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First-Day Photos and Interviews...


We school year-round, so the "new year" doesn't quite feel new. However, I still try to make it feel exciting and I do enjoy fresh starts, even if it's just been a three-week break. We have Father's Blessings, do our new year interview, and of course take those First Day photos.

This is Mailie's K4 year. I'm excited to see how this year goes for her since this is the first year I have actual curricula set out for her.

 Mailie wants to be a Lion when she grows up.

A few interview answers...
Favorite color: pink
Favorite book: Spider-Man
Something I really don't like: Jail
My favorite thing about myself: “my heart"

Abigail loves science, and I found a new curriculum that I'm really looking forward to diving into this year. We're only into the second week of the book, but so far so good. 

Abigail wants to be a Chemist when she grows up.

A few interview answers…

Favorite color: Red-Violet
Favorite book: Princess Ponies A Magical Friend
Something I really don’t like: Goosebumps (the books)
My favorite thing about myself: “I am smart”

Homeschooling has its stresses, of course, and there are times I have felt crazy for doing it, but there are more good days than bad, and more successes than disasters. I've felt a lot of peace and comfort from Heavenly Father the past couple of years to keep with it, and that it is what is right for our family. So whenever I have a hard day, I focus on that.

Cake, Gifts, & Sleep...


Josh had work the day after getting back from our trip, so when he got home he was pretty exhausted. So our plan to give him his cake and gifts turned into a much more subdued event. I thought about waiting till the next day but the girls were so excited, so he appeased their desires. By the time he tried a bite of cake and opened the gifts, he crashed on the couch. I was happy for him to get some sleep, and the girls were happy enough to be eating cake.

I very much love owls, which has turned into the girls loving owls, so they were pretty excited when they found this graduation card.

Abigail drew me as the sun and Mailie as the clouds, then she and Josh with each other.
I love Mailie's people. She said she drew herself with chicken pox

Opening gifts. I found this Patriots grandpa sweater for him that looks a bit too big, but Mailie said he can just grow into it.

Months ago while at Deseret Book, Josh saw this painting and said he really liked it. He's talked about other paintings he's liked before but this one seemed to stand out to him. Josh is hard to buy gifts for because he doesn't really mention things he wants, other than Pilot G2 Pens and socks, so I was excited to get this for him, especially because he wasn't expecting it at all.

I made a book cake, lemon cake with raspberry buttercream and lemon curd. I had to freeze it since we left for the week, so I was curious how it would turn out after thawing it, but it turned out really moist and flavorful, so I was relieved. I would like to perfect the book itself, but I'm happy for my first time doing it, and I learned what I would do differently. And Josh seemed happy, so I was happy.

Much needed rest

I cannot express the joy we have each felt as Josh has come home from work the past couple of weeks and stayed home. No homework to do or tests to take, no more late nights at the library or Starbucks to study. It's been an amazing feeling for all four of us.   

Oregon Coast, Beverly Beach...


Our final day in Oregon. None of us were excited to be leaving, but we soaked up as much of it as we possibly could and enjoyed what was left of our trip.

Mailie's face sums up exactly how we all felt about our trip and being on the beach.

We were lucky enough to get to enjoy a Yurt for our final night. We haven't stayed in one before and someone had canceled their reservation so we were excited to get it. It made leaving in the morning easy, as we did not have to pack up our tent or anything. They are much roomier than I expected and they're pretty awesome. We'd happily stay in them again. 

There were bunnies hopping all over this campsite, which instantly brought giddiness. 

Abigail enjoys building dams whenever water and sand/dirt are involved. It was a little harder to contain considering the water is a lot more powerful than a little stream, but she was determined.

Telling scary stories. Honestly, Mailie can get kind of gruesome with her stories and I'm not sure where she comes up with it, but the two of them think they're hilarious. Abigail's are a bit more pleasant "scary". 

I just love Mailie's face here, and Abigail's hair. The salt did wonders for our hair, and I would very much appreciate more of it. 

We left early morning and were able to hit Idaho around dinner time, so we stopped by the Parks home to stretch our legs and enjoy some non snack food and fun conversation. We stayed longer than planned, but it was worth the time. Thank you, Parks!

The girls fell asleep pretty quickly after heading off again and we arrived home just after midnight. They traveled really well and I was grateful we didn't have any kind of car issues or accidents with the amount of driving we did. I'm always praying that we can just keep safe and am thankful to Heavenly Father for such an easy going trip.

It was a wonderful and happy time, one that I am grateful we were able to take. It felt like five days of pure peace, joy and relaxation. And though we were all bummed about coming home, we will just look forward to more time like this in the future, and grateful for what we were given. 

Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach and Newport...


We arrived to Cannon Beach pretty early and I was grateful it was low tide so we could check out some of the tide pools, Josh loves tide pools.

We attempted a family jumping picture and miraculously we got it on the first shot. 

