Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stuff I did when you weren't looking part 2: Connecting with the kiddos

One of the main reasons, besides homework, I've been neglecting the blog is I've been trying to live a little bit of life, especially with my kids. Not only are they growing up before my eyes, but I only have them 3-4 nights out of the week. It makes me sad that I miss out on essentially half their lives, so I try to live as much life with them when we're together as possible. This may mean we're jetting off on adventures or sitting around watching movies and having craft time. Either way, when I'm not working, I'm super momming it as best as I can. Now that Roman is in karate and Evie has started soccer, the time we get to spend together is dwindling. I live in constant fear of feeling disconnected from my kids, especially my almost 7-year-old who seems determined to become a teenager in attitude and disposition WAAAAAY too fast! I'm hoping the struggles we have to work through mean I'm getting the drama out of the way for the actual teenage years and that it doesn't mean things'll *gulp* actually get worse once the hormones kick in. At least she isn't listening to Taylor Swift and wearing shorty-shorts and make-up. *gulp* yet.

The summer is coming to a close. School starts next week and my drama queen daughter will be in the 1st grade, which she's really excited about I'm happy to say. My little man will be starting his second year of preschool. We had many adventures this summer, full of memories and sunshine. They fill my heart with joy and a little wisp of sadness because I know it may not always be so sunny. Eventually, the kids will want to do their own thing, go off to camp or trips with friends, maybe even Europe like I did. And I'll wish them well, but inside I'll be missing them terribly. So for now, I'll be selfish, and kindle those adventurous spirits where I can share the memories, too.

 "What are we doing today, Mommy?"
"We're going back in time, kids."
This is the conversation we had when I decided to take the kids to Fort Clatsop, the sight of the winter encampment of the Lewis and Clark expedition. They have a great museum there, trails, and a replica interactive fort. The kids had a blast pretending they were Lewis and Clark and discovery adventure!

Coffenbury Lake, located in Fort Stevens State Park, a former military installation from the Civil War to World War II. The kids are little fish and they had a blast swimming in the sandy bottom lake. It brought back memories of my own lake experiences at Badger Lake in Cheney, WA.  
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge established in 1937 by FDR to protect migrating birds and their habitat. It provides habitat for over 200 bird species in addition to chum salmon, Roosevelt elk, and a dozen species of amphibian. Located off Highway 101, we pass the entrance to the refuge every time we head north to visit family in Seattle and never stopped in during the 9 years we've lived here. One day, the kids and I decided we should check it out. We all brought our sketchbooks and had a great hike! We even rescued a barn swallow the kids found trapped in netting under the eves of one of the buildings!  
Fort Columbia Historical State Park located just before the Chinook tunnel was a military installation guarding the mouth of the Columbia River from 1896 to 1947. It was also home to the Chinook Indian Nation and was explored by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Many of the military buildings and batteries still remain in the park. We've explored the fort quite a bit, but one day we decided to check out the beach since the tide was out and had a great time beach combing, hiking, and using our imaginations!
The kids run after adventure at Leadbetter Point State Park at the northern end of the Peninsula! Leadbetter was great for day hiking and beach combing. Evie found many shells and Roman claimed sticks he used to practice his Jedi/Ninja skills
Another visit to Fort Clatsop for a hike turned into an unexpected canoe ride! How you may ask? We walked up past the trail head to see if there was a place we had to pay for parking and lo and behold, the National Parks Service was having a party! There was music, painting and other crafts, and canoe rides, which the kids were ecstatic about doing! Spontaneous adventure anyone? Evie took to it like a pro, but Roman took some convincing once he got into the boat because he was afraid it would tip over. Took some tough love and a lesson in science, but pretty soon the little man was paddling with the rest of us just like Lewis and Clark!

International Kite Festival in Long Beach. Every year, Long Beach plays host to kite fanatics and people who just enjoy a good festival with food, fun, and activities. These littles were a little too small for the activities, except for a pony ride! Also, sno-cones and elephant ears happened. 

We had a wonderful summer and are excited about the upcoming school year. It has flown by fast, and we didn't do half the things I wanted, but there's always next year!

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