Every year we spend a few days at Fort Stevens for our annual family fishing trip. Nathan goes with my brother, my dad, and whoever else happens to be there to fish on the Columbia river. I stay behind with the boys.

This year Nathan caught two fish, both Chinook. One was 24 pounds and the other was a bit smaller, perhaps 11 pounds. We’ll have a lot of Salmon to eat!

Elias and Simon loved riding bikes, exploring the campground, going in to Seaside, playing on the playground, and more. We weren’t allowed campfires but we gave them graham crackers and chocolate while watching a video of a fire on my dad’s phone. It was a laughable attempt at trying to make up for the boys not being able to roast marshmallows and sit around the fire. But we had fun nonetheless.

The boys wondered about Daddy fishing every morning, so they were very excited when Uncle Scott and Daddy took them fishing at Coffenbury Lake for trout.

Just look how proud Simon was carrying his pole across the parking lot toward the lake:

20150824_163904Elias had a ton of fun fishing as well. Uncle Scott was relieved because Elias is actually showing some signs of skill and patience this year. Last year he mostly just waved his pole around and got the line tangled. This year he held his pole correctly, attempted casting on his own, was able to reel in correctly, and like I said, showed a lot of patience. There may be more fishing in his near future!

20150824_164155In the end, we did not end up catching any trout. We didn’t have the right bait or the right conditions or whatever reason. The boys were both quite disappointed. Here they are looking in the water. Where are the fish?

20150824_171440Despite wanting to give them more chance for success, they were getting restless and we had to get back to the campsite for dinner. Maybe next time!

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Big Boy Bed!

We’ve got a lot to do in order to get ready for baby #3 to arrive. We’ve got a couple of months, but when you look at our calendar, there are very few times we’ll have available to actually work on getting our home ready. We’ve got to get the nursery ready, which means we’ll need the crib from Simon. That in turn means that Simon will need the toddler bed. So…first things first! Today we tackled Elias’ room. He had a broken book shelf, and his room was basically a disaster. I hadn’t had the energy to make him clean it every night like I normally do while I was working in July. Then we had houseguests. Then we were out of town. His room was basically a disaster. That’s ok, though! We gave it a makeover! Here are the before pics…I’m embarrassed to even post them but here goes:

To the left when you walk in the door. Our trusty boat bed and some toys.

20150829_114354To the right from the doorway. Train table and a lot of mess hidden behind it.

20150829_114407I won’t show the dresser and bookshelf because it’s just too messy.

Anyway, we told Elias that he was growing to tall for his boat bed (which he was) so there would be no hard feelings about Simon “stealing” it from him a little ways down the road. We went to IKEA, bought a new bookshelf, and got home to start working on the room.

Elias enjoyed helping Daddy build his new shelf.

20150829_122851The boys just finished building it by lunch. We took a break for lunch and play, and then while Simon napped, I spent quiet time with Elias loading his new shelf. I have to say I really love how it looks. We didn’t have time to finish before bed time. Eventually (hopefully tomorrow) all five bottom row shelves will have doors. We even purchased the laundry hamper at IKEA to store stuffed animals neatly instead of strewn everywhere.

20150829_193057After dinner, we got to work on the bed. We already had a twin bed which we had previously used in the guest room. It was my grandma’s bed, my mother’s bed, my bed, and now Elias is sleeping in it. Four generations! I was excited, but Nathan was actually getting a big emotional that Elias is now in a real big boy bed. We got it all set up with his nightstand and were very happy with the results.

20150829_191050Elias came in and instantly got a big smile on his face. He was very excited. Of course Simon wanted to sleep there too.

20150829_191817We did not completely finish with Elias’ room before bed time arrived. We’ll have a little work to do tomorrow. However, I think we did great today! One room 3/4 down….the rest of the house to go. Operation baby#3 has begun.

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Pool Day!

Nathan’s Auntie Holly (Nana’s sister) is in town for a couple of days, so when you combine that with the Ramlals, Nana, and having baby James with us…that is a lot of family! We are lucky lucky lucky! Nathan decided to take a vacation day to spend time with all of us, and especially Auntie Holly who he hadn’t seen since he was in high school.

