Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A recap of Colorado

We had such a great time with friends while in Colorado!  Here are some pics to show all of our fun…..


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Getting ready to be boys  & shoot guns

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here are our sweet girls

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Such a sweet little boy

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Our gracious host with her sweet son

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Our hero Brian – taught the boys to shoot pain ball guns!

They had the best time – the love Brian!!

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Time for S’Mores!!  Do they look happy or what?

home april 2010 028 home april 2010 019 home april 2010 022 home april 2010 023 Hoping to have more pics next month with our same sweet friends!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

catching up

That is me this past week…. catching up!!  Boy, I am worn out!

I admit, when I arrived home, my house was clean.  But then we unpacked car, then the suitcases, then the boxes, and then…. well you get the idea.  So it has taken me about 6 days to rotate spring clothes for all the kids and myself, to reorganize my school room (getting ready to hang a big chalk board my wonderful friend blessed me with) and to get everything else into it’s place.

It is so good to be in our own beds, with our own clothes, in our own bathrooms!  The house is quiet at night – without my mom and Louie to catch up with.  But I can get back to some sewing projects and a few other things I am working on.

Our sweet little girl came home to a new table and chairs in her room – for tea parties and such.  So I have been busy sewing her some felt food too this week.  When she was playing Tuesday with her brothers, I told her to go get some fake food from the toy area – she returned with blocks.  I then realized the child needed some “real” fake food!  So that is coming along (pics to come soon).

I have my lovely “new” tea set in our living room on my hope chest and I love it there – see it many times a day and am reminded of the hope I have in God – just so thankful for the relationship he has blessed me with between my mom and me.  That tea set reminds me of her prayers and commitment to me over many years and her hope!  So cool!

This week is a busy one – another Birthday tomorrow!  Little E is turn 6 – well, not so little I suppose!!  Then we are going to spend some time in Fort worth with grandparents – then Wednesday with a friend new to homeschooling – we are going to talk shop : ie school!!  Can’t wait for that! 

The best though may be Thursday when my same sweet friend (the one who gifted the chalk board to me) is taking my kids for the day!!  Oh my!! Robert and I will get to have a date afternoon – maybe lunch and a movie!!  We so need this – between my being gone, he as worked 21 days straight as of today!  And the hours are long!!  So we need some time without the kids to just be together!!  So yeah for Thursday!!

I will get some pics this week of my felt food, my new trinkets around the house and maybe my new school room!  Hopefully we will catch some blue bonnet pics too!!  We will see!

And finally I want to say hello to my “lurking” uncles out there!  So thrilled to be reconnecting with everyone – hope to be able to get in touch with you both one of these days!  Thank you so much for your encouragement for mom – you have really made her happy checking on me and supporting her!  So, welcome John and Kelly, I hope you enjoy following along with our brood as we navigate the path of life!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


from the porch

A view from my mom’s porch

Traditions have always been near and dear to my heart.  Not sure why, or well, I was never sure why.  I thought is was because I was raised in a home where traditions were not emphasized as being important.  So in 2002, when I spend 9 months living in Michigan attending MOPS, I learned that traditions can be what you want them to be.  You can define what things you want to teach you children, what things you want to pass on.   You can choose from your family traditions and your husband’s to decide which you want to have with your own children.

So I spent a lot of time looking at all sorts of family traditions that others used.  I wanted our family traditions to be centered around our faith.  I wanted them to be more than just something we “do” because we always did.  I wanted them to have depth.  Fun would be good too, I want them to be things that we enjoy – but really wanted to choose ones with meaning.

So for the past nine years or so we have established a number of traditions with our kids, some things from the Cole family, some from other sources, and a few from my childhood.

But this trip to Oregon has given me a new perspective on traditions.  My mom has opened the cedar chest and brought out item after item that her mother or grandmother made.  She found a box of my baby clothes, a very old christening gown, baby shoes, and the list goes on.  It has shown me that my desire for family events to imitate a Norman Rockwell painting was more deeply rooted than I realized. 

