Friday, May 22, 2015

Tunnel Falls

How lucky we were to get away...even if it was only overnight. Paul and I have been waiting to do some long hikes together like we used to before kids. Our last long hike was Ape Caves. It was not actually long, but definitely not one that our kids could have done. Since we've had such a mild spring, we got surprisingly lucky to have an 80 degree day for a hike in the Gorge. It was perfect! We started out with a stay at Skamania Lodge (about 40 miles east of Vancouver), where we enjoyed the hot tub and just being together.

Crossing Bridge of the Gods
The Tunnel Falls hike tested our endurance as the hike was 13 miles long! It had all the Pacific Northwest decor that we just love about living here- moss, overly-green vegetation, water cascading down cliffs, and about six waterfalls.
So 13 miles doesn't sound all that difficult considering it's only half a marathon, but when you are walking over roots and rocks, your feet can take a beating. Being 20 weeks pregnant at the time it was my FEET that felt out of shape the few days following.
Punchbowl Falls
This was one of my favorite hikes EVER! Just amazing scenery and the fact that we succeeded and enjoyed our longest day hike ever.
The tunnel behind the falls
The destination of Tunnel Falls is named this due to the fact that you walk along a ridge and find yourself walking through a tunnel behind a waterfall. So pretty!
Tunnel Falls hike is probably not one for those who are afraid of heights. This hike had some narrow ledges and tall bridges. One of the bridges you cross is in fact called "High Bridge" because it is 120 ft. over the river. And at a few places they have cables bolted into the rock for you to hold on to since the passes are narrow.
After a full day of hiking we went to Chipotle and remembered why we haven't eaten there in years- not to brag, but my food is better.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our Two Peas in a Pod

So I FINALLY got around to taking pictures of our kiddos for their birthday photos. Yes, I know they turned 6 and 3 in January and didn't get them done until end of April. Yikes! The biggest cause of the delay was the fact that our family was sick on and off since January until now. On the plus side, the weather is warming up and the trees are looking greener so this worked out great!
P.S. My sister actually took the pictures. She is much better than myself. :)
Reina is SIX years old and is excelling in her split Kindergarten/First Grade class. She no longer takes reading books home because she is at or above her grade in reading. Of course she still reads nearly every night. She has been checking out Frog and Toad books at the library lately and can easily read a whole book (which has at least 4 stories in them) in one morning. Sometimes I'll wake up to her reading them aloud in her room or she'll join me in bed and read to me. I love it. I enjoy walking her and the other crowd of kids to school, even if it means we have to wear rain boots every morning to march through the wet park. Her favorite things to do at school are writing stories, math, and practicing skipping cross-bars and flips on the bars at recess.
Her favorite past time activities include: gymnastics! (Or as Reina calls it Jin-astics.) She does this for hours on end after school. I'm impressed to see her do a hand stand and then fall into a bridge! I didn't even know she could officially do the splits! She impresses us everyday with how much she can do. She reminds me of myself, but more like me at age 8! Reina is such a "doer" like her mama. She likes to be involved in activities, especially when they are actively pushing her abilities and involving people. She likes to be in charge of groups of people and get them organized doing something. Wow, a lot like me. Toys have never been important to her. Although she has more than enough of the girlie dolls, dress-up and ponies, she still prefers to do activities with people. I, on the other hand, loved Barbies and ponies and dress-up.
She struggles with what we call "attitude". She is a talker and likes to respond to EVERYTHING that is said. If she is having a negative moment, she likes everyone to know it and to feel the same. Ugh. Sometimes I feel like I'm living with a 13 year old who has to find fault with everything. We are working on it. It's getting better and at least she keeps this part of her away from school. Reina really is a wonderful daughter who is full of personality, energy, and kindness. We've always said she could be a child actress with her natural ability to perform. She talks with so much enthusiasm and facial expressions- just like her daddy. We are very proud of our little girl who isn't so little anymore.

Baelor is THREE years old and I forget to treat him like a three year old all the time. He enjoys to be cuddled and coddled like a baby, until he goes outside, then WATCH OUT! This boy will run, dig, and climb on anything. He prefers to be outside as much as possible. This makes it hard for me to get any indoor work done because I am constantly checking on him to make sure he didn't leave our culdesac, climb into the neighbors pool, or get ran over by our speeding neighbors a few doors down. Usually we find him in the neighbors sand box, or at the edge of the culdesac pondering an escape out on his trike. We've finally started dealing with the weeds and getting the garden ready. Baelor loves to help even out the dirt and fill the holes with seeds or "help" get the big rocks out. He helps out Papa Will a lot, too, in his garden, washing cars and Papa Will's fishing boat, or just helping him out with other manly work. We often find Baelor doing his own thing as he doesn't care much for organized play.

I just took the kids to OMSI which is a science museum. This was perfect for Baelor as he discovered how to create energy from wind turbines or how a ball can float mid-air with enough force. It's funny to see how our kids are so different. Baelor enjoyed doing the same activity for as long as I'd let him while Reina found a nice volunteer elderly lady who was teaching a crowd of children about how a vacuum seal works. One child found discovery independently while the other child chose learning in a group setting. I, on the other hand, enjoyed people watching and found a friend to talk to.

It's fun to see our children grow into their own little persons. As an infant, it's hard to imagine what they will be like. Yet now as Reina is older, I can distinctly see her personality forming even when she was a baby. I am very pleased to see my children growing into such loving people. Reina is always kind to her brother and rarely do I hear her yelling at him. She likes to do good in all respects.

Baelor is such a sweet heart. I seriously don't think he has a mean-spirited bone in his body. I hope he never loses that, yet I know that he will have to become hardened to live in this world. I hate that. He really does see the world as sunshine and marshmallows.