Monday, June 18, 2012


We've had a lot of visitors over the past couple weeks!  This post will give a recap:

First, when Dani and I went to Hawaii, Nana came to visit!  Since I had left for Hawaii a day early, I didn't even see her, but word is, she had a great time with all the grandkids.  We'll get to see her in June, July, August, and September!

My brother Taylor and his fiancee Hayley came and watched the kids the last day of our Hawaii trip and hung out for a week after that.

They helped be minions for my birthday party.

And got to experience roller derby!

Taylor commented that Hayley usually doesn't cheer very loud at sports events, but that she was cheering very loudly at roller derby!

I think 4 kids may have been a bit overwhelming at times!  After a week of helping Dani keep up with 4 kids (including a couple tball games, my birthday, roller derby, basketball with the neighborhood kids, a trip to Portland's Saturday Market, and some late night fun times), I think we wore them out!

We were glad to have a week with Hayley and Taylor and are excited to have Hayley join the family this summer!

A week after Taylor and Hayley left, Vicki came and joined us for a week.  She spent a lot of time with the grandkids.  She read a lot to the older ones and laughed and enjoyed the big personalities of the babies.

Jacob and I had the fathers and sons campout the weekend she was here.  I love this picture of Liam with Vicki.  We'll get to see more of Vicki this summer!

Our college friend, Julie, came to visit with 2 of her kids.  Her son was kind of a blur, and blended in very well with Jacob, so we didn't see much of them, other than the remnants of the tornado their powers combined to create!

Their daughter was born about the same time as babies.  She's pretty much the same weight as Liam... but she's a bit more squishy!

All 3 babies got to share a tub.  It was funny watching the mothers keep all those little slippery bodies upright in the tub!  We took a bunch of pictures, and got a total of 1 with 6 eyes pointed at the camera.

Kate was looking at the camera almost the entire time.  She gives some seriously crazy faces sometimes!  It's hilarious!

A co-worker of mine and his wife were househunting over the Memorial Day weekend, so they stayed with us.  They loved being with the kids, and the kids loved having them in our house!  They were nice enough to watch the kids while Dani and I went out.  While we don't have any pictures of their visit, it was a lot of fun (and we spent lots of time trying to convince them to move here in our ward boundaries!).

Now, it's our turn to travel!!!  We're going on a number of trips this summer!  They'll be appearing on the blog (probably a few weeks late!)

Baby faces

These two babies are easy to get good pictures of.  They are almost always happy and are quick with a smile.  They don't always hold still, but we've had some pretty good success getting some good pictures of them, some of our favorites are in this post.

I love Liam's eyes in this picture.  This picture honestly made us a little nervous because it was taken soon after Jacob's eye surgery and looks a little like his eyes aren't aligned properly.  At Jacob's 1-month follow-up visit, Dani showed the picture to Jacob's doctor, and she said that because the reflection on his pupils lined up, he wasn't showing the same condition Jacob had (Phew!).  Sometimes, the skin around the bridge of the nose isn't quite symmetrical, so it gives the appearance that the eye isn't completely lined up.  Still, a very cute picture!

We had lots of opportunities for pictures at tball games.  Babies loved being outside at the games.

Liam quite often lays on his side.  We call this his "Supermodel pose."  The moms at tball got a kick out of it.

He can supermodel pose on both sides.

We call Liam's smile below his "Claymation smile," though this picture doesn't fully capture it.  He'll make that wide-mouthed, toothy grin and then can hold it!  It reminds me of Wallace and Gromit.

I love Kate's eyes in this picture.  She has very wide eyes, similar to Claire's.

Neither Liam nor Kate can pull themselves up in their crib yet.  It will be funny to hear their conversations once they do. 

 Preferred mode of transportation... army crawl.  We skyped with Amber at baby level - it was funny to get their perspective on the world.

Kate is a girl of many expressions.  We've had multiple people in our ward recently comment to us that Kate has a ton of personality.

Both Liam and Kate seem to be more interested in getting into things than I remember Jacob and Claire being at this stage... uh oh...

Gardener Kate.  She's just starting to pull herself up on things.  We had some extra buckets from our laundry detergent, so we planted some strawberries in 2 of them and a cucumber plant in the other.  So far, we've gotten 2 strawberries...

Liam, like Jacob, LOVES people, and he loves to be a part of what's going on in the family.

Memorial Day Disc Golf

 On Memorial Day, it was a beautiful day (seems to be a theme of weekends this year!), so we decided to go play frisbee golf.  Portland and the Portland area has a number of spectacular disc golf courses.  We ended up in one in the St. Johns area, which is north and east of Portland, across the Columbia River from Forest Park.

Babies rode along in the jogging stroller.  They liked carrying frisbees.

I love Jacob's pose after he would throw!

