U is for…

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Mom, what’s on my hands?!

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I’d better taste it …

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22 Weeks

  • Baby Girl, FYI, you’re not 22 weeks.  I don’t even know how old you are… I got so lost and behind with these pics that I don’t have any clue where I am anymore with them… but I’m just rolling along with them making sure they are still fairly consistent.  I know the boys always ended around 6+ months, and you’re at 5.5 months and have 5 more pictures, so I can’t be too far off.  ;)
  • You have been sitting up incredibly well now.  You still topple over if you lean too far for a toy or something, but you handle it really well.  You just straighten yourself out on the floor and do some tummy time!
  • The boys love how you can sit up.  They love to sit behind you and “hold” you.
  • You’re getting closer and closer to crawling.  You’ve definitely got the backwards scoot down and are getting good at using your leg (your right one in particular) to help guide you.  You’re not entirely mobile yet, but you’re definitely not in the same spot as when I leave you.
  • It seems you are plateauing a bit on your weight, which is nice because otherwise we’d be in 18-24 mo. by Christmas.  You’re still mostly in 9 month stuff, but are definitely wearing a lot of 12’s also.  Almost no 6’s anymore.  ^^These tights were 12 months and a NIGHTMARE to try to squeeze your legs in.  However, your feet are still itty bitty, not even really close to fitting in 6 month shoes.
  • You’ve been talking up a storm.  Always speaking.  Or now you’ve learned squealing.  The other day, you were going down for nap but were showing me your distaste for that idea by squealing at me from your bed.  It was hilarious to watch you because it was the first time that I saw you doing something for attention like that and I just stood at your cribside at watched you for a moment before hushing you.  You had no idea I was there witnessing your little show, and as soon as I made a noise and you saw me, your eyes went huge and you started crying/sobbing with big fat tears rolling down your cheeks.  I scared ya good, lil one.
  • You’ve been digging Bopa’s facial hair.  He says you’re a raccoon that feel, feel feels, but doesn’t look at what they’re touching.  You rub your gentle hands all over his goatee and peer over his shoulder.  Too cute.

Love you, Little Miss.

Front & Back Yard Progress

Way back last spring, when we first started house hunting, one thing Skyler and I agreed on was we needed mature landscaping.  Big trees and as forest-like as possible.  And the bigger the better.

When we first came to see our house, we fell in love with the huge evergreens and ferns in our almost quarter acre yard.  (Which, I know.  All you mid/east coast folks – quarter acre doesn’t seem like much land.  Here in the city, it’s a good size.)  We knew it was over grown and would take some love and attention to get it shining again, but we knew it was worth the clean up time and effort because you just can’t add 60+ year old trees into a yard.  I didn’t even want to see any new development or any even just 10 years old because I wanted OLD trees in the yard.  Yes, it was that important to me.

These are the listing pictures of the yard (yes, they are horribly blurry, as are all the house photos from the listing.  Our realtor didn’t think we’d like this house based on the ugly photos, but I could see past them and begged him to show us this place).

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The yard did not even look this nice when we went to see it.

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Because of our “mini forest” and with not getting into the house until mid-November, the amount of leaves that were on the ground was astronomical.  We raked and raked and raked (yes, even me.  7-8 months pregnant.).  Every week that yard waste bin would go out to the curb and finally, about 2 weeks before Ellery was born in February, we had all those leaves finally cleaned up.  It was insane.  And by that time, we had no grass (not that it was in superb condition anyway).

Some “we’re-cleaning-up-but-it-still-looks-bad” progress photos: DSC_0982

Cleaned all the ivy off of the retaining wall…

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Took out the retaining wall stones (we’re going for a more natural forested look…).

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This is how bad the “grass” was after we cleared all the leaves off of it.  Oh, and that line going across the photo?  Yeah, that was a zipline.  It was up for about 6 months, but once we started seriously making some progress in yard work, I insisted it come down.  I didn’t want to have a nice yard and get clotheslined by the zipline every time I walked across it… :)

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As we cleared out all over over grown ivy and other plants, we started discovering these nice big round rocks all over the yard.  You can also see there was a pathway that led from the back porch to the small extra patio.  This was after Skyler dug out all the little pea gravel from the walk way.

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The zipline and how our yard looked for months this winter/spring.

