{this moment}

A week full of dentist visits, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, swimming, swimming and more swimming.

Our eldest had his first swim meet- he was cool as a cucumber and did awesome!  He will proudly show off his ribbons if you ask.  And couldn’t help but take pictures of the young brother playing outside while we waited for Henry’s event.

Chris got a new toy.  We call it a tractor but it is really a riding lawnmower with no blade and a trailer… so think motorized wheelbarrow.  It has been a hit and locked in the shed away from young ones who like to go for rides.  We also broke out the slip and slide for the first time this year.  It was also a hit.

The waiting crew.  With swim team practice every day we have to get creative in how we spend our time.  These guys should get medals for how much they wait around for Henry.  I think they were having a good time though, I bring snacks.

Painting rocks, that took a turn towards the end…

Dentist rock star and the well deserved ice-cream stop on the way home.

More waiting… it is what they do…

fort townsend 2017

or maybe should be titled THE BEST CAMPING TRIP OF ALL TIME, which is what the boys called it.  We did have a good time.  We collapsed, exhausted every night under William’s cozy cover.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?  We left last weekend (I mean 2 weekends ago) and drove around to the Olympic Peninsula (due to the fact that campers on the ferry = pricey).   We arrived and quickly made up camp before we headed down to the beach.  The beach had been restored since we were last there two years ago, and boy was it cool.  Easier access and more sand!  Two boys got into the water (while another one said he wouldn’t and then just had wet shorts, and another one napped on Mama) and then said wet children froze on the walk back up to camp (we had only brought down one towel, silly parents).  We saw two herons, a bald eagle and lots of beach treasures to take home with us.  We cooked up dinner, roasted marshmallows and headed to bed.

The next morning we took advantage of the trail system at our campground.  We got a bit lost trying to find the Huckleberry Hill trail, which we never did find, but we did find a torpedo x-ray tower so not all was lost.  After we found our camper again, we headed into town (Port Townsend) to meet up with our cousins and for a trip to one of our favorite book stores.  When we got back to camp, the older three boys and Dada headed down to the beach again while Mama snuggled a tired and sleepy baby.  We managed to exhaust Rory beyond what was necessary.  Poor Rory had some sore legs and a fiercely tired body that night- most other campers at the campground might have known about it too.

On the fourth we headed to Fort Worden State Park for some play time at the beach.  It was perfect weather- we played in the sunshine, visited the Marine Science Center, dipped ourselves into the Salish Sea and headed back to town for well deserved ice cream.  Our afternoon was spent relaxing around the campsite and riding bikes.  We had the most delicious dinner (why had we not thought to have sloppy joe’s on top of mashed potatoes before?  Game changer…) before crashing early.  Henry stated at 7:15 PM that he was going to get ready for bed.  He has never done that before, Dada and I were pretty surprised, but really, we weren’t far behind him.  We planned on heading to the beach for fireworks with the older two, but we were all asleep before the show began, even Mama and Dada.

Next morning, while Henry and Dada closed up shop at the campsite, the rest of us went down to the beach for some exploring.  A low tide made it fun to find fish and crabs (and a car tire, which was sooo cool).  On the way home we met up with one of Mama’s work friends and her husband and the boys got to play at a playground and buy nickel candy (which, is not, in fact, a nickel…).  A little bit a traffic later and we were home.  Exhausted, dirty and happy.

We may not be able to take our boys on fancy trips across oceans or countries, but I do hope that they have fond memories of these trips.  It really is simple things that make them so happy- roasting marshmallows, running down a trail in the forest, finding shells and rocks at the beach.  Our house is littered with treasures from our trips and I couldn’t think of anything better to make our home ours.  Our nature loving boys make everything a blast.  Every trip we plan something else to do with them, another place to visit, another trip to add to the calendar.  Somehow, while out with these fellas, you forget the gigantic bag of dirty laundry, the sand in your sleeping bag and your unwashed hair.  Because, it doesn’t matter.  Your baby will crawl around the pine needles and throw pinecones- and be happy.  Your preschooler will walk further than he ever has before and collapse asleep with marshmallow stuck to his cheek (and his fingers, and elbows and shoulders…).  Your seven year old will just want to go to the beach one more time (always one more time).  And your nine year old will be ready to tow the camper and set up camp on his own by the time he is ten.  We may look like feral animals when we return home, but boy, we have fun.

 

{this moment}

We spent the most wonderful fourth of July holiday over on the peninsula at Fort Townsend State Park.  It was our second time there and it did not disappoint.  The boys claimed it their favorite camping trip ever.  I would have to agree- we had a great time (and I promise a post on that shortly, too many photos to go through…).  The rest of our week was spent recovering, relaxing, and restocking the refrigerator.  And tonight, while picking raspberries, Henry and Bennett were trying to decide if they were BFF’s (Best Friends Forever), or BFFL’s (Best Friends for Life), or BBF’s (Best Brothers Forever).  Well, my Mama heart melted.  I am always grateful they have each other and that they truly get along and are best friends.  How lucky are they?  I mean seriously?  They really don’t fight (all that often) and want to spend time with each other.  I hope this continues through the teen years and beyond.

