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Preview: Adventures of the Vees

Adventures of the Vees

the days are long, but the years are short

Updated: 2018-02-07T03:33:22.610-08:00




Hi! I've become so behind in updating this blog. It's not that I don't want to, it's just there are so many other things that need to be done. However, I WANT to catch up here, because ultimately this blog is a photoalbum/scrapbook for my children -- this was really pointed out to me the other day when Jake discovered this blog and was delightfully reading past posts from when he was a baby. So bear with me, as I have to go back to Christmas and begin... I must also say that updating the blog is a bigger chore than it used to be, because instead of only relying on 1 good camera for pictures for the blog, I must now gather up multiple iPhones and upload the pictures to the main computer and then try to sort them all so I don't miss any pictures from our adventures.

Jumping in....



I love to celebrate the solstice. For me it represents a brief interlude from the Christmas magic/busyness/intensity to focus on the root cause of this whole season - the darkest day of the year and the return of the light. We asked some of our good friends to come celebrate with us. My beautiful boys enjoying some kombucha.  Happy! Beautiful chocolate peppermint cake from Baker and Spice bakery.We had a make-your-own-pizza dinner using pita bread as the crusts and with everyone bringing different toppings. After pizza, we started a fire.Me explaining some of the background of the winter solstice. Jake is holding a branch of rosemary which symbolizes remembrance --we each took a branch and used it to represent something about 2013 and then let that go. Then we threw the branches in the fire. Next we each took a pinch of lavender and thought of our hopes for 2014 and threw the lavender in the fire.[...]



Mike and I took the boys to Alpenrose Dairy's SantaLand, a place I've been going since I was a small child. I love going back there.Waiting in line for their turn to see Santa.We love the picture! Jake asked Santa for the Lego Ninjago Temple of Light and Ryan asked for a soccer ball. They both also wanted candy canes. Jake was very chatty with Santa and had a great time.  After seeing Santa, we went to watch the trains for a bit.Then it was off to my favorite part -- Storybook Lane. It's a magical forest filled with live baby animals and with a story throughout. Also some buildings like this one. Next year I'll take more pictures to show more of the magic![...]

Christmas Tree


We randomly drove out towards Sherwood to look for a place to cut our own Christmas tree.
 The place had a pretty view.
 Finally found our tree! Now to saw it off the base.

 Got it on the car...
And took it home, where we set it up and decorated it.

Thanksgiving 2013


The 4 of us went to my parent's house for Thanksgiving this year. It was a sweet family affair!Gramma set up the salt tray. It was Ryan's first time with it and he loved it. Jake couldn't wait for his brother to give him a turn as he has played with the salt tray many times but it is always fun.Happy to be together. Ryan had the job of ringing the dinner and dessert bell. Papa at work carving the bird.Gramma set a lovely table. While Gramma and Papa prepared the meal, I made an apple pie at home. It was a beautiful, completely covered apple pie that I left cooling on the stove. Later in the day, I went into the kitchen and discovered the middle piece of the pie missing. Jake hadn't been able to resist pulling off the crust and eating it! I was so mad but so amused at the same time.  Even with part of the crust gone, it was delicous. We also had pecan and pumpkin pies.[...]

Halloween 2013


Skeleton, Zebra, and Jedi Knight went trick or treating in the Village. Virginia helps Jake with the map. Tossing the beanbag through the hole for candy! This was in front of the bookstore. Her dress was made from the pages of books. Really cool. Candy break while waiting for friends to catch up. Star Wars is very popular. Porter, Ryan, Rowan, Jake, and Max. Jake bumped into his best friend from preschool, Cole. Cole is not a fan of having his picture taken.My Dad came over to have dinner with us and go trick or treating. His costume rocked! Mike did a great job carving the pumpkins.This guy refused to wear a costume but was very pleased with his glow-in-the-dark skeleton with candy shirt.[...]

