Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hershey, Pennsylvania

After a fun few days touring Washington DC, we drove through Amish country to Hershey Pennsylvania. On our way, we took a detour to see some covered bridges. We saw a couple Amish buggies as well.

That night, Jared, Jacob, and Claire were able to go to the park to ride some of the big roller coasters. The first ride, Skyrush, was awesome! The next ride, SooperDooperLooper, was Claire's first upside down coaster. By the end of the night, Jared had convinced Claire to try a bigger ride, Farenheit. He convinced her it didn't go upside down. Fortunately, it was dark enough that she didn't notice that it did many times, and she ended up loving it, riding it multiple times! We ended up having 10 rides on 9 different coasters in 2 hours. It was a great way to start our Hershey adventure!

The next day, we got an early start, making it right about at the opening. We got to ride on lots of rides that all of the kids could ride on. First, we brought Kate and Liam on the SooperDooperLooper - which is especially fun to hear Liam say: "Soop-oh-Doop-oh-Loop-oh." They both liked it! Jacob and Claire took us for a drive in the old fashion cars

and we rode the Hershey Kiss tower.

One of the nice things about HersheyPark is how the park is laid out with the rides for young kids spread throughout the park, so Torin could be with us wherever we went. There were a couple big rides that had virtually no lines on them, so one of the parents (normally Jared) and the big kids (or just Jacob) could ride one of those while the other kids rode a nearby ride.

Torin had a good time riding the rides - even as he kept his unimpressed look most of the time. There were a few rides, like the swings, that got him laughing and smiling pretty big! Even with the unimpressed look, he would always run back to the line's entrance to get one more ride.

The last coaster of the day was the Laff Trakk, a coaster that the car spins around in circles as it goes along the track. The kids and Jared enjoyed the hall of mirrors and making faces as much as the roller coaster itself!

Near the end of the day, it was apparent that it was going to storm, so we made our way out of the park, but not before buying some souvenirs - stuffed Hershey Kiss and stuffed Twizzler and a Reese's bank - and some candy (Jolly Ranchers for Jacob, of course). We weren't in the car for more than a minute before rain, wind, and lightning were all around us for a great end of the day!

Friday, June 24, 2016

A wedding to remember

It was a joyous day for so many people! We have been looking forward to today for a long time! The bride and groom were beautiful and were so happy to share their wonderful day with friends and family who came in from around the country.

We were so happy to be in the temple with our family and friends. The Washington DC temple is beautiful!

Kate, since Amber wrote to her to ask her to be a flower girl, has been looking forward to wearing her beautiful dress and having her hair done pretty. Kate loved being with Adele, who was equally excited! We loved the picture of Kate looking up at the beautiful bride!

Outside the temple, there were a lot of little people who were excited for their parts of the wedding. 

We were able to get lots of wedding pictures by the temple with all the wedding guests.

The boys looked handsome in their vests and suspenders - but wedding pictures can get long for little boys!

We were able to take a few family pictures while we were there. It was a long day of pictures for the kids, and I would say that they did as well as expected. Fortunately, the backdrops for the pictures were gorgeous, and we looked pretty good, too!

Between the pictures and the dinner, a big rainstorm rolled through. We were grateful to have had all pictures taken before the rain started. The kids did great during dinner. After dinner was done, Jared convinced Liam that he would have to dance in order to get cake, and Liam took that to heart and danced and danced. When Jared finally got him cake, Liam didn't even want it - he wanted to keep dancing! Kate joined in the dancing with Adele and the bride and groom.

The thing that Kate, Liam, and the rest of the kids had a lot of was the sparkling drinks!

It was a memorable day - complete with a glow stick tunnel sendoff.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meeting Matt

We have been looking forward to our trip to Washington DC for many months to meet our soon-to-be brother-in-law. We have enjoyed getting to know him over the phone, on Facetime, and through Amber. It has been fun to watch Amber's joy through their courtship.

On Thursday morning, we started the morning with a Donuts and Do-Nots shower (i.e. sharing things that Matt doesn't know about us) of tools and kitchen tools. The kids loved being part of the shower, and it was fun to see Amber and Matt together.

We were treated to a tour of Del Ray, including a trip to the famed 'Dairy Godmother for some frozen custard. The dairy godmother loved having the entire family in, and even took a picture to tweet to her audience.

Later that afternoon, we took a trip to Old Town Alexandria on the trolley. The kids have watched the trolley running in Wilsonville all summer, and they were excited to ride. We walked along the river and watched planes fly overhead. While waiting for the return trip, we were approached by a couple who asked if we were Jensens - they were Matt's aunt and uncle who had been with Nana and Papa in India and Nepal. Apparently we looked like a wedding-bound crew!

That night, the McDonald family hosted a pizza party in a park. It was fun to meet the McDonalds and see friends and family that we don't see very frequently. For Torin, it was the end of a long day. Fortunately, Jared's cousin Hayley wanted a few minutes of baby time!

Friday, we had a number of hours in the morning to spend outside, so we found a cool splash pad and park. Torin loved watching the trains and airplanes go by. It was fun for the cousins to spend some time together.

There were 2 funny travel notes. First, before we made it to the Portland airport, we stopped at Wendy's for lunch, where there were 7 cars in the drive-through in front of us - every single one of them was white!!! Then, a white van pulled in behind us. We were all disappointed when the first non-white vehicle joined the line.

Second, by the time we got in line to board the Southwest flight, we were at the end of the family boarding. As we boarded, we saw that the plane was quickly filling, and the flight attendants did to, so they made an announcement that "there is a family of 7 entering that will need 2 full rows plus one additional seat across the aisle." Dani got a few questions and comments about the size of our family on the way back - and one comment from an older woman, "she looks like a child herself - how could she have so many children?"

Monday, May 09, 2016


One of Torin's new favorite things to do is to buckle his high chair. The only problem is that he likes to do it before he is in his high chair as everyone is getting to the table - and he gets MAD when we try to put him in!

Torin loves to sing in the store - by himself. Dani likes to sing along with him, but Torin says, "No, Mom, Stop!"

There are certain traditions that Torin holds us to. He loves scripture time - there have been times that either Jared or Dani has come home during scripture time to Torin tearing down the stairs yelling, "SCRI-TURES!" He knows exactly where Family Home Evening is and pulls everyone into the family room for it. He loves his blanket and his stuffed hippo and doggie and needs to sleep in a certain way with them and needs to say goodnight to everyone in the family.

Torin still loves sleeping with his hippo and his doggie, and now they need to be under his covers in a certain way. It's very important!

Torin loves hot sauce. Kind of. He definitely loves having it on his plate and he always dips his fingers or other food into it and eats it. Then, he starts sticking out his tongue and scratching the top of it on the bottom of his upper teeth and starts drooling. Sometimes he complains a little when he gets a too much, but he always asks for more. His favorites are Sriracha and Cyrstal.

He likes to Facetime and give cheesy grins and say Hi over and over. He gets to get to know his cousin, Nolan!

Torin is never left out of the family activities. He notices what is going on and always wants to be part of it.

He is a sweet little guy!