Tuesday, August 26, 2008

10 Highlights of summer 2008

Well, I obviously didn't do a great job of keeping my blog up-to-date with our goings on this summer. Today is my last day of summer vacation, so as a tribute to summer 2008, here are 10 highlights from our wonderful summer (in no particular order).
1) New Mexico Trip. I actually did post about this, so I don't need to add any details here. It was so fun, and the boys are such great travelers!
2) Sunriver. We had two Sunriver trips this summer. I love going there! It's so relaxing, yet there is so much to do that you can't help but be super active. The boys and I had a great 5 days in Sunriver in July with Brittany, Rory, and Grandma Dawni. Our days consisted of walking to the village, riding a pony (Owen), playing at the pool, playing at the park, going into Bend, going to the High Desert Museum, watching for wildlife, oh, and Goody's (the old fashioned ice cream shop). This past weekend we went back to Sunriver, and this time Daddy went too! We met Brittany, Pat, Rory, Evan, Renee, Brian, and BrieAnne for a great 3 days. I was sick with a cold, so I wasn't as energetic, but we still had fun!
3) Otter Beach. For those of you that don't live in Corvallis, Otter Beach is the outdoor pool at our city pool. However, it's so much more than just a pool. There are baby slides, a big winding slide, a river current, and lots of other fun water play structures. During the weeks that we were actually in Corvallis this summer, we probably averaged 3 to 4 Otter Beach trips per week. It is SO much fun! I never managed to take my camera there. These pictures are from the Corvallis Parks & Rec website.
4) Ladies and Lads. Also known as Ladies and Babies. Ladies and Lads was a get-away weekend in Tahoe consisting of 4 ladies and 4 lads. The 4 ladies were my friends Caitlin, Lisa, and Trisha, and the 4 lads were Owen, Quincy, Finn (Caitlin's son--one month older than Quincy), and Clayton (Trisha's son--4 months older than Quincy). We stayed at Caitlin's uncle's beautiful "cabin" (and by "cabin" I mean palatial, top-of-the-line living) at Sugar Bowl where we made wonderful meals, played outside in the mountain air, swam a little in some lakes, and even got to go to the Tour de Fat festival (as in Fat Tire beer--my fave). It was so great to get to spend time with these ladies and the lads. I also discovered that, except for the whole polygamy thing, polygamists have got a great thing going. The communal living with so many moms was awesome! We had super delish meals made from scratch and a clean kitchen and house all the while with very happy babies who were being played with non-stop. It was like a well oiled machine. Can't wait for Ladies and Lads 2009!
5) Santa Rosa. We spent about two weeks in the SF Bay Area based out of Abuela and Noni Jo's house in Santa Rosa. I should really make a whole separate list of highlights just from Santa Rosa. We have so much fun when we go there!
*Howarth Park: this is the best park! Besides an incredible play area complete with spurting fountains, volcanoes with water for lava that the kids can control, a faux old-time town front, and livestock statues, there are pony rides, a petting zoo, a carousel, a mini train, and a lake where you can rent paddle boats and canoes. This is a favorite spot in Santa Rosa!
*Safari West: we went to Safari West for the second time. It's a gorgeous wildlife preserve in the hills between Santa Rosa and Calistoga. There are many, many, many different species of animals and birds. I think the highlight this time was a 7-week-old giraffe.
6) Great America and San Francisco. Brady flew down and met us for 5 days of our California trip. Brady loves amusement parks, so his special request was to go to Great America. We had a long and fun day there! Brad and Natalia met us for most of the day as well. Owen rode so many rides, and he discovered that he loves roller coasters. He's not tall enough for most of the big rides, but they have a large collection of kids rides there. Great America has also added a water park, so we got to cool off in the middle of the day.
The next day we headed back to Santa Rosa via San Francisco, and I got to catch up with some long-time friends. A super highlight of my summer was getting to meet up with my friend Bea and her 3 kids in Golden Gate park. We all rode the carousel, and then the kids all played very hard in the wonderfully redone kids' playground. The coolest part was this cement slide that you go down on pieces of cardboard. So fun! From there we rode the cable cars and then picked up Steph and had dinner with her at a very cool (and kid friendly) restaurant called Q. We got Quincy an adorable shirt from there.

