Last week’s getaway

Super fun, giant fort built from driftwood

Audrey and her cousin Isaac-they are just 6 weeks apart in age!

A lot of love…

Kyler in the fort

When in doubt, grab the hood (and mind the newborn baby in the front pack too)!

Dress up fun

Any guess at what we are so intently watching?

In the undeveloped lot next door to the house we stayed at there was a deer grazing in the morning. We watched her with delight as she nibbled on leaves right outside the kitchen window. We squealed when we discovered her baby was nestled in the grass nearby. They spent all morning sleeping, eating and licking each other while we enjoyed every minute of watching them.

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!

Everyday Beauty

In an effort to continue embracing this life that God’s given me and choose gratitude, I am making a mental effort to note the things in my days that are beauty to me…today.

At 3AM I woke Christopher up to help with Kyler as I had just put Audrey back to bed-I didn’t find out until the morning that he had been up till 2AM working on our broken dishwasher. He didn’t complain one bit, just got up and rocked Kyler back to sleep. Beauty is his gorgeous, long, bed head hair peppered with gray, super messy and super handsome.

This morning at the park, Kyler-ever wanting to be a big boy-had a face full of satisfaction as he swung on the big swing instead of the baby one. Beauty is the delight in his huge brown eyes.

As I snuggled Caleb in bed at naptime today, he was trying to describe what the M & M candy in his mouth tasted like:

“Mom, it tastes so good, it tastes like…I just don’t know. It tastes like sweet and crunchy and yummy. I just don’t know how it tastes. It’s like….(long pause)….it tastes just like you mama.”

Beauty is that to a four year old that I’ve struggled so much to parent the last couple weeks, M & M’s taste like me, how wonderful is that?

When I picked Rylee up from VBS today, she scooped Audrey out of my arms and sat down on the floor in the classroom holding her. In an instant, the chaos of the room calmed and every little girl who’d been running in different directions sat down in a perfect circle around Rylee, 6 of them, and delighted in every detail that is Audrey-hands, fingers, hair fuzz, nose, her pink outfit. Beauty is the intoxicating nature of a new baby and it is the treasure of a sister for my firstborn.

Although our dishwasher now needs replacing and our fridge went out this week also so we have a free fridge from a friend in our driveway where all our food is currently being stored-beauty is the way God always provides for us in the most amazing ways.


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.


On target?

Have you ever sat together with your spouse to dream/envision what your home would be like?  I can recall many conversations that Karissa and I have had over the years about what type of home we want to have.  One of the consistent desires of ours would be having the home that our kids like to hang out in with their friends.  Usually when thinking about this, it involved thoughts of teenagers, movie nights, and coming to our place after prom, etc.  [On a side note, I just about died when I thought about either of my sweet little

Our two beautiful princesses!

girls going to prom.  Yikes.]  With the completion of our sideyard, we are beginning to see this desire of ours become a reality.  Everyday since it has been completed, our yard has been full of neighborhood kids either roasting marshmallows, running around with noodles, or playing in the pool, big toy, sandbox, or the grass.  I guess we have about 6 years to budget for the big screen TV…Enjoy the Rylee and Audrey picture taken this morning!  By the way, the only way they’re going to prom is if I am their date.


Ice cream bars, squirrels and edible? tires

There is never a moment around here when nothing is going on. Last week we took some food outside to our garage freezer and left the door wide open, thank goodness it wasn’t a super hot day-we went about our play and work on projects inside and outside. We had dinner and I had one more thing to put in the freezer. I went outside and walked around the corner to find the freezer door wide open and a squirrel sitting inside the freezer. He had found himself an ice cream sandwich and had the entire, wrapped bar clenched in his teeth. He saw me and quickly split-ice cream and all-I screamed a little and then went about my business putting food away. This time I closed the door. Later on we found the wrapper in the front yard, the kids were so amused that squirrels love ice cream and that one had been sitting inside our open freezer.

If you live around here and have been to the mall with children (something we rarely do anymore and don’t really enjoy at all usually), you have probably seen the display by the play area of bendable tracks with cars that zip around on the tracks. We were delightfully given one last Christmas. The cars lasted a few days then quit working even with fresh batteries. They weren’t too exciting anymore which meant they disappeared for a few months.

One surfaced a few days ago, but still not working it was quickly given to Kyler, who always seems to get the less desirable cars from his brother. He thought it was great, drove it around and took all the tires off the wheels. What two year old doesn’t put everything in their mouth? Yours you say? Oh how nice for you, our Kyler still puts all sorts of ridiculous things in his mouth. I found him chewing on a tire later, no big deal, I asked him to spit it out and he did, always does. But only one tire. I took the car away and looked for the other tires to no avail.

Skip to dinner time the next evening. Uncle Buzz informs me of a diaper full of sand that needed cleaning, I head outside to take care of that. Planning to just pull the sandy diaper off, I sat Kyler down-quickly figuring out there was much more than sand in there. Leaking out all the sides, I hollered for Rylee to bring some wipes, lots of wipes, actually bring the whole box. The sand-poop mixture was awful. Now I knew where at least one missing tire was. Upon opening the diaper, a fully intact and fully digested tire was sitting inside.

Disgusting indeed, but the real problem? Two tires are still missing.


Fires and other firsts

Tonight we had our first fire in our side yard to celebrate the fact that we finally have completed the project (well almost…we’re still missing the top of the arbor).  We added the new fence, finished the fort/slide, added a climbing wall, brought in 6 yards of pea gravel, and built a small outdoor fireplace.  So, Karissa headed off to the store to grab some necessities (marshmallows and roasting sticks) and we roasted the night away.  I was completely impressed with the roasting skills.  Both Rylee and Caleb were doing a tremendous job making mouthwatering nicely browned mallows.  Kyler would put the marshmallow near the flames for about 1 second and bring it back to his mouth, take a bite and repeat step 1.  The big projects are over for now…we are looking forward to many summer nights spent outside with the fire pit.  Any takers?

In other news, Audrey is smiling now.  For the last five days or so she has been responding to her mama and daddy, and I think Dee Dee with the cutest little Audie smiles.  Another first for Audie is that she slept for 6 hours straight, ate, and then went right back to sleep for another 3 (two days in a row now).  I had forgotten what a good night’s rest looks like.  Also, Rylee now puts Audrey to sleep by holding her and gently bouncing up an down on one of our inflatible balls.  It is quite handy having a sweet little girl who adores her little sister.

In the “I’m thirty now” news, it appears that although I am still capable of running a quick 4.5 miles on a whim, my legs hate me for the next three days straight.  Add that to the list.


Binkie laughs

We recently traded in our old Mam (Sassy) brand binkies for Gerber Nuk ones that are made without BPA as we’ve read too many reports and stories and articles about it’s questionable safety lately.  I explained to the kids what BPA was and why it was bad.  I gave one old BPA-laden binkie to Rylee for her baby.  Today this is what I heard on that note:

Caleb – “Yay! I found the BPA binkie”

Rylee – “Mama, Kyler took my baby’s binkie earlier and it has BPP in it, he might be sick.” (I assured her he would be just fine, thinking it will take much more than BPA binkie to bring that boy down)

My mother (slightly confused and not in-the-know about our recent binkie change) – “Rylee said Kyler can’t have this binkie (he’s sucking on it as she talks), something about it having BPP?”

So we are doing our best to raise earth-aware, eco-friendly, green children, even if they are a little foggy still on all the details and acronyms.