What An Uncle Can Teach You

Uncles can teach little boys lots of things. My two little boys were lucky this weekend because they got to learn so many fun things from their Uncle Scott. We went camping at Fort Stevens and had a blast. The primary reason our family goes is for salmon fishing. Nathan caught three fish. We’ll be enjoying lots of good salmon in the coming months. The boys and I stay behind, and my mom kindly stayed back with us. We got to do a lot of fun things during the mornings, and then in the afternoons all of the fishermen and women were back to join our fun.

So what did my boys learn?

First off, they learned how to find secret places in the woods. Uncle Scott helped them find three secret places. Their favorite was secret place number one. Elias wanted everyone to come join him in secret place number one. Here are a couple pictures:

P1190072 P1190073One of the evenings, we rode our bikes to Coffenbury Lake. We found a small sand dune. Uncle Scott promptly taught the boys how to run down the sand dune.

P1190117He also taught them how to make daring jumps.

P1190107My little daredevil, Simon, had to try this right away.

P1190105With all of the talk of fishing going on, Elias really wanted to participate. He is not quite old enough to go out on the boat yet during salmon fishing. So Uncle Scott took him fishing for smaller fish from the shore. He caught a yellow perch and was very very proud. Nathan didn’t get pictures of the fish or the proud looks on Elias’ face, but these are a couple of him in the process of fishing.

P1190054 P1190056One thing Uncle Scott could not teach the boys was the beauty and relaxation of sitting around the campfire. Every time we wanted to sit around the fire, the boys looked at us like we were crazy and then got up to run around to their secret place or explore the area.

P1190068One thing that finally got them interested in staying in the campfire area was when they started the “throwing sticks and pine cones game.” We made a huge pile of sticks and pine cones from around the camp. Then the boys would grab a couple at a time, run to the bushes, and throw them as hard as they could into the woods. They did this over and over and over again. It was very cute to watch, and it was nice because we could actually sit around and enjoy the campfire while we watched them.

While everyone else was out fishing, my mom and I took the boys to Seaside for some fun. The boys both really loved the carousel.

P1190050 P1190042We also rode our bikes to Battery Russel and the Historic Area so that the boys could explore around those areas. They had a lot of fun making echoes in all of the dark rooms of the battery, and Simon especially loved pretending to drive the army jeep.

P1190141 P1190151Much to my brother’s dismay, I insisted on one no-fishing day. (At least for our family of four…everyone else still went). Instead, we went to Cannon Beach. We ate at our favorite restaurant in the whole world…The Lazy Susan Cafe. Poor Simon had to wait a lot longer for his breakfast than normal. In retrospect we should have brought him something more to tide him over. We had a nightmare restaurant scenario on our hands until we ordered an English Muffin pronto, and Simon got some food in his belly. Then he was charming and waving at all the other customers like he hadn’t been throwing forks and screaming just a few seconds earlier.

After breakfast we went to Tolovanna and enjoyed the beach. It was a chilly but beautiful day. The boys had a lot of fun playing in the sand.

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We also dipped our legs in the ocean, but it was absolutely freezing. Painfully freezing! It didn’t seem to bother Elias has much as it bothered the rest of us.P1190193Elias keeps telling me that we have to go back to camping. Both boys really loved the experience!

 

 

 

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Bloody Nose

Poor Elias had a pretty bad bloody nose earlier this evening. We were playing baseball out in the backyard. Simon usually hits off the tee, because let’s face it, he’s not very successful at hitting pitched balls. But hitting pitched balls is what Elias does so Simon likes to “take a whack at it.”

One thing I know from experience is that Simon stands way to close to the pitcher when he attempts hitting pitched balls. In fact, he pretty much hits me with every swing. I try to jump out of the way, but sometimes he gets me. Knowing this, I should have just refused when Elias pleaded with me to take a turn pitching to Simon. But it’s hard to resist letting them play together.

So I handed Elias the ball, and started walking around Simon. In my head I was thinking that I would back Simon up, and stand right next to him to ensure he did not hit Elias with the bat. But Simon was too quick. He swung at the ball, and hit Elias square on the nose. Hard.

It was just a plastic bat, but Elias immediately burst into tears (which is very rare) so I knew he must be hurting a lot. Then came the blood gushing out. Poor little guy. Let’s just say we both needed a change of clothes after that one!

Now he can say his brother hit him in the face with a baseball bat. Let’s hope it is the one and only time!

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Simon At Bat

Since Nathan and Elias love baseball so much, it is natural that Simon would develop a love for it as well. Recently, he has really taken an interest in hitting off the tee. 18 months is right around the time Elias started really enjoying “bat and ball” as well so it is bringing back a lot of fond memories for me when I watch Simon play.

