The little things I love

What is it about olives and holidays?  Kids don’t even need to be taught this, it just seems to happen…I love it!

This smile.  A big sister that dotes on her little sister.

A sister that lets her big sister dress her in way too big princess clothes “Just because she’ll look so beautiful Mama!”.

A freezing cold walk on a hazy but not rainy winter day.

Catching grins from kids as they breathed in fresh, cold air.

Beautiful, matching, hand-plied-cashmere knit hats from an uber-talented knitter friend in Idaho!

Getting a grandparent/grandchildren photo is harder than it looks.  The two little ones would only sit while holding (and sucking) on ice.  The Kyler was not at all impressed with the whole ordeal.  And Caleb?  His face looks as if he’s about to puke all over everyone!  Hope someone got a better shot that I did for the Christmas card photo…

And a side note (from my mother who was concerned that she might be low on ‘special Christmas mugs’ for each of the grandchildren):

“I went to Michaels and bought more, just to be sure I had enough.  Then I unpacked boxes and found that I had more than I thought.  I now have ELEVEN mugs!!!  So you can have lots more kids and they’ll still be plenty mugs for everyone!”

I love my mom.

Fall family fun

We’ve enjoyed getting pumpkins and celebrating fall with my sister Danielle for several years (here is my post from last October)  and this year – for the first time – our other sister now graduated from college, was able to join us.  It was a muddy, perfect, beautiful, cold day.  Upon peeking outside at the weather, I grabbed my bulky old Minolta SLR for the adventure.  The pictures I get on that camera are always better than the ones from our little digital pocket camera so I decided it was worth the hassle for this lovely day:

Harvestpics_0026
Auntie
Steph bike
DeeDee train
Steph train
rylee train
Caleb train
Jorg 3
Searching for pumpkins
Isaac and Audie
Audie
Isaac
sisters

If you’ve made it this far, bravo!  Here are my top two reasons for busting out my old 35 mm camera:

Audie and Daddy

Those eyes melt my heart.  All four of them.

Mama and Kyler

I love this boy.

Fall craft time

With a house full of sick ones we are laying low this week but it’s nice already doing school at home because we can still plug along on books and some things as we snuggle on the couch and drink tea together.  If anything we read more because everyone is slow and droopy.   I don’t have to fret about who can go to school and who can’t, how to make up work and all that.  So thankful (again) we are in this journey of learning together.

Last fall we made these lovely window hangings inspired by our friend Kim when she made them with her boys  and this year we decided to make them again.  It was so neat to see the way things change in a year.  The oldest two have so much more attention to detail and beauty and picked such a wonderful mix of ‘fall items’ on our nature walk.  We pressed them for two days under heavy boxes then completed these:

October 2009 055
October 2009 059
October 2009 062

All you need is some clear contact paper, string, a stick, some hot glue and some nicely pressed fall nature items.  Each kid chose different items and placed them on the contact paper just where they wanted them and I punched holes in the top to thread yarn through, glued the yarn around the stick and that’s it!

I really love autumn.  And I love having little artists around who love to make things with me!

Sunshine and cousins

We hustled our buns this morning to get our morning school work done so we could go for a walk down our favorite trail.  The nice, clear, blue sky/cool air days are such a delight.  Having a cousin to share them with is even better.

sept 09 078

Audrey was a little sad that she didn’t have a stick like her buddy Isaac. But she found one then continued her ‘baby chatter’ with her cousin.

sept 09 086

How sweet are they?  They are so their own little people already.  Audrey throws fits over what shoes to wear.  Isaac finds danger at every possible opportunity.  Audrey’s face crumples if you look at her sternly.  Isaac is so tough that he does remarkably well ‘wrestling’ with his big boy cousins.

