Summer Wrap up! I'm BACK!

I had such a lovely three week break from blogging, but I am ready to come back and am full of ideas (and time!)! Maybe I am the only one, but I love photo heavy blog posts. If you are like me, then you will love this summer wrap up.

So what have I been doing for the past few weeks?

I started my blogging break running my second half marathon.

I went from not running at all, to training for a half in a matter of a month. I made my goal time of 1:58.04 (I wanted to complete it in under 2 hours). Running is mental and I had a really bad attitude, but more on that another day!

While my oldest son was at camp (this year they had girls there so he actually showered!), my husband and I took the younger two kids to Portland, OR. The city is about a 3 hour drive from us but in the past 12 years of living here, I had never been there.

We made a slight detour to Mt. St. Helens on the way. Again, somewhere I hadn't been either, even though it's practically in my backyard (only an hour and a half drive). The mountain is amazingly beautiful. The best moment was when we were driving up through the clouds and literally at about 3000 feet, we finally got above the clouds and the mountain was shining in all it's glory. So beautiful and still so much evidence of the devastation of the eruption over 30 years ago.

We finally made it to Portland and started to peruse the city. Portland is very much a city that you explore using public transportation. Parking is crazy, and our hotel charged us $18 each time we took the car out to park it again...guess who didn't take their car out?!

There is such cool architecture all around the city. Old street lights, tram wires and cobblestone streets in front of old brick buildings.

There were several outdoor fountains that were just begging for a little dip even though the temperature was barely above 60 degrees!

Portland is known for it's food carts all around the city.

Aren't these water fountains the coolest?

From the 8th floor of our hotel room, we looked down to a store that had a constant line every day all day long.

We finally found out that it was one of the three VooDoo Doughnut locations in the city.

Voodoo doughnuts has been featured on The Tonight Show to The Travel Channel to ESPN. People line up for hours sometimes just to get a taste of the bacon maple bar (yep, topped with bacon), the double bubble (bubble gum treat on top), and The loop (or many other variations of your favorite sugary cereal topped on a doughnut).

It really just tasted like a doughnut to me...but then again, I only got a glazed one.

Besides overlooking the local Voodoo doughnuts shop, we also had a great view of the city from our hotel. Did I mention that we were upgraded to the Royal Suite while we were there? Thank you Embassy Suites!

We did a lot of walking. On one of our days exploring the city we took the local downtown trolley and then walked across this bridge to get to OMSI. We explored the submarine that was docked there, did lots of hands on science and even got to go in an earthquake simulator.

One great tip for you travelers out there. If you have any type of local museum or zoo membership, look into their reciprocal locations. OMSI ended up being free for us to explore with our local Seattle Science Center passes.

On another afternoon, we took the new tram above the city.

We could even see Mt. Baker in the background.

Like I said earlier, this city is not made for driving. Check out this bike parking!

What's this? Oh, they are my traveling socks. I like sweaty feet so I always keep traveling socks with me when I go on trips (you should see the ones I wear on airplanes). Is that wierd?

We didn't just go go go all the time during my blogging break. We took time to enjoy the little things in life like napping. Ah, naps, so good.

My youngest son celebrated his 6th birthday. One of his favorite presents (besides legos...that boy loves legos) was his new model rockets.

We spent several evenings playing with rockets in the local field.

Even the dog loved being out there running to catch the rocket!

I got a haircut. I've spent nearly two years growing my hair out way longer than it's ever been, and toyed with the idea of cutting it all off but took my hair stylists recommendation to "stop being safe" and cut some layers into it. Crazy, but after I got it cut, it actually looked longer.

Did I mention Legos? Yep, we built lots of legos. My daughter worked on this house while my youngest son built a whole city complete with working train tracks and they both worked together on building a 7 foot tall skyscraper. Legos rock!

We also spent lots of time at the beach. Having picnics, playing in the water, collecting sand dollars and building dams.

This is my favorite beach around the area.

Do you see any people? Nope, me either and I love it like that! It's a public beach but it's the best kept secret around. It's so well preserved that we call it sand dollar beach because when the tide is out, you can hardly walk without stepping on a pile of sand dollars.

Even Sophie loves it! She can't get enough of bird chasing and swimming for sticks in the water!

My oldest son spent most of August either at camp or with my parents at his Nana and Papaw camp in Arizona. He looks forward to his time every year. I'm pretty sure that he was born with an only child mentality. Unfortunately for him, he has two siblings who missed him very much! Here they are watching his plane taxi to the gate.

And here's the man of the hour walking off the plane after a week of fun and relaxation and only childhood. The kid looks like a movie star...probably because he was treated like a rock star for a week!

We also got to play doctor.

We were shocked that we made it to 6 years old without a single visit to the ER with our youngest son. All good accidents happen on the weekends, when you get to visit the ER and pay the ridiculous fee rather than during the week when you get to visit during normal office hours.

Owen rounded the corner in our hallway just a little bit too fast and hit his temple on the corner of our very pointed banister molding. It required 2 stitches. But when we left we got party favors (they were going to throw them out anyway).

