Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!

Times like this are when blogging feels a little overwhelming. I want to write about the good times and the hard, but I don't always know how to put it into words. So, I will put up a few pictures.

Top 11 moments of vacation (good and bad!) so far...

1. Bryce screaming for hours in the car.
2. Visiting with a good friend who I have met through this blogging world, and getting to go for a run with her.

3. Taking Emily and her 2 sweet cousins to Nutcracker and watching Emily's face as she dreams of being on stage.

4. Bowling with the fam.

5. Watching Bryce very happy with family around- also watching him dive bomb off everthing-the couch, the pack n play, the bed, you name it!
6. Playing in the snow with kids.

7. Teaming with Erik and beating Jeff and Tony at Taboo.
8. Getting beat by Jeff at Settler's and Chess.
9. Going for 2 runs with Jeff.
10. Enjoying Christmas with the whole family-just being together. (All my siblings and their families are here.)

11. Knowing that there is one person missing.
I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas. I am glad to be reminded of the most important things:family and friends. I am grateful to remember the Savior and that he made it possible for me to be with my loved ones forever.

Edited to add: I am not sure why all the pictures were blurry. They looked great before I resized them!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Locals are getting Restless...

This was my day today. (Snow Day #4)

I am the Scholastic book lady for Dallin's class. The books for December arrived at the school on Monday. Problem-we haven't been in school for 3 days. Dallin's nice principal drove them to my house today, so I have less than 24 hours to get them out to everyone before I leave. (There aren't too many books, not a huge deal.) So, as I am typing up the orders, I leave Bryce alone, where I don't realize he has access to the art closet. This is what I find.
Then, later in the day I decide to try to be craftsy with my kids and we follow Sarah's idea and attempt ornaments and nativities. It went alright. The dough was crumbly (which I couldn't figure out how to fix) so it wasn't that easy for the kids to work with. They did however manage a cute Pikachu and Mermaid figure! I would give me a B- for this project.

Last thing. Neighbor gifts. I have the bags and tags and I really wanted to make candy. We decided to make peanut butter balls. We had a really fun time, except I messed up the chocolate somehow and the dipping didn't quite work. So, we decided to give it up this year. Neighbors and friends, if you are reading this, we love you, it just didn't happen this year. We tried! I get at least a D for effort on this one.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One of the reasons we are dropping cable

video

We had Dish Network when we first moved to Oregon 8 years ago. We realized pretty quickly that we would watch too much TV. So, we canceled it and went to rabbit ears. This worked very well, and in fact when we bought Tivo 4 years ago the joke was that we were Tivo'ing local channels! We finally moved up to the $10 basic cable. Dallin has been begging us for "Cartoon Network" and when we bought FIOS because our DSL wasn't working, we thought it wouldn't be much more for cable. So, we have enjoyed it for 2 months. The kids have loved it, and I will admit, I have enjoyed my little obsession show, "What not to Wear."

The fact is, I feel like all I do is fight the kids to do anything else but watch TV. (It doesn't help that the snowstorm forced us inside for the last 4 days straight!) We are also trying to follow the Total Money Makeover and of course cable has ended up costing more than they said. So, we decided to cancel it. The kids are disappointed, but I am excited for them to learn something other than the Pokemon theme song.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Let it Snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Dallin has spent hours this weekend making snowflakes and taping them up all over our house. His teacher had told the class that the more snowflakes you had up, the better chance you had that it would snow.

Well, it really doesn't snow much where we live. Weather forecasters said there was a chance of snow this weekend, but you never know.

This morning, Dallin ran into our room saying, "I told you it would work! It's snowing!" So, we found out church was cancelled and we pulled some version of snow clothes together and headed outside. Bryce loved the sled that is his side. Dallin and Emily just loved playing. I am sure we will be out there later to build a snowman.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Weekend Update

As you can imagine, it was wonderful spending time with good friends this weekend. Even time on the plane was nice for reflection and rest! I am grateful that Jeff was so supportive of my quick trip! Spending so much time in the temple was such a blessing. But, don't even think it was spent hanging out by the pool and on the strip! First off, I was teased all weekend because I wore shorts, capris and sandals even though it was c-0-l-d! I was hoping the weather report was wrong and I assumed it would be sunny in Vegas. Luckily, Saturday, the day of the wedding was gorgeous! It was a busy weekend, and I so enjoyed helping Laura get ready for her big day. She was glowing and beautiful. I am so happy for her and James. It was great to reminisce with Joni also. She is a fabulous photographer and did Laura's bridal pics. The 3 of us were inseparable for many years in junior high and high school so it was great remembering how well we get along and how much fun we have together. It is nice to see everyone's dreams getting realized, even with hard times along the way.

