Summer 2019: the halfway point

We’re halfway through our summer break here in the Pacific Northwest.

Today felt like the first Saturday in a LONG while were we did not have to be anywhere or really do anything.

Realistically, as I type that I am realizing that is true for only half of our family. The boys got on the road this afternoon to go on a fishing adventure to celebrate Reece’s 12th birthday.

Lorelai and I, however, are still lounging on the sofa.

Truthfully, I had a couple days this week where all I did was relax. After we returned from of weekend lacrosse tournament in Central Oregon we were all beat. The kids and Ryan were sick with a head cold and I think I was doing everything to keep from getting sick…including a lot of reading.

I’ll get back to what I have been reading later. For now, I want to do a brief recap of our Summer 2019 adventures up to now.

Our adventures really started before the kids got out of school for the Summer.

Lorelai and I road tripped to Spokane, Washington for The Farmchicks Show with our mom and daughter besties! We enjoyed a weekend of girl time while the boys had their own boys weekend at home.

When they returned to school Reece took part in the Junior Rose Parade with all of the 5th graders from his school.

We hopped in the car again to drive to Sunriver where we joined Ryan for a work trip and enjoyed time together in our friends beautiful Sunriver condo!

Horseback riding, pool, fishing, golf, and bike rides to see horses kept us busy.

Ryan’s parents arrived a few days after our return and we closed out the end of the school year with Field Day, a 5th grade promotion ceremony, and a celebration at the park with friends.

Father’s Day and my birthday were celebrated while Ryan’s parents visited.

The next weekend we went to the Tigard Festival of Balloons…unique annual event within walking distance of our house. Carnival rides, beer garden, henna, hot air balloons, and lots of steps walking to and from the park a couple times each day of the weekend.

While all of our summer fun was happening, Reece was also practicing 2-3 times a week for a travel lacrosse team. Ryan and Reece flew down to California for his first lacrosse tournament the last weekend of June. California sunshine, travel fun with teammates, half a season of games, and a visit to in-n-out filled their California days.

Lorelai and I had our own adventures a little closer to home. Paddle boarding and an amazing early 4th of July celebration with friends.

The kids and I took a day trip to the Oregon Coast to see one of the lowest tides of the year on July 3rd. We are so blessed to be able to get in the car and drive less than two hours to soak in such beauty.

On July 4th at 12:00am. Wait, let me start over. On July 3rd at 11:55 pm, Lorelai and I woke up from a couple hours of slumber to watch the entire Season 3 of Stranger Things right after it was released. No spoilers here, but it was intense and left us asking lots of questions. She continued to stay up for 23 hours until she crashed after watching 4th of July fireworks. I, on the other hand, took multiple naps on the 4th of July and it still took me a couple more days to recover.

Reece’s 12th birthday was on the 5th of July and we celebrated with bowling and ice cream with friends.

We caught our breath for a couple of days and ended up planning a spur of the moment camping trip. Lorelai had been wanting to camp since winter break and I decide that we should make it happen. It was a lot of effort, but I venture to say that we all thought it was worth it. I will write more about that adventure in another post.

Once again, a few days at home to catch up on regular life and we were on the road again to Central Oregon for the last lacrosse tournament of the summer. We stayed in a charming Airbnb near downtown Bend and got to spend a bit of time away from the lacrosse fields.

And, that puts us here. In the middle of Summer 2019. It’s been full. Really full. And, I am so thankful for all of the fun that I get to have with my kiddos each and every summer.

happy summer

summer came in with a bang.


we fell asleep to a thunderstorm last night, and woke up to thunder rolling again this morning.

unusual for portland.

not only is today the summer solstice, it is also international yoga day.

so, what better way to celebrate than to practice some yoga?!

i was able to go to my favorite yin yoga class this morning, which always helps me reset.

i, personally, needed a bit of a reset after this first week of the kids being home.

i love having them home.

it is such a blessing to be home with them all day long, but as they get older and they have their own ideas of what they want to do each day it gets harder to manage keeping everybody (including me) happy.

so, i came home from yoga with a better perspective than i left the house with.

happy international yoga day!

it was HOTyesterday, so we stayed in the house most of the day.

i have been fighting off a summer cold (not cool), and when i get sick i need to REST.

i do not like it when colds hang on, and i have found that rest is the main thing that helps me to get over a cold quickly.

after being cooped up in the house most of the day yesterday i was bound and determined to get us out of the house for a bit today.

