November 5, 2012

Coming up for air...

It has been several months since Joy has been able to update the blog and I am here giving it my first go-round.  I must begin by tempering say that I will be updating our family blog sporadically is probably a bit generous.  However, our family has had some very rich experiences over the last few months and I do want to take some time to reflect back and share.  Needless to say, this will be a long post to catch up.  Let's start by sending our time machine back about 5 months... Sage's 9th birthday!  This is the first year that the kid's all chose to have a big party and, as you can tell, the theme of Sage's party was "Pirates!"

Even Asher was in the pirate party spirit!

 This was the cake that Joy made for the party.  Happy Pirates! Aaarggghhh!

This is how the Xavier and Sage got ready for the pirate party.

Father's Day was fun this year.  The kids all made me cards and gifts and Joy made a yummy breakfast!

Xavier and Dad
Haven and Dad
Sage and Dad
Asher is going on 6 months now and he is such a fun, sweet boy!  Granted, we have only a small sample size, but I am convinced that it is impossible to spend 9 months in Joy's belly without her zest and vivacity becoming contagious.  So far, Asher is definitely proving my hypothesis correct.

He is extremely curious and he LOVES books.  

 Asher gets a big grin on his face whenever he is with his big brothers and sister.  He adores them!  Here he is with Xavier.  Xavier is a very good big brother for Asher.

Haven can hold Asher's attention better than anyone.  Especially when she is dancing!

We took a family day to a beach park.  This is one of my favorite pictures with Asher so far.  He and I are the only ones in the family with blue eyes.

Now, let's let the time machine take us on to July!

In July, we had Xavier's 11th birthday.  Like Sage, he wanted a big party.  He picked a "soccer" theme.  I think the cake Joy made is phenomenal!  Everyone at the party wanted to eat the grass -- it was coconut!

Xavier got a lot of presents.  Check out that grin!  

For the 4th of July, we had a BBQ at our place Northwest-style -- that means we BBQ'd salmon instead of hamburgers.  We also had the kids decorate their bikes and scooters with balloons and streamers and have a parade.

Asher is starting to crawl around and get into everything.  He is also very vocal.  Here he is exploring his world.

I am very blessed that Asher likes to just hang out with his papa.  Inevitably, he and I will be hanging out and we both end up falling asleep.  We have an inordinate amount of pictures like this one...

We are a family that loves the ocean so we need to do whatever we can to help Asher adapt to that mentality.  We have decorated his crib with all ocean-themed colors and animals.  He is very happy and content there.  I think that bodes well for our family!

The older kids are hitting milestones just as fast as Asher.  They have been reading like crazy all summer.  Here, Xavier is showing us the book he just finished...Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  We are so proud of all of them for becoming such good readers. 

This summer is the first summer that the kids got to help on many projects around the house.  They helped clean the roofs and gutters, stain the playground, re-make the nature trail, and paint a basketball court in the driveway.  They were a big help!

Is it August already?

The boys took a weekend trip up to spend time with Uncle Jay and Auntie Lolo.  They had a blast!

 On warm, summer days, it is always fun to go down to the river and play.

Asher and Joy
Haven floating
Xavier Cruising
Sage playing water football
 As a family, we took a trip down to the Columbia River Gorge.  There is a hike I have wanted to do for along time where the trail is actually a stream with steep walls on both sides.  We had a marvelous time as a family.

Haven, Xavier, and Sage at Horsetail Falls
Asher and Dad on the trail
Joy at Horsetail Falls
For their birthdays, the boys received gift certificates to go indoor Skydiving.  They LOVED learning how to fly!
Xavier and Sage about to take off!
Sage Flying!
Xavier Flying
At the end of the month, we took a surprise vacation to Kauai!  We didn't tell the kids until the week before.   Everyone was excited!

It was a long travel day to get to Kauai...especially with an eight-month-old.  But everybody was a trooper and we couldn't stop smiling the whole way.

The condo we stayed at had a pool and the kids swam in it every morning and every evening.
Haven at the pool
Xavier and Sage at the pool
 Nothing beats hanging out at the beach.
Joy in paradise!
Xavier with a sea turtle
Asher and his Sun tent
Joy and the kids
There is something ironic about this picture...oh yeah, Sage was always just laying in the sand!
Sage and his Lay's
All our efforts to make Asher a lover of being in water paid off.  After some initial hesitancy, he absolutely loved it.
Joy and Asher

We had a wonderful lanai to hang out on and read.
Dad reading on the lanai
Xavier reading on the lanai
 Of course, on hot days it can get very tiring relaxing in the sun.  The kids had to re-energize with snow cones and fresh coconuts!

