Friday, September 25, 2015

Soccer Saturdays Return

I loved last Saturday...we got to watch both of the kids play soccer! It was Matt's first game and well...Marlie is not playing soccer this year but her old team needed an extra player so she was excited to help!
Matt is playing again with the Texans Academy.  Last year he was the youngest on his team and all of those kids have moved up.  So he has a whole new team this year which he is excited about, but his team last year was amazing and it challenged Matt so much that I miss him playing with those boys.

They lost their first game Saturday 3-1 but they played well and the other team was really good. Most of these boys play soccer year round so Matt always struggles the first month trying to catch up and get back in soccer shape.  But he played right-mid the entire game and although he was exhausted, he made it through!! He had a beautiful cross to his teammate that scored and he had another perfect cross that should have been a goal but we didn't quite get it in. I got lots of great action shots...I love the faces he makes as he's trying to win the ball or beat someone to the ball.  This kid plays hard!!
Then it was off to watch the good ole Fairy Ponies!! Marlie got to play forward and she looked like she'd been practicing with the team since the start of the season. She had so fun much being out there with her friends. She was out of soccer shape too but managed to play hard for almost the whole game. She feel asleep on the way home!! I hope we get to help the Fairy Ponies again! So fun to watch!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

First Day of School

As always, summer went by way too fast.  But the kids were excited to get back to school, find out what teacher they are going to love and harass for the next year and see what friends are in their class. Matt starts 4th grade this year and Marlie is in 3rd.  Doug took this picture on their first day of might be my new favorite picture.  You can see the slight bit of nervousness in Matt's face and the pure excitement in Marlie's.  So cute how every year Matt is always just a tad nervous on the first day and Marlie can't wait!
Matt has 2 teachers this year. This is his homeroom teacher, Mrs. Alfred and he'll be with Mrs. Alfred for Math & Science. Mrs. Alfred said she loves sports so hopefully these two will hit it off.  Matt has Mrs. Whetzel for RELA (reading & language arts).  The 4th graders are in portables this year...or as the school says "cabins" and I'm not sure Matt or Mrs. Alfred are super excited about the "cabins".   
We are thrilled that Marlie has Mrs. Smith, Matt's teacher from last year. We love Mrs. Smith and it gives us such peace to know Marlie will be well taken care of this year. 
Marlie is also super excited that she has tons of friends in her class (the class is mostly all girls...yikes!).  Khloe and Marlie are in class together again for the 3rd year in a row.  We all love Khloe and I'm glad they will be able to spend their days together. 
We'll be praying for our teachers all year!  Looking forward to another great year at FCE!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

2015 Rogue River & California Redwoods

This summer we went on the best family vacation yet. The kids said it was better than Disney and honestly if I can do vacations like this and never go back to Disney World, I'd be just fine! Doug has been wanting to go whitewater rafting so I finally agreed!  Not that I didn't want to go whitewater rafting but Doug wanted to do a 4 day, 3 night trip!  That means no shower, no potties, no phones for 4 days! Afterwards I realized that I can do without because the beauty of being outdoors in beautiful Oregon with my peeps, with no technology was SO amazingly peaceful!!! We got to Oregon a day early and peeked in on what was going to be our new home for the next few days!
We rafted the Rogue River in southern Oregon through OARS. We had 6 awesome guides (4 were female can you believe that?) and we made 16 new friends! At this point I promise you I was a bit nervous...about the no potties, about the class III & IV rapids and about being disconnected from the rest of the world. 
We weren't far into our trip when Matt spotted a good jumping rock and sure enough we stopped! The guy in the purple shirt is Captain John and we spent most of the trip in his raft. I love that Matt and Marlie marched right to the top of the rock and if they were nervous they didn't show it!  
Here they go!
Doug primarily spent the trip in the duckies, either by himself or with the kids. But I was a little nervous for our first class III rapid so Doug hopped in the princess raft with us! Matt wanted to stand in the back and I was nervous he might fall out!  But it was not scary at all!  It was awesome! I love Marlie's comments to the camera and Matt's flipping peace signs along the way!
We did not raft down Rainie Falls which was a class V, but Doug got to take the ducky on the "fish ladder" which was the class III rapid on the far left. 
After cruising for awhile it was time for the ducky races.  I'm so sad I didn't get a picture or video of this because it was Matt's favorite part of the trip. All the duckies were turned upside down and connected between 2 rafts. You were timed running across the duckies to the other raft. Matt thought this was like an American Ninja Warrior challenge and made it across on his second try. As you can imagine most people didn't make it across and it was hilarious! 
We made it to camp and setup our tents. For dinner the guides made us salmon with a wonderful salad, couscous and asparagus!  And they had dessert for us too.  We visited with our new friends, went swimming and then headed to our tents to read with our headlamps before bed. 
The next morning we woke up to a bear and a bald eagle!  It was amazing! We all slept pretty well and the kids loved sleeping in tents. After a wonderful breakfast of French toast and bacon we got back on the river!
The kids LOVED being in the ducky with Daddy! Both actually managed to go down some pretty serious rapids and at one point I thought Marlie was going flip right out but she kept paddling! She loved it! Check out Doug and Marlie in this video...
When Daddy and Marlie were rafting together, Matt and I got to ride together in the princess raft.  Day 2 we were in Blessed's raft. I figure we would be safe in a raft with a guide named "Blessed"! Plus Blessed had the pirate flag on his raft so that just seemed cool!
  We stopped at this beautiful spot for lunch and I could have taken pictures the entire time. Thankfully Doug took the camera so I could take some pics with my little peoples!  
 After lunch we explored a creek and then it was time for more rock jumping! These 3 now considered themselves professionals!  This is my favorite picture of the trip!
From here the kids and Doug swam to camp which was just a short way down the river and we setup for the night. The guides made chicken fajitas which were wonderful! Day 3 was already here and we packed up camp after blueberry pancakes and sausage.  The kids told our new friends on multiple occasions that we ate better camping than we did at home!
Day 3 we did a little "surfing" in the rafts and got to swim down a rapid! I think the kids were a little scared but did it and now they know they have to breath at the dip in the rapid because if you try on your way up, you get a mouthful of water!  
We had a surprise stop for lunch at the Rogue River Ranch.  There was a beautiful garden and the kids played horseshoes. We had a great lunch and then Doug had to attend a training class for the class IV rapids up ahead!
Doug was a little nervous about the class IVs ahead but he did great!! We went through Mule Creek Canyon which was beautiful! It was very narrow and there was a tough spot called the coffee pot that we had to get through. John did a great job getting our big princess raft through the canyon. 
Next class IV was Blossom Bar. As we pulled over to scout the rapids we learned that someone had flipped their raft and was stuck. Thankfully everyone was safe but the raft (with lots of gear) had flipped sideways and was pinned against a rock. Our guides went into rescue mission mode right away. They got everyone off the rock in the middle of the river to safety.  Then they worked together to try to dislodge the raft that was being pressed up against the rock by the strong river current. Honestly everyone, including the guides, thought the raft wasn't going to budge. It took two hours total but our guides saved the day. They worked together amazingly and with their amazing strength, dislodged the raft and it went down the river upside down.  The owners were able to get it downstream and their raft and most of their gear was intact! We all sat on the cliff watching and it was really neat for all of us to watch.  We were super proud of our guides and the family they helped was so thankful! We got to take the princess rafts down Blossom Bar and it was great!!

