Northwest Natives

There is no doubt about it, we are raising full blooded, native to the Northwest children. Friday we went down the local market for the last in a series of BBQ dinners and live music. It poured rain into Rylee’s hood as we huddled under the too-small tent meant to provide shade from the blazing sun not a downpour.

Today, we set out for a free ferry that transports people to a tiny, man made island where we spent the morning enjoying the cloudy, dark day.

Where is Caleb?

Much awaited fun with Nana and Papa

Rylee enjoyed building a princess castle and playing with the horses and knights while Caleb and Kyler enjoyed stomping on her moat, knocking the horses over, trying to run away with the knight and crashing into the castle with a giant monster truck. Poor girl! Thank goodness God gave Audrey to her, they will delight together in all things girl before I know it.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane….it’s a Buzz

What are they all looking at so intently you wonder? Their beloved Uncle Buzz and his kite (long story, yes he has a name but to them, he has ALWAYS been Buzz) of course. He busted out his kite during our overcast day at Deception Pass and the kids were mesmerized by it. Apparently kite skills are a learned thing….when Christopher took the reigns for his first time, we all had to duck and cover!

Daddy’s latest adventures

On the summit of Mt. Hood 11,249ft.

What are you willing to lose a night’s sleep over? When Pen, Marshall, and I were trying to figure out how best to climb Mt. Hood AND not miss much time away from our families, we decided the best idea was to simply forget about the whole sleeping thing. So we met up around 9pm on Sunday, arrived at Mt. Hood at around 1:30AM and were on the trail by 2AM. After consuming quite a number of energy drinks, candy bars, and caffeinated beverages on the drive south, we must have been pretty amped up because we covered the first 3,000ft. of elevation gain in only 2 hours. We kept up the speedy pace until we reached the Hogsback a ridge formation 500ft shy of the summit. After a small break, we donned the helmets, ditched our trekking poles, and began to use our ice axes as we ascended about 500ft. of icy 45-50 degree slope. Once we reached the summit, we still needed to remove the crampons and scramble up the knife edge summit to the true summit where we enjoyed a bit of hackey-sack, took some pictures, and were amazed at how much smoke was in the air from all of the forrest fires we have been having. Five hours of climbing was certainly worth hanging out on the summit for about 45 minutes. We put all our gear back on and headed down the mountain to return to the car by 10:45. Five hours up, three hours down, and 9 hours total in the car. All in all it was great company, a fun climb, and believe it or not, Marshall was the only one to fall asleep on the way home.


Happy 2nd Birthday Kyler

July 6th was Kyler’s birthday and it turned out to be a great day.  The weather was sunny and clear which made the planned day at the beach especially enjoyable.  We headed up to Edmonds to the ferry dock for some beach combing fun.  Karissa had discovered that this year was having some reccord low tides so we figured it would be a good time for discovering sea life.  So after lunch, the tide was going out so we went discovering.  Between our rock turning over expert Auntie Stephie and our adventurous neighbors we found some pretty amazing things.  Whether it was giant costco cupcakes, gladiator crabs, anenomies, starfish, or just hanging out with our dear friends, there was much fun to be had.  Here is a sampling of the day:

Kyler had a great time, especially with the cupcakes.  At the end of the day I looked over at Karissa and said, it feels like Kyler has been two for a long time.  He is such a joy to have around, he lights up the room bringing laughter and smiles wherever he goes.  We love you Kyler!


The food of summer

Since the year I was born, nearly every year I’ve picked berries at Harvold’s Berry Farm in Carnation. This year the strawberries were super late with all our cold weather, but summer is finally here. We had a wonderful time plucking berries and filling our baskets with 22 pounds of bright red berries. The only thing better than this is picking raspberries, we can’t wait!

Our garden, also slow to grow this year with the cold (almost all our seedlings died in late April just after they were planted because they were covered with SNOW-it was tragic), is finally helping fill our table with yummy things.

Kyler is becoming quite adept at eating cherries, taking care to smash them first to remove the pit all by himself.


The Boardwalk Revisited

Call me a glutton for punishment or just stubborn, but I decided this morning to head out to the wetlands for another go at the boardwalk with the boys.  Alright, that is not quite the truth…what really happened was that the boys were going ballistic after being cooped up insdide for so many days with Audrey so Karissa looks at me and tells me to take the boys outside to the park.  So off I went, fully aware of what happened the last time the boys went to the boardwalk.  If you did not yet read about this adventure, you can read about what happened here.  So Caleb, Kyler, Maggie and I decided to tackle the boardwalk again.  This time  was not as adventurous and the only one to get wet was Maggie.  We even managed to grab a few pictures.


