Saturday, December 06, 2014

Visiting Santa

We took the kids to Sleigh Bells to visit Santa.  We love visiting Santa there, and the kids were so happy to sit with Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas:
Jacob: Mario Kart 8
Claire: a white Christmas tree 
Liam: dirt and a scooper for scooping dirt and a race track

or at least most of us do - Kate refused!  She clung tightly to Jared's leg, even as Santa offered a candy cane.  When he asked what Kate wanted for Christmas, she said, "I already told the elf!"  Jacob was kind enough to tell Santa in person (ponies and an Anna dress).   

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Carrying the family

Sometimes, Jared has to prove things that he claims.  Yes, he can carry all the kids at the same time (Torin was not included for his own safety)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

We love our Christmas tree!

One of the traditions we love in Oregon is going to a Christmas tree farm and finding the perfect tree!  On the first day back from our trip to Cody (we got back at 1 am), we were up in the morning to get our tree.  All the kids participate in the search, quickly choosing their favorite trees.

We found our tree, put it up the same day, lit it and decorated it all before November ended!  We love the look, the smells, and the feeling having a Christmas brings in welcoming the Christmas season!

Christmas Ornaments

Kate's Elsa ornament is the beginning of a very Elsa Christmas, and was a perfect sign of her year of being a princess.

Jacob started piano lessons this year (first from Claire, then from Andrea, his piano teacher) and has been pretty excited to play.

Over the past few months, Claire has become completely engulfed into the world of Harry Potter, so we found her a sorting hat ornament (which we discovered talks, too!).

We had the hardest time finding an ornament for Liam.  Our first thoughts were to get him a Godzilla ornament would be best (he was at a high point of a rather destructive year), but we settled on a "Where the Wild Things Are" ornament.  Liam making mischief of one kind or another, threatening to "eat you up" and getting in trouble - kind of perfect!

Torin got a little glass ball with a rubber duck in it.  For the family, we got a Killer Whale (for the San Diego trip) and a Santa mail box.  We love the annual ornament tradition!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ice skating

We wanted to do something a little different with the whole family, so decided to give ice skating a go!  They had some great supports to help the beginners.  Kate and Liam would hold on to the front, and we would push them around the ice at full speed.  Liam loved it right from the start!  Kate had to be persuaded to give it a try ("look, Kate, there are pink dots on the ice... let's go find some more!")
 

Grandma gave it a try too.  She learned they are designed for people a little shorter!  Jacob didn't spend long behind his, and he and Claire were skating tentatively all around the ice by the end.
 

Grandpa John helped keep the kids company when they needed breaks.  Kate needed frequent breaks! 

When we left, the manager gave Liam some kids' ice hockey gear.  He was really excited!

All in all, it was a big success!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Foods!

Torin got to try his first solid foods, peas, this weekend, and he loved them!  We can't wait to feed him other foods!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fun at Precoa

One great part of working at Precoa is that it is a fun work environment.  Here are a few of the things that have made it a fun 2014:

In May, during the incentive travel trip, we decided that we should fill Jim's office with balloons, so we stuffed over 1500 balloons in!  Fortunately, Justin had an air compressor and we were able to enlist a number of volunteers to help tie the balloons.

Some of the balloons we bought were pretty cheap, and we were filling them very full, so they started popping as we were throwing them in.  It was a bit unnerving sitting right outside as they were popping!  By the end, we were throwing them over the wall (through the ceiling) to get the office completely full.  Jim loved it and had his family come in to run through the balloon-filled office.

The summer picnic is a fun time for the entire family.  We have held the picnic at Memorial Park for the past 5 years.  Every year, we seem to add new things.  This year, we added bubble soccer.  Jacob loved playing, even if he had a hard time getting back up when he was knocked down!

There are constant activities and tons of food.  After being runner up in last year's egg toss (to an egg that didn't break when thrown 50 feet in the air onto the ground!!!), Jared didn't have as much success this year, only finishing in the top 5.

One of the traditions of the summer picnic is to do it on the hottest day of the year.  This year's was in September, and fortunately, it wasn't the hottest day of the year, though it was pretty warm, as the melted crayons in Kate's prize could attest!

