Monday, August 31, 2015

First Day of School

These two are starting 4th grade! They are in the same class again this year and have been very excited to get back to see their friends.

Kate and Liam started their 2nd year of preschool a few weeks later. They seem so big to us!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Some kids just look good in bow ties

Liam loves bow ties - and we love Liam in bow ties, too!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cub Scouts

Jacob is now a Bear Scout, and Dani's new calling is to be a den mother for the bear scouts, so she gets to be part of his cub scout experience. This last week was their summer camp. They had 3 days of fun. "Danger Day" was day 1 and included setting up a tent, shooting air rifles and bows and arrows

Day 2 was spent at the horse stables, riding and learning all about horses.

The last day was a fun day, spent swimming and playing at a members' home.

Dani is enjoying the challenge of combining efforts with the Wilsonville Ward so that there are more boys in their den and coming up with engaging activities that keep the boys attention, teach them something, and allow them to have fun. It is fun to hear Jacob come home telling us how much fun he is having at cub scouts!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Staycation

Our trip to Cincinnati was in the very beginning of the summer, and we were definitely feeling the need for a mini vacation. Rather than travel far, we decided to stay close by and enjoy some of the natural beauty of Oregon. Day 1 of our staycation was a trip to Mt. Hood Ski Bowl adventure park.

The day was overcast and threatening to rain nearly constantly, so the park was nearly empty - we enjoyed no lines all day long! The first thing we did was to ride the alpine slide - over and over! Since Torin was with us, only 1 parent went up at a time, 

but that meant that Kate and Liam had time at the base jumping on the bungee tarmpolines and climbing the rock wall. Kate made it a long way up the wall!

The kids had a fun time going fast down the track. Kate especially wanted to go super fast, giggling louder and louder as we went faster down the track.

The other side of the park was filled with fun! The kids took countless runs on the tubing hill. Even Torin took a few rides!

Liam was a little creative in how he got the tube up the hill.

On the other end of the park, there was a little go kart that Liam and Kate got to drive. We quickly learned that neither one of our 4-year-old twins are very good drivers! Liam got some close instructions

and then proceeded to drive into a tree on the first turn! He came back over and over and eventually got the hang of it!

Kate's turn around the track was even worse than Liam's! After making the first turn (barely missing the red go kart), she drove off the side, then into the center median and over one of the rocks, then, rather than make the 180 degree turn, he didn't even try to turn and drove straight into the corner! The operator pulled her back again, and walked next to her to make sure she made it back to the start line - helping her avoid one more crash into the center median!

We were all so entertained watching Kate and Liam driving their cars.

Torin got to play, too. Dani sat in disgust imagining all of the germs all over the balls in the ball pit.

There were all sorts of other activities - a hamster wheel on water, a pony ride, a Jacob's ladder (which Claire successfully climbed), 

and a put putt course through the woods.

Day 2 of our staycation took us to Seaside, Oregon. Torin discovered that he loves shovels and sand and buckets and the ocean!

We didn't end up building a very large sand castle, in part because Torin loved participating in the creation of and destruction of everything that was being built,

but the kids did spend a lot of their time running into and out of the ocean.

Later in the day, we took a ride in a family-size bike. It was so big and heavy, but there was room for everyone

and Torin got to ride in the front and he was loving it!

We rode all around Seaside with plenty of effort, and we kept having to stop because Jacob was losing his sandals, but we enjoyed it. We rented the bike for an hour and we made it about 45 minutes before we were ready to return it!

It was a super fun vacation!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Grandma comes to visit

We always love when Grandma comes to town! She brought Jacob and Claire on a grandma-grandkids date to see Wicked in Portland.

She also braved the heat in going out to parks and following Torin as he wandered around the water features. He really LOVES playing in the water!

We borrowed a bike and loaded up to go out to the Banks Vernonia trail. It was a lot warmer than the last time we went! We had a great ride with our whole group.

Another side note - it takes a long time (and feels a little miraculous that it all fits) to pack up 3 adult bikes, 2 kid bikes, 2 trail-a-bikes, and a bike trailer! Jared is pretty certain that the time it takes loading, unloading, re-loading, and re-unloading is longer than the time we spend riding! That said, the beauty of the trail (and the Dairy Queen on the way home) make the drive to Banks Vernonia worth it!

Princess Ballerina

This week, Kate has spent an hour a day at a "Princess Ballerina" dance class. She has learned how to walk and run like a ballerina, twirl, plie, and jump. She had a look of joy getting ready, participating in, and reflecting on the class later in the day.

Dani would take the other kids to the park nearby and would occasionally pay a visit. Kate was always excited to have an audience.

On the last day, they did a little show to present all the things they had learned that week. The full family, including Vicki, were watching, and Kate was thrilled.

Our presence may have been a little distracting to her - for some reason, she kept tucking her arms into her tutu and raising it up, and completely forgetting what the rest of the class was doing. She did have fun doing her solo times.

We love our little princess ballerina!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Cascade Lakes Relay

Jared has been getting into running over the past months, and was convinced by Jim to join his Cascade Lakes relay team.

We stayed the night at a campsite (getting maybe a little sleep), and started bright and early at Diamond Lake. It was a fun environment at the starting line, anticipating the run and not knowing what to expect!

We were a big mix of people that had various connections. Car 1 had Shauna and Bob Zobrist, Taylor and Kirsten Nielson, McKenzie Dixon, and Ted Balderree. Our car had Captain Jim, Tommy Walter, Kristen Winter, Dana Hardman, and Molly Chidester.

After car 1 got started, we headed straight over to Crater Lake. We went to an overlook and took some fun pictures. The water was so smooth! At one point, there appeared to be some sort of creature making its way across the water - until we realized it was an airplane's contrails!

We then hiked down to the lake to a cliff and jumped in a few times! It was sooo cold - but so much fun jumping in! As we were leaving, we were able to convince a few more people who had hiked in to jump in too.

The panorama was spectacular! On the way back up, Molly sprained her ankle. The entire team was nervous what that meant - if she would be able to run her 3 shifts or not. We were fortunate that she was the last runner in the car, and we were blessed with what we felt was a miracle (given how swollen it was when she hurt it) as she ended up being able to run without any pain. 

The summer has been a hot one, and this particular week happened to be one of the hottest weeks, with days of record-setting high temperatures. The first few runs, Jim and Kristen, were challenged by high temperatures. My first run, just over 4 miles with a slight climb, started at a 104 degree temperature. I ended up running it pretty slowly, but I finished and felt pretty good.

After we met car 1, we went over to a small high school to try to get a little sleep in a crowded gym. I think I actually managed to get a few hours, and then took turns driving the van and being the cheerleader as the runners each took their night-time runs. It felt so much better running in the cool night. My 6.5 mile run was so much better! I started at a pretty fast pace, thought I may be in trouble because I was going too fast, then ended up keeping the pace throughout. There wasn't a person in sight in front of me or behind me - that is, until the shadow came up behind me in the last 200 yards. I turned on a burst of speed to pull away so I wouldn't be 'road kill.' It was so fun!!!

We found a lake to take another rest by while Car 1 took over again. I was the last runner again in Car 2, and by the time I started my last run, the team had run nearly 210 miles through flatlands, up and over a mountain pass (thanks to Tommy's run!), wearing costumes, and through some of the most beautiful country in Oregon. My run was the last one, and it was again 104 degrees. It started really well ... and then the tank ran dry!

I made it to the finish, where we all ran through the finish line as a team. We floated in the icy cold river a little, ate some dinner, and enjoyed the memories of a fun and full couple days! It was an incredible experience and one that I definitely want to do again!