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We dug out bricks from the pathways that led to both side gates and also to the small extra patio.

 

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Cleared out overgrown shrubs from the back patio area…

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Front yard:

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A BAJILLION BLUEBELLS. OMG.  It was insane how many popped up.  I don’t even want to know how many hours have been spent digging these up from the front AND back yards. (And we’re only maybe 2/3rds done with clearing them out.)

We also decided that the rinky dink, add on front deck was silly looking and I hated that it felt like something that you would add on to a manufactured home.  (Trust me.  It was worse than it looks in the photo.  And sloping.)

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We cleared out the two overgrown rhododendrons that were on either side of the steps, and also cut down the gum tree (the horrible kind that leave those pokey little balls all over).

After a loooong while, the front & back yards started to look more “clean”.  SO much dirt, but not a ton of overgrown shrubs, ivy, weeds and dead stuff hanging around in the flower beds. DSC_0198 We trimmed the limbs off of the trees that were hanging low and in the way.

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Looking cleaned up, right?!  :)

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And then, it was finally time to level out the yard, do grass seed, build up our retaining walls, and plant things again!

We brought in THREE big dump loads of dirt… which have brought neighbor kids out of the wood-works to play in.  Something about a giant mound of dirt that screams to be jumped and dug in.

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Almost every day this summer so far, our children have come in at dinner time looking like little hooligans.  But OH the fun they’re having and memories they are making! (That’s what I keep telling myself every night at bath time, anyway.  It eases the pain.)

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Both the front and back yards took several loads of dirt to make them more level.  Our house is slightly on the hillside so we knew we wouldn’t be able to make it completely level, but we could definitely improve the situation.

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Finally time for GRASS SEED!!  I actually did a happy dance.  (Of course, selfish reasons.  I was thinking of perhaps less horrible bath experiences with the boys.)

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Look at how much soil Skyler wheeled in!

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And then.  It started to grow…

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We moved some of the existing ferns and plants around in the yard for a more ideal lay out, and have gone to probably every nursery within a 45 mile radius in the last few weeks.  Twice each.

But we’ve come home with some great plants (and trees) for (mostly) great prices and I’m happy with the plan we’re working with!

Here’s how we managed to get a 6 ft tall evergreen home – I’m back here because, well, I had to give my seat up.  :)

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Sticking out of the window a couple feet.  #ghetto

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The back yard is much more done than the front yard at this point, but the front will follow suit before too long.  We have a couple trees in will-call that we need to pick up and then we can plug away at the front and hopefully make some great progress in the next 2-3 weeks.

The front yard is still in major overhaul phase.  Still thousands (yes, literally) of blue bell bulbs, still discussing plan for plants/trees in the awkward front corner (to the left) of our house, still discussing plans for a new front porch… (I feel bad for our neighbors with this ugly view, but at least they can see we’re working on it!).  These were taken probably a month or more ago, and we now have a leveled front yard with grass!!

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THESE ARE ALL BULBS!!  *tear tear*

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Our awkward front corner.  We’ve already decided we don’t want grass in that portion because it would be a pain to mow.  You can see we ripped the deck off.

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Skyler, tirelessly slaving away at digging out bulbs, and you can see our blueberry bushes and strawberry plants:

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Hard to really see, but the front yard is leveled out and just waiting for seed:

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A week or two ago, grass starting to grow in and blue bells slowly diminishing!:

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Here are the most updated photos as of yesterday:

The grass has come in spotty in the back yard so we seeded again the other day.

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Building up the retaining wall area so that the boys had a level area up top to play.  We have some fun ideas for this area, like making a mini-city with roads fir them to drive their hot wheels cars. (Probably a next summer project.)

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The boys checking out their new area:

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We had 2 spots of bamboo growing.  We felt that was too tropical and not right in our woodland back yard, so we dug them up.  We did place a portion of one of them behind our bedroom window for right now so that it at least sort of blocks the view from the side of our neighbors house.  DSC_0698

What the girl does while we do yard work all day:

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New natural stone retaining wall with some ferns and a rock step path.

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We decided this railing (which was wobbly and not attractive) needed to come down:

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Much better!  It doesn’t feel as closed in now.

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Back this photo again… now that the railing is gone, we can do a step down to the area under the window and small tree.  Our plan is (probably next summer) to do a paver patio all in this blank space with a fire pit and a small fountain.

