Monthly Archives: July 2008

Emily turned 6!

On July 12 – and I was so busy with stuff that I didn’t get a chance to do her birthday post until now.

Emily was practically born smiling – she cracked her first full blown smile at a couple weeks old – complete with a giggle attached, my mom over heard it and was absolutely amazed.

2002 - Emily Sears1

She was a photographer’s dream – always willing to crack the hugest smile on command


Of course, we sure loved those constant smiles too – and everything else about our little Emily too.

2004 - Em1

Emily 2005

Emily 2006 a

Emily 2007

It’s hard to believe that she has grown so fast and will be attending first grade this year. Happy Birthday to my super smiley 6 year old!!


Filed under Children, Em

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

My parents arrived in town much to our delight last week. On Monday I with my kids (Paul had to work), My bro and his fam, and my parents drove out to one of our favorite Oregon beach locations. It was REALLY windy, and rather cold too. But the sun eventually came out and I ended up with a sunburn – and we had a ton of fun.

Cape Kiwanda

Of course, the first thing everyone wanted to do when we got there was to climb the monster dune.

Heading to the Dune

Emily, Laura and Elizabeth climbing the dune

Jacob Climbing the Dune

Jacob climbing the Dune

Jacob, Grandpa and I stopped partway up to explore the cape – Uncle Paul and the girls wanted to climb to the very top so they kept going. I love exploring the cape and how gorgeous it looks. Of course, with little Jacob by my side I didn’t explore as I usually would, there is a lot that is not safe to do with a three year old.

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

The we ran down the dune and explored the tide pool area along the side of the cape.

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape  Kiwanda


Then we headed back from our explorations

Grandpa & Jacob

When we got back, Uncle Paul and the girls were already flying the kite!

Flying Kites

Flying Kite


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Lion Heart Festival

Our 4th Lion Heart Festival, a fundraiser for the Children’s Heart Foundation,- 3rd year volunteering – took place on Saturday, July 12 – Along with Emily’s birthday (I will do a birthday post for her soon). We were stationed in the retail booth again – which is perfect for us, since it affords us the flexibility we need with the kids- especially a baby. It was wonderful as always to visit with heart moms and friends, and see the kids in the yellow t-shirts playing to their delight.

It was the best and biggest so far, with many new activities along with all of the old. Once the entry donation is paid everything in the festival is paid for, except the climbing wall and things purchased at the retail booth. Even lunch, cotten candy, popsicles, and snow cones. Most of the pictures we took are of Jacob – partially because he is our Lion Heart, and also because the girls were off having fun, and Jacob had to hang out with either Dad or I, so there was always a camera near him. 🙂

One really cool thing, was that Jacob’s cardiologist, Dr. Legras, was there with his family, so were were sure to snag a photo of Jacob with his awesome Doc.

Dr. Legras and Jacob

Every year they have a marimba band – Jacob and I were walking past it and he stopped in his tracks, absolutely enthralled. He refused to budge for two entire numbers – and they weren’t short! He asked all sorts of questions and got to inspect them up close. Then, when the girls came to listen, he happily joined them for more.

Watching the Marimba Band

There was a circus section where you could try riding a unicyle and other circus acts – here is Jacob learning to be a clown – wait! He has that one down pat 🙂

Jacob learning a new circus act

Jacob loved crawling through the tunnels in Pitter Patter Land

Jacob in the Tunnel

At every Lion Heart Festival there is a comunity art project where everyone contributes sometihng to the work of art and then they auction it off at the end of the day. Here is Jacob contributing his part to the comunity art project.

Jacob working on the community art project

Community Art Project

We had the bouncy house, the ring toss…

Jacob Bouncing in the Bouncy House

Ring Toss

And a visit from Elmo (there were visits from Doro and Diego too – but we never saw more than one at a time, so we think it was the same guy – just sporting different costumes – we thought that was pretty cool.