Pumpkin Patch


We usually go to Lee Farms for our pumpkin patchin', but this year we decided to try a different place and went to Fir Point Farms in Canby. This is up the road from where both sets of my grandparents lived, and growing up they would occasionally take me to this farm stand. This picture describes perfectly the nature/temperament of my two boys...We thought it would be fun to go on this cow train ride...It turned out to be the ride of terror. I'm laughing in this picture but I was also using ALL OF MY STRENGTH to hold on to the cow with my hand and my legs and keep Ryan on my lap. We were driven super fast on a bumpy field around in circles. EEEeeeee!After that, we needed to be in a soft, padded place. Ryan was very happy with this bouncy house that was only for the 4 and under crowd. (Jake went into the big kid bouncy house.)Stopping for a snack. It was such a beautiful day!Glorious place full of hay to jump in and play!We loved the animals. I think this is the goat.If you make this picture really big, you may be able to spot the baby goats.Jake and I went inside the hay maze. It was so dark that they had a basket of flashlights at the entrance! (I saw most of the adults using their iPhone flashlights...)Spooky...This was my favorite - the nuthouse. It was filled with unshelled hazelnuts.Perfect place to wrestle.Hayride.Exhausted boy.[...]

October Pictures


My birthday fell on a Tuesday, and all 3 of my guys had to go to bed early for school and work, so I was lucky that Guthrie took me out to dinner! We walked from my house to Sasquatch Brewery and I was thrilled with hard cider, good food, and great company.Fall playing. Three days this month Ryan and I went and picked up Porter from her school and took her home to play.We went to the playground on one of those days and they had a great time tree climbing. They were too tired to walk back home, but I was prepared. Ryan went on my back and Porter went into the stroller. I had a great workout walking uphill back home!We went to BBR for a weekend since both boys had Friday off from school. Another playdate with Porter. This time they both came grocery shopping with me.It was a wee bit crazy shopping with 2 3-year olds...Another day I took my boys to the playground. More tree climbing.[...]

Soccer 2013


 Jake's second season of soccer.This Mom LOVES soccer games on sunny Saturday mornings.  Can you spot the moon? This was at 6:30pm on a Thursday, a fun practice game.Another day, an afternoon soccer game.[...]

Ryan is THREE


Dear Ryan, You are three years old now. You have officially transitioned from toodler-hood to preschooler age. You have a strong-willed, fierce personality that keeps me and your Daddy on our toes -- we are either laughing at how funny and amazing you are, or working hard at figuring out how to best work with the little person you are. You love to dress up, to pretend to be other things, especially a superhero or a ninja. Occasionally you're some kind of animal (such as a cat when lapping water), but mostly you just like to show off your awesome fighting moves and poses. This is a part of you liking to be very physical - you love to run, jump, climb, and move as hard and as much as possible -- it's what keeps you happy uses up the energy you have each day. Lately you and Daddy have been wrestling a lot, and Jake sometimes joins in as well. I also love it that you love to help me bake, and you spend lots of time reading and watching shows. Speaking of moving - you've become amazing on your balance bike when we go to BBR. You're now riding down hills with your feet off the ground, and you love it. I know you can't wait to start doing some of the activities that Jake does - soccer, skiing, gymnastics, etc. Next year you'll start on many of those!I'm so happy you're such a healthy, strong little boy. You had your first dentist and eye doctor appointments, and everything looks great. At dinnertime you love to help us say our blessing - "Thank you for this food, may it nourish us and keep us healthy and strong." You're strong, and you're also a little guy with big emotions. You go along happily most of the day until you have feelings that need to get out, and then you REALLY show us what they are. We are learning to help you process those in safe and healthy ways. But when you're happy, you are the funniest, most dynamic boy who loves to make people laugh. We love you so much, Ryan![...]

Happy Birthday, Ryan!


