Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Patio

A week or so ago, I took a few pictures of the kids eating popsicles on our new patio. It's actually the same patio, same furniture, same beautiful bench that Trace built us last year, but with a few new accessories: pillows, flowers, and tea lights. Oh and an orange umbrella. It's a soothing place to sit, and since the weather cools down a bit at night, we've been eating dinner out there a lot. And breakfast. The kids are willing to eat all their meals outside, but around noon it's been getting to the high nineties, or even one hundred degrees, this last week, and I'm staying in the shade, or inside. It's perfect weather for popsicles! Jackson and Caroline have been sick the last few days, so we've been home a lot, and popsicles and sprinkler play have occupied a lot of their time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ralph S. Mouse

Tonight Trace started reading this to Jack:
They were sitting outside on the back porch after dinner, and Jack was listening intently. They're reading Trace's copy from when he was a kid.
Jack was almost falling asleep, but he didn't want Trace to stop reading. I actually saw his eyelids touch at one point, but he soldiered on for four chapters. This may soon be Jackson's favorite book too!


On Thursday of this week I took Jackson and Caroline to the annual Music in the Mountains KinderKonzert, an hour long performance of classical music geared toward children. We went with my friend Betsy, her daughter Elizabeth, her five month old son Andrew, and her mom. The kids loved it!

We sat at a table in the very front row, so the kids could really see the instruments. Jackson and Elizabeth were especially enthralled, while Caroline was equally interested in the music and in the people around her. She wandered around a little, but she always stopped to clap when each piece ended.

Afterwards we found a shady spot on the grass at the fairgrounds, and Jackson and Caroline and I had a picnic. It was our treat while Trace, Andrew, and Will had a day fishing. I think we all enjoyed our days!
The little kids spent the end of the day running through the sprinklers in the front yard, while I tried to figure out why some of my flowers weren't getting watered. Jack wore goggles (no glass in them--it was just for fun) and got soaked, while Caroline was much more timid and was barely damp after a half hour of playing. I took a few pictures, and a short video:
Jackson with his goggles on.
Caroline is actually very carefully standing just on the other side of the sprinklers reach.
I included this picture, even though Caroline is in the shadow, because just behind her is the set of three aspen trees we gave Trace for father's day. So that's where we planted them, for those who asked.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Andrew and Jackson

Last night Andrew, Jackson, Caroline and I went on a walk. At least Caroline and I walked. Well actually Caroline was mostly running, trying to catch up to Andrew and Jack, until she got too tired and I carried her. She and I ended our walk after that, but the other two kept going: Andrew on his longboard, and Jackson on his bicycle. They were so cute headed down the street together, with Jack pedalling as fast as he could, and Andrew slowly gliding on his longboard, that I came inside, got my camera, and took a video of them. Caroline came back outside with me, so she's in the movie too. It was getting pretty dark, so even though I've increased the brightness, it's not a great video, but Jack wanted to share it with you all anyway. The first few seconds, you really can't see anything, but I promise that if you keep watching, Jackson and Andrew will appear!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

For Father's Day we gave Trace three quaking aspen trees, probably already fifteen feet tall, and we took him to Lake Tahoe for lunch. It was a lovely windy day at the lake, and it was really fun to spend a day with all six of us, which we haven't done for a while. After our lunch, which was a little disappointing since unbeknownst to us they had discontinued their fabulous Sunday buffet (with prime rib and crab and such), and it was a burgers and sandwiches kind of menu, we had a lovely time wandering the beach outside the restaurant. Trace with all of his kids, sitting around the firepit. Then we drove around the lake and stopped at the Concours d'Elegance, an annual show of wooden boats. They were truly beautifully built. Will and Jack looking over the rail. Andrew, Trace and Will. Jack's in this picture too: he's just a lot shorter than the other two.
The boys all loved seeing the boats driving out and leaving for the day, but Caroline thought it was "noisy." Part of the fun of the show for us was watching several different boat owners struggle to get their boats running. It's just like our boat---only a lot nicer! Trace walking with his youngest child. Who would have thought he would be a dad to a daughter? We had a lovely day, celebrating a wonderful man. Happy Father's Day Trace!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweet Sharing Brother

We were on our way to the nursery today to buy some plants, and we drove past a sporting goods store with a rack of kayaks out front. Both kids saw the kayaks, and we were talking about them. I told them that I bought a kayak at that store for Grandma Jo once, and Jack said that Aunt Becky has two kayaks, green and orange (she is so cool!). Grandma Jo gave Jackson a toy kayak for his birthday (she's one thinking ahead grandma--she left it with me at Christmas), so Jack has a kayak too. So the conversation in the car became Caroline telling us that she wants a kayak. On her birthday. When she is two. Although I did explain that it was a long time until her next birthday, she told us about it until we got to the nursery.
We bought our plants and headed home, and I forgot about the kayak. The kids went outside to play and I sat at the computer to check e-mail. Then Jack showed up with something all wrapped up in tissues, asking for help with the tape. He wanted to wrap up his kayak from Grandma Jo to give to his sister. He and I spent a few minutes putting lots of tape around it, and then he gave it to his sister. I took a few pictures of the wrapped gift, the excited opening, and then Caroline playing with it. There are times when my kids can spend hours playing happily together, and other times when it seems like they can't get along for more than three minutes at a time. We spend a lot of time at our house talking about sharing. So when one child voluntarily gives something away to another, it means a lot. You are a generous brother Jackson Fike.

