Monday, October 20, 2014

Seasons

It's officially Fall here in the Pacific Northwest, and early Fall always brings the most beautiful colors out.
We've been trying to get outside every day the sun shows it's light...

 
We know the rainy season is coming, where rainboots and jackets are required before leaving the house. And picnics at the park with friends will have to wait again until Spring...
 
 
Just last week I reduced my hours at work by 50%. I now only work outside the home 12 hours a week...yahoo!! I work two evenings a week (going in after David comes home from his day at work) and just four hours on Saturday mornings. I've been absolutely loving spending more of the daytime with my kiddos...
 

 
The entire pulse of our home seems to have slowed down since I was able to cut back at work. I know plenty of fantastic Mommas who work full time and still do a great job at everything their home life requires.
 I however, am not one of those women.
I am learning - in my thirties- that I'm not the greatest multi-tasker. (Which makes it slightly amusing God gave me twins) If I'm focused on any type of big project at work, my home life suffers greatly. I'm just not good at dividing my head and heart like that.
And if I'm going to be busy, stressed, or overwhelmed with anything, may it be my family, right?! =)



My heart is also aware that this is my last Fall with Abbey and Luke home with me every morning. Next year, they will start kindergarten - which is crazy to think about.
This awareness makes me just want to soak up each day we get to be together and not bound to any type of schedule like the one kindergarten will bring.

 
So we've been playing on the swings, taking lots of walks, stopping for quick romps at the park on the way home from running errands. Trying to soak it all in.



It's not like Winter doesn't have it's good things...I looovveee Christmas time. I love all the decorations and lights and music and general Joy that seems to emanate all around during that time of year. And of course, Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday as well.
Who knows, maybe we'll even get some snow this year to play in =).
 
No matter what, we'll do our best to enjoy the Winter, and seek out the fun and excitement in the midst of it.
Knowing that Spring always comes again makes it easier.
The same can be said for the seasons of life.
 
In the meantime, you can find us dashing outside to soak up rays anytime we sense they're out, even if that means just playing in our small front yard...
 






 
May this Fall be a blessed one. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Summer 2014 - the 2nd half

Annnnndddd since it's October, I figured I should probably get around to documenting the second half of our summer.
So that I can go ahead and be behind documenting Fall, naturally.


Abbey did lots of art work this summer, combining stickers and markers and crayons and foam pieces, and making absolute masterpieces...
 



She also played Basketball on Fridays at the local Community Center...
 
 
Abbey was awesome at basketball! She was in a group with about seven other boys ages 3-5, and she never even noticed she was the only girl. I was so proud of her. Confident and hard working, that's our girl!!  It was fun to see her shine on her own, and it was a good discipline for Luke to just sit with me and watch.



Luke played baseball on Tuesdays this summer, and he was a natural! Dave has been very active about playing sports with both kids since they were able to walk, so it shouldn't surprise me to see how quickly they take to these lessons, but it still does. Luke has a natural confidence about him when it comes to athletics, and it was great to see him work so hard and continue to persevere even when his first attempt needed a little work. I was so proud of his team work as well!




 And, again, it was an exercise in discipline for Abbey to just sit and watch with me. It was nice to send the message that we all support each other as individuals in our little family, so even when it's not about you, you support and encourage your family member =).



Two cuties before Church one sunny Sunday...
 
 
 
 
We had Date Days in early August. Abbey and I went to Hopworks for lunch (her pick - hooray!) and then to the Humane Society to pet kitties...
 



 
 

David and Luke went to lunch and then went to the aquarium.


 
 

We got to have a big ol' reunion of the Five Brown Sisters and all their spouses and offspring when Emily came back from Zambia...


 
It's always so fun when we can all get together!!







 
We are all so stinkin' happy to have Aunt Mem back in the area!
 



We had lots of fun times at home, creating with Play-Doh...
 




...and just being creative in general...
Luke turned this box into a rocket ship...
 


 
 

We got to babysit a sweet baby for an afternoon...




I'm told Luke and Abbey collaborated on this work of art for quite awhile (David took it while I was at work)...


 
Abbey and Luke spent so much time playing together this summer. Four is a fun age =).  There were times that they had too much of each other and needed to be separated, but those really were few and far between. It's so nice to have a built in playmate!


Some sweet cousin cuddle time...




And this was a pretty familiar site over the summer...


 ...AbbeyGirl was really into helping me bake and cook on a regular basis this Summer, which is (hopefully) creating fun memories for both of us. She sure loves to help in the kitchen. Who knows? Maybe she'll be a chef someday.
 
 
We enjoyed lots and lots of park time!! Oregon is such a beautiful place to live, but that beauty requires lots of rain. So it rains here from like late October through early April. It's hard to find dry days to play at the park during those months, so I always feel (self-imposed) pressure to get out and enjoy the good weather while we can.
 
On this particular day we drove through BurgerVille on our way home from Abbey's basketball classes and had a picnic together...
 
 
 

And of course, lots of fighting bad guys and saving the world...




Abbey drew this picture of us on a chalkboard at a restaurant. Complete with an "M for Momma and an A for Abbey!"
She also drew them holding hands.
Have I mentioned I really like Four???
=)




Lukey doing some painting...

 (he's put his tongue out while focusing for as long as I can remember! His first steps were taken with his tongue out =) )

And dancing around on his bed, showing off all his hung-up artwork he likes to look at while up on his bunk...
 
