Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First Days of School!

After a summer of seemingly nonstop play, it all came to a screeching half with the start of school yesterday.  I was in total denial of the entire thing as we rolled into our driveway the night before at 8 p.m. after our camping trip to Blake Island.  I laughed to myself as I just knew that all of Lia's little friends were bathed, in bed, with their clothes picked out and their backpacks packed for the big day.  And here we were literally playing until the 11th hour.  Oh well.  I will always be one of those moms who loves summer and loves playing with her kiddos.  No schedule, no homework, no activities, no piano practicing, no nothing.  Sigh.  All good things must come to an end.
Symbolically, the sun disappeared and the rains descended apparently even the heavens knew that the fun was ending.  After a crazy and rushed morning, we managed to get Lia and the rest of the kiddos ready in time for some quick pictures on the porch and a mad dash down the hill to Lia's school.  We parked waaay out on 12th Avenue and were forced to take the long walk around the entire field (thanks to the school forgetting to unlock the gate) to get to the school.  Luckily, they were running behind schedule and Lia's class was dismissed a few minutes late which gave Lia a chance to get in line and gave me a chance to snap a few more pictures.
Lia was the epitome of calm, cool, and collected.  She has grown so much these past three years of school.  She was totally relaxed and excited for school to begin.  We had met her teacher last week and she looks so fun, organized, and dedicated to her job.  Plus, her room is decked out in Seahawks paraphernalia from floor to ceiling with giant, cut-out posters of Doug Baldwin everywhere.  So, how could Lia go wrong?!  I am so grateful that Lia gets to go to such a wonderful school with such wonderful friends.  Here's to another fabulous year!

Lia all dressed up in her new clothes ready to go!

Since it was raining, Lia insisted on striking a pose with her umbrella.

As always, her two siblings insisted on copying her.  After we had to hunt down two more umbrellas, this is the picture we got!

After getting to the school and finding Lia's class line, we found her good friend, Sienna, for a picture.  Lia has three good friends in her class this year, but her closest is Sienna who she has known since PreK.

We saw Mollie and Gabs as they were walking to their lines, so we snapped a quick picture of them.  I will be babysitting these girls every morning again for another school year.

My big girl heading off to class.  So proud of you, Lia!

Today marked Logan's first day of PreK at the same Lutheran Church Lia attended four years ago.  Although we participated in a co-op last year with some women from my church, I was able to get him enrolled several months ago at this fabulous preschool that Lia and I absolutely loved.  And to top it all off, I found out last week at parent orientation that Logan was assigned Miss Vera as his teacher who was the same teacher Lia had.  She is honestly one of the kindest and most loving people I have ever met and is the coveted teacher to get at this preschool.  She has taught for over 25 years, so I didn't even know if she would still be teaching when Logan started preK.  Believe it or not, this little guy (who normally just likes to stay home on his couch and watch TV in the morning) was actually excited to go to school.  He was so cute and packed his backpack with notebooks and a bunch of pens and crayons.  Logan even admitted to me that he was a lot excited, but a little bit nervous which is pretty mature for him.  In fact, I don't think I have ever even heard him use the word, nervous, before.  Regardless, I am really glad that I held off enrolling Logan in a real preschool for a year.  He really has made some progress these past few months and has finally started to move out of his terrible twos.  In many ways, it has been a rough 2.5 years for the two of us, but it has really bonded us for life.  I sure love this little guy and part of my is so sad that he will be leaving me for full-time school in just one year.  But, I digress...
So, here is my cute, little guy in his new Star Wars outfit and hat standing on the front porch.  He even came up with this pose all by himself!  I just think he is the cutest thing.

We tried another pose with the front of his backpack showing.

After dropping Lia, Mollie, and Gabs off at school, we dashed up the hill to Logan's preschool.  It's a good thing that his preschool is only a few minutes from Lia's school so it will make getting him there by 9 o'clock very do-able every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  We quickly parked and rushed inside with Ella and her backpack.  She has to do everything her older siblings do!  Logan quietly and patiently waited in line until his teacher came to pick them up.  Logan barely flinched as I kissed him goodbye.  This is a big deal for this little boy of mine.  