Car Climbing Again

Okay, I finally figured out how to rotate the original video, so for your viewing enjoyment, here is the video (the right way around) that I first took of the kids climbing into the car. You can definitely see how hard Caroline works in this one, and it's pretty amazing that they do it at the same time. Enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rock Climbing . . . errr, Car Climbing?

Well my kids were playing outside today, in the front yard, while I was working on dinner (disclaimer: this really only happens about once a week: mostly Trace makes our meals). I had the front door open so I could hear them, and all of a sudden Jack called out and said that he and Caroline had climbed into my car. Now I drive a Ford Expedition, pretty big, and all the doors were close, with only the front driver's window open. I looked out the front door and sure enough, both kids were in my car and all four doors were still closed. They had both scrambled up the side of the vehicle! Later Becky and Tiffany were over for dinner, and I asked the kids to show us how they did it, with video camera in hand. Here's how:

This was actually the third time we watched them do it, since I took the first one sideways, and the second one I cut off in the middle. They would have kept going, but it was time for dinner.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jackson's view of the world

Jack has recently asked to try my camera, and for the first time, I've let him. I have a new camera that's simple to use, and he definitely understands the concept. He looks to see what he's taking a picture of (it's digital, so it's right there), and then snaps his shot. Needless to say, his idea of a great picture is different than yours or mine. He takes pictures closer than I do, probably more the way he sees the world. Here are Jack's first pictures. Enjoy!
His bike (this is the one he asked me to post on the blog)
A balloon on the ceiling, left over from his birthday
Sam, our dog. His other bike.

Caroline's smile. I've never seen her laugh as hard as at "Jack's silly pictures. His favorite hot wheels cars.

My hair. This may be his first picture (Jack: I took one of your hair mom! Now I'll get one of your ear.).

A self-portrait.

Monday Night Dinner

Don't you love the summertime bounty? Fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob, and fresh greens and even watermelon? We have a weekly dinner at our house, which started years ago when Michael was an intern at Christian Encounter Ranch, and had Mondays off. Now Michael is married and in Portland, but the tradition continues with Becky and her roommates, and anyone else who happens to be around. This week that meant that besides Becky, Tracy, and Tiffany, Chuck and Caroline and our friend John Klus also came up for dinner. We were an even dozen enjoying the food Trace prepared.
This week that meant grilled pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, a watermelon/watercress/mint salad, and sugar snap peas with sauteed spinach and shallots. Yum!
At some point Caroline ran outside, and she came back in with feet looking like this:

so we finished off our Monday night with a bath.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Caroline and her pretties

When Caroline was little (well, relatively speaking--I suppose I should say littler) and I was trying to get her to leave a barette in her hair, I would tell her how pretty she looked with a hair clip in. Ever since, she has called all hair accessories "pretties." As in: "put a purple pretty in my hair mama." Today she brought me a whole handful hair clips and pony tail holders, and asked me to put them all in her hair. So I did. She looks a lot like Pippi Longstocking, with the multiple hair ties making her hair stick straight out on either side of her head. Pretty cute, though!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jack's Birthday Morning

One in a series of posts I intend to do about Jack's birthday, simply because it's a busy week, and I don't have time to upload more than five pictures (that's all it lets you do at a time). So for those who have been waiting to see the four year old, here he is on his birthday. Caroline woke up first on Tuesday morning, and she wrapped and colored a gift for her brother. When Jack got up, he immediately opened the gift she gave him (a ten pack of hot wheel cars--true joy for a four year old boy).
Then Lupe stopped by and brought more gifts for Mr. Jackson. Caroline was delighted to help him open them!Next we went to the store, where Aunt Becky and the girls had decorated the kids office, with streamers, balloons, and party toys all ready to go. That was a true delight for both kiddos!
Okay, I have to post this video, even though I have no way to turn it around, because it's so cute of Jack blowing on the whajamacallit (I truly do not know the name of those things), but both kids really liked them. Thanks to Becky for the toys and the video!

Finally, a taste of what is to come: when Jack got home, Trace gave him a present of thirty balloons, and I don't think Jack's ever seen anything better in his life. Pictures of the party will come another day, but it was a great day. Happy birthday Jackson!