Friday, May 30, 2014

A Late Anniversary Trip

Brandon and I had wanted to go to Seattle for our anniversary but decided to postpone our trip until the weather was a little nicer so that we could enjoy the city a little more.  It's been quite awhile since we've had a chance to get away like this and we were very thankful to all of our family who watched and entertained our kiddos while we were gone.  

Brandon and I left on Thursday afternoon and met up with Kendra and Andy at their favorite Turkish restaurant for dinner.  While we were there we were able to get an early sampling of the amazing humus they will be serving at their wedding.  Yummy!!!!  Then we drove over to see the apartment that they just leased together.  Made us reminiscent of our early days in our one bedroom apartment in Glendora.  Those really were simple and fun days just starting out.

The cute couple in their new place!!!

On Friday we spent the day doing touristy things.  We started the day with Bill Speidel's Underground Tour.  It was so interesting to learn about the history of the Seattle.  We learned that Seattle was first settled in the early 1850's but that in 1889 a fire destroyed practically the entire business district in the city.  Surprisingly, this may have been a good thing because the city had problems with flooding due to where it was originally built.  When the city rebuilt they decided to build retaining walls on both sides of the old streets.  They then filled in the middle and paved a new road on top.  So, basically now the shop fronts were a story lower than the street level.  Over time shops built up making this original 1st floor a basement and the gaps were bridged with the sidewalks that we now walk on.  Anyway, all in all it was a very interesting tour. 

There was a time when people actually used the tunnels beneath the current streets to get to stores and one of the ways that they lit these tunnels was buy installing skylights like the one in the picture above.  In the picture below you can see the skylight from the current sidewalks of the city.

After our tour it was off to Pike's Place Market to get some more flowers!!!

Then we walked to the space needle to check out some views of the city and to enjoy some coffee and kid free conversation before dinner.

On Saturday Morning we checked out the Gas Works Park before meeting up with Kendra and Andy for lunch and then heading home.  Gas Works Park contains remnants of the sole remaining coal gasification plant int he U.S.    

While at the park we met some friendly geese and took in some more views of the city.

Then it was home to our little clan who was as happy to see us as we were to see them.  It's so great to get away and also so great to come home.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Girls Trip!

Since moving up to Oregon, I have sincerely enjoyed the chance I've had to, for lack of a better word, reconnect with my youngest sister Kendra.  I haven't lived in the same state as Kendra in something like 14 years, which seems crazy.  I left for college when she was in 2nd grade and although we're a close family and I have spent a lot of time at home since, our 10 year age span has sometimes felt a lot larger than I'd like.  Because of this, it's been such a blessing to have this time up here with her.  It feels like she's grown up overnight and suddenly as she's planning her wedding and getting ready to begin a career in teaching the span in age doesn't seem quite as large.  

That being said, I was excited to plan a trip up to Seattle with my Mom and Katie to visit Kendra the weekend after Easter.  It was so fun to see where she lives and hangs out, to visit Seattle Pacific University and meet some of her friends, to go to her church, and to really just spend a little time where she does.  Seattle was busy and at times overwhelming with kids, but it was also so much fun!  I can see why she and Andy are enjoying living there so much.

Our hotel was within walking distance of the Space Needle so one of the first things we did, as we were waiting for Kendra to finish up at work, was to walk down and check it out.  Sadie immediately was so excited and dying to go to the top.  Guess she doesn't share my distaste for heights.

Next it was off to dinner at one of Andy and Kendra's favorite pizza places, Pagliaccis.  You can buy the pizza by the slice and it was soooo good.  We haven't found a pizza place we love here in Oregon, which is a big deal since we had a tradition in Glendora of doing pizza every Friday night.  Now if only Pagliaccis was a little bit closer.
My Silly Boy!!!

Saturday morning it was off to check out S.P.U. and to see where Auntie Kendy lives.  Her house was so cute although I don't envy sharing that space with 7 other girls.  Fun as it was in college I could never go back.

Then it was off to visit Andy at Starbucks where Auntie Katie once again couldn't resist spoiling this little one, but don't worry no on is blaming her he's way to cute for his own good.

Kendra then took us to Kerry Park so that we could take in this beautiful view of the city.

From there it was off to Pikes Place to ride the bronze pig, to watch fish being thrown, and to look at some of the most beautiful arrangements of flowers I've ever seen.

Only the best Aunties let their little nephews feed them.

Back at our hotel room it was time for a little break from all our walking and to taste some of the cupcakes my mom is going to make for the wedding.  She has become quite the cupcake master in the past few years and made 10 different variations for Kendra so that she could choose her favorites for her wedding and shower.
Finally after a complete and total Sadie melt down on the way to dinner we finally made it to the space needle.  After being out all day poor Sadie had had enough.  I don't remember what set her off but she cried nearly the entire way to dinner and for the first 10 minutes of dinner until I was about ready to lose my mind.  I nearly begged her to take a bite because I knew she was hungry and when she finally did it was literally a matter of a couple minutes until she said her first rational word and I knew we were going to be okay.  Apparently she's like her Mommy and gets a little bit grumpy when she is hungry.
Yes, that is the remainder of a hamburger in her hand.  As already mentioned, eating was a priority!

