Monday, April 30, 2012

Coast trip

We are celebrating!  Celebrating James finishing his 2nd year of optometry school!  He is no longer a 2nd year.  He's a 3rd year!  We're moving up in this little optometry world we live in.  

I remember first coming here and being so excited, telling everyone we were 1st years.  I was so proud of us, getting into the school and packing up our life and moving to a new town. 

Now I pity those 1st years, just starting.  It's a long road, but now we're half way done.  It's gone by pretty fast really.  

 Anyway, to celebrate this milestone of completing another year of optometry school (and to take advantage of the week long break James gets), we went to the coast.

The weather wasn't the best though.  It was overcast and drizzling.  We didn't let that stop us though, we just got a hotel instead of camping in any way, shape or form.  The kids loved staying in the hotel.  It had a small pool and this is the first time the kids wanted to swim in it.  So we splashed around there for about an hour.    

I'm getting ahead of myself though.  We first went to Tillamook and went to the Air Museum they have in an old blimp hanger.  We've never been there and it was interesting, for a little while.  

 The kids would have been satisfied seeing a couple of jets and then playing in the little ones they have set up for kids.  

Taylor's favorite plane because it has pink on it.

 The museum had a lot of information about the two World Wars and some vehicles from the wars as well.

After the Air Museum we had to go to the Tillamook Cheese Factory of course, for some "squeaky cheese."   

Then we headed north to Seaside.  We found our hotel and then walked around.  We found a carousel and a toy store and salt water taffy. 

 The kids chose their "horses."  Logan was looking up at the mechanics of the carousel most of the ride.  After the ride, he was able to explain to us exactly how it works.

We relaxed in our hotel, the kids swam in the pool.  It was great.  Our hotel was right across from the Convention Center.  In fact from our room we could see the front doors and we kept watching kids walking out with big, golden cup trophies.  We found out that there was a huge chess tournament that weekend.

The next day we headed north again, to Astoria.  We didn't stop though, we headed over the bridge and into Washington.  

 We've been trying to get to Cape Disappointment ever since we moved up here, but we never quite make it.  This time we did.

Dead Man's Cove, on our hike up to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.  We all decided there must be pirate treasure buried there, especially since all the posted signs said, "No beach Access."  Sounds like somebody's hiding something to me!

North Head Lighthouse. 

 There was another lighthouse on Cape Disappointment and we hiked to it too.  It was a bit windy, but still fun.

This is as close to the beach as we got on our trip to the coast.  But that's okay.  We saw places we've never been to before and spent the weekend together as a family.
We made our way back home via Washington.  We drove along the Columbia river.  It was a beautiful drive.  

Now we have a whole week with James home.  What to do?   What to do?  The kids are so excited.  We may go on a couple of day trips, or just stay home and hang out here.  It's gonna be a good week though!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring Walk

I love Spring, but the weather is so unpredictable.  Today for example we started with cold, gloomy, yet dry weather that went to actual rain showers and then the sun came out and it felt warm enough to take off coats.  Then the wind started picking up and the coats went back on.  

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous though, hot even.  So we spent most of the day outside.  When it comes to Spring weather, you just gotta take advantage of the nice days when you get them.

I decided to take pictures of our walk one warm day.  Here's our walk in pictures.  

A small mound of dirt...

 that turned out to be ants.  
The kids were mesmerized.  We watched them for a long time.  We were all half amazed, half freaked out.

We stopped by a park on our walk.  Logan's off playing; wouldn't stand still long enough for a picture.

A man was out working in his garden and as we walked by he gave Taylor a huge daffodil.  It made her day!

My all-time favorite flower.  I just love them.

We often ride/walk by a local park that also has a skate park.  The kids love riding their bikes up and down the ramps.  They do this of course during school hours, because after school it is overflowing with "skaters."

Once we went passed in the afternoon and there were several youth, milling about, wearing black tee-shirts with who knows what symbols and phrases on them and black pants that lack belts to keep them up properly, all with music plugged into at least one of their ears, and smoking, eating and drinking.  I think I might have even seen one skating.