Tide pools. I don't like looking very close, to be honest. I don't like barnacles, they gross me out. Josh put it perfectly, it's like rock acne. 

I have always wanted to see an eagle in the wild, but I was not expecting this to take place in Oregon, and we saw multiple. I was extremely excited. Here we watched as swarms of seagulls fought off two eagles, as we can only assume were trying to get their babies. It was amazing to watch, and I was grateful I didn't see any bird get mutilated. The eagles finally flew away.

Checked out Abigail's drawing in the sand. HP fans...

To get to Newport which is about two hours away we chose to just drive down the coast. It takes a little longer but we would enjoy the drive and view more. We passed through Tillamook and thought since we were there we might as well go to the factory. We had no idea there would be hundreds of people there to do the same thing...I didn't realize how popular it was. So we kept going.

As I we were passing through a town and I was looking out to the water I saw a whale tale. This was completely unexpected and I was excited. Josh pulled over and we watched for a bit and noticed there were multiple whales in the bay. It was awesome. We didn't get any Moby Dick moments where they jumped through the air, but everyone got to see them, so that made me happy.

I have a love of lighthouses so I was excited to stop here and get a picture. This is the Yaquina Lighthouse. 

Just below are is a really cool pebble rock beach and there were tons of seals. 

Josh left his mark, and Mailie took home tons of can see her pockets being weighed down.

Oregon Coast, Portland and Multnomah Falls...

From Florence we headed to Portland and Mulnomah Falls on our way to the next campsite. One of the things we wanted to try in Portland was a raved about ice cream place called Salt & Straw. Josh and I aren't huge into ice cream, but it sounds more fun when on vacation.

Portland lived up to its' name when it comes to style. Everyone was in beanies, sweatshirts, loose clothing, and layers. Josh and I also felt like speed walkers compared to Portlanders, as we walked down the street. Truly much more laid back there.

We were not expecting the mega line at Salt & Straw, but we noticed it got even longer once we were inside, so I'm grateful we showed up when we did. That being said, they have a wonderful system going so the line moved pretty quickly. Plus a lady behind us had a dog, so that kept the girls entertained. They are known for lots of funky flavors, and I sampled a few of them. One was a strawberry balsamic, which tasted like the salad, it was crazy. We each got something different and were all really happy with our choice. They were yummy.

 Multnomah Falls

Hiking around at a place near our next campsite. I would love to be near all this green.

Our next campsite was the only one that turned out to be a disappointment. It was a KOA just east of Multnomah Falls. Had we known we'd be sleeping right next to the train tracks we would have figured something else out. There wasn't much to do or see in the town, either, so were bummed because we could have hung out in Portland more and then just showed up to "sleep" next to the train that night. Trains came often. So we booked it out of there early morning and headed to Cannon Beach.

Mailie does not wear glasses, but these are a pair of Abigail's that got scratched up and just have plastic in them now. So Mailie likes wearing them.

Driving through Portland, apparently a truck lost it's hay on the interstate. Later on while driving through a smaller town we noticed there was a fire on a street, and it too was filled with hay, burning. Oregon had some hay issues while we were there.

Just one of the many beautiful views of the coast.

We stopped for breakfast at this place that had tons of these wooden sculptures. One of them was Sasquatch. The girls learned about this myth while on this trip and were convinced they saw him, many times. 

Oregon Coast, Waldport and Florence...


This was our first full day in Oregon. We had so much fun playing with the sand, searching for shells and little creatures. The day was heavenly.

Sand castles turned into a sand turtle and owl. I love owls. I should have taken these photos from the side because they look like they are in the sand, not built up.

There were these little creatures hanging around, underneath the sand, but you could tell where they were based on their trails pushing up the sand. Abigail put one in her bucket as a pet, naming him Fred. She did eventually need to set him free, but she loved him for the time she had him. I think they are kind of creepy ugly, personally. I didn't get a picture of her with "Fred", but here is a pic of what they look like.

Mailie very much loved being buried by sand. I should have come up with something cool to turn her into, but she was happy with the outline of her legs and tips of her hands. She found it hilarious.

After plenty of beach play we packed up our tent and headed to the next campsite, which was just thirty minutes south. It too was beautiful and I loved the plethora of large moss covered trees. This site was near a ton of dunes and at the site itself is a lake where dunes lead right into it. It was really cool. The kids liked climbing the dune, though we kept it relatively short because if you've played on dunes, it's really fun going down, and then you realize you have to climb up again. They did really well, though. We saw salamanders in the lake which is the first time I've seen those them in person and I think they're pretty cute to watch swimming around. 

I thought these trees were cool, like they're a couple, growing together.

This couple (later on their daughter and friend showed up as well) stayed in the site next to us and were so kind and friendly. They had the girls come over to play with their dog and play a game called Cowboy Golf, which is apparently so popular in Portland that there are courses built for it and clubs created. I appreciated their kindness and enjoyed our conversations.