7) The Olympics. Watching the Olympics was so exciting! And thank goodness for Tivo so we didn't have to stay up until 2am all the time. Also so Owen could see some of the Olympics. He got really into it. He loved watching the USA/China basketball game, but had a really hard time deciding who he was routing for since he likes Yao Ming but also the USA, especially Lebron. He also got very interested in swimming and, of course, is now a big Michael Phelps fan. In fact, he told me that he wants to learn to swim like Michael Phelps. He even pointed him out on a magazine cover.
8) Fairs. As in the Sonoma County Fair and the Oregon State Fair. We got to go to the Sonoma County Fair twice while we were in Santa Rosa, and we went to the Oregon State Fair with Grandma, Grandpa, Brittany, and Rory yesterday. Owen and Quincy both love seeing the animals. Quincy is fearless and wants to walk right into the barns, stables, and pens with the animals. Owen was such a big boy and rode many rides in the kids midway all by himself. We all had more than our fair share of fried food. A really fun thing about the Sonoma Country Fair is that they have horse racing, so we got to go to the races. Brady and Abuela especially had fun taking Owen to the paddock to look at the horses in the upcoming races. Owen and Abuela were good at picking the winners!
9) Our Back Yard. Thanks (and I mean many, many, MANY thanks) to Annanne, Abuela, and Noni Jo, we had some major work done in our back yard this summer. We extended our patio to the fence with cobblestone pavers, and put in a cobblestone path around the perimeter of our NEW lawn! It's our little haven out there. Quincy is enamored with the little red car, so he goes out there, climbs into the car, and then will wait for a very long time for someone to come and motor him around the track. Owen loves to run laps and always asks people to race him and commands his dad to "make the call" during the race. I am happy to see all the plants and flowers around the edge of the yard thriving.
10) Just being together. This year will be a big change for everyone in our household because I am going back to work full-time. Because of that, I have really and truly savored this summer of having so much time to be with Owen and Quincy doing wonderful and fun things. I am so grateful to Brady for making it work for me to be home half-time last year. I know we all benefited from it in various ways. I also know the kids are happy, healthy, safe, and secure enough for me to go back to work full-time. While the mom part of me is grieving the end of summer, the teacher part of me is excited for what I know will be a great school year.

There are so many, many more highlights that I should have included. We went to the zoo with Grandma Dawni, had a ton of fun on July 4th, did so many things in California that I didn't even mention, and had some great visitors to Oregon. Basically, we were too busy having fun for me to document it all.


Monday, August 18, 2008

A Little Change to the Boys' Room

The elementary school teacher (and now literacy coach) in me has always been bothered by the way we stored/displayed the kids' books on a regular book shelf. I had a clear vision of what I wanted, so I called Grandpa Stan and asked him to help me with a project. He met us at Home Depot an hour later. After several hours of careful labor by Grandpa Stan, the boys now have book rails in their room. Yea! The book shelf moved into the closet where it is now being used as storage for books while we rotate books through the book rails.
Thanks, Grandpa! It looks and functions exactly the way I wanted it to. The boys love it too. Owen thanks you for his new bookshelf, and Quincy thanks you for his new climbing apparatus (hopefully those mollies will hold 26 pounds).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How do they figure out "maybe" so early?

I have so much blogging to catch up on, and one of these days I'll get started, but for now here's just a little tidbit.

A month ago, or maybe two, Owen was requesting something as we were driving somewhere. I can't even remember if this particular request was to do something special or eat some special treat or what, but I remember the ensuing dialogue:
Mommy (answering Owen's request): Maybe.
Owen (excitedly): Yippee! "Maybe" means yes!

I laughed a little out loud and a little to myself because I remember being a kid and thinking exactly the same thing about the "maybe" response.