Saturday, May 31, 2014

Berry picking season has begun!

The family (including a very pregnant Dani) went strawberry picking at Baggenstos Farm.  We met with our friends, the Johansons, who are expecting #'s 3 and 4!  Dani felt like it may help put her into labor to get low into the bushes to pick the strawberries!

The boys found their way up on to the tractor

We ended up with a whole bunch of strawberries and some yummy strawberry jam!

We love the fresh Oregon berries all summer long!!!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pre-baby date night

We realized it was probably the last weekend before our baby would be born, so I decided I needed one last weekend as parents of 4 with a trip to the rose test garden with my beautiful wife.

We found a flower that we needed to send a picture of to Nan!

Something about roses just makes you want to stop and smell them.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Our Memorial Day weekend was filled with putting together a 750 piece puzzle (labeled Niagara Falls, actually American Falls).  Jacob and Claire loved helping out, and it was a true family effort.  As a bonus, we got a great picture of the kiddos!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

First Tennis Lessons

Tennis was a big part of my life growing up as I took tennis lessons a few times per week for many years, then ended up playing on junior high and high school tennis teams.  My first job, at 14 years old, was teaching tennis lessons to the pee wees during the summer, and then the next year and for the 2 following years, I taught for 6 hours per day for a tennis camp at the club I played at.

For Jacob and Claire's birthdays, we got them tennis racquets, and we finally made some time to have a first tennis lesson!  It was fun to be back out on the court, and it definitely was a beginner's lesson (contact was the goal - we'll get to getting it in the court later), but both Jacob and Claire began to get the hang of swinging a racquet by the end of the time we spent.

We were definitely helped by our own personal ball boy.  Liam ran around the court gathering the tennis balls and throwing them back toward the middle of the court.  It was quite helpful, really, and we loved his enthusiasm!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Bobcat

Jacob made pretty quick work of the first advancement level in Cub Scouts, earning the Bobcat badge.  We did most of the work one Sunday while driving around trying to find a person who was going to buy the extra Blazers playoff tickets (for a game that happened on that Sunday).

Their first pack party, where they gave awards, was held outside and was the Olympics.  Jacob didn't spend much time up front for a photo op!  It was a fun activity, complete with an Olympic flame (a tiki torch) and a medal ceremony and medals (different candies).

Monday, May 12, 2014

An office full of balloons

While Jim was out of the office, we decided that we needed to leave him a welcome home present and graduation surprise in his office.  It comprised of over 1500 balloons (including Batman, Shamoo, and an alligator).  We used Justin's air compressor and a couple nozzles to fill the balloons. It was definitely not a quiet or fast operation, but it was a lot of fun working with Justin, Ben, Aubrey, Dani, and others to fill the office.

Eventually, we made it all the way to the ceiling, dropping the last 30-50 balloons in through the ceiling panels from Jared's office to top it all off.  The scene from outside the door was pretty awesome!

The next day, before Jim arrived before Jared and moved a good number of them into Jared's office!

Jim's family came to visit and buried themselves in the balloons (we brought them back from Jared's office back to Jim's).  They had a lot of fun jumping around in the balloons.

At the end of the day, we popped all the balloons with scissors and x-acto knives.  End of the day balloon carnage!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day!

It was a beautiful day, and we got a cute series of pictures of the kids with Dani.

For Mother's Day dinner, we had the missionaries over and had a German-themed dinner.  Cheese Fondue with bread, broccoli, and peppers (the first time using our fondue pot in 10 years!), sausages, roasted root veggies, and roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower with bacon and balsamic vinegar.  It was pretty ambitious, but it sure was yummy!

Later in the day, we played some Spot It with Kate and Liam.  Their faces were so cute looking for matches!

The girls all painted their toenails.

And to top it off, Dani got a nice nap!

Friday, May 09, 2014

The nightly routine

It can be a very long process to get these people into their beds!  We love them very much, but by the end of the night, we would love nothing other than to find a way to cut down on the process - especially the last part!  Here's a typical night, after getting everyone washed and dressed for bed:
- Read scriptures
- read 2-4 books
- say family prayers
- hugs in every combination possible, typically ending with someone getting knocked over
- individual prayers with the 2-year-olds
- laying by the kids and talking about their days and other random questions
- getting drinks for the 2-year-olds
- potty
- putting the 2-year-olds back in their beds

and then repeating some combination of the last 3 steps at least 5-10 times.  At some point, one of the 2-year-olds will come out of their room to ask, "did you know I can stay in my bed?"  If we don't answer that we do know they can stay in their bed, there is often a big reaction, so we typically grit our teeth and say, "yes - get back in bed!"

We typically start bedtime before 7:30 and have people in their beds by 8:00.  On good days, it lasts until 9:00.  On bad days, it can last until 11!

We do know the older kids stay in their beds now, so there is hope!

Friday, May 02, 2014


Birthdays with this crew are fun!!!  To celebrate my 33rd, I got:

- a homemade happy birthday Jare D sign

- Lots of help opening presents

- Great singing Happy Birthday

- Help blowing out the candles

- and Big Smiles from everyone (including the beauty behind the camera)

Blazers make the playoffs

We have become Blazers fans since moving to Portland 5 years ago, and we were excited when the Blazers made the playoffs, facing off in the first round against the Rockets.  After the Blazers won games one and two in Houston, Jared went to game three and experienced an exciting game and loud environment.  The Blazers couldn't quite pull it out that time.

For Jared's birthday, we went to Game 6 together.  The opening was cool again, and the crowd was very loud throughout the game.

  The game felt like a continual struggle for the Blazers to catch up, and they finally did at the end and took the lead.  

The game was tied with 28 seconds left until the Rockets made a put-back with 0.9 seconds left of a shot that seemed to be rebounded by the Blazers.  That set the stage for the most memorable sports play I have experienced live - a game and series winning 3-pointer by Damien Lillard.  The crowd was cheering wildly for long after the ball went in.  It was fun to watch everyone continue cheering in the concourse and outside of the stadium.

And best of all, we were there!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Outdoor living

Summer time brings lots of outdoor activities.  Here are some of our favorites to do near the house:

Picnics in the backyard on the blanket

Going for walks and bike rides.  I love that the kids are all holding hands!

Sonic Happy Hour slushies (the kids love Nerds slushies)

Playing baseball.  Sometimes, it is so hot that Liam just needs to sit in the chair and throw the ball.

Playing in the Cozy Coupe (which Liam now does occasionally share!)