Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Fun Part II (Oregon Addition)

For the second installment of our summer fun series, I'll cover July.  We started off with our big trip for the year.  Since Sam's grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year, the entire family traveled to Oregon for a few days of fun and celebration.  I was a little concerned since it was Joseph's first time to fly, but he was a champ.  I didn't get any pictures of him on the plane, but this is how we killed some of the time on our layover.  Yup, he ditched the shoes as soon as he could and I really didn't feel like fighting that battle in the middle of the airport.  He was great on the plane only getting slightly fussy once and sleeping on all but one flight. 

While in Oregon, we ate with the family every night.  When I say we ate with the family, I'm talking about 25-40 people per meal.  Since Sam's grandparents are ranchers (or at least were until recently), we ate some kind of grilled beef pretty much every night which is great with me. 

It was so much fun to have all of the cousins together.  Between Sam's grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, we had people representing Oregon, Washington, California, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida there.  Of course, a few games of volleyball took place.  What's a family get together without a little friendly competition?

Oh, and what family gathering is complete without a beer truck?  Yup, it was present every night.

While we were there, Joseph got to ride a horse for the first time.  He has been around horses many times, and even sat on the back of a couple, but this was his first real-deal ride.  You couldn't wipe the smile off of that little boy's face.

Since we weren't too far from the McNary Dam, we decided to take Joseph over to watch the salmon swim up the fish ladders around the electric plants.  If you have never witnessed this, you should.  I'm no fish expert, but I'm pretty sure the fish in this picture aren't salmon, but they were still swimming against the current.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong time of year to witness the baby fish being brought back downstream which is even more of a spectacle.  While we were there, we also toured the electric plant, but they have really high security and you aren't even allowed to take your phone in there (you even have to present a photo id to get in).  Sam and his brothers were in heaven touring that place and talking to the guard on duty (us girls laughed thinking they were probable the highlight of the guards day since they were actually asking pertinent questions instead of the regular tourist questions).

This picture was taken the night we sat up all the tables and chairs at Sam's uncle's house.  It really melts my heart because of what I overheard Sam's grandma telling the man in the picture.  She said, "This is our great-grandson, Joseph.  His parents lost a little girl, then adopted him.  He's a very special little boy."  I know it's a simple statement and it's how most great-grandparents feel, but it's still nice to hear that your child is loved unconditionally by their family. 

Joseph also found some cars to play with that night, so he was a happy boy.

The night of the anniversary dinner, all of the family arrived early to take pictures.  Of course we had the whole family shot.  Yes, you are seeing that correctly.  Just from Sam' grandparents down, there are 38 family members with two more on the way (one has since made his appearance).  Sam's grandparents had four children who each had three children.  Add spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and a family can get big really quickly. 

Just the children.


Great-Grandchildren.  Yup, ours is the one crying. 

We took a picture of just the Parks family.

And a couple of just our little branch of the Parks family.

Over all, it was a great night celebrating an amazing couple.  They truly are an example of what a marriage should be.

The anniversary party was on a Saturday, so most people flew home the next day.  Luckily we didn't since Joseph developed a sinus infection (his first ear infection of any kind) while we were up there and needed a couple of days for the meds to kick in before he flew again.  Thank goodness for walk-in clinics!  Once we learned about his sinus infection paired with teething molars, it explained why  he was acting like this during the party.

And insisted on sleeping on top of me at the hotel (he normally doesn't even want me to rock him to sleep).

By the last night, he was ok with just being in bed with us (still a shocker).

Since we knew this was our vacation for the summer and had decided to stay a couple of extra days, Sam's grandpa took us to look at a cattle chute and pens designed by THE Temple Grandin!  As an early childhood educator and farm kid, I was extremely, geeky interested in seeing this!  As boys who grew up on a ranch, Sam and his brother, Ty, were too.  We even left Joseph at the house with grandma and great-grandma while we went (he wasn't too upset since they feed him lots of ice cream).  Of course I was so excited I forgot my camera, but I did take a few pictures with my phone (I have lots more for anyone interested).

After our return from Oregon, I started twice a week doctor visits (not because anything is wrong, just because I'm considered high risk), so our lives have really slowed down.  I have a couple more blog posts floating around in my head, but we'll see how many actually get written.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spring/Summer Fun Part I

Since I am obviously not going to get around to writing a blog post for each thing we did this spring/summer, you're stuck with a couple of longish posts highlighting some of our most memorable activities. 

In April, Joseph got to meet Pistol Pete for the first time.  Luckily, he wasn't scared of him, just curious.  This might not seem like a big deal to most of you, but my fellow loyal OSU alums understand that his first Pistol Pete meeting needed documented. 

Shortly after Joseph's birthday, we went camping with Ben and Kim at Keystone Lake.  It was Joseph's first camping trip and the first time we got to use our new family size tent. 

Of course, we took Bella and Rufus which made Joseph happy.

This might be my new favorite picture of Joseph and Sam.  I love how Joseph is pulling Sam's face closer to him.

A couple of weeks later, we went camping again.  This time we were with three other families and had a total of nine boys and one girl present (as far as kids go)!  We went to the Great Salt Plains, but decided Joseph was a little young to actually go digging for crystals, so we skipped that part.

Our little guy is a great camper!  It helps that he loves to be outdoors.

In June, we took mommy and me swim lessons (which are a lot of work for mommy) with our friend Ethan and his mommy.

In mid-June, Joseph and I were in a car wreck that totaled our car.  It's crazy how having kids changes the way you think about things.  My first thought was "the air bag just went off and hit my stomach" my immediate second thought was "Joseph is in the back seat."  We all escaped with me just having a bruise on my upper stomach (luckily, Sarah sits really low) and some seatbelt burn.  Since Joseph is still rear-facing (and will be until he's 12 ;), he didn't realize anything happened and didn't have a single bruise.  In case you are curious as to what happened, a college girl didn't know where her exit was to get onto I-35 and came into my lane at near highway speeds.  Thank you, Subaru and your amazing safety ratings!  And yes, we went and got everybody checked out and we were all fine.  After a long wait (who knew Subarus are so popular right now), I finally got my replacement last week. 

The weekend after my wreck, Sam and I took Joseph to Nash to see wheat harvest.  Boy did we have a little boy in tractor heaven!  He helped Daddy plow.

Watched the combines with Grandpa Parks.

And even rode a combine with Daddy and Uncle Mat.

Great-grandpa Parks was there too. 

On June 25, we celebrated Joseph's Gotcha Day (the day we legally got him) by going to the Wondertorium (a children's museum here in Stillwater) with some friends, playing outside with shaving cream,

and his favorite treat, ice cream.  (And a hair cut a couple of days later.  Man, does it grow fast!)

A summer post wouldn't be complete without documenting what we do almost daily around here... play in the backyard.  Have I mentioned that this little boy loves being outside?!

Ok, now that I'm caught up through the end of June, I can get to work on my next super long post.