August Misc Round-Up

Lucy was a stand-in for Sam, Grace, Sen, and Ashton.


Lucy likes “fancy” hair. Becky is willing to experiment.

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Lucy’s class went for a field day at the end of summer! It was super hot.

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They also enrolled in the Multnomah county library’s summer reading program, which meant a trip to the library.


They also visited the World Forestry Center!


While Will was with us at Oaks Park, Grandma Dorothy helped Lucy take all the tangles out of Rainbow Dash’s hair. She also sewed an entire skirt, all by herself!


The Swank grandparents helped the kids make cabbage hats at the Riverfront FamilyFest in Salem.

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The kids both went to swim lessons. 5 days a week. After school. For 4 weeks straight. Exhausting. But they’re sooooo much better swimmers now.


Here’s the skirt Lucy made! She made sure to wear it to Anne’s 96th birthday party.


Will made paper at school.

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His class took a trip to the zoo.

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They also visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden. It wasn’t covered with lilies when we visited.


We’re not sure what he’s using as his medium, but his architecture skills are clearly showing.


Will has officially graduated to the class that spends the entire time in the deep end of the pool!

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Becky helped Jenny celebrate her birthday, by watching Catching Fire in the park.

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We shot a wedding!


It was a pretty busy August. Stay tuned for September!

Salem Family

A large portion of the Swank/Clark clan met in Salem, to celebrate (among others) Great-Grandma Anne’s 96th birthday! We made sure to get photos of all the celebrants, as well as this rare gathering of cousins.

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NOTE: Lucy made the skirt she’s wearing in these photos. She’s very proud of it, and wanted you all to know.

#32: Grow Tomatoes in the Back Yard

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We planted four tomato plants in a barrel in our backyard! Here’s our harvest:


Most of it, anyway. Here’s the rest:


I keed, I keed. There were like twice that many. Seriously, we don’t exactly have green thumbs around here, so we were lucky to get this many. The kids love these things just as much as we do, though, so they didn’t go to waste.

#98: Show the Kids Two Memorable Movies from our Childhood

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Warning: You will judge us for our choice of movies. We fully expect this, and have no defense prepared.

We decided that we should subject the kids to stuff from our childhood while they’re young, and not yet embarrassed of us. We started with these two movies.


The first was Ernest Goes to Camp (1987). Becky was paralyzed with laughter about 60 seconds after the opening credits – her mom used to pull out the “eeeEEEEEeeewwww” at just the right moment, and send her and her brothers into hysterics. I don’t have a specific story about Mr. Worrell, but this kind of humor is deeply embedded in my childhood; our family watched everything Ernest and Vern that we could find. Our kids were literally ROTFLOLing.


Our second selection was Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989). Becky had to stop herself from reciting all the lines while we watched, but this was more of a risk – there’s quite a bit of peril in this movie, and Lucy’s pretty sensitive to that kind of thing By the end she said she loved it, though, and we were never in doubt about Will, so I guess we did okay.

Our conclusion: watch these movies with your kids before they’re old enough to see the difference that 30 years of filmmaking has made.

At the Beach. Again.

Neskowin. We come here a lot. For good reason, though – we own a home here. Plus, it’s gorgeous. Becky and I were actually in the middle of a conversation when she said “hold that thought, I’ll be right back”, and walked out the door. She came back with this:


The humidity is a bit different from Portland. Lucy woke up the next morning looking like this:


Becky took the kids for a walk on the beach to look for a place for a sandcastle. At first, all they could do was complain about how cold it was, but wait to see what they ended up doing:

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Yup. Apparently, it was so cold, they had to go wading in the ocean.

The kids love board games, and we’re always looking for ways to level them up a bit. We brought along Ticket to Ride, and simplified the rules a bit for first-timers.

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We also took a day to visit some of the local natural wonders, and check out what Lucy found at the thrift store on the way back! Isn’t she bee-yootiful? Oh, honey.