Kiddos would throw their frisbees, then pick them up and throw from the spot Dani or I would throw ours 2nd shot from.

We ended up playing 12 holes of the 18 available.  By the end, I had actually scored pars on 3 or 4 in a row!

On one of the holes, in true Portland fashion, people had decorated the bench with beer bottlecaps from the various microbreweries around the area.

After 12 holes, the babies were ready for some fun of their own!  Kate and Liam played in the swings for a while.

Liam had a go on the rings.  He actually supported his full weight for a couple seconds after this picture was taken.

Dani has become a fan of Instagram.  I like some of the effects and cropping she does with some of her favorite pictures.

Claire did a great job on the rings.  My theory is it helps that she's not much over 40 pounds!

The beautiful photographer!

Jacob and Claire

Kate and Liam have had lots of pictures recently in the blog, so I wanted this blog post to be completely about Jacob and Claire (a.k.a. the "kiddos").

First, Jacob and Claire still have a strong, special relationship that comes with living together for basically every day of their 6 years.  They had their last day of Kindergarten this past week (no, they weren't wearing jackets, as pictured below... even though it does take a while to warm up in Portland).  I consider this year to be a success - they learned a few things in school, love learning, and look forward to going to 1st grade in a brand new elementary school!

We originally had wanted to put them in separate classes, mainly because Jacob had developed such a competitive spirit when it came to academics the year prior (while not developing the attention span for learning at the same rate!).  However, since there was only 1 afternoon class, they ended up in the class, which ended up going well. They sit on the bus together on the way to school, but when they arrive in school, they play with different friends and do different things until they get back on the bus and sit next to each other again.  They get home and resume whatever game they started.

Claire LOVES doing homework.  While she wouldn't really get homework, sometimes they would come home with a worksheet.  As soon as she would come home from school, she would start her worksheet.  She would do all the writing and make sure to color the pictures.  Jacob, one time, commented that he knew all the answers to his  worksheet because he'd heard Claire doing her worksheet earlier... ha!  Near the end of school, Dani commented that she would need to get workbooks for the kids for the summer.  Claire promptly went back to her pre-Kindergarten workbook, realized that she'd left a few pages incomplete, and finished them (side note: she can put about 85 J's on 1 workbook page line!).  Once Dani got the new workbooks, Claire started hers instantly.  Claire has become a great reader and will spend lots of time reading books. 

Jacob is a loving, caring little boy.  He wears his heart on his sleeve.  He also loves his daddy - anything I am doing, he wants to be doing also, whether it's playing or watching sports, mowing the lawn, going on errands, etc.  For example, I invite him to come do my stake clerk calling, and he jumps at the opportunity, then talks the entire time we're together.  I treasure this time with him.  Jacob also has a very sensitive spirit.  One time, after he'd been looking for a lost toy (which I had briefly looked for), he reported to me that he'd prayed, and Heavenly Father told him to ask me.  Within seconds, I spotted it from where I was seated.  He often tells me that he feels the spirit, and he remembers lots of details of scripture stories we've read.

 I love the way Jacob and Claire operate as a team.  Sometimes, I can't imagine having to entertain Jacob all day long like Claire does, and other times I can't imagine having to put up with Claire's stubbornness like Jacob does.  They just compliment one another so well.  They'll do things for each other to make them have a better day.  For example, if one child is running errands and gets a sticker from a checkout register at a store, they'll always ask for a second for their sibling.  I love that!  I also love how excited they get for one another - whether it's losing a tooth, or participating in a dance recital, they are very excited for what's going on in the other's life.

Jacob and Claire LOVE their younger twin brother and sister.  I don't think I realized how much I would enjoy watching those relationships develop.  Kate and Liam think their brother and sister are the funniest people ever (even if Claire sometimes lacks a gentle touch!), and Jacob and Claire love playing with the babies and making them laugh.  They are good helpers with the babies.

I hope that in another 6 years they will have an even stronger relationship, and that they will show Kate and Liam what it means to have their twin be their best friend

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Silver Falls

We had a number of beautiful weekends in May, and one of them, we took a trip to Silver Falls to see some waterfalls.

Jacob and Claire had their own hiking backpacks with water packs.  They were great hikers!

I love the colors at Silver Falls.  The area near the falls is permanently wet, so there's lots of deep greens.  With the sunshine, it made for some neat colors.

The two large waterfalls we saw had areas behind that you could walk.

Whereas Jacob and Claire would fall asleep in the hiking backpacks when they were little, Kate and Liam were so excited to be outside that they were awake and excited the entire time!  

They were really smiling and chattering almost the whole time!

Jacob and Claire were good little buddies on the hike.

This is the second of the waterfalls.

Afterwards, we had a picnic at the side of a little (really cold) river.  It was a fun day with the family!