Taylor, meanwhile is in her own little world, riding her bike next to Logan and myself.  We are on the sidewalk, passing the skate park and Taylor is singing, almost shouting, "NEPHI WAS COURAGEOUS, THIS WAS HIS REPLY, I WILL GO, I WILL DO, THE THING THE LORD COMMANDS..."  It was quite the contrast.

The other day, Logan confessed to me that he was coming down the stairs recklessly, fast and stiff-legged too.  Apparently he scared himself and almost got hurt.  

After he told me all of this, I asked him, "And what lesson did you learn?"

He answered, "To just go down the stairs normal, with joints in your legs!"

Another time we were all watching a movie.  (Now when the kids are watching t.v., you might as well not even talk to them because it's not like they're going to respond anyway).

Then Logan unexpectedly turned to me for five seconds and said, "Little kids have an attention span of... only one..."

Yes?  I'm waiting.  One what?  We'll never know because our little one was already back to watching the movie. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Trip to the Library

We had this wonderful plan to go to a new library every week throughout the winter.  But like so many of my brilliant plans, it didn't happen.  We went to a few and then it just got forgotten I guess.  

Well the other day we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to a nearby library.  Just like each of the other libraries we visited, this one is the kids' new favorite.   There are several reasons for this...

1.  It has a drinking fountain.  (They were "dying" of thirst when we got there).
 2. It has an awesome table and chairs in the shape of pencils and notebook paper. 

 3.  It has fun magnet puzzle/games. 

4. The kids found lots of fun books (Star Wars and Rainbow Fairies).

 5. And last, but not least, it has a park right next to it!!!

 A new park that we'd never been to before.

 With fun, new stuff we've never played on before!

There's this giant, carved Indian head statue in the park too.  It's dark wooden in color and nestled in amongst trees.   It's also right by a road, which happens to be the road to Target.  So every time we drive that way the kids always look for the Indian head. 

Now, after 2 years of living here and driving past him, the children have finally met the Indian head.  

Good, we can check that off our list now.  When we first moved here it seemed we'd be here for so long.  Now we're down to 1 year left, give or take a few months.  So I am starting to feel like we do need to make a list of things we want to do and see in the area.

James is taking a final as we speak.  He has one per day this week.  Then he'll have a whole week off.  He will be a 3rd year!  Then he'll have his white coat ceremony and the very next day be in clinic with real patients and everything!  We're all so proud and excited for him.  

Love you, Babe!  Good luck this week!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Happy Easter!  
We hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

I don't usually do much for holidays.  They have a way of sneaking up on me and catching me unprepared.  So Saturday, James asked me if I had anything planned.  I told him, "No, of course not."

So he went shopping for the ham and potatoes that he'd be fixing for Easter dinner.  He also got some jelly beans and luckily we already had empty Easter eggs from previous years. 

So we ended up with Easter festivities in spite of my failings as a holiday enthusiast.  (My mother always decorated for each and every thing that could possibly be called a holiday.   I just didn't inherit her creativity or energy I guess).  

Church came before everything though.  During Sacrament Meeting Taylor made me some "math" to do.  (I ask the kids to do a couple of math pages almost everyday.  So Taylor has taken it upon herself to make sure I have math to do too).  

This is the page she handed me during church, complete with instructions.  She made it up all by herself, without any help from anyone.

"Write how many squares are in the box"

"Write how many triangles are in the box"
She's just too cute.  James and I chuckled our proud heads off all during the intermediate hymn.

The Easter Egg Hunt.  

The kids insisted on doing it in our postage stamp sized living room.  I wanted to do it outside, in our front yard.  It took them less than 5 minutes to find all of their eggs (eight each).  Maybe that's why they wanted them hidden in a small area, to get to the candy sooner.

I tried hiding Logan's a little harder than Taylor's.  But it was Taylor who ended up helping Logan find some of his.  She'd stand near his egg and clear her throat loudly, while pointing in the direction of his egg.  

We also introduced the kids to Peeps.

 They both liked them.

Since it was such a beautiful day, James took the kids to the school playground near our house.  I followed a few minutes later with the camera. 

