Thursday, July 27, 2017

The bombs bursting in air!

4th of July in Oregon

You've done it again, Oregon. Making me fall deeper and deeper in love. 

I told Cameron and my Aunt Debbie that my favorite 4th of July I have ever spent was the 4th of July we spent at the Griffith family reunion in Oregon when I was a teenager. Cameron was a TEENY bit sad that my favorite 4th of July wasn't one that I spent with him....sorry husband. But, good news! This one is my new favorite 4th of July! Woop woop! 

We started off with a lazy morning. After attending the stake flag raising and getting my dose of patriotism in the morning we hung out around the house and relaxed. Cameron and Nathan went to the garden and worked with Debbie and Gary and I watched Downton Abbey with Penny and painted our toenails. It was my first time painting Penny's toes and it made all my mama dreams come true. (she hated it, but, whatev)

After nap time we went to Gary's son Jonathan's house. Cameron and I really enjoy spending time with him and his wife, Mandy, and their three cute girls.

Jonathan and Cameron played against Mandy and I in a beanbag it Cornhole? I'm not sure, but it was fun. Mandy was super good (which I knew she would be because she is sporty) and guess what?! I didn't suck! Like, the guys only beat us by a couple points! Sometimes I surprise even myself.

We ate yummy BBQ, did sparklers and small fireworks, and enjoyed the gorgeous mild Oregon summer weather. It was perfect.

Why is it so hard to get a good picture of 4 people? Or 2 kids?

Oh well, I still love my beautiful family, even if we can't take a good picture to save our lives.

After the party at J and M's house I took Penny home and gave her a bath, nursed her, and put her to bed. Around 9 pm I met up with Cameron and Nathan who were with Debbie, Ross, and Brendan and Jessica's family at the church.
Our church building here in Sandy is right behind the old Sandy High School, where they set off a huge fireworks show. So, lucky for us, we got to just go to the church where there was plenty of parking, no crowds, no drunk people, and a comfortable and safe place to wait for the fireworks.

It was a perfect day all around. I am so grateful for this beautiful place I have to live, this land that I love, and wonderful family and friends to enjoy it with. God bless America!

Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, SNOOOOW!


One Sunday afternoon in April Cameron decided that we needed to take a drive up Mount Hood and look at the snow that was still covering the mountain. On the 45 minute drive up I got super carsick and the kids both fell asleep. Poor Cameron had 3 cranky babies on his hands by the time we got to the snow park. The kids hated the cold wind and wouldn't touch the snow. So we snapped a few pictures and got back in the car and went home.

Nathan and Penny's faces are like, "seriously you guys?"
Every 5 weeks when Cameron would be starting a new class at coding school he would get a Friday off. So, we obviously didn't learn our lesson the first time we took our California kids to the snow and took them again a few weeks later in May.

Because school was still in, and the snow was already patchy in areas, we were the ONLY ones at the park sledding. There were a few people we saw in the parking lot looking at the view of Mt. Hood, but that's as far as anyone else went.

We had to walk about 1/2 mile to get to any hills, so we pulled the kids on the sleds on the way there.

It only took one sled ride down the hill to 100% convert Nathan to the snow-

Penny was less impressed.

After I took Penny on a large but not steep hill and we ended up falling off into the snow (she was on top of me and didn't even touch the snow) she decided she was done.

So we took a little snack break (her on my lap so she didn't have to touch the cold snow AT ALL)

Sledding was SO FUN! It's been so long since I have been, and it was a blast seeing how much fun Nathan had doing it.

Here are the kiddos with Mt. Hood in the background:

On the way back down Penny fell asleep on her sled.

When we got back home we snuggled in bed and watched a movie.

As you can see, Penny was much more impressed with this family activity ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Penny Girl's First Birthday

Penny Girl is 1

Cameron often accuses me of going overboard. I know, those who know me well are thinking, "Overboard? Whaa?"in absolute shock. Just kidding. Maybe he's a teeny bit right. I come by it naturally, though. My mom is the queen of making huge efforts to make things special. So to me, that's just the way things are supposed to be.
With my natural inclination to over-do things it was SUPER DUPER hard for me to let our sweet Penny girl's birthday go by without any type of fuss. But because we are currently mooching off my Aunt Debbie ;), have non income, and Cameron spends what feels like every waking hour at school or on homework, I knew I wasn't working with much.  

I had to do SOMETHING to commemorate this very special day, so I did what I could. 

When I went into her room in the morning I sang Happy Birthday to You and she fell back onto her mattress like I was exhausting her already. Haha. 

I made waffles with sprinkles, which less than impressed her. She would have been much happier with her normal scrambled eggs, but oh well.

She humored me.  

After breakfast we headed into Portland and went to the Children's Museum with my friend Kristi and her two boys. I know that Penny didn't know it was her birthday, but it was nice to go and do something extra special for her birthday anyway. Nathan and I knew it was her birthday, after all!

We had an AWESOME day!