Elias is becoming somewhat of a batting whiz, and Simon has learned mostly by watching his brother (as with most everything else in his life). The boys are (almost always) good at sharing our bat, and taking turns hitting the ball. We have lost quite a few whiffle balls over the backyard fence, but luckily the neighbors are kind enough to return most of them promptly.

Because Simon is so cute at bat, I took a bunch of videos of him. Here is one for your enjoyment:

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Ahh, Brotherly Love

On Friday morning after breakfast, Elias asked me if he could go outside in the backyard and play. I still had to clean up the breakfast dishes, sweep the floors, and do a couple of other chores, but I decided to let him go out and play anyway. Of course Simon wanted to go with him. I could hear them talking to each other so I knew they weren’t getting into too much trouble. At first they were just playing in the grass, and sharing the bat, tee, and balls. It was harmonious.

All of a sudden, I heard the water turn on. I went to look, and this is what I found:

P1190032When I asked Elias what he was doing, he responded that Simon wanted to play at the water table. It was pretty cute how they were playing together. I went back to my chores.

A few minutes later when I peeked out to check on them, I saw Elias spraying and soaking Simon with the hose. To his credit, he was mostly avoiding his face and head, and was instead going for Simon’s stomach and legs. But really? He was soaking Simon with the hose? I really couldn’t tell if he was trying to exert some power over his little brother if they really were just playing. After I told him to stop he decided to soak himself instead. There it was before 9am and they already needed an outfit change!

P1190036They may have been up to some mischief, but they were having fun playing together, and that’s what counts!

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We’ll Miss You Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina!

We had to say goodbye to Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina on Tuesday. Having so much family in town made the week such a whirlwind, and it was sad to say goodbye. At least we’ll see them again in November, so it wasn’t goodbye for too long.

On Sunday evening we had the whole family over to our house just to hang out. It was fun having both sides here at the same time. Elias and Simon had pretty much all of their closest family in the same yard. Elias had quite the spectator section at his baseball practice in the backyard.

P1180963Monday evening we got to see Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina again for dinner at my parents’ house. My mom had also been hinting at a surprise “activity” for a few weeks, and we were all very curious as to what it could be. It turns out, my parents have been secretly converting all of our old family videos from VHS to DVD, and they presented us with our own copies of the first batch. We watched some highlights as a family and had a blast laughing and laughing at how weird we were as kids.

P1190003Tuesday morning we got to say goodbye at a nice brunch. It was fun to see them one last time before they left for the airport, but it was bittersweet.

P1190010We love you Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina!

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Pinata, Pool, and the Final Days of Family Fun

Our Spokane family left on Tuesday, as did Grandpa. We had a lot of fun in the last couple days of their visit. Elias asks if his cousins will be there every time we load up the car to go somewhere, and I have to constantly remind him that they are in Washington.

We got to celebrate Audrey’s birthday while she was here. She really wanted a pinata, but the place where her birthday party is going to be in Spokane won’t allow them. Auntie Erin bought one here in Oregon, and we decided to let the kids have at it in the backyard. All four of the kiddos had a lot of fun. Simon didn’t really know what he was doing, but he did make the bat have contact with the pinata, which was fun.

Elias and Audrey both had some pretty powerful swings. The pictures don’t show it, but they both helped demolish the thing:

P1180937 P1180942The four kids just weren’t able to give the pinata a good enough whack, so Nathan took a turn. In two swings he had a huge hole ripped in the bottom, and with that, candy would fly out with almost every swing the kids made. It was quite exciting. Near the end, we let Nana take a whack at it. She finished it off for us.

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Here is the birthday girl, proud of her pinata:

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On Monday, we went swimming at Nana’s pool. Both boys had a lot of fun with their cousins one final time.

P1180977 P1180979 P1180987 P1180995It doesn’t really matter what we do, though. These cousins just love being together:

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Rose Garden and Backyard Fun

Yesterday we got to spend some time with Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina. We went to the Rose Garden for a picnic, which was a beautiful setting as always. Mostly though, we were just happy to be together.

P1180841After lunch we took the chance to walk around the gardens for awhile. Elias was very excited to smell all of the flowers, and show his favorites to everyone.

P1180844Simon had a good time too, although you can’t tell it from any of the pictures. He was a little upset that we made him stay with us rather than run off wherever his desire took him.

P1180853This was a popular flower!

P1180856When we got back to my parents’ house, Simon took a nap, and then we decided to go play outside in the backyard. Elias loves the little pool. A bunch of us waded or got in the pool with him. Some of the men sat out in the shade.

