Shopping and knitting

The kids and I ventured into Portland to take Lotus to the American Girl doll store and see the Christmas tree in Pioneer Square.

Unfortunately, the tree was inaccessible; blocked off with gates and a sea of tents for an upcoming ale festival, but riding the max, feeling the city vibe and checking out the shops is always fun.

Isaac finds a “free” book that comes with a heavy dose of religious ideology. Good ol’ E.G. White.

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New hand knit sweater for “Cupcakes.” Lotus and I were thrilled to find some old Raggedy Ann buttons in the button tin.

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15th Anniversary

The hubs and I celebrated our 15th anniversary and took the family to our favorite spot at the beach: the Surfsand Resort. It has the best pool!

We went out for a nice dinner and the kids got their own table, practicing their independent restaurant skills. Jason and I pretended we were there alone. haha! The kids did great.

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Journaling

We are still living and loving the homeschool life and I have been trying to think of a way for the kids to get more writing experience. It’s tough to find reasons to write in this computer driven time!

Last week, I stopped at the dollar store and picked up some silly, monster themed notebooks and told the kids I’d like to start journaling with each of them; not a private journal, but one in which they write notes to us parents and we write back. They were a little unsure of the idea at first, but it has quickly become so much fun for all of us!

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They have used it to write out their Christmas list, request a specific dinner, ask about upcoming activities, etc. We all get excited to see what everyone wrote and we are noticing an improvement in handwriting already!

Nicer journals and pens will be happening for 2016!

40 trips around the sun

We went to the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark for my 40th birthday and it was a lot of fun! My sister and her boys came too and it’s always a pleasure to see the kids having such a good time.

Highlights were riding in the virtual haunted rollercoaster with Simon, going down the “Howling Tornado” slide with Omi and Isaac, Xander winning the jackpot in the arcade, Lotus swaying to the music of the puppet show, and drinks and apps at the bar with my Jason. 40 is starting out nicely!

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Halloween 2015

Annual trick-or-treating buddies photo.

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Poor Xander could not tolerate the face paint and had to wash it off right away. No zombie for him! Luckily, Isaac only needed his costume for a party and wanted to skip trick-or-treating so Xander was able to use his.

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Isaac wanted to be Han Solo. Jason and I found nearly everything at the thrift store and Jason worked his magic. He repurposed a $4 leather portfolio into the holster and did some sewing to adjust the shirt and vest. Go, Dad, go!

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Sad Day

My dad. I’m at a loss for words.

His life has not been easy and he has been the root of a lot of heartache in my own childhood. I have distanced myself emotionally for most of my adult life for that reason.

He suffered with MS and in the last two months his health declined rapidly with strokes and cancer. The whole family has been close and supportive. My mom, older brother and I got to be there for his last breaths and it felt special. Dad and I had a few nice conversations beforehand and that felt nice.

Father’s Day, just a few months ago…

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Me and Dad. Rest in peace, Dad.

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Zoë flies the coop for a solovacation

This has been a wonderfully selfish year for me, all in the name of turning 40. Turning 40 (not until November) has coincided with my kids moving out of the baby phase and into a fabulous new era.

The baby times were special. Exhausting and a sacrifice. We made sure each child felt fully attached and safe by co-sleeping, extended nursing, positive parenting, etc. Especially important in the first three years…times that by four and that makes for 12 long years of sleep deprivation. By the fourth, I really started to fall apart physically from the exhaustion.

But we made it! All four kids have made it through toddlerhood and are the nicest little people. Our relationships are strong! From the four year old up to the 14 year old, life is tranquil and full of love. Success!

Now that the kids are all sleeping in their own beds and realitively independent, Jason and I are enjoying full nights of sleep and rediscovering our own interests.

Thus, the Yellowstone bike tour. I took my first solovacation in 14 years! The idea of an active vacation appealed to me and it did not disappoint. A lot of the women on the bike tour (through womantours.com) had done multiple tours and there is no surprise as to why. It was fantastic and addictive. I want to do another one!

It would have been nice for me and Jason to both do a tour together but childcare for the four kids was stressing me out. As I said, selfish year for Zoë!

On to the bike tour photos. I actually lost my phone on day three of the eight day tour and only have the few photos I had added to lnstagram. A few photos were acquired from the other ladies, but not many.

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Guitar lessons

Xander has been taking guitar lessons for over three months now and I thought for sure it had only been a couple months at most. The weeks are flying by and he is having so much fun!

His ability to read music and pick out a tune gets better and better. Hopefully the teacher wouldn’t mind me posting a video from today’s lesson. Sitting in on the weekly lesson is such a joy!

Testing out a post from the phone

Testing out a post from my phone with a glut of food pics.

For personal amusement and curiosity, I took photos of the kids’ food for a day. Simon and Lotus still aren’t friends with vegetables but aren’t exactly living on just cereal and bread with Nutella…but close. 😉

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Simon says, “Soup for dinner and the cereal is gone? I’m not hungry.”

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My little garden harvest so far…

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PS posting from the phone is not easy, but an option. Yay for travel blogging!

Goodbye to our friend Luke

Our little dog friend, Luke, had his sleepy time medicine today and we are sad but it went really well.

Lots of snuggles this morning…
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15.5 years my little buddy.
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After my early morning bike ride, I picked the wild blackberries on the trail and took them home to make pie ahead of time.

The euthanasia was done at home with the whole family gathered around close on the living room floor. Then we took his body out into the backyard for the burial. We plan on placing a nice grave marker over the spot later.

Everyone had a piece of pie to celebrate his life and that was that. The kids are sad but I think having them involved in every step of the process helped a lot. We’ll miss you, buddy!

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