Snow cone heaven

Just the girls!
Joy took the older kids on a great bikeride along the coastline.  They cruised on a boardwalk with the fresh sea air and ocean breeze.  

Before we went to Hawaii, the kids would take their snorkel gear to the Puget Sound whenever we went to the water...
Snorkeling in the Puget Sound, WA
As great as the Northwest is, I think we can all agree that snorkeling in Hawaii is waaaaayyyy better!
Snorkeling in Kauai
Dad and Sage snorkeling
 Besides bike riding and snorkeling, we tried a lot of other activities.  The boys learned how to really body board for the first time and we also spent a day learning how to ride a stand-up paddle board.

Xavier ready to body board
Sage catching a wave!
Xavier catching a wave!
Haven, Joy, Sage, and Xavier overlooking Hanalei Bay
Dad and Sage on the stand-up paddle board
 Every night, we would go out to dinner at a fun restaurant. 

This photo took quite a while with a self-timer!  Can you believe that everyone is actually looking at the camera?!?
The whole family
 The sun was setting on our vacation, but I have to say, it was remarkable.  We really had a good time and loved having at least a week to really just enjoy each other.

Just the girls...
Xavier, Sage, and Haven...don't want to leave.
Back in the time machine...zooming from vacation to the start of school in September.  The kids were very excited for the new school year.  Here they are on the 1st day.

 A big event for Xavier was getting cornrows.  He has been growing out his hair for a year now and the first hairstyle he wanted was cornrows.  Joy took him to a special salon to get it done.

Asher is getting more and more independent.  He is starting to get into everything and is crawling around everywhere.

 Haven celebrated her 10th birthday in September.  For her party, she invited a friend to join us for a "Rib Dinner," Haven's favorite food.

Yomo and Numo came up over Haven's birthday.  They got to enjoy some sunny days with the kids.

 Xavier decided that he wanted to join Band at school.  He went to the welcome night and tried out all sorts of instruments.  He decided that his instrument of choice was going to be the trumpet.  He has been learning how to read music, how to play notes, and will have his first recital in January.  He is very diligent about practicing...the only difficulty is that Asher follows him around and tries to mimic his trumpet.  I think Xavier has found it hard to practice while he is laughing.

October...a time to begin to recover from the craze of school starting up again, soccer season ending, and summer coming to a close...

Joy took Sage and Asher for a weekend hike.  It was a gorgeous day.
Sage -- Evergreen Trail

Sage eating the boats
 I have always appreciated how contagious Joy's spirit and vitality are...and I am extremely proud that Asher has definitely inherited those traits from her. 

 I was telling Xavier, Haven, and Sage just how lucky they are that their mom is so fun.  She thinks of such great fun, festive things to do with them to add so much enjoyment.  For Halloween, they had a candy shop where the made Ghost Poop (chocolate dipped marshmallows), Monster Vomit (white chocolate covered nuts with food coloring), and Vampire Bites (dark chocolate covered nuts).
Aren't you supposed to be making treats?
MMMMM...Ghost Poop!
Joy also made special Halloween cookies.  They were sugar cookies, but you can't just have sugar cookies on Halloween, you need to have skeleton and bones cookies. 

Asher finally needs his own play area and he now has his own corner of the rec room.  

Sage's soccer team went undefeated in league play again this season. After last season, the league made them play against older kids, but they went undefeated again.  They won a medal for league play and then they went undefeated at the end-of-season tournament.  His team is moving on to the State Semifinals and Sage is very excited.

Grandpa and Grandma sent up some Halloween goodies.  The kids loved them!
Sage with witch nails and a glowing mask
Xavier with witch nails and glowing vampire teeth
Haven with witch nails
For Halloween, Sage dressed up as the Joker.

 Haven was a princess

And Xavier was Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter.

 Xavier and Sage were very excited to carve pumpkins this year.  They did an amazing job!
Xavier carved a witch.

Sage carved a cat. 

Asher didn't need to dress up, but we put him in his "Little Monster" shirt anyway.

Asher got to decorate this little pumpkin at daycare.  He is quite fond of it.

Asher and his basketball
Asher loves music.  He likes to hold onto a music player and dance with the older kids.  

 The kids love to dance with him!

 Asher is a precocious little dude.  He wants to feed himself and tries to eat everything with a spoon or fork.  He figures, everyone else can, why can't I?  After dinner he usually resembles a Jackson Pollock painting!

Asher has also started walking all over the place.  He has been pushing our furniture around for about a month or so, but now he just turns and walks right across the room.  I wonder what he will have in store for us once he is 11 months old!

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