(So, did you notice the before and after pics of my haircut? Let me know what you think!)

I also did meet up for a run with Brittany. On only 3 hours of sleep, I am sure I was not the best running buddy, but it was great. I really do miss her and our early morning conversations. Move back, Brittany!
My kids seemed happy to see me, as did Jeff. Only Bryce wouldn't acknowledge my existence at first. :-) Sunday was just recovery day and then Monday night we went with good friends to downtown Portland for some Christmas fun. I love watching the kids run around together. We had a very nice time.


(Bryce loved the miniature train! Hopefully now some of our Thomas trains will be played with again.)

Unfortunately, my camera is not doing well right now, so the pics are very grainy. I hope Santa brings us a camera!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

On my own...

...thinking about it, I don't really know what to do. I will be heading on a plane by myself in a few hours. I am very excited to witness the wedding of one of my dearest friends. I am so happy for Laura and James and grateful to be able to share this with them.

Thanks to good friends for watching the kids, and Jeff for being supportive!
I will also get to meet up with friends from high school, a good friend from college and one of my favorite running friends!
Here's to a fun weekend!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's been a year...

How do you put into words how your life changes when someone you love so much is gone? My goal this year was to become more like my dad. To continue his legacy of kindness , generosity, and optimism. In so many ways I felt like I failed. All those days that I spent laying in bed and crying. All those days that I did nothing. But then I realized one of the best things about my dad was his ability to move forward. He didn't dwell on things of the past. He didn't beat himself up if he wasn't perfect. (I am actually not sure where I got that trait from.) He never held a grudge and he never worried about the future. He just enjoyed life, one moment at a time. If he made a mistake he was quick to admit it. He wasn't afraid to show his weaknesses. He never tried to be someone he wasn't. Just the other day a good friend of mine reminded me of this. I just need to be myself.
Overall, I did the best I could this year. I had hard days and very hard days. There has not been a day gone by that I didn't think of my dad. I hope that never changes. I want to think about him every day. I want to think about the great person that he was and is. I want to think about how to make him proud. One thing I have learned is that I don't have to be perfect to make him proud. In fact, I am sure that when I focus on all of the things I am NOT doing, it just makes him sad. So, my goal for this year is to just be the best ME I can, with all of my weaknesses and imperfections. I think that would make my dad proud.
I am grateful for the example of my father. He showed me how to love others unconditionally. He showed me how to find the good in everyone. He showed me how to have faith in Heavenly Father even when we don't know all the answers. When I asked Emily what she remembered about Grandpa John, one of the things she said was, "that he loved Grandma Nise." That was one of the best examples- how he treated my mom. I still miss you, dad, and I always will. Thanks for being an amazing father. I love you.
I am also grateful to my friends and family who have been there for me this past year. I know I haven't always been myself, and I am grateful for the patience and love you have shown. Sarah left a sweet gift inside my house today and it meant so much to me. My other good friend, Kristie, brought us a meal and it is that kind of kindness that helps in these tough times. My husband has been such a strength for me. Thanks to all of you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Christmas traditions begin...

...with a tree! Living in the northwest, it is crazy to not cut down a tree yourself. (If you ask Sarah, she has a different opinion on that!) I didn't know there was a place with so many Christmas trees until I moved to Oregon. The first Christmas we were here I was 8 months pregnant, but I was so excited to cut down my first tree. My 3 requirements for my first home were: a)separate tub and shower in the master bath (the bath being a big oval tub!), b) 4 bedrooms, c) a window to put a Christmas tree in.

We haven't missed a year yet, although one year Jeff was being a stinker so Dallin and I went by ourselves. :-) The kids always have a great time, and of course they love decorating it. Here are some pics from the day.

