Monday, October 29, 2012

Nick Turns 33

I hope he's not sensitive about his age.  I'm not.  I could choose not to publish the number, but then I couldn't post a picture of the cake.  And the cake is cute.
 There's a real golf ball in that cup, if you can't tell.
We also had a little brunch party at his mom's house to celebrate both his and Curie's birthday with that side of the family.  It was held the morning after a glorious/disastrous football game between our two high schools.   I made a lemon crepe cake for that occasion.  It was a new experience, and delicious, but very slippery to cut, fyi.  I'd like to post the pictures here, but I updated my iPhoto and now it won't support that memory card.  Hopefully Costco can help me out.  Meanwhile, you can just imagine that everything was perfect and the food was beautiful and everyone's hair was done and no one was still in their PJs.

Happy Birthday (last month), Handsome!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

First (and second) Day of School

Second grade.  It was hard to tell if the end of summer was anything to regret in Bethelle's eyes.  She loves school and was pumped for her first day.  She had been assigned the teacher that she had hoped for and was in the same class as her best friend.  What more could a seven year-old ask from life?
 Waiting for the bus!
We sure missed her at home that day.  Bethelle is Rigby's best friend, and she is my most able helper.  She adds a peace to our family that we don't like to live without.  Everyone is just happier when she is around.  We were all pretty excited when it was time to go meet her at the bus stop.
 Day two.  Can you get a sense of her favorite color?
 It was pretty hot that day, as you can see by the spot Rigby chose as we stood waiting for the bus in the afternoon.  Yes, that is supposed to be grass.  We nearly hit a record for consecutive days without rain in this region: 48 days.  Three more would have hit the record.  And it was only 14 minutes of rain that stopped us.
 Nick thought we should celebrate the heat with an evening at the lake.  We got there just as everyone else left.

 And it was there that I spotted this natural occurrence.  Don't you want to touch it?  It feels like a cloud.
 I only get in the water when there is a good chance of getting my body heat back up without a hot bath.  So I just took the pictures.

Jacksons: Not to be Outdone

Before Pierce arrived, I was not of sufficient frame of mind (or body) to contemplate planning a post-birth, summer vacation.  In fact, I recall reading a blog post of a friend who lives in Australia about a family trip they took to New Zealand, with all five kids.  The post was exciting, upbeat, and adventurous, and yet the clear thought in my mind was, "that would be so terrible!"  When I am not pregnant (which doesn't seem to be very often, lately), I am generally adventurous and would most certainly drag my family all over New Zealand, given the chance, but pregnant-me wants Nick to use up all his days off just cleaning the house and packing Bethelle's lunches.

Fortunately for my innocent children, their grandparents all planned vacations for them.  You just finished reading (I presume) about our paternal staycation.  Now take a gander at the our maternal version.

The extended Jackson family headed out once again to Anderson Island, where my parents own a small cabin on a lake that my dad built when I was young.  There is a great sense of fulfillment in watching my children play on the beaches where I played and swim in the lake where I swam.
Anderson Island is accessible only by ferry, or some other sort of boat I suppose, so it remains calm, quiet, and somewhat untouched by the frenzied world.  Not much has changed there since I was a child.

I took the kids out earlier than most of the crew in order to spend an extra day with my baby brother, Blair, and his family.  They had flown in from Phoenix.  This was the first time that I met their sweet Daphne who was already eleven months old!  She takes after me, just so you know.

And I hadn't seen Charlotte for over a year either.  If you're a long-time reader, you may remember that they lived an hour from us when we were in San Francisco.  But little girls get a lot bigger in a year and a half.  And they get sisters!
We had grown, too.  Looking back, Curie was just a baby the last time we saw them.

And if we hadn't yet met Daphne, they certainly had not seen Pierce.  Speaking of seeing Pierce, can you make out where he is below?
Cousins, reliving their parents' lives.  I'm sure there are pictures of Blair and I swinging on this same toy, buried somewhere.
My clever boy found some reeds near the lake and surprised me looking like this.  He's into ninjas lately (Halloween spoiler alert).

