Sunday, June 29, 2014

home again!

We had an amazing visit in Fresno with Grandma and Grandpa.  They sure kept us busy (not a lot of pictures but a ton of fun!).  Josie and I had River Camp in the morning where I became an expert in finding tadpoles and catching all manner of river life with a net, including the largest fish catch of the week! It was pretty great, I learned to spy all sorts of birds, and play all sorts of new games.  Grace also had a great time at Zoo Camp that she attended with Jayce.  They were  there for a farming themed week and learned all about plants, though her favorites were feeding the giraffe and the bird show, she learned quite a lot about how things grow!  Of course, after a big day of camp, we would finish up with swim lessons!  We both learned so much that second week.  My strokes are much stronger and I look very much like a bonafide swimmer, with at least four strokes well under my belt.  Grace did fantastically as well and can swim across a pool, take breaths when she needs to, and even learned two strokes of her own.... crawl and breast stroke, or as they call them ... long arms and (the very complicated) cookie jar - monkey - airplane - soldier.  At any rate, we are totally swimming champions!  Dad will try to get our super swim video posted sometime this weekIt was so fantastic, and we are so grateful to the Vans for letting us swim and pal-ing us up with kids our age... thank-you!  Plus a SUPER HUGE thank-you to Grandma and Grandpa for taking such good care of us while Mom and Dad headed back up to Portland, we had a wonderfully fantastic time!

After we returned, we spent the weekend in reentry.  Grandma brought us back home and stayed just long enough for some dim-sum before returning to Grandpa and their quiet(er) days. Today we woke to an exciting morning.  There was an infuriating run of vandalism on our block (and several blocks around), some turkey spray-painted dozens of vehicles.  I totally went into detective mode, but since an actual detective was already on the case (and the folks got to talk with him a fair bit), we went much more into a reporting  and clean-up mode.  Although everyone is furious, the bonus part is that it brought out all of the neighbors and it was a bit like an aggrieved block party this morning.  We are lucky that a neighbor found that non-acetone nail polish remover would do the trick and it came off relatively well and we had the place cleaned up by noon.  Since we couldn't really define our first full day home with vandalism, we headed out for berry picking and did fantastically.

  Siskiyou blackberries were in full swing and we came home with an insane amount... 
close to 35lbs (including one bucket of chinook raspberries).

 This may have been our record for a day of berry picking.  
Of course, the folks have no real time to jam everything, but maybe we can pack up the freezer before jamming.
Although everyone had a good week away, it is great to be all together again.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


We are enjoying some summery sunshine in California with our California family for two weeks!
 We are in the water almost every day.  Primarily, we have our swim lessons.  I started strong, remembering my awesome roll-over moves from last year.  Owen is also doing amazing and is learning all sorts of new strokes as well as some better breathing techniques.
 Our Teacher's rock we both love our lessons with "thomas" as I call Jan Thomas swim school.

 We also took a great day-trip to Tulare to visit with Great-Grandma Mary.  It was a perfect day outside in her yard.
 The snails were out in force, so Owen and I spent a fair bit of time setting up snail competitions!
 The grown-ups were impressed by our involvement in the races and wrestling matches we set-up, and cheered on.

 We do love visiting with Great-Grandma, she is so sweet and lovely to spend time with.
 We also observed Uncle Ry's birthday.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY UNCLE RY!  We love you and thank you so much for coming out for the week so we could play with you!

 Lessons are continuing this next week.  Diving skills
 and superhero moves are also on the agenda.

 The dogs were pretty chill this visit, and spent a lot of time hanging out in sunbeams.

 I got to practice my play-dough sculpting skills... do you love my snake?
 Owen is doing his best to go through Grandma and Grandpa's extensive far-side, calvin and hobbs, and Garfield book collection.
 We also got to spend a delicious dinner at Auntie Donna and Uncle Johns' house.
 They brought out John's Uncle's homemade wine which was fantastic.
 Dinner was great, Owen ate almost all of Auntie's clams and guacamole, but she made a ton of food so everyone had great food to eat.
 Regis, Auntie's very protective puppy even warmed up to Uncle Ryan eventually.... tentatively....
 She also gave us some cool bubble wands that provided fun entertainment outside!

 Mom and Dad got to pre-celebrate her birthday with a fancy dinner out at Erna's Elderberry House.  It was a beautiful and extremely yummy dinner.
 With at least 5 courses + 3 dessert plates... all amazing!  Mom's favorite was the Frisee and Apricot salad and of course the desserts!

 It was a treat to have a fancy night out together.
 On Friday we took an extra fancy trip... a train trip!
 We rode the amtrack to Hanford.  It was cool because 1- we got to ride a train!

 2- we went here... Superior Dairy.
 What's so special about a dairy that we would take a day trip via train to get there.  Well, these are the single scoop bowls.
 Yep!  We went with our McGann Friends Kris, Meredeth, Lucy and Andrew
 and ate a lot of really excellent ice-cream.  Now while waiting for the train, many people easily figured out what we were up to and told us how delicious the ice-cream is, however not one of them mentioned how insanely gigantic they are.  Owen and Mom earned their 200 mile new sneakers and Ice Cream Sundae.  SO... what do you think a 2-scoop sundae looks like?
 INSANE, it was all Mom could do to talk Owen out of the S-O-S, the seven scooper.  It was amazing, and huge and a super awesome treat!

 3- though not planned, if you go to Hanford, you can just peek your head into the chamber of commerce, ask nicely and one of the guys down there will come out and open up the Merry-go-round.  We got several great long rides!
 It was awesome, merry-go-rounds are so fun!

 We still had several hours until our train home was scheduled, so we hung out in the shade.

 Owen and Mom ran across the street to this great Barber shop with a fun old-timey flair.
 The guy did a great job cleaning up Owen's shag.
 Friday, we got to hang out with Auntie Becky Auntie Susan, Kc, Noah, Nolan, Trevor, Dr & Mrs. Smith!  They invited us over for a great swim party and great dinner.
 we always love hanging out with these guys.

 and though I don't really have good pictures of Trevor and Nolan, they played adventures in the shrubbery for hours with Owen who had a great time with them.
 Aaand we all got to meet baby Ava Rayn.  She is such a sweetie, so chill and cute and sleepy.

 Love seeing these sweet friends.
So, Mom and Dad took off this weekend and headed back to Portland.  Owen and I are going to go to camp in Fresno and finish up our swim lessons while hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa!  We are so excited for a great adventure without the folks!