Emily found her "perfect" tree and she was so excited about it! Looking back, I should have just bought this one for her too. Maybe I will go back. :-)
Jeff put up the lights on the house yesterday and we decorated the tree today. If I can ever get my camera to work, I will show a picture of my tree in the window. What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Friday, November 28, 2008

What I learned in driving school...

...SLOW DOWN!

I had this crazy idea that I was going to get my house ready to put on the market in one month. Here I am, determined to get my life somewhat running smoothly and I decide to throw in a major life-altering event such as selling a house.

After talking to my sister, and taking this defensive driving course, I have now changed direction. Back to the drawing board. Back to my original plan of getting organized one project at a time. Whew!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day of Thanks

Today started out nicely with a 10k race in my own backyard! I was able to help out with the race. It always amazes me to watch people behind the scenes. If you get a chance, thank someone for the things they do that aren't recognized! I ran the race with my good friend Sarah and I chose not to bring my music. I just wanted to appreciate the beauty of the city I live in. It was a tough race as it was pretty hilly but it was gorgeous. It was roads that I am very familiar with. It was a great way to start the day.
I cooked for the next couple of hours to get ready for a dinner with friends. There are a few of us without family in town so we met at the church. We had a fantastic turkey and ham dinner with many, many side dishes and pies. It was nice to spend time with friends and getting to know new friends. The kids enjoyed running around the gym. We had a very nice time.
Being away from family always reminds me how grateful I am for them. I especially want to be with my mom and brother and sisters at this time. I am looking forward to seeing most of them at Christmas. I hope they know how much I love them and how much they mean to me.
I am grateful to live in a town where I feel loved and taken care of. I feel lucky to have many wonderful friends and family in my life. I am grateful for a husband who believes in me. I am grateful for children who continually forgive me and love me unconditionally and make me smile every day! Today Bryce was especially "chatty" and giggly and it was so much fun to watch. He now says, "Uh oh" and repeats almost anything we say.
I will do a post just about Bryce when I am more awake. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!
I have a couple of tags I owe. I will do them later. :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random Thoughts

-Race in the morning- just out for fun, weird to not have a time goal. Wish me luck!
-Not loving Biggest Loser as much as normal due to all the negativity.
-Thinking of all the things I am thankful for (will be writing more on this tomorrow, of course.)
-Sad that I will not be with family but looking forward to Thanksgiving with good friends.
-Think it's funny that Jeff likes facebook as much, if not more, than I do!
-Still trying to figure out what makes Bryce happy. (Besides being carried around on my hip.)
-Glad that I will have the next 4 days with my family- woo hoo!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Losing Steam

Well, my camera isn't working well, so I don't have any cute pics of my kids, and I am not a writer, so no cool stories.

Not much to say today. Just getting ready for Thanksgiving, trying to stay busy. I hope things are going well for the rest of you. Those of you new to my blog, welcome!! I love hearing from friends-old and new!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Twilight...again?!

After staying up until 3am on Thursday night and then having a date right before the movie, I shouldn't have been too surprised when I fell asleep at the end of Twilight on Friday! (I am known for falling asleep during movies at home, but rarely at the theater!) I was really enjoying it, my eyes just refused to stay open. I was a little bummed, but decided it was fine. So, tonight when Ranell invited me to go again, and Jeff gave the go ahead, I decided to head out!

Today was less eventful than yesterday, thank goodness. Good old Monday laundry day and just hanging out with the kids. On Mondays our new schedule is to go to Emily's swim lessons and Bryce and I hang out in the shallow end. Then Emily joins us after her class. It is a lot of fun! Bryce is a water baby just like the other too. Even though I don't love being in a bathing suit, and it is a pain to get them dressed after, I am always glad that I went!

Favorite comment of the day- I asked Dallin if he liked his sandwich and his eyes lit up and he got really excited and said, "I loved it Mom! I always love it when you make YOUR bread!" So, I think this is the second time I have made him a sandwich on my homemade bread. Do you think I need to do it more? :-)

Off to Twilight...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rite of Passage...

...thanks to Emily I can now say I have fished up my child's nose for something they stuck up there. It was 10pm, she came downstairs with a bloody nose, and sure enough I could barely see it up there. After a couple of prayers, a couple of different tweezers, one last big sneeze made the object come flying out. Gotta love those Polly Pocket shoes!