Hugging Elmo

And I can’t forget about the face painting – we ended up with Dorothy as a Horse, Emily as a Butterfly, and Elizabeth as a Lion




James had fun too!


And finally there was the grand Lion Heart Parade with a photo of all the Lion Hearts at the end

Lion Heart Parade

The Heart kids at Lion Heart

The fundraiser festival was a great success, not to mention tons of fun!


Filed under CHD, Dot, Em, Heart, Jacob, James, Lizy, TGA

Playing in the Creek

On Friday, in between the parade in the morning and the fireworks in the evening the sun came out and we took the kids down on the beach. Out intention had been to head down to the ocean’s edge as usual and build castles and play at the edge of the water. However, the minute the kids hit the sand they made a bee line to the creek feeding into the ocean and refused to budge. It was just as well, because the beach was crowded and they could play in the creek without us worrying about them being swept away in the currents.

They had fun wading and dunking and falling. At one point Jacob went rather recklessly into the creek and slid on the rocks, rolling and tumbling about in the creek, coming up gasping, laughing and crying. I don’t think he knew what to make of it at first – he treated the creek with a lot more caution after that.

4 kids at creek

Liz at creek

Dorothy at creek

Emily at creek

Jacob at creek

Jacob and Dorothy at creek

Jacob at creek

Elizabeth and Dorothy at creek

Elizabeth at creek 2

Emily at creek 2

3 girls at creek


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Jacob, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Independence Day at Neskowin Beach

Friday morning found us gathering at Paul’s aunt’s cabin to ready ourselves for the Independance Day parade. A fine mist dripped around us as we donned our t-shirts and the few instruments there were (Paul and I weren’t playing – just chasing kids) warmed up. We were the “Flip-Flop Band” and were marching in the parade. The kids were excited as they were each handed a pair of flip-flops for a slapping together. In no time at all we had walked to the gathering point near the hotel.

Here is the whole big group – most are family

The Big Group (most are family)

And our little bunch

Kids before parade

Our Fam



Jacob snuck his Susie dog out to march in the parade

Jacob and Susie

James teething on a flip-flop – no worries, they are clean 🙂


Somehow Emily kept avoiding the camera – which is why i have no close-up of her.

Then we got moving –

Parade 3


Parade 2

After the parade there was a flag raising ceremony and patriotic sing along


In the evening we gathered around a bonfire on the beach to watch the fireworks as they lit up the sky – my arms were full of kid so I didn’t get any firework photos – but they were very beautiful.


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Thursday morning everybody packed up cars and kids and we all headed out to the beach. At the beach we were to meet Paul’s parent’s and his other niece and nephew. We all met up at the Alder House – or as we affectionately refer to it – “The Glass Blower”. I have been going to see the glass blower on the Oregon Coast for as long as I can remember. As a young child when we made our trips to Oregon from Pennsylvania a stop at the Oregon Coast and to see the glass blower was inevitable. Later when we moved to Oregon we couldn’t keep away. There is something fascinating about watching the glass blower work. The old building I remember no longer stands as the land it was on was turned into a wildlife refuge, however nearby is the newer building with the glass blower still working away. Though now we see the person he trained more often than him gradually taking over. Paul and I take the kids at least two or three times during the summer – and the glass blowers recognize us by sight.

One of the neatest things about when Paul and I first met was our connection to our favorite places on the Oregon Coast. Though Paul was raised in Montana his father grew up in Oregon. Most summers during Paul’s childhood incorporated a trip to Oregon to visit his aunt – who has a cabin at Neskowin Beach. Neskowin Beach was a favorite of mine, and my highschool friends. Our first non-date over a plate of spaghetti in the Viking of Rick’s College was spent discovering that we each new our favorite places – the glass blower being one of them. I was amazed how we knew and loved the same places and yet lived so far apart.

After the glass blower we (our family, Paul’s brother Mark’s family, and the extra niece and nephew) headed further south to Newport to go to the Oregon Coast aquarium.


