Monday, April 27, 2015

Adventures with Uncle Andrew

The weather cooperated perfectly (as it has been all spring) for a visit to the Tulip Festival.  Liam and Andrew tried on the big wooden shoes.


It was a beautiful, clear day for the tulip festival, and Mount Hood could clearly be seen in the distance.

It was nearing the end of the festival, which meant the tulips were big and open and somewhat overgrown, but they were still beautiful!

The kids wanted to be taken on a barrel ride behind a trackor, but One ride definitely left Andrew wanting more, so they decided to try out a tour in both vehicles.
 

The kids enjoyed their time with uncle Andrew.  Kate and Andrew played princesses one morning, and most days, Kate would corner Andrew with a stack of books and they would read together.

Andrew got to show Jacob a thing or two on the basketball court!  Jacob loved having Andrew dunk, and Andrew was more than happy to show off.

Torin loved playing ball with Andrew at Jacob's baseball game.

Baseball Season

Jacob had another great baseball season. It was the first year of kid pitch, and there was certainly a bit of a learning curve both for the boys pitching and the boys hitting. Jacob's game improved quite a bit, particularly in his throwing and catching and consistently making contract.  He had a great attitude the entire season and was always uplifting and positive to be around.

We had a lot of great weather, so we rarely had to bring an umbrella or have Torin in his stroller under cover.  It was on the blanket after we had eaten dinner at Jacob's baseball game that Torin began really wanting to stand on his own - he was pretty proud of his accomplishment, too!

The other kids always had something going on - some days, there were other friends they would find to play with (like Taylor leading Kate and a group of girls in cheerleading routines), and often they would end up at the nearby play structure running around and making new friends.

Jared typically met us at the ballpark straight from work, and Torin was always glad to see him and wanted to be on his lap.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Adventures around Portland with Brother Andrew

While Andrew was in Portland, we got to play tour guide, one of our favorite things to do!  So, we decided he needed to experience all of Portland, including the food, the vintage, and the waterfalls.

One afternoon, we took a trip to east Portland to a food cart we had read about on Yahoo (named one of the top 27 food carts in the US).  They had a small menu of only 4 items and a dessert, so, being that we were 3 adults, we ordered the entire menu, and it blew us away!!!  We couldn't reach a consensus on our favorite dish between the fried chicken sandwich and salad, the pork bowl (named the Important Helmet for Outer Space), the loaded mac and cheese, and the mole.  The dessert was amazing too!  Definitely worth the drive.

We spent a night enjoying Portland and trying to convince Andrew that he should move here after college.  We started the night at the Buffalo Clothing Exchange, a vintage clothing store, where Jared couldn't quite convince Dani to purchase the uncomfortably tight leather pants, but where we did leave with a few awesome USA-inspired articles.
 

Andrew was loving the huge record store and wishing he could buy a bunch of vinyl albums for his collection.  I think he could have spent hours at Powell's books - we lost him a few times and would find him standing in a random aisle.
 

After dinner, Dani wanted to treat him to her favorite thing in downtown Portland - Irving Street Kitchen's butterscotch pudding.

Another day, Andrew started the day at Precoa with Jared, and then they went up to see some waterfalls. We tried to get to as many we could as fast as we could, and we were pretty successful! We saw Multnomah and fast-hiked it up to the top. We made our way down the gorge seeing and hiking to 3 other waterfalls.

By the time they got to the Vista House (which didn't have a great vista by that time in the day!), Andrew had inspired Jared to branch out from his normal pose just a bit. It was nice to spend some one on one time together!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Preschool program

For the third time, we got to attend a Valley Christian preschool program, and so we were pretty prepared for the songs ("Jesus, He Sure Knows How to Color") and funny things our kids would do (throwing their bumble bees).  Kate and Liam seemed to be very into the program.

These two were so excited to show us their rooms, their cubbies, and their artwork in their schools.  We are proud of our little preschoolers!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jacob and Claire's birthday

These 2 are 9 today!!!  We love the relationship they share - they spend so many hours of every day together, and they are best buddies.  We are so proud of them and are grateful every day for them being part of our family.

They decided they wanted to have their birthday party at the bowling alley.  It was a fun, and pretty crazy time for the boys - Logan, Dax, and Trey.  By the end, the boys were dragging the bowler who was unsuccessful at knocking down all pins off the alley.  
 

The girls, Alexandra and Leslee, were much more calm.  They had a fun time and were pretty quiet and reserved.

This picture happened while we were there.  Classic Kate.

We had cake and ice cream afterwards, and the kids enjoyed a very Star Wars, Lego, and book-heavy haul of presents.  It was a great birthday, and a fantastic way to start year 10!