Jeff wasn't home this weekend so I was kind of starting to panic trying to decided what I would do if I had to take her to the hospital. Luckily, I didn't have to. This was all after I found her cutting off some ripped pieces of her nightgown. Never a dull moment with Emily. Of course when I ask her why she does it, she says, "I don't know."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oops, Oops, and more oops!

Today was the great day of blunders. First off, I accidentally hit publish, so if anyone happens to be online and checking my blog, it will be blank-Oops!
Here are my oops in order of the day:

1. I wanted to take my kids to the Special Olympics Swim Meet. I looked up the address, and instead of the intersection being 185th, it was 158th, so we drove around in circles for half an hour-Oops!
2. I only knew the first name of the girl I wanted to see compete. I didn't even know which team she was swimming for. There was a lot of people there. We did find her, we didn't get to see her swim-Oops.
3. Got lost coming home- Oops.
4. BYU lost to Utah 48-24- Oops.
5. Jeff is gone and I didn't want to put the kids to bed. So, they went to bed at 9:30. Oops.
6. I needed to be working on my "free" snapfish album from Oprah. Oops.
7. Spent an hour trying to get the internet to work. Oops.
8. Finally worked on the book, but didn't realize a function of the program and wasted time fixing pictures. Oops.
9. Hit send at midnight and barely missed the deadline. Oops.
10. Started this post at 12:01am-oops!

The good news is, my kids loved cheering on ALL of the athletes, Bryce took a long nap so I was able to get a lot done in the way of organizing, I can backdate this post, and I hit send before the book was completely ready. So, now it will cost me $30, but the coupon at least made me get going on our family album. I am working on 2005 and it is 2008-oops!

Hopefully tomorrow will be less blunder-ful! (Yes, that is a terrible pun. I am tired, people!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Short Post for Now...

It is actually 1am, but I am backdating it and counting it. I am exhausted, but have things I want to post about later!

Happy anniversary of my first date with Jeff-11 years ago! We celebrated with a fun date night, and then I went to the late showing of Twilight with the girls.

Fun Day!

Also, Bryce is 18 months old and cuter than ever!

More to come tomorrow. Good night!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Movie night til 3am and Happy Birthday!

It is almost midnight, and my daughter is still awake. Unfortunately, she still has to be awake 3 more hours. I hope I can make it! I am having her tested tomorrow to make sure her seizures aren't epilepsy. She has to go in sleep deprived- a maximum of 4 hours of sleep. Wish me luck! I am trying to make it fun for her. She loves movies, so this is a real treat for her.

My "old"est sister Crystal turns 29 again today! I am glad I was able to celebrate with her last year, I wish I could be there this year. She is kind, thoughtful, generous, hilarious, beautiful, fun, smart, crazy and I am grateful to have her for my sister. People tell me that we look alike and I definitely take it as a compliment. I think she is beautiful! :-) She is an awesome mother, aunt, friend, sister, and daughter. My kids absolutely adore her. She has a huge heart and takes care of everyone around her, including the animals. She is the one who kept bringing stray cats into our house when we were kids. My dad always said he hated cats, but we know deep down he loved them. My favorite cat story is when Crystal was secretly feeding a stray cat, my dad kept spraying her with water to keep her away. One day Crystal let her in the house, and the cat was pregnant, so she ran into the closet and had her kittens. My dad let us keep her after that.


Her cat is missing today. Please pray that the cat returns. I am thinking of you Crystal! Happy Birthday, I love you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Change of Plans


Today I had a million things I wanted to accomplish during Bryce's naptime, so of course it was shorter than normal. :-) When I heard him crying, my first response was frustration that I would not finish my projects. Then I was able to take a step back and decide that I was going to make the most of it. I keep thinking about finding more joy in each moment, and not being so stuck on "my" plan.
The weather was beautiful, a little chilly, so I scooped Bryce out of bed, threw a jacket on him, made Emily change out of her princess nightgown for warmer clothes, and we headed to our local park. We picked up a few friends on the way. It was so much fun! I even had Dallin dropped off there after school so that he could play for a while. I don't always make the best Mommy decisions, but this is one I am glad I made.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Biggest Loser...