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We recently just bought a bunch of shade plants (different coral bells, hostas, ferns, and ground cover) because the most sun our back yard gets is this spotty action, to put in the retaining wall areas:

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Got another couple hydrangeas and other shade plants to place around my back patio too.

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Back to the front yard – these are some of the plants that we’ve collected and will be using in the front area and weird triangle area.  Skyler LOVES Bend and high desert, so I told him we could go a little with that flavor of landscaping.  So rosemary, lavender, grasses, evergreens….

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…and giant boulders.  :)

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*sigh* I can’t wait for this ugly mess to go away.  Slowly, but surely.  :)

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But hey, at least we have green grass now!!

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And there you have it.  A lengthy run down of our yard progress!

Still to come:  FRONT – new porch, new triangle area landscape, front flower bed landscape, chunky rustic fence around the grassy area, placing the boulders, making a patio paver area in front of the house.  BACK – figuring replacement deck railing for the half of the deck that we left railing on, removing the metal roof over the deck, cleaning out flower beds of debris (old leaves and wood chips), play area on top of mound for the boys – mini-city, rock climbing wall, sand box, paver patio, fountain & fire pit, replacing metal side gate with 6 ft wood gate, make small patio deck a “she-shed”, repaint and clean up shed….

Many many more things to work on still.  But I still feel like it’s getting much better and functional now!  More progress pictures at the end of summer to show what we accomplished the rest of this summer! :)

T is for…

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My response to those saying Ellery looks just like Asher… correction: she looks just like Zeek.

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Ellery, 5 months, Zeek, 4 months.

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Hanging at the lake with Gram:

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21 Weeks

  • You have been going through a phase where you are very binkie dependent for sleep, except for middle of the night.  If you lose the bink, you’re stirring and looking for it.  Fun times.
  • You are getting better and better at sitting up!
  • You turned 5 months old!
  • You love your exersaucer; you can sit in it happily for a few hours a day.
  • You cry hard buy quiet when you wake and this last week mama has had a super hard time hearing you when you wake, with all the fan on.  You are so upset when I realize you are up from nap.  I’m sorry Baby Girl.  I promise I’ll get a baby monitor soon.
  • Daddy finally got tired of seeing your cradle cap and worked vigorously at it.  It was nasty, but you didn’t seem to mind and it does look better.

Love you sweet girl.

The Preface of the Story.

I found myself in Corvallis yesterday around 2 pm, right when all 3 kids needed a nap.  I did what I’ve done many times before – grabbed a cup of coffee at the nearest drive thru and drove.  And drove.  And drove.  And circled through Corvallis approximately 5 times.  Anything to let the babies sleep.

I found myself doing what I’ve done many times before in this exact same situation in this old college town of mine.  I drive by my old first house that I lived in when I moved out of my parents’ at age 18.  I drive by Whitney’s house, who lived just down the street from me.  I drive by my next apartment that I moved into, after I realized living with 6 women was an insane idea.  I circle down and around the hill, and usually end up in front of my ex in-law’s house.  It’s always been lovely to look at because the landscaping has always been kept so nice, even a couple years after they have moved.  I continue on.  The natural grocery store – the place where my ex husband used to work and I frequented many times, especially on lunch break.  The small corner of grass beside it.  The one with a bench on it.  The bench where we sat many times and shared lunch.  The bench where he threw his first wedding ring from because he wasn’t sure he wanted to be married to me still.  (We never did find it.)

Continue driving.  Down the street is his old house.  Many memories in that place.  That’s the place where I learned how messy it can be to have 5 boys living together.  But those were some great men.  I did enjoy their company.  Further down – OSU campus.  There is a little bar there.  It’s a place I never have been, but a place where I deeply hated because that was where my ex would retreat to where I couldn’t get in contact with him, because he was 21 and I was not yet.  I won’t ever go in there.

Past OSU now.  Downtown.  Driving past my old work, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Twinge of disappointment as I recognize my old co-workers cars in the parking lot and long to go inside and say hi, but…  sleeping babies.  Drive on.