Since today was such a warm day, we decided to swim in Nana’s pool. Everyone had a blast. The water was perfect and the adult to child ratio was also very good so it was low stress. We did learn how much luggage we will have to carry around with three in tow…it’s a lot!

Elias immediately warmed up to Auntie Holly who is good at engaging with the kids and extremely kind. He wanted to swim back and forth underneath a floaty between Auntie Holly and Nana. I think he was pretending to be a dolphin, but I was busy getting Simon and James ready for swimming so I am not totally sure.

P1230572Since this was James’ first pool experience we thought we’d put him in a baby shade thing. But he really didn’t like it. He seems to be very sensitive to temperatures and he didn’t like be submerged up to his chest all at once. So I held him, and though he was tentative at first…

IMG_1763he eventually ended up having a lot of fun in the water.

IMG_1772Simon loved swimming around in this alligator floating toy. A few times he flipped right off and went under the water. Luckily he had his puddle jumper, and after the initial shock, got right back on for more.

IMG_1760He had a lot of fun with Daddy at the pool since Mommy was occupied mostly with James and with being the photographer of the day.

IMG_1773Elias was under the water as much as he could be. He really is getting to be a little fish.

IMG_1764Audrey and Elias dove for torpedoes and fish.

IMG_1787 IMG_1786Sonya was in there having fun with everyone else.

IMG_1788It was a great morning in the water!

IMG_1782Unfortunately, tomorrow morning we’ll have to say goodbye to the Ramlals for now. They’ll be returning to Spokane. I know my boys will really miss having their cousins around to play with. It’s so good to spend time with family!

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Our Morning With Baby James

We got to watch Baby James this morning so that Uncle Scott could go fishing and Auntie Kristy could go to work. Everyone who knew kept saying I was “brave” but pretty soon I’ll have three all the time so I was actually kind of looking forward to the preview. (Not to mention the time with my sweet nephew!)

I got to remember all the things I had forgotten about having a baby and a toddler (and a couple preschoolers) at the same time. Little tricks that had left my brain. What do I do with the baby while I wipe someone else’s bottom? How do I make lunch? I could wait for Auntie Erin to finish making lunch for her girls. Or….I could just put him in the exersaucer. It eventually came back to me.

This post is a little bit for Auntie Kristy. She was worried about him this morning because Arwen had scratched him up a bit below his eye just before she dropped him off. Nothing serious…but still nothing you want to happen to your baby! So now Auntie Kristy can see how much fun he had. But this is for us too. Remember the fun times with cousins!

When James arrived the boys immediately got down to entertaining him.

P1230504James went along with it.

P1230502The torture continued for awhile….I mean they let James try on a bunch of their hats.

P1230508Then Elias decided he wanted to take James on a tour of the house. He wanted to show all of the rooms and toys. We made a stop in Simon’s room for a quick story.

P1230509Audrey and Sonya got in on the fun. James had four kiddos fawning over him for awhile. My boys are lucky that have all three of their cousins in one house!

P1230513P1230525After a mid morning bottle and a quick 20 minute nap in the crib, James was bright eyed and ready for more fun. Elias played some tummy time with him and we got some cute pictures.

P1230532 P1230535 P1230542About this time, the big kids wanted to go out in the back and do some water play. We set it all up and James and I watched from the shade.

P1230550I had a lot of fun Auntie time this morning. James doesn’t seem too impressed with me, though. What’s his deal?

P1230547I’ll just say he was getting a bit hungry again by the time I took this picture. We went inside for lunch, and he fell asleep again just in time for his Mommy to pick him up. Eh….three wasn’t so hard.

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Fun At The Park: In Pictures

We had a lot of fun at the park today with the Ramlals. The kids played on the play equipment, in the fountains, in the bushes, and had a picnic.

Here are Audrey and Elias spinning:

P1230451Simon lookin’ good:

P1230454Sonya took Simon under her wing a bit during the fountain play. He never did like getting sprayed, but he did enjoy climbing on the rocks around the area.

P1230463Elias was hesitant at first, but ended up having a lot of fun running around and through the water, getting soaked, and climbing on rocks.

P1230467After lunch the kids played in the bushes including a game of hide and seek.

P1230473We finished off with some more climbing before going home for nap time and quiet time.