Penny especially liked the water room. I'm grateful she didn't get any weird sickness from all of the sips of water she snuck when she thought I wasn't watching. Gross.

Penny was so sweet playing independently in all of the sections. It was like she knew it was her birthday and she decided to officially be a big girl because she is now a 1-year-old.

After dinner we did cupcakes and Penny's smash cake, which she ate almost none of. She loved being sung to and loved all of the attention she was getting from everyone in the house (Aunt Debbie, Uncle Gary, Brendan and Jessica and their boys, as well as Cameron, Nathan, and I).

She ate a little frosting here and there, looking at me each time she did it, wondering if it was sneaky what she was doing. Was this ok?!

We couldn't afford really to buy her anything (super hard for me! I love shopping for gifts!) but Brendan and Jessica bought her a package of diapers, so she opened that right before bed. She loved ripping the paper!

Here we are with our big 1-year-old!

Over the next week or so my mom and Tara both sent packages with the cutest clothes for our Penny girl. My mom also sent a bubble machine that we have used almost every day since we got it!

Penny girl, you make our days brighter and our nights longer and much more exhausting (OK, she actually sleeps through the night now, but she just barely started doing that. It's been a long year in that sense)

Penny can say Dada and Mama, and has her own special version of Dada that she calls Nathan (which I realize now is super hard to say when you're learning to talk!), points to everything and anything and either says, "this!" or "that!" She says, "hi!" and waves to everyone she sees, and loves people. Not a shy bone in her little body.
She loves playing chase, being outside, putting everything and anything in her mouth, eating rocks, and copying what her brother does. Her favorite thing to do is sit next to the river and throw rocks in. She is super coordinated, walks, runs, climbs anything, and loves food. We think that we are the absolute luckiest to have her. Nathan wrestles, pulls, pushes, and plays with her like she's a 3 year old boy, too, and she simultaneously loves and hates it. We love her more than words can say, and feel so blessed she came to our family!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer luvin' 2017

 Guys, I hate to admit it, but I think Oregon might be stealing my heart. Don't tell California, he'll always be my boo.

For me, summer vs. winter in Oregon is similar to the motherhood paradox. You know, where being pregnant makes you feel like you're dying a slow and painful death, giving birth is terrifying, and newborns are like the absolute worst (and best-those newborn cuddles are the best), but give yourself a few months and you think to yourself, "I love this! I love my kids! I love babies! I should have another!" Totally forgetting how hard it was to get the thing here! That's how Oregon is. You see, it rained something like 222 days in a row this year. It's a new record. The first couple of months we lived here I felt like I lived on a different planet from California. But once June hit and the days got warmer and we started spending all of our time in the beautiful green outdoors, I was hooked. I couldn't even remember those gloomy cold days where we were stuck inside all day every day. It's like they didn't exist. Oregon summer = heaven. I kid you not, if I could design heaven this is what it would be. The weather is mild, usually in the 70's or low 80's, everything is green, and there is water everywhere. Swimming, hiking, gardening, walks. I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it! (brownie points for knowing where that quote is from!)

As I said, Oregon took a while to get to summering, so we had to find ways to entertain ourselves during a spring that never felt like it happened.

April was rainy, so we played a lot of dress up (Nathan dressed himself. I love that he is still at the age where a cool outfit is a cool outfit, whether it is a dress or an Iron Man costume!)

Penny got so good at walking that she decided climbing would be her next task. Every time I walk out of the room she finds something to climb up on. Grandpa Gary's chair is one of her favorites. Especially when it is next to a table she can climb onto next!

 One Saturday Debbie and Gary watched the kids for us so that Cameron and I could ride the MAX into Portland and see a Portland Timbers game (soccer). It was so lovely to go on a date for the first time in a long time! We went and ate delicious Shawarma from a food cart and enjoyed the game and being together and talking without interruption or worrying about wiggling (or losing our) children.

After the game we went to VooDoo Donuts to get Nathan a donut because he was sad he couldn't join our "hot date." Cameron and I got one to split and ate it at the MAX stop. I normally feel kind of gross after a donut, but this one seriously didn't sit well with me. I was so so NAUSEATED on the way back all I could do was sit with my eyes closed. When we got back to the house Debbie and Gary were feeding the kids dinner. I was so sick I went upstairs to lay down. A few minutes later Cameron came in to tell me Penny had puked up her dinner and he was giving her a bath. She proceeded to spend the next 12 + hours barfing every single thing up she ate or drank. Projectile vomit. And I wasn't far behind her. Even water came immediately up. And we were both SO thirsty! She kept pointing to her cup saying, "dis, diiiis!" so we would give it to her, she would chugg, then immediately throw it up. It was awful. LOOONG story short, we ended up giving this horrible flu to almost every other member of the house. 10/11 of the household got it. Our house was NOT a fun place to be for about a week. Nasty stuff. Also, I will NEVER eat another donut in my entire life. EVER. EVER. EVER. Still makes me sick just thinking about it. (probably a good thing, anyway)

Around the time we got over the flu one of the girls I served my mission in Romania with, Kristi, reached out to me. She told me she lived in Portland and would love to get together! Yay for friends!