I circle back around Corvallis and end up in the parking lot of the apartments that my ex and I lived in after we were married.  I loved that apartment.  I still don’t know why.  I think it was the only place we lived (out of 4 places in the 2 years we were married) that actually felt like home.  But…It was also the place were some of the darkest and scariest times happened.  I remember sitting in this parking lot in my old car.  I sat there a lot.  Thinking.  Escaping.  Crying.  I started driving out of the parking lot.  That familiar path I was taking felt a little uncomfortable to be taking my babies down, as I had traveled that way many many times in distress and many times at midnight or 1 am.  I used to get out of that apartment, those times that it didn’t feel like home, and just drive.  I used to need to clear my head.  To think about my life.  To think about what was going on in my marriage.  To reflect on the things that my then-husband used to say to me.  I would drive around for hours during those times.  Many times, I’d end up 20 miles away back in Albany, sitting in my parents driveway at 3 am.  I never would go in their house during those times, but I was home.  And that felt good enough.  That was comfort enough.  I’d sit there for 20-30 minutes until I felt settled enough to drive back and enter my own home with a little more peace.

Yesterday, I did what I always do in Corvallis.  I drove around and remembered what feels like a past life.  A dream.  I looked at these old familiar houses and places and saw the changes that have happened to them in the last 10 years.

I’m reminded that if I can see the changes in these buildings and landscaping and businesses, then how much more surely have there been changes in me since I last lived in this town.  How much more has my life changed.

Infinitely.  My life is nothing that it used to be, save a few old friends that I still keep around.  :)

And for that – I have only God to thank.  I thank Him for his mercies.  For His protection and provision all those years.  For His good plan for me and my life.  For His loving, gentle hand holding mine through those hard and heavy years.  For His ever presence in my life.  For knowing that I know that I know that God is King.  That He’s real.

For all of that, I am so thankful for my life and the route it took.  For getting me to rock bottom so that I had to discover His realness.

Thank you God, that you reached out to me in those dark moments, and thank you for giving me the bravery to reach back.


Five years ago, I sat down and started writing my story.  My past life.  I so badly wanted to share it and get it off my chest.  I spend a week or more writing it out.  And then.  I couldn’t hit “publish”.  I knew it wasn’t time yet.  About once a year since then, I think, “maybe now?”  I edit, I change things, omit things, add things.  I always check my heart to make sure I don’t do things maliciously but that I remain truthful and tell only what is needed to get my story across.  And still, it wasn’t ready.  It wasn’t time.

This last month, I’ve been feeling the tug on my heart to pull that story out again.  To finally start to share it with you.  To finally share with you the pain, the struggle, the fears I had.  But more importantly, to finally share with you the joy and peace that I found.

Stay tuned…

S is for…

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20 Weeks

  • You are getting really good at sitting up on your own!  It was a total accident that I discovered it too.  I haven’t really thought about having you sit up until the other day when I had you sitting between my legs and I realized you weren’t leaning on me at all.  You can sit up by yourself for a good 5 minutes or more before you lean too far one way and can’t recover.  :)
  • With all this crazy Oregon heat (I promise, it’s not normally like this), we have taken MANY trips to the beach lately.  You love just laying on the blanket and blinking into the salty breeze.

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  • We’ve also been on 2 camping trips already this summer (and have another just around the corner!).  One night, you were all sleeping in the tent and daddy and I were sitting around the fire still and we peeked in to check on you.  We discovered Asher (aka Cuddle Bug) had crawled into bed with you for a good snuggle-fest.

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You didn’t really seem to mind… you love snuggling also!

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  • Asher insisted on feeding you, so I gave him a bottle and he laid on the floor to feed you.  You weren’t too sure what was going on, but you were a good sport.
  • You are the rolling queen.  I lay you on your back in your crib to sleep and within seconds, you’re on your hands and knees and crying because “how the heck am I supposed to sleep in this position mom?!”.  I go in and roll you back over, but you will roll over and get on hands and knees about 4 times before each sleep.  The other day, I gave up on rolling you back and you took a two hour nap on your tummy, after you’d given up and just laid your head down to sleep.  Asher was always a tummy sleeper too… Maybe you will sleep longer that way?!
  • You have gotten better about naps, praise Jesus!  You are sort of on a routine by now.  About an hour-ish after you first wake up, you take your second nap – which is about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.  Then at 12:30 or 1, I lay you down for another nap when the boys go down and it’s often about 2 hours long.  Then, depending on what our evening looks like, you take either 2 short cat naps, or 1 more hour long nap.  Baby Girl…. I can’t say it enough.  Thank you for breaking out of your 45 min. napping streak.
  • You sure love your daddy.  It is so precious to watch.  He will look at you and say, “HI Sweet Girl!” and you catch his gaze, and you get this sweet, coy look on your face as you grin and shyly look away.  You love “face time” with daddy.
  • You also are really getting used to having 2 big bros.  They most often care for you well and lovingly, but they definitely can already pick on you and make you the topic of their jokes.  But you, for some reason, love it.  Usually I’m about ready to say, “ok, stop that boys!” when you just BUST UP in laughter.  I throw my hands in the air and give in.  Whatever, girlfriend.  Whatever.