P1180879Uncle Greg decided to put on his swim suit and have some fun. Elias somehow convinced him to do this a lot of times:

P1180891Simon did enjoy the pool for a little while, but wanted to get out and play at the water table. Auntie Shaina joined him.

P1180892We are having such a busy week with so much family in town on both Nathan and my side. But our hearts are full and we wouldn’t trade it for anything!

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Our Little Ring Bearer

Uncle Greg and (soon to be) Auntie Shaina flew in to town late Thursday night. We got to see them on Friday. Even though we seldom see Greg anymore now that he lives in Ohio, Elias has always loved him very much, and was very excited.

When we arrived at my parents house to visit, Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina had a surprise for Elias. They pulled out a special treasure box. When Elias opened it, this is what he found:

P1180837There was also a small lego helicopter inside, which Elias promptly wanted to build.

P1180834What a cute and fun thing they did for my boy! I’m not sure he really understands what a ring bearer is, but he said he was definitely up for the job! Next May my little guy will be part of the wedding party. What fun!

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Fun Family Times

We’ve been having a blast this week hanging out with our cousins, Auntie, and Grandpa from out of town. Elias and Simon absolutely adore their cousins, and each minute of play time together is precious.

On Wednesday, we met at the park to play on the playground and in the fountains. Although Elias and Simon didn’t run through the fountains in glee by any means, they did have a good time. Most of the time they just stood back and watched, but they did enjoy the water for a bit in order to cool off.

P1180778After the park, Simon took a nap, and everyone came over to our house for a birthday party. Elias has been excited for the birthday party for a long time. Sonya turned 4 years old! Simon had an excellent time rolling the ball with Sonya before dinner.

P1180783After dinner we sang Sonya happy birthday…complete with a Frozen cake!

P1180793 P1180796Simon and Elias were entranced by all of the girl toys. My little ponies. Magnetic Frozen”paper dolls”. Fairies with like five different dresses, matching shoes and purses. It was all new territory for the boys.

P1180804Elias helped by passing Sonya each present as she was opening. He was certainly exhibiting first child tendencies, telling her what to open and when. It was quite cute.

P1180802On Thursday we had more of a relaxing day. Everyone came over to play in our backyard all day. I set up the water table and the sprinkler and the kiddos had a lot of fun. I have to admit it has been a lot of years since I have run through a sprinkler and it was quite exhilarating. Here are Sonya and Elias posing during their fun afternoon.

P1180828Cousins are so much fun! I’m so glad the boys get to see their cousins as much as they do, and that they get along so great. But we wish we could see them even more often!

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Another Zoo Adventure!

Today we took our Spokane relatives and Grandpa to the zoo. It was another beautiful day, and although the zoo was crowded, we got to see a lot of animals! Here are the kids having fun at some of the exhibits!

P1180723 P1180734Then, Elias gave Simon some pointers on driving the jeep:

P1180741After exploring the cheetahs, we went out to the concert lawn for our picnic, just in time for the bird show. It was pretty warm in the sun, but the kids weren’t complaining. They were having fun! We got to see four birds in the show.

P1180746One of the birds we saw was a vulture. The zoo has trained the vulture to accept donations from kids and place them in the donation box. Audrey, Sonya, and Elias all wanted to try this so I just had to get a picture. Elias was pretty nervous about it, and the zoo lady had to pretty much force him close enough. But hand it to the vulture he did!

P1180748After handing the donation to the vulture, Elias got a magnet with the vulture’s picture to commemorate the experience. He ran back to show it to Grandpa.

P1180749After we were done on the lawn, we went to explore more of Africa. Audrey and Elias were very excited to pet the goats.

P1180756By this time, Simon was super tired, and I wanted him to fall asleep in the stroller so that we could go on having fun. I gave him his pacifier thinking it would help him fall asleep. Usually at home, the only time he gets his pacifier anymore is in the crib. I thought that this was an ok exception since I was trying to get him to fall asleep. Simon was fighting sleep, though, and wasn’t having any of it. While we were up on the platform looking down at the gazelles, Audrey informed me that Simon had dropped his pacifier. As I began looking for it, a feeling of dread hit me. That dread was confirmed…Simon threw his pacifier down into the exhibit. I am going to have nightmares about reading news articles about gazelles who choked or died from pacifier obstruction. Don’t judge me too harshly. Every parent who has dealt with pacifiers knows that you can’t really control what your child does with them. But I do have some guilt about the whole experience.

About this time, Elias started saying he was tired and wanted to go home. I couldn’t deal with two whiny kids so we decided to head home for some rest. Both boys fell asleep in the car on the way home. Elias ended up napping for almost two whole hours.

P1180761You know you’ve done good if this kid falls asleep in the middle of the day!

We had a blast at the zoo. There’s another one for the books!

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