This past weekend the kids and I made a quick trip to Portland to visit Baby Keira (oh yeah, and her mother too!) The on-the-way travel was relatively uneventful except that it rained every second of the way. Thankfully, God gave us a 15 minute break in the weather for the exact moments when we stopped to play at the Oakridge park. Thank you for Your perfect timing!
I have to admit, traveling with three kids and no husband (Bryan stayed home to work, attend a youth group function, and paint the bathroom) can be a bit challenging. There were several phrases that came out of my mouth that I swear were my mother's voice coming out of my mouth..... No, I'm not reaching back there! You kids share! I can't talk to you when I'm driving in the rain! JUST GIVE IT TO HER WHATEVER IT IS! Shamefully, I was not very patient with them. But the kids were happy with the DVD player, and I was happy with my boyfriend Jeremy Camp's music....so we all made it in relatively good time.
Baby Keira is now 9 months old and crawling all over the place. She thought Graeson was her own personal play toy and climbed all over him while he giggled hysterically. They were quite a pair! Kaela is everyone's big sister, and Maezie was a little helper too. They loved holding her, feeding her, chasing her around the room, and reading to her. I'm sad to realize I only got one picture of her! What a bad Auntie!
Since Laurel has a small one-bedroom apartment, I (foolishly) thought it would work well for all three kids to sleep in her queen-size bed and Laurel and I would be on the futon....thinking (what was I thinking?!) they would all sleep like little angels next to each other. Um yeah, not sure what I was dreaming! The first night they were finally asleep at 11pm, Maezie being the last one to finally give in. And like clockwork, they were up at 7 am! The second night, we were (slightly) wiser and started the bedtime process two hours earlier. I eventually discovered it was the little one--in the middle of the bed--who was the biggest nuisance and was pestering the others! Apparently, Maezie decided it would be fun to poke Graeson's eyes and then when Graeson hollered, guess what Mommy did? Marched in and yelled at Graeson to stop playing and go to sleep! Meanwhile the baby was standing in her crib babbling and laughing at the three others. Eventually Laurel and I wised up and she took the baby for a car ride (instant sedative!) and I planted myself in a chair in the bedroom until they were all unconscious. Yikes.
We did have some fun times too! While Keira napped, I took the kids to the mall....a REAL mall! (Let's just say the mall in our town is, um, Walmart.) We went to the Hello Kitty store, Toys R Us, and Barnes and Noble where they spent their own gift cards. They loved being able to each choose a different food court option--Chinese food, orange julius, and pizza. Then we went ice skating inside the mall. That's right, "we" means Mommy too. Oh. My. Goodness. I feared I might actually die on that skating rink! Kaela picked it up pretty quickly and only held onto the wall for a short time. Graeson took one hard fall and he was done; but, he did eventually venture out again and had a great time. Mommy took Maezie around the outer loop with her clutching to the wall (yes, I was clutching the wall too!) and she was crying almost the entire time. It took us 45 minutes to go around one loop, with her crying for about 43 of it, and by then we were both done! Then later I surprised Kaela and let her get her ears pierced! She was SO excited! She did great!
On the way home, since the rain had stopped, we took a slight detour and visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn. It was truly phenomenal! The farm is quite the production complete with kiddie rides, vendor booths, and typical fair food. Graeson was in heaven climbing on the beloved John Deere tractors, and we all enjoyed the hay ride around the MILES of tulips! The kids even got their first taste of elephant ears--though they were a little hesitant at first because I think they thought they were going to eat an actual elephant!