Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beverly Beach Slideshow

Here is a slideshow of the rest of the pictures from our camping trip.

Juggling at Beverly Beach

For our family vacation this year, we rented a yurt at Beverly Beach, 7 miles north of Newport. A yurt is basically a glorified tent—beds, a floor, electricity, light, heat... No bathroom or kitchen, but it's pretty posh for camping! Since I didn't grow up camping, I thought it would be a pretty good start for us and it was perfect. I would love to do it again some year!

Usually the weather is just gorgeous at the coast this time of year, but this week there was a huge storm about 200 miles out at sea that caused some weird bursts of rain. So between four kids, the weather, the mud, the campfire, a nursing baby, and potty training, this trip was quite the juggling act!

Yay! The wood is actually burning!

We left home after church on Sunday bringing my sister, Lindsey, with us. In Newport, we dropped her off to stay with my brother, Zack, and his wife, Hannah, where they are living with Hannah's grandparents. By the time we rolled into the campground, it was dark so we decided to unload everything in the morning. Sometime in the middle of the night we woke up to hear rain pattering on the roof. Oops! Instead of darkness we had to battle rain.

We got dressed and ate breakfast in the shelter of the yurt, but later in the morning the rain had stopped enough that we could go explore the (muddy) campground. We found a nature trail and followed it along Spencer Creek, admiring the way the sandy ground had fallen away from many of the trees exposing intricate networks of roots. The path led past the playground at which the kids were eager to play despite the wetness of it all. By the time we left there, Stephen had needed to nurse, Esther had wet her pants, Lucy had slid down a wet slide, and Joshua had watered the bushes.

Back at the yurt those who needed it were changed. Some of us took naps while Eli read to Joshua. Then for dinner we went back to Zack and Hannah's to celebrate Zack's birthday with hamburgers, angel food cake, and Skip-Bo.

The next morning was beautiful! We decided to eat outside and heat up our sausage over a fire. I got everyone dressed, made hot chocolate, and set out the breakfast things while Eli worked on the fire. Eventually he got it lit. I wasn't sure if the food tasted even better after all that effort or if it was a bit anticlimactic. Either way, both our tummies and our taste buds were amply satisfied.

After cleaning up and nursing the baby, we walked down to the beach to take advantage of the sunshine. The kids were thrilled, as they usually are, when we walked under the bridge and down onto the beach. The tide was high, unusually high because of the storm. Joshua found a sandy spot to one side and quickly began digging. The girls explored the edge of the rocky stream.  Eli and I put down our armloads of stuff and I posed with Stephen for a picture of his first time on the beach.

But as I smiled, and before the shot could be taken, I saw a huge wave rush up the stream and knock both girls off their feet! "Oh my goodness!" I gasped, pointing. Eli and I were both there in a second. He grabbed Lucy and I grabbed Esther. Both—though wet, cold and scared—were safe, and Eli hadn't dropped the camera and I hadn't dropped the baby. We stripped the girls down to their swimsuits and wrapped them in towels to warm up but they were pretty shaken. So was I!

I think it was my scariest parent moment yet. You hear all the time how dangerous the ocean is and how easy it is to get pulled out to sea by those sneaker waves. That thing that you don't want to happen was happening! They really couldn't have been pulled out to sea. They were too far upstream (which is why I wasn't right there holding their hands!!) and there were too many rocks in the way. But in that moment, it seemed like they could be!

Esther thought she wanted to play...

...but soon she preferred to be wrapped up and eat potato chips.

The experience gave us a good opportunity to talk about safety on the beach and about fear. We instituted a new rule: no one goes near the water until we watch it for several minutes to determine wave patterns.

While the girls sought safety in Daddy's arms, Joshua enjoyed the rest of our time on the beach.

1st time on the beach! (Take 2)

He wasn't very impressed.

