Thursday, April 27, 2017

CA or bust- Spring break 2017

So it was time for spring break and boy did we need it.  This winter has had the most precipitation on record for the inland northwest and I for one was sick of it.  Sure I like the snow and rain, but my jobsite is a mess and trying to burn soils at 900F when it is pissing rain all day every day makes it all the more harder and more expensive.  I needed a break and really wanted to get time to just hang out with the fam.  That meant it was time head south for our bi-annual trip to see friends and family in California.
I see a trip to California as severing two purposes.  One is to get out and see some sunshine and enjoy the weather, the other is to remind me why I moved to Washington and make me thankful I don't have to line in California.  I know Cali is great, it has great weather and some good people, but man is it full of crazies, traffic, exorbitant pricing, and of course taxes.  With all the taxes you would expect exceptional government services right...of course not.  But that is the price you pay to live where it has only two seasons instead of four.
Loaded up and ready to go.  We decided on the way down that we would stay the night halfway and it was a good thing. Driving with kids is tough.  I was able to find out I can drive and reach back and grab one by the throat though and that is something new.  And you thought driving while texting was tough, try driving while parenting.
we stopped at the Froese's and Brenda's old school to see some friends and the kids had a great time.  The boys love to wear shorts anyway, so California was great for them. 
We had to hit up the Santa Cruz boardwalk for some rides and ice cream.  James tried to get into the Giant Dipper, but got turned back.  Brenda went with Karen later on and said it was a good he got turned away because she would have been freaking out with him on it next to her.  I am sure he also would have hated it, but wanted to see his reaction anyway.
After the beach we were off to the Schenk's.  They have access to a house in Monterey and they were able to get it for the weekend.  It has plenty of room for both of our families and was very fun, plus it was free.  If you know me, that is a price I don't mind paying.
Of course we headed out to the see all of the sites.
We were able to have a kid take a picture of us.  As usual or dads (or at least me), this is about the only picture I am in for the whole vacation. 
The weather on day 1 was so nice we headed off to the beach.  I think it was about 75 and barely any wind.  perfect for catching a few waves.  I brought my wetsuit so I headed out as well and was able to catch a few waves.  I really enjoy the water.
I don't think that Matt had a plan on what we was doing except that he wanted to see what would happen when he poured water into a hole.  Kids need to explore and find things out on their own and it is way more fun that way anyway.
I think he may have been a little cold after running into the 50 degree water.
Photo bombing kiddos in the background and the boys, well, acting like normal.  When you take a picture and tell a kid to act then remember what normal is, and normal is not really what you wanted.
Sierra also had a great time.  I think we were seeing sand in her diaper for 3 days after the beach, but I have probably said to much about that already.
Hudson and James had a great time out back of the house.  James was not sure how to play Hudson's game and Hudson did not know what game James was trying to play, but they figured it out eventually.
I guess it is a thing to go see this bagpiper play at the golf course, so we did it.  We me up with some of San Jose CRC friends as well.  There is a restaurant there that the corking fee on a bottle of wine is $25.  It is a dream of mine to have enough disposable income that I bring my own wine to that restaurant and pay that fee, and they uncork some 2 buck chuck for me.  I think it would class that place up a bit.
The last day at the house we headed to the tide pools for some fun.  I was a little worried Sierra would forget how to walk since the Schenk kids carried her everywhere, but she remembered and all was well.
Matt showing off his starfish.
James and Brookie also found a few things they were not scarred to touch
Next installment of this will chronicle the trip to the aquarium, central valley, and my Grandma's 90th birthday...and the trip back home.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Chiefs game and Sierra is Walking!!!!

These two boys amaze me each and every day I see them interact.  They are so different in just the right way.  I know they can fight and don't always get along, but when they do get along it is amazing to watch and give you hopes that they will continue to play nicely and become lifelong friends.
Coloring on the table.  Of course anything they do has to be near an adult and they have a hard time staying in their own space, but these days are so precious.
As a Life Group we went to a Spokane Chiefs game again this year.  One guy in our groups works for the chiefs and I texted him during the game that we needed Boomer in our section.  He did not disappoint and while Matt was watching the game Boomer came and sat right next to him.  Seeing his face light up was so much fun.  James is a little hesitant with people in costumes, but Matt was mesmerized and loved very minute of it.
Look at the excitement on his face.
When I walk through the door at the end of a long day there is no telling what I am going to see.  Superheros, legos, and of course some wacko trying to cut me with a saw.  I love to be greeted at the door no matter what they are dressed up as or what they are acting like.  There is only a few years when you are greeted like this from your kids and I want to take advantage of every day.
Sierra is right on her way to walking.  it seems that in the last week she went from hesitant to confident and is walking all over the place now.  Brenda says she is taking a lot of naps as well and I can only assume it is because the is covering so many miles in a day on those two little legs.
Brenda and I got a night out the other weekend.  Now the Brenda's parents live so close (they moved only 1 miles down the road), we are starting to take advantage of the free babysitting.  There is nothing like a little bluegrass to make your feet stomp and give you hope for the future.  Every time I see bluegrass musicians, I really wish I knew how to play the mandolin.  There is nothing like the sound of live music...having a good looking woman sitting next to you is icing on the cake.
Here is proof that our youngest has reached the ever important walking milestone.  Next up is riding the dirt bike, but Brenda thinks I am jumping too far ahead.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Part 2 and Birthdays

