Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Halloween from the Guinns!

Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays! Okay, I know it's not actually considered a holiday but who doesn't treat it like one??? We've been doing themes every year since we got married and the kids love to be involved in brainstorming ideas. We've gone from extreme ideas like bugs, but when I consider the amount of money it takes or the sewing I always have the presidential executive order of "nope". Some ideas sound splendid but I've already learned my lesson a time or two of how long or how expensive homemade costumes can be! We went SUPER cheap this year and SUPER easy to pull off. I still think my kiddos look spectacular despite the only thing bought was Reina's wig, my squeezed-in big girl costume, and Paul's helicopter hat. We all had a good time trying the wig on and laughing til our bellies ached! The funny thing is when Reina first put the wig on (without all the old lady gear) I thought she looked like Dr. Laura Schlessinger! Okay, if you don't know who she is you gotta google search her. I grew up listening to her advice and do still hold some of the things she has said/written true. She can be quite brutal. Now you can only listen to her radio program on XM radio which we do not have.
Reina is a natural with writing. She just made this up one Saturday morning!
We went to my parents' ward's trunk or treat the weekend before, then our own trunk or treat, and finally Halloween night where cousin Karter joined us. Thank goodness it didn't rain on us despite having a lot of rain the month of October. The field behind our house where the corn crop used to grow is literally a lake! In fact, recently we saw little orange flags behind our house. This has worried us because this was an indication that they have something planned for the nice, open space we've enjoyed the last 4 years. We love watching people walk their dogs, ride bikes and motorcycles, camp, watch the fireworks display on the 4th, hear the coyotes howl like a bunch of hoodlums, hear the chorus of "ribbit" from the frogs, watch the various birds come and go in their fabulous synchronized waves. It's breathtaking the amount of birds we see! We have been fearful that they are going to build apartments or some shopping center there because it has been for sale for commercial real estate for over a year now and this means that someone is buying it!
We just got confirmation that they are keeping it as a natural habitat. I think they are going to do some tweaks here and there to make it even more conducive for the variety of birds. We are SO happy!

Paul and I were invited to check out an "escape room" with some friends of ours. We were the guinea pigs for a brand new one here in Vancouver. It was very difficult, pretty spooky, and totally fun! We felt like idiots when it took us 13 minutes (of our allotted 60) just to solve the first puzzle! But then we got rolling and made it pretty far. We didn't get out, though, which left an itch for us to try again. So we did at a different escape room, this time in Portland! This time there were six of us instead of four and we had a better idea of what to expect. Well, we mastered this one and got out with eight minutes to spare! Now I think Paul is hooked (the only thing I am hooked on is dancing and digging through other people's throw away stuff, I mean second hand shopping). We have another one paid for and now we just need to get on the schedule and try our luck a third time.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Happy Birthday One-derful Rowen!

Happy Birthday Rowen! You turned the big ONE on August 30th!
What a quick year has passed since Rowen joined our family! He really fits in quite least nothing unexpected with his personality. Rowen reminds me a lot of Reina. He babbles and tries to mimic the tone and talking of others. I don't think he will have any problems picking up conversation at an early age just as his older sister spoke clearly and in sentences by the time she turned two. We have FINALLY started getting strict about him not sleeping in our bed. It's pretty bad. I do blame myself for allowing him to sleep half the night in our bed. Usually I am just too tired to deal with the repercussions of taking him back to his bed and hearing him cry. I am a sucker for babies crying more than a few minutes. Because of this, Paul has done most of the sleep training.