i thought a visit to a local farm would be fun on the first day of summer!

we have never been to a local lavender farm and i knew there was one that i used to drive by all the time when i would get in the car and just drive to get the kids to nap when they were little.

i “searched it up” (this is what the kids always tell me to do) and we ventured out to Mountainside Lavender Farm.

we were greeted by kiefer, one of the family farm dogs, who lorelai instantly fell in love with.

with the cooler temperatures today, it was a perfect day to spend time cutting lavender.


although there were a few other people there, we really had the whole place to ourselves.

the english lavender is currently in bloom, so we each collected our own little bundle.

they also distill their own lavender essential oil at the farm!

how cool is that?!

stay tuned for more summer adventures!


snow much fun!

i’m hitting publish on this one without photos and editing…just want to get it out there. i will come back and add photos/video/etc, but i need to go play in the snow!

we’ve lived in the pacific northwest for 11 years.

it rains here almost 9 months out of the year. not a steady grey rain everyday, but from november through june you can expect rain in some form a lot of days. it’s really the worst in december and january when the days are so short and any gray and rain just makes them seem even shorter.

people around here just get stuff done in the rain. you have to.

i learned that a good rain jacket and some hunter boots will get you through most of the rainy weather. in fact, i love my patagonia rain jacket so much that although it needs some patching, i just couldn’t part with it when ryan bought me a new one for christmas.

umbrellas are optional. we keep them in the car if it is just a crazy downpour and you have to walk more than a few blocks. mainly, we keep them around for people who visit from out of state who might melt in the rain. heck, my kids don’t even bother with the rain jacket and rubber boots, but they are oregon kids…it’s in their blood.

when the sun comes out, especially when there are sun breaks between rainstorms in the spring, people get out and take advantage of it. yes, sometimes it takes us a little while to recognize that bright yellow orb in the sky, but once we confirm that is is indeed the sun we take advantage of it.

go for a run.

go for a hike.

get out on the water.

go to the beach.

just get out and enjoy whatever isn’t possible in the rain…or, at the very least, get out and enjoy what you usually do in the rain without getting wet!

get out in the sun, because you don’t know how long it will last!

and, then there is snow.

we get snow in oregon. plenty of it. in the cascades.

portland, doesn’t do snow very often.

an inch of snow will close schools.

a few inches of snow will create havoc on the roads where people will literally abandon their cars and walk.

the topography, and lack of snow removal equipment just don’t help us out when the snow hits the ground.

in fact, in the 11 years we have lived here we have only had three BIG (relatively speaking, of course) snow storms.

december 2008.

february 2014.

january 2017.

this has been the snowiest winter i have ever been a part of in portland. since december 1st my kids have had EIGHT snow days.

four of those snow days occured before christmas break when we had some small 1-3″ snowfalls. yep, the schools close because the buses cannot get into the neighborhood with hills.

one snow day was this past monday, january 9th after we had a small snow storm and then a layer of ice on top.

there was one more storm forecast before the weather people said we would finally warm up and return to normal portland winter weather…rain.

on tuesday night i took the kids to the store to get some milk in case we got the 1-4″ that were forecast. school would certainly be closed, and i wanted to make sure we had milk for hot chocolate!

ryan had driven down to bend for work on monday night and it was snowing so hard in central oregon that he decided to stay on tuesday night rather than drive back into portland.

well, as we walked out of the store and drove home the snowflakes started falling. by the time we got home they were sticking to the roadways, our deck, and our front yard.

the kids and i ate dinner and watched some tv as we saw more and more snow fall. the big districts of beaverton and portland had announced their closure by 9 pm as snow in some areas had already reached 3-5 inches.

the snow kept piling up outside, but we kept waiting for word of our districts closure. lorelai went to bed, but reece wanted to stay up and wait to hear about school. i went downstairs to watch the 10 o’clock news and he was up in my bedroom. right before 11 pm i heard branches cracking as the wind was blowing the snow through the trees. then the power went out. more loud pops and a bright light.

reece came running down the stairs scared of all the noise and the dark house. we decided to sleep downstairs with a fire in the fireplace. i moved his sister to her room, away from the trees at the back of the house.

it was a rest less night of sleep for me. at 3:21 am i woke up and noticed we still were without power. when i reported the outage to PGE at 11 pm, they had expected to have power back on by 1:30am. my mind started churning with thoughts of how i was going to make coffee and hot chocolate. i texted ryan and he told me where the camp stove we bought him for christmas was. i was certain that i was going to need to use it. i was going to need lots of coffee.

at 5 am, the house woke up. electronics chirped, beeped, and began to hum back to life. we had power…just in time for coffee! while it was inconvenient, and a bit scary, to be without in the dark of the night with a storm howling outside, it was not as inconvenient as i imagined being without power during a snow day with two kids home would have been.

shortly after power was restored our school district also announced, officially, that we had a snow day!

