First Tent Camping Trip!

Last year Nathan and I decided that we wanted to be a tent camping family. My parents gave us a tent as a gift, but since I was pregnant, we never ended up using the tent despite good intentions. In January we had a two month old, but we were bound a determined to tent camp this summer. We made three one night reservations for different campgrounds and different weekends to try it out. (We were only so ambitious with an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler in tow.)

We scheduled the first trip for Stub Stewart State Park, only 30 or so miles from our house. I mentioned our trips to a friend from church and her family ended up joining us. We were happy to have friends on our first trip, and the boys were happy to spend time with their friends Jane and Josie as well.

Friday night we packed up the van and headed out in some sprinkles to the campground. Luckily, it hadn’t really rained out there. It was dry and beautiful. We set up camp and the kids got to play around at the playground. We roasted marshmallows and ate s’mores.


The boys were super excited about sleeping in the tent. Here they are as we were getting ready for bed.

20160624_212517And Caleb was happy too:

20160624_212524It was pretty cold out there, but the skies were clear and it was so wonderful seeing the stars. All three boys went to bed relatively easily and the adults even got some adult time out by the campfire.

In the morning we cooked a yummy breakfast, sat around the campfire, and then packed up to go home. Nathan and I both had a lot of fun spending time with our friends, and I think for our first tent camping trip it was a big success! I’m glad we have two more short trips coming up this summer. Barring disaster on those, I think next summer we will be in store for some longer adventures.

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Caleb: 7 months

Caleb turned seven months old yesterday. I feel like a broken record, but time really is going by too fast. I have no idea how seven months have already passed! A lot has happened this month.

Caleb went with us on a family vacation to Florence, and then went to the beach again on a visit to Astoria with Grandpa. He also went on his first tent camping trip (just one night). He’s getting to be a well traveled and flexible baby! Here he is on our camping trip last weekend:


Caleb also got to meet new family members this month. Here he is with my cousin Renee:


He was also reunited with his own cousins and Grandpa for their second visit since his birth.

We started Caleb on solids at six months. After one month of experimenting with some fruits and vegetables I have to say we are moving slower than I’d like. He doesn’t swallow much food yet, but he seems to have enjoyed different tastes and textures so that is a good thing. So far he has tasted apples, oatmeal, carrots, peaches, sweet potato, peas, avocado, apricot, raspberries, and bananas. (Along with spinach pea mum mums).

Caleb is sitting up now. He is still known to plop over occasionally so we still stay pretty close or surround him with pillows and toys. He also is turning around on his tummy so we can surround him with toys all 360 degrees and he will have a lot of fun. He moves backward as well but so far not forward.

This month Caleb also got his first tooth. His little smile is changing every day! It’s been a big month for him, and there are lots more changes to come.

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Cousins Time!

We’ve been lucky to have more cousin time. Auntie Erin, Audrey and Sonya arrived on Thursday along with Grandpa!

Caleb met his cousins in January but he doesn’t remember because he was only a few weeks old. He has been having fun watching them and playing with Auntie Erin who has been a very devoted Auntie the past few days.

20160623_195912Caleb enjoyed watching Sonya play.

20160624_125326We had to get the picture of Caleb and Auntie Erin while he was wearing the Auntie bib.


Elias and Simon are having a blast with their cousins as usual. This evening they snuggled up with Auntie for a story.


We’ve got many more fun times planned for the next week or so. We are always happy to visit with family.

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Father’s Day 2016 #2

Yesterday on the real Father’s Day we had another great time. We went to church and then came home for a very brief lunch, and headed out again.

We met my parents and my brother’s family at Horning’s Hidout. My grandpa took my brothers and me there when we were little, but I hadn’t been for at least 20 years. We were in for some good ol’ fashioned trout fishing.

When we arrived the boys saw Ama and Baba across a grassy field and immediately wanted to run over to them. Simon took a major spill and wiped out in front of some other people. He was fine, but one of the nice ladies gave him some sparklers to use for fun later for taking such a hard fall.

Trout fishing started out a bit slow, but we had some good family times anyway.


Eventually we got a bite on Simon’s pole. Once it was hooked he reeled it in. We talk about fishing a lot at family gatherings, and I had talked to the boys about what was going to happen, but I don’t think it really sunk in for Simon because he seemed pretty shocked when the flapping fish came out of the water. He gave it a disgusted look and said, “I don’t want that!”

20160619_145810Elias was a bit disappointed that he didn’t get to catch the first fish, but went on to catch three of his own.


