Rays of Light

Oh hey. It’s me, Joy. I realize I haven’t been here in a long time, but was just making a cup of tea and the tea bag had this quote:

“Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too.”

Life is messy and busy and complicated and exhausting and all of those emotions that make us feel overwhelmed and out of time. But…there are two faces that are so incredibly happy all the time, they continue to make me see the light when I think we’re in the dark. So, I have to share their rays of light and help them spread a little happiness so others can be happy. Since I love my Yogi tea, here is another quote that resonated with me:

“Whatever character you give your children shall be their future.”

So, I choose to take their teachings, express happiness each day and thank my sweet littles for being so wise.



These next pictures were taken from a friend at the park. Captured pure happiness as they rolled down hills, ran on trails, picked flowers and laughed like kiddos enjoying a Sunday afternoon.





Maybe we’ll see you around again here soon.


Life Lately

Just a few pics of the little ones lately. The weather has been beautiful, which means lots of time outside.

We visit the Saturday market and the splash park to cool down…

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We spend a lot of time in our yard…painting, playing, running and creating. And warm nights means a lot of eating dinner on our patio.

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Airlie loves her balance bike (which was a thrift store find last year!). I just scored Brycen a free one from a friend so he can move on from the tricycle. Although, he digs riding his radio flyer. He’ll want me to walk in front of him and then say, “watch out mama, there’s a bike rider coming”! Airlie gets quite the speed on her bike and will look for the hills to glide down with her feet up. She’ll be pedaling in no time!

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To cool down from the heat the other weekend, I took the kiddos to the children’s museum. We crafted with clay and they got lost in their imagination.


These days I am just holding them tight. I hold on to the hugs, the laughs, the kisses, the snuggles when we read books, the silliness when they play in the bath, hearing about their day, holding their hand, watching them learn, grow and be more independent each day. If they only knew how much I adore them. All I can hope is the love they fill my heart with, I do the same for them so they can wake up feeling as happy as I do when I get the 6am snuggles.

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Family Camping

A few weeks ago, we headed on our first camping trip of the season up to Lost Lake. The kids were stoked and ready to sleep in the tent. We found a beautiful site surrounded by huge cedars. Airlie immediately started climbing and exploring.



We set up our tent and just relaxed, taking in the solitude. I think the kiddos would have been happy just hanging at the campsite. They loved the hammock! They’d take turns hanging out or pushing each other, then snuggle in together.




P1060825In our campsite, there was a downed cedar that was at least 80 feet tall and over 5 feet off the ground. The kids would climb up and just walk all along the log. I hate to admit it, but they had a much easier time than me! I loved watching them both gain confidence with each step, as if they were overcoming their own fears right before my eyes. It was beautiful.






The lake is so beautiful. On our first day, we hiked some of the trail and explored, looking for newts.




My little mermaid…



After some daytime exploring, we just hung out at the campsite in the evening next to the fire. Brycen wanted to do everything that Jay did. He pretended to chop some wood and stoke the fire.

Camp site





Even though the kiddos were exhausted, they resisted going to sleep (especially when the stars came out). But eventually, they settled in the tent and fell asleep. In the middle of night, Airlie woke up with a “It’s too dark in here!” alarm. But she settled down once she realized this was our bedroom for the night. And somehow, I ended up with a little Bear in my sleeping back, Airlie snuggled close and Kaya on my camping pad. Lucky mama.




Even though the prep for camping is a lot, it is so relaxing to just chill in the woods. The kids explore and we just get to watch them be kids. We rented a canoe and explored Lost Lake. Airlie loved paddling and helping us navigate around. They found their newts and Airlie must have caught at least 20 of them! I was so bummed that my camera card was full and it wouldn’t let me take any video! I wanted to capture her laugh more than anything. The excitement in her voice was a sound that I wanted to have on replay. In her search for newts, she jumped out the canoe and waded next to us, searching in and under the logs and vegetation. When she saw one, she’d giggle and then quickly get it in her hands. She’d give it to Brycen (who was waiting in the canoe with the same exciting giggles) and then quickly grab another one. She was our fearless newt catcher.











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I can see Lost Lake being a place that will grow with our hearts as the kiddos grow. The views of Mt. Hood are beautiful and the kids are constantly exploring their surroundings. Their sense of adventure and wonder is at full peak. They are completely content with where they are, yet I watch them gain confidence as they climb trees they weren’t sure they could climb, catch newts in record time and paddle our canoe around the lake. I will always believe in them and seeing the innocence of a young child believing in their strength is amazing to witness. I am looking forward to this summer and all the adventures will be taking together.

P1060917And this was the scene within 10 minutes of leaving the camp…awake to sleepy.





