Friday, July 4, 2014

celebrating responsibly

For years, I've driven by the big fireworks booths in parking lots and on the side of the road and wanted to stop.  But I never have.

It's not that I don't want to buy any, but the young ages of my children and unwillingness of my husband to participate in one of the most American holidays that ever existed (weirdo) has stopped me.

This year, I threw caution to the wind...and probably a few embers as well.

On our way out of Walmart one afternoon, I made the split-second decision to visit the magical fireworks display booth at the edge of their lot.  It was totally worth it.  Everything was on sale, or buy-one get-two-free, or just really really inexpensive.  We got some sparklers, snaps, black snakes, and ground bloom flowers. Pretty much everything harmless that kept the budget under $10 total.

It took me awhile to convince the girls that sparklers were fun.  They didn't want to hold them before they were lit and they didn't want to hold them after they were lit.  I got one going and then wrote my name in sparkly cursive which absolutely blew their minds.

I am actually happy they were so cautious about it because neither of them got the sparkler even remotely close to anything that could have caught on fire.  They were yards away from me and from each other and had a great time waving their "wands" around to make pretty patterns.  My phone takes horrible pictures (I know, broken record) so instead of showing the sparks and colors, my kids look like they are practicing for their entrance exams into Hogwarts.  Expelliarmus!

The not-fun part was waiting for the sky to darken enough to actually do any of the fireworks.  It didn't get dark until almost 10 pm - this is a good 2.5 hours past bedtime in our house and made for some impatient and cranky girls.

BUT, we did get to see some really great fireworks displays from our deck after we polished off our stash.  Of course you can't see any of the fireworks in mid-air because I don't have that setting on my phone, but judging from the watching and pointing the girls seem to be doing, something was obviously happening.

I do wish more people in our household took part in our festivities, but I can't make them do what they don't want to.  I suppose I can patiently wait until Jensen is old enough to light things on fire so that we can all have a good time on the 4th...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

double dentist

My kids like the dentist.  I'm sure that is a strange thing to read, but it's true.  I always enjoyed going to our family dentist, Dr. Cole, when I was younger and have tried to instill the idea that the dentist is a good place with my children.  It will probably continue to be a fun and happy time until someone gets a cavity.  Until then, peace and zen.

This time it was Freya's and Jensen's turn since they are on the same schedule.  He had a good time fake-mowing the reception area while Freya messed around with the Perplexus ball.

Freya's top front teeth were very loose, in fact, the top left adult tooth was already starting to grow in, so we talked to the hygienist about what to do.  She said if we just let the adult tooth grow in before the baby tooth fell out, it might grow at a funny angle, so it should just be pulled.  Since one was being pulled and the other wasn't too far behind, she pulled them both out!

Jensen had a very quick check up that involved squirming and crying (because he had to lay on my lap and have his arms restrained) so I didn't take pictures.  You're welcome.

Freya was very excited to have two teeth to put into her tooth box for the fairy that night.  The fairy was having a great time trying to find a one-dollar bill or 4 quarters to leave in place of her teeth!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

This is Fro-ty

My sister-in-law, Erika, planned this great surprise party weekend for her husband, (Mark's brother) Skip.  We thought it sounded like great fun, so we road-tripped ourselves down to Gearhart, Oregon to join the fun.

It is a 6+ hour trip from our house to Skip & Erika's, so we were prepared with snacks, books, and the portable DVD player.  Jensen is at the age where he is realizing that there are no headphones or DVD screen for him and it makes him a bit angry.  Generally his sister's have their volume up too loud so he can hear the movie anyway and he leans in to watch their screens so it all works out until he gets bored or realizes he is strapped into a car seat.

Mark thought it would be interesting to try a new route since we always take I-5 down and it is HORRIBLE on Friday afternoons/evenings.  This time when we got to Olympia, we went west on the 108 to connect to the 101 and drove down the coast.  See the picture above?  NO TRAFFIC - and it was beautiful, to boot.

We stayed in a condo right across the road from the Sand Trap, the McMenamins hotel/restaurant in Gearhart where we were surprising Skip for dinner and drinks.  I volunteered to drive our children to Skip & Erika's house, where two nice baby-sitters were already watching Reagan and Liam and our other friend's son as well.  This is the thing you do when it isn't your brother having the birthday - you fore go being part of the surprise so that the baby-sitters get the correct information about your children that they've never met.  It's also a "mom" thing.

As you can see, Skip, John (childhood friend), and Mark were having a great time long before I got back!

Keri (John's wife), Erika, me, Mark, Skip, and John post-appetizers and drinks!

Tresha had the fantastic idea to create special shirts for all of the adults to wear for the party so we played around with some ideas and landed on this one.  When I asked her how she was going to get a profile picture of Skip (yes, that is his actual profile!) she said "don't worry" and then sent one to me a few minutes later. Apparently Skip is used to Tresha's strange requests for craft projects, so he took a picture of himself and sent it, no questions asked.

If you're wondering about the "Fro" theme, this is just one of Skip's many nicknames that stuck due to his curly hair.  When I first met Mark, I had heard about something called Fro-Fest, which was an annual gathering of Skip's friends and family in different areas to do different fun things and just enjoy a long weekend together. I have participated in a few - some I remember, some are a bit fuzzy - but they are always fun and there is always a t-shirt to commemorate the occasion.

Here are Erika and Skip at the Saturday barbecue held at their house.  Not to be overlooked, it was also Erika's birthday but since hers was not a "big number" year, she focused the attention on her husband and made it special for him.  Can you imagine sharing the exact same birthday with your spouse?  How random is that?

One of many awesome attempts at a group photo. As you can see, the kids were super cooperative...

Reagan and Freya and the cake.

What party would be complete without someone (Jensen) getting locked inside a fire pit by one of his relatives (Peyton)?  Typical Fro-party antics!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

captured on film

We sat for our church directory photo last month and it finally came in the mail!  Ignore the strange orange tint that Ilsa and I seem to have - it's because I took a picture of the actual print with my phone and we all know how high-tech those shots turn out.

Somehow we let the photographer talk us into a bunch of extra poses, mostly of the kids.  There were a few of just me and Mark but I didn't order any because they were completely dorky and Mark pointed out that this was why we didn't have engagement pictures taken twelve years ago.  Amen.

I had to order the 8x10 of this print because it is just so precious and I want to remember them in this particular way the next time they are screaming and hitting each other.

Wouldn't it be more fun if the church directory showed your family as they really are?  You get one take and live with it.  I will vote for that option next time around!

Monday, June 23, 2014

reporting for duty!

Seriously, someone needs to take the clippers away from me.  But he has such a cute face!