 Ryan's friend Porter came over to help celebrate his birthday.Opening his present from Porter. Porter's mom, Ellie, made him his own beautiful cape! She made one for Jake years ago that Ryan loves to wear, and now he has his own with an "R" on it instead of a "J". Happy boy. Now having a vanilla cupcake with chocolate chips, which he loves. Ryan, Porter, Jake, and Max all enjoying cupcakes. The next day Ryan had his birthday celebration at school. Teacher Lydia is lighting the candle so he can walk around the months while holding the globe."The earth goes around the sun. The earth goes around the sun. It takes one year for the earth to go around, and then Ryan turned 1 (2, 3)." The birthday poster I made to show his class.[...]

Family Birthday Party


Birthday time! Time to celebrate Ryan's birthday, Lee's birthday, and Mom/Gramma's birthday.That weekend Amy came up to join the celebrations (no idea why there are no pictures of her, sad!) There was also a big storm that weekend - high winds and lots of rain. We arrived at my parent's house and the power had recently gone out. Luckily, we were still able to cook the dinner using the grill and gas stove, but we were out of luck for using the oven to bake the cake!You can see all the candles behind the boys in this picture -- power was out and it was starting to get darker.But we still had family! And presents! We got lucky - the power came back on just before serving dinner, and we were able to throw the cake in the oven and it baked while we ate. Then we had chocolate zucchini cake and sang Happy Birthday 3 times! Aunt Amy's gift to Ryan - this wonderful mini-trampoline![...]

Beach Day


This summer we discovered we love going to a beach on Sauvie Island. It is a much shorter drive than going to the coast, and the weather is almost always guaranteed to be hotter and sunnier. We went once on Mike's birthday and then again in September to celebrate summer's last hurrah.[...]

Ryan's time with the Nanny


For about 15 months, we shared a nanny for Ryan with 2 other families. Ryan was with Silas 2-3 days a week, and Jude would join 1 day per week. Kalene was their wonderful nanny and she took all these pictures and sent them to me.  Once a month on Wednesdays Jake has "late start" which is when school starts 2 hours later. On those days I would drop both Jake and Ryan off with Kalene, and then Kalene would walk all 4 of them to the bus stop and see Finley and Jake off on the bus. Jake LOVED those days because he got some playtime with his friend and then the coooool experience of riding the bus!Silas, Ryan, and Jude. One day Porter joined them for a few hours.[...]

Labor Day weekend at BBR


Ryan stretching with me after I went for a run.
 Then the 4 of us took a long bike ride. We stopped at Big Meadow for a short hike. There were 4-5 foals in the meadow and they were so beautiful to watch!
 Mike with Mt. Washington in the background.
 Jake is learning how to take some good pictures!
 A favorite photo of mine. Black Butte in the background.