And my genius husband thought that we would save the money and take out the stitches ourselves. Come to find out, they don't charge for stitches removal, but we saved some time.

I also had the opportunity to help host a baby shower for my sister in law. We are excited to help her welcome her first baby (a girl) in just a few weeks. The theme was "she's about to pop" with lots of fun polka dots all around. More details on that later.

We finished out our summer and my blogging break with some back to school preparations. The kids all visited the Dr. (not just the ER!), the dentist, went shopping for new jeans and new shoes, and we got haircuts and hair feather extensions.

Are hair feathers popular where you live? They seemed to have popped up everywhere around here. My daughter just had to have one for her first day of school!

And that is my summer wrap up! What was the best part of your summer?
I'm excited to share with you lots of fun new ideas. Welcome back! I've missed you.

The 78 minute summer

While many of you have been spending your days inside trying to beat the heat outside, our family has been trying to walk between the raindrops. Our fleece sweatshirts and jeans were getting well used until late July and there was even a report a few weeks ago about how Seattle had a 78 minute summer.
If summer is technically measured by temperatures over 80 degrees, then we had a mere 78 minutes of summer. Yep, that's it. The past week and a half the sun has been shining and the rain has stopped and we have gotten outside to enjoy it! I'm not sure if the temperatures hit above 80, or if we broke our sorry cold weather streak, but the weather has been delightful.
Our "summers" are short, so I'm heading outside to enjoy it. Don't miss me too much. I will be back soon.

Summer Camp Memories

Nothing says summer like a week at camp!

Our two older kids have both had a chance to spend a week (separately) at camp this summer.
My daughter went first, then this week, my oldest son is there.

Who doesn't like getting letters at camp? The boys sat down to write their sister a little note.

This was Isabella's first year to go to camp and she loved it. The experience for a girl at camp seems so much different than the boys experience, even at the same exact camp.

She took a shower nearly every day (my son won't bathe until they soap up the slip n' slide on the last day), her clothes were neatly packed away as she returned home (um, tongs for the boys laundry? Yes, please), the girls rode horses and made crafts and kept their bunks clean (the boys ride dirt bikes, make spears and are generally a messy bunch).

We were shocked when mid week we got a letter home from our daughter. It was so sweet. I'm not sure my son ever thought about sending a letter home.

When we picked Isabella up from camp, my husband and I looked at each other when she told us about the pretty round that they sang in chapel. Yep, again, not something I heard from the boys!

The camp is located on a local Island that requires a ferry ride. Probably the best part of the whole trip if you are a five year old boy!

We spent some time waiting for the ferry so we got some time to explore this old lighthouse. Isn't it adorable?

I think the lighthouse keepers house (on the left) is just waiting for me. I would even blow the fog horn once or twice if they needed me to!

Our sweet girl was happy to see us after a great long week at camp.

Did you grow up going to summer camp? Do your kids? Tell me about it.

silhouette sneak peek

I can't believe that it's been six years ago today since our youngest son, Owen's arrival. It feels like he's always been a part of our family. He's all boy with lots of energy to explore, question and investigate all of the finest things in life (dirt, rock walls, tide pools). He loves building things and watching machines work. He's not one to hold out on affection or a playful high five or tackle. He is growing up very quickly and is becoming a very responsible athletic young man.

But enough about sweet Owie Dave...check out my mess.

My brother and sister in law are going to be welcoming their first baby (a girl) in September. I'm in charge of the crafty/decorating stuff for the baby shower in late August.

Since it's so close to Val's due date we went with the theme "she's about to pop". I don't want to give everything away before the actual shower, but here are a few sneak peeks.

Speaking of baby showers, does anyone have any good games (not involving melted chocolate in diapers) that they like to play? Remember, it's been six years since my last baby...I'm a little out of practice with this whole thing!


Rebus puzzle

Make Your Own Rebus Puzzle

My younger two kids have been watching The Electric Company on PBS this summer.

One of the characters is a sneaky guy named Danny Rebus. The kids have been having fun figuring out the puzzles with the rest of the cast.

With summer being here, we aren't in a great morning routine. Some weeks we have swimming lessons, other days we have to leave early, some days we have nothing going on.

So because of our lack of routine, we often times go around questioning if Sophie, our golden retriever puppy, has been fed. Sometimes I feed her, sometimes my 9 year old will feed her other times my husband will feed her. Sometimes no one will feed her and sometimes she will get fed twice!

On one such morning when Sophie actually got fed twice, I found this clever little rebus puzzle that my husband left on the counter but went overlooked.

I was in a hurry when we found the note, and lets be honest, I stink at these puzzles, but my oldest son got the message.

We all had a good laugh (at both the facts that Sophie got fed twice and never mentioned it to us but went right ahead and ate her bowl of food like she hadn't ever seen food before, and also at the puzzle...because it's awesome). All of us thought their dear old dad was quite clever (and a surprisingly good artist).

So when it came time to feed Sophie the next morning guess who made their own rebus puzzle?

No, not me! My nine year old daughter. I thought it was super sweet. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
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