Monday, August 29, 2011

8 years!

A week ago today, Ben and I celebrated 8 years of marriage. We spent a relaxing evening at home together and enjoyed a homemade cheesecake (our favorite mutual treat).

To our surprise, 4 days before our anniversary, Ben received 2 tickets from his boss to "Les Miserables" in downtown Seattle, to reward him for a job well done at work recently. Up until then, we weren't sure what to do to celebrate our 8 years of marital bliss, but free tickets to one of the most well known and loved musicals of all time seemed like the perfect idea.

Last Thursday we attended the 1:30 matinee. With 4 small children, we do not get out of the house without them very often. So to have an entire afternoon and evening together, kidless, was amazing. An afternoon date was really fun- that rarely, rarely happens.

The play, in one word, was amazing. We absolutely loved it. We had incredible seats and the live orchestra was phenomenal. Never having seen the play (either one of us) made for everything to be new and exciting. Ben's boss gave us a CD of all the Les Mis music to listen to the week before the play and gave Ben a short synopsis of the plot. The music was fantastic and we listened to the CD all the way home, now able to sing along to the words.

After dinner and some light shopping, we headed home to find all 4 kids sound asleep and we still had half the evening left at home, alone!

Happy Anniversary to the perfect man for me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oregon Coast 2011

One of our favorite weeks all year... and once again, it did not disappoint! We LOVE the Oregon Coast. Love. Love. Love.

This is our family's 7th year going in the 8 years we've been married and it was decided that this was the best beach trip yet. Not that the other years have been bad in any way, but we've been doing it for so many years now that we are in a routine and this trip is becoming a well oiled machine. And it didn't hurt that we were in the same house we were in last year (LOVE IT- lots of room for everyone, including a basement for the kids to run around in) and the weather was amazing. Say what you want about a cooler beach- it's no Hawaii in Oregon, that's for sure, but this year it was gorgeous with more sun then we've ever had at the beach.

This year's toddler row- they were all babies last year, everyone one and under, but now there are 2 one year olds and 3 two year olds. Talk about trouble.

So nice to have Leah and Lexi able to walk to the beach this year. They weren't even crawling last year at this time (although that has it's advantages too).

We did our annual bonfire on the beach. The kids love it and we adults are amazed that after 7 years, none of the 11 grandkids have succumbed to fire damage.

In true Alexis form, Lexi ate anything and everything, including buckets of sand the whole week.

Cheese! We love s'mores!

The 3 big boys climbed that sand hill over, and over, and over.

We celebrated Nana's birthday at the beach with a heavenly chocolate cake from Costco. It was gone in record time, thanks to 22 chocolate loving mouths. What a wonderful lady she is. My kids are so blessed to have her as a grandmother.

After church on Sunday, we headed to a nearby park for some family pictures and a group shot of all 22 of us. No, I am not really this short, but bending over and hanging on to Leah was the only way to keep her still.

After lots of pictures, we let the kids play. Lexi challenged Leah to a hanging contest, and won. She is amazing.

Then twin to twin again (the girls have twin boy cousins 6 months older), Lexi took on John and beat him too. Go Lexi!

The two beautiful "big" girls- just a few years ago, it was just these two babies at the beach. Where has time gone?

Chloe (2) and Stella (3), August 2007


Marcus rocked his man skirt. He recently returned from New Zealand where he served his mission, where the men all wore these. I can't remember the name of it, but similar to a Lava-Lava.

And then there was the beach! Oh, how we love it. This is Lexi's "Cheese" face. She does this every time she sees a camera.

It was hard to get this busy boy to stand still for a picture with his mama. There is too much running around to be done on a beach to be bothered with a picture!

He was happy to run in and out of the water with me though. FREEZING!

The babies loved the cold water too. It would take their breath away, especially if they fell down, but they kept going back for more.

Even if your sun hat prevents you from seeing anything, it doesn't matter- the beach is still fun.

Can't play in the sand and not get buried, at least once

Leah was still Leah- she loved the beach, but could only last for so long before she was just DONE, for no reason.

Lexi, on the other hand, could have lived at the beach, literally. She could play there all day, bathe in the ocean and eat the sand for every meal.