Joshua and I were exploring the logs under the bridge when the wind began to blow and clouds gathered. When we got back, Eli was gathering things together as the first drops of rain fell. "Do we have to leave? It'll pass!" said optimistic I. Eli took Esther on his shoulders and put everything that would fit into the moses basket on top of Stephen. He headed back with them while I grabbed wet clothes, stray boots, and sandy shovels and buckets. But by then it was really raining. I lifted Lucy up onto the path and tried to get Joshua to help carry the toys. Both were too cold and confused by all the rain to be much help. I lifted Lucy onto the path and told her to start heading back, but when I caught up to her with Joshua and the rest, she was huddled down on the path under the bridge with her towel over her head! Finally I figured a way to drape the towels over my shoulder and carry Lucy and a bucket with the wet clothes so I could hurry to the cover of the bathroom pavilion. Joshua trailed behind with the rest of the toys.  Of course by the time we made it back to the yurt this little rain flurry was over.

Much better!
We changed, settled the little ones down for naps, and got out snacks and books. The wind shook the wet trees sending large drops spattering onto our roof.

After a soothing quiet time, we lit a fire for dinner. This was the most successful, enjoyable time of the trip. We sat around roasting hot dogs and eating apples and carrots. At one point the wind picked up and the weather turned threatening again and Eli ran inside with the little ones while I hurried to get a few roasted marshmallows in. But the threats were empty and we were able to stay out all evening.

As it got dark, Eli put the kids to bed and I took the baby for a walk because he was fussy, but it wasn't quite time for bed. The beach looked much different at low tide and by the light of the moon. Finally I nursed Stephen one more time and put him to bed and Eli and I watched the last embers of the campfire die.

The next morning was the beginning of our last day. I wasn't sure if we'd get to see the beach again, so I went for a walk alone before the kids got up. It was gorgeous as the sun rose over the mountains!

It was so sunny (I even saw a tiny bit of a rainbow!), that I thought for sure that we would be able to play some more on the beach (maybe without getting soaked in the first three minutes) before leaving. But as we got breakfast out (no campfire this time) it got cloudy and windy again. We decided to load everything up.

But by the time that was done, the sun was out again. In the end, we checked out of the campground and drove down to Agate Beach, with the intention of just walking rather than getting all sandy.

He's still deciding what his opinion on beaches is.

Well, you can't take children under 6 to the beach without getting at least a bit sandy. There was plenty of digging and sliding and a bit of splashing mixed in with the walking and running. And one of those children was potty training, so she ended up loosing her pants before we got back to the van.

We ended our trip in the historic district of Newport at a little family restaurant overlooking Nye Beach. The fish and chips and the bacon burger were excellent and view was lovely, though we didn't get to see the whale that was rumored to also be lunching in the area. The sky was a clear blue all the way to the distant horizon and it was just tragic to be leaving!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Washington Park in Portland

After a busy weekend, the question, "What do you want to do tomorrow with your day off?" usually gets the answer, "Nothing, I hope!" But when Monday morning dawns and the whole day is invitingly empty, the question, "What should we do today?" gets us thinking of what fun outing we should go on next. Yeah, we're loving not being homeowners for the present! This video compiles pictures from this week's adventure, up on the bluff overlooking downtown Portland.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Little Slice of Summer

Yes, it is Wednesday. Yes, this is wordless. With such cuteness, what more needs to be said?

A Bean in the Nose and Taco Coughing

Esther has a cold so when she came to me needing her nose blown I didn't think twice. I did think it was a little strange when she tried to look through the tissue to see what came out. "Where'd it go?" she was asking, but I didn't pay enough attention to understand her baby talk. A minute later she sneezed but didn't seem to need to blow her nose again. Then she came to me with a bean in her hand. "Dere is!" she exclaimed. "Oh, yes, I see the bean," I said. But when I noticed the snot on it everything suddenly made sense! I'm not sure when she stuck it in, but I sure am glad it came out without any problems!

In other news, Lucy demonstrated "taco coughing" by curling her tongue and coughing through it.

Fortune Cookies - Short film

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Remember my post about choosing happiness? This right here is part of what makes that possible! His whole face lights up and I drink it all in. Since he smiles like that so often, my happiness cup is quite full, despite the challenges this little guy brought with him.

The support of friends and family also helps keep the happiness cup more full than empty. Mom loves having us live here because it makes it very easy for her to be here when I need her. I love it too. And then there's the helpful husband who takes out the garbage and puts the kids to bed (even if his methods take longer and are noisier than mine). On Monday friends poured on the happiness when Joseph and Hannah came over bringing dinner and games. We all relished the pizza and ice cream and the kids enjoyed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while we played Forbidden Island and Oregon.