When I picked Logan up 2.5 hours later, he was so happy and excited about his morning.  His teacher said that he did a wonderful job listening, following directions, and coloring in the lines.  This was a major relief for me as there were many times last year when he would not do any of these things for me when I hosted preschool.  I am so grateful that his first day of preschool went well.  Here's to many more!  Here is a picture of Logan showing off his crown that he colored at preschool.  Look what a nice job he did coloring the pictures on it!

Monday, September 5, 2016

End of the Summer at Blake Island

For the seventh summer in a row, Lia and I headed out to Blake Island for our end-of-the-summer camping trip with my family.  This is honestly one of my favorite things that we do all year long as I just love it on this quiet island in the Puget Sound.  It is always so beautiful and calm and it is the one place where I don't have to worry about where my kids are or what they are doing.  They can roam free like we did as kids growing up in our neighborhood.  This year, I gave in and decided to take Logan with me under the condition that he was not allowed to throw any tantrums...and he kept his end of the bargain until the final hour of our trip.  Oh well, he almost made it.  This year, we joined Chris' family and my mom for the overnight camping trip.  My dad and Natalee's parents came out and joined us for the day on Monday.  Normally, we go overnight on Friday night, but we changed our plans last minute and went Sunday through Monday to avoid the bad weather that was forecasted for Friday (rain and thunderstorms).  Sunday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day in the low 70s and although it was cloudy on Monday, it did not I'd say we lucked out.  As always, we had a glorious time out on the island exploring the beach, the marina, the park, and enjoying the beautiful scenery.  The kids got a big kick out of the deer and raccoon everywhere and had a great time playing with the cousins.  We finished off Monday by picking up a few crabs from Chris' crab pots and heading back to his house for an end-of-the-summer feast.  It was sad to say 'goodbye' to everyone and to summer when we headed home that night, but as always, it was a wonderful way to end the season!

The amazing view from our campground.  

The kids always get a kick out of playing on the make-shift teeter totters on the beach.  Here are Lia, Riley, Logan, and Trenton playing on two that were side by side.

Logan and Trenton had a great time playing in the tents before all of the beds were set up.  Here they are in Chris' tent.

After getting out to the island, setting up our tents, and making foil dinners, we gathered around the picnic table for dinner.  Here we are eating away as the sun started to set.

I was able to get some great shots of the kiddos at twilight as they played on the beach.  Here is an awesome picture of Logan walking across a large piece of driftwood suspended on some rocks.

A beautiful shot of a sailboat moored in the water off of our campsite.

A picture of Lia leaping off of the driftwood. 

All of the cousins lined up in a row.

My cute Logie boy.

A happy brother and sister.

A happy mama with her kiddos.  Oh, how I love summer and enjoying it with my children!

After a not-so-stellar night sleep (our air mattress had a leak), we woke up a to a cloudier and cooler day.  Here are the kiddos and me with grandma.

Logan showing off the perfect crab shell he found on the beach.

Trenton, Brynn, Lia, and Logan playing next to the marina.

For a second year in the row, some of the kiddos made cute, fairy houses next to our campground.  Here are Calllie, Lia, and Riley showing off their miniature homes.

After breakfast, we spent the rest of the morning playing on the sand.

Lia and Brynn.

After Logan requested that we make a fort on the beach, Chris agreed to help us.  All of the kids pitched in and we ended up with quite an impressive fort made out of driftwood. 

Lia trying out the fort.

Uncle Chris and some of the kids showing off their finished product!

Chris, Brynn, and I dashed over to the Tillicum Village lodge after seeing the boat arriving with all of the tourists.  A few years ago, we learned that if you walk up to the lodge and blend in with all of the arriving tourists, you can get a free bowl of delicious, clam chowder!  It's kind of naughty, but they always have extra clam chowder after everyone has moved inside the lodge that they probably throw away, so we really are only eating something that would have been thrown away anyways.  Here are Brynn and me enjoying the delicious soup.

