Sunday, July 28, 2013

sunny days

I looove playing with Mom's shoes, and really her fancy shoes get a lot more wear by me than they do by her.  These are Mom's wedding shoes, pretty eh?  
 The best part of new appliances is that we got new boxes to play-in.  They are the best!  Owen and I each have set up our rooms and can spend ages in there.  We spend  afternoons visiting each other,  reading together (and getting along)  and sneaking out for little cups of blueberries.
 The garden is booming with squash now and tomatoes are around the corner.  Pretty exciting, now if someone has fantastic things to do with stack and stacks of zucchini, let me know!  We had a lovely Saturday... after spending the morning picking up new baseboards then we headed to the pool for a great afternoon swimming with Joaquin, Esme and Val.  Since I could touch in the entire pool, I had a hard time trying out my swimming skills, I think next time we need to just head strait for the deep pool.  Owen did well though and has hopes of testing for the lap pool next time he goes.  We finished up the day with a fantastic pizza dinner at Val's house.  All in all a pretty awesome afternoon with good friends.
 We celebrated Alice's birthday today too!  It was a beautiful party
 and a great afternoon playing with friends
 and of course cupcakes!!!

 Our sweet neighbor Pam is moving... we will certainly miss her!  She had a pretty fantastic party tonight and we had a blast collecting berries and making sure everyone in the party.  

 Thank you Pam for lovely evenings on your porch swing, art lessons, and the sweet attnetion and kind words you have for us!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I love artichokes (and swimming and playing in Fresno!)

 I am not sure that Grace mentioned how much I love artichokes.  We had a pretty great stop on the way home from Asilomar for a really perfect artichoke, the best one ever...seriously at the choke wagon (or coach... a food truck that specialized in artichokes, in the middle of an artichoke field).  At any rate, back in Fresno, we finished up our amazing week of swim lessons.
 I got my started on diving, and have now learned the breast stroke (also known as the cookie jar:  wipe some, eat some, give some... monkey, airplane soldier), long arms (more commonly known as freestyle), backstroke (both elementary (monkey airplane soldier) and back crawl), and even started the butterfly (bows).
 We also celebrated Mom's birthday this week.  Grandma, Grace and I made Mom's favorite chocolate praline cake... we even made chocolate leaves.
They were pretty awesome and the cake was great!  I even made a code for Mom to break for her special day.  
 We celebrated with, you guessed it... more time at the pool followed by a nice dinner out at a Sakuro Chaya. It was pretty fun to watch all flames, onion volcano, the works!
 We had the Vans and McGanns over after dinner for some cake and fun in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard.
 Grace's last week of swimming has her perfecting her backfloat, sister has a strong kick and can (often) turn over onto her back when she needs to take a breath.
She also loves jumping off the side and the diving board and swimming herself to the side of the pool to get out.  She is amazing!  We are so proud of our swimming achievements these past two weeks.  Our progress has been phenomenal.  
Thanks Jan Thomas swim school, our teachers Nick, Nicki and Mason, and the Vans for letting us practice every day at their pool!
 We got our teeth checked out by Grandpa Tom, and met up again with Noah and Auntie Becky for lunch.  Grace slept through a lot of it, but woke up for some fun outside afterwards.
 Plus, I enjoyed restaurant tacos for the first time (I much prefer our own).
 We had a fun movie night with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Terri.  Despicable me was enjoyed by all.  
 This visit, Grandma busted out hers and Mom's old Barbie dolls and two generations worth of dresses.  Sadly, Grandma's barbie was starting to melt (yuck) so had to be tossed, but there were still loads clothes and dolls to make Grace a very happy girl.
 She would do loads of playing with them, but most often they had to be set out in a row after carefully changing their outfits several times.  On Thursday Daddy flew down to watch us swim and to drive back with us.  He got a morning at the Vans in the pool and an evening with Auntie Donna and Uncle John.  Check out their yummy onion harvest.
 Man, Fresno is great for pool days.  We had a great evening swimming
 and showing off our skills (or not, depending upon Grace's mood of course).
 In an effort to separate Grace from the Turtle tube that Auntie Donna had for her (so that she would actually swim a bit instead of lounging and talking to the turtle, which is also fun)
 Grandpa offered to wear it as a hat if she would show us she could roll over and take a breath.
 It was a lovely evening all together.  Check-it-out!  We get to eat with Auntie Donna!  She is usually so busy being an amazing host to tons of wonderful people, we rarely get to sit down and enjoy her wonderful cooking with her.
 We had a great taco night (man, we love taco night) followed by Auntie's phenomenal Ice-Cream Sandwiches.