You are almost FIVE months old, sweet thing!  Whooo!!

Calling All Writers!

Are you a writer, blogger, or just an avid reader in Oregon?  You may be interested in checking out the Oregon Writer’s Fair hosted by the Lebanon Writers’ Clique!

I had the chance to speak with some of the ladies from the Lebanon Writers’ Clique last month about blogging and they are a wonderful bunch!

The Oregon Writers’ Fair will be on July 18th from 10 am – 6 pm at the Adult & Teen Challenge campus in Shedd, Oregon.

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WHAT TO EXPECT

 Come and support authors from all over Oregon!  Find new books to read, enjoy good food, and great company!
 

WHERE

31700 Fayetteville Dr. Shedd, Oregon
 

FEATURING

· Local authors · Food · Entertainment · Fun · Family Friendly · Free!

(No ticket or reservation needed unless you are an author requesting a table. All proceeds from concession stand go to Adult and Teen Challenge.)


On another note…

If you’re a blogger local to the Pacific Northwest, I am inviting you to join us in discussion on the Willamette Valley Local Bloggers Facebook Group!

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I’ve just started it in the last month but I wanted a place where local bloggers can gather, discuss, ask questions, get feedback, etc. about our own blogs.  No matter how big or small, how often you post, how much of a “legit blogger” you feel – you are welcome to join!  :)

Loving my writing/blogging community and hoping to see who else is out there that I haven’t yet discovered has a knack for writing!

{Kids Play} West Coast Game Park Safari

As a mom to busy young kids, I’m always looking for ways to burn off some of that cooped up energy!  (And often, the cheaper, the better.)  Knowing I can’t possibly be alone in this hunt, I wanted to give you (local) readers some reviews on the places we have discovered and are still discovering.  I always love when I stumble upon a list of ideas of where to take my family for a fun outing and hope this (ongoing!) list proves helpful to you as well.

All of my reviews will be categorized as “Kids Play” if you want to search for all of the places we’ve discovered!  Also, I was in no way compensated for any of these reviews. These are just my honest opinions about our adventures!

 

West Coast Game Park Safari

(Bandon, Oregon)

We were recently planning a trip to Wildlife Safari and camping in the general region, and then 90+ degree weather hit and it wasn’t looking to cool down if we ventured to Southern Oregon.  Having heard about a “similar to Wildlife Safari” place in Bandon, we shifted vacation plans and headed towards the small coastal town and cooler temps.

We found a really great State Park right there in Bandon (Bullards Beach State Park) where we rented a yurt.  On one of our days camping, we headed the 9 miles or so south just outside of Bandon, to the West Coast Game Park Safari.

I have to admit, upon driving up and seeing a small gravel parking lot in front of a giant wood fence and a smallish looking house, I immediately felt a little unsure of what I had gotten ourselves into.  I had heard from numerous people that it was “similar to Wildlife Safari” so I didn’t even bother to research it any further.  I was expecting a drive through experience like at Wildlife Safari but as soon as we arrived, I knew that wasn’t the case.

We parked, got out and wandered into the house-like building.  It was a small gift shop and a young lady behind the counter.  Still a little unsure what we were even getting ourselves into, I was a little hesitant to pay the admission cost which was around $55 for our family (2 adults, 1 four year old, 1 two year old and an infant).  We bought a couple cones to feed the animals for $1 each also.

As we walked through the back door of the house into the game park, I knew our money was well spent.  Immediately we saw monkeys, wallaby’s, foxes and a few other critters.  We were able to get up close and personal with them!  This felt like a very intimate zoo or petting zoo.  Like a “behind the scene’s” look at these wild creatures.

