Writing an album

All of my boys love to listen to music, dance to music, play or attempt to play music. Recently, Ansel has taken to writing his own songs via Garage Band with assistance from me. We listen to beats and put them together then play them back and make needed tweaks. Once a song is finished, Ansel names it and we import it to iTunes where we add it to our music library.  It’s fun to see him understand what it means to be an “artist” and how an album comes about. He’s also learning what it means to be famous and how that can affect one’s life. The other day he said to me, “Mom, perhaps (he uses this word a lot lately) I want to write music but don’t want to be famous. I want to walk around without being bothered.” Sounds good to me!

Oliver helped make a CD “case” and Ansel did the writing and created the paper grid artwork. 

The Flying Stars album is a work in progress, but it’s showing great promise. 

His song titles are the best! Don’t Down was his first track and it includes vocals from him and Ian. Oxelmation shows true originality and has some amazing club beats. The songs that follow are similar with some instrumentals from Ansel mixed in. The whole album is expected to be dynamic and surprising, experimental and refined. I told him musicians can take a year plus to complete an album to which he responded, “I definitely won’t take that long.”The expected release date is January 2019. 

This musician is a busy guy!


Hills and mountains

The still air of those lazy, hazy days of summer has been kicked up by a wonderful breeze that’s been moving the air for a few days. With that breeze, we’ve taken to the hills and mountains around our home. 

Playing in a dry riverbed always soothes the souls after a long week. Oliver was Mr. T as he picked up this massive log. 

Ansel loves to mountain bike in the hills close to home. He calls it the “close hike” and we walk here often. 

Ian enjoys a good walk too. Here he was the king of trees standing tall on a stump. Look at that face!

Ages 9, 5, and 2; and great company. 


Back to school baby!

I can’t believe this boy is in 4th grade! Or maybe it really is that I believe it,  but I don’t want it to be so. Kids grow so fast I tell ya. He is such a great kid and I love seeing him grow (even if I tell him to stop!). 

This guy needs to stop growing too. He’s off to Kindergarten and so ready to be in school (he was counting down the minutes)! He is a great kid and I just love what his 5-year-old self comes up on a daily basis. 

Then there’s this kid who just celebrated becoming two! I’ll say it again, stop growing. He’s using full sentences and every week he’s got some new skill to show off. “Hold you” is still a common phrase however, and I love it! He’s 20% in height and 8% in weight, yet he eats whole avocados and can’t stop with the string cheese. 

I live with four of my favorite people and that’s the best. 


A visit to Oregon

Ever since my parents went to Oregon for a friend’s graduation from Lewis & Clark, I’ve wanted to visit Oregon. When they came back from their trip, my mom spoke of beautiful pine forests and green everywhere. I was nine then, so yes, Oregon has been on the visit list for quite some time.

My little family and I were able to head that way right before school started and it was a wonderful trip. Still, it started off with a bit of a hitch. I forgot my phone. Then, after Jess dropped me off and was on his way to long term parking, a large screw found it’s way into his tire. As he parked he could hear the thwap, thwap, thwap and showed up to security somewhat frustrated and exclaimed sarcastically that the trip was off to a good start.  

This however was the last of our difficulties and we had such a great time. We were upgraded to a mini van and my kids were amazed by how much space there was! We hit the ground running and went to Multnomah Falls. Wow! 

We skipped rocks on the river.

Then we decided to drive along the old highway and found another awesome waterfall. In the photo below can you spot Jess with the boys? The waterfall was huge! And the natural basalt formations behind the falls, they were hexagonal in shape and so cool. 

Ollie wanted a optical illusion photo. He was thirsty!

The next day we ventured to the beach. Cannon beach and Haystack Rock did not disappoint. 

We saw starfish and sea anemone.

We also saw lots of cool birds including the Tufted Puffin. Jess played with the boys in the chilly water. They ran from the waves and had a great time. 

We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Ian, being the cheese loving boy that he is, totally loved sampling the cheese. We bought ice cream here too and the large bunch of napkins in my hands should give you a clue of how messy it was with the kids. That was my third bunch of napkins. Still, worth it. 

The next day we headed to Rockaway Beach. Lots of kite flying here and wave chasing. 

Ian got soaked and was loving that Dad was with us 24/7. 

After stopping there we went berry picking. We were there at the end of blueberry season, the peak of blackberry season, and the beginning of raspberry season. We picked many of each. 

Ian ate most of what he and Jess picked. Look at that berry mouth!

Jess and Ollie were the master pickers. These blackberries were huge and delicious. 

The next day we visited an awesome Japanese garden in Portland. It was beautiful and we tried channeling the zen, even when our kids were not as peaceful as many people would have liked. 

We stopped at the temple. The visitors center had some cool activities for the kids.

That evening we were able to visit with some good friends who live near Portland. The kids loved playing and Jess and I loved chatting. We went back the next evening and my kids were so excited. Their hospitality went above and beyond. 

