Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lizards and Snakes and Spiders, oh my!

It doesn't get much more fun than 5-year old birthday parties. But I've done a lot of fun boy party themes over the years already, like; baseball, pirates, race cars, superheroes - to name some. I wanted to do something new and different and perfect for my newest 5-year old. This time is was all about Bo. So we decided on a reptile party - SO him. But not just any old reptile with REAL reptiles!

So I sent out the invitations... and decorated reptile style...

I made a path of lizard tracks from the front door to the back patio where the party would take place...

And then let Mr. Lizard do the rest...

Of course there were party favors filled with reptile-y things...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another School year

The backpacks are loaded with supplies and these boys are ready for another school year as 3rd and 4th graders. They didn't even want their mom and little brothers to walk them to school on the first day - that was such a last year thing!

Go be your best boys!

Labor Day Fun

I love Labor Day - it's like that last hurrah of summer. So why not spend it outdoors and with your favorite people? That's what we did! My family thought it would be a great idea to all meet at Oaks Park (a local and I guess, still popular) amusement park. Only we couldn't even get close to the park with the crazy traffic and cars backed up farther than anyone can imagine. So when we investigated what was going on and found out there was some "union" event at Oaks Park for the day - we quickly started brainstorming for a plan B. Luckily, my family was stalled in traffic right on Sellwood Bridge and we were admiring all the boats in the water below us. That moment sparked an idea that brought us to a river dock and led us on one crazy and fun adventure. We called and booked tickets for all 24 of us on the Willamette River Jetboat Excursion! They said it was for all ages and family we threw life jackets on all the kids, took our seats, snapped a few pictures and we were off on our hour-long adventure.

Notice the sign behind Cole and I. It says - "An exciting adventure with sharp turns and quick stops. You WILL get wet. You MIGHT get soaked." And then a whole list of friendly huh?

The boat ride took us up and down the Willamette river, sometimes at high speeds, spinning 360's and stopping on a dime - and getting wet with every manuever! There were also some slower moments where we learned a little history of the Portland waterway and had a moment for a quick photo ("quick" was key - my camera would have surely been overboard had I had it out during the action). Most of the younger kids were white-knuckled for most of the ride, and Cole pretty much had his head burried into me - refusing to look. It was just so fast and fun, we didn't have time to feel bad for them! It was a Blast!

Papa and Grammy - a little wet, but still smiling. The young kids weren't too sure about the whole thing...but watching their panicked reactions to all the stunts made the ride all the more hilarious!

Luke's just along for the ride - spiked, wet hair and all.

A stop at McCall's waterfront park for a calm moment to admire the Portland skyline and draw attention of park-goers - good marketing!

The whole "wet" gang posed for a picture after the wild excursion. It was truly so fun and we can't wait to do it again next summer when they re-open sessions. Maybe we'll leave the little ones home next time!? Thanks Oaks Park for being too busy - we had a MUCH better time anyways! Next, our group was off to dinner at the Ol Spaghetti Factory to celebrate all the August/September birthdays!
The jetboat excursion kind of represented our summer in a way - fast, furious, and tons of fun. Definitely a good, last Hurrah for a fabulous summer.

Double Digits!

Caden turned 10 earlier this month! Each year we seem to have trouble finding a way to celebrate with his friends, since his birthday always falls around Labor Day and everybody seems to be out of town. But we still rounded up several friends that were in town and they had a great time celebrating as all boys like to do - bowling and chowing down on nachos and french fries

and cooling off with a sweet treat of ice cream at Coldstone

I still can't believe I have a ten year old. And I am crushed by the thought that he is more than half-way through his years that he will be in our home! This boy is such a great kid. Every mom thinks this, I know, but he is really something special. He is incredibly bright and mature and funny - my sister says she sometimes feels like calling to see if Cade can come hang out - he is that much fun to be around. He knows what he is about and is very driven to be his best. He is a hard worker. He is an awesome older brother and oldest cousin - the little kids truly LOVE him. He has that look and feel about him that says - "I got it under control". As his third grade teacher put it, "if there is one word to describe Caden it would be - COOL." We have high hopes for our kids and sometimes I feel like I expect so much out of this one...yet, everyday I stop to notice - and there he is exceeding my expectations! He makes us so proud. Happy 1oth. We love you buddy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Summer Family Pictures

My talented sister-in-law lugged all her camera and gear from Florida and helped us get some family pics during our Black Butte reunion in August. Thanks to her quickness with the camera and a lot of patience with us, she was able to get some great photos.

This is us, just keeping it real. The shot was taken on the golf course and you will notice the picture on the top has golfers and carts in the background. Then after some handy work in photoshop - viola! They disappear!
Our blondest boy
This kid is packed with personality. We love his little teeth, all seperated and perfectly rounded - we call him Mike Wazowski (from Monster Inc.)
Mischevious but oh so cute...
Coolest kids ever

Thanks Heather for taking the time to help us capture these memories and great times.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Depoe Bay

We always look forward to our annual summer camping weekend with our friends. This year, we ditched the tents and upgraded to a house at the coast!

Although our camping trips were always great for serving up adventures and hilarious memories, I think our beach weekend will stick as a new tradition. We enjoyed perfect weather and had a wonderful time.

Lukers took a little time to take a liking to the sand - but his sad face was just as photogenic.
The shore and tidepools were full of sealife - the kids stayed out for hours discovering!

Cole was a little leary of the waves crashing in - he is still saying "thank you that the water didn't get us" in his prayers each night! He did a lot of observing from high up on the beach while the rest of them played in the sand and water all day long.

Our friend pulled out his nets and we went crabbing off the rock pier close by- we had some great luck and caught a dozen or so. Mostly small ones to throw back, but a few beefy ones too!
Cade's going to have to teach Dad how to hold 'em...he got chomped on the finger!

The kids help measure the crabs back at the house to make sure they are big enough to keep...and to EAT! A quick photo before we cook them up!
We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and memories!
A beautiful scene to end the day. And a wonderful finale to a great summer!