Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Long Overdue Trip to Seaside, Part 1

Our family hadn't visited the beach in nearly three years. This sad truth was made more tragic by the fact that we live less than 2 hours from the coast. About 6 months ago, I snagged a deal for a hotel in Seaside, figuring we'd surely be able to fit it into our schedule during spring break, if not earlier. As it turns out, we didn't manage to use it literally until the day it expired, but we did get to use it! Jeremy was able to get home from an upriver trip and come with us without any trouble, and we had a wonderful time as a family. (As an aside, if your goal, like ours, is to enjoy Seaside without any crowds, a Wednesday-Friday stay in May will accomplish it.) We decided to go south through Portland and out to Tillamook before heading north to Seaside. I am so glad we did, because it afforded us an opportunity to revisit the very fun Tillamook Forestry Center. 

 It was a beautiful day for a picnic. 

I love this footbridge. The boys really wanted to hike some of the nature trails, but we're "saving that for next time," because Ascha isn't a big fan of walking for the sake of walking just yet.

 It was fun to see all three kids in this display, being fish. The last time we were here, Aric was younger than Ascha is now and Ascha wasn't around yet.
The high point, of course, is the fire tower. Taylor and Aric are waving at me from the top.

After we'd worked up an appetite, we made our way to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for some ice cream and cheese samples. We then meandered up the coast, stopping at a few shops along the way, before settling into our hotel and catching a bite of seafood.

The next morning, we found that we were the only ones out and about on a rainy Thursday morning. Jeremy showed the boys how it's done in the arcade. 

Ascha took a joyous ride on the "Sea Horse." The carousel operator said all the kids want to ride this horse, so it was nice for her to be the sole rider. No waiting in line or jostling for position.

To round out our morning, we headed to the aquarium. 

The kids loved it all, but the highlights were the seals and the touch tanks.

We walked around the promenade and enjoyed this little display about sharks. Don't the kids look frightened? (They think so, anyway.)

Our explorers hanging out with THE explorers. I think the boys enjoyed picking up some Lewis and Clark history after having a good year-long break from it. Taylor had asked the previous year if we could ever visit any cool historical site that was NOT associated with Lewis and Clark, because he was tired of learning about them. :-) Since the answer, here in the Pacific Northwest, is pretty much "no," I really eased off the local history last year and we looked at world history and specific facets of local history not having to do with L&C. I'm glad the boys are up for more Lewis and Clark again since Taylor will be focusing on them as he studies Washington state history this year.

Monday, August 20, 2012

School Projects

Both boys entered the Battle Ground School District Art Show. I was so impressed with the level of art they produced during their art class this year!
Aric received an "Honorable Mention" ribbon. Congratulations, Ari!

Taylor's tree is my favorite of all the pieces he created this year. It's beautiful.

Here are a few more samples of Aric's art work during "Celebration of Learning Night."

Taylor created several short stories during his classroom time and he spent quite a bit of time at home learning about Native Americans for history. Here are the items he chose to display in his 3rd/4th grade classroom for the Celebration of Learning. Notice the brown felt "puzzle bag." He learned to sew and bead and fit the pieces together to make a bag that securely holds treasures and is tricky to open. It was a neat final project that Aric and Ascha chose to duplicate just for fun, so all three kids have special bags for their treasures now. 

Taylor chose several art class pieces to display, as well. Both boys are so talented!

During the annual "Night to Remember," Aric's class displayed their knowledge of American history through song and recitation. They quoted the Preamble to the Constitution, sang several patriotic and traditionally American songs, and performed plays. Aric's play was "Why the Bear has a Stumpy Tail," and he was a mouse. He did an excellent job acting and saying his lines. He told me the first day of practice that he already knew his whole part. I asked him how, and he said, "I just have to follow the rabbit! The mouse always say a little something right after she says her lines." Thankfully, the rabbit remembered her lines, so Aric did, too.

Taylor's class also did a play, but it had a very different format. The teacher used a full class day and gave each group free rein to perform the play however they chose. The students set, blocked, costumed, and directed one another. Taylor's group decided to speak with accents, which ended up being hilarious. The thespians had a difficult time not laughing their way through the play, but the audience giggled along with them and it was a wonderful success.

I am so proud of my boys. They have both worked hard, learned a lot, and produced wonderful memories during their 2011/2012 school year!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mother's Day Ski 

For Mother's Day, Jeremy and the kids took me to the lake. The air temperature was over 90, so it felt good to cool off, but the water was pins-and-needles cold. The kids enjoyed tubing and Jeremy and I each enjoyed taking a refreshing ski. It was my best Mother's Day yet!

The AWANA Grand Prix, 2012

Ascha and Daddy designed and built this hot pink car with a silver racing stripe. The boys used their cars from last year and revamped them for speed. Ascha's wasn't very fast, but it was pretty. The boys', on the other hand, did pretty well. Both made it past their first two heats into some semi-final action, but neither car quite made it to the top. Nevertheless, it was a memorable night full of fun.

Woodland Tulip Festival

Fort Vancouver

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our Pitchers

Both boys loved trying their hand at pitching this year, and they both improved as the season went on.

Easter in Montana

We spent Easter in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley with our families.
Ascha helping Grammy bake
Ascha and her favorite cousin enjoying a smattering of spring snow
The girls had an easy egg hunt, while the boys had a traditional challenging egg hunt, put on by Grumpy and the uncles.
Hanging out with Great-Grandma Jen on Easter
Ascha hamming it up at Grandma Janet and Grandpa Lyn's house

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

April Musings

We have really cute kids! Ascha usually waits until one or both of us parents tucks her in, but this night, she put herself to bed and promptly fell asleep... in our bed, not hers... and in my gardening hat.

Aric had a wonderful time on Cowboy Day dressing up and enjoying the special day with his friends at school. He sure looked the part.

Each of our children is so unique. We recently read the story of Solomon asking for wisdom. As a lead-in, I asked the kids what they'd ask for if they could have anything. Aric said, "All the legos in the, wait! All the boy toys in the world!" Taylor said he wished he could have a super-special brain that could think up all sorts of amazing inventions. Ascha said she would choose a princess doll house and lots of princesses. It was fun to see so much revealed about each one's personality in such a simple Q&A.

When it comes to interesting news, the dog is not about to be left out. Not only does our cat love to swallow earplugs and rubberbands whole, but our dog eats leashes. EATS. As in, consumes in entirety. He snuck off into a corner and in a matter of minutes, chewed off all but the latch-end of his 5 foot leash and swallowed it whole. After three nervous days of watching and waiting, he is once again "unleashed." (Which is worse - the bad pun or impolite references to bodily functions?)