Tuesday, September 14, 2010

School Days, Happy Days

Sumer was a *tad* longer than anticipated this summer (teeny weeny four-day strike, long since forgotten, ready to move on, yada yada), and the first day of school finally arrived. Guyan was totally ready for fourth grade, and Owen all set for first.

Guyan's teacher this year is Mr. Hall. Guyan says that it's a perfect match, he thinks Mr. Hall is awesome already. I've been impressed with Mr. Hall over the past couple years--the man seems to have high standards and expectations. Guyan and I think he'll do just fine...he's going to rock fourth grade.

After Guyan was delivered to his classroom, it was time to get Owen into his. His teacher is Mrs. Pottle. I've known her for a few years through Jazzercise and the gym I go to now. I don't know her teaching style too much (all the first grade teachers are supposed to be great at Cascadia), but I do now that she's energetic and well-loved by the kids. That's gotta be good!

So Owen let me take just a couple of pictures of him, then wanted me to leave. Pronto. So I did. As I turned around, I swear he was needing me. I rushed back "you okay? want me to stay longer?" And what did my big first grader say? "I'm fine, Mom. Fine. Now bye."
I'm thinking next year he won't let me walk him in or take pictures. Oh well...at least Guyan will humor me.
Oh! And by the way...it was not my intention to dress my kids alike on the first day of school--it was theirs, promise. We had found these shirts at Old Navy ["Cooler Than Anybody Here"] and had to have them. Both boys insisted on wearing them for their first day of school outfit. Love it! Wish they'd had the shirt in my size, too!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Happy Campers, One Crabby One, and One Very Happy Dog at Fort Ebey

Our first of two weekend camping trips this summer was at Fort Ebey, on Whidbey Island. This state campground is known for its old gun battery, and lots and lots of mountain biking trails. The boys will remember it for the gun battery, Sean for the trails, and me for the cold and damp weather. Guess who the crabby camper was?

Freckle was not the crabby camper. She loved being included on the family trip, and was a natural camper...that's all she ever did before she joined our family, I guess.

One crabby camper, and one happy camper, looking slightly manic.

When we first went out the the gun battery, some deer were out grazing. Guyan thought this was just great, and got as close as he could. The deer didn't even care, and even posed for the camera.

The gun battery had all sorts of historical information...used in WWII...yada yada yada. Maybe I'd remember more if I didn't wait a month to post about it.

All suited up for the bike ride! The boys and I quickly discovered that the trails were a bit beyond our comfort level. Sean did some solo riding, and got a few scrapes as souvenirs.

So the main reason I was a crabby camper was the weather. Ironically, this is probably one reason Sean was a happy camper. When it started drizzling, he put up his blue skies. So very proud of himself in this picture. I took it from the relative dryness and warmth of the tent.

Whenever we go to a nice place in nature, Tree Pose is a necessity.

This picture makes my feet cold just looking at it.
But this picture....ahhhh, peace.

Before we headed back home, we had to stop again at the bunker...

...with a few trips up and down the ladder, watched by nervous parents. It was a long way down!

Next was a trip into Coupeville. I wanted to get some Penn Cove mussels to take home as a souvenir and make for dinner. In the downtown historic part of Coupeville, I couldn't find them anywhere...except under the pier. They were ALL OVER. The boys didn't understand why we didn't just get them there. I finally did find some at a local grocery store. Mmmmmm....as long as you don't think about eating their digestive systems and all their contents, too.

This pier is so cool--so old! Coupeville is a really old town relative to other cities or towns in Washington state. Can't remember the specifics (it's been a month, folks)...Google it if you want more info :-)

On the way home, Sean had to shore up Deception Pass Bridge.

And with the sun coming out, and mussels on ice in the cooler, I was turning in to a happy camper (tree pose!).

On vacation with these guys, how could I not be a happy camper? ...I probably shouldn't answer that. My feet get cold just thinking about it, too.

Happy Campers at Diablo Lake

The camping at Diablo lake was fabulous! Located right off Highway 20 in the North Cascades Recreation Complex, you only see it for a second as you're driving through. But spend a few days camping there, and you can see a lot more.

Like clouds...we were looking at clouds.


We also used my Grandpa Black's Dutch oven. True, we only did potatoes in it, but my, they were great baked potatoes. Each trip, we'll get a bit more adventurous. But we're not going to catch squirrel to roast, like a library book suggested. Ewww.


(especially since Sean is so happy with his hot dog and beer)

Lake explorations...



...and fishing (no catching).

The boys found these leaves and wanted to keep them forever and ever and ever...how about just on the blog?

Sean taught Guyan how to fish a bit...

...and Owen how to open a can of chili in case the fishing wasn't good (which it wasn't).

And I taught them to appreciate a beautiful place with a little bit of yoga. Tree pose has become quite the family tradition.

Oh! This camping trip was also on our anniversary--twelve years of bliss! Happy Us!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Foam Fingers

We went to a Mariners game last week. It was on the boys' Summer Bucket List, right up there with camping ("check!"). Thanks to Grandma Rae for some Christmas money earmarked specifically for Mariners tickets, we were able to get to a game.

The boys insisted on foam fingers for a souvenir. Authentic from Safeco, and they do great double duty as machine guns and/or rabbit ears.
Guyan REALLY wanted to catch a foul ball. When it got to about the eighth inning, and still no ball, he started to get ticked off. He apparently didn't see the other 30,000 people there that were all clamoring and praying for their own foul ball. But here, in this picture taken in the third inning or so, he had that gleam in his eye, mitt at the ready, visions of grandeaur playing out in his mind...


