Monday, November 7, 2011

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

*Warning: This post is also not well thought out, but I had to do it.  I wish I had done it earlier to devote more time to it, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

This post has been a long time coming. The main thing of note from the summer was our mega road trip from Houston to Oregon (and all over other parts of the West) and it took a looong time to recover from all those days in the car.  We've been recovered for quite some time, but then school started and everything else and I just barely looked again to see this post sitting as a draft since September.  Ooops!

The picture above was at the Mulolla Rodeo.  I think the rodeo each summer is the main thing Mulolla is known for.  We loved it.  I much preferred the quaintness of this little outdoor rodeo to the Houston rodeo and all its giganticness.  Is that a word?      
Since thrift store shopping is one of my favorite pastimes, I was sure to do as much as I could while on vacation.  At some point before our trip I found this sleeper for Alayna.  Then in Oregon I found one in Madeleine's size at one of the secondhand stores there.  What are the chances??  How many size 7 footed pajamas even need to exist??  I couldn't resist them.  Now our girls wear matching p.j.'s about once a week.
There's a fabulous little park right around the corner from Spencer's parent's house.  We played in the water there several times during the 2.5 weeks we were there.  While the weather actually felt cold to us Houstonians, we loved being in a cooler place for a while.  And of course being with cousins and grandmas and grandpa made it even better!
Ian and Noah are exactly a year and a day apart in age.  They had such a great time together this summer!  We are hoping and praying and crossing our fingers that Mark gets to do his residency in Houston so we can have them nearby.
Alayna at another fun park one day.  The summer in Oregon is so beautiful!  It makes you want to live there.  The non-stop drizzle during the winter doesn't.
We spent one day at the children's museum.  So fun! 
On our way home we were able to see friends from college who are now in different parts of the west.  This is Allen, who introduced Spencer and me.  I wish we lived closer!  Spending the morning together wasn't nearly long enough, but it was better than nothing.
Grandma Sandi and Aunt Shelley took Alayna and her twin cousin Maren to the library one morning for an activity geared at babies.  Just look at that cute face!
Grandma Montelius lives right by Spencer's parents so we were able to spend lots of time with her too.  She's awesome.  Kris and Cameron (not pictured) are Spencer's cousins who came out from Ohio for the reunion.  You can just see how helpful everyone was.
Here are the twin cousins.  Maren was born on July 1 last year and Alanya was born on July 13.  I just know they are going to be BFFs. :)
On one rainy day, we went to the Family Fun Center and played a few video games as well as climbed around in the Kidopolis playland.
Spencer and I left the kids with grandma and great grandma while we went rafting on the Deschutes River with Holly, Mark, Drew and Aunt Shelley.  It was so much fun.  Though the water was super cold and I vowed to not get all the way in, tradition says you must at a certain point and I gave in to the peer pressure.  The frigid water took my breath away but obviously I survived.
Spencer drove us out there then had to fly home to work for week before flying back for the reunion.  This must have been one day while he was home.  Check out Madeleine's hideous gorgeous necklace.  The things weighs a ton and I doubt it was really meant to be worn as a necklace, but she sure thinks it's the most beautiful thing around. 
Here we are with the whole Rands crew on beach day.  Pretty creative sand building, right?  I had absolutely nothing to do with that.  That was all Grandpa Paul and Uncle Drew.  Very impressive, don't you agree?
A family picture on the beach. 
One last photo-op with Grandma M before we had to hit the road and head for home.

Last but not least, our family photo from the professional photo shoot.

I think I will have to find more pictures to post because there was so much more to document.  Stay tuned for another post on this topic.  Hopefully before next year!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween 2011

*Warning: This post is not very well thought out and is a major picture dump.  Sorry if you're expecting something more eloquent.

Halloween was so great this year!  We went trick-or-treating with a couple families from church and it was pretty much perfect!  Spencer kept Alayna with him at the house with the other dads and another baby.  The other moms and I took the bigger kids out.  Madeleine and Ian are both big enough to really get it and really enjoy it.  Plus we were with really great friends!  No complaints from us whatsoever!  Hallie brought an extra cow costume for me to wear.  Madeleine told me I shouldn't wear it.  "That will be so embarassing!"  I'm not sure if she thought it would embarass her or me, but I did wear it and I wasn't embarassed at all.  I'll have to ask if she was.  Ashley's the cute witch in the middle.  You maybe can't tell but she is wearing a witch hat. 
This was not for Halloween.  It was just an instance of Maddie putting Alayna in dress-up clothes.  I love her nice round tummy.

Carving pumpkins was so great this year too!  Again, Madeleine and Ian are big enough to help, and appreciate what we are doing.  And they took a break from fighting with each other while we did it.  The icing on the cake was part-way through when Madeleine went and got the scriptures to read to us during the carving.  Thinking ahead, I tell ya. 
Ian as Ben 10.  I'm pretty pround of his costume.  I bought the pants at Goodwill for about $5 then used fabric paint to put the stripe on a white shirt we already had.  And the omnitrix (or ultamatrix, who knows?) we already had too. 
Good likeness, right?
This picture is horrible, but Madeleine's costume is adorable.  She had decided a few months ago that she wanted to be a fairy and we were planning to use some stuff we had and add a few things to it, hopefully items found at the thrift store.  Well, I happened upon this dress with the wings at Goodwill for $5.  Amazing, right?!  The dress was about 6 inches longer and there were some tears in the tulle, but I was able to make it the right length above the rips in the fabric and put the ribbon back on and it turned out just perfect.
Alayna was Marie from the Aristocats.  I haven't even seen that movie, but we've had this costume from when Madeleine was a baby so this is what Alayna got to be.  She only wore it to the Trunk-or-Treat at church and since it was actually pretty chilly that night, I think she was glad to be in such a warm get up.  Her face in this picture cracks me up!
We made it to a couple Fall Festivals too.  One at Maddie's school (no pictures from that one) and this one at the church where Ian goes to Pre-K.  They really went all out!  There were several different bounce house type things.  On this one, you see how long you can stay on the surfboard while it moves around.  Ian told me I messed him up by telling him to look at me for a picture.  Oops!  Sorry!
They also had a pony ride.  Oh and by the way, everything was free.  
Alayna wasn't too sure about the pony ride.  She was quite upset at first, but once they got moving and she realized Spencer was staying with her she calmed down.  I'm not prepared to say that means she liked it, but she didn't cry the whole time.  Just a little at first.

I can't believe how fast the year is going by!  I feel like I'm being catapulted into the holidays.  Am I ready?  Probably not, but I better get there.