When the rest of the family arrived, including Nick, we made our familiar trek down a little hike to the Puget Sound.  At first, Bethelle thought she would carry Pierce for us.  She didn't make it from the car to the trailhead.

Pierce found another, more stable ride.

Isn't this a gorgeous trail?  And look what it opens up to!
We were pleased this year to find that the trail had been opened up and improved a great deal.  A new path had been carved down to the water that was much easier on the kids and did not require wading to get to the beautiful beach.
Being here was such a nice opportunity to just sit and chat.  Or practice knife-throwing.  Sorry I didn't get a picture of that.  My brother, Troy, surprised us all by bringing his set of throwing knives down to the water to pass the time.  I should not have been surprised.  If you know him, you are probably not.
One fantastic feature of this summer's trip was that we rented a second house next door to my parents' cabin.  It was the quiet house.  On a trip with 15 kids ages eight and under, you may be able to begin to appreciate the wonder and gift that was the Quiet House.  We let the chaos/bonding run free in the cabin, and then just when the adults were on the verge of losing their minds and bursting their eardrums, we took the kids over to the Quiet House, one family at a time, for a calm, normal bedtime routine.  Ahhhhh.  Peace.

Curie turned three on our second morning at the island.  Here she is, feeling as big as her bedhead.
 Nick took the kids to a park in the morning, where Pierce got his first chance at a swing.
That evening, we had a little party back at the cabin.  She had wanted a zebra theme, so here's what I came up with: 
I did not get many pictures of the party, or of the inside of the cake which was zebra-striped itself, because I was watching from the couch/sickbed, afflicted with what seemed a lot like food poisoning, although I am still not sure.  Making and frosting that cake had been my entire day's accomplishment.  But it was worth it for my little Curie.
 She got some great presents, including a Rapunzel costume, a zebra pillowcase, and some books.
 Have you read The Giving Tree lately?  I didn't fully appreciate it when I was young.  It's about being a mom.  I'm sure of it.  And it makes me cry.
The next day, we spent more time at the lake.  You can see by the ring around his wrist that Pierce was wearing his fat-shirt to the beach.
Yes, I did swim out to that slide behind me in the picture and go down it.  After Bethelle did.

 Anderson Island happened to be hosting a little parade while we were there, so Mom passed out flags and we took the kids.

 We saw local politicians, clubs, firetrucks, and motorcylists.
 And of course the Junior Sailing bus.  Love this one.
 The kids may not have enjoyed it too much had the groups not thrown candy to them as they passed.  So we all had a great time.  And then we went home to teach a lesson in never running out into the road.  Even if a fireman throws treats at you.
Paddling around the lake in the canoe:
 And hanging on for dear life behind the boat:
 We had to push hard to get Rigby onto the tube, but when we finally pulled him back in after his ride, he told Curie that he thought she would really like it.  What a brave boy.
That's all for this year, Anderson Island.  Hope to see you again soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Recreating the Moment

Curie and Allie.
 When their big sisters were older, my sister-in-law and I bought the girls these dresses and took them to a studio for the most adorable photo shoot.  The girls spontaneously erupted into a game of Ring Around the Rosie, and the pictures were adorable.  I wish I had digital copies to post here, but they are still framed and honored on Grandma's wall.
 These two were finally big enough for the dresses, but life is too complicated and crazy now to devote a day to a recreation in the studio, so we gave it a quick try in the park.

 As you can see, I had a tough time narrowing the selection down to just the best ones.

 Really, Mom?  More Ring Around the Rosie?

 This is real love.

 These little ladies really blossomed in their friendship during this staycation.  They show more interest in playing together than I recall with my other kids at this age.  Sometimes, kids just want to play near each other, but do their own thing.  Not these two.  I think the appeal for them is that two can come up with a lot more mischief than one!  We are going to have to keep tight reins on this crew as they grow up!