Thursday, July 30, 2009

Boys will be boys!

Although I definitely had to have a paradigm shift every time that ultrasound has revealed another baby boy (Okay, so I cried every time. What can I say, my "maternal instinct" kept leading me to believe I was having a girl on every one!), we would definitely not have it any other way! We LOVE our pack of boys. It's so fun now that Lukie is walking (yes, that's right - he will not crawl his way into nursery, the child is finally full fledged walking. And running. Oh dear...) and getting older to watch the boys start all playing together.

The best is when daddy gets home and daddy wrestlemania begins. As soon as dinner is done Matt is on the floor wrestling with the boys. He is the king of getting everyone in a good mood with it, even Carter at his grumpiest. They love beating him up and having pillow fights. I love that Matt wants to be with his boys as soon as he gets home! He is such a champ dad, always wanting to be with the kids and build that relationship. Here are all the boys riding the "daddy camel".

I also loved it the other night when all three boys played together for the first time. Each of them had a lightsabor and amazingly enough had fun without ending in tears (yeah, giving little boys long stick toys such as lightsabors isn't always the best, but the imagination that comes with it is awesome).
I had to do a close up of Luke's face - he is SO excited to be playing with the big boys!

Oh dear, Darth took out our dear Carter. The kid awesome at playing dead. He must know it too because he "dies" at least 10 times every time they sword fight or play light sabors.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Space needles, pigs, and directions

Seattle is an amazing city and will be a great family memory for us for a long time. Though I have lived near big cities (San Fran and Houston), I have never lived IN the city, even for just a few nights. And though we are much more contented in our small little town of 18,000, it was a blast to live the big city lifestyle for a few days.

One of the things that really made the trip was meeting up with Matt's Aunt Diane. She has lots of energy and an open heart and home and let us bum around with her, not only mooching off of her tour guide abilities, but her two youngest kids making great babysitters.

Matt had his conference for most of the day every day, but then was free at night. The boys' favorite activity (besides roasting "smarshsmellows" around cousin Craig's new fire pit) was the awesome science museum. It huge and had all kinds of things for kids to touch and explore. I had to laugh - Diane mentioned that they had a great dinosaur exhibit. "Oh, great the kids love dinosaurs," I said naively. Ha. One look at the roaring t-rex and Nathan was shaking in his boots. Of course, that spread to Carter, who though at first thought it was all fascinating, was suddenly scared too. However, other exhibits were on the other side, necessitating several trips through the dinosaurs. Nathan soon proved why rollercoasters and scary movies make money - he by the end of the museum was ASKING for the shivers of going through the dinosaurs. Always makes me wonder - when as a parent do you push your kids in life, knowing they will warm up, and when do you back down and let them walk away from something you know they might enjoy?
I loved this - we were walking to the science center, when Nathan, who was very proud of his map, insisted that we stop and he double check that we were going the right way. (His dad must have divulged to him that I am directionally challenged...) I loved that he just plopped down in the middle of the sidewalk for said map check!
Carter and Luke seeing Seattle from the stroller (during Nathan's map check)

Nathan, Carter, and Aunt Diane pushing the water wheel at the Science Center. Nathan so accurately said, "Look, we look like hamsters!"

The boys loved the butterfly exhibit - these butterflies were no strangers to being stared at!
These huge butterflies were enjoying a fruit buffet.
Now Nathan is afraid of the dinosaurs but LOVED this human-sized talking fly? Standing here with their cute cousin Camille (who was so great with Luke - taking care of him almost the whole time!)

I had Aunt Diane take this picture so I could remember the day when my boys were so little to be scared by the dinosaur exhibit. If you know Nathan, you can tell this is his "my mouth is smiling but my eyes aren't" smile.
This is a fountain that is nearby the science museum and the space needle. It squirts water choreographed to music and you can tell from all the kids in swimsuits that this is a popular summer activity! Nathan was proud of himself for being brave enough to run down and touch it (only when the water wasn't squirting mind you!)
Nathan in front of the space needle!

We of course took a trip to Pikes Place Market. Two actually. Once after Matt's conference ended, only to find out that the vendors closed by 6 p.m. So, trip two we finally got the real feel. We watched the guys throw the fish, hunted down the famous doughnuts, and saw lots of pigs...when did the pig become the symbol for the market? There were even pink little piggies marking the way, but my kids were disappointed that there were no ACTUAL pigs in the market. This little piggie went to the market? To market to market to buy a fat pig?
We found the pig!
Matt and I's highlight of the trip was our first, yes you heard that FIRST, night away from the kids. Yes, we have never been away from our children in five years overnight, unless you count being in the hospital away from most of them to have another one. Yeah, not quite. So, when Aunt Diane offered to watch the kids, we tried not to say yes too quickly. A night in a big city with my hubby? No diaper bag, snacks, stroller (yes, I pushed the kids up and down the hills of Seattle in a stroller!), no constant head counts, and we even had something besides McD's for dinner.