Spokane to Sandpoint Relay 2013


This year I joined a team to run the 200.3 mile Spokane (WA) to Sandpoint (ID) relay race which happened August 16-17. We were the Flying Hands and Feet team, and everyone on the team is fluent in American Sign Language. I was so nervous and excited to be a part of this experience!This is Ryan saying good-bye to me on Thursday morning. "Run, Mommy, Run!" And this is Jake saying good-bye. He didn't want me to leave. The team drove 2 cars to Spokane from Portland. We did a quick stop at Multnomah Falls.Guthrie and I sat in the very back of the van. Friday morning - woke up at 5am at the Quality Inn to get to the top of Mt. Spokane in time for our 7am start.Our superhero team. Mike, Beth, Lee, Guthrie, Mona, Patrick, KatyBeth, Michelle, Amanda, Kimberly, and Sherri. Good morning!!Can see the ski lift in the background. And our wave of the race starts! The van that I spent the entire weekend riding. Guthrie did an amazing job decorating it while we were at exchange point #1 and waiting for our team in van #1 to finish running legs 1-6. Waiting for my first leg of the race, which happened to be leg #12 of 36, so I was the last of our team of 11 to start my run. (Each runner had to run 3-4 legs, depending on length and difficulty.) My leg happened to be the "tattoo and mustache contest leg" so we drew a glittery purple mustache on me :)The 5 in Van #2! Running my first leg - 4.17 miles at about 4:30 in the afternoon. It was HOT.Exchange point #2. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Beautiful!! This was me, on the grass with a thermarest pad and light sleeping bag. I actually managed to sleep for 1.5 hours here during our wait.Van #2 in the dark, with the lights on. Guthrie waiting for his run to start, at about 11pm.Van #2 ran all night (read, we were awake all night). My second leg started at about 4:30am, when it was 48 degrees and pitch black. I ran on the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere, where there was 1 street lamp every mile. I had on a headlamp and a reflective vest and blinking LED lights on my fingers. This was actually my favorite run of the whole race and I ran the 6.65 uphill miles really well. I had one scary moment when I noticed a dark shape in the upper edge of my headlamp sphere and realized it was a huge, dead animal on the side of the road. Eeeeek - started running a little faster...The next morning. After getting around an hour of sleep on the floor of a high-school gym at exchange point #3, we got ready for the last round of legs. Guthrie started us off again.He had STUNNING views on his run. This is me after my 3rd and final leg. I was so tired!! It was about 100 degrees in the sun during my 6 mile run, with a lot of uphill. But I finished it.Then we arrived at Sandpoint, where we swam in this beautiful lake after a great meal from the sponsors of the event.That night the team went out to dinner in Sandpoint and then we really, really wanted to party at the hotel but nobody could stay awake. Sunday morning we drove back to Spokane and then home to Portland.Me, wearing the shirt I got for completing the race. [...]

August Celebrations


Out to dinner at The Firehouse on Dekum to celebrate my parent's 43rd anniversary. Don't they look amazing and beautiful!?
 We really enjoyed the delicious food!

Then it was Mike's birthday, a low-key affair. He loves dark chocolate peanut butter cups :)

July Pictures


July! Summer! Hot weather! Random Pictures!Neighbors all playing together. Because July is a totally appropriate time to take the ski helmet and goggles out of the closet... Water gun fight!An afternoon in Jamison Park in the Pearl.  Hot sleepy afternoon. Cake and Legos always make a boy happy.[...]

OCF 2013 Part 3 (Sunday)


Back to the Fair for the final day on Sunday!Jake, Ryan, Max, and Porter sat and watched a show for a good 30 minutes.Then the Vees were off walking around the Fair, seeing the sights.Random parade.More ice cream.I neeeeeeed a fork!Tree people.Funny performer.They put a bird on it.And we finally found poi balls for Jake!Practicing... the woman in the hat is a poi ball expert and was giving instructions.After that Jake was utterly exhausted. Took a rare nap!And I nursed a child for the very last time at the Fair, ever. Bittersweet. Pretty girls.While we were headed out, we stopped and played the Save the Unicorn "video game". It was awesome.Jake saved the unicorn! Doing the pledge.Then he received a ticket that said "Spaced Ship Boarding Pass: The bearer of this ticket is hereby entitled to one trippy trip ... on board "CAPTAIN DRIFT'S" Spaced Cruiser, the "ALMOST REAL". The cruiser leaves from SPACEDPORT 13XZ9, located On the Dark Side of the MOON, and departs on the 7th Saturday of each month at 2700."Ryan's turn.Goodbye to another year.When we got back to our car, we found it would not start. Turns out that the little guy had been playing in the car before we left the campsite, and had put the parking lights on. We didn't notice, and they got left on from 11am until we returned at 8pm to a dead car. We couldn't use Ellie's jumper cables, because the car was boxed in on all sides by other parked cars, and the cables weren't long enough to reach from anywhere to the front of our car. So we waited for the owners of one of the surrounding cars to come and help out. However, before that happened, 2 OCF staff members rode up on horses; one horse was white with a mane and tail that was dyed pink and purple. They asked if we needed help, and after we explained the situation they radioed to the other staff. After about 5 minutes, a jeep pulled up and 5 staff members piled out with an extra, extra long jumper cable. One staff member was there for the sole purpose of entertaining Jake and Ryan, which was so awesome! The other guys worked with Mike to get the car jumped. At 8:30pm we were finally on our way, and this happened within 5 minutes of leaving. Home at 10:30pm, tired and happy.[...]

