August 15, 2011


Friday morning, we packed up every inch of our Honda Civic with gear, grabbed our passports, and headed for the Canadian border...

We joke around that we went "fake" camping.

Truth is, we pitched our tent in a huge, grassy field on the edge of an RV park in Surrey, BC (called Hazelmere if you ever want to check it out). There are RVs, yurts, and tent camping. There is a swimming pool, a playground, and miniature golf. So - not in the middle of the forrest, hike-in type camping, but kid-friendly camping :) They were super excited to just go camping and sleep in a tent!

Once we set up our camp site, we took full advantage of pool time! And then, the playground, which was an old-school playground with a big, looooong metal slide that the kids loved :)

So - sort of "fake" camping, but it's oh-so-real! We got the kids each their own sleeping bag for Christmas last year and they were excited to sleep in them, in the tent. We don't have any blow-up mattresses or anything like that, so in that sense, they def. got the sleep-on-the-ground camping experience.

Sawyer was especially excited to get bundled up for bedtime.

I wish I could say Aspen was equally excited to sleep in her sleeping bag. We should've known better...

Pretty much, we all laid there pretending to go to sleep (saying "Aspen, lay down and go to sleep!") and she literally ran around the tent like a little hooligan from the time we tried to go to bed (around 10pm) until midnight. We were part amused, and part frustrated. Somehow Sawyer fell asleep while she kept running across our legs, tripping, falling down purposefully, saying "tickle tickle" and then trying to jump on our legs while singing, "no mo momees umpin bed!!!" (her interpretation of "no more monkeys jumping on the bed". Hilarious. At first. But at midnight, we were glad we had brought the pack n play as backup, we set it up and put her in and in 5 min. she was asleep. sigh.

and then...

Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed the next morning!
(half way through the night I was worried Aspen would be too cold in the pack n play so I let her share my mummy bag...good times ;)

Amazingly enough, our neighbors didn't want to strangle Aspen in the fact the two kids and their Dad, camping literally like 20 feet from us, were actually super excited to come over and play the next morning.

The girl was 6 months older than Sawyer, and the boy was 6 months older than Aspen. We played together for a good two hours, playing impromptu games of soccer and then Sawyer and his girl buddy having balance bike races while the younger tots cheered them on.

After breakfast was consumed (and shared with our cute neighbors) and we freshened up a tiny bit, we drove about an hour north to Lynn Canyon and the suspension bridge. There were lots of trails (luckily the further you went, the less the crowd) so we ended up hiking around the trails a good 3 or so hours.

I was proud of our generally-cautious boy, for wanting to walk across the scary-ish suspension bridge. It feels like those shaky playground bridges, only a bit more pronounced the more people that are on it - and WAY WAY WAY higher.

I felt great to take our time and hike to our hearts content with our two little kidlets. Good times!

Later, we drove back to White Rock, this cute little beachy town near our campsite. We walked out on the promenade and pier and watched fishermen, sailboats, and got to see them pull in some fresh crab.

Oh yeah, and the train goes right by here.

Oh yeah. And we went out to pizza for dinner one night. It was a joint that had huge screens with sports on. There was a football game on - and we realized our kids have never seen a football game (we don't have tv in our home, and even if we did we'd never watch football). When the players would get tackled or fall down or throw themselves on the ground, our kids would shout, in unison "fall down!" and then laugh laugh laugh. They thought it was sooooo funny!

Aspen was so funny on the board-walk. She didn't want to step on the cracks, and then she kept bending down to look through them and see the water. I'm not exactly sure what she was thinking, but it was pretty funny to watch. Sawyer, on the other hand, loved running out to see the fishermen and sailboats. It's a beautiful place to watch the sun set.

Overall, we had a wonderful 3 day weekend. Always a lot of work packing up and then unpacking, but always worth it, too.

The second night was better with Aspen since we used the pack n play. But it did make us re-think the 5 day trip we had planned in a few weeks - half of the time which would be backpacking in - no way we would bring a pack n play. So, maybe we just need to come up with a different plan or a different trip until we do a few more "practice" camping test-runs. Wouldn't hurt if the kids were older and could carry a few pounds of gear, either :)

It is always so refreshing to just get away and be unplugged from everything for a few days.

