Thursday, February 25, 2010

Birthday Wishes Oliver Style

Hey Oliver, it's GrandPop Bruce's birthday today, want to make something for him? "Yeah sure. Um, how about you get me some paper and pencils? NO! no, how about some paper and a marker? Yeah, a marker that's it." He then asked me how to spell happy birthday, I gave him the letters one at a time this is what he was chattering on about while writing out his note.
H, (singing) the h says huh, the h says huh. Huh! Huh! Huh??? (laughing to himself)
A, I am getting good at these A's
P, Just like the R except it doesn't kick it's leg out. Mommom, I almost made it an R!
P, It's this one's (pointing to the previous P) brother, they are twins! Can you believe it?
Y, Just like in your name. Did you know that your name has a Y in it?
B, buzz buzz buzz buzz the letter B doesn't buzz but the BEE does, get it?
I, My name has an I, O,L,I,V,E,R. See? It has an I, really.
R, YEAH! He gets to kick his leg out! I like to kick, want to see? (gets down and performs his version of a spinning jump kick).
T, ANOTHER letter from your name. T also starts with t-ball. T, t-ball, do you hear it?
H, Noah has an H in his name. I like Noah sometimes but sometimes I don't.
D, the D then just two more letters!
A, See another good A, I AM getting good at the A's. It's also in Noah's name too.
Y, Y, Y, Y, Y, Y, Y, no really, why? (laughs) I'm done, now draw me a cake to decorate (I give him the evil mom eye). I mean, will you please draw me a cake to decorate?

I was given exactly 2.7 seconds to draw this cake for Oliver to decorate. He decided that 7 was the perfect number of candles. When asked why 7 he said, "because 7 is perfect." Then he looked at me like I was nuts for questioning such artistic genius.

He also decided that GrandPop needed a rocket ship for his birthday. "Tell him he can look out that window when he flies to space."


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mount Talbert Nature Park

We were taking the boys to spend the night at Gammy's yesterday but it was a gorgeous day and I wanted to do something as a family before dropping them off. I did a quick search for hiking trails between here and my mom's and found Mount Talbert Nature Park. It is a butte right in the middle of some dense developments and close to the busy Sunnyside/I-205 area. The funny thing is, our friends John and Steph, used to live right next to this park and I never once remember seeing it during or visits to their house. Of course the parking area looks newly done or updated but still I don't remember it at all. The butte is one of the series of old volcanoes that were active in this area many years ago and that, of course, fascinated Noah. We hiked around the 4.5 miles worth of trails, enjoying the day and our time together as a family. It's a great little area to hike and worth a visit, especially if you are looking for something quick and easy to do.
***NOTE*** If you don't have a sense of humor or are easily offended, please skip the second to last picture in this post. We came across this tree on our hike and Joel and I both chuckled when we saw it.
My three boys deciding what trails to explore.

The entire area was like this. Gorgeous woodlands with the sun peaking through the tall trees.

I don't get many opportunities to photograph my eldest anymore.
Nice to be able to get a few shots of him yesterday.

Resting before the big climb to the summit.

On the top of the summit.

The next picture is the one I warned you about, last chance to look away...

HA! I knew you would look...this tree was very happy to see us.
No, we did not do that, it was like that when we saw it. (laughing) And if you ever questioned how they made baby trees, you now know.

After the hike we dropped the boys off at my moms then headed home. We got stuck in some nasty traffic due to an accident on the bridge. Luckily, we had this beauty to look at. How blessed are we to be living in an area that we have to see Mt. Hood all the time?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


My youngest child has a SEVERE case of spring (or summer) fever. Relentlessly asking to go swimming or play with water balloons or run through the sprinkler, the sunshine driven requests are numerous these days. To really drive home his point, he comes home from school and immediately changes into shorts and sandals. He then runs outside for all of 3 seconds then comes back in to inform me that it is indeed warm outside. Today however, after telling him no a million times already this week, I gave up. In the grand scheme of things I realized it really wasn't that big of a deal...

Beautiful blue skies and warm rays of sun today, however... does not mean that it's warm outside.
It, despite Oliver's arguments otherwise, is still February after all.

57 degrees or not this boy was happy, make that ecstatic, that I finally said yes.

He was all smiles.

Trying to get me wet.
I was having none of that! It was cold out there and the breeze was not helping.

He got to play in the water and I got to play with my camera.
We were both happy.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Bunk Bed Update

The bunk beds are now assembled and in the boys' room. Joel is, as I type, trimming plywood that will become the mattress supports. Those boards will get a quick coat or two of poly and as soon as they are dry, in they go! The boys should be sleeping on them by the end of the week. Now I just have to get a couple of new mattresses!

