Monday, October 29, 2007

Octoberfest in Spokane, cousins, and crisp sun

We headed off for Spokane on Thursday for our annual weekend in Spokane. We love heading up to Green bluff which is an area where there are a lot of farms, pumpkins, apples, and fun for the kids. It also happened to be our nieces 13th birthday, which the kids thought was great. We first headed over to Idaho and spent time with friends from college, and the kids had a fun time playing with kids their own age after the 6 hour drive. We spent the rest of the weekend with my brother and sister in law, who live right near Whitworth University. These are some pictures of Green Bluff, Hannah's 13th Birthday, and walks around Whitworth. We had a great time. The weather was bright, sunny, and cold--Fall. Our kids aren't used to the sun, so most pictures are of Noah, closing his eyes. He asked why the sun is brighter in Spokane. That is a good question.

Wow, all three boys standing in one place at one time.
This is Jonah taking a break from all of the running and playing at the hay maze. There were hardly anyone there since it was Friday. We had the whole place to ourselves. The even had the pumpkin cannon that was operational.
I caught one for a picture. We had a great time watching them run around, weaving in and out of the maze.
Hannah had a great time opening gifts and having dinner with the whole family. The kids get so excited for her and wanted to buy party hats for her with soccer balls on them. Hannah is very good at sports and Jonah really looks up to her. She is great with our kids.
She was a good sport, putting on the party hats. We had a family dinner, followed by presents and cake. What's not to enjoy about an evening with the family.

We all took a walk to Whitworth , which is down the road. Mike got the privilege of herding the flock down the street.
While the adults were watching a Whitworth soccer game, all the kids were running around the grass and playing in water pipe. They could have stayed there all day long.
We walked around campus and Mike showed us some of the new buildings they are working on. The kids used this time to throw leaves a each other. Astrid and Noah had a great time playing int he leaves.

No comments from the peanut gallery. This is our tour guide and his wife, Andrea...or should that be the other way around. It is always very beautiful on campus in the fall, before the snow begins to come. We showed the kids where mom and dad lived while we were in college, where we ate meals, and where we studied for hours in the library (believable, huh?)
Astrid was good enough to take on some extra baggage on the way home since little legs don't carry you very far. All of their cousins are so loving and helpful. They love having older cousins to play with. Astrid usually watches out for Noah and takes care of him.
We had a great weekend of birthday celebration, soccer games, and a lot of playing. We came home rested and tired. All the kids hit their pillows hard on Sunday night. Now it is back to school, making up homework from missed school on Friday. Thanks to Mike and Andrea, who were great hosts.
The LeRoys

San in the smoke?

I headed down south to San Diego on Sunday, October 21st to spend a couple days with my cousin. While we were coming into land at the airport, I saw a ton of smoke and actual houses that were on fire. It was odd and strange. It wasn't until we landed that we saw the whole city covered in thick smoke. My cousin, who picked me up, hadn't realized it was that bad until she drove into the city. throughout the next couple days, the fires got worse, schools were canceled, and they were encouraging everyone to stay indoors to stay out of the smoke. They weren't just worried about the smoke from burning trees, but the smoke from burning chemicals from the houses. Many of Mindy's friends had to evacuate their homes, and we did occasionally keep up with the bulletins to see if she had to evacuate. Thankfully,she didn't have to. We still had a great time regardless of all of the chaos. Many people were sent home from work, so the freeways were empty, which is always an odd sight in California. The sunset below wasn't actually a sunset, as it was only 3 p.m. It was all of the smoke that gave off this incredible glow. More of the same. This was looking off int he opposite direction of the fires, yet you can still see the smoke

Smog or smoke? Now San Diego can look like this on a good day, but the smoke hung in the valleys, with no wind to blow it away.

We did got out to Coronado, away from the fires, and rented a tandem bike. We had a great time. I was in control in the front, which probably wasn't a good idea, but Mindy didn't want to guide us into a ditch. I tried to answer my cell phone while steering the bike, and didn't go over well.
We did have a chance to go out for authentic Mexican food, which was great. Have to have a margarita with good Mexican food.
We had a great time. Mindy let me have the run of the place and it was true relaxation. She was a great hostess. I really appreciated a place to crash for those couple days. I did get out on Wednesday without any problems. Some flights were canceled, but not mine.