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This Is How You Wear The Kids Out!

Our day ended with both boys in complete meltdown mode.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a wonderful day! But they were just worn out! They’ve been playing hard inside and out with their cousins and they’ve been having the time of their lives.

So how do you wear the kids out?

Have them drag each other around in boxes.

P1230401Send them outside to wrestle around in the grass on top of inflatable slides.

P1230433A lot of running around and climbing trees.

P1230489Be sure to get a few rounds of family Uno in there too.

P1230446We also went to the park today where they did more running and climbing as well as water play. The kids did get some down time in there as well. But there’s not time for much! They’re just having too much fun.

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Let’s Go Hops!

We are supporting the Hops again this summer both in spirit and in attendance at games. We’ve attended four games so far this summer, and we’ve had a blast.

One of our games was last Saturday evening. The weather was a nice 75 degrees or so, and the boys were ready for some baseball!

We spent the first four innings or so watching the game, eating kettle corn, and trying not to disturb the people sitting around us.

P1230439 P1230440Then look who found us!

P1230441They happened to be at the same game with Kristy, Scott, James, and Kristy’s parents. Their party was sitting waaaaaay across the field in the grass.

After a couple more innings (and a couple more snacks) we decided to go over a visit them so that we could say hi to Kristy and Scott and so that the boys could have a chance to run around.

And run around they did!

P1230442It was a fun night for all!

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Birthday Celebrations

We are lucky enough to be able to celebrate cousin Audrey’s birthday with her almost every year since they come to visit us every August. This year, we had a gift for Sonya as well instead of mailing it to her back in July.

The boys really enjoyed Auntie Erin’s cupcakes. Simon even thought the cupcake was more interesting than watching Audrey open presents so you know it was tasty!:

P1230415 P1230419For Sonya, I had made a cape just like the ones I’ve made for the boys. Back at the Ramlal spring break visit, I noticed Sonya was pretty interested in the capes and decided to make her one of her own. Luckily, it was a big hit! The boys and Sonya immediately donned their capes and went in the backyard to play. Nathan even overheard Elias say, “a superhero cape makes you run faster.” Here you can see his cape disappearing out of the frame of the picture while Sonya and Simon jump off the deck.

P1230430 P1230431Shortly after they started playing, Audrey asked me, “Why am I the only one without a cape?” So…I made her one as well later that afternoon while Simon was napping. I realized as I was preparing for this post that I don’t have a picture of Audrey’s cape so I’ll have to get one before they return home!

A fun birthday party for all!

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Zoo Camp

As we approached summer, I wanted Elias to have some summer camp experiences both for the fun aspect, but also so that school didn’t come as such a shock in the fall.

In June, Elias went to a week long camp at the Tualatin Hills Nature Center. He loved it. In July, he went to a week long VBS at our church. In August, we had him do a week of zoo camp. Elias was very excited for zoo camp, and he had a blast while he was there.

Highlights included petting goats, a rabbit, a toad, a turkey, a rat, and what he called a “large insect kind of like a ladybug.” He came home singing a bunch of new songs which he promptly taught me and made me sing along with. It was a great success!

Here he is proud and ready for zoo camp:

P1230397Simon was super jealous. Every day he said that he wanted to go to zoo camp and kept asking me to put on his penguin shirt. Unfortunately, he’s got at least two years to wait since you have to be four to do zoo camp. I did stay at the zoo all day with him on Wednesday and pretended we were at zoo camp. He had a great time, but when Thursday came, he still wanted to stay. It’s hard not being the oldest!

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Reunited Cousins!

We’ve been lucky enough to have a visit from the Ramlals. They are currently at the beach on hiatus from the Smith household, but they’ll be back for more fun soon! The boys (and especially Elias) always eagerly anticipate a visit from their cousins. It really is taking them less and less time to warm up to each other with each visit.

During the first phase of their stay we visited Saturday Market and made our traditional visit to Chang’s Mongolian Grill. Other than that we mostly just played and hung out together. Lots of family fun. On the night the Ramlals arrived all four kids pretty much just ran around screaming and giggling and hugging. It was loud and crazy, but it was fun to see them so excited.

They did settle down, though. They enjoyed some painting together as well as a lot of reading time.

P1230391 P1230394

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