We aren't at the point of Rowen sleeping completely through the night yet but he is definitely getting closer to soothing himself to sleep sooner and easier! (UPDATE as of October: He sleeps in his crib! After nursing we have a routine of the night-time rainbow light getting turned on and Baelor's old glow-worm with music. It took a few nights of 35-45 minute cries but he learned pretty quickly that no one would save him. It was excruciating for me, but happy that Paul was the strong one.) In the long run (actually just about four nights) it was TOTALLY worth it. Even Rowen seems happier about bed time!
Some of the things we love about Rowen now that he is ONE:
He is a happy baby! Really the only times he cries or whines is wanting comfort to sleep or if he is hungry. Even now at 13 months he does not walk. He can. He has taken at least a dozen steps at a time but still prefers to crawl as he can get to his destination much quicker.
These were taken exactly on his birthday...will climb but not walk
Rowen is a climber! I lucked out and found a play structure in a garage sale with a slide for only $5 and have kept it inside for him to climb on. It's funny how he'll climb the step-ladder 3 feet high and be perfectly stable, yet he doesn't desire to walk! All of our children are sure-footed kids though. They make sure that they can feel the next rung of a ladder or step on the stairs before they put their weight down. I'm glad about this so I'm not constantly having to watch him every minute.
Besides climbing, he has his "special" toys in each room in the house. If he is in the kitchen, he likes to pull all the tupperware lids out of the drawer, and of course get into the dishwasher if it's open for half of a second! In the dining room it's the plant. I know he's been in there if there is dirt all over the floor or around his mouth. Even blocking it off with chairs doesn't seem to help. I need to figure out a different home for my large plant. In the office he likes climbing onto the printer tucked under the desk and dumping all the pens onto the floor. In the bathroom we have to be vigilant about keeping the toilet seat closed and I had to switch the toothbrush holders so that he can now only reach HIS toothbrush! He'll climb Baelor's bed and find his nighttime water cup, or sing teeter-totter in Baelor's rocking chair (this is SUPER adorable). He doesn't go in Reina's room for some reason. In our bedroom he likes going into the bathroom and pulling whatever he can out of the cupboard or finding the toilet brush which now has a pretty home on the counter (ew). He does play with toys too. Some of his favorites are magna-tiles, balls, and any collections of small objects. Sometimes we'll find these small collections stuffed in my decorations. Awwww.
Rowen has an excellent appetite. He'll eat anything and a lot of it. This lucky boy gets homemade soups pureed instead of jarred food. We have switched over to cow's milk now but he still nurses at least 4 times a day.
We celebrated his birthday with family and a few friends at home.
Oh, and not to forget, Reina is now in second grade with her first male teacher, Mr. Westom. Lucky girl also has BFF Lily Wright in her class.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Summer 2016- Part Two

We seemed to squeeze a lot in the last little bit of summer. Paul's brother, Bryan and his family live about 15 minutes away but it's definitely "country" with the open land, barn animals and "dirty boots" lifestyle. They just installed their pool and we were lucky enough to check it out...actually only Reina did. I had to take care of Rowen and Baelor likes to play in water as long as he can touch the bottom and play with boats and such, so he opted to play with cousin Corbin's toys instead. Reina had a good time playing with cousin Degan in the pool. She is our little risk-taker and really doesn't have much fear, except for water slides. For some reason it takes her forever to finally decide to go down, but once she goes that's all she wants to do! I can relate as I am pretty much the same way when it comes to cliff-jumping and whatnot. I have to see that the person before me didn't break their neck before I jump! Hehe.
After the pool, the kids got to ride the horses! Reina rode Lulu. Penny was in time-out so nobody rode her. Baelor rode Lulu and the third horse who's name slips our minds. Baelor did NOT want to get off. He is a committed boy who will stick to a task. It was so cute how Corbin was coddling Baelor like he was a little baby that needed constant attending to. You could tell Baelor was getting pretty annoyed, but he isn't one to fight back so he just stuck through being treated like a baby. Corbin even had to watch over Baelor going potty in the field...I had to take a picture!