In all we caught four rainbow trout and one golden trout. The boys agreed to show off some of their catch if they didn’t have to actually touch the fish.

IMG_3224 IMG951075Here are all the best dads and sons around!

20160619_155541After finishing up at the lake we went to my parents’ house to hang out and have dinner together. It was a very fun evening.

Tonight Nathan cooked up some of the trout for our dinner. I have to admit (for fish) it was pretty tasty. I was adamant that the boys eat some trout. Fishing is a sport, but I don’t want my boys to ever be wasteful about taking life from any of God’s creation. Fishing is fun, but if they catch it, they eat it!

Both boys eat pretty much zero meat normally and were not enthused that I was requiring them to eat some trout, but Elias ended up eating more bites than I required of him, and Simon ate a ton of the fish…perhaps even more than I did! Here they are giving a thumbs up after eating their catch:


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Early Father’s Day 2016

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and between church and celebrating with my side of the family/my dad, there wasn’t much time left for Nathan and our traditional fathers day happenings. We decided to do our own family celebrations today.

On Nathan’s first Father’s Day in 2011, I asked him to think of something he’d like to do every year for a tradition. He chose swimming. We’ve been swimming every Father’s day since. It has been a lot of fun for our family, and I’m glad I asked him to create a tradition.

Earlier today I asked Nathan how long we’ve been doing Father’s Day swimming because I couldn’t remember when we started. Like most things about our family when we can’t remember, Nathan said, “I don’t know just look at the blog.” So I went back to June 2011 and found our post about Father’s Day that year. Sure enough, 2011 (Nathan’s first father day) was our first swimming year. You can read about it here. It actually made me tear up a bit when I read Nathan’s own words about his first fathers day.

Anyway, today was Nathan’s day. We relaxed most of the morning. Nathan got to take Simon for a haircut and we just had a leisurely morning. The boys each got him a gift. I let them choose something they want to do together with their daddy.

Simon chose ice cream. Elias chose Minecraft. Nathan has given him a small taste of playing the game. He gets to play 10 or 15 minutes a day. Elias got Nathan a second account so that they could play together. It was cute listening to them interacting both in the real world and in the game at the same time. Nathan had to rescue Elias (who had fallen under some ice) multiple times in the game.

20160618_120857 20160618_121122

I’ve always wanted to do one of those cute pinterest-y questionnaires so I printed one out and had the boys answer some questions about their daddy. They turned out pretty cute, but I think they were trying to be silly rather than serious. It will be interesting to see how they differ in a couple of years.

Here they are for your reading enjoyment:

20160618_120955 20160618_121041After lunch we packed up to go to the swimming pool. Our normal pool for this tradition (Conestoga recreation and Aquatic center) was closed today so we had to try a new one. Luckily, the Shute Park Aquatic Center in Hillsboro is just as great and way closer to our house! We were really glad we checked it out.

I took my tradition picture of Daddy and his sons in the locker room before heading out to the pool. Here are my goofballs:

20160618_134810We had a blast swimming, then headed home for a dinner of Nathan’s choice. I’m happy to be married to a man who actually wants to spend time with his family on Fathers Day!

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Caleb’s 6 month Portraits

With Elias and Simon we got portraits taken very often when they were little. With Caleb we got some taken for Christmas cards when he was a few weeks old and now he is six and a half months with nothing in between. I know I have plenty of photos of him anyway, but I thought I would actually take some time to get professional portraits done. We had $21 in the budget for it, and luckily with a JC Penney portrait membership that was doable.

I did order $23.90 worth of portrait prints (I cheated a couple of dollars), but they shared the whole album with me in a low resolution. I thought I’d put them on the blog. I’ll never be able to print them with the low resolution, but I’ll still be able to look at them later!

During Caleb’s first professional photo shoot back in December he screamed the whole time. He is quite a happy boy most of the time these days so I was optimistic we’d get some pretty happy photos.

We started out the same way we did before, though….

caleb 1With some comforting from Mommy, a great photographer, and some change in props and lighting we got him warmed up.

caleb 13caleb 10 caleb 11 caleb 12He even got to pretend he was in the bath!

caleb 2Then since he was doing well we changed the background and put on an outfit.

caleb 3 caleb 4 caleb 5 caleb 6 caleb 7This one is my favorite:

caleb 8At the end of the session she had me take one with Caleb.

caleb 9He’s growing up so fast! I’m glad we could capture these little rolls and chubby cheeks!