Actually, we had dinner in the Space Needle. Yes, it involved eating $5 subs for dinner the rest of the nights, but just close your eyes when you sign the check (yes, they have a food purchase MINIMUM) and you too can enjoy dinner in Seattles most famous icon. You rotate around 360 view of the city and dinner includes a free trip up to the view area (one of the big selling points for us). We really wanted to do something for our night out that we couldn't do anywhere else. It was amazing and the food was delicious. Our kid-free night really reaffirmed out grown-upness. We even got to hold hands. Tee-hee. Sad thing is the next morning we woke up at 5 stinkin' 30 a.m.! Our morning to sleep in and we had so nicely enjoyed falling asleep to our great hotel view of the city...only to wake up to the bright early sunrise. Oh well.
This is our view from the hotel. To the left you could actually see the space needle. It was so fun having this hotel in the middle of downtown!

Our last event was to hit the Seattle Aquarium. The kids always enjoy any animals in most any setting so they had a good time.

We drove to Portland that night and spent the night with my oldest brother Jonathan and met my newest two nieces, twins, Clara and Nicolyn. SO cute! We played with them and cousin Annika (their 2 year old sister) and then finally finished up and went home. Whew!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Matt's Half Marathon

Matt had a conference for work in Seattle at the end of June and, for the first time, we tagged along and made an awesome family vacation out of it.

It started with Matt's turn at a half marathon, taking on the much larger Bend Oregon Pacific Crest 1/2 Marathon. It was huge with thousands of athletes coming to participate in everything from a kids triathalon (no, they don't swim in open water, just splash through a kiddie pool - it actually sounded really cute), to olympic triathalon, 1/2 or full marathon. The energy of all these people stretching themselves and pushing to do something hard was really inspiring.

Our hotel was a ways away from the race so we all trooped down together to the race before 7 a.m. Matt went off to warm up and stretch and the boys and I wandered around seeing what could hold our attention for several hours. It's always hard being on the cheering end of a long race like that - you have no idea what the person is going through and how the race is going.

I had tears in my eyes as Matt crossed the finish line, I just know the heart it takes to push yourself to run distance races and I was so proud of him (no it wasn't his first). He had an awesome time - 1:40:24, which evens out to a 7:40 minute mile! Wahoo! He finished 84th overall (out of 1400 participants!), putting him in the top 6%! He is one speedy handsome guy and I love the heart he has always put, and taught me to put, into physical endevors. (*If you don't know - I picked up running because of a cute boy in my ward at BYU named Matt who I wanted to spend more time with - a year later we ran a marathon together. He is one of my heros in the physical area. He is consistent and truly lives the word of wisdom, taking immacuelate care of his body. Matt, you are are incredible!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Truly a Happy Independance Day

We had a great family day on July 4th. It started out with Nathan's very first race. Not a mile, not even half a mile, mind you - 4 blocks. But, Nathan has come leaps and bounds in trying new things and we were happy to support his enthusiasm for his first race. He was so excited that he got to have his own number to pin on, just like mommy and daddy. Course, none of mommy and daddy's races had football players to help warm us up! Nathan obediently followed these big boys' instructions on warming up - even doing his very first lunges (don't worry hunny, we will talk about proper form next time...).

We thought at first we might need to run with him, but he was off and going and even made it all the way back still running (we were banking on the potential walk/run). We were so proud of him as he crossed the finish line and got his participant ribbon, but not as proud as he was of himself. So cute!

Oh, about this point I should probably offer a disclaimer - I am a holiday junkie. I celebrate them to the the point of potential overdose. I just L-O-V-E getting into every little fun detail that makes holidays special and separate from the day to day. Okay, you may read on now - consider yourself warned.

So the night before we took our cue from some Florida friends' tradition of tie-dying shirts for the 4th, white shirts in blue and red. There was a learning curve so Matt and I's shirts turned out better than the boys, but they were excited for something new and it was fun to be patriotic AND matching.
After the race and breakfast we hurried off to the big Central Point Parade. I know what you are thinking - we live in a town of 18,000 people - how big does a parade get? Well, 100 floats/participants big and big enough to outdo the big city (Medford) close by. We were grateful for a warning from a friend the night before to save our place in the shade early so to have a seat the next day. It was easily 90 degrees+ that day here, so we were grateful for the heads up and enjoyed the parade. Of course, my kids were all about the bling - which parade participants gave out candy, frisbees, balls, or necklaces. Or, my personal favorite - the plumber who gave out toy plungers. Yup, the kids were even fighting for those. Amazing how exciting things get when they are free and being thrown from a parade float.
The boys in their parade watching positions with good bud Isaac

Dad and Luke looking especially patriotic infront of the flag (that later kept whapping them in the face!)
What this parade doesn't have it's own face painting? Don't worry - Mommy brought her own! Like I said, holiday fanatic!

Two cute boys happy and complete with blue sucker-dyed lips

We spent almost the rest of the day at a local lake thanks to some friends reserving a pavillion and inviting us and a bunch of other ward members along. Gotta love the water - it really is an ageless place to hang out. Everyone had a great time, from little Luke to Mom and Dad. Matt and I even did some tubing, which was a blast. We were one of the last to leave and had a great time. Dad was smart and even brought our own little inflatable boat (in FL everyone had boats...this was all we could afford!)

We got home in time to clean up and head out to a fireworks show. A guy in our ward does an amazing firework show, just on his own in the neighborhood. Literally 100+ people were there and the kids loved watching the show.

Even among all this, it was great to have kids to have to explain things to. Nathan wanted to know what we were celebrating and it was neat (though hard!) to explain freedom to him and how that was something really worth celebrating!