We picked blueberries, but only twice! I know crazy me usually picks 80 lbs. but we still had plenty of past years so I had to limit our freezer space. We just haven't used blueberries as often lately, but we all rediscovered how much we love them so we might actually run out this time before the 2017 picking season returns! Yay for antioxidants! Reina and her BFF Lily did really great picking over 9 lbs. themselves! Baelor did not want to leave the field and be done. He is a very dedicated individual if it is something that interests him.
We took a couple trips to Cottonwood beach. We love how it is only 15 minutes away and much warmer than the Oregon Coast. Baelor discovered the boogie boards keep him afloat and had a good time with those. Reina likes to get wild and soaked with whoever is there: Jeanette, Lily, and Karter. During a short hot spell we did manage to escape the heat to Oceanside near Tillamook, OR for the day with Grandma and Grandpa Guinn. Every year we like to go the Oregon Coast at least once. Usually it is Pacific City which is a weekend event, but this year we stuck closer to home for a day trip. We had some 100+ degree days and since we don't have an air conditioner we thought the coast would be perfect. The day prior was the perfect beach day.
We went on a Saturday so Paul could go and it was actually foggy the whole day! The plus side is that there was no wind at all, so all in all it was not cold, just not clear like we expected. In fact, there wasn't any wind to even fly the kite! Grandma Guinn recently had a fall which broke her hand and sprained her other hand so she had been in a funk which is totally understandable. We thought the beach would do her good since she grew up in Newport, Oregon. It was a good day. Grandpa helped Reina make a fence around her castle and helped create a river for Baelor's boats. Rowen enjoyed grabbing the sand, rolling it through his fingers and eating it. Paul and I just relished that we were not working! We have been so busy with projects at home on our spare time that just playing together felt like we were sneaking behind the boss' back! I'll get to the projects hopefully on the next post? Although now you'll be expecting something grand and spectacular and it's not. Even simple things take a lot of work and time!
Cousin Karter turned 5, so for his birthday gift I took him and Reina and Baelor to Oaks Park for the day. It was such a hot day but they still enjoyed all the little rides that I cannot stand! I only participated in a handful of them because those turny ones really make me sick! I just can't handle the spinny ones anymore like Tilta-Whirl or Gravitron.
My favorite part was going to the roller-skating rink there. Reina got some roller-skates for her birthday (like classic ones that I had growing up) and has enjoyed them at Mummi's house and around the school where the ground is smooth, but we don't have a roller-skating rink super close by like we used to in the elementary school days of "Roller-skating parties". I always loved those but they just tore down Goldenskate right before I was going to take the kids. Reina absolutely loved it! She enjoys ice-skating too so I knew this would be right up her ally. I was hesitant about the boys but they did quite well! Thank goodness it was not super crowded for the boys to go at their own pace. I wanted pictures/video on the rink but I got in trouble for taking one or two pictures...apparently it's a safety hazard so I couldn't take any on the main rink.
The last weekend of summer was Hood to Coast relay run. This event has gone on since 1982 originating with just 8 teams but now has a max limit of 12,600 participants! Wow! I had to look this up. This was my first year running it. Paul did it a few years ago with my friend's team, the D'feeters. He had to fill a male spot which is why I couldn't do it. She wanted me to do it last year but I was pregnant (in fact delivered Rowen the weekend of HTC last year), so this year was finally my year to do it! Paul was going to fill in someone's spot but just a few days before the race his back got SUPER inflamed; to the point that he had to get a muscle relaxer. So he sadly didn't get to do it. I was so looking forward to doing this together so hopefully in the future we can do an intense race together- we even got matching shirts that still have the tags on them. My experience was really good! I knew only a couple of people in my van, van 1, but by the end of the two days we were like BFF's, or something like that.