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Fort Stevens with Grandpa!

Last January a few weeks after Caleb was born, Grandpa came to visit us. During that visit, he mentioned that he really missed sitting around a camp fire. He can’t camp much anymore because sleeping on the ground is hard on him. I mentioned that we had been to Fort Stevens and they have nice cabins where you can have an actual “bed.” He seemed interested but that is as far as the conversation went.

A few weeks later I realized that cabins really fill up quickly on the Oregon coast. Most people book them nine months in advance. If Grandpa wanted to stay in a cabin with us, we were already late in booking it. In late January I looked at the reservation system and found that (at that time) there was only one cabin left with more than one night in a row in the whole system! Fort Stevens had a cabin from June 7-10. I snapped it up and figured that Elias would be out of school by then and if Grandpa couldn’t make it, we’d still have fun.

Nathan notified his dad of our reservation, and that prompted Grandpa to drive over 3000 miles out to Oregon….for a campfire! We crammed a lot more fun in than just a campfire, but we made sure to get in a good fire each evening.

Tuesday evening we arrived at Fort Stevens to find that June is a mosquito month! Luckily they don’t bother Grandpa, and none of the three boys got a single bite. Nathan and I suffered, though with many bites each. There were swarms of the things. I was appalled when one of the camp hosts walked by and said, “skeeters sure are better aren’t they?” I couldn’t imagine them worse!

After unpacking our stuff in the cabin, we sat together around the campfire for the first time.

20160607_205817The boys really loved throwing pine cones into the fire and they loved making up their own fire songs.

Then I got the joy of sleeping with all three boys in the same room. (Nathan and Grandpa slept out in the front room). It was Elias’ first time sleeping on the top bunk, and Simon was thrilled to sleep in the same bed as me so all of the kids were happy. I was just thankful when they were all asleep.

20160607_220349On Wednesday morning after the obligatory coffee run, morning nap, and play ground stop, we went to the beach to play and see the Peter Iredale. This was Caleb’s third beach trip in the last month.

20160608_132513A lot of the wreck was showing. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much exposed. It was fun to walk so close to the ruins. When we first got there, the tide was low and we could almost walk right up to the bow. By the time we left, the tide was pretty high and had covered much of what was there. Here are Grandpa and Caleb enjoying the history.

20160608_132910Later Elias came down and explored with me as well. He wanted so badly to climb on the ship but alas, I would not let him.

20160608_134225Simon would not be Simon without getting majorly dirty at least once on a trip. Here he rubbed charcoal from a beach log on his face while playing with his sand toys.

20160608_143830After a long time on the beach we returned to the cabin for dinner and our first smore’s of the trip. Luckily, marshmallow bags come with way too many marshmallows. More than anyone cold ever use. It made it easy to try to teach the boys correct marshmallow roasting technique. We lost many marshmallows to the fire and the ground, but we had enough good ones in the end for some tasty smore’s.

20160608_191254But…here is reason #572 why camping with toddlers is difficult.

20160608_191609Simon managed to step on one of his fallen marshmallows.

We got the cabin for Grandpa, but let’s face it…it was kind of for me too. Camping with an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler is not easy. (I was especially happy for myself that we had the cabin because of all the mosquitos as well!). Caleb was a champ, though. He had a good time and did well with all of the things we put him through.

20160608_194242On Thursday morning we visited Battery Pratt. There is a fun museum, a few different batteries, and some great views. Here are the boys and dad having some fun with a vehicle on display.

20160609_111301I love these two brothers. They don’t always get along by any means, but they really are great together overall.

20160609_113825In the afternoon we went to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. We’ve gone to Fort Stevens every August since 2009, and every time we’ve gone Nathan has said he wants to go to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. This time since I knew Nathan’s dad would be with us I encouraged him that we should finally go. The museum was really great. Elias was especially interested in some of the exhibits. There was the bridge of a destroyer that he loved playing on, and a big live map/screen of all the ships in the river and crossing the bar.

I snapped this picture of Elias next to buoy 10 because of its significance for my family. We go salmon fishing every summer and although the fishing does not always take place at buoy 10, that is what our family has named the annual vacation.

20160609_143852Simon fell asleep in the car on the way to the museum and Caleb stayed awake so I wore Simon in the ergo. It has been a really long time since he rode in the ergo so it was kind of fun. He got really heavy really fast, though!

