Thursday, August 18, 2016

Annika's 9th Tooth

During dinner last night, Annika mentioned that her tooth was feeling quite loose. We talked about how it would be neat for it to come out on the first day of school next month. Well, that little tooth had other ideas!

Annika and Eric decided to try pulling it while I was at a meeting at the kids' school. Eric slipped a loop of floss over the tooth, only to have the floss pop right off. Annika used a paper towel to dry her tooth. He re-looped the floss... and off it popped again. Annika used a paper towel to dry her tooth AGAIN ... only to have the tooth pop out while she was drying it off!!

How appropriate that she is nine and just lost her ninth tooth!

We did have to go on a bit of a hunt for her tooth pillow, but that didn't take too long (thank goodness!). This morning, she very excitedly showed me the $1 coin and note left for her by the Tooth Fairy. Life doesn't get much better than that when you're 9! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Whidbey Summer Fun: Fishing, Golf Camp, and More!

Apparently, I am way behind in some of my blogging!!! It has already been almost a month since we were on Whidbey for a family weekend followed by golf camp for the kids and I have yet to write about it. Eeep!

This was one of those "lots of moving pieces" kind of family adventure, to say the least. All four of us (five, including Buca!) went up to the island Saturday morning and after waiting in the ferry line (ugh -- good reminder to leave earlier than we did!), we made it on the Kittitas and made our way across the beautiful blue Puget Sound. The kids thought the best part of the ferry crossing is watching for "swirl pools" caused by the ferry's engines... I was so focused on taking in the gorgeous endless water, lapping waves, Olympic Mountains, and puffy clouds that I barely noticed the "swirl pools", but the kids sure did!

On the Kittitas

Looking for "swirl pools"

"Look, Sister! I found one!"
Saturday was mostly a family day because that was the only full day we'd have Eric (and Buca) there with us. I was fortunate enough to have gotten the green light to work from the island, but Eric's workload didn't grant him that same flexibility. So, Saturday, we hung out together, played games, went to a local park/skate park with Bestemore, and just enjoyed being under one roof. The kids also used this time to practice casting their fishing poles in preparation for Sunday's fishing excursion with Bestefar.

Anti-gravity girl

Our little climbing monkeys

Fishing from the trailer

Bestefar giving Conor some fishing tips
Annika getting some coaching from Eric

All of this fun left Buca longing for a nap

Fishing licenses in hand, all ready for tomorrow

Daddy and Annika during game night

Mama and Conor during our family dice game
On Sunday, we bid farewell to Eric and Buca after breakfast and started prepping for our time out on the boat with Bestefar. The kids could hardly wait!!!! We had absolutely incredible weather for the fishing .... unfortunately, not a single salmon was interested in biting. We had plenty of dog fish on our hooks, much to Bestefar's annoyance and the kids' delight, so no salmon for dinner. Oh well! The important part was getting out on the water and spending time with Eric's dad and building some memories.

Gearing up to fish

Bestefar watching the line
(a little irked that the salmon were alluding us)

Pretty girl on a sunny day out on the water

Annika and Mama

Bait boy

Bait girl

Conor and Mama

One of many dog fish we caught

We were pretty beat after being out on the water, but that didn't stop the kids from wanting to play and show off a some of their artistic skills!

Blowin' bubbles

Conor working on his chipping

Annika recreating our fishing trip in watercolors

One of Annika's favorite spots is Bestemor's artist's table

Before we knew it, Monday was upon us! I had to take a conference call but don't get reliable cell reception at the house AND I needed to pop down to the ferry terminal to pick up our nephew (Ian), who was going to join Annika and Conor for the golf camp. So, I took the call from by the ferry dock and decided it was the best view I'd ever had during one of our weekly staff meetings to date! :)

Conference call eye candy

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, all three kids spent 2-4 PM at golf camp. Not only did they have a fabulous time, they also did really well!! There were just shy of 20 kids in the camp, and they were sub-divided by age. Each group then rotated through the various stations located around the country club's lawns and ranges. They worked on putting, chipping, driving, and how to read the lay of the land. I was really impressed with the people who ran the camp and based on the fact our kids are already planning on going back next summer, so were the kids! :)

Conor at the driving range

Nice swing

Lining up her shot



Our cute golfin' girl

Ready to take on the PGA

Ian working on the putting obstacles

Annika and Ian enjoying their water break and a little shade

In addition to the fun of golf camp, the kids also spent time in the club's pool before golf camp two of the three days they were on the island. Could this trip possibly get any better for them????

Conor and his pool noodle water canon

Ian the fish

Swimmin' cousins

Our little diver
Annika's happy place ... in the water

Our boy, just like his sister, is happiest when in the water

It wouldn't be a trip to Bestemor and Bestefar's without a few fun runs up and down the hill on the ATV. (I'm pretty sure our kids see visiting their house as just about the best thing ever! Lots of land to run around, ATV rides, boat rides, card and dice games, dog running everywhere, golf, and family. Can't be beat!!

Annika and Bestefar about to head out on their adventure

Hold on tight, Conor! Bestefar is an ATV speedster!
Before we knew it, we were on the ferry, done with our five fun-filled days on the island with Eric's parents. We packed in a lot of activity during our time on the island and made countless memories.

Heading home -- ice cream in hand!
It was a marvelous trip and we are so grateful for their hospitality and willingness to take on our crazy, loud, chaotic bunch for such a long time.