 

larabee state park

The 2017 camping season has begun!  We spent last weekend with our favorite girlfriends at Larabee State Park.  Not our favorite campground, but definitely an awesome area of Washington.  We hiked, swam in a lake, swam in the Salish sea, ate gelato, watched trains, woke up to trains, ran, played, and went to sleep with marshmallow covered faces.  It was a good time.  We even saw a beaver swim out of the sound and come up onto the beach.  There were a lot of predictions of how that beaver got into salt water!  We also were reminded that we were a bit rusty when it comes to planning for camping- we forgot quite a few things (coats, hats, towels…) but that will now not happen again!  Thank you friends for another great time!

{this moment}

We successfully made it through our first camping trip of the year (another post on that later) and then hit the ground running with Henry starting summer swim team, restocking our food store, slicing open our chin and needing glue from Urgent Care (Rory) and soaking up summer relaxation with water table/reading time outside.   We are enjoying it (minus the Urgent Care visit, but he has recovered and will have a cool moon shaped scar to tell his children about).

Someone enjoyed their first popsicle (don’t worry, it was just leftover smoothie full of kale and spirulina…)

And someone can do the fireman pole at the park now?  I just about had a heart attack when he ran up and just jumped off, I did not know he could do that now!  I asked him when he learned and I just got a smirk when he ran by, this kid…

Not our first time in a park swing, but first time documented!

one

My dear baby boy,

Thacker, you turned one last week.  You were a bit under the weather which made Mama feel even worse for having to go to work, luckily you were in good hands.  (Funny note, 3 of the 4 boys had their first birthdays on a Friday…).  Let’s start with how wonderful you are.  Everyday I get to snuggle you, and kiss you and be your Mama.  I am forever grateful I was able to talk your Dada in to one more 🙂  You are the perfect fit to our family.

To say I have enjoyed every minute of your first year would be an understatement.  Honestly, it is so freeing not being a first time parent.  I am able to not let things worry me or bug me.  You are not on a routine (you have 3 other brothers with activities, sorry), you are a terrible napper, but you are a trooper.  No baby of mine has ever been drug around more than you have.

You are pretty easy going, until you aren’t.  You want to be held pretty much all the time, but when you are held you push away a lot.  You still really do not enjoy diaper changes but are growing to like eating.  You LOVE baths.  You adore your birthday water table and being outside.  You cry when you are brought inside.  You pound on the back door when you want to be outside.  You try to escape to get outside.  Did I mention you like to be outside?  You have probably eaten a few leaves and bark pieces, but you seem okay.  You love the swing and took your first slide ride today- you thought that was pretty fun too.

You dislike bananas, unless they are in a smoothie.  You like to eat avocado, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pears and chickpeas.  You also could eat more scrambled eggs then a couple of your older brothers.

You have 5 1/2 teeth and are a crusing champ.  You have let go and stood by yourself for a second before you realized and then did the very slow, controlled squat down to the floor.  Your brothers love to hold your hands and walk you around the house.   It took you all of one visit to Alaska to master the stairs.  We have to be very, very careful to make sure the gate is closed or door to the bonus room is shut.  You find that escape path quite easily.

Your brothers adore you.  Henry is constant asking to hold you and he loves to carry you around on his shoulders.  Bennett turns himself into a ferry boat and slides you around the house on  his belly.   Rory tackles you daily.  We are working on that one.  You are one lucky guy- to have these brothers of yours.  So very lucky indeed.

I can not NOT mention your sideburns.  They are awesome.  A lot of people comment on them.  I will not cut them.

This has been the fastest year of my life, I knew it would be a blink, but I really wasn’t prepared.  I have done nothing productive, minus, of course, keeping you and your brothers fed, moderately clean and to activities “on time.”  But I have not really cared.  Holding you, hearing you giggle, nursing you, waking up next to you- these are the things I will never forget and always cherish from this year.  I can not wait to see what sort of ragamuffin you become.  We have a house full of chaos, dirt and love and it is all the sweeter with you rounding out the crew.  You turning one is bittersweet- we are moving on from the infant chapter of our lives to toddlerhood and boyhood.  I promise to continue to enjoy every second.  Thank you for reminding us to do that, because it is the most important thing- being present, with you and your brothers.  Enjoying the little things- like watching your face light up when you are swinging, or watching your eyes roll back when you are drifting off to sleep.  I am not taking any of it for granted- you babies have a way to truly show off what makes life grand.

Happy 1st Birthday my sweet, sweet boy!