It isn't the beach without a ride on the boogie board from Ben.

Faster daddy, faster!!

Mitch had a hard time keeping his swim shorts up high enough all week.

Lexi's favorite thing to do was lay in the sand on her belly. Lots of sand eating contests were won that way (she was the only contestant) and lots of soul searching. It looked to be very relaxing.

These babies did get cold sometimes!!

On Monday night, Nana prepared a wonderful FHE lesson for all of us on letting our stars shine brightly for the whole world to see. The kids got star sunglasses to help remind them to be good examples to others.

Then Nana talked about the power of the scriptures and how they can help us with anything in our lives. We sang "Scripture Power" and each grandkid got his very own Book of Mormon to keep.

Even baby Preston got a copy.

For dessert, everyone got to make a "Golden Plate" made out of graham crackers and lemon frosting.

Poor Ben... Ben did lots of sleeping this trip due to his bad back flaring up and needing to be on his drowsy medication to ease the pain. But hey, that's what the beach is all about- lots of relaxing!

One of our favorite things about the beach is going to the outlet malls in Lincoln City. We loved it so much we went 2 times (I went 3, actually...) We got great deals. It wore the kids out so much that this is how they fell asleep on the way home.

The men body boarded a few times.

Love this picture- two cute little beach bums (notice all the SUN in all these pictures?)
Lexi loved to run into the waves and out, over and over. It felt like Hawaii to her!

The girls decided to have a "girls ride" and go body boarding too. We sure missed Bethany, who could only stay half the time and missed our girl's day out riding the waves.

The last time I went body boarding was 4 years ago in 2007 when I was pregnant with Mitchell. Here we are then. We since have added 7 kids to the group between us (and probably 7 inches to my hips, too).



I seriously have the coolest sisters-in-law. Ever. We have so much fun together. They are some of my closest friends and getting to spend a entire week with them was a treat. A girl's weekend away with them is in the works and I can't wait!

We had such a great time out in those waves. It is such a blast. That's me, riding a wave.

Mitch has been waiting all year to fly his kite at the beach.

Our traditional names in the sand pictures- second year that Chloe has written her own.

Mitchell's "hurry up and take the pictures so I can run around" smile

Family shot at the tide pools

So, any one that knows me well knows that I am obsessed ice cream. I could eat it morning, noon or night, any day of the year regardless of how cold it is outside. My favorite kind of ice cream is Tillamook brand. It is the most amazing ice cream that can be purchased in a store. Tillamook ice cream is from Tillamook, Oregon, just 27 miles from where we were in Pacific City (we drive right through Tillamook every year to get to our beach house). Even being in Tillamook country, their ice cream is not any cheaper than I can buy it in Washington.

On our last full day at the beach, we all had a hankering for some ice cream. A local store sells Tillamook by the scoop in cones, but with 22 of us going, it would be crowded and expensive. So we decided to just buy some half gallons at the grocery store and take it back home to enjoy there. We were expecting to pay the typical $6 or $7 for a half gallon (still cheaper than paying by the scoop for all of us), but when we saw that it was on sale for the week for $3.50, we went crazy. And by we, I mostly mean Ben and I. We all bought a few half gallons to share and to have lots of variety, but Ben and I bought like 5. We couldn't help it- $3.50 is a great deal for Tillamook anywhere, especially on the Oregon coast! It would have been a crime against ice cream not to take advantage of that deal.

By the time we got back to the house, we had 11 half gallons of ice cream (12, counting the one we bought a few hours later of a kind we had already run out of). And just 24 hours to eat all of it. I'm proud to say that we ate 11 of the 12 half gallons. We left the one remaining, unopened carton in the freezer for the next guest. It will be their lucky day (and I was sad to leave it there but it would not have survived the 5 hour ride home).

In order to finish it all, we let the kids have ice cream for breakfast the morning we checked out. My dream! Way to go Andros families for eating all that ice cream. I could not be any more proud. But next year I think we will be purchasing ice cream on the first day instead of the last day.

Great year at the beach, again. We are already counting down the weeks until next year.