Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Break On the Beach

Seattle has broken multiple records this year for rainfall. We've had 144 days of rain since October. That's a lot. Too much. We're all slowly losing our sanity. So for spring break I was very eager to head somewhere sunny and warm. We already had a weekend planned in Oregon to attend my uncle's funeral, so we decided to extend it at the beach. If you don't know much about Oregon beaches, I'll tell you they are often cold, windy, and rainy.

But we were headed to the beach!

Saturday we drove 3.5 hours to Oregon City to attend Uncle Don's funeral. Uncle Don isn't actually blood related to me, but is my dad's best friend. We grew up knowing him as Uncle Don. His funeral was actually a very nice time to get together with other people who knew and loved him. We learned so many fun and new things about the iconic Uncle Don. My dad spoke at the funeral and it was lovely. I think Uncle Don would have enjoyed it very much.

The kids had a fun time playing at the luncheon, and even Kendrick got in on the little song they were performing.

After the funeral, we decided to go waterfall hopping in a beautiful area along the Columbia River.

Multnomah Falls was so picturesque with the bridge crossing above the lower part of the falls. We took a short little walk to cross the bridge ourselves and froze basked in the mist swirling in the air.

Aren't my parents cute?

We drove by a few more falls and walked around a couple others. It was beautiful.

Sunday morning we went to church, said goodbye to Brigham and my Dad as they headed back to Washington and a work week, and then visited the Portland temple on our way to our hotel at Seaside.

The Portland temple was lovely - the sun was out for a bit, and the flowers were blooming.

If you ever get a chance to visit the Portland temple yourself, they have an awesome little visitor's center that we checked out. The kids did a fun little scavenger hunt while my mom and I chatted with the missionaries, and we watched some new church videos that you can only see at visitor centers. It was a perfect Sunday stop.

Finally arriving in Seaside, I was very excited when we walked into our hotel room. We had gorgeous ocean views from our window, and a warm fireplace that crackled right next to the window.

Even if it rained the whole time, we could watch the ocean right from our room, while protected from the wind and the rain. And if it was good weather, we could walk a few yards from our room to enjoy the beach. We also had a kitchenette were we made raviolis for dinner that night, and stored SO much junk food that we managed to polish off throughout the next three days.

Monday was classic pacific northwest weather: showers off and on. So we enjoyed the seals slapping their fat and splashing us, and watching the octopus and other fish at the aquarium. Then we skipped to different stores during the rain breaks.

You can't go to Seaside without exploring the shops and buying some of the hundred different flavors of salt water taffy. We went a little taffy crazy.

The kids enjoyed the pool that afternoon while the baby napped back at the hotel, and then we spent some time on the beach.

The hotel had free movie rentals, so each night we picked a different movie to rent and watch while eating plenty of ice cream.

Tuesday morning we drove about twenty minutes south to Cannon Beach, where the famous Haystack Rock is. We left pretty early in the morning in order to catch low tide so that we could have optimal tide-pool exploration.

It was a lot colder than we expected and our toes HURT as we waded through the freezing ocean water to find sea creatures.

Unfortunately, the starfish have apparently been killed off all along the west coast by some disease this year, so they were in short supply. We did see plenty of sea anename, I found a crab, and we saw lots of barnacles and other common rock-dwellers.

 Lydia, Ammon, and Kayleen loved chasing the waves....until Lydia fell and scraped up her leg. And then Ammon had to go to the bathroom which was clear back by the parking lot. So after that long trek there and back, we decided to spend some time just playing in the sand since Cannon beach wasn't near as windy as Seaside.

I really enjoyed writing all our names in the sand, and it was hilarious watching Kendrick try to mimic me with his own stick.

After tiring of Cannon Beach we went back to Seaside and decided to explore on a bike for seven.

Ryan and I took turns driving, we blasted music from Ryan's phone, and we cruised down Broadway (the main street with all the shops) multiple times. We wished we had brought our taffy to throw out to people who waved and smiled at us. They loved Kendrick sitting in front in his furry hat. We went up some hills, I took us off-roading for a bit despite the cries of alarm from the backseat passengers, and we raced a car and another group on a bike, and won both races. It was a blast! Our legs were jello when we were done.

That afternoon the kids were right back at the pool. I joined them for a bit before taking a walk with my mom, and then we were all back at the beach to enjoy a final afternoon/evening chasing the waves and playing in the sand.

Kayleen and Ammon spent more time chasing the waves, and I loved hearing their squeals when the water crashed through their legs. My mom sat in the sand watching us until her back hurt, so I built her a sand chair to give her some extra support.

We learned quickly on day one that Kendrick, sand, and a shovel make for a happy one year old. So Ryan, Lydia, and Kenrick worked together on a sand castle. With nice weather, we had a truly splendid day.

