Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer is Flying By

I can't believe how quickly time is passing. As the summer drew nearer I was actually expecting that it would drag on forever and I'd struggle to keep myself and my children happily occupied. I realize that we are only halfway done while others are already in the throws of back-to-school, but the time has just flown by. I'm happy to report that the lack of blogging is due to an overabundance of loving the life we're living. In truth it's a normal the-days-are-long-but-the-weeks-are-short experience much like I imagine the rest of the world experiences, but we've done quite a few awesome things and have a bunch more in the works.

Each week the kids (whichever ones are around) get $5 to spend at the Farmer's Market. To these kids that may be as good as Christmas. Well, almost. The first week we did this both picked broccoli, Ellie chose tomatoes, and Aeryn chose strawberries. They were both quite good at sharing with each other but since Aeryn doesn't like tomatoes I think Ellie struck gold on that deal.

We headed out to the coast for a day. Instead of our normal spot we headed to Newport and visited the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. It was charming to see the tour guides in period dress and hear the stories about the old Lighthouse keepers and their responsibilities. There were seals all over the beach, hundreds of birds perched on the rocks, and we were there just after low tide so the tide pools were fairly well exposed. While exploring we found numerous sea anemones and sea stars, even a family of hermit crabs whose babies were very tiny. We tried very hard to get Ellie to touch a sea star but she was terrified. About 100 yards into our walk back to the car she declared that she was ready to try and asked when we'd be coming back. The tide was coming in so we'd missed the window of opportunity for that day.

One afternoon the girls and I read The Jewel Fairies: India the Moonstone Fairy and then I gave them poster board to paint something from the story. Aeryn chose to paint Emily the Emerald Fairy, and Ellie chose to mix all the paint colors together to see what would happen. I have to say the contrast was pretty funny to watch.

Morning cartoons have been a staple. Despite my efforts to limit media time, especially because it's so easy to go overboard with it during summer vacation, we tend to watch a couple cartoons every morning while waiting for breakfast. We've outlawed My Little Pony because of the snippy, moody, unkind nature of the ponies but the one thing that I miss is that Ellie always worried about whichever pony was being picked on and snuggled up to Aeryn like this. I keep telling myself that sisterly affection can exist without overly dramatic children's television.

Of course there have been more All Comers Meets... The girls have friends who also run them and it's been a regular part of each week. Tomorrow is the final meet this summer and I think they will be missed greatly. It's so fun to see the kids push themselves a little harder each time and see how happy they are when they improve or try something new. Ellie was especially happy when she came in 3rd in the 60 meter dash while running with the 6 year olds instead of the 5's.

With summer comes bidding farewell to some of our friends for good. That is the curse of having a lot of graduate student families and recent graduates that we are friends with (I'm a little grumpy about it right now actually). They tend to get jobs in the real world and leave. One of Aeryn's friends has moved so we made sure to get in a sleepover before her family had to leave. The first thing all the girls decided was that they were going to make breakfast themselves. They feasted on chocolate chip marshmallow pancakes and somehow survived the enormous sugar rush. I was so pleased with the older girls including Ellie in everything and making her feel like she was just as much a part of things as they were. As far as sleepovers go, it was easy peasy and unbelievably fun.

Then Aeryn up and headed to her dads for three weeks. We're halfway through at this point and it seems to be going well enough. After dropping her off at the airport we chose to camp for a night. The plan was to camp around Mt. Hood but there were no advance reservation sites available and we just had to show up and hope for the best. It didn't work out all that well and we spent hours driving around looking for openings. After getting onto the road to head home, we stumbled upon this last-ditch-effort campsite that turned out to be pretty fantastic. We waded in a nearby stream, played on the playground, and made s'mores - even though I'm the only one who truly loves them. Ellie and I stayed busy by trying to find as many different kinds of leaves as possible in our campsite. She was pretty excited about our collection, can't you tell?

Then one day, the most awesome thing in the mind of a 5 year old happened: she got a package from her mom. Despite the fact that her mom wanted her to wait and open it on facetime so she could see her open it, Ellie tried very hard to convince me that it was a suggestion rather than a request and she didn't really have to wait. The next thing I knew it was being ripped open on the couch. She was crazy excited about it and we've had fun reading her new books.

Then Jim decided to succumb to temptation and try something new at last week's All Comer's. He ran the steeplechase. I thought he was a little crazy before, and now that I've seen it I think he's even crazier than I previously thought. He was about dead by the end of it but man alive he did something incredible. He never fell on the water jump and kept going strong. I'm sure Ellie's loud, attention gathering "go daddy" shouts are helpful in keeping the motivation alive. I can't say he's anxious to do another one, but I'm pretty sure he's glad he did this one (now that the pain and agony has subsided).

