Monday, August 27, 2007

Grandma Karen's birthday celebration

On Saturday, we all went over to Bainbridge Island for my mom's birthday. Instead of just a quiet birthday at home, we first went to Town and Country's 50th Birthday celebration. They were having a big barbecue down at the waterfront with games for the kids and great music. We all decided to go there first, and go home for cake later. The kids had an absolute great time dancing to all the music and playing games. Later, when the kids were royally spent, we all went home and did cake and gifts. My mom said it was the best way to spend a birthday. They had great music and a man walking around dancing on stilts. The kids got a kick out of it. Noah thought the big party was for Grandma, and we couldn't tell him otherwise. We had a great time.

Sophia is up and walking around thinking that she is in charge of the world.

Jacob finally understands that it is hard to be a parent of a small toddler. He loves his cousin sophia and is very protective of her.

They had a big candy hunt in the hay for 5 year olds and under and the kids just raked it in. We always joke that on Bainbridge, they give away large candy bars, and this was certainly the case today.

Grandma and Noah had a great time dancing together today.

Mom had a great time with a four year old on each hand, dancing to the music. What a work out.

Jacob finally worked off all the sugar from the candy bars he grabbed. They could have played like this for hours. All you need is a hula hoop at home when the kids get bored.
We had another one of those great summer days where the kids come home exhausted and fall into bed at 9:30. We weren't too far behind either. Happy Birthday Grandma.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Family Picnic in October? Oh no, it's August 19th!!!

I think most of us who live in the northwest have been very, very, patient with the weather up to this point. But this is getting a little old. August and it is cloudy, raining, and a high of 65 degrees. I know that we all keep hoping for an Indian summer where September is 80 degrees with a nice breeze. I don't really want to think what kind of revolt may happen if the fall really turns to fall the day after Labor Day. Even though this weather sucks the energy from our souls each day, we still decided to try to have a get together with my side of the family on Sunday. My cousin Brent and his wife, Jill, and their child Brynn were up from Denver. My other cousin Mindy was up from San Diego, so we all gathered with Marcy, Mark, Deanna, Ken, and my immediate family. We got together at a park and let the kids run while the adults held up the food table with our knees. No, of course some of the adults were caught on film playing baseball and running after the stray kid making a break for the water. We had a great time together even if the weather wasn't really cooperating. We still need to treat this time of year like summer, even if it doesn't look or feel like it. Kids go back to school in two weeks or so. We need to make the best of what we have left. Enjoy the end of the year.

Jacob and Grandpa coming back from fishing with a stick--Didn't catch anything today!

Uncle Tom playing tackle the child. It's too bad none of the kids liked playing with him.

Noah and Nolan--these two are stealth, so you really have to watch them closely. They are such nice boys, but they use their good looks and charm to get by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Picking Blackberries, a tradition

It has been a tradition in the LeRoy house since I can remember to go blackberry picking in August. I remember waiting for my dad to get home from work and finishing dinner before we all got dressed in our jeans, grabbed our buckets, and headed out into the sticker bushes. We were always hard core with picking. We would always compete with each other to see how much each one of us could pick. We would come home, soak the berries in water, put them on cookie trays, and freeze them. We always had buckets of berries by the end of August. There was also one or two of us who would come home with the story of falling in the sticker bushes. Such fun. Today, we did more of a meandering berry picking excursion. It is harder with younger kids because they don't have the stamina that they will have when they are older. We picked enough to made blackberry cobbler and the kids loved it. I now need to go out and do some picking on my own with my ipod on.

Happy blackberry picking........

Snelling family gathering

On Saturday, Rebecca's parents, her sister, Hannah, and our family went over to Puyallup for a reunion of sorts. It is always great to see Rebecca's side of the family. The boys love it because their cousin, Timmy, who is Jacob's age, is there and they love seeing each other. Jacob is big into making paper airplanes so they spent time creating for awhile. Also, Rebecca uncle Henry is an engineer at Boeing so Jacob was enthralled listening to him explain how airplanes are made and how they lift off the ground. Jacob now says he wants to be an aeronautical engineer when he grows up. Noah and I went out to the backyard and threw the ball around which quickly turned into tackle baseball. It seems like anything we play ends up with tackle in the phrase at the end. Noah still thinks he is six foot four and can take me down. Hopefully it will be a couple years until he can tackle me.

Rebecca's cousins were had graduated from high school and the other with her AA degree, so we celebrated with cake and balloons. Within minutes of the cake being served all the kids asked if they could take the balloons outside. They played with all of them until every single one of them were popped. Cheap entertainment.