She was a much happier camper on the walk home.
This little guy somehow still had energy at the end of the day.  So we ran in down the hall a few times...
and watched Saving Mr. Banks until he finally crashed around 9:30.

On Sunday we attended Kendra and Andy's church, Bluesky.  I had heard so much about it so it was fun to finally be able to attend a service there.
Goodbye to Seattle for now, and to Kendra and Andy, but I'm already looking forward to a return trip with Brandon in two weeks.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Wallaces

Our good friends the Wallaces came to visit us over Easter weekend, and can I just say that when you move away from ALL of your friends getting to spend a few hours, let alone a few days, with people you consider dear friends is such a tremendous blessing!!!   Before their arrival on Saturday we busied ourselves getting the house ready and setting up beds for everyone, wondering how 5 kids and 4 adults would feel in or little space.  We discovered soon after their arrival that it felt very much as if we were all one big family, just as it had back home in Glendora.  Everyone settled in quickly and we spent some much needed time catching up and enjoying having our families together once again.  Even the kids picked up right where they left off, except pleasantly with slightly less fighting as I guess they've all grown up a bit since we were together last.

It was so sweet to see these two together again.  They were beyond excited to see one another and it was so fun to watch their little friendship continue to grow.

I must give a quick disclaimer that Andrea took most of the pictures I’m going to post.  She does such a great job! I love that when I look at them I remember our time together just the way I’d want to.  She captures the beauty of the farm and the life we have here, the sweetness of each of our kids along with their unique personalities and attitudes, and all the silliness that is life with toddlers.

We were excited to show everyone around the dairy.  We introduce everyone to Sven and Olaf and all the other animals we met a long the way.

Olaf and Sven
Dave and Titus meeting Olaf.
The Rooster
Eggs we collected.
Fayette and Magic
Riding Burnadette
Pretending Burnadette's a Bull.

Saying hi to the mommies in the maternity pen.
Feeding cows with Uncle Robert.
Too tired to walk home!

Sunday was Easter so we had a chance to take the Wallace family to our new church and then enjoyed Easter dinner and an egg hunt with my family.

Love the look on his face as the girls twirl behind him.

Ryan feeds calves on Sundays so we also spent some time out in the calf barn on Sunday.

On Monday Brandon had to work and the Wallaces graciously watched Sadie and Wyatt for me so that I could run Cooper to the Doctor.  He'd been feeling pretty miserable for the past couple of days and when I took him in I found out that he had an earache and 4 teeth coming in.  I was so relieved to know that there was a good reason for all of the grumpiness that we'd endured and that I'd get my sweet boy back soon.

While I was gone the Wallaces discovered how much fun kids can have in a big pile of cotton seed.

On a return trip to the pile, after it had been restocked, Brandon showed us that big kids can have fun on it too!

After lunch we took a trip to Woodburn to check out the Tulip festival with the kids.

On Tuesday Brandon took the day off and the guys were able to find a few minutes to do their "guy bonding."

Then after naps we took the kids to an indoor trampoline park.  Everyone, including Dave and Brandon, had a blast and came home worn out.

We couldn't get enough of this little one. Sadie and Wyatt just loved playing with Titus and I didn't mind either.  He's such a sweet and happy little guy.

As Dave and Andrea finished packing all Sadie and Wyatt wanted to do was play with Titus.  In fact I couldn't even get a good morning from Wyatt.  He went straight from bed to playing with Titus.

By Wednesday my happy boy was back.  Yay!!!

These were my favorite pictures from the past few days. The faces in the first two absolutely crack me up.  They were watching something on T.V. but seriously between Titus' hand on Cooper, to the apple in Georgias hand, to the blown up glove in Wyatts, I think they pretty much speaks for themselves.

This one I love for obvious reasons.  I am so thankful to have friends that love our children.  I couldn't stop thinking as I watched Dave read to the kids that I wonder if we'll ever find friends who will make the kind of investment in our kids that our small group down in Glendora did.  I know we'll find friends that will love our kids and I know that we have family now so it isn't a necessity in the same way it was in Glendora, but these friends who took care of us and did life with us down there definitely still have a piece of our hearts, and that was never more felt more strongly than as I watched our families together this week.
As we said goodbye I couldn't help but feel that although my heart was full and I was so thankful for our time together, it was so bittersweet.  They were here just long enough from me to imagine that they lived just across town again and that we could spend time with them again in a few days if we wanted to, and yet I knew that wasn't so.  I also kept thinking about how glad I was that we’d invested enough into one another’s lives that we really could pick up right where we left off.  I've realized that there are some relationships that fade away pretty quickly with time, and others that will always be there whether days or weeks or even years go by between times together.  I also couldn't stop thinking about the special memories we made with our small group in California.  Things like welcoming children into the world together simply cannot be replicated, ever.   So as they drove away I cried.  Thankfully, I had brothers close by to take me out to lunch and make me laugh.  I’m thankful beyond words for good friends and for family!