Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today Elsa had her 2 month checkup and it went great!

She weighs 11lbs, 1/2 ounce (75th percentile) and is 22 1/2 inches long (50th percent). Compare that to her older sister who, at her 2 month appointment, was the same length, but 2 pounds lighter!

Elly got her first shots and boy, that is hard to do. Again, I feel blessed to have a pediatrician office that gives me NO grief about declining or delaying vaccinations. Many people do not have it that easy!

Yesterday, I took the kids to meet some friends from Gwen's gymnastics class. Kate and Blake made up the "threesome" that always played together. When Gwen saw Kate, she gave her the most exuberant and long hug I've ever seen her give. She missed her friend! We were at a neat park (Willis Tucker) that had fun toys and a super-awesome spray pad. Of course, it was really too cold to do that and I hadn't brought swimsuits. That didn't stop Ethan, who, when playing with some other boys, activated the pad and all of them started playing in the water. I took off his shirt in a vain attempt to keep him dry, but he was soon drenched from head to toe and I just let him go. He played in that water the entire time (and it was only, at the very warmest moment, 65 degrees. Maybe) and loved it. Luckily, Blake's mom had a towel for him to borrow and sit on for the ride home.

Well, El is fussing up a storm. She doesn't feel good :( Better go and see what I can do to calm her down.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Did you know that Tuesdays are the busiest day of the week? Around these parts they are! That's because Gwen has become very attached to Tuesdays and everything happens (or will happen) on that day. We will set off more fireworks on Tuesday. We will go to the Children's Museum on Tuesday. She will get vanilla syrup in her cuppy on Tuesday. Anything big or important or necessary will happen on Tuesday.

We think she's so attached to that day because its the day she used to have gymnastics (something else she talks about quite a bit) and so that became an extra special day to her.

Its very cute.
Thank you Alyssa! The mystery berries at my Mom's house are indeed wild thimbleberries.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Where the heck is our summer? This is the end of July and I can count on one hand the number of days I've worn shorts and most of those were when we were in Spokane/Idaho! This is ridiculous.

Saturday, we had the great pleasure of joining my friend April and Alyssa (and their respective families) in meeting a lady and her family from the message board we all go to. She was up visiting from Texas and was able to spare time to meet us all. We had a great time and, like all the other ladies I've met from my board, felt an instant kinship and ease. I forgot my camera, but April has lots of pics on her blog of the event.

After returning home, Jason and I finally completed some yardwork that was WAY overdue! Our grass hadn't been mowed since... well, I think since June, based on its length. It was embarrassingly long. So we did that and I pruned off my dead roses and delighted over the fact that my huge and burly tomato plant has flowers and hopefully will start bearing fruit soon. I think the weather, combined with the limited sun it gets anyway, has delayed the blooming because this is supposed to be the earliest fruiting variety (hence its name, Early Girl), but my Mom's standard Roma tomatoes are already ripening!

We spent the rest of the weekend puttering about, getting things put away from our camping trip and working on budget things. Today we went over to Mom's for a last minute visit and had a great time wandering around, picking huckleberries, salmonberries and some unknown berry that seems to be a mix of raspberry and something else. Its not elongated like a raspberry or blackberry, but more of a cap shape. A Google search found me nothing, but apparently there are scads of varieties of raspberries and blackberries (and other native berries) so its one of those for sure.

Friday, July 25, 2008

So Jas and I are doing this budgeting plan called "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. We just started it earlier this week and have taken immediate action on his plan by selling various things and setting up a specific budget.

One of the scariest things to me was having to go to cash-only spending. Anyone who knows me knows that I never carry cash. I don't like it, its messy, and its just much easier to swipe the debit card. Well this has been part of the problem for me! Today, for the first time ever in my memory, I went grocery shopping with cash only. I had no clue if I'd be able to buy what was on my list for that amount. I tried keeping track on my phone, but I added in too many numbers and it crashed (note to self: buy a real calculator!) so I was pretty much on my own. I was skeptical that I'd be able to buy 7 days of groceries plus some extra home stuff for the budgeted amount in my pocket. However, much to my elation, not only did I do it, but I was $45 UNDER. Woo!

It really put me in a good mood, and I needed that after the past few days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The last two days haven't been very good. I feel totally out of control, over-worked, stressed, and, wait for it... sorry for myself. I have all these ideas and things I want to get done NOW, but there are 3 little stones tied around my ankle that slow me down or stop me completely.