...wasn't on tonight! I was so bummed because the basketball game was on instead. That's all I have to say today. Too many things going on in my head right now to get any down on paper. Have a good night everyone! Hopefully NBC will have Biggest Loser on their website soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's hard.

That's all I can say about this month. I knew it would be tough for me but I didn't realize just how much I would think about my dad. In the past year, there has not been a day gone by that I didn't think of him, and I am grateful for that. I hope I never lose that. I want him to always be a part of me and remind me who I want to be. My kids mention him almost every day, especially Emily. My organizing project for today and the next couple of days is to finish my 2005 family digital album. This is the year he was diagnosed with cancer. This is the year my world was turned upside down. This was the year we really focused on family, making as many memories as we can and pulling together as a team. This year holds many amazing pictures but they each pull at my heart strings. How do you capture it so that you never forget? That is what I want to do.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Putting down roots

We have lived in our little town for almost 8 years. We feel so blessed to be here. We love the tree-lined streets, close knit community and especially our neighbors. Without family close, we really depend on our friends and neighbors to help us out, and we try to do the same for them. When we moved into our house, our plan was to live here 7-10 years. It has definitely served us well. I love how open the floor plan is, and over the years we have tried to move things around to fit our needs. The only thing that I have never liked about the house is the yard. It is teeny tiny and there is no where for our kids to run around. On the other hand, just out the front door is a great semi cul-de-sac for riding bikes. It has been wonderful! So, we are in the process of deciding what the next step is. I have never felt I needed a HUGE house (I can barely clean the one I have!), but I would like to find a house that fits our needs a little better, especially for the boat and my kids to have space to be kids.

So, tell me what you love about your house, neighborhood, etc? What would you do differently?

Edited to add: I forgot my new section! Jeff and I went through our closets today and got rid of anything we hadn't worn in a year- woo hoo!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happiness is...

getting beat by your 6 year old at checkers! Dallin has always loved to play games. He usually goes in spurts and will want to play the same game over and over again. You would think this would get old, but I have truly enjoyed it over the years. As a 4 year old, it amazed me that he could understand counting and game play enough to beat me at Sorry. (Sometimes the winning card "magically" appeared on the top of the deck.) As a 5 year old, I loved the excitement that Uno brought with its faster pace and quick decision making. As a 6 year old he has many games that he cycles through. Ticket to Ride is a game we learned with friends and fell in love with, and I was surprised at how quickly Dallin caught on. He started learning names of cities and loved calculating his score as he went. It really improved his math skills and strategy. He also likes Battleship, Chess and Checkers. He has even suckered me into playing Pokemon cards, and I have to admit, I love his sound effects! He was taught Backgammon by Jeff and taught me the other day. I think playing games is one of the best ways to learn new skills. I was very humbled today when Dallin beat me in about 5 minutes, and I really was TRYING to play. I don't know if I should be proud of him or embarrassed by my lack of skills. We ended the night by playing Sorry with Emily. The cycle begins with her. She may not enjoy games as much as Dallin but I look forward to the one-on-one time it will give me with her. As the kids get older I look forward to many game nights as a family. Can't wait to teach Dallin Settlers of Catan!

How about the rest of you? Do you play games with your kids? Are they better than you?

New section on my blog: To encourage me to blog earlier and get a project done, I am going to list my "assignment" for the night at the end of each blog. Then I will edit it with whether or not I accomplished it. You don't have to comment on this, it is just for my accountability.

Today's project/cleaning: Church bags cleaned out and ready for church/downstairs picked up.

Edited to add: Church bags are ready and downstairs is clean. So, my question is, what do you have in your church bag?

Friday, November 14, 2008

I cried during Yoga

Sometimes things touch me at the strangest moments. I guess I should expect it in a class where you are encouraged to get in touch with your "center." However, if you know me at all, you know it is tough for me to truly get into a "zone" where my thoughts aren't going all over the place. I have tried Yoga a few times and never been able to truly let go and concentrate. Today was different and I needed it.

