Sweet Words

As we were wrapping up our neighborhood play-eve, my neighbor Rebecca observed Kate, who was complete with marker-lipstick up and down her left cheek and a rock in each hand. My neighbor looked and me with a smile and said, "I love Kate's presence! She comes and plays, expresses her happiness, and then goes on her way." Such a sweet sentiment. I couldn't agree more.

Day 2 on Two Wheels -- Zuanich Park 7.21.09

Hard to tell maybe, but he is BEAMING in this picture!! By the end of Day 2, he was starting and stopping all on his own, efficient with his brakes, and had even dared to try riding in the grass. (with success!)

Such a cool shot of O, riding off into the sunset

Kate and Marcel (Kate is two weeks older)
"Look, hold your foot like this!"
"Oh, I got it! Like this?!"
Owen and MaryJane

I want to climb too! (so hard to spot AND take photos!)
Climbing up the outside of the slide (yes, he's still my climber, although Kate is following closely in his footsteps)


Boyhood Phrases

Two of my favorite phrases the boys are using these days:

"That doesn't make fair." Owen

"A few whiles." Collin (for "a few minutes" or "a little while"!)

Bike Stunts, Blood, and Band Aids

Last night was monumental at our house!

1. Collin tried to ride his bicycle without using his hands ~ Crash #1. He got up laughing and proudly showed his bloody elbow to his friends, who had (very cutely) gathered around to see if he was ok (and to check out the blood!). He then went inside, washed his injury himself (oh my! he's getting so big!), and came back outside, psyched and ready to try again ...

2. ... Crash #2. This time he was NOT laughing. I was at the top of the cul-de-sac, and he had disappear around the slight bend into the opposing cul-de-sac. Suddenly, I saw him walking hand-in-hand back up the street with our neighbor Nick, who was pushing Collin's bike with his free hand. Collin couldn't talk for the embarrassment and pain. Five minutes of snuggle time and lots of cajoling later ... "I don't know what happened, Mom! I was riding and suddenly my bike jumped out and got on top of me!" He has a (bloody) cut down the bridge of his nose, nearly black eyes, a scrap on his back, and a second bloodied elbow to prove it.

3. You may remember that Owen initially charged Collin's bike quest by asking if he could try to ride without training wheels. Owen learned that night that although he could do it, he wasn't quite confident enough to ditch the training wheels. On the other hand, Collin discovered that his fear had been holding him back, and he's been on cloud nine "with just two wheels!" ever since. In fact, in the past month, nearly all the neighbors have joined the "two wheeler" club, and Owen has been watching them. He purposefully would NOT ride his bike with training wheels; he rode his scooter exclusively ... until last night. "Mom, can I try again without my training wheels?" I panicked inside and thought: "Oh no! Tonight? He's asking and I want to help, but I'm out here with three kids (one clutching to me and snuggling because it's nearly bedtime), no tools, and no Kevin." But then, he asked again. The mom in me shouted at my "other self" ~ "Find a way!" So we did. We borrowed Natalie's old bike, which already had the training wheels off, passed Kate to Katie, brought Collin along to cheer (he was still mildly weeping his crashes), and .... Owen took off! I held the bike for a second, and he was off! I ran along side of him. He turned the loop in the cul-de-sac without hesitation, kept peddling, and I kept running. He stopped with his brake, put his foot down, and BEAMED. I am telling you it was the biggest BEAM I have ever seen! He was the proudest little boy in the whole world last night! He showed everyone, riding up to them, circling around, beaming so great that I thought my heart would melt in the abundance of joy. He rode and rode and rode!

4. ... which seemed to make Collin ever so slightly jealous. He wanted to accomplish a great stunt too. And he wanted to try Natalie's old bike. For half and hour, I explained to him all the reasons why the bike was not a good fit for him. I wish I'd have really realized that I was making sense. It really was too small of a bike for his ever-extending legs ... Crash #3. Lots of crying.

By the end of the"adventurous" bike night, Collin felt like he'd tackled some good challenges ~ and gained a few prized battle scars. It was the first time my kids have seen injury worthy of a band aid, and Collin was proud to receive three!

Owen was just plain proud!

And I was thrilled ~ that they had survived (and so had I). In the end, what a fun, exciting night!!

And wouldn't you know that in the midst of all that, I wasn't able to run into the house for my camera?! "Darn it!" as Owen would say.

BTW - Kevin was out doing adventurous bike stunts last night too! Apparently he and Steve rode some pretty serious trails, and Kevin went over (literal drops) some technical terrain that challenged his skill and left him - thankfully unscathed - and also very proud. :-)

On Space Travel 7.18.09

Collin: "If we were swinging on Mars or in space and we jumped off ~ we'd float away."