What have I done all my life without a foam finger? The things I could use it for..."YOU! Guyan!! Go clean your room!"...

Despite all our foam fingers, fancy signs, and MLB paraphernalia touting the prowess of the Mariners, they lost, keeping with their game plan this year. Consistency is key.
Tired, tuckered out kiddo. With a foam finger.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fish Don't Need to Know How to Dive (do they?)

Owen and Guyan had swimming lessons the past two weeks. For both of them, the swimming came along great in the second week. Very impressive!

Owen had a hard (but humorous) time with diving, though.

video

Fortunately, he got a lot better at swimming. Sean and I figure if he was only able to learn one of them this go 'round, we prefer it to be the swimming.

video

And Guyan? I think we can officially call him a swimmer now. His goal for this summer was to be able to go in the deep end of the Newton Wave Pool and meet the Canadian lifeguards' standards. High standards, let me tell you! We need to make another trip up there soon to see if he passes the test.

video

Oh-No-Guy!

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Liz, her husband Dustin, and their absolutely adorable little kiddo Nolan came to visit. I think I got a couple pictures of others besides Nolan.

'Da boyz.

Nolan spent a lot of time sucking his toes. I wondered if my boys could still do it. Apparently, yes, they can.

Nolan would like to be a veteranarian or a dentist. He's not sure. Freckle was really good with him. Really.

See the blue eyes? You can trace the path of inheritance in this photo pretty well.

And on a random note, this picture of my dad. It REALLY makes me want to open a Facebook account for him and use this as his profile. So tempting.

And one final picture of the cutie pie. Awwww....I remember giving Guyan a bath in this sink. Today, he could probably only wash his feet in it (but we won't, Grandma, don't worry).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Swear I Thought I Blogged About This...

I logged on this morning to blog about our most recent summer adventures, and realized I hadn't blogged about ANY. How can this be? How did I miss the field trip to Seattle? to Seaside? visitin with family? All of that? I know how. I post pictures to Facebook, make a caption, and then after a few days of percolating, I remember that as my blog post. Just not the same. So, in a nutshell, here's what we've been up to in the last month or so.

The day after school let out, the boys and I went on a field trip to Seattle. We visited the Pike Place Market and picked up some Father's Day gifts for Sean, and also saw the gum wall, also at Pike Place Market. It's just below where the Fish Market or Market Spice Shop, on Post Alley.

The boys rated it Disgusting and Cool at the same time. I concur.

Next stop on that field trip was the Seattle Public Library. An architectural marvel built during the boom times of the late '90's. I don't think Ferndale's new library will be anything like it (doesn't fit the "Pioneer Theme" that some vocal Ferndalians are pushing hard for).

Did I mention this field trip was also with Grandma Black? She drove, took us out to dinner, and went along with all our tourist destinations of choice...just as long as we went with her to the Pacific Fabric Outlet and picked up Baby Nolan from the airport (he stayed with Grandma while Liz had a conference in Seattle).

Love this picture--it's at the highest public access point of the library.

Our next adventure, for the boys and I, was to Seaside, Oregon, with Grandma and Grandpa Black, and Uncle Deke and Cousin Dory. Deke had secured a three bedroom apartment on the eight floor. Awesome!

The kids played on the beach (a little too chilly to play in the ocean, though)...

...and Deke, Dory, Guyan and I paddled boats. HARD WORK.

On the way back from Seaside, we stopped in Tacoma to meet up with Sean and visit with Aunt Traci, and Cousins Justine and Tanisha. This was about two weeks before Justine and Darryl's baby boy Zy'Rheel was born, July 10th. Congratulations to them! While we were at this park, the boys found a frisbee that has since become an important part of our summer vacation.

Now we're getting close to present day. This past weekend our whole family went to White Rock, BC to play on the beach. It has got to be the nicest beach and beach town around here. I love it. The boys played frisbee for a while out on a sandbar when the tide was out.

After the beach, we trudged up the hill (not sure of the grade, but think San Francisco-hill-type). We thought this would be a difficult climb for the boys, but they loved it. Owen stopped a couple times...but only to do some jumping jacks and push-ups. Love it.

At the top of the hill, we stopped for some silliness...

...before the races started. This was the Tour de White Rock Criterion. The Men's Professional race was 60 km--sixty times around a 1 km block. Very fast, and very cool.

Right in the center of the photo, you can see a guy in a light blue jersery with orange glasses. He was the eventual winner, and this was the point in the race that he was lapping the pack.

Success! His name is Svein Tuft, and he also won the 130 km Road Race the next day.

And finally, to yesterday. The boys and I went up to Stanley Park to meet up with some friends (Carla, Cavan, and Tommy Lyons) to bike around Stanley Park. Guyan and I had it easy on our fancy bikes with gears, but Owen really had to work! Small bike, small legs, 5+ miles. He did it without complaining (even in my Bad Mom moment of forgetting to have him drink water as we went--it wasn't hot, and I just forgot...) and was an incredible trooper.

And lastly, Guyan played a little golf after the bike ride, and the Lyons went home. Both boys said this was their favorite part at Stanley Park--Guyan, the putting, and Owen, the caddying for his brother. A great match.