Hooray for camping!

ps- good thing our swagger wagon account continues to grow...we have pretty much outgrown our Civic even with just two kiddos!

August 1, 2011

In the Beginning...

Tonight for our weekly Family Home Evening,
we went to the Rose Garden up the street.

Jacob rides past it on his bike-route home, so he got to stop half-way up the big killer hill to enjoy a nice little picnic and a bit of relaxing in a gorgeous setting (with his favorite peeps, no less!).

We ate our picnic and walked (well, let's be real, with two lively little ones there was lots of RUNNING going on as well!) around the garden, admiring the flowers.

And then, we talked about The Creation.

I asked Sawyer: "Do you know who made this garden?"

He answered (looking around) "Was it those guys, over there?" (a couple enjoying a stroll through the garden)

Gotta love kids. Since we have a garden and have worked in it, he was probably thinking about who planted and nurtured this particular garden, so I guess it wasn't a bad guess? His answer was a perfect opening for our conversation about our topic, nonetheless. We are, after all, the stewards of God's Creations.

We enjoyed talking a bit as we walked around the gardens, and then we decided to walk to one of our favorite nearby parks to let the kids burn off some energy.

I just looove long summer days. And I don't mind that we stayed out until the sun went down, that the kids got into the bathtub at 9:15pm and in bed at close to 10pm. I loved scrubbing their dirty feet - dirty from running around in the glorious dirt that God gave us. Sweaty little faces from enjoying running in the beautiful garden, and playing hard at the park. I let Aspen wear her new shoes to bed (upon her insisting) and I smiled when I peeked in at her a few minutes later and she had her little bum in the air - with her pink crocs under her. I love the smell of roses. I love my little family. I love that Jacob is always game for all of my ideas and for many many many summer picnics.

I love all of this. I am so grateful for the gifts God has given me - for all of his Creations, big and small.

If you haven't done so lately, I encourage you to take just a bit of time to stop and "smell the roses", as we did this evening.
It's wonderful for the soul!

next week's lesson: a continuation of talking about The Creation by visiting some more of God's creations - salmon - at the Ballard Locks. If anyone would like to join in, please let me know ;)

July 28, 2011

Swimming Lessons 101

This week, Sawyer started swimming lessons.

Every day, for two weeks.

Today is Thursday, and it is the first time the sun was out all week during his 9am lessons (good thing they keep the learning pool at 96 degrees!).


The first day, they line all the kids up just to kind of see where they are at. Kids have to be 3 to be in "real" lessons. I noticed a lot of the kids are closer to 4 in this class - but that's okay. My boy with a summer birthday will probably always be the youngest and smallest in the class, so he might as well get used to it (unless someone can convince me to wait until 6 to send him to kindergarten - which is what everyone is trying to do in this city...the trend it to send boys with summer birthdays at 6 instead of 5...but that's another discussion)

The first two days, he was in a class that had a boy teacher - the only boy teacher - and he thought it was really cool.

Then, for no apparent reason that I could see, they moved him up a level. I was worried he would be upset that he wasn't with teacher Tristan anymore...but then he got teacher Mary...and he loves her!

The hardest part about lessons, so far, is getting ourselves out the door by 8:30am. It's not that early, but to pack clothes, snacks, fresh towels, etc., and make sure that we down some breakfast before we head out - well, it's slightly tricky (especially when they tend to wake up close to 8am!). It has opened my eyes a bit to the fact that when Preschool starts this fall (same time and two blocks from the pool) I might even have to get myself up before the kids. It will be good for me :)

Wait, I LIED!

The HARDEST part about lessons, is keeping Aspen from running and jumping in the pool with all the other kids! I had to wrangle her on one hip while I snapped these photos today...the girl just wants to have fun, what can I say? And honestly, I'd love to jump in myself!

