Sunday, January 1, 2017

Farewell 2016

January 1, 2017

Remember the days when I updated the blog every day? Clearly those days are looong gone! Which excuses shall I give this time? Nah, forget it! Perhaps one of my New Year's resolutions should be to commit to keeping up the blog better in 2017. Wish me luck!

  
August 29, 2016

Where do I start? How about the first day of school? Kinley and I started school together this year. She is in a half-day Pre-K program four days a week. She even goes to school on the bus all by herself! She seems to like it! Her teachers report that she enjoys circle time, singing, and playing with a few favorite toys.


     
 Halloween 2016
My ocean creatures!
    
Devyn was very indecisive about Halloween this year. She loved looking at costumes when we went shopping, but when I'd ask her which one she wanted to wear she'd say, "No, I'm fine." I finally persuaded her to pick Nemo and Dory for her and Kinley. Ellison was a lobster and Brylee was a fish. Devyn was the only one who enjoyed trick-or-treating. The little girls just wanted to run around, so they cried and whined the whole time they were in the stroller. Kinley wasn't much of a fan either. Luckily, Devyn collected enough candy for everyone! 

 Pumpkin Patch fun with Grandpa and Grandma


Devyn started going to "school" at the beginning of November as well! We felt it was important for her to spend time around other kids her age. I am so happy we did! Her vocabulary has improved tremendously since she started, and she loves school! Her school is technically a daycare, but they include "school time" every day.   
Ready for her first day of school with her Dory lunchbox. 
(Devyn does NOT like getting her photo taken for some reason.)

    
 Swim Lessons
Brylee and Ellie finally get a turn!

Devyn started the independent lessons (hence no photo of her). She wasn't too sure about leaving Mom and Dad and had a few meltdowns resulting in missed lessons, but she warmed up a little toward the end. Hopefully next time her lessons will be more productive.
Kinley loves the water!


    
                             Brylee loves to color!                                   Getting a lift from Dad!
                                                              Ellie loves the shoe bin!


And because I realized I never shared the updated NICU bath tub photos......

Devyn Marie
 
6 weeks old
      
                                           2 years old                                    3 years old

Kinley Grace
  
3 weeks old
        
                                         2 years old                                     3 years old


Fun at the park!
     
                                       Ellie Mae                                               Brylee Quinn

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Aloha!

August 20, 2016

Summer is almost over:-( It'll be back to work for me soon, but it has been a great summer so I won't complain. Too much. 

The highlight of the summer was an amazing Hawaiian vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary! Grandmas Marsh and Bjerke took on the challenge of watching the girls so that we could get away alone. Thank goodness for grandmas!!!

After months of anticipation and planning, I had a mile long list of all the things I wanted to see, eat, and do while in Hawaii. And I'm happy to say that we did just about ALL of them:-) I suppose my husband would say that because of my list, it wasn't the most relaxing vacation, but any day without four kids running around me is relaxing in my opinion!

The day we arrived on Kauai, we headed straight for the East side of the island for Waimea Canyon, aka The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. We got a few good photos on our way up into the mountains, but the clouds rolled in quickly and by the time we reached the top, all we saw were clouds and rain.
 Waimea Canyon
On our way back around the island to head towards our hotel, I requested a stop at Glass Beach. I admit this may have been the most underwhelming item on my list of must-dos. Basically the beach sand is small smoothed glass particles created from years of pollution. Gross, huh? But the photos I had seen online looked pretty cool! Anyway, it was a short-lived stop on the island tour. Oh well, at least I got my photo:-)
 Glass Beach

On the second day of the trip I had booked a tubing adventure that takes you through old sugar plantation canals. The canals flow through tunnels in the mountains, so you have to wear mining helmets with lights so that you can see in the dark. It was a unique experience and so much fun!
I couldn't take my phone or camera with me, so all I got were these cheesy photos at the headquarters where you get all your gear.

Photo stop on our way to the tubing drop-off point. Such beautiful country! Fun fact: During the 5 minutes we paused here, I managed to break that fence. Oops!

Above: Wailua Falls-Just a gorgeous 100+ foot waterfall that you can drive right up to.
Below: The Spouting Horn blowhole wasn't spouting much this day. But I still checked it off my list!

On our third day we enjoyed a Na Pali Coast boating tour. The coastline can only be viewed in its entirety by helicopter or boat, as there are no roads along the steep cliffs. The photos don't even come close to doing the scenery justice. On calm days, small boats and kayaks can actually go into some of the caves carved out by the ocean. We were able to see the caves, but couldn't enter due to high waves. Our tour included snorkeling as well, but we were unable to due to the murky water caused my nearby storms. We didn't mind at all! It was wonderful to enjoy the breathtaking views and the ocean breeze.  
Na Pali Coast

After a "slow" day of no major adventures and some actual relaxation on the beach and at the pool, I decided we were ready for a real challenge! The Kalalau Trail is a very well-known, and extremely difficult, hiking trail along the Na Pali coast. The complete hike is 22 miles round-trip, and requires permits for overnight camping--certainly not my idea of a vacation! However, the first two miles (each way) to Hanakapiai beach is a very popular route to get a "taste" of the Kalalau experience with amazing views. In our pre-children days we enjoyed hiking, so I thought it would be fun! Well, in addition to an already challenging hike, the constant rain showers made the already tough trail incredibly difficult for these two amateurs! We were slipping and sliding our way along, but we made it to the beach. Never in my research did I read that you had to cross a RIVER to get to the actual beach!! Normally, there are enough rocks you can hop across, but with all the rain, it wasn't so easy! Luckily, the hubby sacrificed his own dry feet to help me (and a bunch of strangers) across to keep my feet dry(ish).
That's both sweat AND rain we are drenched in!
We survived the hike! Our tennis shoes have been better days. 

