Mt. St. Helens (part 2)

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Ok, so most of last post was about the bus.  How about some actual trip footage.  Our first day there found us at the children’s Museum in Portland.  The desire was for the zoo (right next door) but the spring rains forced us indoors.



There was face painting…


An awesome gravel pit…


This was Oliver’s favorite.




And one darn cute little 3-year-old!


I want one of these in my house.  Giant Light brite.


We ended our museum play with clay.  They had a great setup that even allowed for your pieces to be painted and fired!


The Ape Caves (Day 2)


Day two took us to the Ape Caves.  Since it was (still) cold and wet outside this seemed to be better option than hitting the outside of the mountain.  Although, I do think we got just as wet in the cave.  But it was on our list to do and we are, after all, northwesterners!


Oliver cautiously taking the stairs down to a very long, dark cave.



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Needless to say it was challenging to take pictures in the caves.  At least for me.  Greg was able to get some better ones and some cool camera effects along the way.  We started hiking down the kid friendly side of the caves.  I’m not sure how far we traveled, given our slower pace with 9 kids 8 and under but it was far enough to be in awe.  I was very proud of all the kids.  At first I wasn’t sure we would all make it very far but each one overcame the darkness and enjoyed the hike.


Melia, Zoe & Kellina a bit more wet than when we arrived but still all smiles.

Camping Mt. St. Helens

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Or should I say “Glamping?”  Our first trip of the year was also our maiden voyage in the bus.  We had a few hiccups on the way down but all in all it did great.  The ride down was fun.  Kids were able to play in the back or hang out in front with us.


Oliver was able to nap in his bunk.



Apparently these are the only pictures I took on the drive down.  I did get some book reading in though.  This is not usually an option for me on road trips as motion sickness takes over.  Greg did a great job driving down and avoided smooshing the people who jump in front and slam on their brakes.  I mean really?  We are big.  Hard to miss.

So, I know I’ve skipped a lot of bus remodel posts.  But how about some pictures of the finished product.  They are the most fun anyway.  The finishing touches (you know like doors, paint, curtains, a few extra shelved) were finished the day before we left.  And no, this time, it was not procrastination.  But, working well under pressure we pulled it off.


Here we have the front just as you come up the steps.  My co captian’s chair on the left.


Kitchen with full-sized fridge and extra-large sink.  Both were very handy and well used this weekend.  Two cabinet doors will be added to the pantry (above and below the microwave).


The hallway just past the kitchen.  The bathroom on the left and clothes closets on the right.


Our soon to be tiled shower.  This is on the left side of the bathroom.  The only thing not functional in the bus this trip.  Not bad.


The other side of the bathroom.


The bunks.  We had Oliver and Abigail on the bottom bunks with Zoe and Ezekiel on the middle bunks this trip.  Until we get a bar or ledge on the top one we’ll hold off on that.  Both Zeke and Zoe fell out of their bunks the first night due to slippery sleeping bags.


The back bench/bedroom.  We wanted extra bench seating and play area in the back.  We have boxes under the seats that fill in the middle section and cushions to go on top that turns this into a bed.  It worked out pretty well.  A little tweaking is needed to keep a crack from developing between one cushion.  I was not effected but poor Greg kept falling in the hole.  It will be an easy fix.


And a final view from the back bench forward.  There are still a number of things that need to get done but this project has come a long way in a short time.  We call this our mobile Monticello.  I hope you enjoyed the tour.  I’ll post the rest of our trip soon.

“Summer” Fun

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So even though we are still in spring we have been enjoying some amazing weather. Not wanting to waste a minute the slip and slide has already made its way out of storage.


Oh yeah, notice Zoe’s foot?

Here you go. Last week she fractured the top of her foot. The first Thames bone injury. She jumped off a playground structure and just landed wrong. She will have her boot on for 3 weeks (as long as she follies doctors and moms orders to let it heal). But that doesn’t mean a trash bag and duct tape can’t come into play!

Oliver was the slip and slide maniac!


Um, no bikes!

This was Abigail’s speed for the day. Got her feet wet to cool down then relaxed with sister in the sun.

Zeke found his courage at the very end and with much cheering went down the slide. I think he may have actually gotten some water on his hair!

Abigail turns 2!

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Last week we celebrated Abigail’s 2nd birthday. We started our day at Jump Zone and then returned home for cake and presents with dad. Birthdays are much loved in this house. Zoe and the boys have been looking forward to and making preparations for Abby’s birthday since November when Oliver’s birthday was over. It was a long time coming. Needless to say, they lavished her with gifts and love on her special day.

An amazing transformation happens at 2. She quickly went from my little baby to a big independent girl. She is very much the girly girl. Already loving shoes, clothes and having her hair made pretty. She loves to talk and sing and is constantly coming up with new phrases that I don’t expect to hear from her. It has been such a joy to watch the relationships between each child grow. The way they interact together. God has created each one so uniquely and with each passing day I am more amazed.

Here are a few shots from the day. They are from the iPad so not the best but they capture the memory all the same.