We thought it would be fun to have same-gendered cousins since they would be 6 weeks apart in age…but wow, we both feel abundantly blessed to share our lives with these two little people.   They are both such perfect gifts to our families!

sept 09 062

“Got my pink shoes, my pink kitty, my pink jacket and my favorite lovey-what a lovely walk!”

sept 09 068

“Got my stick.  What else is there?”

sept 09 091

It is possible this one needs a haircut.  But man is his straight, soft hair so handsome.

sept 09 094

And this one?  He was carefully holding his treasure in the lid to my coffee, a super fuzzy caterpillar that he brought home with us today (he also-unknowingly-brought a shoe covered with fresh dog poop into the van, that was fun).

A weekend at the Nooksack

This last weekend was supposed to be a trip to Mt. Baker, to spend time together as a family with Nana, Papa, Auntie Stephie, Dee Dee, Buzz, and little Isaac…however, plans change.  As it turned out, I got to take the three big kids to Mt. Baker while Karissa and Audrey stayed home to rest and to work on other projects (blog post to come I am sure).

With Nana and Papa sharing their time share at Mt. Baker with the rest of the aforementioned family members, we were looking forward to some quality time staying right off the Mt. Baker Highway near the Nooksack River.  Karissa and I found a reasonably priced place to stay since our growing family no longer fits in the condo.  I was lucky enough to get off work early on Friday night, came home, packed up the van with our little family minus the two and headed North.

We got to our rustic cabin, moved in, and got ready for bed because we had a tremendous day ahead of us.  We were off to some breakfast with the family and then to hit up the Skyline Divide trail. This was an ambitious undertaking for our three little hikers, but they were up to the task, well, mostly anyway.  From the trail head, it is a two mile, 2150 ft elevation gain (steep for those counting at home) to a most beautiful North Cascades meadow with stunning views of the surrounding Cascades and Mt. Baker looming nearby enticing all climbers.  Our little group was not about to go one step further, so we enjoyed lunch in the glorious meadow resplendent with wildflowers.

You might be wondering why I was not wearing a shirt for some of those pictures.  It was not because I was trying to show off my manly physique, nor was it because I was too hot (it was a delightful temp), it had everything to do with the fact that Kyler had decided that a good way to thank his Daddy for carrying him all the way up the two mile trek on his back was to pee on him.  Yep, Kyler was in a ergo backpack, meaning that the only thing between me and him was his pants and my shirt.  So that wetness on my back that I thought was sweat, it turned out to be urine.  Nice.  So off went the shirt.  Of course both boys wanted to get in on the shirtless action.

A few other highlights were Nana singing “Climb every mountain” from the Sound of Music and of course Auntie Stephie getting knocked off the trail, down the hill, and onto a tree by a little horse fly.  You might want to ask her about that.  Once we figured out she was okay, we all shared a bit of a laugh.

Of course the hiking was Daddy’s highlight, but the highlight for the kiddos was the pool.  They just loved jumping in from the side, “swimming” over to the stairs to do it all over again.  Kyler must have jumped into my arms 200 times during the three times we went to the pool.  Time with their Auntie’s, Uncle, and cousin was treasured as well.  One of Caleb’s most treasured activities is throwing large things into the river.  Pictured above you can see him holding up quite a large tree that he found and proceeded to toss into the river.  It wound up getting stuck on rocks, but between throwing rocks at it, Papa going wading out in the water, and some enthusiastic cheers, that tree made it down the river (at least around the bend).

We missed Mama and Audrey, but we had a great weekend away.  We are so grateful that Nana and Papa have a little spot that is not too far away, perfect for a weekend getaway.  Much fun was had by all, and plenty of memories were made.

Serious mama/photo skills here…and they’re not mine!

We recently reconnected with the little sister of someone we went to high school with.  She lives in Arkansas but travels to Seattle often, she’s hoping to build a client base here as she comes home to visit family more often now that she’s a new mom.  So, here is my unashamed plug for her photo skills.  We could not pick one or two, we instead ordered the CD of all our photos so we can have lots of fun with them….and put them on the blog (among other things!).

Photographing four busy children 6 and under is a major feat.  All in different directions and all with their own opinions about what they think they should be doing.  Alicia was patient and caught so many sweet moments through her lens.  I have perused our photos dozens of times and today sat crying at my computer, overwhelmed by the beautiful little people God has entrusted us with.  Even though they’ve been throwing up since Monday and I have scarcely slept in 3 days, I still like them.  A lot.  We will be forever glad we spent the money and shared a morning with Alicia of  NW Photography Works.