We let the kids take pictures with the camera again and this is one that Noah took of his cousin Timmy. It is a perfect picture of any boy. They all have so much fun together. We all had a great time and ended up heading to the spaghetti factory afterwards for dinner. By the time we got home, the kids were trashed and ready for bed. This was the fourth day in a row of events and a lot of fun for the kids. They are going to need a couple of days to recuperate from the past week.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to Noah again?

One of the "activities" we had for the party was run and tackle Josh (Sarah's husband). It was a big hit with all of the kids. I am sure anyone of you could rent his services out for any birthday or kids day. they ran after him tackling and he threw the kids in the pool when he was able to grab them. It was great and I think he had fun. I sure know that the kids thought it was great. Who needs party favors and games when you have uncle Josh.

Today we officially had Noah's family 4th birthday. It was the first time we could get together with everyone since getting back from vacation. We had everyone over around 4 p.m. and let the kids play outside in the pool and run around the yard. That seems to hold their attention for a long time. In the picture where they are sitting down in a circle, Jacob is calling out BINGO for all the kids. We decided to take a picture because it is rare to see them all sitting quietly with their age span.
When Rebecca asked Noah what kind of cake he wanted, he said, "A tower cake". Rebecca looked at me and thought, what does that mean. I always think that it is funny because when you ask a child what kind of cake they want, you are kind of asking for it. You never know what you are going to get. Noah tried to describe it to her in detail which just confused her more. It turned out great and it was exactly what he wanted. He is easy to please.
We had a great time with all of the family. Now it seems like at family gathering everyone gets nervous when I pull out the camera because of all the pictures that I take. Also because they know they may end up on the blog. I try to get some funny looking pictures when I can catch people off guard, and I will try to post them as often as we can. Your welcome.

Swimming and Wild Waves

The kids got back into swimming lessons this week and they have loved it. They are also doing really well. We notice that when they have swimming lessons everyday in the summer, they improve so much faster. Rebecca loves it because then every morning, they have an outlet to blow off steam. She says afterwards, they are tired and subdued. On Thursday of this week, their Aunt Sarah took them to Wild Waves.
I think that the kids are never going to want to go back to school this fall. Their summer has been packed full of water parks, swimming, and vacations. I think we have created a monster here. They had a great time with Sarah. I have to say that they sure have been sleeping well over the summer. They couldn't stop talking about all of the fun they had with Sarah. On a day where we don't have anything planned, they look at us like we are depriving them. Deprivation is good for the soul though.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Which is worse, the hair or the shirt?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh yes, and there is the famous shirt once again. We have since cut it off his body and torched the thing while he slept soundly. We have to actually hide the shirt and only allow him to wear it on certain days. I know that I am glossing over the obvious freaky hair, which was also concerning. This was right before he went to bed the other night and he didn't even know that his hair was standing on end. He was so tired and still kind of red from the summer sun, and absently laying upside down on the couch with his feet hanging over the back--the friction of his head against the seat made his hair stand up and stay...These are the pictures you don't want to show a future wife. Good night Jacob.

Sunday, August 5th, BBQ

We got home on Saturday and had the rewarding job of unpacking the car and scrubbing the walls down from top to bottom. It is amazing what you find near the children's seats after a long driving trip. CSI is still trying to identify some of the remains that were wedged in the side pocket near Noah's seat. On Sunday we went to church and headed over to Sarah and Josh's new house for a barbecue. Because the kids have been so bored the last 10 days, we had to brings bikes, set up croquet, and play baseball. The kids just ran around while the adults sat down and tried to get caught up on the days events. GG (Great Grandma as the kids call her) also came. It was great to see her. After leaving the barbecue, it was home to mow the lawn and do all of the other chores that have been neglected over the past 10 days. Back to reality. Back to work tomorrow and the summer events left before school starts.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Great News for Tim and Carrie! August 3, 2007

