Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In a nutshell!

We have come to the conclusion of yet another year. It was pointed out to me today that I left you hangin this year and for that I apologize!! 8 posts in one year is shameful! Especially since just 3 years ago I managed 88 posts in a year!!  So, in an attempt to get back into your good blog graces - I thought I would give you a little synopsis of our year! Sounds fun  huh?!!!! =D

January - Ashley's hair was finally long enough for pig tails. It's now long enough for a regular ponytail and when it's dried, her curls are hitting the bottom of her shoulder blades!!

February- February was filled with pirates and pixie dust, which I'm still vacuuming up in some areas!!

Marc- Ashley discovered the joy of apples and the relief they could be on her teething gums. It's hard to believe that she now has  full set of teeth - just workin on those darn 2 yr molars.

April- We added to our family. 2 fish! We've tried to add more but these two little guys have held true and killed off any buddies we've tried to give them.

May- Mother's day! So many homemade gifts and cards!!

June- Isaac's first school concert!!!

July- Our little slugger got his very own baseball equipment so that he can achieve his dream of playing for the Mariners some day!

August- VACATION!!! Girls camp, a week at my moms, and camping in Or. It was definitely the highlight of the summer!!

September- BACK TO SCHOOL!!! 1st grade and preschool!!! Both are top of their classes! I am one proud mama!!

October- Halloween was fun with these 3!! They were amazing everyone LOVED Their costumes!

November- Thanksgiving at mom's!! This was taken durring a movie....or a football game....either way. We know how to snuggle down and have a good time!

December- Our princess turned 2!!! It's hard to believe she's 2 and potty training like a big girl! She is VERY vocal and definitely has her own opinions about life and how it should be run! She's also a smidgen stubborn....not sure where that came from!

So there you have it! The Buchanan's year in a nutshell!
I promise next year to be better. At least once a month would be nice eh?!

See ya next year!

Sunday, October 27, 2013


In honor of this being our 300th post, I'll keep it short and sweet.
We have West Side Children!!! They are definitely their daddies kids.
I was raised on the east side, where the sun shines, and it's warm.

My sister and I would lay out.....because it recharges our battery!!!

 We go to the lake, because it's hot, and the sun is shining, and the lake is cold and feels good!
My Nephew T. We're buds.

The sun makes me happy.
It's like a hug from my Heavenly Father.

We live on the West side. All of our kids have been born and raised on the West side.
They do not share the same infatuation I have with the sun shine.
They share the same "let's play hide and seek, you just don't come find me" relationship that their father has with the sun.

At least we can agree on one thing....

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pocket Knives & Waterfalls

Camping is fun. Camping with kids can be challenging.
Fortunately our kids are getting older so they are able to do more picaresque camping activities, which is making camping a little more fun each time we go.
This summer was filled to the brim with camping for our kids. They first spent 2 weeks at Nana and Papas while I went to be a leader at the Girls Camp for our Church. It was so fun and it was nice to have a glimpse of teenage (12-17 yr old) girls from an adults point of view. When we picked them up from Nana and Papa's, we went straight down to Silver Falls to go camping with Greg's family.
We decided that they boys are old enough to learn pocket knife safety and how to whittle. They LOVED IT!!!

They were so careful and handled it perfectly. Making sure no one was in their way, or within range of getting hurt!! 
It was a rough camping trip for Ashley. The play pen didn't get packed so we tried to get her to sleep with us, or on a bed of blankets and she wasn't having it. So she was up all night and a bit moody, although you can't tell it from any of the pictures.

Grandma and Grandpa brought walkie-talkies and the boys loved playing with those. They would take turns coming with me to take the garbage down to the dumpster so that they could use the walkie talkies.

Silver Falls is an amazing place to go on hikes!! There 10 waterfalls and a hike for everyone, ranging from a mile or two to the full 9 mile hike around all 10 waterfalls!!!
We went on the short one, because we had littles who wouldn't make it the full 9 mile hike.
Ashley was excited to be able to walk and not be carried the whole way, however, we did bring the carrier for the tricky parts or for when she got tired of walking.

They boys had fun learning about animals, plants and waterfalls along the way. There was a big poster to see who's wing span matched yours.
Isaac is an American Crow
Gary is Broad winged hawk!

Or so they say........
This is probably the most famous water fall because the trail goes behind it.  The boys were apprehensive at first, but after being convinced they wouldn't fall, continued on our journey.
As you can see, Isaac still isn't convinced that this is the safest plan...being behind the water fall and all.

I tried telling the boys that if they were quiet they would be able to spot a leprechaun, as they like to live behind waterfalls, but all we found was a bear in a cave.

 When Greg and I were dating we hiked the falls. This was our first time back since then.  It was fun to show our kids something that we did before they were even a twinkle in our eye.
This encompassed 3 of my favorite things:

The kids were tired, which resulted in a tantrum here and there, but all in all they had a really fun time and they are still talking about "hiking the falls".  I love seeing them work together, and encourage each other when the hill was a little steep for their liking.
They really do love each other and I love doing things with them that just build upon the friendship that is being formed.