Funny Faces

On Sunday, we broke out the Uno cards and had a family card game evening. The summer temperatures have returned, so doing much more than sitting around and playing cards would have taken more energy than we had. Too hot!

During the game, I made the clicking sound that people make when they're interacting with horses. That "side of the mouth, but in the back" clicking you. You know the one, right? The kids were fascinated by the sound and spent the next few minutes trying to figure out how on earth to make the same noise. They kept clicking their tongues on the roofs of their mouths or on their front teeth instead of having the sound originate from further back.

Try as they did, neither kiddo was able to make the sound, even with Eric and me both trying to demonstrate it and have them mimic us. After awhile, though, I was down for the count due to unrelenting laughter and could no longer help the kids.

Why was I laughing? Take a look at the faces Conor was making as he tried to make the "horse click" sound and you'll soon find out! Enjoy. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mud Run

On most typical days, we remind the kids to clean up after themselves and to avoid getting dirty. Today, we pulled a 180 on them and gave them the green light to get as dirty as they wanted. Why the about face? Because we were headed to the Kids Mud Run!

When we bought the tickets, we selected the 2nd wave of the day (10:00) and considering it is supposed to be in the mid-80s today, we were very grateful for the early start.  The entire event was incredibly well organized and run... kudos to the event staff!

The poco-loco Olsons
 Soon after arriving, we got our color-coded wrist bands and the kids' participant shirts (which Eric very intelligently put in the car ... aka away from the mud!) We were told that if the wave ahead of ours was starting to dwindle, we could start earlier than 10. OK! That's exactly what happened and what we opted to do.
Wrist bands? Check!
 We hadn't realized the course was on the better side of 1.5 miles and that we'd run between the obstacles. It was a great family workout and, once again, we were grateful for the early start (cooler temps).
Annika running toward the first obstacle
 The first two obstacles were walls that the kids scaled. Our kids jumped right in and maneuvered their ways over the walls without even hesitating or struggling. They conquered the walls easy-peasy.

The big water barrels in the middle of the path slowed all of us down a smidge, but weren't much of an obstacle ... proven by the fact the kids are so far ahead of me in the photo below!
Zipping through the barrels
 Soon, the kids encountered a few fences that they could climb over, go through, or go under. Both of our kids decided it was over or bust ... and over they went!
Heading up....

Conor nailing his landing
 The tire obstacle made me smile because it was so darned colorful! Annika did a great job navigating the tires and getting her knees up high so she didn't trip. Conor decided just to walk on the tops of the tires because "it was just easier that way."

Mid-course, the kids had a few zig-zag balance beams to walk along. Life is all about balance ... and so was this portion of the course.

This tunnel was meant to be crawled through, but Conor decided to put his own spin on it. He rolled down the entire length of the tunnel! Silly boy.
Rollin, rolling, just keep rolling

Annika emerging from the tunnel (notice the "not crawling" approach she took)

One of the last clean obstacles were the rope walls and bungee maze. Once again, the kids did a great job navigating their path and figuring out the best approach for the task at hand.

Conor on the rope wall

Annika ready to start her descent

Bungee maze

Finally! Time to start getting dirty! The sand pit had ropes strung across it so the kids had to get down and in the sand. Once again, Annika crawled and Conor opted to roll. Rolling in hot sand didn't exactly sound like something we would choose, but hey, we're just boring adults.
Sand pit
The kids were thrilled with the "pool" filled with water and colorful plastic balls. It was splashy and refreshingly cool. Once out of the pool, Annika was ready to head to the next obstacle. Conor, on the other hand, really wanted to stay and play with the balls. It took a bit of enticing to get him to leave them behind and head toward the mud.
Splashy, splashy
 The mud Tarzan swing was definitely a highlight for the kids. They got to swing by a rope and then land in a big pit of muddy water. What kids wouldn't love that????
We always knew Annika would make a splash in the world...
we just didn't realize it would be so mud-soaked

Conor opting for the reverse swing splash landing
 Last and definitely not least was the mud pit crawl. Much like the sand pit, there were ropes strung over the pool to make sure the kids got nice and low ... right in the muck! I'm pretty sure this was the obstacle of all obstacles for the majority of the kids and ours were no exception!

Annika emerging from the muck

Conor living up to his "Mud Boy" nickname
Mud monsters
 After crossing the course's finish line, the kids were awarded medals of achievement. They couldn't have been more excited if they had won Olympic gold medals!
Showing off their medals
 The final results, dirty, tired, hot, and very happy kiddos. This was such a fun family adventure and one that we'll talk about for quite some time.
Annika's dirty legs ... her socks were white when we started!

Mud Boy's legs ... his socks used to be white, too!

Proud of her accomplishment and medal

Conor? You have a little something on your face. :)
 After completing the course, the kids asked if they could get smoothies. Now, if you think they would serve normal smoothies at a kids' obstacle course, you'd be mistaken. The kids had to pedal the blender for their smoothies!! In some regards, it was nice to have the kids enjoy cold, refreshing smoothies after finishing the obstacle course. On the other hand, were we just a bit mean to expect them to ride stationary bikes after running 1.5 miles? Hmm....
Pedaling their blenders

Soon, we were back at the car, stripping off the muddy shoes and socks, talking about our favorite parts of the day, and heading back home... grateful for a beautiful day and a fun adventure.