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Future Hockey Star

E-Boy (4) has been doing great at his skating lessons.  We signed him up to start Hockey lessons this Fall.  Here’s a little video of him skating this week.

New Tutorial Alert

Check it out!  If you’ve ever wondered how to make a boutique style  bib-front tee for your little girl, you’re in luck.  I just posted a tutorial with step-by-step photos showing you how to add this embellishment to your favorite tee-shirt pattern.  This top would be super cute paired with an apron skirt or some ruffled pants.

Ten Candles

My oldest child turned ten recently!  She celebrated by having a sleepover with her two best friends.  There was much giggling and silliness, and very little sleeping actually occurred.  Here she is about to blow out her candles:

First Backpacking Trip

This is the story of our first overnight backpacking trip with the kids.  The cast of characters includes me and Hubby, A (age 9), E (age 7) and E-boy (age 4).  Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate lab puppy, Moose (age 8 months).  This story will be told with many words and few pictures, not by choice, but due to the unfortunate circumstance of arriving at the trailhead and finding that one of the children had unplugged the camera battery charger without the batteries getting enough juice.  So, here we are at the trailhead, ready to start on our journey:

We’ve been planning to do an overnight backpacking trip with the kids for a while.  We love to get the kids out experiencing the wonders of nature, and enjoy camping.  So after doing several day hikes with the kids we went looking for a nice trail to hike.  We wanted to hike in 5-6 miles, with a gentle gain in elevation.  We also were looking for something that was near a creek, and allowed dogs to hike along.  After much searching we settled on hiking to Spider Meadow.  We planned to spend three days and two nights, hiking in on day one and setting up camp, then spending day two doing day hikes without packs for the kids, then hiking out on the third day.  We packed up our gear into five packs (Hubby carried almost 40 pounds, I carried 20, A 11, E9 and E-boy 5.  Oh and the dog carried his food and bowls in his little pack) and set off for the trailhead.

I have to say, we picked a great hike.  The trail was in good condition and the ascent was gentle.  The main challenge was the creek crossings, which we prepared for by bringing crocs to wear when wading across.  A few of the creeks were flowing pretty high, and Hubby froze his feet by carrying across first his own pack, then each of the girls.  Halfway in we stopped for lunch on the trail, then continued on.  The second half of the trail was covered in patches of snow, which was a bit challenging for the kids to cross.  We took a pretty lazy pace so the kids could enjoy themselves on the trail, and reached the meadow after about 6 hours of hiking.

The view when we reached the meadow was spectacular!  The first thing we saw was a huge buck standing near the creek, looking right at us.  It was one of those sights you just have to be still and drink in.  Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures of it.  So sad; so very, very sad.  Here’s what it looked like:

Once in the meadow, we found a nice place to camp by crossing yet another creek.  We set up the tents and went about the process of cooking dinner.  The kids ran about the grassy meadow (amazing how setting down their packs had energized them to play tag after hiking 6 miles) while Hubby and I enjoyed the views.  We had a lot of solitude, as there were only two or three other groups of campers in the meadow, none on our side of the creek.  After dinner, we tucked the kids in their tents and settled into ours.

We woke in the morning to all that glorious scenery!  There’s nothing like early mornings in the great outdoors!  When we went to get the kids out of their tent, we heard the bad news.  A’s palate expander had come unglued on one side during the night.  It was loose in her mouth, and it was hurting.  We had two choices, we could tell her to buck up and deal with it for the next two days, or we could hike out and have the orthodontist take care of it as soon as we could.  We briefly considered just pulling it out with the leatherman tool, but that didn’t seem like a viable option since neither Hubby nor I had gone to dentistry school.

We fixed breakfast, and ate before breaking camp.  A. wasn’t able to eat much, but she drank some milk and sucked on her Cheerios.  Then we took down our tents and packed up our backpacks.  I can’t tell you how disappointed we were to have to cut our trip short, especially since we were hiking out carrying an entire day’s worth of food.  However, we did what we had to do.

The hike out went faster than the hike in, as we were going downhill.  We didn’t have time to dawdle, as we needed to reach cell phone service before the office hours were over at our orthodontist.  After reaching the trailhead it was another hour before we were able to call out.  Luckily, the orthodontist was able to meet us at his office in the evening and take out the expander for A. 

So that is the story.  I have to say it was a successful hike.  We were able to carry everything we needed in, and we reached our destination.  The kids did a great job hiking, and we can definitely plan another overnight hike soon.  This time, though, we’ll make sure we have batteries for the camera.  And A. no longer has a palate expander to pop off and ruin our plans.  Whatever our next adventure brings, I’m sure we can handle.

Hello, Dinner!

It’s salmon fishing season again, and once again Hubby landed a wild chinook salmon.  This year’s fish was a tad smaller than last year’s, weighing in at almost 18 pounds.  Hubby filleted it and we feasted and stocked our freezer for the future as well.  Yum-O!