My mom values tradition as much as I do.  She cherishes things made by relatives and passed along.  She holds on to items that have sentimental meaning to her.    I obviously had this passion for traditions planted in my heart a long time ago.  Between my mom, my first 5 years of life and God’s design of my heart, I was wired for this time of redemption with my mom.  Seeing things come full circle with her has just been so precious!

One of the neatest items I will be taking home is a Silver Tea Set.  It is a tea pot, coffee pot, sugar bowl, creamer and even a small tea bag holder – that my Grandmother and Grandfather bought on their honeymoon. 

new (old) tea set

Tea has become a very special thing in our family.  As a family we love to have tea time, and now we have a sentimental set to enjoy with our tea!  I am so excited!   We got it out yesterday and I polished it up and have it ready to pack up for the trip back.  But the fun part was watching AG play with it most of the afternoon yesterday!  It was just great to see her sit and play pretend tea party with this precious set, but also  knowing she could not hurt any anything!  I cannot wait to see how much we use it in our home in Texas!!

My mom also found some items my grandmother made – my dad’s mom.  She was a very special woman.  She was like a mom to my mom for many years.  She died when I was a little girl, but I still remember her.  So she has held on to these items for over 30 years – and now they will be mine!  I am just thrilled!

Here are pics of our birthday celebration for our 4 year old!  It was a fun (second celebration) for our little girl!  We sure loved all the Dora items that came in from Michigan! 


b-day girl

eating cupcakes

Here are some pics of our Saturday activities!  We bought several flats of flowers on Friday night and spent several hours of the day on Saturday planting them. 

Many hands make light work!!

planting plants

many hands

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oregon Tulip Festival

muddy girlToday we had such a fun day!  We decided since there was not rain expected that we would trek out to the Tulip Festival.  We forgot our rain boots, because, despite the clear weather there was mud everywhere from the past weeks of rain.

So we gingerly traipsed through the tulip fields and were just awe struck by all the flowers, all the colors, and how amazing it was to look at tulips in front of a snow covered mountain range.

tulips and cloudshappy kids in front of tulips

  We then each picked out our favorite tulip for my mom to order bulbs to plant in her flower garden this fall.  So fun!

happy kids in front of tulips

AG in multi tulips 

Next we trekked over to the Stash Tea outlet store.  At first I was not sure this was a good deal.  But when we found 10 packs of tea at $1 or $2 each we decided to pick up a few flavors.  Before we left the store we had over 20 flavors I think.

The kids picked out their flavor:

A : Pumpkin

E : Carmel Vanilla

P: Coconut Mango (OOlong)

J : Cinnamon Vanilla

I picked out Blueberry, star fruit, fusion honey ginseng & white tea, mango passion fruit, lemon ginger, lemon blossom, cranberry pomegranate, peppermint, raspberry and an assorted Christmas set.  So for our afternoon tea time we each picked out a flavor and enjoyed.  It was so fun to sample all these flavors, the kids loved it as much as I did!

Then I showed my mom  what Betsy taught me – how to make Vietnamese spring rolls.  It was so much fun!  She and Louie loved them!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Goodbye Cannon Beach

the family at the beachIt had to happen.  We had to say goodbye.  Goodbye Cannon Beach first, then off to Portland for lunch – then another goodbye – Robert this time.  He is flying right now back to Dallas to get back to work tomorrow. 

We made our lunch stop at another Diner Drive In, and Dive – in Portland – the Blue Plate

It was great!  We enjoyed the daily Chicken Parm special, several Slider plates and even a grilled cheese and tomato soup.  We had to try a few soda shop favorites too – I had a Chai Bomb (float) two kids had a Hawaiin float and the other two shared a Huckleberry Milkshake.  Another great stop.

So here we are for a couple final beach pics – thankfully it was not raining!

robert and janelle by haystackdad and kids before we leave

goodbye beach 

Had a good drive back to Dundee and we even had a bit of a surprise waiting for us!!

young deer in yardStill enjoying our Oregon Spring Trip!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter in Oregon

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This has been a memorable Easter.  Spending the day on the Oregon coast was such a treat!  We were blessed by a friend of my mom’s (fellow church-member) who offers up their beach house to other church members.  My mom made arrangements for us to be able to come out here this weekend while Robert was in the state!