Below are the boys in uniform as regularly seen around our house.  I thought I would start the off as competitors and rivals although that may not be a good thing in the end.  There is nothing like a little competition to get the blood pumping.  James likes the Seachickens and it is most likely because I don't like them.  He can be very contrary and regularly says he loves whatever I don't.  I have not found out how to use this to my advantage and am just trying to break him of that habit.
These two are the best two boys you could ask for.
James made me a coupon book for Christmas.  Brenda says it was all his idea, but I wonder where he came up with it.  He actually does give pretty good backrubs and I plan on cashing in on "get you a drink" and "shovel the driveway" very soon.
Now for the crowning jewel of Christmas....The Turducken.  I boned the duck and turkey and had some duck from this years hunting left over so I thought I would give the turducken a try.  It turned out great and gave us lots of food for all our friends that came over.
Jim got James and Matthew some coin collecting books and James had a hoot.  Looking at all the dates and finding the shiny coins kept him busy for a few hours and also kept Jim pretty busy.
There was a break in the weather and a little warming trend that made the snow just right for making a snowman.  He ended up being 7' tall and they boys loved to make it.
I took some time off over Christmas and Brenda thought it would be a good idea to go roller-skating.  I thought that was a good idea as well, but I should have known that they would not have my size skates.  I pulled daddy duty (also known as parenting) and watched Sierra while Matthew, James and Brenda tore it up on the rink.
The kids love the bath time. 
Opened a few late Christmas gift of super hero masks and capes.  Masks and capes or costumes are standard attire any time of day at our house.  They are also considered PJ's at times.
Matthew turned 4 recently and he wanted to go to the train place and have a party.  It is more of an older guy and nerd clubhouse so I don't think parties are really available for parties, but we did go to the train place and brought some cupcakes for the members of the model railroad club.  Notice the birthday ribbon he wore and of course he was in full costume.
Both of these boys could spend a lot of time at the clubhouse and it is really detailed.  I see something new every time I go there.
Then it was time to go back home and eat more cupcakes.
Sierra is so much like her mother it is scary.
We went away that weekend to Helena for a work training thing and was able to stop in a see a few friends.  It is amazing how fast kids make friends and get used to their new surroundings.
Then it was off to grandma and grandpas house in Bozeman for the weekend and celebration of Sierra's birthday.  There is only so much you can do with a 1 year old, but we tried all the same.  We went to a Manhattan Christian B-ball game and saw them invoke the 40 point rule because they were beating their opponents so badly.
She was pretty good at getting most of the cake in her mouth, but really concentrated on the frosting.  Who can blame her.
Look at that cutie.

Monday, February 6, 2017

December part 1

I am so far behind on the photo uploads that I think I will have to put December into two separate posts and then in the second I will bring it up to date.
The end of the month had me at work for a bit till about December 20 and then our contractor left the site.  what all of the cold temps in the area did make was a lot of ice.  That meant that before work was done, I had time to do some ice fishing with my co-worker.  We did not catch too much, but we did get to grill out, watch Monday night football, and drink a beer or two.  Now if that is not American and I am not sure what is.
Here is a little photo of the setup and the fun.  It was very cold that night, but having a BBQ and a heater made it very nice.
When my parents were out it was my dad's birthday.  We told him he could go anywhere he wanted and he chose to go to Chuck e cheese.  I think the look on a grandchild's face must be a world of difference because I would have said no right away, but my dad could not.  That place is a petri dish of bacteria.  Luckily, my immune system has been subjected to constant doses of kiddo germs, but my dad unfortunately has not.  On the way back home to Montana the next day....the germs kicked in and made for a very rough ride.
I thought with all of the snow we got during this season it was a good time to get the Z50 out and tow the kids up and down the street.  James and Matthew love it, but I have yet to get Sierra out on the sled.  Mom made me promise not to put her on it and under fear for my own life, I have kept that promise.
Work was kind of slow and that let me stay home a couple off days and take on some more "mom" duties.  I was able to watch the kids while Brenda ran errands or helped out her parents get the house ready to move in.  Sierra loves here bouncy chair hung from the ceiling and fell asleep in it.  I sent this picture to Brenda and her first question to me was did you put her in her bed after she fell asleep.  Of course I could not move something so precious, so I made it clear that when I am in charge...I am in charge and don't need to be second guessed.  I then waited 5 minutes and moved her to her bed.  I am a man dang it and I will do what I please.
This is what Sierra looks like 50% of the time she is awake.
Then it was time for some Christmas photos in front of the tree.  We once again went to the woods to get a tree.  We were not to picky this year since Brenda and I were both recovering from the belly bug and walking out in the wood looking at trees was not high on my priority list at the time.
Brenda gave Sierra a cabbage patch doll for Christmas.  I am sure she does not know how lucky she is to get the real thing and not a flower patch kid.
I could care less about opening gifts, but when you have kids it is so much fun to watch them enjoying it.  We don't go hog wild with the kids spending all sort of money and you really don't have to.  Kids like everything it seems.
Both of the boys get football uniforms and helmets which is what they really wanted.  For $30 a piece you  can make a kids Christmas and give them fun for years to come.  Those uniforms did not get off of their bodies for 4 days(and nights).
Matthew got the pie in the face game and that produced hours of enjoyment for the boys.  They even tried to play the game with their helmets on. 
To be continued...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fall and now wintertime fun