That evening, Kayleen watched the two older kids while my mom, Ryan, and I took the baby and shopped for a bit at the outlet stores and enjoyed dinner out together.

The next morning was rainy and cold, and we left early to make the 4+ hour drive home. Though I would have enjoyed a couple more hours enjoying the view from our room, it was such a good time. The perfect little beach vacation to give us a break from the daily grind. We even saw the sun. For like a day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tappana Times: Little Bits of March

Just catching up on life in March, we had Lydia and Ammon's FIRST dentist appointments. I figured if Lydia is getting baptized, she should probably see the dentist as well. So I scheduled them both in and they looked pretty savvy in the dentist chair.

Lydia had a small cavity so she came back later to get that filled and they both had sealants put on to prevent future cavities. They both did awesome, though they were super nervous. I had the pleasure of being lectured on the importance of flossing "I'm not even asking for every day. If you could just get it in at least three times a week." Luckily, Lydia doesn't want to experience anymore fillings and is pretty consistent with her flossing now.

We celebrated National Women's Day.

Which meant I was supposed to get the day off, but I'm afraid Kendrick didn't seem to care and he was still my slave-driver. No respect there.

Saturday mornings were spent with cute brothers enjoying cartoons together on the couch until mom decided to get up and cook breakfast.

Kendrick loves to point at his show.

We spent time attending Lydia's second grade musical concert.

Lydia had a solo playing the cowbell for one of the songs.

And she has a speaking part, as well. It's hard to hear her, but she was the only one to memorize her part, and afterwards she was complimented on her presentation by other parents who were impressed with her eye contact.

My two little dudes spend lots of time together looking at Kendrick's books and it warms my heart. Kendrick isn't very nice to Ammon and usually screeches when Ammon gets in his space, but this is one of the times Kendrick tolerates someone besides mom.

At the very end of March, our ward had an Easter activity. We had a chili cook off and Easter egg hunt for the kids, with an appearance made by the Easter Bunny.

Kendrick wasn't a fan, but after trying to get away for a minute, he was coaxed to remain for a quick picture. Ammon had no interest in sitting on the bunny's lap.

Brigham tried a hot chili that had warnings posted all around it for how hot it was. Normally, a big fan of spicy foods, he was sure he would love it. However, unbeknownst to us, it contained a GENETICALLY altered pepper to be the hottest pepper in the world. It was beyond naturally hot. Brigham took two big bites of the chili, and then he spent most of the night in the bathroom, throwing up and moaning. He literally turned green and was very ill. Other people had eaten it and they were sick as well. It was all pretty serious actually, and if it weren't for some milk and pepto, Brigham might have made a visit to the ER that night. The person who made the chili said that just cooking the chili had all of their family crying from the heat in the air. Some of the kids who ate it had really bad reactions, and most of the men did not fare well. I did not think that hot of chili was a good idea for a ward party, but that's just my two cents.

Besides the chili episode, Kendrick enjoyed his first ever egg-hunt.

He loved finding the eggs and was quite upset when other kids would snatch eggs out from under him.

Once he figured out the eggs contained candy he was quite enthralled, and we have come to find out he is quite the jelly-bean enthusiast. Perfect to prepare for April - the month of Easter.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Eight is Great

Well she did it. We told her not to, but she didn't listen to us. Brigham has ordered Lydia to stop growing and getting older, but it seems that both she and nature are against us. And a couple weeks ago, she turned eight. 

We started her birthday celebrations the weekend before her birthday with a girls night. Kayleen came along and the two girls got a manicure while I got my first facial. And probably my last.

After we left the spa, we headed to the mall. When a girl turns eight in my family, they can choose to have their ears pierced. Lydia has been anticipating this event for weeks - "ALL my friends already have their ears pierced." So off to the mall we went to get those shiny studs placed perfectly in her ears.

I could tell that when the lady pierced Lydia's first ear, it shocked Lydia. She jumped, her face turned red, and she looked at me with a, "this is uncomfortable, and I'm not sure I really like this" look. But she was brave and endured in the name of beauty. With no tears, it didn't take long for her to absolutely fall in love with the look of pierced ears. Not to mention, with an ear piercing you got to pick out a beenie-boo for cheap. Sweet!

Freshly pierced ears + purple-panda beenie-boo = birthday dreams come true.

We then went next door to Sam's club (because we're SUPER fancy like that) to get some frozen yogurt and churros.

Lydia wanted to make sure we got a picture with her newly pierced ears and nails.

The next day we celebrated her birthday with family a day early. She opened presents and had her birthday dessert.

Lydia does not like many desserts, so it's tradition to make her a cookie cake every year. This year was the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie cake (with some m&m's thrown in, because I'm crazy like that).