These two are up and rearing to go by 5:30am, but some days, it’s barely 5am. I have tried everything to get them to sleep longer or have more quiet time in the morning…but nope. These two are early birds. When I talked to my naturopath, she said it’s totally normal and not to worry…but for me to get more sleep. Ha, yeah right.

wpid-img_20150605_112214120.jpg wpid-img_20150605_112221333.jpgSo for these beautiful, sunny mornings-my kiddos are out the back door and playing in the yard by 6am.

wpid-img_20150604_062231500_hdr.jpg wpid-img_20150606_063336992_hdr.jpgI have to remind them that most neighbors are still sleeping, so be mindful. This is a lot to ask for kids that were just sleeping all night. They are ready to swing, bike and be silly. I have to think that most neighbors don’t mind hearing children laughing as their Saturday morning alarm clock. And those runners going by at 6:30am probably love to see Airlie swinging and waving “hi” as they run by the fence. But…that’s just me because even though it’s early, I make my coffee and watch their early morning shenanigans. And if possible, try to lure them inside and have quiet tea parties instead.

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wpid-img_20150605_182739216.jpgPure sweetness, even if it’s before 5am. I’ll take my morning snuggles with an “I love you, mommy” any time of day from these two. Keep ’em coming, I can always make more coffee and one day, I’ll catch up on sleep.


Chasing Newts

We were going to go camping this weekend, but at the last minute we decided not to go (which looking back, I wish we did!). Oh well…next weekend. But I still took Friday off to spend with the kiddos and yesterday, we headed up to Lost Lake, near Mt. Hood. It was such a beautiful day, with the mountain as the backdrop and bald eagles flying overhead. It is place to just let go and be immersed in the calm of nature. As I was driving up the mountain, looking at the farms and rural pastures at every turn, I feel so grateful to live in such an amazing place. I feel so grateful to raise my little ones surrounded by so much federal land that will be protected for them to enjoy as they grow up. Driving up the federal forest land, we passed a lot of logging and clear cuts, which concerned my kiddos. Airlie would look up at a clear cut and say, “mommy, they chopped all those trees to bark chips”! She said she hopes they replant all the trees because we need them to survive. Brycen told me about the kinkajous (a small rainforest mammal from this book) need a place to live. Then we had some conversation about the animals who depend on healthy forests, how trees produce oxygen and how important trees were for things we like to have (like their play structure) and yes, to survive.  I can only hope my kids grow up with a respect for the earth because they will need to keep speaking for those trees. I have a feeling they will though…Airlie told me she wanted to hug Mt. Hood, but that she would have to give a half hug because her arms were too short to fit around it!

I had never been to Lost Lake, and it was a pretty busy day use area. But we hiked down to the water, set up our camp for the day and found a mellow place for them to enter the lake and play.









In the water, there were heaps of newts and the littles loves trying to catch them. They’d search and search, giggling with excitement. Airlie would even try and put her head in the water to look for them! Airlie finally did catch one and picked up the little newt in her hands!






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The water was freezing, but the kiddos didn’t seem to mind. Their lips would turn blue, they’d warm up in the sunshine and then get back in the water. We met a sweet Portland couple with their 3 year old, Nova, which was fun to have another little one for the kids to play with. They had rented a canoe for the day and offered to take Airlie and Brycen on a (close-in!) ride. I wasn’t sure how the kiddos would do, but they absolutely loved it! I guess we know for next time they’ll be ready for paddling. Airlie and Nova got along really well. Airlie was excited to share her snack and even went to grab her towel when she saw Nova cold from the water. But….as she was willing to give her ups, she tried to snatch Brycen’s away without asking and he quickly he fell on his bum. Sweetness and sass!







The kiddos had so much! They were quite the explorers. Airlie loved climbing and jumping off the rocks, but was still a bit hesitant of swimming. Brycen finally got the courage to swim and was super stoked. On the drive back home that afternoon, they told me how much fun they had at the lake and how they wanted to go back and swim. They hadn’t been swimming since my brother’s wedding and Airlie said the next time she’d be ready and that she just has to believe in herself. TOO sweet!








As we left the lake, I asked if they’d be awake by the time we got back to Hood River to grab a slice of pizza for dinner. Brycen said from his car seat, “I’ll be awake mama, I’m just hanging out”. So cute! Well, he was and we made it to pizza before we headed on the road…even though these two looked pooped!




Lately, Airlie’s asking me about being a mama. Today, she asked again if she’ll be a mommy one day. She asked if she would have kiddos to take back to the car after swimming and get them changed in warm pjs. She also asked if I would be around when she has kiddos. I told her I would always be with her but I’d be a grandma to her little ones. She asked about Brycen, I explained he’d be the uncle to her kiddos and a daddy to his. Her little mind makes my heart grow and just want to explode with love. My favorite part of spending time with these two are our conversations. I thought they would sleep on the drive home but nope, it was giggle central in my car for over 2 hours.