We started at Mt. Hood. The weather was so perfect up there, which made it in the mid 90 degrees for later in the day runners. Luckily, my first leg (runner 4) ended right as it was nearing 90 degrees. My first leg was the longest of 7.11 miles and the hottest. It was tough with the heat, but I survived. My goal was to keep a good pace and not walk. Happy to report I did not pass out or walk. My second leg which was around 10 pm was my favorite run. I just love running at night! It was a short run so I picked up the pace a bit and completed 4 miles in 29 minutes. It was a great experience. We'll see if I can tag along with another team next year. I'm up for trying it again.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer 2016- Part 1

The school year seemed to end very late especially since summer seemed to come very early this year. Many of our hottest days have been in April and May! So it's strange to think that the first half of summer is already gone! Paul and I have stayed busy with work. The other doctor in the chiropractic office took over two weeks off so Paul was gone even more than normal and I completed my first driver education class of the summer. I opted to do just two classes again this summer instead of three. I want to enjoy my family during the best weather months here in the PNW. The kids have managed to have some special treats this summer. They went fishing with Papa Will and daddy for the first time on his boat and really had a good day of fun and fish!
 We had a low-key 4th of July at home. We really just wanted to spend time not feeling stressed about going anywhere and letting the kids really enjoy the great display of fireworks we get here in Vancouver. This was the last year that within Vancouver city limits you are allowed to have fireworks (sad face) so everyone went above and beyond with their displays as we walked around the neighborhoods watching colors explode in all their patriotic glory! If you can't tell, I really love the 4th of July! We are a patriotic family who is devoted to the deep roots of the founding fathers and what makes America a free nation. Those founding fathers were definitely inspired and lead to the freedoms we now have. We love and respect all who have served our country and fought for liberty. It is heart-wrenching to see the abuse of power and laws that disregard the tears, toil and blood spilt in defending our liberty.
We went "all-american" style with homemade tie-dye shirts, an 8 mile bike ride around our childhood stomping grounds with stops visiting family and friends, and fast-food hamburgers for lunch.
We did our annual lake trip to Roosevelt with my side of the family. We missed Tarja and her family as they had a family reunion back east to attend this year. It's funny that last year I was very pregnant, and one quick year later I have a sand-eater crawling and keeping me from truly relaxing. Although who can resist this curious little blue-eyed, bald baby? Rowen seems to be advancing even quicker than his siblings at his age...I think he was the earliest to start crawling, and definitely getting teeth and eating. So far his personality reminds me a lot of Reina...quick as a wick, a talker, an eater, a singer, a bit demanding yet super engaging. His skin and smell even likens that of Reina's...super silky and a bit of vinegar smell. It will be interesting to see how he develops into his own little self these next months.
 The highlight for the kids this year was getting to ride the "easy wake" all by themselves. Reina looks nervous in the pictures but she actually enjoyed every minute of it. Baelor I think was oblivious to the fact that he could ever fall! We stopped at a cove and spent our time building a fort and boats, sliding down the sand into the water, and finding snakes and tadpoles- yuck!
Us adults did knee-boarding and a little wake-boarding. I did get up on the wake board but would immediately fall. After four falls I resorted to the easy knee-board instead. Paul looked like he should be in a Juicy Fruit commercial with some pretty sweet jumps and even managed to do a 360! Every time he was getting ready you could see him rehearse the Juicy Fruit commercial in his head or out loud. So fun...
We stayed an extra day at Teem and Emily's house and went to Silverwood! First time for us going to the waterpark side. We could have easily spent all day there in the wave pool and tons of waterslides. But of course since I was not preggers I had to go on the big rides! Sadly, Baelor was not tall enough for anything past the baby rides and Reina went on every single ride except for the two biggest rides that she wasn't quite tall enough for.
Everyone talks about "Tower of Terror" at California Adventure being so scary because it drops like an elevator falling down the shaft, but the one at Silverwood was WAY higher and you drop MUCH further. We seriously didn't have to wait in line for more than a couple of minutes for any of the rides so we got to do any and all.
We did some blueberry picking (of course) and swam at Cottonwood beach. I have been dancing regularly and am LOVING IT! I need one of those shirts that says, "I'd rather be dancing". Otherwise we have been working hard with projects around the house, church callings and the daily grind of life. I cherish the moments I get to spend with my family. Each of my children have such unique personalities and it helps that Paul makes me laugh every day. We really are the bestest friends. I love that.