We have pretty awesome kids!!!

Of course the kids LOVED cooking over the campfire. We have been very blessed with kids who have common sense when it comes to fire and cooking. They are very careful and help other little kids be careful!!

We were blessed to have their Great Grandma come down for dinner, as she lives close to the park.
Ashley loved the snuggles and songs that her Great Grandma sang to her. It was so sweet to see them together.
Greg's Grandma is a pretty amazing lady. She loves her family and loves spending time with them.  Her stories are fun to hear.  It's fun to hear stories from someone as experienced as her.
The boys had to practice their whittling every chance they had! If there was a moment of free time, they had their knives.
We decided, after the long day (yes, that was all in one day) we didn't want a repeat of the sleepless night before so we packed everyone up and tag teamed the drive home.....and by tag team what I mean is, Greg drove home while we all slept.

It was the highlight of our summer!! The kids LOVE camping, and while it is beyond exhausting to camp with little ones, the memories and the bond it creates in your kids is 1,000% worth every exhausting minute.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Let them be kids!

 I heard this weekend, the best thing you can do for your kids to help them be successful in life, is to let them be kids. Allow them to figure out what they want to do. Try a taste of everything and see what feels the best.
I feel like this is something we are doing. Maybe we're not the best at it, but who doesn't have room for improvement.
We took a little trip last week to my (Sonya's) parents house, during which, my kids received a little lesson in being kids.
My Dad LOVES fishing and loves to take the canoe out. I have many fond memories of fishing from my dad's canoe out on the lake.  This is a memory I would love to pass on to my children.
Fishing on the lake with Papa.
In order to have a memory like this, a few lessons need to be taught first.
Lesson 1 - How to fish. This has been done. It is a tradition in our family that when you turn 4, you get your first fishing pole and you, then, are deemed old enough and responsible enough to go fishing.
 Lesson 2 - The proper way to sit and ride in a canoe. This is done at the age of 5.
The best way to teach this is inside of a pool. It's controlled, if the fall out the can touch the bottom, and it's a place they are already comfortable and familiar with.
My dad doesn't mess around when it comes to proper canoe etiquette.  He has no problem dumping you into the pool because you stood up when you weren't supposed to. It scares the kids (and the onlooking parent) but it's effective, and it's usually the last time they stand up in the boat.
He teaches them how to properly move around in the boat, he teaches them how to retrieve something outside of the boat, and he teaches them how to climb back into the boat if/when they fall out. It's a fun, slightly intimidating lesson. But if you listen, and do what you are told, then you get to go out on the lake for a little ride.

Nothin says lunch at Nana's like a PB/Nutella sandwich
and Chocolate chip cookie when you get out of the pool.

 It's an exciting thing to go for a ride out on the lake.
There is a certain rush of anxiety you get when you first dawn the life jacket, made in just your size. There is a special kind of smile that takes over your cheeks, and doesn't seem to want to leave.
There is something magical about going out into the middle of the lake, knowing there are hundreds, possibly thousands of fish swimming underneath you, and yet, you are perfectly dry.
A certain amount of trust is required to experience this enchanting adventure.

 When a child is allowed to feel everyone of these emotions, and experience the feeling of complete trust in someone other than his parent, they grow up just a little bit.
It's a sad and exciting step to watch your child grow up. Being able to trust others, completely, without a second thought is rewarding. Knowing that they still posses the innocence and unending love that we all should have.
Allowing your children to be child like is not always easy, and can be slightly scary, but in the end it's what is best for our children.
 Some days I wish everyone could look at children and see what treasures they are. It makes me sad, and scared that the world we  live in takes these preciousness tiny spirits for granted.
I wish we could all see the world through the eyes of a child.
A world that has no reason to be untrusted.
A world where everyone is a good person.
A world where words like "please" and "thank you" possess magical powers.
A world where it's an odd thing for someone to be grumpy or angry.
 I admire my children and cherish the lessons they teach me about trust, and how to have a good time. My children love everyone and see no reason why they shouldn't. I admire that in them.
I wish I didn't have to protect them from bad situations, or people, or even bad dreams. I wish my children could just be children for the rest of their lives.
How wonderful it must be to live in a perfect space where the worst thing you have to worry about is if there are any pink otter pops left.
 When I was little, I was allowed to be a kid. We played outside when we wanted. Playing outside was more fun than playing inside. If we were inside we helped Mom clean the house. We played in the street, down the street with people we didn't know. It wasn't uncommon for us to play in the cow pasture behind our house and the lady on the corner always had apples and carrots for us to feed the horses. The old people that lived next to us were referred to as "Grandma and Grandpa" even though there was not blood relation, and they always had Ice cream for us. We came in the house for very few reasons, to go potty, get a band aid, or because the street light came on.  When we were in trouble we knew it, when we were being good, life was good. My parents were stricter than other parents, but it was for our benefit, and it only made us better adults. My sisters and I fought, but we are now best friends. My brother and I have always been more like twins than anything.  My parents allowed us to get hurt, and fall down and fight with our friends and siblings, because they knew it would make us stronger and teach us how to solve our problems with out having someone else do it for us.
 To a certain extent, we need to allow our children to fight with each other. We need to allow them to play out a scenario even though we see they will eventually get hurt in the end.
We do our children an injustice when we solve each and every problem for them.
How will they ever learn to be problem solving, independent adults if we are constantly intervening whenever there is a problem. We as the "grown ups" have more, and better common sense then our children do. We didn't get that from being carried around on someones shoulders our whole life. We learned through experience that if you mess with an ant hill, ants get mad. When ants get mad, they bite you.
Certain things need to be, and will be experienced that we have no control over.  Some kids need to learn for themselves what happens when you touch something hot. There will be times that you give your children ample warning and they don't listen. These are the lessons they need to learn through experience.
 If you stand in the canoe, it will tip over.
If it tips over, you need to ask Papa to help you climb back in.
You need to wear your sandals because they will float so you don't loose them in the lake.
If you can't see the bottom of the lake, take smaller steps so that you don't step on something sharp, or fall into a hole.
If you don't listen to Papa, you don't ride in the canoe.

