Two-Wheeled Wonder

Today Derek learned to ride a two-wheeler. We went on a bike ride last night and he got hysterically upset about having to ride in the Burley. We told him he needed to learn to ride a two-wheeler if he wanted to ride with the rest of us.

So he did.

My friend Chris had the best idea to go up to the Reed College Parkway, take the training wheels off and let the kids learn to ride there. Perfect little trail with grass all around. It totally worked.

It took about four tries for Derek to get his balance, and then he was off.

No more training wheels for this guy!

Swim Fan

Today marked our last day of swimming lessons. We did two sessions, so four weeks straight. I cannot say enough about Portland Parks and Recreation swim classes. Affordable, convenient, full of nice people. Many pros, very few cons.

I grew up with a neighborhood pool that we could literally walk across the street to. There are not a lot of things that I can say with confidence that I am good at, but, I am a good swimmer, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t.

My boys, well. They do not have a pool across the street, so every summer we trek out to the Sellwood Pool and do weeks of lessons in hopes that they will at least be able to survive falling out of watercraft.

Tate is a determined swimmer. He tries hard, practices diligently and listens to his instructors. He also gets very, very cold. There was a 100 degree day where everyone was sweating, even the kids in the pool. Except Tate. Tate was standing there in his swim shirt shivering like a leaf. That’s what happens when you have .5 body fat.

But this was Derek’s summer. He started swimming lessons by not wanting to even put his face in the water and then somewhere mid-session he totally got it. He just took off and suddenly, he could swim.

Since the blog was down, I was keeping a sort of log of the days. This is what I wrote about Derek’s swimming debut:

Derek learned to swim today. It was astounding. Last week he would not even put his face in the water. We didnt’ even go every day because it was so cold. And then this week, well, the temperatures soared to the nineties and apparently so did his confidence, since not only did he put his face in the water, he did a front glide and he floated on his back for 10 seconds. And just like that, well, he was up to the next class.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of him. He put his mind to it and he made it happen. I see that determination in Tate a lot but I have not expected that from D, mostly because he is young and also because he’s a different person. Not bad, just different.

But he had this, man. His teacher was thrilled. He was swimming all over, head under the water, huge smile on his face. He does an excellent back float, it’s a wonder to see.

I love seeing him so happy and proud. He can accomplish things! And now he knows it! He was delighted and paddling all over. I think he will really like being an otter.

* * *

After that first session, Tate also ended up moving up from Seal to Polar Bear. I was very proud of them both. So much of swimming is just learning how to move and be comfortable in the water and they’ve both done a great job of it.

In other water news, we’ve also been doing a lot of this:

Because of course there has to be some sort of basketball element.

Moving, Getting Hacked, and Everything In Between

We survived the move! We’ve been in the new house for nearly a month now and just said goodbye to Ryan’s parents, who had the pleasure of testing out our guest bedroom and bath as the inaugural guests.

The blog has been quiet for some time now, as you 11 regular readers may have noticed. During the midst of the move, we had the extra fun experience of having our site hacked and then removed by our hosting company for sending out spam.

There’s really no better time to get your website hacked then when you’re living in a house that has never, ever had Internet installed in it and does not even have the capability to have it plugged in. We had to hire an electrician to come out and install the cable to plug in a modem and then Comcast came out and had to run a line from the house to the main city line.

Good times.

I can write more about that in the future, but for now, let it just be known that we are still alive out here and so, so happy to be settled.

The move was about as good as one could expect. All of our stuff arrived, we did end up with a washer and dryer after a few weeks {hurray for laundromats!} and I’m still waking up each morning pinching myself that we get to live here.

Ryan took a week off work to get us settled and now he’s back on the road again. It was a lifesaver to have him around. I think I would have curled up in a little ball behind a wall of boxes if it had been left only to me to unpack and get us organized.

