Trip to Oregon

 - by Gretel

We just got back from a week in Oregon to visit Grandma Sue.  It has been about ten years since we’ve made it to the west coast.   It was a welcome vacation for all of us, though Jeffrey could only join us for half due to his teaching schedule.  The girls and I drove to St. Paul, flew to Denver, Salt Lake, and finally Portland, arriving very late at night.  I couldn’t have been more proud of their behavior, especially when we had to run eleven gates in five minutes to catch our flight in Denver!

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful.  It’s verdant and green like the Midwest, but the air is dry and clear.  The temperatures were in the 80s and 90s most of the visit, but it did not feel nearly as hot as a humid Midwest day.  The cool mornings and evenings help make the warmer temps manageable.

Jeffrey and I were gifted with a day off, thanks to Grandma Sue, and we spent it together in Portland.  We visited Powell’s Books, the Portland Saturday Market, the Red Robe Tea Room, then went to have dinner, drinks and dessert with friends of his from the area.  It was fantastic.

The girls enjoyed their time, and were especially fond of their cousins Michael and Evan.  Both of them loved having big cousins to play with!

All in all it was fun and relaxing.  Grandma Sue was a wonderful host, and we much appreciate the chance to visit her place.

We had fun in a splashing fountain by Grandma’s house.



The next day we went to Cannon Beach, where Ilyana loved running on the surf.  Evelyn preferred sitting on the blanket with Grandma eating popcorn, but warmed up to the whole “play in the water” thing later.

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The beach tuckered us out a bit, so we had quiet time too.

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Said cousins visited, and we even managed to get in a family picture.  Everyone was happy in the photo, if not quite smiling.

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We also took a trip to the zoo, where we didn’t take pictures, but the girls had fun on the MAX train to and from.

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And, for no reason other than I love the shot, here is a picture of Evelyn pretending to be a chipmunk.




February chill

 - by Gretel

It’s cold up here.  This is likely not any news to anyone, but 80+ days of sub zero weather gets to everybody.  We’re a bit crabby at the moment, but doing our best to persevere.  There have been some amusements and bright spots (and I had a birthday), but it’s a lot of one day at a time until things thaw a little.

Here’s some of the fun we’ve been having:

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Evelyn and Ilyana enjoyed a new exhibit at the children’s museum from Blue Man Group.  Evelyn took to the pipe machine in particular.

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Lots of noise and fascinating things at the exhibit.

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Daddy continues to be an unending source of amusement.  In typical sibling rivalry fashion, they want to both sit on him at the same time.

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They both enjoyed cake and ice cream for my birthday.  Evelyn in particular excels at getting chocolate everywhere.

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Another highlight was Ilyana’s choir concert at school.  The theme was “Movie Jeopardy” and they were to dress as their favorite movie character.  She chose Wednesday from the Addams Family Movie.

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She did a great job of being serious on stage, but couldn’t help but smile a little during picture time.

Below are a couple videos of the event:

We’re still smiling, though, and getting along as much as possible.

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Stay warm!

Another birthday!

 - by Gretel

We now have a seven year old.  I can’t believe its been seven years since our little redhead entered our lives.  She is lively, passionate, and creative.  She loves school, and has discovered telling stories and writing notes.  It’s exciting to see her grow and change.

For her birthday, she received many wonderful gifts from her grandparents.  The shrieks of excitement could have broken crystal, had we any in the house.  We had to wait until after school and dinner to open presents, so she danced around quite a bit.  I think you’ll see how excited she was in the pictures below.


Grandma Sue sent along Spider Man sheets, which Ilyana is currently sleeping on.


She also got a big castle Lego set, which she and daddy will be building this weekend.

Grandpa Jerry and Grandma Laurel got Ilyana her very first Barbie dolls.   She was delighted with Teacher Barbie, who has a little student, and was very interested to see how the dogs with the Dog Walker Barbie moved.



She was also very excited to get one of the new bracelet looms, as the picture shows.


Grandma Ann was kind enough to send a gift which will give Ilyana time at the community theatre’s acting studio, and got her a shopping trip at the local comic books shop.  Both have her very excited.

We got Ilyana a few more Spider-Man toys (because, you know, Spider-Man is awesome), and I made her a special gift.


It’s a little big, but it’s fuzzy and warm!

Daddy also did a great job decorating her cake.


Which she loved.



Evelyn didn’t mind it either.

Happy birthday, my dear!