Another Hike: Ingalls Creek

Last week we took a hike up Ingalls creek trail.  We’re planning a family backpacking trip later this summer, so I wanted to get the kids out on the trail with packs to see what they can do.  I chose a trail that wasn’t too steep, packed up some lunch and snacks, and we set off.  We brought along the dog, who loves to hike with us.

After hiking for about an hour, we stopped for a snack.

This big rock in the middle of the trail made for a group photo op.  The kids got to rest while Hubby figured out the self-timer on the camera.

Our final destination was this lovely little spot near the creek where we stopped for lunch.  There were some rocks for climbing on and some calm pools for the kids to wade in the cold water.

At the end of the trail, we had one very tired puppy and an exhausted little boy, both of whom slept in the car on the way home.  The girls did great, though, and will definitely be able to carry their weight on our big trip.

Family Hike

Last Saturday, we took the kids and the dog out for a hike up Saddle Rock.  Although we’ve lived here for more than five years, it’s a hike we’d never done before.  The trail is a little over 3 miles round trip, but it’s steep, climbing 900 feet of elevation.  The climb guaranteed a good view from the top, and a good bit of wind blowing when we climbed that high as well.  I knew the girls wouldn’t have any trouble with the hike, as they’re in great shape.  I was impressed with E-boy, though, who walked the whole way on his own!

Moose loved being out hiking with the family.  At every water break, he lined up right behind the kids to have a drink of water out of the camelbak Hubby carried.  Ignore E-boy’s crazy pose here…as soon as we got the dog looking in the right direction, he went a little crazy, so the result was that none of the pictures had both E-boy and the dog looking the right way at the same time. 

We let the girls wield the camera to take a pic of me and Hubby.  We look a little windblown, but you can see the whole valley in the background.

Off to the Races

Saturday was the day for the kids’ relay race.  Our team looked awesome in their freezer-paper stenciled tee shirts, even if we didn’t win the tee-shirt contest.   

Here is E. in her part of the race, paddling.  This was probably the toughest part of the race, since the kids had only a few chances to practice in the kayaks prior to race day.  E. did great, though, apart from getting a bit tangled up with one of the other racers who couldn’t control his boat.

A. was in the obstacle course part of the race with one of her best friends.  They had a ton of challenges, including piggy back race, wheelbarrow race, army crawl, basketball shoot, rock wall, balance beams, hurdles and tire flip.  The girls had a ton of fun!  Here is E. dodging through a slalom course:

And all the girls together running for the finish line.  I was glad I had the accidental foresight to make the shirts bright pink, because it really helped me find the girls in the midst of the crowd.  We had a lot of fun doing this race!  The kids are already planning their team to do it again next year!

E-Boy at the Ice Rink

E-boy started ice skating lessons this week.  He wants to learn to play hockey, so we figured skating was a good place to start.  He has loads of self-confidence about his abilities, since he pretends to play hockey daily, and “ice skates” in his socks on our hardwood floors.  When we told him we’d signed him up to learn to skate, he was so excited he was counting down the days on his calendar.  At the lesson, I got him suited up in snow pants, gloves and helmet, along with his rented skates, and he took off on the mats, getting used to the feel of the skates on his feet.  By lesson time, he was ready for the ice, and went happily out on the ice with his teachers and the other skaters.  I wielded the camera, like a true mama-bear and recorded his first skating lesson for posterity.  He had a great time, and did awesome learning to fall and get back up, and skate around the rink a bit.

At the end of the lesson, the teachers had the kids all skate over to a box of toys for some fun before going home.  Inside the toy box, E-boy found a little hockey stick and puck.  Then he took out two cones, skated over to the goal markings on the ice, and set up the cones for a goal, before hitting the puck through.  This was a laborious effort for my little skater, with lots of bending to pick up the objects, then carrying them where he wanted to go and placing them.  But he was determined that what you do in an ice rink is play hockey, and that’s just what he did.  He’s already counting the days until his next lesson.

Freezer Paper Love

My girls are going to be part of a local relay race this weekend.  The race has four parts: running, kayaking, biking, and a two person obstacle course.  They organized a team with three friends, and I had all five girls over at the house on Friday to make team tee shirts.  My dilemma was how to create a tee shirt craft for five girls, ages 7 through 10, that would result in nearly identical, great-looking shirts.  Freezer paper stenciling was an ideal choice.  I designed a little logo with their team name “the best girls team ever” and some icons to represent the different parts of the race.  Then I printed it out and layered it over five pieces of freezer paper before cutting out the pieces with an X-acto knife.  This was definitely a grown-up task, as our logo was fairly complicated.  It took me most of an hour to cut out the design, and many times during the process I was grateful that I could cut all the stencils at once, rather than repeating the process five times over.  I then ironed the stencils onto the backs of each shirt.  The girls’ part was to paint the stencil.  After the paint was dry (I couldn’t wait so I used a hair dryer to help speed the process along) we peeled off the paper, revealing the finished design.  We personalized each shirt with the girl’s name and the icon for their part of the race on the front left chest.

Flickr Photos