Thursday, February 8, 2018

January Fun!

On January 1st we took the boys and some of their friends on a bike ride along the Banks/Vernonia bike trail.  It was sunny but it was super cold.  We usually ride into Vernonia, grab a bite to eat and then bike back to the car.  It was so cold and dark after we ate that Hyrum rode back to the van and drove it into Vernonia for us...what a sweetie!  The boys (especially Julian) were super happy they didn't have to ride back to the van:)

Julian sanding down his very first pinewood derby car

Here he is on race night.  He was kind of grumpy going into the night (I think he was nervous) but once his car starting coming in 1st place each time he got really happy.

Spent a Saturday hiking around Forest Park.

Julian has been asking for swim lessons for a long time and I finally remembered to sign him up.  He loved it and got much better at back stroke and freestyle stroke.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

We spend New Years Eve at the Doxey's.  We play games, eat way too much food, break open a piñata, eat more food, Steve juices some crazy fruit and we all see who is brave enough to try it (juiced cactus anyone?), face painting, more food and finally fireworks!

Julian playing a game.  

Steve and Hyrum face off

Face painting...and balloon painting?

The piñata is always a hit with the kids

We wait until midnight and then head outside to make some noise!  We had some small fireworks and tons of sparklers and snappers.  It's a great way to ring in the New Year!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Random December

Hyrum took me to the Portland Symphony for their Christmas concert.  I love going to concerts at Christmas and hearing all the great music that only gets played once a year!

The boys decorated gingerbread houses.  

We took the boys to an indoor rock climbing gym.

Hyrum and I met Jason in Portland for a concert.  The group was called Capella Romana and they perform Eastern European chanting in Greek, Arabic and English.  It was really different and I enjoyed hearing something new.

We had some beautiful days in December.  We took advantage of the sunny weather and got outside whenever we could

The Portland Art Museum had a wonderful display all about Laika, the animation group based in Oregon.  My boys love all their movies and it was really neat to see how they make their movies and all the tiny little pieces that come together to make a final shot.

Hyrum took the twins up to Mt. Hood for a day of skiing.  He said it was a great day on the slopes and they all had a fun time.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Time!

The most wonderful time of year!  I love that we live so close to Katrina and her family and spend the holidays with them.  Christmas this year was another success.  The boys got some fun new games for their Nintendo Switch, I got to sleep in and there was plenty of yummy food!

Cutting down the Christmas tree!

The boys all helped to decorate the tree.  They each have a box of ornaments that their Grandparents have sent them over the years so they like to hang those up by themselves.

Christmas Eve was on a Sunday.  Here we are all dressed for church

It even SNOWED a tiny little bit on Christmas Eve.  It was such a fun surprise:)

Our traditional Christmas Eve.  We go to Katrina's for "grab bags."  If you want a grab bag you have to perform a talent.  Hyrum and Julian played a duet on the piano:)

Ellen showing off her awesome grab bag gifts.  They can be silly gifts, or a game or candy or money. You never know what you're going to get!

After the boys went to bed Hyrum and I got all the presents and put them under the tree.  I like that we wait to put gifts under the tree...it makes Christmas morning magical.

Traditional Christmas breakfast.  The boys were so good and let us sleep in until 9:00.

The boys with their new Christmas ornaments from Grandma and Grandpa Johnson.  Little glass angels.

Julian requested MRE's for Christmas...what a strange little guy:)

Christmas Day we met the Doxey's over at the High School for an egg tossing contest.  Cooper and Steve definitely won for farthest egg thrown.  It was so cold that the eggs weren't breaking very easily.  They would fall on the ground but not break...it was crazy

Julian didn't want to participate at first because he thought he would get egg all over himself but when he saw the eggs weren't breaking he decided to join in.

Christmas is always such a fun holiday.  I love that we can be together as a family.  I love that we can relax and enjoy our day together.  

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Trip to Washington

One of my favorite people in all the world (Kari Christensen) lives just 3 hours north of me.  I took the opportunity with the boys out of school for Christmas break to go up and visit.  We only stayed a few days but we packed a lot of fun into those days and I got to catch up with my friend:)

We took the boys ice skating for the first time at Seattle Center.  The twins got the hang of it but Julian didn't last long.  I tried to help him out but it's exhausting trying to keep my own balance while trying to keep Julian up!

Kari with Jonah and Eli on the ice

A shot with all the crazy kids!  We got popcorn and hot chocolate:)

After ice skating we took the kids for a ride on the giant ferris wheel.  Heights are not my thing so I really don't know why I had the idea to take them...but I think they all had fun and it's a great way to see the city!

Of course we had to stop by Ivars for some fish and chips (or chicken and chips...none of the kids wanted fish)

From Ivars we wanted to go walk around the Pike Place Market.  It was only about 7 blocks but this guy on a bike offered to take ALL of us.  It was so funny the looks we got from people as we biked by...we were pretty stacked up!

I love walking around Pike Place.  So much to see!

The famous (but really gross) gum wall.

Aaron got us hooked up for a great night of karaoke!  It was super fun.  Of course none of my boys wanted to sing but it was fun to watch the Christensen kids put all their heart into the songs they chose:)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fun Times in Maui!