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See the joey in her pouch?!

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After seeing these few animals, you can push through another gate and all of the sudden, you are fully immersed in wildlife.  Goats, deer, sheep, peacocks, llama and donkey are just roaming freely.  I know Zeek was in heaven getting to see all these deer right up close like that.

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Asher was (understandably) a little unsure of all these huge animals right next to him, so his daddy pulled him up on his shoulders for a less frightening feeding of the deer.

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However, he quickly decided he didn’t want to feed these deer and held the cone up as high as he could.

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Daddy started walking, Asher still holding the cone above his head, and all the animals just started following…

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…and following…

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…and following.  Skyler said he felt like Evan Almighty.

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This was Asher’s reaction every time we set him down and then a deer would start wandering over to him.  “Get me outta here!”

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Reindeer

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First time in history that Zeek was like, “MOM!  Take a picture of me!”  He is obsessed with birds and peacock’s are pretty high up on his list of cool.

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They had special petting areas where they brought out different animals. We got to pet the little black bear cubs, ferrets, a baby fox, baby opossum, and even a baby skunk.

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It was unreal how close these animals were!  It was so cool to be able to watch them and their mannerisms up close.

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Some sort of bird eggs that we found…

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Now let me break it down…

Name: West Coast Game Park Safari (Bandon, OR)
Website: http://www.westcoastgameparksafari.com/

Cost:
Children under 2 – Free
Children (Ages 2-6) – $7.00
Children (Ages 7-12) – $10.00
Adults (Ages 13+) – $17.50
Seniors (Ages 60+) – $16.50
AAA, Military, etc. Discount – 10%

Cleanliness:  The grounds were very well kept – other than the to-be-expected animal droppings from the free roaming animals.  However, even with that, we saw several zookeepers walking around constantly sweeping up and removing the droppings.  The animals all looked well taken care of.

SafetyNo safety concerns!  There WAS one episode where a big male deer was a little aggressive with my feeding cone.  He cornered me against a fence and was pressing his head into me until I gave him my feeding cones.  We had just bought 2 more cones for the boys to feed the animals and this male deer bullied his way to the 2 cones before I even had the chance to hand them off to my boys.  Zeek was mildly annoyed and didn’t like the “mean deer”…

Employees: The staff were all friendly and very knowledgeable.  The front gal seemed a little less than thrilled to be at her job and could use a bit more pep in her step to really greet folks coming in and explain how the park works, but she wasn’t UNfriendly.

Other: They had many many more animals than I’m showing you with my photos!  They had black panther, elk, llama, camels, bobcat, leopard, cougar, emu, capybaras.  TONS of animals to see!

Cons:  Very very minor, but worth noting… A few of these cages had some “camera hole openings” in their fences so you could stick your camera through for a picture without getting fencing material in the shot.  Such a great idea!  Except most of the holes were high up and at 5’2″, I was too short to reach to put my camera through the holes.  :(  Also… could work on curb appeal so that newcomers are confident that they are coming to something spectacular, and not just a thrown together mom and pop petting zoo.

Rating: A, suited for all ages

Overall, we really enjoyed our time there and are really looking forward to going back.  The boys loved the animals and talked about it for days.  I think Zeek’s dream came true when seeing the deer so up close and personal.  He also loved seeing the huge elk and black bear and the white tiger was his favorite.  I am *pretty* sure they have buy one get one deals in the Entertainment coupon book, so I think I may buy one this fall when it’s released and we can try to go back again next summer.  It’s worth it even at full price, but at half price would be even better! :)

Thanks West Coast Game Park, we had a great experience and family fun day!

R is for…

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My word!  There were too many cute ones to choose from this week!

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Your big brother sure loves cuddling with you.  He loves to squish you and with his teeth clenched, says “CHUNK!”  I’m so so SO sorry if that name sticks with you for a while.  It was him.  Not me.

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Good grief.  No wonder so many people always say to me, “you can definitely tell she’s an Anderson.”  I guess we make little clones.  :)

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You and your BFF Ivory.  You guys sure love each other!