It was a really neat place – I hadn’t been for at least 8 years or so, and the kids really enjoyed seeing the different kinds of fish.

School of fish

Of course the kids all flipped over seeing “Dorry” from “Finding Nemo”


I can’t remember the name of this guy – but I always thought these were cool looking fish.

(can't remember name at moment)

Here is a wicked looking spider crab – they made the kids a bit nervous

Spider Crab

And there were tons of different kinds of fascinating looking jellies – they were all so cool to watch

Another Jelly fish

Jelly Fish

Other kind of Jelly fish

And of course the touch pool was a huge hit – all the kids enjoyed the starfish and anenomies

Touch Pool

One of the major highlights of the aquarium is the “Passages of the Deep” – and underwater walk through shark infested waters. It was really neat to see flounders and all sorts of different fish swimming over, under, and beside you.

Passages of the Deep

Passages of the Deep 2

And there were indeed sharks



After we came out of the “Passages of the Deep” we were able to look over Newport Bay – inland. There is a story to Emily’s pouty face there in the photo.

Newport Bay

She hadn’t listened to us about keeping her feet away from the edge of the walk and her sandle had fallen off and below the deck. The gap betweent he rail and the deck was big enough for our arms to fit, but the sandle was out of reach. Paul debated on what to do – hop the rail and risk getting into major trouble, fetching some one for assistance or to let sleeping sandals lie. Finally, especially since the flip flop was new and Emily was in tragic tears, Paul decided to hop the rail. As he began to look around to be sure he wouldn’t be caught in the act, I had a sudden marvelous idea, and grabbed his arm.


“What,” he said eyeing me curiously – no doubt wondering if I had spotted a park attendent lurking nearby.

“I have an idea. We can lower Elizabeth by the feet over the rail and she can grab the sandal – easier not to get in trouble that way.”

An impressed looked dawned on his face – I felt rather impressed. We looked at Elizabeth to see if she was willing, and she bravely nodded her head. So Paul and I picked her up and dangled her over the rail – each of us having a hold of one leg. We lowered her until the snagged the escaped sandal, much to Emily’s delight, and hauled her back onto the deck.

So here’s to grand ideas, scheming, and dangling children off precipices (okay, so it wasn’t exactly a precipice, but that makes it sound more exciting, heh).

And that, was our fun filled day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

A.C. Gilbert House

This is an absolute favorite of the kids, they especially loved visiting there with their cousins. There is a huge outdoor play area – complete with one, two, and three story slides, a sand pit, and tons of other fun things. We started out side – pairing up the three oldest kids in each family in the buddy system.

Outdoor Play Area 2

Outdoor Play Area 4

Outdoor Play Area 3

Outdoor Play Area 5

Out Door Play Area 1

Then we gathered for a picnic lunch.

Picnic Time

After lunch we headed into the different buildings. We had a train room, a dino room, a bubble room, a room devoted to the inside of the body, a baby/toddler room, shadow room, invent a toy room, math room, castle theatre, grocery store, China, ecology, and a cool light room. The kids had a ton of fun – here are some highlights:

The Bubble Room held lots of soapy delights, from hoola hoop bubbles to big sheet bubbles, to a bubble tube where you stood in the middle of a platform, pulled the chain and rose the giant hoop around you so you were in the middle of a bubble.

Bubble Room 1

Bubble Room 2

The girls, with Jacob’s help, put on a play in the Castle Theatre.

Castle Theatre

Castle Theatre - Emily

Here is the same photo in Black and White – I couldn’t decide which one I liked better…

Emily Castle B&W

At one point Dorothy escaped out the window and rode away on the horse you see below

Castle Theatre - Dorothy Escaping

James even got to have fun rolling around the baby room.