We are big fans of choice and consequence. Every choice comes with a consequence.
If you choose to eat your dinner, the consequence is you get dessert.
If you choose to take a nap, the consequence is you get to stay up and have campfire.
If you choose to splash me, I WILL splash you back, even if I know you don't like to be splashed.
If you choose to be adorable when you are mad, the consequence is I will most likely make you mad on purpose, just to see you say "I'm not talkin to you"
If you choose to go past Auntie Sonya in the lake, the consequence is, I will hold your hand for 10 mins, and don't pretend you don't like it.

 Children are fun. They need to be. We, as adults, need fun in our lives, and that's where children come into play. Literally. I have found that it's when I am the most stressed out, or feeling overwhelmed, that is the very moment that my kids run, screaming and giggling and playing into the room. Most of the time it's annoying and, lets be honest here, I yell at them to take their noise elsewhere. But maybe we should work on recognizing their cue to remind us to find our inner, carefree child and join them in their game of pirates or super heroes or ninjas or princesses, or whatever it is that your children love to play.
 "The dishes/laundry/housework can wait" is a popular phrase among more experienced Mom's and Grandma's. My response to this has always been. Yes, it can wait. But you can only put it off to play with your kids for so long before everyone is out of clean underwear and there are no bowls or spoons for breakfast.
There is a balance that needs to take place. My boys are now old enough, and big enough to help me with these tasks. We have taught them how to unload the dishwasher, fold their clothes and put them away. They can both run the vacuum and know the basics of wiping down the bathroom. My children are in the process of learning the balance of play and work. The have basic, minor responsibilities that expand them and help them realize that Mom and Dad have things that need to be taken care of before we can play so that life is bit more comfortable. Can the dishes wait?! Yes the can, but if your 5 yr old helps you with them before you play baseball together, the game is more fun.
Can the laundry pile wait?! Yes. It will still be there when you get back from the lake. But if you get your kids to help you, it goes by quicker and the trip to the lake is much more relaxing.
Kids love to help. They love to help anyone who will let them. My kids love the feeling of being responsible for something. There is a sense of pride that washes over their whole being when you say to them "thank you for helping me, now I have nothing left to do except go play" Knowing that they were there for you when you need it is a rewarding emotion. You can see it on their faces. Not to mention, playing is 100x more fun when you know that the house has been taken care of first.

Kids want to be kids. And why shouldn't they. I want to be a kid.
At the end of the day, is it really worth the stress of constantly standing over them watching their ever move. How are they supposed to know what it feels like to dip their face in the water if we don't let them. Who knows, maybe they'll like it. How are they supposed to know what it feels like be so dizzy they fall over if we keep telling them to "stop because you might fall over" How are they supposed to know what rain on their face feels like if they are constantly told to come inside when it starts raining.
Kids should be allowed to experience life. Get hurt, break something, experience every emotion so that they know how to handle every emotion.
Teach them how to be angry and what to do when you are.
Teach them how to be sad, happy, frustrated and excited.
Teach them how to handle anxiety and what to do when you're nervous.
What does it mean to be scared or so excited you want to scream? How does it feel, and what do you do about it?!

Children are in a constant state of being educated, and so are we. Who better to have a lab partner in life than our own children. Experience new things together. Be excited with them, be nervous. Giggle uncontrollably and cry when you are sad.
Teach them that emotions are OK and that it's a part of life. It's how you handle those emotions that really matters.

Teach them that cousins are really just distant siblings. Sleep overs are fun, but you can't have a sleep over if you don't sleep.
Aunties are just a 2nd Mom and you should love them as much as your real mom. And you should listen to them as if they were your mom. They just let you get away with more stuff, which makes them slightly cooler than your real mom!

Teach them that family comes first. Your family is there for you 100% no matter what time of the day or night it is.  Silly is fun, and if your family is silly, your kids will be comfortable in their skin. 
They will be comfortable being who they are.
They will have fun being KIDS.