Precoa also does some great meetings and events.  This year's sales meeting was at Skamania Lodge and included a hike up beacon rock to see the sun rise, where we toted up speakers, motivational poster boards, and food to create the right atmosphere.  It also included a hike in the gorge to Oneonta Falls.  They are definitely places we want to bring the kids!

We held our annual strategy meeting in Walla Walla, Washington, at a large home on a winery.  While we were there, we got snow.  We had some early morning runs through 17 degree weather, played the 'door game' late into the night, and got lots of work done.  The home accommodated us perfectly and was beautiful.  Check out the carving on the door!

The snow made the drive home pretty treacherous.  There were two cars that made the drive, and fortunately, Jared's chose to go through Washington through the gorge, which brought them home nearly 4 hours earlier than the other one that stayed in Oregon!

Jared loves working at Precoa.  It is a challenging job as he works to help the company grow, but he loves it!  Plus, it's a lot of fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Potty Train

Liam is potty training right now and it isn't an easy task.  At the beginning, Liam was pretty excited to get stickers and potty treats.  After a few days, it it wasn't nearly as exciting for Liam.

There have been some frustrating moments - like the time that during family home evening, Liam discovered the 'escape hatch' in his undies and peed right on the floor and the many times that he has had an 'accident' right after being asked to go... then scooting a few inches over and continuing to play.  

But, it does give us some fun pictures since he is rarely wearing pants these days.  He has been outside in the front yard a few times in the past weeks to help rake leaves.

Liam has shown up at the Bowles' back doorstep a few times without pants on.  Once, he and Kate even brought back a half dozen doughnuts!

He can even pull off some great costumes (like a witch!) without pants!

We hope this potty train reaches its station soon!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Beautiful fall weekend

One thing that we didn't get to do as much in 2014 as we did in 2013 is go for family bike rides.  We woke up today and it was a beautiful day, and now that Torin is getting bigger, we decided we could figure out a way to get him into the bike trailer next to Kate.  Liam joined Dani on the back of her bike.

It was a change for Dani to have Liam instead of Kate, and she could feel the difference!

Kate and Jacob's pictures were photobombed by their beautiful mother!

After riding for a while, we took a side trail and found ourselves at a little park.  Torin got to swing for a while - he didn't have much of a reaction, so we'll assume he loved it!  The big kids took turns hanging upside down on all the different playground equipment.

We enjoyed the blue sky and fall colors.  The trail we took went over the Tualatin River and next to train tracks, which had a couple trains pass during our ride), so the kids (and daddy) were all excited!

It is a long process to get everything re-packed up (it took nearly as long to load all the bikes than we actually rode for!), so Kate and Liam went for their own bike ride as Jared loaded up all the bikes and trailer.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

a few of Torin's favorite things

Torin LOVES his exersaucer.  He will stand in there for an hour or more.  He reaches for toys, bats at the different moveable toys, and just loves playing.  He watches anyone and everyone who is in the room.
 

When he gets tired of the exersaucer, Torin also loves to sit in the Bumbo, in large part because he likes being up and part of the action that happens in the kitchen.  He sometimes plays with toys, he sometimes just likes to sit and watch.  Andrea thinks he is like an owl, head always turning to watch!  He also often spreads his arms out like he wants to give a giant hug!

He also loves playing on his play mat.  He likes to look at the baby in the mirror and play with the toys that hang down.

Torin started rolling over a few weeks ago from back to front.  He hasn't really gotten to the front to back roll yet, but he is starting to enjoy his tummy time.  Sometimes, he loves to lift his head up, and other times, he likes to just lay down and relax.

Torin spends lots of time in his car seat and is super patient just hanging out there.  In church, for example, he will just hang out through the entire sacrament meeting until he falls asleep for a nap through most of the 2nd hour.  He hangs out in his carseat through soccer practices, library, zumba, and running errands.  What a patient little guy!

We love this little boy.  He is a relaxed, peaceful little guy that loves socializing.  He is quick with a grin.  He loves to coo and talk softly.