7-12″ of snow had fallen all over the metro area and the storm was not over. highways were littered with abandoned cars. power was out all over the area.

by then end of our first snow day we had 8+ inches of snow and other areas in and around portland had up to 15″.

the mayor of portland and governor of oregon issued a state of emergency for the entire state.

central oregon, where ryan finally was able to drive home from, had received even more snow, the gorge had not thawed out from the ice event from the previous storm and was getting dumped on.

the school districts all called another snow day for thursday.

and, another one for today.

while a couple of inches of snow may shut down the city, and a foot of snow may cause a state of emergency, portlanders know how to have fun in the snow!

snowball fights.



cross country skiing.

igloo building.

snowman building.

you name something to do in the snow, we are doing it.

i have never seen so many snowmen in my life.

our neighbor built a legitimate igloo.

we have been sledding everyday, multiple times a day. streets are turned into mini ski/sled runs!

we still have plenty of snow on the ground as we also have record low temperatures. and, although the sun is shining, the snow is not melting.

so, sun and snow, we are going to get out and play…before the rain comes to wash it all away.

we have friends headed over for playdates, and a huge mound of snow waiting for us to create something with it!


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lola had a lemonade stand on friday.

we pretty much have a “lemonade stand kit” that we use each time:

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she charged her usual.

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she also made sure that there was ice {from sonic, no less} because it was 95 degrees.

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she had a good run for the first 45 minutes, and then it got a bit slow.

and, HOT.

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she made sure that i placed the umbrella in just the right spot to keep her shaded.

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she waited patiently.

she was determined to stay open for the hours that she set.

she opened promptly at 4 and was stopping at 6, or when she sold out.

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by then end she said, “mommy, we forgot to offer the straws!”

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she worked hard and made some good money.

she even shared a few dollars with her brother for the handful of lemonades he helped serve!

home is…a young entrepreneur.

{twenty sixteen} summer road trip

i’m really excited for our summer.

it’s still four months away, but well into the planning stages.

one of the adventures i am most excited about is a road trip i have planned.

my family lives in colorado, and we are past due for a visit there. not to mention, it’s a fabulous place to to spend a week in the summer!

the kids and i are going to hit the road and explore on our way from the state of oregon to  colorado and back.

my plan is for us to stay in historic hotels in the cities we stop in along the route. i have most of it researched, but need to finalize the details and start making reservations!

once we get to colorado, we will stay at my parents beautiful house in the foothills west of denver.

from there, we can hike on beautiful trails in their neighborhood, swim at the pool with a view of mt. evans, venture into denver for a colorado rockies baseball game, head up to boulder to visit my alma mater, check out rocky mountain national park, and head up into the rocky mountains for some crisp mountain air.

i cannot wait for this adventure to explore new areas of the west with my kiddos!

hello, november!


october is now just a memory.

and, here we are…

dark at 5 pm.

wearing jackets and rain boots.

flag football season is over.

thanksgiving is coming.

christmas displays and merchandise are all over the place.

my husband and i celebrated his fantastic year at work and our 15th anniversary at a fabulous resort near playa del carmen, mexico.

it was our first kid free getaway in over 6 years.

i have been blessed enough to go on some pretty fabulous presidents club vacations that my husband has earned through his hard work. this one was, by far, the most amazing one we have ever been on.

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it was a quick trip…three full days in paradise. one full day of travel on either end.

my parents came to stay with the kids and the dogs.

we returned to happy {but tired} kids and tired {but happy} grandparents. i know they all had a fun adventure of their own together.

the first week back was filled with hours spent volunteering at the kids school.

art lit.

baby girl was star of the week.

normal volunteer hours.


finishing up the rest of our family halloween costumes…

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it was a dark and stormy halloween night here in portland. we braved the downpour to go up and down the street.

ryan was the yellow brick road, the little guy was the tornado that landed dorothy’s house on the wicked witch of the east, i was the wicked witch of the west, and baby girl was dorothy.

one of my favorite family costumes to date!