Our last stop was at the OMSI, the Oregon Museum if Science and Innovation. We were there for three hours and could have stayed for three more. 

It was a great trip! 

And since we had had so much time to prep mentally for fixing a flat tire when we got to the airport, that went pretty smoothly too. The kids were troopers. 

That same day Jess got new tires and I got my battery replaced (it had died the day before). We were so proud of our efficiency. And we were ready to go back to work and school the next day. 

And might I just add that not having a phone for five days was a-okay.


Thank you museums

First, a big thank you to the Leonardo for allowing us through their illusion exhibit these laugh-out-loud photos! 

This museum is a treat and has a lot of good stuff for kiddos. We specifically liked the illusion section and the airplane area. Using a green screen was a real treat. Plus, it wasn’t too busy and that’s a double thumbs up!
We love the Discovery Gateway Museum too. I always love going downtown. The parking is easy and the exhibits keep the kids interested. From what I can tell, they remain the same from year to year. 

The Curiosity Museum is great too! Ian could not get enough of the Waterworks area. By the way, that waterproof vest did nothing to keep him dry. I guess that size was for the big kids. Ha!

That poor place is so busy and is constantly used and abused. I always leave realizing they’ve had to take something out and replace it with something simpler (or nothing at all) because kids have used the heck out of it. I guess that’s a testament to how fun and creative it is. 

The Dinosaur Museum in the same spot is cool as well. Never as crowded and never gets old. They have one room with a rotating exhibit and I think they do a good job with the material presented. 

The Aquarium is a hit. We had a season pass for a couple of years and I thought we were done. But the kids wanted to go this summer and it was good to be back. They keep adding new stuff and the baby penguin was fun to see. Plus the shark tube is no longer filled to the gills and one can actually take a decent photo. 

The Tracy Aviary is always cool and the bird show is a must see. It is exceptionally big even though it seems like it’s in this small space within Liberty Park. 

We’ve enjoyed these fun places, only one of which was around when I was a kid (the Aviary). It’s crazy how much this area is growing. And I don’t know how this post became my poor commentary on the museums we’ve visited this summer.  Needless to say, we’ve had a good time visiting these spots. 


Fourteen years!

Man, am I glad I met this guy several years ago! We were freshmen in college, trying our best to be confident, cool, and look like we didn’t care too much about anything even though we cared about most everything. When I met Jess, after a few outings, it just clicked. He was so easy to talk to, so funny, so cool without being full of himself. We had lots of fun and we both thought we were hilarious. 

All these years later and we still have fun and think we are hilarious. 


Babies, children, friends

Last week a friend of mine shared with me that she was expecting a baby girl! I was so excited for her as she has been wanting to have a fourth after her three boys. All this had me thinking about babies and how wonderful they are. The best! Then they turn into bona fide kids who can think and reason and see the wonder in the world. All the while, you get to be there. You get to be a part of their life and the magic of it all. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my kids and how they are happy and how I never want them not to be happy. It gives me all kinds of things to worry about. But Jess said something to me the other day and it’s stuck. 
Your kids look to you for happiness. If you’re worried, they’ll worry. If you’re loving and have confidence, they’ll know they can turn to you for love and security.

And since all this talk started with babies, here’s a pic of Ian at 5 weeks. The best!


More of what they say

Ian: Penny Lane is in my ears and in my nose!

Ansel: Mom, I’m going to buy a Ferrari when my kids are dads. 

Oliver: Don’t forget to lock the doors, two front and two back!

The stuff these guys come up with on a regular basis is gold!


July 4th, you are a fave

Last year I realized I absolutely love Independence Day. This year, that love was confirmed. It was especially good this year because family from both sides were in town visiting. 

Jess’s parents had a wonderful get together at their home. Their new backyard is amazing and we were able to enjoy it. Grandpa filled up the pool and the kids had the time of their lives getting all adults wet, most specifically Jess. Even Ian learned how to use the water shooters. The one above was bigger than him!

The little cousins got caught in the crossfire of Oliver and Ansel’s water battle! They were very patient though. 

Jess threw balloons for the kids to try to kick with their feet while on the swing set. It was tough!

That evening we finished off the day at my brother’s home. We found out that no fireworks were allowed on their street. Big bummer! Luckily, Grandma and Grandpa brought glow sticks and the kids went to town. 

Later in the week, we went up to the cabin and did some go-karting with my sister’s fam. 

Gramps tuned up the machines before we got going. 

Ian liked the ride. 

And once Oliver got the hang of it, he was taking all the cousins and his brother for rides. He said to me later, “You know what’s great about go-karts, mom? I don’t have to wait until I’m 16 to drive.” Needless to say, Ansel is eager to grow a few inches so he can drive soon :)

We went swimming too. Oliver and Jess had fun on the diving board. 

Jess did a swan dive that he learned all those years ago during his life guarding days. 

Ansel, Ian and I enjoyed snacks as we watched. It was a wonderful way to end a week of celebrating the 4th!