I have never been to Oregon, the OR beach, or really the West Coast.  So spending the day here was a treat.  Despite the cold temps (40’s) and the rain (most of the day) we have thoroughly enjoyed some time on the beach, checking out tide pools, and racing the waves!

We did not make it to church, but since I kind of knew that was not going to happen the boys and I have been talking about what it all means.  What this weekend stands for.  Not the Easter Bunny, not a basket of candy, not pretty dresses and handsome boys.  But it is all about Jesus.  All about the empty tomb.  So while we did not step into a church, we still talked about all this weekend means in our family and to everyone else.  So in our own way we celebrated our Savoir who has risen and lives!!

This is a special Easter too as I spend this past and next week with my mom and just delight in how God has redeemed our relationship after so long!!  We feel blessed to have this new opportunity with one another!

me and mom by water

We have trekked down to the beach many times today – sometimes in the sun, sometimes not, but here is what we saw…

beach rocks and water


haystack at lower tide 

JP with grandparents

robert and boys racing tide

the sun and the beach

We did trek out to the Tillamook Cheese Factory too – we watched them make cheese (even on Easter!) we sampled lots of cheese and then we finished the trip off with lots of ice cream!  And it was great ice cream too!!

Last night we celebrated AG’s birthday  a little early with a Popcorn Cake (made by Louie) and some great Dora paper products (from Grammie) and lots of singing!!  She is sure she is 4 even though it is not official until next weekend!  She is thrilled to be the center of attention!


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Last week we made it out to the Air Museum near Dundee – and we had a blast looking at tons of airplanes and learning lots about them!  We even went inside the Spruce Goose – that was one of our favorite parts!!


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Before this trip we made it out to the Gorge – where the Columbia River borders Oregon and Washington.  We had so much fun that day that we all slept in a bit!!  We made it into Washington across a bit of a scary bridge.  We hiked up near a waterfall (and we were hailed on) we held a bear skull, a bobcat skin and various antlers! 

The kids have learned so much fun stuff, and they are loving it.  We are not spending too much time doing school, but we are still learning lots! 

We have had so much fun with my mom and Louie – Louie has taught P and E chess and given J quite a refresher – so we almost always have a chess game going whether Louie is playing with a boy or the boys are playing each other.  It is great to see them all learning and enjoying such a great game!

We are having a fabulous visit – especially with Robert here – of course he flies out tomorrow – after a stop at another Diner, Drive-in and Dive (we hope) and maybe a quick sight-seeing trip!

We did get one stop in already at Bunk Sandwiches in Portland


We took the gang into this tiny place – we waited about 30 minutes to get in, then waited for a table while waiting for our food, but…..it was so worth it!  We all ordered something different and we all seemed thrilled with our orders.  The kids were great and they enjoyed it too!  Robert got the pork belly cuban, my mom the Ahi Tuna Melt (I think) Louie had pulled pork and I had a poblano pepper sandwich.  The kids had grilled cheese (Tillamook cheese) and soup – the soup was wonderful too!!

Anyway, that about sums up our last few days.  We have enjoyed our travels and we look forward to this week and then getting ready to head back to TX via Colorado and more friends!!  I love road-schooling!!  And seeing family & friends – too bad Robert must work!


More Pics are HERE.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hanging out in Oregon

We are having so much fun!!  Today we trekked up past Portland to Hood River – the Gorge – and we had a blast!  We saw 3 water falls – even hiked up near one.  It hailed on us while we were hiking too!!  So fun!

1st waterfall smiling

We saw a fish hatchery here in OR too and we even had a tour of the power plant part of the dam.  It was great!  The kids learned some good stuff and we saw some great stuff!

me with j and e

(P took this one)

We took a crazy bridge across to Washington and even took some pics over there. 

It was a great day –t he pics to show you are HERE   - the weather was just perfect too!


me and kids at overlook 2

Tomorrow we are going to hang around the Dundee area – and do some fun stuff here before we head out to the coast for Easter Weekend!!  Robert arrives on Saturday, we have a cheese factory tour on tap, maybe an aquarium and lots of beach walking!!


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