The BEST part about lessons, is to see my boy sit and listen and follow instructions and let a teacher gently push him beyond his level of comfort rather than me. It really does make a difference. It has been so much fun to see him having fun out there - and he is so cute, we got some special swim shampoo for him and he LOVES to take a shower after class. We wait in line and he just stands in the shower with his shampoo-covered buzz-cut-hair and he has a blast. He asked today "do we get to come back tomorrow?" and it makes me happy that he is enjoying his class, while learning important skills. It is really important to us that our kids learn how to swim properly, and also learn how to be safe around the water, since we are surrounded by it where we live.


It's a good thing summer finally came back today.
We are wading pool bound after naps...
and lucky for all of us, we will hit up the pool twice tomorrow-
once for lessons,
and again - for our weekly (and fave thing EVER) family swim!

Then, Aspen will have her chance.

Unlike her brother - she throws ALL caution to the wind.
She is one who would seriously run and jump in if we weren't looking.

Hooray for swim lessons and here's to lots more pool time this summer!

ps-if any locals want to join us at the Mounger Pool for Family Swim on Friday night - it happens from 5:30-7:30pm and on a nice night, you've got to get in line right away because if they reach capacity, they'll turn you away. They always have a theme, and music, and games going along with the event - and we always pack a picnic dinner and head over to the park right afterwards. We'd love company - it's SUCH fun and we look forward to it every week!

*for those of you not from Seattle...let's just say summer has been teasing us and taken her sweet time to arrive -and stay.

Quick note to summer:

My dearest Summer - please STAY this time, we love you so - we've been waiting for you since last winter, heck, even last fall. Don't tell fall, winter, or spring, but you are my FAVORITE season. Especially in Seattle, where you are PERFECT. Please stay a while - you can even extend your stay since your arrival was delayed. More than fine with me. You can even stay at our house, if you'd like. We have a couple of fun camping trips coming up, and dry/warm/sunny weather would be greatly appreciated - especially when we backpack with two toddlers. Thanks! Can't wait to see you at the wading pool, park, duck pond, beach, playground, and pool! Oh, and in our garden would be nice, too :)

July 24, 2011

Parks and Picnics

Our weekend (Friday & Saturday, at least) consisted of the following...


Photos(as in, I took family photos for my sister's family -- click here to see the sneak peek)
Naps for tired babies
(and a little cat nap for tired Uncle Taylor :)
Planting seeds in the garden for not as tired toddlers
Bike Riding
Chatting away for two sisters

more Park

We spent the whole day today with my sister, Kaitlin, and her very cute family, who came up to visit from Tacoma. We did pictures and then just relaxed and played the rest of the day, it was fabulous!

Here are just a few pics from Gasworks Park, where the kids got some practice in with the frisbee

(we kicked the soccer ball around too, for good measure)

We ended our fun day with throwing rocks in Lake Union and then celebrating little Alexandra's first birthday with some Cold Stone Creamery-goodness. I just love days like this!

Hope ya'll had a great weekend, too.

July 21, 2011


Last week, Sawyer and Aspen went to their first sleepover with friends, and I got to tag along.

To be quite honest, it was my first sleepover in a very loooong time, and I was super excited, too!

We all had a great time!

While the boys were off chasing each other around and being dinosaurs or dragons...the girls were very proudly sitting on the porch and eating their drippy popsicles for dessert.

I can't get over their faces.
Such cutie-pa-tuties!

It's so fun that they are getting old enough to really play together. We know they were friends up in heaven.

I am so thankful for good friends. That my kids have such great people in their life. And, I LOVE that their friends' mom is one of my best friends, too! We both whipped out the camera (both happen to be photographers) and we were sitting their shooting away and I was laughing because most people would think we are just silly girls...but we were just enjoying every minute. It's so nice when you are kindred spirits, soul sisters.

Thanks goes out to Allegra, Max, and Ruby for showing us a great time - for playing, eating, tubby time,late late night girl talk, sleeping in, and a yummy brunch. We might just have to do it again sometime soon! And extra thanks, to my very best friend, Jacob, for letting us steal away for a night.

Good times! Good friends!