Pumpkin Carving 101

The beginning of the day began with wrapping the table with paper and making garbage bag shirts for the kids. They thought it was great being able to dress up in garbage bags. The kids each wanted their own knife to carve, and of course we let all of them run around the house with knives. No way. They got to draw on the pumpkins and scoop out the innards, which kept them very busy. Rebecca and I then went around and carved for them. Jacob had very specific ideas of what he wanted carved out. He always knows what he wants and how he wants us to create it for him.
Jonah thought the best part of the pumpkin was the innards. He loved squeezing it through his fingers. We also cleaned off all of the seeds and we baked them in the oven. Jonah loved this part. Noah thought the pumpkin seeds were yucky.
Rebecca was very focused on carving the pumpkin just right. Jacob let her know when she was "doing it wrong".

Jacob hard at work cleaning out the inside of his pumpkin. He thought the seeds were fun to squeeze through his fingers, shooting off, hitting the wall.
Jonah got the fun idea of putting marshmallows on toothpicks and sticking them in the pumpkin for hair. He thinks he is going to eat them once Halloween is over, but little does he know, that isn't going to happen.
Noah worked very diligently on poking the marshmallows so that he could shove them in his mouth.
We had a great time helping the kids carve their pumpkins. We put on music and ordered pizza. Kids had a great time and thought it would be a good idea to carve pumpkins every night. Clean-up was a whole other issue, with the dog helping out quite a bit.
Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pumpkin Patch with the pre-schoolers

Rebecca and I were able to go with Noah and his pre-school class today to the pumpkin farm. The rain broke for the hour, which we all appreciated. It is great to watch Noah around his teacher and friends. He is such a big helper and loves to be right in there, involved. The walked all the kids around and looked at the animals and fed all of them. Goats, Llamas, ducks, chickens, and a dog. Then they got to walk the corn maze and pick out a pumpkin at the end. The kids walked all over the place while all of the parents followed along. We had a great time. Noah with his friends looking at the Llamas. When there ears go back, that means they are getting ready to spit. With 20 pre-schoolers around, their ears were back quite a bit. We of course, saw the ducks and chickens. The main thing that the kids took away from that experience was that animals sure do smell.
What a sight to see. No one got lost in the maze--all were accounted for. Noah wanted to lead the line today, so he was in heaven.

Noah pre-school class with their teacher, Mrs. Chris.

Noah is always happiest with a pumpkin and with his mom.

They were all so busy picking out pumpkins. Noah must have picked 10 different ones before he decided on the one he wanted. He kept putting them down because they were dirty. We had to explain again that pumpkins actually grow in the dirt.

He had a great day and a super nap once he got home.
Have a great Halloween!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday Marna!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We all gathered together to celebrate Marna's 58th birthday on Sunday, the actual day of her birthday. It seems with busy schedules these days, we get together when it works out. This year, we were able to go out to lunch with the kids after church and then we all went out for an adult dinner that night at the boat shed. It was great to come together and celebrate Sue's birthday. We actually had conversations and it really felt like we were a bunch of adults. Sue's real birthday present is the cruise that her and Mark are going on this Friday. They leave from Seattle and cruise for the weekend. They can't wait for the weekend. It comes at a prefect time, as their house is being remodeled. For the record, Josh, was here but had to leave for a hockey game. It was us who didn't think to take a picture until the very end--sorry Josh.
One of our family lunches that the aunts and uncles get to be a part of with the kids. Of course, the kids always want to sit next to their other family, leaving mom and dad without some one's meat to cut.

Jacob played his game boy until the food came. This seems to keep him busy while we wait. We had a great day and were glad we could all get together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Last night on Maui!