I had a perfect plan. I was taking the kids to Child Watch so that I could go to Yoga, and then Jeff would meet us after work and we would all go swimming. Well, first of all, I couldn't find my car key, and my kind neighbor let me drive her van to the Y. (Crazy girl, doesn't she know I am a terrible driver, ha ha?!) It was very kind of her, and it is only a mile away! So, I was running a few minutes late. No big deal. So then we get into Child Watch and Emily does her mad dash to the bathroom. I get there just in time to watch her pee all over the floor. I tried to stay calm. I had to make a decision. I even said out loud, "I don't know what to do about this Emily." Finally I decided that we wouldn't go swimming. She was not too happy about that. So, of course she went to Child Watch kicking and screaming. By the time I got out of there, I was very flustered. I called Jeff to let him know the update and he could tell I was irritated. I told him I might not go to Yoga. He said not to let it get to me and to go to class. By now I am 30 minutes late.

It took me a few minutes to calm down, but then all of a sudden it all went away. I was able to relax and enjoy the movements and the calmness of the instructor's voice. I felt uplifted and soothed. At the end as I was laying there with my eyes closed, there were a few phrases that really struck me and my emotions took over.

"Let go of all the negativity. It is not worth it. Feel the weight of it being lifted off."
"Take time for quiet moments."

I was very grateful that I stayed for the class. I felt renewed and ready to face the next thing. Unfortunately, the next thing happened as I walked out of class. When I saw Dallin he actually started complaining that we hadn't been there long enough and was really upset. So, I will admit I lost my cool a little.

I need practice, okay. "Let go of all the negativity." I will keep telling myself that. I really want to be able to give my full self to my kids. That is what they deserve.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daily Joys of being a Mom

I was reminded today by a good friend of the importance of putting our children first and enjoying the moments with them. It is such a short time when they are little kids and I want to cherish it. My focus lately has been to get my life in order such that I don't get overwhelmed as easily so that I CAN enjoy the moments a little more.
One of the many reasons I am grateful to be a stay-at-home mom is to enjoy moments such as these:
I love watching my children play and learn as they play. I love watching what they will decide to do when the choice is theirs. We went to OMSI with Emily's co-op preschool.
While she jumped from sand to water to flubber to paining to the balls, I watched her look of sheer pleasure as she flitted from one thing to another at her own pace.
Meanwhile Bryce played with her a little, but mostly he just hung out on my lap, which was delightful. It was nice not to chase him and of course I didn't have any dishes to load or messes to clean up. :-) I know he would have had much more fun if he wasn't so tired, but it was wonderful for me! We also happened to be there at the same time as another co-op from our circle of friends. It was a fantastic coincidence, as one of my other favorite things is sharing motherhood with great friends. (I took a cute picture of Heather, Molly, and Sarah getting to enjoy a nice chat while kids were busy playing, but unfortunately it didn't come out! )

Then when we came home, Bryce took a great nap, Emily played with a friend and I was able to start thinking about my organizing plan. When Dallin got home they all played very nicely together. In the midst of yuckiness around us (weather and society), I am grateful for days like today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ready for good habits...

It is almost 10pm and I am going to bed. This is a huge deal for me. I have noticed my energy level way down the last few days and I need to do something about it.

I was excited to get my organizing book in the mail today. (For those of you I bought copies for, I will drop them off tomorrow!) So, my hope is that I will wake up to many words of wisdom in the form of your comments to get me motivated to start my organizing plan!

Thanks for all your comments during NaBloPoMo- it has been fun to see what you have to say. Keep the great ideas coming!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The other "baby" in our family

The day we put away the boat for the winter is always a sad day for me. This summer we weren't able to get out on the boat as much as I like because gas was $4/gallon! (Too bad it's not warm right now-gas is cheap!) I do have to give props to Jeff for being able to pull off the parking job it takes to get the boat in our garage. :-)

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at our journey with our "baby". I hope you will enjoy this with me. Edited to add: This ended up being way longer than I had anticipated. I will be amazed if anyone makes it through this. Just enjoy the pictures!

I did not grow up with a boat, but I remember the first time I went on a boat to earn a girls scout boating badge. I loved the feel of the wind through my hair. I felt at peace in nature and loved the crisp air. It was a freedom I had never felt before. I loved every minute! (I was probably 9 or 10.) The next time I went on a boat with with my best friend in elementary school, Michelle. She took me to Lake Havasu a few times and again I just loved being on the boat. We never had a chance to waterski because it was always too windy. My best friend through junior high and high school, Val, also had a boat. (Notice a trend...) She took me to Lake Mead and taught me to waterski. That was when I found my favorite sport. I wasn't great at team sports, so I loved that waterskiing was individual and it was all up to me. It didn't matter if I messed up. (Maybe this is why I love running too!)I started off on double skis and by the end of the week I was begging to learn to slalom like the cool skiiers. They did teach me, and it was tough but eventually I got up on one ski- woo hoo. This was when I was 16. Over the next 3 years I would ski off and on, and I loved it every time I did, although I felt like I had to keep relearning because I skied so rarely!