Owen: "Yeah, let's do it!"


First Ball Game - Bellingham Bells 7.15.09

Enjoying a Slice
Watching the batter and calling the shots. I loved explaining the game and watching the boys put their "street knowledge" into the big picture and really grasp the game - strikes, walks, outs, innings, etc.
Watching for foul balls and learning that THIS is one place you can make a lot of noise!

Drinking every last drop of the lemonade! Look at those crossed feet!!

A lunch-hour ball game is just right for families! I'm so glad we discovered Bellingham Bells' "Kids Day." I was able to sneak out of court and the office for a long lunch hour, the kids ate in the bleachers and had energy and patience to watch and appreciate the game, and we all enjoyed some ball and sunshine! Thanks, Grandpa T, for taking us to our first baseball game!

Out of the Mouths of My Babes 7.14.09

On Gravity: "So what you're saying is ... it's kinda like the earth is sticky?"
On Pluto: "If you go there, you need to bring a hot tub. And no jumping or you'll just float out there."
On Space Travel: "We're packing for a picnic on Mars. It only takes one minute to get there, but you need to be sure you have everything because who knows how long it will take to get back. No one lives there you know."

We packed a picnic, put on our helmets, and rode our makeshift space ship to Mars - Owen drove and dodged moons, a meteor shower, and barely hopped from one galaxy to the next!

Bike Update: Collin is cruising without his training wheels! It's thrilling to watch his independence, confidence and skill level increase! Monday he cautiously went over his first curb (our curbs our rounded) and then was so psyched that he spent every opportunity on his bike since riding up and down the street in a fluid S curve up and over, down and over, up and over, down and over! He's a pro now ~ what next!?! Time to take him on a trail!

Latest: LOVES to play card games! Uno and SkipBo are the latest and greatest in our house!

Kate has learned to point out noses, including her own! She's also now signing "up!"And she is amazing us with her comprehension and ability to follow instructions: sit down on your bottom, put your toys away, set your milk cup on the table, hand me that crayon, tickle your brother, etc! *She still doesn't have any teeth and she's had two bang trims.

During bathtime Kate stood and tried to walk across the bath. She faltered and fell/sat in Owen's lap with a big splash. "Oh! I got you, Kate. Don't worry, Mom. I saved Kate's life." My hero!


Tepkers Land on Alki

We had a great time Saturday dressing as pirates and taking Alki Beach! The Seafair Pirates landed ashore amidst cannonball blasts and a very large crowd, decked in pirate attire of many extremes! Collin seemed to "get" that it was all for show once we got there, but was relatively nervous about encountering the pirates that morning. He asked questions about their treasure, their teeth, their mannerisms, whether we'd need our shovels, etc. Owen on the other hand kept shouting: "Mom, there's another pirate! I saw one! Did you hear that?! Mom, there's another one!"
We spent the morning prepping by adding tattoos and sashes, eye patches and jewels. Of course, it was blazing hot and it's tough to walk and take everything in with all that gear and an eye patch!
Kate and Captain Jack Sparrow

The Boys slid down the Pirate Slide together. Although you're supposed to go one at a time, they planned ahead and one waited for the other at the top so they could slide side by side! Sneaky ... ; )
Captain Collin
Owen wasn't so sure about the 1/2 mile walk to Pirate Landing, so I got my exercise!

The Cul-de-sac Kids

*Missing Sawyer and Ben
Emery and Kate (2 Weeks Apart) - Yes, Kate (and Owen above for that matter) is in her jammies, and, yes, she had kyped poor Eva's shoes!


Family Vacation Part 5b - Rockaway Beach 5.09

The Tepker Girls

Jen + Connor, Deb + Alyse, Me + Collin + Kate

Alyse at 8 months -- Katelyn at 13 1/2 months
The wind picked up one afternoon, and poor Kate had quite a time thanks to a combo of sunscreen and upswept sand in her eyes. Kevin and Steve dove into the big waves, fascinating Collin!
Collin loves to explore beaches and was "happy as a clam" to spend three nights in a house right on the beach!
Collin performed many experiments, watching the waves bury sticks,
move sticks, take sticks out to sea.
He loved discovering the waves also could cause him to sink into the sandy shore!
Flying a kite on the Oregon Coast is a must-do for adults and kids! The wind is perfect!
You don't even have to run ~ or stand for that matter!
Owen and Steve were pleased to fly the kite in quiet relaxation mode.

We saw gorgeous sunsets!
Silly, funny, happy, dancing Kate!