On Friday, we drove from Redding to Portland. Definitely the longer of the drives we have taken. Sometimes, we would get in a good rhythm and drive for a long time without potty or stretch breaks and other times, it felt like we stopped off at every exit. It was long and when we came into Portland, we hit 5:00 p.m. rush hour traffic. On the way up, we stopped at an enormous truck stop that had a lot of colorful people. Of course all the boys had to use the bathroom, so I took them in. There was a guy in his 30's who had a lot of tattoos on his arms. I saw Noah glance his direction and knew what was going to happen. Noah said, "Hey Jonah, look at all those pictures on his arm," as he is right next to him. All the boys ran over and started asking him questions about his tattoos. He had a Statue of Liberty and a motorcycle. At least there weren't any naked ladies or bad words. Noah asked to touch them and the guy thought this was great. This made the kids day. That is all they talked about for the next hour in the car. Noah now wants to get a tattoo and Jonah said he wants to become a tattoo artist. Wow, I am glad that the driving trip has opened up the children's mind for future employment.
We finally made it to our good friend, Tim's house. We had stayed with him on the way down. When we arrived, his new fiance, Carrie, was also there. We had talked to him the day before and he had told us the good news, but the kids didn't know. We thought we were all sneaky, not mentioning anything in front of the kids. When we arrived, we were standing in the doorway and the Jacob walked by and said, "So Tim and Carrie, you heading off to viva Las Vegas to get married?" Rebecca and I looked at each other and said, "Jacob, how did you know that?" He replied, "I heard you and mom talking about the whole thing in the car." We all busted out laughing. Rebecca and I think we are so sneaky having our conversations up in front of the car, but really, Jacob hears all. Then Jonah came in five minutes later and said, "so I hear that you guys are getting married and heading off to Vegas." So much for keeping it from the kids for awhile. It just goes to show you that kids pick up on way more than we give them credit for. Anyway, we are very excited for Tim and Carrie. We all ordered pizza that night and had dinner. The kids went to bed early that night and went right to sleep. The adults were able to stay up and talk and have a good time catching up. It was a nice end to the day. It is always very comfortable for us to crash at Tim's place. It was a great last stop before coming home.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

August 2nd, 2007 The Journey begins to end

Today was our shorter drive day. We didn't really realize this until last night when we were mapping our course for today online. We decided we may want to go further, to Ashland or Medford, but when we called to change our reservation, it was too late. So, we decided this was the way it was meant to be. It did allow us the luxury of making one stop we had run out of time for earlier on the trip. It was in our book about things to do with kids around San Francisco. So, this morning around 10:15 we arrived at the Burlingame Museum of Pez. Yes, Pez. You know, the little candy that come in dispensers with heads? That's the one. We got lots of pez-ucation. For example, Pez are not actually from the US. They are from Austria. Also, the first Pez dispensers came out in 1950. And, they did not originally have heads. They resembled a cigarette lighter. So funny. Everyone got to choose their own dispenser. Jacob got Darth Vader (retired, but recently enough that it only cost $3). Jonah got a Nascar helmet. Noah got a character from Over the Hedge. Robb got the boy from Meet the Robinsons. And, I got Chicken Little. We did get some other fun things like Cola-flavored Pez. It was a fun diversion.

Today, we drove from Watsonville to Redding, in the heart of the armpit of California. The projected high for Redding today was 104. Right now, it is 8:05 pm and the current temperature is 95. When we got here, of course we headed straight for the pool. We could not get there fast enough as far as the kids were concerned. We played for almost 2 hours before heading back to the room to quickly get dressed and head to dinner.

Noah did take a "spill" where he fell off the floatation device and went under. Reba pulled him out of the water and he was choking and was terrified. It scared us too. Within 5 minutes, he wanted back in the water.

Self-portrait of a man watching his children play at the pool...Nice hair and puffy eyes from too much driving.

We tagged the Marie Calendar's for dinner as soon as we pulled into town. So, Jacob got his Chicken Pot Pie ("This is the best one I've ever had!"), Noah and Jonah were just happy to get food--you can tell by the pictures how tired out they were at dinner. And Robb and I got salad bar--we decided we don't have any good salad bar places at home! It's the simple things...

Noah was exhausted in the booth--yes, that is his shoe on his hand.

How often do you see or hear Jacob get excited about food unless it is at bedtime each night. He wanted to make sure we brought it back to the hotel in a doggy bag. Before bed, he wanted to make sure it was in the refrigerator to make sure it would keep until tomorrow.

So, tomorrow we have our longest drive. We are off to Portland to see Tim again on our way through. We hope to see his girlfriend Carrie, too. Fortunately, the kids have already been to his house, otherwise we would be plagued with questions about the next pool. Fortunately, they get to start swimming lessons again next week after a 2-month hiatus. So, they won't go through too much withdrawal.

Until tomorrow...

August 1st, 2007 at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for Noah's 4th Birthday!