So far, summer has been pretty good to us.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Didn't Meddle

Uncharacteristically,  I stayed out of the way. Today the girls made cookies, and they made them with minimal help from me. I'd love to say it was easy to let them do this but that would be entirely misleading, especially as I was well aware of the messes that were about to be created.


Aeryn was in charge of reading the recipe and then the girls were only instructed to make sure to allow each other to help. This is not always accomplished well in our household as they both want to help with the same things at the same time. They divided up the tasks rather well and were both actively involved in the process. I did have to leave the room laughing when Ellie was measuring the vanilla and half the bottle ended up splattering across the floor. It was relatively easy to embrace the work this little project was creating for me because they were just so funny to watch. 

Initially I intended to keep them busy with this project so I could study, since graduate work does not get done easily with the two of them around. Honestly, that was a pretty optimistic goal as I should have realized before hand. 

The only thing I helped with was the oven. As they were scooping the cookies Ellie gave me a fantastic explanation of how they are children and so they are supposed to be messy when they cook, "right?" It was pretty spot on, in my humble opinion. 

The cookies are delicious and the pride on the faces of the girls is even better. I did get a couple "Awww, man!" remarks once I reminded them that part of baking is cleaning up afterward, but other than that they had a great attitude about the whole deal. Considering we spent the entire day at home and I was constantly peppered with the question "what are we going to DO today?" I was quite relieved when they both counted this as one of the best parts of the day. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

This is the Post...

... with more pictures than anyone in their right mind really desires to see (except me). This is the month of the Oregon Track Club All-Comers meets. Which means anyone is welcome to participate regardless of competitive status. At least that was my impression before going and seeing how ridiculously good people can be. Wowsers. I'm pretty sure I'll never be running there. My delicate ego couldn't handle it.

The first day we went was for the kids and it was really something to behold. All manner of track events available for kids 4-12 for a mere $3 per participant. Ellie was able to get into any events she wanted for her age group and Aeryn was able to pick up to 3. First on the agenda was Ellie's 60m run. She was so very excited and we even had her wear her "I'm pretty good at winning" t-shirt. Yeah, the competitive spirit is definitely a Davis trait. She went out full force but seemed to get discouraged toward the end when some other kids were just a little bit faster.  

Aeryn's first race was the 400m. She hasn't really run much at all, even though this is her second time running at Hayward. She was feeling really great going into it and sure put her all into that race. She pushed herself harder than I've ever seen her and was broken hearted when she came in last. Poor kid. She's got terribly nonathletic parents. Jim was great about consoling her and pointing out how awesome she did. Gradually the emotions of the challenge came into balance and she relaxed a little.

Ellie then ran a 100m. stretch and did amazing! She really put her all into that one too, and I think it felt more real to her since it was long enough to actually feel like she was running on the track. Jim (in the bright blue hat) was cheering her on as she went and that made her feel like a champ. She was really tired when it was all done but also seemed to like this one better than the first one.

Like a real trooper, Aeryn decided to do her next race even though she was exhausted. Honestly, I'm more proud of that decision than anything else because I know all too well how hard it is to get out there and do something again after you feel like you didn't do well at all. She put herself completely into it again and this time came in next-to-last. That must have been enough because she was much happier with this race and is still excited to do it again sometime.

I suppose that we can say the girls both needed a little warm up to do their best.

They both received participation ribbons for each race and are so happy to have them. It seems a ribbon makes participating feel like the accomplishment it was.

Then the following day we went back for the adult version. Jim ran the 1500m and 800m while we cheered loudly from the stands. Actually, Aeryn and I just cheered but Ellie cheered louder than the rest of the observers combined. Many people commented about Jim's little cheerleader and how he must feel pressure from all the "Go Daddy!!" cheers. He ran crazy fast (in my humble opinion) and finished with times of 5:12 in the 1,500 followed by a 2:32 800 m 15 minutes later (I even won my age group).

Can you tell from the formatting and first person that I copied that from his facebook status? Yup, he pretty much rocks. I mean, if he can get me excited about running he must be pretty incredible because that may well be considered conquering the impossible. 