Instead, we have pretty much everything at least in the area that it’s supposed to be, beds, couches and an organized basement. We can also cook things in our kitchen. It felt weird pulling out pots and pans after so long.

Areas that I still have not touched and maybe won’t for the next year:

  • Our scary fireplace full of mysterious dirt, even though it’s a gas fireplace. Please pretend you don’t see it when you come to visit. I know it’s dirty. I’m just scared.
  • The upstairs unfinished attic space above the office
  • The greenhouse full of weeds
  • The shop/workout room
  • The outdoor fireplace, complete with scary tupperware full of something? that the former owners left. Maybe I should change moving that tupperware to the category of NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, YOUR JOB, RYAN.

My favorite things so far:

  • How beautiful the paint turned out. It changes the entire feel of the house
  • Our bigger bed that can now fit all four of us
  • How easy it is to clean all-wood floors
  • The kitchen
  • The boys running in and out of the house whenever they want because we finally have a yard
  • The basement where all the toys live
  • The cat door that Lafawnduh uses, so now we don’t have to listen to her yowling constantly
  • That there’s a guest room and bathroom so people can come stay and feel comfortable
  • How happy our family feels here

I’m going to try and get back to posting regularly. Now that our site is back, it’s a little wonky because I changed the theme {how it appears} for additional security, but in my spare time avoiding the fireplace dirt, I’ll hopefully be better about updating.

Here are some random photos from the first few days:

New Room

New chair from Nana

watching the golfers during breakfast.

Reading books in bed together

Technical Difficulties

Hey everyone, sorry for all these random pieces of posts that keep coming up. They are all drafts, and yet somehow without my permission they keep being published. It appears that robots have taken over my blog.

Adding to this complication is our lack of home internet right now. But hopefully we will be fixed and online soon!

In the meantime, I will do my best to control the robots. Or at least find out who they are.

Living With My Parents

I suppose that title might sound like I’m trying to write some sort of survival guide, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite having our own personal house to move into today it’s been so comfortable here, that we’ve thinking of just hunkering down and not leaving for the remainder of the summer.

Well, at least I am. Not sure how my parents would react if I sprung one more month on them.

Isn’t it funny how you just revert back to being a child when you go home? Wait, is that just me? If so, I’m sorry to my mom and Sandy, but it’s been so nice to be home and among those who love us. And take care of us. And our kids. And our pets. Wow, that’s a lot. I bet you are totally wishing I was your kid right now and I had descended on your home 10 years after moving out, but this time with  a whole lot of dependents.

My parents live out in the woods on property in a house with plenty of bedrooms for all. Every day the boys get up and eat cheerios and watch cartoons, go run around outside like maniacs, climb the fence to eat blueberries straight off the bush, scooter up and down their long driveway, play with water in the kid pool in the backyard, practice basketball, throw balls over the roof and then come inside to play with toys or read books.

This is all punctuated with plenty of breaks for hugs, popsicles, watermelon and teasing Nana and Poppa. We are so blessed to have parents in our lives who love our boys so much.

Also, my mom is an amazing cook and makes us a lovely meal every night. I feel like I’ve stepped back in time. Well, except now I can drink beer with my parents and I have to wrestle my very dirty and scratched offspring into the shower every night.

It’s been pretty idyllic.

The other boon is I feel like I’m just watching my mom and picking up all these tips on how to organize my own home and make it nice. Maybe this is why people live in villages and communes with their elders, because I had to come live with my mother before it would occur to me to pour my rice and beans into cute containers instead of throwing half full bags of them on top of each other in the cupboard for the past seven years.

Coming here has been a restful and refreshing break after months of stress. It’s been such a blessing to have family dinners with Nana and Poppa every night, lots of good conversations, and spending time together like we haven’t done in years. I love watching my boys just get filled up with all the affection and laughter from Nana and Poppa. They’re just glowing with happiness.

I can’t tell you how grateful we feel for their hospitality and this time together. I know it’s a time we won’t forget.