Here are my favorites…

audie close up
kyler close up
caleb close up
rylee close up
cute toes!
i DO love my brother
four close
kyler helping audie
kyler's eyes
audie color

caleb and his stick
rylee girlie
four walking on bridge

Anacortes-one year later

I realized in looking at pictures from our wonderful trip to Anacortes that we had many pictures of the family in the exact same places as last year and we were there in August both years…I thought it would be fun to post them together.  So much changes in a year!

august 2008 132

Tired Kyler last year

august 2009 177

Tired Kyler this year!

august 2008 110

Bathing three last year…

august 2009 119

Bathing four this year!

august 2008 156

Caleb last year…

august 2009 157

…and this year at the same beach.

august 2008 166

Sweet Rylee last August…

august 2009 132

..and this August, minus a few teeth!

august 2008 147

Kyler last year…

august 2009 135

Kyler this year, more hair and less baby chub!

august 2008 192

the baby cousins last year, tiny and new…

august 2009 069
august 2009 072
august 2009 073
august 2009 081

…baby cousins this year, into all kinds of mischief together!

august 2008 218

Last year, in the kitchen, looking at the baby deer and her mama…

august 2009 053

…this year in the kitchen with family visiting from Africa!

Need a photographer?

Cousins

This is just a tiny taste of what’s to come-I could not wait to share.  We recently, through another friend, found an incredible photographer who we actually new in jr. high/high school.  We were all through with mall photos and wanted something unique, something beautiful and something that captured our kids in their natural state instead of in a studio.  Alicia resides in Arkansas but has family here so spends a fair bit of time in the Seattle area.  My sister and I were both lucky enough to score photo shoots with her this past week.

I had high hopes and I haven’t even seen my own kids pictures yet but if they are close to as amazing as the ones of my nephew and sister and brother-in-law, they will be amazing.  Alicia still has time open later this month and I think again in late August/early September if you are in need of some incredible photos.

I shopped around a lot.  With some photographers costing nearly $1000 for session and print fees, Alica’s prices were extremely reasonable.  And more than that, she takes great photos, which after all is what matters most.

I can hardly wait to see the shots from the nearly two hours she spent with our four children.  She was brave.  And very, very patient.

If you want to see more, visit here and click on ‘blog’ for Alicia’s top picks.  If you want to see the whole gallery of Jorgenson photos, click on ‘website’ instead of ‘blog’, then ‘clients’ then ‘Jorgenson family’.

Isaac

Seriously?  Look at those gorgeous eyes.

Can’t wait to see what those two come up with next-talk about a good gene pool…

Look out Ichiro

Although the Mariner’s have taken the last two games from the Angels, they look like a team that is in a rebuilding mode.  They could use some help around the field in a few positions.  Here are a couple kids that just might give a few Mariner’s a run for their money out on the ball field.

In the field

Caleb and Rylee playing the infield, ready to make a play to first base.  While on defense, every ball that is put into play goes over to first base.  Each inning the every player gets to hit and advance one base for each at bat.  The last player gets a “home run” clearing the bases.  Both Rylee and Caleb had multiple opportunities to field a ground ball and throw it to first base.  They both did great!

Caleb at bat
Rylee at bat
C and R running the bases

I got to pitch again to the kids and had a great time.  My ERA is through the roof, but that is a good thing!  Rylee and Caleb both seem to be having so much fun.  I am delighted to see how both kiddos adapt so well to the organization of the team sport.  They are even making new friends.  After the game today Caleb asked me where one of the boys who was missing was.  I love it!  I also really enjoy getting to coach my kids and partner with a great organization serving our community.  The kids are having fun and Karissa and I are getting to know the other players parents.  At one point in the game, AGAIN we caught Caleb and Rylee giving each other a congratulatory hug on first base.  The big smiles on these moments as well as seen throughout the whole game make the day so much fun.