We got to camp a little later than expected but we had a great last night.  The guides made surf and turf for dinner and they held a talent show.  Since neither Doug nor I have any great talent to showcase we decided to perform as a family.  Unfortunately Marlie volunteered us to go first so we did!  We decided to do a family version of Watch Me so Marlie led us and we whipped and nae naed!  It was a hit for sure!! Marlie showed off some other dance moves too. One girl sang You Are My Sunshine with her mouth completely closed which I thought was hilarious too!  Captain John broke out the splits, not just the right, but the left too. So much fun, we laughed so hard!

We woke up the last day to eggs benedict (really?? frozen waffles are a treat at our house) and got back on the rafts to head out. We were sad it was our last day but I was definitely ready for a shower! I should have taken a before and after picture but this is the after...
We saw a couple of bald eagles along the way!
We stopped for our last lunch and explored a little waterfall and a pond with little newts all over! We took a group picture and of course a picture of our guides (minus Nicole as she went ahead to start preparing for take out).
After lunch we climbed into our rafts for the last time. Captain John let Daddy paddle our big princess raft while he swam down the rapids. 
To say this was a great trip is an understatement. We had so much fun! Thanks to Daddy for planning this, thank you to our guides who worked nonstop for 4 days and thank you to all of our new friends who helped make the trip so much fun. 

They say it's not over until the fat lady sings. She hasn't sung yet! After we got off the river (and visited a real bathroom and put on clean clothes) we headed south to Trinidad, California. It is a small, very quaint town on the northern coast of California and we were happy to call it home for the next 4 days.  Welcome home Maziurs...
This was our view of the Pacific Ocean from every room in the house! 
Marlie's favorite part about the house was the neighbor's cat that spent most of her time with us. The kids named her Fuzzy and although I'm not a cat person, Fuzzy was super sweet. When we were outside the house exploring, Fuzzy darted off into the bushes. We followed her to this bench.  Apparently this is Fuzzy's bench.  She hangs out here most of the time looking out to the Pacific.  I'm officially jealous of a cat!!  
We enjoyed the hot tub (also with an amazing view) and Dad cooked fresh fish for us for dinner.  We had smores after dinner outside and then at the end of the night put on our cozy robes and cuddled on the couch!
It was SO hard to leave the house but we had some redwoods to explore along with several locally owned restaurants and the beach too!

We did several hikes in the redwoods over the next few days. You just can't get enough of the beauty of these giant trees. Matt loved it and climbed all over the ones that had fallen over.  He has never asked me to take so many pictures of him!
This is "Big Tree" (fancy name I know). This picture doesn't do it justice but you can tell by how small my peeps are, how enormous it is. 
This fascinated me too.  This tree had fallen down and broke into 2 pieces.  I can't imagine how big this one was. 
We had so much fun and none of us wanted to come home.  Especially Marlie who cried hysterically as she said her goodbyes to Fuzzy.  It was so nice to be with my family for so many days and to be out exploring the beautiful world God created for us. I sure hope we get to do this again! The fat lady has sung.