Baby Room 2

Baby Room

The China room was a favorite for everyone – though the lady in the corner of one of the pictures wasn’t too happy with us – apparantly we made a lot of noise – but isn’t that what kids do when they are having fun (and fighting – Jacob would screach when Dot invaded his territory – but that is normal family life, and while we are teaching him not to screach, I can’t exactly put a muzzle on him – though it would be nice from time to time, heh)? She took her kids and stormed out making a big huff with a final parting glare at me as the kids crashed some of the play dishes together- no doubt she thought I was a horrible mom and couldn’t keep my kids under control. Oh well, I like big families, and noise, and kids who try hard but definitely aren’t perfect all the time. 🙂

The kids kept “feeding” the baby – it was adorable.

China Room

China Room 2


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Photography

Whew! What a Week!

I hardly know where to start… I think I will make this a random post and then focus in on specifics with photos during the next week.

We had family arrive on Sunday and a big family party, Monday we hit OMSI, Tuesday paul and I were sick sick sick, Wednesday we were better and hit the A.C. Gilbert House Discovery Village (a children’s museum in Salem), Thursday we headed to the beach and went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Friday we celebrated Independence day with a ton of awesome activities, Saturday Liz got sick at about 2:00 a.m. so we headed in from the beach later that morning and spent the afternoon recooperating from a crazy crazy week full of fun and family.


Today I am home from church with Liz – who is better, but we thought best to keep home today, and Emily who hasn’t thrown up, but has a low fever that seems to just be hanging about. James is home too – mainly because he can’t go many places without me. 🙂


Tomorrow my parents get in! Woohoo! And, Paul’s parents are in town too, so we are looking forward to even more fun over these next couple weeks.


James had his 6 month check-up a week ago this last Friday. He didn’t even cry when the gave him his shot – my brave little guy he is. All is well, though there is one minor issue which has us going off to see a urologist (sp?) over. His left T has not dropped yet, and as he is 6 months old, our pediatrician is concerned. Basically what he told us is that if it was going to drop on its own it would have done that by now. Even more concerning was that the pediatrician couldn’t even find it. So, we have an appt. with the specialist scheduled for the end of August. Chances are they will find it with an ultrasound and be able to give him some injections that will make it drop – if not, well – we will cross that bridge when we get there (it could involve exploratory surgery and other nasty things, so we are really hoping they find it on ultrasound). In the meantime I am focusing on being positive and not getting paranoid or worked up over something that is probably nothing – which is a bit harder than I had anticipated. *sigh*

And here are some pictures from our OMSI trip I mentioned in an earlier post – their special exhibit right now is Dinosaurs – which the kids just loved.



Walk Like a Dinosaur

Walk like a Dinosaur

Building a dino skeleton

Building a dion skeleton

The dino skeleton building spot was full of those tiny little rubber things – kinda like sand, but not. 🙂 I snapped this photo just as Jacob let loose in a moment of pure excitement.


On our way to the sub – you can see it behind the cousins – the two littlest cousins stayed with Paul (he had seen it with GuMike a month ago)

Cousings in front of the sub

Everyone got a chance to look through the periscope – here is Emily taking her turn:

Emily looking through the periscope

Torpedo Room

Submarine Torpedo Room

The Galley

Submarine Galley

And lastly a shot of the submarine going group beside the submarine propeller (minus me as I took the photo).

Submarine propeller


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, health, Jacob, James, Lizy

The Good and the Bad

OMSI was good – really good. Lots of fun, and we even went on the tour of the submarine which the kids loved – and I will post pics soon.

The bad is that I woke up sick this AM – and Paul ended up being sick too. Two parents sick with company staying is not a cool or fun thing. I really hope Paul’s bro’s family manages to dodge what we have, as well as the kids – only time will tell, and we are all scheduled to be at a family reunion on the beach this weekend.

The good is that after literally sleeping all day – except for maybe an hour or two, I am feeling amazingly better. Much thanks and gratitude given to a very sweet baby who let me sleep. 🙂


Filed under health