OCF 2013 Part 2 (Friday and Saturday)


Time to head to the bus to the Fair! As usual, everyone was excited. Max with his poi balls. Jake really wanted some so we spent both days at the Fair looking for them! We came here to hang out and wait for the next show, eat some snacks, and put more glitter on. It was a superhero/ninja/acrobatic show. Then we found a new mask for Ryan, who LOVES masks. Hanging out in Chela Mela under the big tree -- our "home" spot at the Fair every year. Jake really wanted a snow cone (they're made with natural food flavor/coloring!) He had to work for it first - pedaling the bicycle is how the big block of ice gets shaved for your cone.Yum.Ryan opted for a chocolate coconut ice cream bar instead.  Mike finally got a beautiful new kilt that he's wanted. We thought this hat looked great with it, but didn't get it. Another year. Gotta have a Fair outfit! Making music.Saturday! Time to stay at the campsite and play. We put the boys to work. Headed for the beach by the lake! Lovely women that I'm so lucky to know and hang with! More playing at the campsite...[...]

OCF 2013 Part 1


Oregon Country Fair time came around again! Ellie and I did pre-OCF prep by doing hair dye at her house. Ryan wanted red. It turned out more pink, but he likes pink, too. Porter wanted purple. Jake wanted green and black. It was hard to see with his dark brown hair but it was just for fun.Then it was time to go! We got the car loaded up.  It was packed full, as usual. Then the campsite was set up. Mike went around and smudged it for good energy for the weekend. The community kitchen tents. Then some body paints by Ellie. So cute that these brothers wanted matching tigers.[...]

BBR May/June


These pictures are a mixture of 2 different BBR trips - one for Memorial Day weekend in May, and the other a month later with the grandparents and Amy and Tyler.   I guess this was the ride home - exhausted from all the fun and wearing his sunglasses. [...]

Jake is 7.


Dear Jake, You turned 7! Seven! Seven feels like such a big deal because all the cells in your body regenerate on different schedules but every 7 years ALL the cells have completely regenerated. That means you have your first "new" body since you were born into my hands. So amazing to think about. Seven years have flown by. But these past 6 months have seen an amazing jump in your reading abilities. You have loved reading the Secrets of Droon series, have started to get into the Hardy Boys, and graduated from the 'High Five' magazine to 'Highlights'. You also love anything related to Angry Birds.Another area where you "graduated" was 1st grade - below you are with your English teacher, Mrs. Moore. You had Sra. Krekorian as your Spanish teacher and liked her but "she's strict" as you said. However, your ability to speak Spanish and mimic which ever Spanish regional dialect is being spoken to you is extraordinary. You love, love, love games. You ask Daddy and Mommy to play with you whenever we can - which is not as often as you like because you have a little brother who thinks it is the best thing in the world to come in and scatter the game all over. But when you do play, you love Sorry, Monopoly, Uno, chess, checkers, Apples to Apples Jr. version, and others. Guthrie taught you how to play farkle, and with that game you've shown how good your math is with all the counting and adding involved.For your birthday dinner you wanted sushi. And you loved it. You also graduated to using adult size utensils during the months prior to turning 7.You are such a sweet boy, as you always have been. You are well-loved by your classmates and always ready to play with friends and include those with you.At home you continue to be a snuggler, and still like it when I sing you to sleep at night while running my fingers through your hair. I am aware that my days of you wanting me to do this are becoming numbered, so I savor this bedtime ritual.We look forward to continue to seeing you grow. We love you so much, Jake.[...]