Yeah! I think they look great.
Joel had the boys climb on them to see how sturdy it is. No problems at all and once the mattress boards are in, they aren't going to move.

Tossed Oliver's mattress in on the floor for now and it fit perfectly!

Soon to be trimmed and poly'd.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Getting Out of the House

Spring fever is definitely setting in around here, we needed something to do today. We also got into a bad habit of turning to the TV when we needed to be entertained and that appears to have been contributing to some issues with the boys. Almost all TV viewing time has been taken away from them. Family movie night and maybe a couple of cartoons while first waking up and that's it. Needless to say, the transition has been riddled with, "what can we do? Can we go anywhere? I'm bored!" Much to their chagrin, I've come up with plenty to keep them busy. Of course, helping more with laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc. wasn't exactly what they had in mind but that's what they got. Thankfully, spring is nearing and getting outside is a viable option. Joel had class today, then was going to stop and try to clear up some computer issues for our friends so I threw the boys in the van and headed into the gorge. They have been asking to return to the dam lately so that was our first stop. As tradition would have it, the dam talk and giggling ensued. "The dam concrete, holding back the dam water and hey, look at those dam fish. Can I say hello to the dam worker? Do you think the dam fish like the dam fish ladder?" Oh yeah, it may make some parents cringe and the boys know they are pushing it but who cares, we all end up laughing in the end. After a visit to the Washington side of Bonneville Dam we visited the nearby Fort Cascades Trail. Again, one of those places that I've driven by dozens of times but never stopped. Today we stopped and it was a great trail. Nice and flat, about 1.5 miles, perfect for two active boys. Here is what the brochure had to say about the trail.
Though quiet and uninhabited today, this small seemingly unimportant piece of land was a focal point of history. Here along the powerful Columbia River, many of the dramatic events that shaped the settlement of the Pacific Northwest occurred.

Leave today's busy urban pace and slowly walk this level, one-and-one-half mile trail. Feel the presence of those who went before. Here is a glimpse of the struggles, drama and everyday life of Native Americans, explorers, fur traders, soldiers, settlers, railroad workers and fishermen. Take time to touch the past in this special place.
Although I got many of the typical pictures that you get at the dam, I tried to get some odd ones too. Figured I'd share these with you instead.

Noah helping his brother peer over into the fish ladder.
Or at least that is what I assumed, maybe he was trying to toss him in.

The always intriguing fish tunnel.

The color choices of the, what feels like six-inch thick carpet in the fish viewing building has ALWAYS boggled my mind. For some reason I always end up humming, "why are there so many, songs about rainbows...."

This is a plant that they have in the lobby of the Power House. It is beautiful. No idea what it is but the flowers are papery and delicate looking.

Heading out on the trail. Not ten feet in and the boys have already found souvenir sticks to take home with them.

Noah climbed one of the smaller, yes smaller, boulders along the way and asked me to take his picture. I wonder if the jogger knows that I got him in the photo too?

The trail meandered along the Columbia.

Tiger tripped and fell, he decided that he was just going to sit a bit, play with his souvenir sticks and regroup.

Noah walking ahead wondering if his brother was going to ever get up and get going again. Me, as usual, stuck in the middle, trying to keep the peace.

"The remnants of the Warren Packing Company's Portage Tramway which was used to transport the fish caught in Frank Warren's fishwheel operations down to the Lower Landing. The narrow-gauge tracks and the sets of wheels are the original equipment from the portage railroad."

The tree Noah is standing by has grown smack dab in the middle of the tracks.

The McNatt's, Thomas and Ellen, built a hotel, tavern, barn and stables in this area in 1858. After battling a lengthy illness Thomas passed away in 1861. Ellen set aside this tract of land and later deeded as a cemetery.

A little exploration next to the river before heading home.
Noah spotted something and wanted to check it out.
"OH COOL! Check it out mom....

...a dead and rotting fish missing it's head. Maybe it's a Lamprey. Will you take a picture for me?"
Sure son, gross, but sure.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Oliver decided that he needed to change things up a bit today so after school he drew tiger stripes on his face. He also requested that I and anyone else that may have happened by to call him Tiger or Tiger Oliver. If I happened to forget to call him Tiger he would stop and point to the stripes then slowly draw along the lines with his finger. So I called him Oliver on purpose, I had to get a shot of him giving me the eye and the silent, finger tracing, reminder.
While out on safari with Tiger, I saw a few sights that made my soul give a little roar itself...