I could pull my hair out in frustration!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lake Stevens - Fort Stevens

Heh, I just realized the similarity of names.

Anyway, we returned home from Kamiah on Sunday, I was laid up cold on Monday with one of the worst migraines I've had in a very long time and thus was left with only two days to plan, shop, and pack for 6 people to camp for 4 nights. Yikes!

Usually I relish the planning and preparation, but this time I wasn't and it was a heavy chore. My Mother, bless her dear heart, took pity on my poor soul and took the kids Tuesday and kept them overnight, giving me time to recoup a bit, plan, shop and even pack a good deal without interference. She dropped the kids and Jenni off, along with the bike rack my Dad made many years ago and took Toby home with her (he was vacationing at her house while we were gone).

This trip to Fort Stevens is a yearly event for my friend April and a group of her friends. April invited us to join them early last year and we immediately agreed! We'd never camped in a group setting and thought it would be interesting if nothing else.

By Thursday we were able to get everything loaded and out the door by 9. We arrived at our campsite around 2pm and set up. We arrived a day earlier than everyone else so we could visit with Grandpa Les and Grandma Karen and make the most of our time. It was cold, but we assumed that it would clear up by later that afternoon or the next day. Its July, so it couldn't be cold for 4 days in a row!

Me doing what I did a lot of on this trip. Nursing!

A shot of our campsite and Ethan too. My campstove could beat up your campstove.

Jenni giving Gwen a stroller ride

Ethan playing in a squirrel burrow. We had thought he was just digging a hole for fun, but later realized that there were actually animals living in that burrow and coming and going all the time. So basically? We were letting Ethan play in the home of a disease ridden rodent, putting him at risk of being bit by said rodent. We are great parents. Luckily he lost interest in the hole after the first day.

A real, honest to goodness smile from my boy. I love it.

We make our own entertainment while camping. The kids making music out of kindling.

Grandpa Les and Grandma Karen arrive (bearing warm jackets that we had asked them to pick up for us since it was colder than expected). Ethan also tried his hand at 'smores. It was great to have visitors our first night!

Gwen's grubby hobbit feet.

Tucked in snug into their warm sleeping bags. The kids had never slept in sleeping bags outside in tents before so this was a first. Gwen shared a tent with Jenni and Ethan shared our tent.

Ethan was out almost immediately.

Gwen took a little bit longer, but not much.

The next day we went sightseeing while we waited for the others to arrive in camp. We stopped at a random beach and found that we had to hike up and down a 40 foot dune to get to the ocean. Oops! It was quite the workout, but as always, it didn't slow the kids a bit, just us old folk.

LOVE this picture.

Slinging the kidlet

They were dogs. I don't know. Its what they do.

We also stopped by the Battery Russell which was pretty cool. Pictures from inside the battery.

The next day a WWII re-enactment of the Normandy Beach invasion was done here. We did not attend, but April did and I'm sorry we missed it. Check out her pics of the event (and the entire trip) here.

We were happy to return and find everyone arrived and set up. The kids all started playing together and did very well. There were 6 kids between 4 and 19 months, a 1 year old and our own Elsa taking the youngest spot at 2 months. Everyone played together pretty well, all things considered.

Gregg (April's husband) playing mediator between the kids and distracting them with a fantastical tale about... something. I can't remember what exactly, but it distracted them from fighting :)

Gwen took immediately to Heather and greeted her every morning with a hug. Heather had a pretty purple scooter which Gwen adored. Gwen had a pink bike that Heather adored. It worked out well for both :)

Grady, April's youngest. Total cutie.

I foudn this on my camera. Apparently Ethan took a self-portrait

I tried a Boy Scout recipe as an experiment. You are supposed to put canned biscuit dough on a stick and cook it over the fire, then roll in butter and then sugar and cinnamon. Theory is good, but in practice it didn't work. We are going to try next time with bread dough, which shouldn't flake and fall off our sticks!

Poor Ely, this was a common problem. Her hat and hoods were always falling over her eyes.We noticed by the third day, she wouldn't even cry... just sit patiently until someone noticed and pulled up the hat!

Notice how tightly she was bundled. Yeah. It was STILL cold. Really cold. And rainy in the mornings. Friday and Saturday night we got little bursts of sun, but mostly? Freeeeeezing. I didn't wear a short sleeved shirt or shorts the entire time.