This fall has proved to be one for the ages.  Kids are growing and getting bigger and because I am working in a town that only serves hamburgers, I seem to be getting bigger as well.  For the first time at my annual physical it showed I had gained 10lbs.  For years I have been maintaining the same weight no matter what I ate or how much of it.  Gone are the days when I can eat a entire box of Oreo's, but I still manage to squeeze a few in.  I hate working out more than I love food.
Sierra was planning to be a chicken for Halloween
James is getting into making things himself and being very creative.  He found a styrofoam cooler in our garbage and thought it looked like a robot.  Sure enough, knock out one side of the box and you have a square robot head.  Add in some screws and golf tees and there he was sporting his new hat and leaving white balls all over the place.
Matthew and James really like little Sierra.  She is loved and always has someone who wants to give her a kiss.  She does not look like she is enjoying it all that much in this photo though.
Duck hunting this fall has proven to be very productive.  Lots of shells were shot and lots of birds were killed.
Sierra is always walking around the coffee table.  She has not yet decided to do any walking without holding on to something so that restricts her a little bit.  She finally decided to start doing the stairs as well and even though she goes up and down all of the time, she has yet to take a tumble.  A kid learning how to get around is kind of a mixed blessing.
Rub a dub dub, three DeJongs in a tub.  These goofs are so much fun to be around it is amazing.  I like a nice hot bath, but for some reason kids like the water to be barely lukewarm.  Yuck.
Matthew made a indian costume for thanksgiving and he put on a small skit with the help of mom and James.  They acted out the first thanksgiving and he played the part of Squanto.  They made up most of the lines on the fly, but after they had practiced it a few times, I was pretty impressed with the final stage version.
We ran down to grandma and grandpas for Thanksgiving.  I thought it would be a good idea to bring the motorcycle down so they could tear around the farm for one last time before the snow flies.  After a little bit of hesitation and a couple of time close to the house, James had gained enough confidence and rode all over the fields and back 40.
They boys had one last ride in the speedster before it was brought up to Spokane.  My in-laws have bought a house a mile away from ours and now have started the task of moving after 37 years in the same place.  We are very excited to have them move closer and are looking forward to seeing them a lot more.  Brenda grew up right by her grandparents while I was 2000 miles away from mine.  I think closer is better and we think that having them nearby is going to be a lot of fun. 
Once the older two boys are in bed, we can relax and hang out with Sierra.  She does not need anyone to talk to or interact with and is always busy just crawling around and looking in things.  So very cute.
Ninja Turtle knitted hats and hanging out outside.  These are the things that all childhoods should be filled with.  Come to think of it, all adult life should be filled with the same.
Wrestling time is no excuse for Sierra not to participate.  She is one tough girl and loves to wrestle and rough house around with the boys.
This past week Brenda and I had a chance to go to the annual Christmas party in Seattle.  We got to hang out with some of my co-workers I had not seen in a while and go for a night on the town as well.  The grandparents graciously agreed to watch the kiddos, so we were able to get out and have a great time by ourselves.
We also were able to watch The Pretenders and Stevie Nicks from the box suites with unlimited food and drinks for all.  That was a special treat and we are very thankful for the tickets.
The winter has finally come in full force.  Sub freezing temps had made for pretty good sledding conditions for as long as one can stand to be outside.  These boys love to go outside for a little bit anyway.  They wear me out rather fast and I have not problem keeping warm with them asking to to drag them around in the sled.