Kristi has a little boy, Eli, who is 4, and he and Nathan play super well together. Here is a picture from our first playdate together, the Portland Zoo!

Penny and I on the train at the zoo! 
 We drove out to the Portland temple one Saturday because Nathan had been asking for weeks to go to the temple.

May was still very rainy, and into June, but we took full advantage of sunny days and spent lots of time at the park.

Kristi has a membership to the children's museum and can get people in for a discounted price, so we have gone with them a few times. The Portland Children's Museum is AMAZING, and both kids have such a blast there. Nice to have friends in high places ;)

Knucklehead dumped a bucket of water on his own head while I was chasing Penny around. Haha

 We started potty training this guy:

He looks all cute and innocent, but I assure you, he is NOT.

Potty training this young main has been the bane of my existence pretty much since we got to Oregon. I started potty training him initially in March when we got here. It was a MISERABLE failure. But when Cameron had 2 weeks off in the end of June/beginning of July he decided to start back up. He has gotten really good about going pee in the toilet, but still poops in his underwear pretty much every day. Chaps my hide. We have tossed so many pairs of undies in the garbage (soft poops-there's no coming back from that), have threatened him with cold baths, have promised him the friggin moon if he poops in the potty and he just WILL. NOT. DO IT.

Nobody cares about your kids, Brianna, move on.


One Sunday evening when we were downstairs cleaning up dinner, Nathan decided to come upstairs and paint his toenails.

.....and the bedspread, and the WHITE carpet in the bedroom......

....and his legs....

Good thing we got to the carpet in time, but the bedspread is toast.

Penny must be going through a growth spurt, because she has been falling asleep in her high chair a lot lately. And it is so cute, I have to take a picture of it every time.

One of the first really warm days of the summer we went hog wild and got the kiddie pool out!

My cousin Jessica has a kid seat attached to her bike. When we discovered it Cameron took the kids on rides around the property. Penny, especially loved it. When she would see Cameron bringing it out of the garage she would get GIDDY and start giggling and pointing and yelling, "dis! dis!!!!!" So cute.

In June my cousin Addy from Nebraska came to stay with us for the summer. My kids LOVE her, and it's been fun to have an excuse to do extra adventures as a family.

I love her, too, even though one day when I told her I wasn't feeling well because I had started my period she said, "I didn't know you still had that." Um, how old do you think I am, lady!!??! Hahaa.

 One Addy-inspired adventure was going into Portland on like seriously the hottest day of the year (it was 100 degrees, and humid. Not my cup of tea) and go to the farmer's market.

It was fun, despite the heat

Mango with chili-yummy!
We also stopped by Cameron's school, Epicodus, and got a picture of him before his internship started and he is done for good.

Debbie is the best and took us to the Oregon coast for a day! It's a little bit of a trek-about 2-2 1/2 hours to get there, but it was such a lovely day. My kids absolutely loved it-I could seriously barely keep them out of the water. No matter how blue their lips got, they would run back in for more! They are true beach bums like their parents!

Cameron had a 2 week break between class and his 5 week internship. All he had to do during those 2 weeks was interview at different companies for internships. We took full advantage of his break and went on several hikes in the area. I literally could not believe how many amazing hikes there are within 30-45 minutes of where we live! There is so much beauty to be seen.

Multnomah Falls

Thumbs up for being carried up the mountain ;)

The raining favorite: Ramona Falls

I hesitate to say this was my favorite hike because we had to brave a pretty swift looking river to get to the trail. There was a large log that has fallen across the Sandy River, but carrying two precious pieces of cargo across it made it very nerve-wracking to do. On the way over I was walking with Nathan and I thought to myself, "I'm not going to do this again. I can't do this again." Well, what goes up must then come down, or in our case, what goes over the river must cross back again. And I did. And it was horrible the second time as well. But look at the view that was our reward: 

Mirror Lake:

We (OK, not Penny, she didn't like it so much) loved this one cause we got to swim at the top!

Punchbowl Falls:

Heaven on earth

these to could (and did) do this for hours:

Sandy Mountain Festival:

I love this little bitty town and the traditions and community it has!

My cousin Christina came into town with baby B! Love these two and was so glad to get to visit with them! B and Penny are 5 months apart. I can't wait til family reunion next summer when these two are bigger and can really play together!

Cameron just finished his first of 5 weeks at his internship, which means IF he doesn't find a job in Oregon, our time here is coming to a close very soon. It makes me so sad to think of leaving here. I love being close to family, love this beautiful place, and the kid people who live here. My Aunt Debbie and Uncle Gary have been surrogate parents to us and grandparents to our children. They've been so generous and kind to let us stay here with them and disrupt their schedules, their home (nail polish! :() and their lives. Stay or go, we will never forget the 'benture we've had and the memories we've made.