Life as a 5th child

During Jacob and Claire's birthday party, Liam happened to spill some ice cream on the floor.  Opportunistic Torin, who was apparently overlooked for cake and ice cream, decided to take matters into his own hands by crawling over to the melted ice cream and lapping it up.


My favorite part of the whole video is the look of joy on his face when he realized how yummy what he found was!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ten Month Torin



It is amazing how fast Tiny Torin is growing!  He has some awesome leg rolls, and he definitely doesn't feel tiny carrying him around all over the place!

He has been "crawling" for a little over a month, and is just starting to pick up some speed.  When he doesn't have a shirt on, he'll crawl normally, but otherwise, he tends to drag his belly on the ground.  He is getting into everything now!  He's quite happy and loves attention from his siblings.  

We recently put the gate back at the top of the stairs, but the bottom bracket was pulled out of the wall, so we have been gate-less for a few days.  Last night, Torin crawled quickly over the stairs  -Jared was waiting for him to do so and let him fall a bit but caught him.  Tonight, he went over to the stairs, put his hand over the stair, then turned around.  He repeated this a number of times.  Perhaps we won't have to do a gate afterall (which is best for everyone since many times the gate was left open even when it should've been shut!)

Torin is very observant - he often watches things going on around him with his mouth agape.  Hopefully he's learning all good things from his siblings!  He is ticklish around his neck, blowing on his belly, or giving 'aggressively' kissing his cheek.

Torin is loved by all!

Tricks:
- waving hi
- kicking the ball.  When we hold him up by his armpits, he's kick both of his legs and say "keekeekee."
- so big (after which he tries to clap for himself, but he's not so good at clapping)
- signing more (he's not very good at this, but he's definitely enthusiastic when he can have beans)

"Words."  We're pretty sure Torin is saying certain things.  Tonight, for example, as I was putting him to bed, he looked up at me from his crib and clearly said "Daddy."  He then said "aah" (his way of saying Hi) as I said "Hi Torin."  We keep trying to get him to say Mama, but he's having none of that right now.
- Daddy
- Hi (aah, while waving)
- Get it ("deedeet")
- kick, kick, kick ("keekeekee")

Favorite things:
- Food: beans, bananas, or any dessert
- Toy: noise making toys
- Bath tubs - he loves to stand at the tub and especially loves to take a bath!
- Dishwasher
- Bathroom, including the garbage can, toilet, and toilet brush (eww!!!)
- Pulling things off shelves or out of cupboards (books, Tupperware, diapers, etc)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ski trip with Jacob and Claire

We have been planning a ski trip with Claire and Jacob for a few weeks, and we finally got around to it on the last day of spring break.  It has been super warm, and Mount Hood hasn't gotten a lot of snow, so we prepared for a nice warm day.  Fortunately, it really was warm (almost 70 degrees!), since the first thing we did when we got up to the resort is realize we didn't bring coats for Jacob and Claire, and that they would be wearing the light jackets I had brought for myself, and I wouldn't be wearing a jacket!  Claire shows just how big the jackets were on them - they looked a little like minions!

We started the day on the magic carpet - the very beginners area.  There was a nice covered ride up a short slope, and we did that a few times.  The snow was warm enough that really needed to just ski straight so we didn't stop!
 

We went over to the Buttercup lift, and, since we were 3 and the lifts are for just 2, Jacob got to get on and off the lift all by himself.  He confidently got on, and successfully got off!  Claire was a great little lift buddy.  At the end of the day, I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, and she answered, "riding on the ski lifts."  Cute girl.


The kids did well!  Snowplow wasn't really their style, so we just pointed the skis downhill and went.  I encouraged them to make wide turns, and they did a little.  After lunch, especially, they started to get it a little better.  It really did help having the warm wet snow to not allow them to pick up too much speed.


By the end of the afternoon, Jacob convinced me to try the next lift up, Easy Rider.  The first run down was successful, and we passed a little terrain park, which Jacob decided he wanted to try the next run.  He went over a few of the small obstacles without a problem!  It was definitely a proud dad moment!  Claire decided she wanted to do it, but unfortunately, on our next run, which was our last run, they were closing the park.

I took a video of Claire near the end of the day, skiing from the bottom of the terrain park down toward the lift.  One of our favorite parts is how her arms are held kind of like a T-Rex the entire time!


On Jacob's last run of the day, he took a fall right into a large area of slush.  There was literally a small river-like area at the bottom of this slope, and Jacob fell right into it.  The video shows him, with his skis apparently slowing, rolling the windows down right before landing.  I got a picture of him from behind to show just how wet he was!
 

We had an awesome day, and it left us all wanting more next year!