After lunch, we enjoyed some more beach time before packing up and heading back to Chris' house for dinner.  The kids found another awesome teeter totter and enjoyed putting three on each side. 

A close-up of Logan, Riley, and Callie.

And a close-up of Brynn, Lia, and Trenton.  

Thanks, Blake Island, for yet another end of the summer trip!  We sure love it out there and can't wait for next year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer Fun!

The kids and I have been trying to make the most of our last few days of summer.  On every sunny day, I have tried to get them outside to do something fun that involves water.  I just love being a mom and playing with my kids--especially in the water!  Since we have been home from our camping trip to the coast, here are some of the things that we have been up to...

 On August 18th, I took the kids up to Lake Samm for one a morning of play in the lake and on the beach.  I absolutely love being up here in the morning because the lake is so quite, calm, and peaceful.  I also love seeing my children enjoy the #1 place of so many of my favorite, child memories.  After a picnic lunch, we packed up and headed back to my parent's house for Ella's afternoon nap and a dinner made my grandma!  Here are the kiddos heading out on to the dock.

All three of them looking for little minnows in the water.

My cuties before jumping in the water and getting wet.

Logan flashing me a smile.

Ella testing out the water before jumping into my arms several times and swimming around in the deep end.  I can't get over how much more brave she is than her older brother and sister were at this age.

On August 25th, we headed off to our favorite, little water park in Tacoma called Kandle Park.  I always promise Lia that I will try to take them to both of Tacoma's water parks each summer, but I had a harder time making it happen this summer due to the cloudy and cooler weather we had a lot when we were home from our vacations.  Luckily, Ron and I were able to take them to Stewart Heights last week on a warm evening after he came home from work and we were able to slip out today with our friends who live up the hill to Kandle Park.  I absolutely love the toddler pool at this park and could spend an entire afternoon rolling around in it.  Here are my kiddos frolicking in the water under the little, dump buckets.

Logan and Lia playing in the water toys.

 My cute boy soaking it all up!

Ella running under the water tunnels.

My little mermaid.

Logan spraying one of the giant, water guns.

Lia with her good friend, Bella, who moved into our neighborhood last fall.

Ella spraying a water gun.

Logan and Liam running through the water tunnel.

The kiddos and me in the toddler pool.

Lia and Bella spent the majority of the afternoon in the giant wave pool while my friend, Alisa, and I took turns going back and forth watching them.

Although Logan and Ella played a lot in the wave pool, we kept on returning back to the toddler pool for more fun.

Quite possibly the cutest, little toddler around!

Logan and Ella also loved playing in the baby pool.  Logan started falling in sideways towards the end of our afternoon there.  It was so funny looking!

Although the entire week of August 29th was forecasted to be cooler and cloudy, we woke up to a very sunny morning on this day!  Since it was totally unexpected, we hadn't planned on doing anything fun, but we all decided to take advantage of this weather and made an impromptu trip to our favorite splash pad in Tacoma on Titlow Beach.  I just love this park!  Here are the kiddos eating lunch.

We played for quite some time in the splash pad before heading over to the awesome park.  Here are Logan and Lia under one of the "water umbrellas" that we love to play in.

Lia under the giant, water umbrella.

I just love this picture of Logan screaming while the water hits him from underneath.

Ella stepping on the water that squirts up from the ground.

I am usually the only parent running around in any splash pad we go to, but I can't handle sitting on the sides on a hot day and not getting wet.  We tried taking a picture with my camera's self timer, and this is as good as we got (I am not sure why Logan decided to hide his face behind Lia).

The kids had a lot of fun playing at the park.  Here are Logan and Lia climbing around on one of the fabulous structures.

Logan climbing up the ropes.

Ella taking a big step!

Ella and Logan swinging away.

Logan spinning around.

All three kiddos spinning around!