i was hoping to have some much needed “normalcy” in our routine this month, but the kids had three days off from school and then we have thanksgiving late this month!

so, we’ll just be THANKFUL for our extra time together…i figure there will be nothing “normal” about our routine until next year given the coming holidays…but that’s what makes life fun, right?!

summer list 2015 update

we checked a handful of items off our summer list during our trip to new york.

new york, of course.




not to mention, the things that were not on the list…

watch fireflies.

play in a creek.

go to an amusement park.

eat three burgers in three days.

night swimming.

watch live music.

eat frozen custard.

home is…summer, moving right along.

summer list 2015

here it is…

summer list 2015

{oh, and i should add “finish painting walls white” to the list…the wall looks like an ugly beige/pink/something in this photo!}

i decided that i liked meg’s chalkboard list, and since our dining room chalkboard has been empty for a few months it was time to fill it up!

for now, i am still in reset mode.  i canceled our trip to sunriver for the weekend…i want to ease into summer.

yesterday, we managed to cross one off the list…

summer list 2015-water balloon fight

after  the little guy’s last day of school we went down the street, and the kids had a huge water balloon fight with some friends. myself and the mom hosting the party filled over 300 balloons! it took me at least an hour to fill two five gallon buckets with balloons…within a few minutes the balloons were gone!

totally worth the smiles and celebration to kick off the summer!

home is…happy it’s summer break.

the return of the summer list

it’s been a few years since we did an official summer list.

there is always one in my mind, but i thought it would be fun to have one in writing somewhere in the house since the kids can read (well, the little guy can and baby girl wants to learn this summer)!!

i was originally inspired by meg’s summer list

whatever | the summer list

in 2011, our summer list it looked like this…

Scan 28in 2012, our list looked like this…


in 2013, i didn’t make a list because our summer was so busy we didn’t need one!

in 2014, i just didn’t make it happen.

this year, the summer list is making a return!

while baby girl is already on summer break we have a couple of days to work on the list before the little guy gets out of school for the summer.

we will need to come up with a list…and a fun way to display it!

until then, i know i would like to implement these summertime rules

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stay tuned…

home is…planning fun!


first feature of the backyard movie season

we had out first feature of the season in our backyard on monday night.

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the cousins from new york had not seen big hero 6, so we watched it on the big screen in the backyard. it was a bit cool, so they bundled up with blankets while the adults sat around the fire.

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last summer, i wrote a post about the basics of our backyard movie set up. i have included it below with some changes that we have made…

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1. projector…ours is about 7 years old…it is an optoma ex530. you could use 

2. laptop, iPad, or iPod…we have only connected our macbook pro to the projector…we may try streaming from the iPad now that our speaker situation has changed

3. speakers…we used to have wires connecting the speakers to the laptop, and it was just a disaster waiting to happen with kids running all over the place..we now use this bluetooth speaker

4. movie screen…i updated our movie screen by purchasing blackout curtain fabric and sewing it to fit over poles (8 ft. tree stakes) that we pound into the ground… it seems to work better as the light from the sun setting behind the screen is blocked, which means we can start our movies before it gets completely dark

5. extension cords…we plug one into the projector and one into the speaker

you’ll want to get a feel for how everything needs to be set up…do you need a table for the projector? how far should the projector be from the screen? what connects to what (i.e speakers connect to the laptop, laptop connects to the projector)?

we always do a test run by ourselves or with neighbors for our first movie of the year…there are bound to be some minor glitches and you want those worked out before you invite the entire neighborhood!


1. snacks: i purchased this popcorn maker and not only does it look cute, but it keeps ryan from spending the entire night making popcorn on the stove!

2. drinks: just like the snacks…keep it simple, BYOB, or provide something that goes along with the theme of the movie

3. blankets: thrifted quilts are awesome for backyard movie nights…i have a stash of them and put them on the grass. in the cooler months i stick a few thrifted afghans on the chairs around the fire pit and in a basket on the deck in case people need one.

4. chairs: use what you have or ask everybody to bring their own

5. twinkle lights: twinkle lights just make the whole scene magical. we have ours up year round in our backyard and it just sets the scene for a festive evening.

backyard movies have become one of my favorite things about summer in our backyard. we hope to have a lot more movie nights well into the fall…as long as the rain stays away!

have you tried a outdoor movie in your back (or front) yard? do you have any additional tips or ideas to share? please comment below!!

home is…making memories for our kids.