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Girl… someday you may find yourself in the same situation and you may realize that mama usually stays behind the camera and doesn’t get in many photos.  I realized that someday when you’re grown, you may want some photos of you and your mom.  So I’m doing my best to rectify that when I can and will be snapping some pics of us together.  Here you go:

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19 Weeks

  • Grandma pointed out to me this week that your thumbs are double jointed.  Not sure how I didn’t see this before, because now that I’ve seen it, I can’t un-see it.  Holy cow girl.  It’s insane looking.IMG_3428
  • It still weirds me out looking at you deeply sometimes (or especially in photos) because girlfriend – in the same way that I’ve always said looking into Asher’s eyes is like looking into your daddy’s eyes, it’s the same with you.  Looking into your eyes is like somehow looking into my own.  Blows my mind.  I’ll have to dig some of my photos out soon and do some side by sides.
  • You’re either having a growth spurt, or you’re breaking your 45 min. nap streak (that’s lasted 2.5 months now)!  You’ve had a couple hour and 15 and even one 2 hour nap in the last couple weeks!
  • You still go down so easily.  In bed, binky, lovie in arms, blanket on top, and you roll to your side and close your eyes.  Done and done.  Thanks for being so easy on your mama.  Lord knows I need it after Asher.  (Shhhhh, don’t tell him.  I still love him.)
  • I think you’re leveling out a bit in your growth – praise Jesus.  I was getting super sad that all these cute clothes you had, you were only fitting into for a few weeks!!
  • This past week, I posted a photo of you in a box and called it a ghetto exersaucer.  You seemed to wanted to sit up and play with toys and it’s what I had, so into a box you went.IMG_3465
  • A few days later, my sweet friend Katie told me, “so um, I saw the picture of Ellery in a box.  I have an exersaucer I was going to get rid of… can I give it to you?!”  *laughing tears* hahahahah, WHOOPS, wasn’t meaning to play the “cry for help” card.  You seemed just fine in your box, but you LOVE your new-to-you exersaucer!  Thanks Katie! ;)IMG_3521
  • Many moons ago (ok, 5 years ago exactly), I was pregnant with your big brother Zeek.  We didn’t know if we had an Ezekiel or an Ellery in my belly and so I bought a few girl and boy items that were my favorites.  This was one sweet shirt that I bought for my Ellery.  I so so love to be able to see it on you now – 5 years later!

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Love you, little dumpling!

Q is for…

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4 months old already?!  Say what?

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I just had to take a pic of you in my favorite dress!  Also. Girlfriend is officially obsessed with sticking her tongue out!

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Ellery June (4 mo) & Eila Grace (2 mo)

Cousins, and future friends… whenever they get a chance to meet.  :)

18 Weeks

  • You are seriously obsessed with your tongue these days and I can hardly sneak a picture of you without it poking out!
  • You have reverted back to your blow out days and are going through 3-4 outfits a day again.  What in the world?!
  • You’re getting to be a pro at pulling your binky out and putting it back in.
  • You play in your Johnny Jump Up a lot – you love just standing in that thing.  The door frame you are in is perfect because you can watch your bros in the play room, your mama in the kitchen, and the leaves out the window.  Entertainment for days.
  • You’re sort of sinking into routine.  You still don’t nap longer than EXACTLY 45 min at a time, but you probably take 4-6 naps a day.  Those are fairly random – except one is always 45-60 min after you first wake up, and another is at 12/12:30 when the boys nap too.
  • You go to bed around 8:15-8:30 every night and usually I nurse you once or twice at night, and you wake up about 8:30-9 in the morning.
  • You are SO easy to go to sleep though – so your 45 min naps don’t bother me as much as they could. ;)  You just start arching your head back when you are tired.  We go lay you down, give you a binky, and a stuffed animal to cuddle (either of your two bunnies or your lamp), cover you with a blanket and you almost immediately arch your head back and close your eyes to sleep.
  • You love “face time” with daddy.  He holds you and looks into your eyes and tells you all sorts of lovely things, and you just look deep into his eyes, grin and coo at him.  You love to be loved!
  • You also do this thing where when someone is looking at you and smiling, and you catch their gaze, your do a quick upward shift of your eyebrows and break out into a huge grin.  It’s the best.

Loving seeing more and more of you as your personality is starting to develop and shine through!  You are a true JOY, Ellery June!

