jo is three

I have no idea how it’s been 6 months since I’ve blogged? Life certainly has a way of doing that…though I think that when the sun comes out I tend to be sitting outside catching vitamin D and maybe forget about being the curator of my family. So much has transpired in the last 6 months that I’m not even sure where to begin. So. Much.

We’ve chosen to end our home schooling journey and embrace the public school life.

We’ve learned that we are not cut out to be landlords.

We’ve grieved losing our foster baby after 18 months of being his “middle parents”.

We’ve explored different trails and water holes.

We’ve had best friends come stay for a whole month.

We’ve welcomed a South Korean exchange student for the year.

We’ve deepened friendships.

And just yesterday we celebrated Jo’s birthday, raindrops and all. After all, we are true Oregonians, yes? While we held umbrellas over the cake and tried to keep the presents from melting, the 3 year olds ran through the water fountains, embracing the wet. Having a 3 year old keeps you young at heart; resisting the urge to want her to grow up too quickly, you say yes to things that are filled with joy. And because I am a black and white lover, all her images are in black and white. Timeless and emotion-filled. Happy birthday little girl.

 

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forts & watermelon

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Yesterday was filled with getting up at 3am to send our oldest to Nicaragua on a missions trip, phone calls, texts and a LOT of frustration between us and DHS. Some days can get you in a funk, only seeing the negative and in that moment I decided to grab my big camera and literally focus on the positive right in front of me.

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The here and now – my baby loving his watermelon. I’m not sure why…but he basically takes huge bites, chews and then spits it all out. And then repeats over and over. Causing a very large mess.

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But a cute one, none-the-less.

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Those teeth. And you like those watermelon juice, slicked back eye brows? Stylin for sure.

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Then there’s these two. We decided it was time to make some outside tents to read in, complete with our favorite Trader Joe’s lollipops. I love these moments. Little moments that make up our day, our day that can be full of white noise and distraction, are what I want to remember. Not the noise. Not the plans that failed. Not the holding pattern that our life seems to be in at the moment…

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but these little faces…

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these little toes…

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and surely the hot tub area out back with this sign we take very seriously.

Thanksgiving 2013

We ran away with some of our bestest friends this year for Thanksgiving. We celebrated early with family and then got ourselves 900 whole square feet of beach house in Rockaway and crammed 11 of us into it for 3 days. It was fabulous! And a little secret about the Oregon coast is that the weather is FAR better in the fall that the summer! Gorgeous sunny skies and no wind…which means FUN beach photos of course 🙂

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The gang.

DSC_1895 DSC_1891 Her first time running on the beach…of course she loved it and so did I. Such JOY coming from this girl.

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Ruby and Mitch are my two hunters. They will spend hours beach combing and showing me their finds. I know I only have a few more years of this with them, so I want to catch these memories and freeze them forever through the lens of my camera.

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My three girls. Teen, child and baby. Sigh….they grow up so darn fast.

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How on earth did she get taller than me? Yes, I hear you saying that I’m only 5’2″…but still!

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Life long friends for sure. They really have no choice…their moms are life long friends too.

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Super thankful for this girl. We’ve ridden the bus together as kids, grown up as “farmer’s daughters”, and now get to do adult life together, being just a 15 minute drive from each other.

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And this guy? I love him. He (who was only going to have 2 children when we married 18 yrs ago) is the best dad ever.

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DSC_1823Just one of those snapshots that makes me smile.

Opal Creek

We decided to go on an adventure Sunday. Where? Opal Creek. I’d never heard of it, but it sounded so intriguing that we just had to jump in the car and head out with our adventurous friends (the Hartfords) to check it out.

Off the Santiam Pass, down miles of gravel and many “are we there yet?” comments from the back seat, we pulled up to the “no cars beyond this point” sign. Everyone got their backpacks on (OK, I lie. I strapped the camera on and Tad carried both the backpack and the baby. He’s a keeper.) and we headed out.

It was 3.5 miles to Opal Creek, otherwise known as Jawbone Flats (population 9) and a fairly easy trail walk. We stopped many times to look at the amazingly, green, clear water and talked the boys into waiting till “later” before jumping in.

What a cool place. Jawbone Flats is fully off the grid, using water and solar for all their power. They have several cabins to stay in that are fabulous and a huge lodge where they apparently have an amazing chef. And get this. They see between 50,000-75,000 people a year up there! Mostly school children on field trips and outdoor school adventures, but also including businesses who use the facilities for team building, conferences.

Opal creek-21Opal creek-10Opal creek-9Opal creek-22Opal creek-17Opal creek-23Opal creek-25Opal creek-9Opal creek-34Opal creek-23Opal creek-27Opal creek-29Opal creek-39Opal creek-32Opal creek-24Opal creek-35I won’t lie. My dogs were BARKING after 7 miles and being as out of shape as I am. Geesh, I need to exercise someday 🙂