We found this in the drawer in the beach house. Whomever donated it, we salute you.

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Another successful, playful, peaceful trip to Neskowin. We’ll be back for Christmas!

#83: Spend a Day at Enchanted Forest

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

For Lucy’s 12th Day of Christmas, she got a trip to Enchanted Forest! We dropped Will off at the Swanks house, and headed out there.


One of our first stops was Humpty, who recently had a great fall. Fortunately, the indefatigable Roger Tofte put him back together again before our visit.


The rest of Storybook Lane is exactly as it has been for many years.

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We made sure to get the unlimited-ride bracelets. Despite it being a nice Thursday in the summer, the park wasn’t crowded, so we didn’t wait in too many lines.

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In fact, at one point Lucy was the only one on the Frog Hopper, and it wouldn’t work right. Becky and I had to hop on.


And then Becky was done.


We were there from opening to close, and this is all the photos we took. We assure you, we got soaked on the log ride at least three times, saw the show (Jack and the Beanstalk), got lost in the Indian Caves, saw the Fantasy Fountains, and did just about everything else. I guess we were too busy to take pictures!

Fogarty Creek State Park

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

This is a park in two parts.


The first is foresty, woodsy, and great for a nice stroll or a picnic. It wasn’t mealtime when we came, but we did find a cache or two.

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One of them had a hummingbird nest in its tree!

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This is (oddly) one of the least well-maintained state parks we’ve visited. “Go pose on those picnic table ruins!”

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For the other cache, we went over the river and through the woods…

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The second part is the beachy, gravel-sandy, oceany part. You can tell when you’re close by the driftwood and bare feet.

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I took it upon myself to climb this rock. What I didn’t think about was (a) I was wearing flip-flops, and (b) there were two short people that wouldn’t want me to go alone.

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Will got the farthest up of the three of us, and I made him stop out of my nervousness.


Then we gave them a mission: to build a dam across the entire stream. They worked at it for about an hour.

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It’s a lovely place. Stop by if you’re in the area!


#82: Build a Sandcastle

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

A beach scene in Neskowin. What could be more idyllic?


But we happened upon the ruins of a once-great kingdom. What could we do but rebuild it? We fortified and buttressed, making it better and stronger than ever it was.

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Sharp eyes will note the fluttering banners, stone drawbridge, and citadels. We intend to do this more.

#15: Watch a Movie Outside

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We didn’t think this one would be so hard to check off, but it turns out you can’t do this during daylight hours, and the authorities frown on leaving kids alone at home.


We had intended on going to one of the Portland city park events, but when Labor Day arrived and we hadn’t made it, we despaired. So it was with great joy and relief that we read the news that our friends were having a backyard movie party, and Will and Lucy were at their grandparents’ house! We watched the best movie ever made with some great friends, and a fire pit. It was excellent, and we look forward to doing it again.

#10: Visit a Wildlife Refuge

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Who doesn’t like a hike with wildlife?


We were spending a few days in Neskowin, and it’s only about a 15-minute drive to this place. It’s kind of hard to spot the turn-off – we missed it the first time – but just a little ways up the hill, there’s this gorgeous view.

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Another short drive up a gravel road, and we reached the paved trail to the viewpoint at the top. Here Lucy is holding the wildlife viewing guide, which tells us which birds we’re likely to see today. The kids were fascinated by these.


There were lots of butterflies flitting about.


Here’s the “making of” scene from that shot.


There were also lots of busy pollinators. The kids got a little freaked out, but they were soporific with the abundance of pollen.


We even spotted a baby butterfly on the trail, and made sure he made it to safety.


The view from the top was really great. You could see all the way to the ocean.


Will’s in the Chinook class at school, so we made sure to get a portrait with his “school” mates.

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If you look really closely in this photo, you can spot our car in the parking lot.


We didn’t end up spotting much wildlife (unless you count the insects and a cow), but the hike was enjoyable, and the view was great. We might have to come back during the goose migration.