We thought we would start with this picture even though we ended the day with his birthday cake. He loved the hamburger and french fry birthday cake. I have to say that it looked a little disgusting, but it was good. Noah thought it was great. He woke up in the morning like this, bright eyed and bushy tailed--he always wakes up this way. Notice that Jonah is still having a hard time realizing where he is. He always takes a long time to wake up. Both of them sharing a bed is always interesting. Noah was excited to get a start on the day.

We did allow Jacob and Jonah to give Noah their gifts, because they all couldn't wait. They gave him a game that shoots out butterflies and you have to catch them. They wanted to play it in the hotel room, but it really wasn't the best place for it. They decided they will play it at uncle Tim's house on Friday as we spend the night with him. He is in for a surprise.

Since it was foggy still in the morning and because we had been up early, we took Jacob and Noah to get haircuts. They were way overdue, and so we thought, why not. Everything we did today, Noah was so excited and asked if we were doing this because it was his birthday. From haircuts to the beach.

Between getting to Santa Cruz at 10:30 to an hour later, the sun came out and it was kind of hot. This is a perfect picture of Noah. Always the little clown. They ran around the boardwalk saying that they wanted to go on every ride. As boys do, they all one-uped each other and said how none of the rides would scare them. As we started going on some of them, the truth came out. Noah wanted to go on everything and Jacob and Jonah were scared of most things when it came down to it. Jacob went on the pirate ship with Rebecca and half way off said he wanted to get off. Can't do that buddy. He learned the theory of toughing it out. Jonah and I went on the bumper cars and he really is a good driver. He was weaving in and out and smashing or 'T-boning' everyone. We had a great time. It is another reason why Jonah won't be getting his drivers license until he is at least 18 years old.

We also went on the tram that carries you from one end of the park to another. I got stuck with Jonah, who wanted to rock the thing, and Jacob who was saying, "Jonah, that is against the rules". Reba had a nice talk with Noah on the way over. She did say it made her nervous because she felt like he could slip through. It was great to see the beach and boardwalk from the air.

Then, it was off to the beach. We grabbed our bathing suits and ran down there as fast as we could. The kids were blown away by the waves. When we thought about it, the other times we have gone to the ocean, they were really little. Since we go to the lake every year, this was new for them. They had so much fun running from the waves. Noah ran from them while Jacob and Jonah ran towards them. As you can see by the picture, Jacob was pointing at the waves in awe and Jonah was pointing in amazement, all for different reasons. Jonah took it one step further, of course, and he found someone who had a boogie board. That and learning how to body surf were the highlights of his day.

These action shots of Jonah really tell it all. He had so much fun that he exfoliated the sun screen right off his body and ended up burning his face and back. He hooked up with two other locals (6 year olds) and they played for a long time. Jacob and Noah made a huge sand castle on the beach, but did venture out in the water quite a bit.

After this shot down below, he ran up the beach and said he wanted to move to Santa Cruz and surf with the locals. Everywhere he goes, he always tries to get the lingo down. At one point, we overheard him actually turn to the boy he borrowed the boogie board from and said, "Hey, dude, I caught a wave!" No kidding. He really asked us if we could get him surf lessons when we get home. First, he wanted us to buy him a surf board. He had worked out all the details and said we could tie it to the roof on the way home, plus it would look cool that way. I told him that I was certain a surf board tied to a white Honda Oddessy wouldn't have the same effect he was going for. When he saw the beach patrol go by in their huge pickup, he wanted to know if he could ask them to borrow one of the boards on top. He actually thought they would let him...

This is a time during the day that Noah normally naps. He has missed his naps all week long. This look shows it all. He pushed himself to the limit everyday on this trip. Also, notice in the picture that you see Rebecca's shoe surrounded by a thick blanket. Yes, she was cold and had a blanket on. Anyone who knows he though should not be surprised.

On the way home, we gave Noah the choice to pick for dinner. He picked Cocos, which is an upscale Denny's. He wanted to go there because he wanted hot chocolate. During the meal, they were all so tired and they had all burned their backs today. They were wearing their swim shirts that keep the sun off, but they all peeled them off at the end of the day and since they are white, they burned. They were all so tired again. We made it home and did cake and one more present, then it was off to bed. We did squeeze in one final pool run for 15 minutes, but I was so tired, I could hardly move my body. I was done with kids jumping on my body in the pool. the kids were asleep quickly and so were we. We had a great day for Noah's birthday.

We thought it good to end the day with the same picture we woke up to.