When Jeff and I met, our first real conversation turned to boating and waterskiing. He had grown up with a boat and absolutely LOVED waterskiing. (He is also amazing to watch!)
We both said that someday we wanted a boat for our family. (Not knowing then that we would be getting married, of course!)
When we moved to Oregon, the first couple that we met mentioned that they had a boat. Jeff and I both looked at each other, and knew we had met the right friends. They needed a flag holder so they called us and we went skiing almost every week that first summer. They showed us a dock that was only 5 miles from our house and the most perfect skiing river. It is almost always calm. I happened to get pregnant early in that summer, so mostly I watched Jeff ski. The summer after that was awesome! We again skied often, and Dallin LOVED the boat as a baby.
He would fall asleep on the boat. It was really cute. Our friends, unfortunately ended up getting divorced (so sad), and we didn't have a boat to ride on anymore. We were struggling a little bit because with kids, pregnancy, etc we weren't being as active together. No running, roller blading, etc. We needed something we could do together and include kids.

Right before Emily was born in August of 2004, we went on a family boating trip with Jeff's family. Dallin LOVED the boat and kept saying, Go faster, Dad! The weekend we came home we started looking again. We never thought we would be able to agree on a boat. Jeff wanted a fancy schmancy new boat, and I wanted a boat we could pay cash for. He didn't think we would find one that was in good shape. (Oh, and it had to fit in our garage!) Luckily, we found the perfect boat! It was a used boat, but only a few years old and it was in pristine condition. We bought it a few days later. I was 8 months pregnant so I was the flag holder for the first few months. After I had Emily, I wanted a chance to ski on MY boat after watching everyone else. Emily was born via C-section on Oct. 5th. I tried to talk my Dr. into letting me ski at 2 weeks postpartum because it was awesome weather, and he said no way! He finally agreed on November 5th. It was cold, my good friend Amy came with us, and it took me about 15 tries to get up. I only skied about 30 seconds and I was done! I was not a pretty sight in my wet suit, but I did it! The next summer was much better skiing.
So, we have had the boat for 4 years now. We have been through a lot with it. We have had some great years when we got a lot of boating in, and we have had years with hardly any. We have taken it camping a few times, but mostly we drive 15 minutes to the dock, leaving after Jeff gets off work and ski until dark. The kids have LOVED the boat, as babies and also as they get older. I love watching kids' faces on the boat, especially kids who have never been on one. It is priceless.

It is our family time together and we all enjoy it so much. We also love sharing our passion with our friends. It gets tougher to do as our families get larger. :-) My goal is to get out once a week in the summer, but it doesn't always work out that way. Part of the problem is that even though many people say they want to come on the boat, they aren't always ready to come last minute, and that is just how it works. If the weather is nice (or even a little overcast which makes the river less crowded!) I will just call Jeff and say let's go! Jeff and I also have different views on how many people to invite. I say the more the merrier, and he says there isn't enough daylight for that! Turns out he is right.
So, the plan is to take one family at a time. (Or 3 couples without any of us bringing kids!) I am turning to my blogging buddies to let me know if they would like to come with us. Throughout the year people mention that they would be interested, but honestly I always forget who. So, this winter I am starting a place to keep track of families who want to come with us. Your job is to let me know, and then next year, remind me that I made a list. :-) We LOVE bringing people with us. In my perfect world, someone would call ME and say, hey, let's go out on your boat tonight. Give it a try!

Okay, I can't believe how long this is. It was really fun to look through the pictures and remember all the good times we have had. I feel really blessed that we were able to buy something that all of us enjoy.

Still to come: Our boating mishaps...(It hasn't all been roses!)


Here are pics of each of the kids as babies on the boat:

We have also enjoyed taking the girls from church. It is fun to watch them learn and they are very helpful with the kids.