Diggin' in the wetlands
The boys and Maggie
A self portrait attempt



Birth on 405 Southbound? Almost!

Well, we didn’t actually have Audrey on the side of 405, but it was close.  Karissa woke up on the 18th, two days past her due date, with contractions that would not allow her to sleep.  This of course is the day after her 30th birthday where we stayed up way too late with our dear friends.  Karissa and I went to bed hoping that everyone would sleep in, but of course little Kyler was up and ready to go by his usual 7am.  One way or another she was entering a long day without much reserve.


When we didn’t show up for church the rumor mill was out in full force so the text messages started coming fast and furious but we had nothing to report.  The kids all woke up from their naps and it was back to letting mom rest by getting the kids outside.  We played with the neighbor kids, and filled out the evening with more scooters, bikes, and bubbles.  On a side note, we live next to some of the best neighbors.  Their three boys (6, 12, and 14) love to play with our kids and seem to actually enjoy it!  I would continue to check in with Karissa throughout the evening but although the contractions were growing in their intensity, they were still not rapid enough to warrant a call to the midwife. 


A few hours later the kids were put to bed and Karissa and I knew that it was going to be that night sometime so we decided to pass the time with a movie.  At about 10:30pm the contractions really started kicking in hard and fast so we called the midwife.  She told us to meet her in an hour so we began to get things ready.  We woke up Rylee, put her in the car (she was so groggy she couldn’t do it herself) and headed down the freeway to the midwife. 


This is where things got interesting.  Between Karissa adjusting the temperature in the van from full bore AC to heat and back about 20 times, her squeezing my hand until I thought it might fall off, and the very specific driving remarks coming from her it was one of the more interesting drives of my life.  However, at one point I looked over and thought, this would not be good if we did not make it in time.

The love that Rylee has in her heart for Audrey is so precious.


We finally made it to the birth center around 11:50 pm.  We got Karissa into a beautiful room with lit candles and a pre-drawn tub.  She immediately got into the tub and just about three minutes later we met Audrey Rose at 12:02AM on May 19th.  It made for a long day but we could not have asked for a greater gift from God.  Audrey was in great shape, completely beautiful, and the most perfect little head.


Three hours later we were heading North on 405 praising God for this gift and that the freeway was not the location of the birth now knowing just how close it was.



A Walk to Remember

As you all know, the Pizza and Root Beer myth has been busted, but that has not stopped us from trying to get this labor kick started. Walking has usually been effective for bringing on contractions, so while I was at church with the young adult ministry on Thursday night, Karissa decided to go for a walk at a local park with the three kids and Nana (her mom).

Nana had come over to help out while I was at church and they had gone to Burgermaster to grab some grub and took it to the park. After finishing their food, everyone headed out to the boardwalk for a nice leisurely stroll through the wetlands. Little did they know what they were about to get themselves into. They walked much too far before deciding that they should really turn back. At that point, Karissa was already worn out, but so was Kyler. Upon realizing that he was tired, what else was a 1 year old to do but start to cry. Kyler wanted his mommy to pick him up, but the poor little guy had no idea why she couldn’t carry him all the way back to the car so he began to cry his little heart out while being scooped up by Nana.

This is not the first time this scenario has played out before. It is quite sad, but not worthy of a blogging, however, what happened next is what made the evening. Caleb and Rylee were having a great time running up and down this boardwalk that sits about 4inches above the muck/mire/bog/pond or whatever you call the “water” of the wetlands. All of a sudden Karissa and Nana see Caleb trip and fall off the boardwalk and plunge his head right into the wetlands. As you can imagine, this did not go over too well with Caleb. With his hair full of muck and stinky water Karissa did her best to clean him up after assessing that there were no injuries. When she noticed that his sweats were pretty well soaked with the stench, she figured he would be better off walking the rest of the way in his undies. The only problem with that was apparently after the kids had been playing in the sprinkler, Caleb had decided to go “commando” to the park instead of putting a pair of underroos on. After working extra hard to get down to Caleb’s level to get his pants off she realized real quick that he was going to have to keep those stinky sweats on.

To top it off, only a few minutes later, Rylee found herself flat on her back square in the middle of a large puddle (several parts of the floating boardwalk were submerged underwater) that had caused her to lose her footing and fall right on her tush. So, for the remainder of the walk back to the car, Nana is holding a crying Kyler, Caleb and Rylee have stinky wet pants and hair, and Karissa – one day before her due date, is doing her best just to keep her body moving.

It was a walk to remember, and just about as effective as Pizza and Root Beer for bringing on labor.

– Chris