(It totally cracks me up now thinking about the time I wasted  spent day-dreaming about my kids' nurseries and toddler rooms. VERY early on, they had opinions about what went in their rooms, and I made a choice awhile back to resign to letting them choose most of it (within reason, of course), because it's their room, and really they should get to decide what is on the walls. Even if that means a hideous amount of blue painters tape every few inches. Whatever. It makes them happy =). And the Pottery Barn matching sets I would have picked out would have been way too expensive anyways. )
 
Which also means they now have a hammock in their room...
 
...I swear, my kids have the most fun Daddy ever =).
 
Luke had mentioned he wanted a hammock, and David said he could put his old one up for them. He suggested the Living Room, but I just couldn't handle that thought. It wraps up small, but the big black bike hooks it requires in the wall were just more than I could stand seeing sticking out every time I sat down on the couch. But their room seemed like a decent second option. The twins LOVE IT, and Dave and I have loved the renewed cuddle time it has afforded...
 
 
So. There you have it. Summer, 2014 is officially on the books =). What a great one it was.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Today Abbey and Luke asked me if they could do Quiet Time together on the bottom bunk (Abbey's bed).
 
 
I have no idea how quiet it will actually be, but it was just impossible to turn down such a sweet request.
 
 
Sometimes I wish I had a twin =)



Friday, September 19, 2014

Camping!

In August we took a little family camping trip to Honeyman State Park.  David had been there growing up, but the kids and I had never been.
We (just Dave and I) had a trip planned to Mexico in August for our ten year wedding anniversary, and the closer we got to it, the more I felt guilty for leaving the kids behind...so in late July, I decided it would be a great idea to have a family camping trip on the books for right after Dave and I returned, that way I knew tons of great Family Time was right around the corner and would in turn feel less guilty for leaving them behind while we frolicked for six days in Mexico. (It did work. We had a blast. Pics to come at some point.)
 
So, this trip was borne of guilt.
 
But God blessed it anyways =)
 
It seemed like every campground I looked at was booked solid. (That's what you get when you wait until about three weeks from when you want to rent a site. In the middle of summer. In Oregon.) I just went down the Oregon State Parks website alphabetically...hoping some place still had sites available for the few days we could make it work.
Lo and behold, Honeyman had a few tent sites left to reserve! Hallelujah!
 
We ended up LOVING the site we had. It was across from the bathrooms, but not right next door. It backed up into a large forest space, complete with trails that took you exploring a bit, and then looped you right back to our spot...a 4 year olds dream!
 

 
This was also Abbey and Luke's first time tent camping. We'd done cabin camping before, and yurt camping, but hadn't been brave enough to do tents yet.
Pre-kids, Dave and I used to tent camp all the time...but I'd always been nervous about the lack of walls in a tent and the affect it could have on sleeping babies/toddlers.
The kids both did awesome and were great sports about everything, the entire time. They were definitely ready, which thrills me! Hooray for a future with many, many family bonding trips without great expense!





 
The sand toys we brought also worked great for dirt!


 
 
 
This picture below makes me smile for several reasons. One is because the tent on the right is the one Dave and I registered and got for our wedding, when it was just the two of us planning camping adventures. The tent on the left is the one we purchased right before this trip, during our tenth year of marriage.  I love how our Tenting Needs have changed in the last decade =).
 
Luke had told us before we left that he wanted to sleep in the little tent by himself. We knew he'd totally change his mind once we were there, but packing up the tent and setting it up and letting him realize this all himself was far easier than us trying to convince him that we knew better.
We ended up using it a lot as a dressing/catch-all tent, which came in really handy!


 
 
Our little campers =)
 

 
 
S'Mores...yummmmm...
 
 




 

Our first night there we played a few rounds of Go Fish...



And then after the sun went down, we put these two cuties to bed in the tent, and we hung out (right next to the tent) by the fire and played cards ourselves =) I had thought the kids would have trouble falling asleep being able to hear us chatting, but they crashed without any trouble!



 
 
 
It was a little chilly when we woke up the next morning, so Daddy got a fire going right away...
 

 
 
Luke exploring the woods behind our site...
 

 
 
We then went and climbed the sand dunes!
 
(that's Luke at the top left and Abbey on her way up!)


And played in the lake!
 


We had incredible weather the whole time we were there. Warm and sunny all day long, with just a chill in the evenings and early mornings (all the better for cuddling =) )
 

 
 
 





 
 
 
Ohmyword I love this kid.
 
 

We came back in the late afternoon and it was time to hit the showers...
 


And we stayed clean for almost ten whole minutes!!
 
 
 

We went and played at the playground...








We played cards again that night, made S'Mores, and cuddled by the fire. We all slept great both nights, which was such a blessing.
The next morning, David got up before us and got the fire going, and when I heard the twins starting to wake up, I invited them into cuddle with me...
 

...which may have been my favorite part of the whole camping trip.


Dave taught both kids how to be very careful near the fire...
 



We had such a great time, and David and I were both thrilled with how the kids entertained themselves (and each other) easily around the campsite. We all went 48+ hours without any electronics, and no one in our family missed them. Good to know.

The kids rode their scooters...
 

...and explored and read books and colored in coloring books and played in the dirt and went on adventures and just all around did awesome =).
 
Our last morning there, we went back to the lake and rented a pedal boat!
We had to wait for a bit, so these two goons screwed around for a bit...
 

...and I joined 'em....
 



And then it was boat time!
 

 

 
(yes, Luke insisted on leaning over the edge)


The kids each took turns steering the boat.
They were terrible at it.
 

But they had fun!
 



And before we knew it, it was time to break camp and head back home...
 


...and back to electronics...