As they get older, there are more questions, more conversations , more listening and more taking it all in. I learn so much about them and how my words, actions and their experiences are sinking into their hearts and minds. I feel so blessed to spend time with them and just engage with their little souls. I am their mama, but they will always be my best teachers.

Since Thursday afternoon, these kiddos have really been enjoying the sunshine. We’ve been outside heaps and it has even been warm enough to break out their pool and hang at a splash park. Airlie has been stoked since Thursday too because she finally realized that she can swing really high on her own. Before this revelation, she was a bit hesitant. But now she is super proud and I love watching how excited she is to share her new skill. She told Brycen not to worry, because one day he will be big enough to do it once his legs are longer. wpid-img_20150528_170625196.jpg





wpid-img_20150528_152121689.jpgBrycen was quite adorable with her the other morning. She was practicing writing her letters and was getting frustrated. Brycen told her not to worry, to keep trying and never give up. He is so stinkin’ adorable.

wpid-img_20150530_103405572.jpgToday was the most beautiful day, so after ballet we headed to the farmer’s market. This was our first visit to the market since last Fall and the kiddos were thrilled to get back. They remembered the “scone lady”, who makes the most delicious scones I have ever tasted (and she has no store-so they are only a market treat) and the fresh squeezed raspberry lemonade we share. The three of us enjoyed the most delicious breakfast…fresh, grilled veggies with eggs, tortilla and cotija cheese. The kids would run around, playing around the trees and saying hello to everyone, then come back and eat the greens and asparagus. As they were playing, Brycen got a tiny boo-boo, but Airlie put the band-aid on him. She loves being a big sister.







After the market, they changed into their bathing suit and played in the splash park. Oh the giggles and shrieks made me smile as I watched them. It made me think of all the other times they played at the market, like here (when Brycen was still in my belly) and here (from last year).  I treasure these memories. One of my favorite things about this time is their pure innocence and love of life. They are full of laughter, spreading their light all around them. It is truly contagious.








Before we headed home for a nap (which Brycen refuses to do these days), we played a bit more  and checked out the lake-searching for fish, ducks, frogs on the lilypads and of course, mermaids. They both ate the limes out of our lemonade and made the silliest sour faces.





Oh my sweeties will forever have my heart. I am looking forward to all our days of sunshine this summer. They love our yard and love spending time together. It is those simple things that have the power to energize your soul. From the moment I woke up today, Brycen came in the bed to snuggle and just said, “Mama, I love you”, with a big squeeze (Airlie was already snuggled under the covers with me). I am so grateful for them filling my days with fun, no matter where the day takes us. I am so grateful for being a mama and so blessed to be able to experience these two little growing each and every day. Even though these pics are from the other night, they are the view that every night, makes stops everything from running/thinking/worrying/etc and I just stare with love in my heart.





We headed into Portland this morning to have some reading time with two very special princesses, Anna and Elsa. On the way there, we stopped to get bagels and as Brycen was eating his-he passed out! I wonder if he’d still try to take a morning nap at 9:30 if he didn’t get up at 5:30.

wpid-img_20150524_102439345.jpgWe woke him up to hang with Anna and Elsa. Airlie was super excited since Elsa came to our house on her 4th birthday. I think Airlie was a bit overwhelmed by all the other folks around, but in time, she got more comfortable. They told stories, danced and made magic happen for all the little ones around.




wpid-img_20150524_192950.jpgAfter some princess time, we headed to a local county fair for more fun. Of course, Airlie remembered the soft-serve ice cream from the agricultural festival we went to last month, so we had to get some of that. The kiddos each had their own unique way to eat their cones.







Before we left, they went on a few rides but Airlie is still a bit hesitant of them. We got them on the boat ride, which they were super stoked to go on at first. But once it started moving around (bouncing up and down like a wave), Airlie said she wanted to get off. So, the guy stopped the ride and I took the kiddos back to the mellow trucks for those big, comfortable smiles.





These two just keep me laughing. Kids really do say the silliest things that keep me smiling whenever I’m around them. So, Brycen has been out of diapers for awhile now, but for some reason, he had an accident today. When we noticed wet pants on the floor,  Jay asked him if he peed in his pants, Brycen said, “No daddy, I didn’t pee in my pants, I peed on my pants”. Haha. On the drive home this afternoon, I was talking about running an errand to the grocery store and Airlie wanted to join me. Brycen told her if she went, his big sister wouldn’t be home with him, so he wanted her to stay home. Then he said, “we can play on the outside on the play structure-would that be okay, Airlie”? Seriously, it is stinkin’ adorable how inseparable these two are. They constantly are laughing at each other and most of the time, being kind to each other.  As we were get ready to leave this morning, Brycen found Airlie’s sweatshirt and brought it to her (they usually do this with helping each other find their shoes). Of course there are moments of frustration with sharing, feeling feelings and communicating-but that is part of being siblings. And as they continue to get to know each other, building their bonds, I get to enjoy every single second I am around them.


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