But the real reason I can choose happiness is because God is there. As Nancy Wilson said in a recent Femina post:
"God has promised to never leave us or forsake us; He has promised no temptation will ever be so bad that we can’t escape. But He never promised not to give us more than we could handle. In fact, He gives us more than we can handle all the time. If He didn’t, then we would not need to lean on Him for grace and strength."
Aunt Connie has said something similar before, which she mentions in this helpful blog post. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," is not some trite little platitude. It is a truth that makes it possible to choose happiness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One Month

My handsome littlest man is one month old today! It's been a wonderful month full of a lot of sitting, nursing and reading and trying to fit in everything else around that. Definitely a day to day, hour by hour time of life.

I've loved having so much time to read, though! I finished a Leaders in Action biography of William Wilberforce (out of print) and Raising Real Men. Now I'm halfway through 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I have also managed to read several chapters of The Hobbit to Joshua.

Joshua at four weeks.

Here's a picture of Joshua at the same age Stephen is now. I think there's some family resemblance!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Living the Dream

I have four kids. This is what I always wanted to do and I'm loving it. In my rose-tinted version of this dream I didn't notice the crumbs on the floor or the challenge of getting enough food and sleep. It's definitely a challenging dream to live out, but I'm determined to make it work...and to be happy about it too!

[Excuse me a minute while I nurse the baby and tell the kids to stop playing with the cooking utensils.]

That's not to say there's no frustration or tears. [Why are there utensils all over the floor and I did not say you could get out 15 blankets to make a tent in the kitchen!] Right now, for example, I have (another) breast infection. At least my cracked nipples are healing, finally. No, I'm certainly not happy all the time, but times like these pass. [Sorry, kids, for yelling at you when you still didn't clean up your toys. Forgive me?] I prefer to focus on remembering those first milk-drunk smiles (even if they are at three in the morning). I may be laying on the couch pretty much in misery, but what I will remember is the two-year-old's concern ("C-ying, Mommy?") and the three-year-old's sympathetic hug.

My #1 priority is to coordinate naps and quiet time so I can sleep!

Folding laundry is pretty far down on the priority list,
but the other day I did get it done!
Stephen helped.

Three weeks old!

With my other babies I loved have the newborn excuse for laying around and letting housework and other responsibilities slide. But this whole past year I have really enjoyed the order and peace of clean counters and sparkling sinks. I was having fun doing "schoolish-type activities" with the kids. Eli and I had been going for walks together in the morning before the kids woke up (thanks to live-in babysitters!). I really want to get back to all these wonderful little day to day routines!

But between nursing for about six hours a day and trying for eight hours of sleep, oh yeah, and getting food for the other hungry people here besides myself, it's an accomplishment to get everyone dressed, keep them clean and make sure they have clothes to wear. And every time I think I'm feeling good and up to tackling something like school or writing the birth story, I go down with a breast infection...or the kids wake up too early and we learn about good attitudes instead of numbers and colors.

So in the midst of the feedings and the diapers and the naps and the meals and the messes, I'm determining to be happy, because I'd rather be happy than miserable. Every time he smiles in his sleep I tell myself that I love my life. When I catch him staring at me from the crook of my arm, I rejoice. When attitudes explode in the play area, I remind myself that educating their minds can wait, but training their souls will not. It's a great story I'm living, Praise the Lord for choosing me to be in it!

The baby is done nursing now (multi-tasking is the mother's secret for getting anything done) and I hear pans clattering in the kitchen. Somehow I don't think the kids are cooking lunch.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Day 4

Almost 1 week

On his way to two weeks old and such an Evans!

Stephen's First Outing

I love the "first time in the car seat" picture. The baby always looks so tiny, but before I know it he will be filling out that seat.

Our four kids are all ready to go and we have a van they can all fit in! Off to church we go.
Welcome to the covenant, little Stephen Latimer Lionheart! You are now surrounded by a community of people who will pray for you, support you and disciple you.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

He's Here at Last!

Announcing the birth of:
(click to read the letter about his name)

Born healthy at 1:51AM on Sunday, July 24th, 2011 after 15 hours of labor culminating in 90 minutes of intense pushing.

He weighed 8lbs 6 oz and was 20 inches long.

He's got a bunch of hair just like his siblings did.