Simon turns 7

Our sweet little Simon turned 7 and is excited to have reached the age requirement for parkour class. He starts the next round of classes with his brothers in a couple weeks.

He’s growing up but still our little guy!

Here he is on a most excellent art piece at the Winningstad theater in Portland. We recently saw Zombie in Love, put on by the Oregon Children’s Theatre.

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His celebration with all the cousins and a few friends. His cake looks a little boring but it was the applesauce cake with a dollop of freshly made cinnamon whipped cream. They all ate it up and approved. Whew!

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Next up for birthdays is Isaac, turning the big 13!

Silver Falls in the Rain

I saw a clip of Silver Falls on the Oregon Field Guide special on OPB and HAD to go…NOW. The kids were onboard and we all headed out to stay a night in one of the campground cabins and check out the trails and falls.

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It was fantastic weather when we got there but we weren’t sure which section of trail to take. We hiked a small bike path and played close to the campground, planning to hike the bigger trail in the morning.
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We had the entire campground to ourselves. Pick of the cabins!
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It started raining in the night and never stopped. We checked out the North Falls trail (tiny) and never did find the trailhead for the South Falls. It was raining so we didn’t want to investigate too much more.
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This little waterfall was NOT the reason I wanted to come. However, we did have a great time and plan to come back again with better weather.
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DIY finger braces and spending diet

We are pinching pennies even more than usual because of owing taxes this year. I was planning to replace the plastic finger braces I’ve been wearing with silver because the plastic ones aren’t rigid enough, but the price for them is crazy! $592 for the six I need.

Jason stopped at the craft store and bought some metal rings and made me some! We need to pick up some more sizes to figure out the thumb but so far, so good.

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These financial goals inspire creativity! The food budget is getting a squeeze the next two weeks, so I am not allowed to go crazy at New Seasons (our favorite snobby store). In fact, I’m staying away from it altogether. We get a weekly organic vegetable box delivered and we can make do. It’s tough to feed a family of six cheaply and healthy, and our food expense has gotten bigger and bigger.

Maybe it’s not tough and I’ve just lost sight of what’s important. The next two weeks will be a good challenge.

Scones

Aren’t these scones pretty!?

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Geocaching

Today would have been an ideal hike day but the kids really protest hiking lately. Boo!

Geocaching was kid approved and still includes fresh air and outside activity, so that’s what we did.

Geocaching involves finding hidden treasures all over town, using GPS coordinates. Some caches are so tiny there is only room for a signature log but others contain small toys you can take if you leave something else in its place.
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This one was just a “micro cache”, but close to my parents house. We got to stop over and see Grandma and Grandpa.
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Lotus looking for the cache…
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A second cache was found at Rood Bridge Park…
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Xander gets a piggy back ride back to the car. Still my baby! I need to check if Isaac is still my baby but let me get a few more reps in at the gym.
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recent knits

Isaac and Xander are taking Parkour classes and the gym is freezing! I realized I don’t have a warm, long-sleeved sweater. I’ve made myself a couple short-sleeved sweaters and given a couple to my mom and was left with one awful Christmas sweater I dared not leave the house with.

So I made myself the Wrapped Pullover out of a cozy wool. It has a decent sized pocket hiding behind the cable. Today is Parkour class day so we’ll see how much warmer I am.
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I also knit up a couple more hats, one in purple and one in brown. I’m wearing the purple one here and also finally got a photo of the matching shawls I made for Lotus and I. These were finished last February! It took me almost a year to block them but once I did I’ve been using it quite a bit. The shawl is very warm for going out and acts as a nice lap blanket on the couch.
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snow day

Neighbors skiing down our street! I wish we had snow gear. We had wanted to spend a couple days on Mt Hood and joked about the money we are saving by having the snow come to us. Unfortunately the ski/snowshoe rental shop did not come with it.
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Jason is getting cabin fever (after only a couple days) and is taking the kids to 7-11.
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Three on the sled was not to be. As you can see, Xander and Simon had no room for legs and dragged them along the side…
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All better now and away they go. I’ll stay home and knit- someone has to keep the fire going! Bring back some chocolate for me…
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Hand therapy

I’ve been dealing with off and on hand pain since shortly after Lotus was born, so three years now. I had a big flare over Christmas and decided to finally make that Rheumatology appointment. Of course, the pain went away by the day of the appointment but she cleared a bunch of labs, an x-ray and sent me to an occupational therapist.

The therapist is fantastic and pointed out an issue with hypermobility in my joints right away. This explained why I never liked kneeling or laying on the floor and why my births rocket out at breakneck speeds. Apparently, loosey goosey joints are a problem….my problem, and it was complete news to me.

Muscle strengthening and contraptions are in order. Contraptions are easier said then done. I don’t even wear my wedding ring! This is craziness!

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Last day in Belize

We savored every minute of our last day: every meal, a relaxing soak in the sea and a bike ride across the length of the island.

Taking the bikes off the main strip gave us a chance to see all the local homes, school and people.

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All the kids in uniform getting out for lunch…

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Xander and Simon started learning to swim!

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Isaac sitting among the fish…

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At the airport…

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Snorkeling in Belize

We took an all day snorkeling tour with a great guide, Omar, from Anwar Tours on Caye Caulker. It included three stops along the barrier reef: Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley and Coral Gardens.

The first stop was Hol Chan.

We all wanted life jackets tied around our waist.

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The kids had zero experience with snorkeling and 3/4 kids have zero experience with swimming. Isaac took to the water like a fish, per usual and Lotus wanted nothing to do with it. Xander and Simon were excited but when I lowered them into the water you would have thought I lowered them into lava by the way they reacted: panic and screaming to get back in the boat.

Omar, being an excellent and patient guide offered to take Jason and Isaac through Hol Chan and then come back for me, for a second run.
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While we waited on the boat, Xander and Simon calmed down and regained their composure. They both decided they didn’t want to have come all this way and not snorkel. You can do this, guys!

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They made it back and were in awe of their amazing experience.

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Xander and Simon got in the water and took several minutes to get over their fears and figure out how the mask and snorkel tube work. I knew once they could see the amazing world underwater they would have fun. Xander finally looked and popped his head up screaming, “That was AWESOME!!” Simon took a little tough love and I ended up pushing his head under gently. The funny thing was he left his head under for several seconds, came up to squeal with excitement and there wasn’t a single fish in sight at that moment. He had just missed the largest manta-ray and school of giant fish I had ever seen.

After that, Omar took Simon’s hand and I took Xander’s and we saw plenty of marine life as we circled around Hol Chan. It was wonderful!

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Next stop was Shark Ray Alley. Omar threw some bait to attract the sharks. He explained we had to hurry and get in the water to see the sharks because they don’t stick around long after the food disappears. It seems crazy to think I threw my kids overboard while there was a swarm of sharks in the water, but that’s exactly what I did and it didn’t feel scary at all. It was scarier when we watched Youtube videos before our trip than when we were actually there.

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Omar grabbed a shark and then a manta-ray for everyone to pet.

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The last stop was Coral Gardens and the water was way too choppy. The current was so strong I couldn’t get myself and two kids from the boat to the reef. We got back on the boat and called it a day. Simon and I both got sea sick at this point and I lost all my lunch. Ewwww! Luckily it was the end of the tour and we were able to cruise on back to the dock.

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Here’s some video for a live action view…

Walking back to our hotel: Lotus is happy with the day, even though she never got off the boat.

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