 They sent home some of their special onions and figs with us;  we enjoyed them both tonight for dinner, they were fantastic!

 So home again home again.  We had a wonderful and long trip to Fresno, and feel so lucky to visit with our fun family and friends and be able to be taken such great care of by Grandma Terri and Grandpa Tom... Thank you!  Our trip home was fairly uneventful.  we came home to new floors (thank you Daddy!)!  I would share pictures but we have a few more things left to do and our washer and dryer in the living room, so soon... soon.
After we got all unpacked, and had a nice breakfast of waffles, we headed over to blueberry valley which just opened.  It is one of the easiest places to load up on blueberries around when they are ready.   So you ask grace (above) how many berries do you have?  Answer:  (puts bucket on head).
 So Grace still needs to work on her picking, though her eating is just fine.  Dad tried to convince her to put one in her mouth for every three she put in her bucket.  G. interpreted this as she only needed to keep three in her bucket at any given time.  On the other hand, I am pretty amazing at picking and can almost keep up with Mom and Dad in the bucket-filling department.
 It was a nice morning out and about enjoying Oregon's blueberry bounty and nice to be back home

Sunday, July 14, 2013


 Grandma has had us working hard on learning the "Grand Ol' Flag" which means I have become very very good at spotting our Grand Ol' Flag wherever we go.  In fact, Owen and I made a cake to bring to Auntie Becky's house for a fun pool party and get-together before we headed to the coast this weekend.
 In addition to some great pool time, Noah and I had fun with wagon rides courtesy of Nolan and Owen
 They were very powerful!  Plus Mom had a great time spending the evening with her friends.
 Nolan and Owen got nice and sweaty.
 But we were able to cool off with these awesome ice-cream cupcakes that Auntie Su made.
 And then we were off!  After a really fantastic swim-lesson on Thursday, where Owen got to move to the lap pool and may even get to move to a more advanced instructor, and I got to jump off the diving board a lot and worked on turning over to get a breath... we headed out to Asilomar on the coast.

It was a fantastic family reunion with most of the family and all of the great-grand kids!

It was such a wonderful opportunity to play with all of my cousins, Aunties, Uncles, Grandma, Grandpa and Great-Grandma too!!!

We had so much fun together, playing hide-n-seek in Grandma Terri and Grandpa Tom's gigantic cottage that also specialized in movies, fireplaces, and SMORES!

 Uncle Derek and I bonded over lots of tickles and smiles, 

We did it all... a great day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

  Exploring the sea was followed by a great family dinner at the cottage.



There was a load of yummy lamb and chicken, margaritas, a really tasty broccoli salad, the works. 
Most importantly Aunties Adrianne and Maryann announced their marriage.



Congratulations you guys, we are so happy to celebrate with you!!  

We rounded up the celebration with some really yummy cakes and, of course, smores... which is how we finished every evening at Asilomar!
   We ended a fairly epic day with a trip to dig at the beach, and have a great movie night with the grandparents while the folks headed out to the wharf to make sure they grabbed some chowder in a bread bowl before leaving Monterey.  What a treat to spend so much wonderful, treasured family time together.  All of us kids got along fantastically and loved this weekend full of playing, running, digging, laughing, climbing playing all together is such a wonderful treat.

 The next day, we had a nice hike around Pt. Lobos out to bird rock and all around the beautiful dunes.  It was a great afternoon.

 When we came home, we headed out to the pool to play in the sunshine.