Saturday we took to the beach again and found it extremely windy and chilly. Nonetheless, we braved the churned up sand that had trapped more than a few vehicles and drove onto the beach and flew our kites. For $7 kites, they held up very well in the strong winds.

Gwen's ladybug kite

Ethan's kite

Helping Gwen with her kite. I couldn't let her hold it alone... I really think it would have dragged her on the sand

Jenni wrestling in Ethan's kite. It was hard work!

After the short stint on the beach, we hopped back in the car and drove to Seaside for the the fun of it. We had lunch, then let the kids ride this cool little train

They also had little peddle carts, which you can see below.

After the train we stopped by at the first ice cream place we saw and it was our great luck that it turned out to be Zingers. What a place! We're going there every time we visit the Oregon coast. The ice cream was delish, the flavors unique and everything super high quality. Loved it.

Picture of April and I. How does that woman looks so fresh and clean, especially since she was getting WAY less sleep than I?

Group picture

All in all we had a great time. We were/are thoroughly exhausted by the last two weeks and don't plan on taking more than a 30 minute car ride anywhere for a long time. Thank you April and friends for having us, and thank you Jenni for coming with us and helping. We couldn't have done it without you and kept our sanity.

Lake Stevens-Spokane-Kamiah

To make things easier, I'm breaking down our vacations into separate posts.

First, a warm up picture of our three kiddies.

Our first trip (July 9-13) was to Spokane for two nights, then into Kamiah, ID for two nights. The drive in was pretty easy and done in our normal 5 hours or so. Directly after coming into town we visited with Grandma in her new location (big improvement over the last place she was living), then headed back out of Spokane to have a barbecue with Jason's friends and their children. We had a lovely time, though it was quite a long day with all the travel and then a late evening.

The next day we went to a neat store called Cabela's in Post Falls and had lunch there. Later in the afternoon, we met with Aunt Angela, Matthew, Jamie, Grandma, Aunt Christie, Uncle David and Tyler. The wind was CRAZY, but it only seemed to bother the adults. The kids played with their regular vigor!

Matthew, Ethan and Jamie

Aunt Angela trying to protect Ely from the wind... or, just taking the chance to snuggle close :)

While we were there, we saw some smoke from a fire that had just started. This turned into the Dishman Hills fire. It was only a few miles from where we were and we got the chance to see helicopters and planes dropping water. The wind kept the smoke away from us, but it was quite shocking to see how quickly the smoke turned into enormous billows.

Jamie, Ethan and Matthew

She never ever tires of the princess pose!

What? A smile from E? Couldn't be. Close enough, we'll say its a smile!

Tyler holding little Elsa. He loves babies!

Matthew taking his turn too.

All the cousins with Grandma.

The next day, Friday, we headed out for Kamiah, ID to the Lewis & Clark Resort, where we would be staying and the wedding would be taking place.

The drive seemed to take forever, but at least it was new country that we hadn't really traveled before. The kids entertained themselves by doing things like this...

Good thing we aren't superstitious because opening an umbrella in the car has to be worse than in a house ;)

Upon arrival, we checked in, ditched our stuff in the room, ate some lunch and went in the pool! Everyone enjoyed splashing around, especially because it was scorching hot.

We had a swimsuit for Elsa

and she even took a dip in the lukewarm hot-tub

Later in the day we headed over to the reception area and helped set up the room. There were some stressful moments because the room was not as had been stated (basically it was under remodel and we hadn't been told), but we did a pretty fine job of covering things up and making it look nice. The resort had just changed ownership and a wedding had never been held there before so it was quite bumpy getting things we needed. However, it all came together in the end.

Gwen helping Aaron take off stickers

The gazebo built specifically for Brynne and Kwinton.

The beautiful bride with her Mother on the left and my Mother on the right.

Goofing off before the ceremony

She hasn't changed much in three years, has she?

Ethan had not so patiently waited for this moment... the CAKE.

Yes, that is me imbibing a mildly intoxicating liquid while breastfeeding. The blurriness of the picture should not be taken to represent my level of intoxication because there was no intoxication. Even I won't get tipsy off one hard lemonade!

Ok, that is all the pictures for that trip. Our drive home took 9 hours and was grueling. Not helped by the terrible headache that struck me midway through. It made a reappearance on Monday and knocked me flat. This left me two days to plan and pack for our camping trip... which will be in my next post!