Hanalei Bay at sunset = perfection!

Celebrating 10 years of marriage, luau style!
Kalamaku Luau

After a week's worth of outings, adventures, relaxation (despite what my husband would tell you), and delicious food on Kauai, we headed to Oahu for the last day and a half of our trip. We stayed in Waikiki--what a change from Kauai! We went from a slow, small-town feeling to big city life! 

While in Honolulu, we went to Pearl Harbor and toured the USS Arizona memorial and the USS Bowfin submarine. We also had the chance to catch up with my "little brother," Eddie, who works on the Air Force base.
USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor


Hawaii was AMAZING! I'm ready for our next vacation! How long do you suppose the Grandmas need to rest before they're ready again!?!?


Oh, wait! Blog readers....did you actually want to read about our kids?!?! Yes, I suppose I should include them as well!
 
 Kinley on the trampoline!

Kinley and I both have our first day of school on August 29th! This will be the beginning of my 12th year of teaching, and Kinley's first day of preschool.  I haven't allowed myself to think about it too much, but I am hopeful that she adjusts fairly quickly....which is not exactly one of her strengths.

  
Devyn clearly has this "big sister" thing figured out! 
(Brylee pushing on the left, Ellie pushing on the right.)

Devyn is doing great! She is potty trained--sort of. Her vocabulary has improved greatly over the summer. We can finally understand most of what she says now. And as if you can't tell from the photos, she is the boss!

 Just sitting on a bench, waiting for big sisters' swim lessons to end. 
(Ellie on left, Brylee on right)

Brylee and Ellison are doing good as well! Brylee finally caught up and started walking in early July. They are feisty little stinkers-they must get it from Devyn. They love to play outside and get dirty! 

 
 One of our favorite places....Kangamoo (an indoor playground)!
Auntie Kim was with us this time!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sweet Summer!

Sunday, June 26

Summer is here and we are enjoying every minute of it! Well, maybe not EVERY minute, but most minutes:-) Our days are full of making messes, playing outside, running to appointments, attending classes, potty training, and whatever else they decide to throw at me!

 Above: Pics from Junior Scientists class 
Below: Devyn is making pizza in Storytime Cooking class.
 

The biggest event of the summer so far has been Devyn and Kinley's third birthday! Grandma and Grandpa Marsh came for the big day and we invited some friends to join us for their ART PARTY! Everyone had a blast! The kids all painted on canvas, and Kinley painted herself as well, and there were other artsy activities for them to do. Summer in Nevada means HEAT, so of course there were some water activities out too to keep everyone cool.

My 3-year-old artists! 

Kinley Fun Facts
Hobbies: singing, watching TV, reading books, playing outside in the water table
Favorite words: all the colors, numbers (to 20), ABCs, and shapes
Favorite foods: hot dogs, cookies, chicken nuggets, french fries
Dislikes: her little sisters, sharing 

Kinley has become such a Daddy's girl! He is pretty much the only person she will directly address when he gets home or leaves..and she does NOT like it when he leaves! She has been evaluated by the school district now that her state early intervention services have ended, so she will be starting 1/2 day preschool in August. I hope that a new environment will get her communicating more. She continues to get therapy at least 3 times a week, and will get these services in preschool as well. 

Devyn Fun Facts
Hobbies: coloring, cooking with Mom, watching Paw Patrol, shopping, playing at the park
Favorite words: Wait for me!, Want to snuggle?, Want to go shopping?, Stop it!
Favorite foods: hot dogs, ice cream, cereal, french fries, chicken nuggets
Dislikes: cleaning up, sharing, being patient (obviously we have some things to work on!)

Devyn continues to rule the house! How can someone be so bossy and demanding one minute, and sweet and loving the next? She is attached to my hip lately! I can't even go upstairs without her freaking out and running after me.

Devyn and Kinley's Art Party!!!
 Ellie is ready for the party too!

 
Dad and Grandpa got the backyard ready for the party!

Daddy designed the aprons for our guests!

Coloring station

The studio is ready for the artists to arrive!

The birthday girls working hard! It looks like Devyn was painting on Kinley's canvas which explains why she never finished her own. 

 
 Artists at work!

The finished products!

                                 Foam sticker station                           Starving artists gotta eat!

A very rare moment...Devyn sharing her birthday cupcake with Kinley!

My birthday girl, Kinley!


Playtime in the backyard!

Ellie and Brylee are almost 15 months old now! Ellison is walking all over the place, while Brylee is still taking her time. She can take a few steps, but usually only when encouraged by Mom or Dad. No real words yet from either of them. They love to play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake! 

Daddy wanted to go fishing for Father's Day...he caught Ellie!



Every birthday girl needs a trip to Chuck E. Cheese with Grandma and Grandpa! 

I don't think our girls like photos

video
The highlight of the birthday...a Jeep from Grandma and Grandpa!
(Devyn needs to work on her steering skills.)