20160609_143913Thursday evening it started raining, but we decided to attempt a campfire anyway. Luckily, we had some pretty good tree cover so our fire (and ourselves) stayed pretty dry. A true Oregonian beach trip/camping trip always includes rain! Caleb even experienced it!

20160609_185047This morning it was still raining pretty hard so we were holed up in the cabin as we packed up all of our stuff. It made for a bit of a stressful time with the boys cramped into a small space. We promised them that we would go into Seaside so that they could ride the carousel at some point so after we packed up we headed there before going home. They got to ride the carousel twice and had a blast. We even let Caleb ride once for his first time ever. He had a really fun time until the end when I tried to take a picture and he hit his head on the pole. It wasn’t my proudest Mommy moment, but I did get this cute picture of Simon:


Overall it was a wonderful trip and I’m so glad it worked out that Grandpa could come with us to enjoy a few campfires, some history, and some great family fun!


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Look Who’s Popular!

I snapped this photo about a week ago, but I’m a bit behind on blogging. We’ve been out of town (look for another post) and spending time with Grandpa.

Last Monday Grandpa sat down to lunch. I made the boys lunch and told them to go find a seat at the table. They had a lot of space to choose from, and look what they did:

20160606_125216They both scooted their chairs as close as they could get. It was so cute I just had to take a picture. I’d say Grandpa’s pretty popular around here.

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Anniversary Surprise!

Nathan and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on May 20th. We had planned to leave the older boys with my parents and head to Lincoln City for a night with Caleb to celebrate. That would have been wonderful, but I had an itch to do something a little more elaborate. We only have a tenth anniversary once, after all!

I secretly made flight reservations to take us to San Diego. The Dodgers were playing the Padres on our anniversary weekend, and I figured we could catch a couple of games and enjoy the beach. I checked with my parents to ensure being gone two nights instead of one would be ok, then I went for it. The night before we left I gave Nathan the tickets.

Friday evening on our anniversary we boarded the plane for San Diego. It was Caleb’s first flight so we didn’t know what to expect, but it is amazing how relaxing it felt compared to when we flew with Elias for the first time. We’re not perfect, but I’ll go ahead and say we’re old pros. Caleb was a champ which helped a lot. It was a lot of fun going back to traveling with only one kid…and a baby at that. The whole thing just felt so easy. We love all our boys, but it was fun to have low stress travel!

20160520_183354 Saturday morning we woke up and enjoyed breakfast together. Caleb had his first seat in a high chair. He wasn’t quite six months old so we didn’t actually give him any food, but he enjoyed sitting in his own seat.

20160521_084727After a nice breakfast we headed to the beach to take a nice walk together and to dip Caleb’s toes in the ocean. It was relaxing and beautiful.

20160521_111816 20160521_112603The beach wore Caleb out so he left us alone for awhile to enjoy a nice lunch together.

20160521_130508After lunch all three of us headed back to the hotel and we all three took a nap. Then we got ready for the big game! Nathan had never visited Petco Park before so he got to check another ballpark off his list.

20160521_191128On Sunday we relaxed in the morning, then went to find some lunch. Nathan was in heaven. In-n-Out and Dodgers baseball in the same day.

20160522_120909We got to stay for 6 innings of the Sunday game before leaving for the airport. As it turns out, the game went 17 innings! It went by too fast, but we were so thankful for the time away to celebrate.

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Caleb is 6 Months Old

20160525_123323Caleb has been six months old for over a week now. I say it every month…but my baby is just growing too fast! Where has the time gone?

Caleb has had many exciting things during his sixth month. He is working on sitting up on his own, and loves to play that way. He had his first plane ride, his first trip to the beach, and he dipped his toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. He went to his first baseball game. (More on all that in another post).

Caleb is saying “da da” and “ba ba” and “ma ma” a lot these days. He doesn’t associate those sounds with the people yet, but it’s fun to hear him saying them.

The stats:

Weight – 19 pounds, 10.5 ounces (83%)

Height – 28 inches (90%)

Head Circumference – 46 cm (99%)

He’s a big, healthy boy. He brings so much love and light into our lives. He’s got chubby cheeks and a big hearty giggle. It’s so fun!

Since Caleb is 6 months old we’ve started him on solids. So far he’s tried carrots, sweet potato, apple, and oatmeal cereal. He hasn’t really been a fan of solids thus far, but it’s so early on. I’d say his favorite is the oatmeal. Here he was getting ready for his first meal. I think he was more excited to actually sit at the table with us than for the food.


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