I want a million things for my kids. I want them to be successful and not worry about finances when they’re older. I want them to be happy and have a job they love. I want them to be comfortable and find someone who loves them for exactly who they are. I want them to be curious and I want them to travel and I want them to do well in school and I want them to have a zillion reasons to eat cake and celebrate.
And I want them to have adventures.
This last trip we took opened my eyes a little bit. I sat on the beach and watched as the kids ran from the waves, their smiles as big as they could possibly be. I truly don’t think I’ve ever seen Jamie so happy for so long as he was when we were at the ocean. He ran around from the waves to the sand to the rocks to the tide pools back to the waves, smiling and laughing the whole time. Alice had a hundred things to tell me about the big rock and jelly fish and people who save swimmers. Maria was in awe of the tiny crabs and sea creatures in the tidal pools. Charlotte couldn’t have been more thrilled to be a big kid with her older sisters and Olive was content to watch it all. My kids, on this huge adventure, were in heaven. They were doing something out of the ordinary and different. We weren’t on a schedule, we didn’t have any place to be and they were free to explore. I want to change things. I want to spend free time and extra money on adventures, not things (let’s be honest…i love things). I want to watch the kids’ eyes light up and I want to hear stories about the things they see for years and years and years. And while we try to do that as much as we can, I find myself getting sucked into things. The coolest new baby gadget or the cutest new trend in baby footwear (oops, I’m a victim of the moccasin craze). It’s easy to say we’ll do this or that but it’s extremely difficult to follow through. You always hear that spending time and money on experiences are so much better than on ‘stuff’ — and I always have good intentions. So cross your fingers for me, eh? <—I’m also trying to be more Canadian.
So enough with the words. Here’s our latest Oregon adventure (all phone photos…i was nervous about sand in my ‘good’ camera):
We went to the Oregon Zoo where Maria learned she will never have a wingspan like a vulture.
Francesca was happy and smiling the whole day in her stroller. That’s why I keep her around. Because she’s basically a perfect little thing.
We saw the most adorable baby elephant and its mama.
And Jamie took lots of book breaks.
I ended up hauling Charlotte around like this most of the time:
The kids pretended to be penguins.
Charlotte got her feet wet.
Ollie laughed and laughed. And laughed some more.
I got stuck carrying her when I wasn’t holding Charlotte on my shoulders. I had all 6 kids at the zoo alone, so I basically gave in to anything they wanted to make life happier.
At the Children’s Museum, Ollie helped as a checker. She just might have a future as a grocer.
We stayed with Uncle Josh on Thursday where Francesca had quite a time.
So did Ollie and Alice and Jamie and Charlotte and Maria.
Brandi the Incredible gave us passes to shop the Nike Employee Store — holy thankful. Several pair of shoes, shorts, tanks, and sweatshirts later and we are decked out. Thanks, Brandi!!
Danny had breakfast at Pine State Biscuits (we opted for Blue Star Donuts)
At the coast, the kids were happy as clams with coffee shop breakfast.
Nothing beats ocean views, that’s a fact.
Maria and I went horseback riding.
If you could hear them belly laugh after looking at this picture, you’d be happy for days.
Franci was a trooper. Sand in the eyes, mouth, and ears didn’t bother her a bit.
Charlotte enjoyed evening s’mores. Sometimes she’s a bit serious.
And our proudest accomplishment this trip? Ikea on a weekend with ALL SIX KIDS. We left with all 6 of them. This, my friends, is something.