Each year I get a week long escape from the kids and a relaxing and fun trip with my husband.  He has to go to some classes for CME but we mostly have lots of fun.  This year we went to Maui and got to join up with some friends for a few of the days.  This was our second trip to Maui and it was nice to relax a bit more and not feel like we had a huge list of things we had to do and see.  Thank You to Oma who came to Oregon to watch my kids.  And thank you to Ben and Becky Platt for scheduling some time to come hang out with us...it was a blast!

December 3:

We went for a bit of a hike and then found a nude beach (Little Beach) we could swim in which was perfect since we didn't have our swim suits with us.  Luckily, from then on I always had my swim suit on under my clothes:)

Someone was getting into the Christmas spirit!

We enjoyed some yummy food and live Celtic music at Mulligans On The Blue

After dinner we decided to take the long drive up Haleakala to see the "super moon."  It was freezing cold and we didn't stay outside long, and it was a crazy drive to make up and back in the dark...but it was beautiful none the less.

December 4:

Got to spend a relaxing morning at Baldwin beach.  I loved that we could just sit and read or take a dip in the water if we wanted.  Traveling without kids is really the only way to travel!

Hyrum read about a fun hike, Na'Ili'ili Haele to some waterfalls so we decided to explore.  I love the tall bamboo forests around Maui

First waterfall

Second waterfall

We were all alone in our own little pool.  It was pretty cool

Walking through the cool rainbow eucalyptus trees

So many pretty colors!

My favorite gelato stop in Paia!

December 5:

Hiked around some pretty cool black volcanic rock near the start of the Hoapili trail in South Maui.

You could see the remnants of old walls from when people lived here.  It was crazy to think who would live on this stuff.  It was super sharp and hard to walk on and I can't imagine anything would be able to grow.

Found a fun place to snorkel for the first time on this trip in Ahihi Bay.  It was pretty windy so it wasn't the best snorkeling but we still had a fun time.

December 6:

Ben and Becky joined us for a few days!  I love the Platts and miss our time hanging out in Germany.  They live in Oahu right now so it was pretty easy for them to jump over to Maui for a few days.  It was so much fun playing with them!  We picked them up from the airport and made a short hike to Twin Falls.

Went for a short little hike to some waterfalls...

...Ben actually made it out there and back without falling in the water!  And he was wearing flip flops!

Ben being silly

We all went zip lining with North Shores Zip Line Company.  It was my first time and I'm terrified of heights but it was fun to try something new!

We all look pretty awesome in our zip gear:)

Drove up to Haleakala...again...this time to watch the sun set.  It was windy and very cold but also very beautiful but I think Becky may have gotten hypothermia!

It was so cold we were using towels we got for our trunk as blankets:)

It's amazing how high up you can drive

Even though we froze, it was a gorgeous sunset!

December 7:

We took a boat out to Molokini Crater for a morning of snorkeling.

It was a beautiful day to be out on the ocean!

Hyrum diving down to inspect the fish

Ben and Becky...love the underwater snorkel photos...so fun:)

We saw lots of fish and a sea turtle and Hyrum saw a Manta Ray!

Went for an amazing hike: Waihe'e Ridge Trail.  Very steep but very beautiful scenery!

It was such a great day for the hike

Y.M.C.A.  with the help from a crazy looking tree

We made it to the top!  It was a great view from up high

Becky's got us in "good hands"

We survived and made it back to the car in one piece.  Not an easy hike but definitely a beautiful hike!

We had to take a quick dip in water after such a crazy hike.  Luckily the Iao Needle wasn't too far away.  Freezing cold water but very refreshing for a dip.

The Platt's are the best...so much fun!

I guess Hawaii only has one Krispy Kreme and it's on Maui so the Platt's (who live on Oahu) were stoked to find Krispy Kreme!

December 8:

Road to Hana day.  We did the drive going backward again this time.  I think next time we are in Maui we should go the regular way around.  We always run out of sun light before we reach the end! Still a fun drive and so much to see and do!

Cool old church.  It's only open for service about 4 times a year but at one point there were many more people living on this side of Hana and it was a center piece in their lives.

This was a cool rock beach.  When the waves hit the rocks and then receding back into the ocean it sounded like a million pieces of rocks clattering together.  It made the most unique sound.

Hiking up to the waterfall on the Pipiwai trail at the end of the road to Hana.  We had to do "tree pose" in front of this awesome old banyan tree

Beautiful waterfall


We did some fun rock jumping in Waioka Pond.  Becky was so brave!  I jumped from about 5 feet up off the water and even that terrified me!


I have this same photo from a few years ago...Made Hyrum take it again even though he thinks it's silly

Black sand beach!

More yummy gelato.  Becky and Ben were making fun of us because they got a pint of ice cream for about the same cost as the tiny ice cream Hyrum and I got...but at least we didn't have to share:)

December 9:

We all went in search of the elusive Nakalele blow hole.  We tried to follow instructions in the guide book but ended up wandering along the coast line for a while until we actually found it!

It is a pretty impressive blow hole!

We found a rock with a heart shaped hole:)

More snorkeling fun at Kapalua Bay.

Shave Ice!!!

Walked around the cute town of Lahaina and saw the famous banyan tree.

It was sad to say goodbye to our dear friends and even sadder to say goodbye to Hawaii and come back home to the real world.  I love traveling and can't wait for my next trip!