Goonies Day & Beach Mini Vacation

For the last couple of months, we have really felt called to lay a few things/commitments down and walk into a season of rest.  We’ve stopped our paintball tournament business, which we have owned and operated for 6 years.  We’ve stepped back from our position as leaders for Young Life.  Skyler wrapped up his Bachelors of Science of Nursing degree a couple weeks ago.  Literally the only things on our plate now is Skyler working 3 days a week at the hospital and my involvement with our local MOPS group.  No other commitments, no other obligations or running around.  Rest.  We finally get to rest after 6 years of many many obligations.  It feels weird and surreal.  There’s much more to be said about it – but later.  :)

In this season of rest, we decided to kick it off with a last minute mini-vacay.

We had learned that the Goonies 30th anniversary was coming up and they were having a weekend festival in celebration in Astoria – the main town where the movie was filmed.  We aren’t Goonies fanatics by any means, but being local Oregonians, we figured it would be silly to not go when so many people were flying in from around the world for the event.

We woke up early Saturday morning last week and started the 3 hour drive to Astoria.  The sun was rising and shining, 3 peaceful children in the back of the van who were excited to see the pirate ship there, I had hot coffee in my hand, sunglasses on my face, and a handsome man in the drivers seat next to me.  It was a goood start to our day.  :)

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Our first stop was checking out the Lady Washington pirate ship (which was used in Pirates of the Caribbean, Once Upon a Time and a few other films).   The boys had been looking forward to this all week.  It’s been 2 years since first loving pirates and they’re still at it!

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Dad and his little dudes.

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Blurry picture, but had to post.  Asher was SO excited to find a pirate map!

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I just love this cool kid!  Strutting along… :)

Then we headed to check out some of the Goonies adventures they were having.  For having several thousand extra people in such a small town for the weekend, it sure didn’t seem near as crowded as we anticipated (other than some backed up traffic on the main road).

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At the Goonies house.  We’d been there a number of times before, but you know.  If you’re IN Astoria on Goonies Weekend… you kind of have to go see it again.  It’d be a tragedy not to.

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After we Gooned out for a while, had lunch and schlepped the kids around town, we loaded everyone back up in the van and headed south to Newport beach.  We had gotten a hotel for the evening to be able to just relax, swim, sleep and wake up the next morning to go clamming in our favorite spot in Newport on Yaquina Bay.

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Check out this little dumpling in her first suit!  It’s a 9 month suit and quite snug.  *crying inside*

We braved “Barefoot Clamming” this time, as we had watched several people do before us… and this particular day, the muck seemed especially hard to walk with boots in… so we all shed ours.  And… yuck, is all I can say.

Here’s my sentiments about it that I shared on Instagram:

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After a long morning of clamming, we were all starving!  We headed north towards Lincoln City (the direction we eventually would have to drive to get home anyway), and made an impulse stop at Artic Circle.  I hadn’t been since I was a young kid and all the sudden a burger and shake sounded awesome.  Did you know they have something like “mini cones” for only $.35 and they’re the PERFECT size for a toddler!?

Then we wanted to hit up a beach that neither of us had been to in years – Fogarty Beach – in between Newport and Lincoln City.

The sand was more coarse (isn’t it funny how different sand can be just a couple miles apart?!) and there was a creek with rocks in it.  We knew the boys would love adventuring around there.

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Zeek found a kite handle, aka “fishing pole” and stood on this rock casting his line and trying to catch fish for the good part of the afternoon.  Sad to say, he didn’t catch any.  But I couldn’t burst his bubble that there weren’t any fish in this creek – he was just way too excited about the prospect of it.

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Then daddy got in on the adventure and they started “clamming” and digging for fish in the sand.  At least they found some cool shells when they started digging.  :)

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Asher, trying his hand at “fishing”.

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And then!  Boat races!  Daddy struck gold in that genius idea.

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They followed their boats down the creek and then snatched them up, brought them back and raced them again.

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Oh yea, and we’re here too!  I had to document that I was actually on this trip also… (Any mama’s out there relate?! haha)

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Yes, and this little munchkin was there too – though she spent most of her afternoon sleeping on me.

We had such a great little impromtu, short, but fun mini vacation!  It’d been too long since we’ve done much of anything like that.  With Skyler finishing up his loooooooong earned degree a couple weeks ago, a celebration and vacation was definitely in order! ;)