It's a happy day in Track Town, USA. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Sunday night the girls returned to us after 17 or so days of being spoiled mercilessly by Grandparents after we abandoned them in Yellowstone. The girls had a blast, the Grandparents all seem to have survived (mostly) unscathed, and the family members who transported them home weren't even bald by the time the drive was done. Win/win/win. It was so very nice to have some time together with Jim as just the two of us, but I confess I missed the girls like crazy and am so glad to be insanely busy with them now that they are back. 

Don't they look thrilled to be home? Well, technically we're not home yet in this picture but we are all together and they are already feeling the pain of returning to parental expectations. 

They came home Sunday night, and Monday was our one year anniversary. 

It's been an awesome year. Beyond description, actually. We celebrated our anniversary at the Nike employee store lugging children through boring-to-them shopping, a couple other stops, and then 2 hours in the car home. Jim went in to work for an hour during which I heard "When is daddy going to be home?" about 37 million times. Ellie put these B Y U letter stickers on her fingers and wanted a picture but since she sits still about as well as most other 5 year olds this is as good as we got it. 

Once Jim came home he and Ellie headed to the bike shop. We'd long been planning on buying her a bike this summer but come to find out she actually has summer homework from her new teacher to practice riding a bike. Talk about fun homework! Once it was assembled both girls rode their bikes with Jim as he went running, though I'm sure the pace was a little lot slower than he's accustomed to.

The girls wanted nothing to do with a picture.
Over the past year, I honestly spent a lot of time thinking about how our anniversary would be. I figured we'd go out for a nice dinner and I'd try to wear my dress again (since I got a semi-formal one that's easy to re-wear) and make a night of it. We're both pretty sappy individuals, but it didn't quite happen as either of us imagined. 

Aeryn got a fever and the moodiness that goes with it
Ellie was sad that Jim sat next to me at dinner
Aeryn was sad that I sat next to Jim
Both girls were crying as we started eating
We tried to talk about what they want to do the coming weeks but both girls were upset and crying that we're not doing anything (oh, the irony)
I tried to surprise the family with a cake but Jim is tall enough to see the top of the fridge without trying
Aeryn was upset I wanted her to eat (even though she knew about the cake because I was bribing her)
Ellie was upset we stopped her from eating third helpings because we knew she'd want cake
When I tried to have a talk about how awesome our family is and how grateful I am for everyone the kids just whined about wanting dessert
Then the battles began over who was going to shower and who was going to take a bath and which one of them was going to go first.
The kids were finally bathed, tolerably happy, and in bed by 10p.m. 

I honestly laughed the whole night over the craziness of it all. All I could think of was my cousin Erika telling me about how she and her husband folded laundry for their 10th anniversary. I suppose when you get married already having kids the celebratory romance gets automatically kept in check. In all fairness, we did get two weeks to ourselves and we went out to dinner a couple times and even to a movie. 

It may not have matched our imaginations, but it was a good day. I can't believe it's been a whole year since we became a family. It's been amazing so far, and it's only looking up from here!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Olympic Trials

This year, Eugene hosted the US Olympic Track & Field Trials. If you know Jim at all, you know that we were going to be there if there was any way possible. He loves track. A. Lot. 

We had tickets to go this past Saturday, which is perfect since our kids are still out of town. I'm getting anxious for them to be back even though we've got 6 more days to go. As of yesterday it's the longest I've ever been away from Aeryn and I'm only surviving because Jim is so completely awesome. But back to the trials... Our seats were right along the finish line but were considered less desirable (aka less $) because they had an obstructed view. 


I didn't mind though as it made it really easy for me to see the order as they crossed the finish line - though it did make focusing the camera on the athletes a little more challenging. 

To the right of us (in view of the finish line but not behind the pole) were the seats reserved for media. Seriously, I think our seats rocked, but I'm sure Jim would have loved to not have the pole in the way. 

We had an amazing view of some spectacular finishes - but my camera battery died so these pictures are mostly from early in the meet. 

We've seen the triple jump guys compete here before and it is always amazing to see how far they go with just a simple hop, skip, and jump. Triple jump was the one event that I placed in every single year at track & field day in elementary school. It wasn't that I was good, just that other people didn't sign up for it.

By far my favorite part of the trials was watching the ladies high jump. This girl, whom I affectionately call "Socks" (Chaunte Lowe) is going to seriously rock the Olympics. She is downright awesome. We watched as Amy Acuff qualified for her 5th Summer Olympic games and as Gabrielle Williams - a high school sophomore - matched the American high school record and placed 5th. It was seriously amazing. 

In the off chance that they do this here again in four years, coupled with the off chance that we are still here, I think we'll splurge for full week tickets. The energy was infectious.