saw quite a few people riding on the beach.

Our campsite was next to the beach path so I took the kids "to the beach" the easy way.

Suitcase playpen in a suspicious hotel room

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"where the machines?"

I've been trying to make a serious effort to slow down and move at the pace of my toddler whenever I can. This morning we had a quick appointment for Ainsleigh. I noticed road work down the block when we left, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to hear, "will there be more machines?" the rest of the drive.

When we got home I thought about carrying on with our day and finishing up the last few tasks before our camping trip, but I knew a quick side trip would make Bennett's day. I walked the kids down to the area where they are fixing the road. Bennett stood on the corner and screamed, "excavator!!" while Ainsleigh napped in her stroller in the shade.

One of the employees approached. I thought we might be standing too close, so I walked back to where the stroller was. "Hey!" he called out. "Your little guy seems to really like machines. You should head down to public works day at Riverfront Park. It starts in 20 minutes."

I thanked him for the suggestion, thought about it for a couple seconds, then decided to go for it. I hustled the kids home, threw a few things in a bag, and drove to the park. (Please ignore the kiddos too small sun hats. I obviously did not pack carefully!)

I spent the first hour - or so - at the park trying to convince Bennett to climb up on various machines and enjoy the full public works day experience. He kept asking for something to eat, but I told him, "you ate on the way here. Look at the machines! You can climb inside!"

We went back and forth, back and forth. We stood in line, he refused. I put him on various machines, he refused to try it out. Other kids were all over the machines. Horns would blare randomly as kids found the appropriate button and leaned in.

I finally took him aside and said, "Bennett, look, I'm frustrated. I changed our entire day so we could do this and I'm sad you're not having fun."

"I want to eat." he said.

I finally listened and took him over to the eating area. We couldn't eat the free lunch that was provided, but I had food for him. After sharing an apple and observing the fun for a while Bennett was ready to brave climbing on a machine.

Here's Ainsleigh just before we sat down to eat. I was about to call it and head home. Both kids were so miserable.

At first there was a lot of this: I'm doing this, but I'm not happy about it!

I am slowly, slowly, slowly learning Bennett. To me he is gregarious, to the world he is shy and reticent. (His pediatrician didn't hear him talk until Ainsleigh was born.) Once he knows someone he chit chats the day away and loves them to pieces. Until then it's all silence and safety in mama's arms.

Today was almost another carousel or bounce house experience, but Bennett found his bravery and I am really proud of him. And I have another experience to pull from my memory when I wonder why he isn't loving an activity I thought he would enjoy.

One employee helped me immensely today. He saw how scared Bennett was to have him around so he said, "I'm just going to check something ..." hopped down and walked away. He gave us a few minutes alone, which made Bennett comfortable enough to climb up in the truck. And once he tried one he wanted to try them all. Except for the biggest one. He just couldn't handle that today. Maybe next year.

Bennett LOVED the giant fish. He disappeared inside for a good long while. I eventually had to go in and fetch him.

Pardon my face in this one. I was talking to one of the employees about the machine. I don't want to crop it because I think it's fun to see Bennett on such a big machine. 

There it is! That's what I was hoping to see!!

I think the kids had a good day overall. I'm glad I didn't stay home and clean the house. Who cares if it's messy, we'll be gone! The kids won't remember today, but at least I can show them pictures and talk about it. I don't think they would enjoy a slideshow of me mopping and doing dishes. Sometimes it's important to let plans slide so memories can be made.

You must check if your town has a public works day. Everything was free today - including lunch - although canned food and cash donations were accepted for the food bank. The nice thing about the donations was the lack of pressure. I've been to suggested donation events where you have to enter via a gate. I think that makes people feel like they have to donate. The economy is rough right now and I know a lot of families are struggling. It is wonderful to be able to do something for your kids, but it can be difficult. Days like this allow everyone to enjoy a day out without stressing about costs, or kids asking for expensive food or souvenirs. Well done, Salem. 


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