And there you have it, our simple, yet beautiful Easter.  The kids loved telling us about what they learned in church, about the resurrection and Jesus "coming back to life!"  

Saturday, April 7, 2012

21 Point

"THE 21 Point!!!"  
The term strikes fear in the bravest of hearts! 

Okay, not really.  You might not have even heard the term, except  when getting your car's oil changed.  "21 point inspection with your oil change" or something.

Well it means something different to us.  It's the eye exam that the optometry students have to do on their "patients".  They are tested on how well they can do it, in a given a time, which only adds pressure.  It takes roughly an hour to do the exam.  James and his classmates have been practicing this 21 point for 7 months!  They did at least one 21 point exam, every week!

Well, James' "21 point" test was on Thursday at 3pm!  We were all nervous for him, but knew he'd do well.  We prayed for him several times that day.  He'd gotten a priesthood blessing and I think that helped us all have peace of mind.  

He did awesome!  Passed with flying colors!  Of course!  It's not official yet because the points and grade haven't been tallied yet.  But we know he didn't fail it.  We know he doesn't have to retake any part of it.  He did amazing!

We made posters and hung them where James would see them as he walked through the door. 

Taylor's poster.

Taylor's other poster.

Logan's poster.

We made posters and pie and got Chinese takeout for dinner to celebrate.  James took the evening off from studying so we could watch a family movie together.  It was nice and relaxing. 

The pie, which was the kids' idea. (They're good at coming up with ideas that involve mommy working and themselves playing.  My idea was the takeout dinner).

This is a HUGE milestone.  Passing the 21 point means that he's able to continue in his schooling.  He can work in clinics as an intern.  He'll get his "white coat" in a special ceremony in the beginning of May.  To me, him passing the 21 point is bigger than finishing any single semester.  It's as big as getting into Optometry School itself.  

So in honor of the 21 point and James doing well, I made up my own little 21 point.  (I hope James will forgive me for talking so much about him on the blog).

21 Point 
1. We are soooooo proud of you James, we practically burst when we talk about you.

2. Oh, how much we love you, James!  

3. We miss you when you're gone to school and/or are busy studying, which is 90% of the time. 

4. We know you're working so hard at school.

5. You're doing awesome in school.  You make it look easy, but we know it's not.  We know how hard you're working.

6. You're already a great eye doctor, even though you're only 1/2 way through with your schooling.

7. You've made it through 2 years (almost) of optometry school and through the 21 point!!!

8. You only have 2 years of school left!  (And one of those with just traveling the globe).  ;)

9. You are a wonderful example to our children.  I remind them often that if they want to be as smart as you, they need to study and work hard like you.

10. You're the best dad, just ask the kids.  They adore you!

11. You're also the best husband, very supportive and patient.  I love spending time with you.

12. You've got ideas and plans for the future, our future.  You're often thinking of how you can best provide and take care of your family.

13. You're a friend to all.  Everybody who knows you, likes you.  You haven't got a mean bone in your body.

14. You're a wonderful teacher and you love showing and explaining things to others in a way they'll understand it, whether it be about eyes, electronics, physics, bikes, or the gospel. 

15. You're always willing to serve and help others.

16. You're a wonderful son to your parents (and to your parents-in-law too).

17. I'm glad you're really enjoying what you're learning in optometry school, even though it is intense, stressful and overwhelming most of the time.

18. You have a great enthusiasm for life and learning.  Logan will ask, "What did you learn today?" and you'll excitedly tell him something in a way he'll understand it.  I love that because it gets Logan excited about learning.

19. You also ask the children what they learned about.  And just as importantly, you DON'T ask, "what's for dinner?" very often!

20. You've never missed a class in the 2 years you been in optometry school.  You're up every morning, no matter what and off to school, rain or shine.  It means a lot that you're taking it seriously and that you're willing to sacrifice to do what is required.

21. Oh, we're at 21 already!?!  I have so much more I could brag, I mean say about you, James.  You're my very best friend, my whole world, my support.  I hope you know that we're trying to support you too.

Love you, so much!!!