We spent our last evening on Maui with the Farewell dinner. It was a lot of fun and they had incredible food and drink. We got to take some great pictures with family and good friends. We were sad to leave, but we had such a great time. It has been a long time since Rebecca and I have been able to take a real vacation with each other. We greatly appreciate both of our parents for watching and loving our boys while we were gone for the week. We couldn't have gone without their help. Uncle Ken, Aunt Deanna, Reba and I by the Tiki torches.
Rachel, Erick, Alex, Julia, and Andrew (Good friends from College)

Deanna and Steve Geier (an Advisor on Rebecca's team) Good friends
Rebecca and Rachel at the farewell dinner. They had a great time together.
Good friends that we met on the island. Aryn and Norb. We met the last night for drinks up by the pool. We had a great time.

The boys after we gave them their t-shirts from Hawaii. They were very glad to have us home, and we had a great welcome from them this morning at 6:45. They got to wear their shirts to school today.

Back to reality and home life with the boys which is always an adventure.

Monday, October 08, 2007

This was the day we took our snorkeling tour with Erin and Norb. It was a big boat and we left around 0800 and went over towards an island about seven miles from Maui, Lanai. It was rough on the way, but worth seeing all of the see life. We had a great time all day long. We went to two separate places to snorkel and they fed us lunch. Besides some of the rough seas, it was great.
I know that you can't make these out, but we found a school of dolphins (over 100 of them) and it was incredible. They would jump out of the water and spin--hence Hawaiian spinner dolphins. We followed them for awhile and we got to see all of the baby dolphins with their moms. It was beautiful.

The wet suits were to keep us warmer, even though the water was 70 degrees. It was nice to have them once the wind picked up and once we got out of the water. Do you like Reba's hair?

Rebecca didn't know that I snapped some pictures of her "showering" the salt water off after snorkeling. I was very proud of her that she went into the water twice, because we all know that jumping in the ocean is not her favorite thing to do. She said she loved it and wouldn't have missed snorkeling in Hawaii. When we were snorkeling near Maui, we encountered turtles, a lot of different fish, and some white tip reef sharks. Rebecca and I are always up for adventure, but once we saw two of them on the floor of the ocean, we were all of the sudden done. The look on Rebecca's face said it all. It was very strange to see them in the water, knowing that they most likely won't touch you, but that they could if they felt like it. So now at least we can say that we saw sharks and turtles on our trip to Maui. What an experience. The guides were great and were in the water with us, so we felt somewhat safer, but when we all saw the sharks, they said," nothing to worry about."

Erin and Rebecca had to hold on for dear life. There were some pretty big swells between Maui and Lanai. We all made it there a feeling a bit woozy, but we all still jumped in the water and started snorkeling

We have had such a fun time getting to know Erin and Norb. Their friendship has made this trip even more fun for us. They are heading back to California in a day or two. We will miss them.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another Hawaii day of sun, tatooing and dinner.

Yes, this is a tatoo. I got a tatoo and so did Reba. They are three week tatoos that slowly fade. It was fun to do. I got three turtles, one signifying each one of the kids. Reba also got one on her ankle It didn't even hurt.
The whole thing was Rebecca's idea, so she is to blame for all of us having such a great time.

We met a great couple on the plane while we traveled to Maui, Norb and Erin. We have been doing things with them throughout the week. We have had a great time with them. Last night, we went out for dinner in Lahaina. We all stopped off and got tatoos before dinner. Rebecca got one on her ankle, I got three turtles on my arm, Norb got a turtle, and Erin got a flower. We had a lot of fun. We headed to the north side of the Island today with Eric, Rachael, and their three kids. We stopped and watched surfers and wind surfers. We knew that Jonah would love this picture, so we made sure capture this one for the kids. It was really windy today, exactly the weather Rebecca loves. We have had the chance to hang out and spend time with good friends. Rebecca and Rachael were friends in college and have been able to spend a lot of time together on this trip. Eric and I have had a great time playing with the kids.

We headed out to lava pools and it was amazing. The water was very rough, but we got great pictures in the meantime.

The hike down the hill was more dangerous than sitting next to 15 foot waves. We had a great time. We ended up finding a little smoothie place in the middle of nowhere. It was hard to find and hard to get there, but we made it.

Here was one of the blow holes where we stopped. The landscape is beautiful and so different from anything we are used to.

Until tomorrow's adventure......