Lydia loved her cake, and I was SUPER glad we had done plenty of birthday festivities before her actual birthday the next day. Because....

The second I got home, I knew. Stomach flu. And we dropped like flies.

It was a vicious, but quick bug. It hit you suddenly, like a brick wall, ravaged you, and then left when there was nothing more to take. Ammon threw up in his bed at 5 am and I turned to Brigham moaning, "I can't. I just can't." Luckily, Brigham never got it and he worked from home to take care of all the sickies, since I was incapacitated myself.

I thought Lydia had escaped it as well. She went to school, happy as a clam. She came home with no signs of pallor. Then, when Brigham was in the middle of cooking her birthday dinner for just her and him, she was suddenly puking her guts out. Poor, poor thing. On her birthday. 

Luckily, it was about a 24 hour bug, and though our appetites weren't quite back, we were able to carry on as normal. I was grateful, because the following weekend was another huge event for Lydia: her baptism.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, when you turn eight you can choose to be baptized a member of the church. Lydia had decided this is something she wanted to do, so we flew up her other two grandmas and had a weekend together with family and friends for this special event.

Lydia chose Brigham to baptize her on March 11th, 2017. Grandpa Nils gave a talk on baptism and confirmed her a member of the church, and Grandma Becky gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. I led the music, Grandma Sue played the piano, Grandma Nonie gave a beautiful closing prayer, and Lydia, Ammon, and Kayleen sang a musical number, Gethsemane.

The program and the baptism were beautiful, and I think it really meant a lot to Lydia. She sure looked beautiful in her white dress. Young and beautiful, and yet, grown up and clean.

Unfortunately, I didn't get very many pictures of her in her dress on that day, or the people that came to celebrate with us, but I do have pictures of her with her grandparents. And I have plenty of baptism pictures we took of her ahead of time.

I love these ones. Probably my favorite. I just love her showing off her Book of Mormon in her white baptism dress. Touches my heart.

Lydia in front of the Maple Valley Stake Center, the church she was baptized in.

Baptism dress.

I kept trying to get an artsy picture of Lydia looking in a mirror she made in nursery years ago that says "Lydia is a Child of God". I thought it would be pretty to see her gazing at herself in a mirror telling her of her divine heritage. But my vision was a bit too hard to capture. Though, I still kind of love these pictures anyway. Lydia was a good sport while the photographer and I tried various ways to capture the elusive shot.

I'm going to the temple some day. Now that Lydia is baptized, she is well on her way to being able to go the temple some day. And that's exciting! 

You might not be able to tell, but it had just snowed that week and it was FREEZING outside. Poor Lydia was dying throughout the whole hour we were taking pictures. But you would never know, because she did so awesome every time I asked her to take her coat off. She was shaking and shivering, turning purple, and yet smiling for each frame.
 I mean she looks so studious here. Not like she's turning into a popsicle.

We tried a couple jumping shots, or "jump in the air like you just don't care" as the photographer put it. With the lighting, we couldn't get the timing just right so they didn't turn out, but I'm still including these because I love the memories they bring.

Lydia, I can't believe you turned eight. I can't believe that you are such a smart, beautiful, happy, sensitive, thoughtful, talented, and just GOOD young lady. If you keep it up, you'll continue to be the most amazing person ever. Someone that makes your momma proud. I'm so pleased that you chose to be baptized. You now have so many blessing offered to you as you keep the commandments and remember Jesus Christ. As you always look to Him, you will be happy and strong and blessed. That is my greatest hope for you. Babe, I love you. Always. No matter what. Happy Birthday!!

Lydia's Eighth Year Birthday Interview

1. What's your favorite song? 7 Years Old by Lukas Graham
2. What's your favorite thing to do with Mom? Go on walks together
3. What's your favorite thing to do with Dad? Play the Wii together
4. What's your favorite day of the week? Sunday 
5. How old are you? Eight
6. Who is your best friend? Hailey
7. What's your favorite thing to do?  Spend time with my family
8. What's your favorite color? Teal and Violet
9. What's your favorite food? macaroni and cheese
10. What do you like to do with your family? Play games
11. What's your favorite toy? My hopper ball
12. What do you want to be when you grow up? An actress
13. What makes you happy? My family
14. What makes you sad? When someone is hurt
15. What's your favorite show to watch? Spongebob
16. What's your favorite book? Junie B Jones
17. What do you like to learn about? Animals
18. Where do you like to go? Utah
19. What's the best part of your birthday? Spending time with my family
20. What's your favorite treat? Cookie cake
21. If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Lukas Graham
22. What's your favorite movie? Bambi
23. What's your favorite game to play? Green Ghost
24. What sports do you like? Swimming, dancing
25. What do you like to wear? Dresses
26. Who's your favorite princess? Cinderella