Playing at the park together. They are taking to Auntie Lenore like little ducks to water.

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Today Lenore and I had a whole blissful day to catch up. We talked for hours, I taught her to shoot in manual with her new camera and we ate some mighty amazing sandwiches from MSM Deli in Tacoma. Happiness.

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We spent our last day together at the beach walking the boardwalk, watching the boys throw rocks in the water and eating at Salty's. Our kids all told Auntie Lenore that they want her to come back.

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My mom's heart is feeling so very proud of the 15 top 3rd grade spellers who were a part of the spelling bee today. They were brave, tried hard, and were encouraging each other. My little speller came in second after going many rounds with some really awesome kids. We are so pleased to be in a school where kids are so supported.

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I took the boys and their scooters out to a local trail this morning. There was a strange looking (barefoot and mumbling) person at the entrance to the park who didn't seem too dangerous but I shoved my spray sunscreen into my camera bag just in case I needed to defend my boys. Wise mothering moment, I know.

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The boys were working on birthday cards for one of their favorite people in the world....Opa! I can hardly believe my dad turns 70 tomorrow. We're getting ready to party hard this weekend!

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To know him is to love him and I know it first hand. My dad is one of the most loving, generous, engaging, creative people I have ever met. Seventy looks pretty good on him!

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At our dad's 70th party, Kelly and I gave him a sensory test. Blindfolded he had to identify things that went along a Dutch theme.
smell: pickled herring
taste: biscuit met hagel slag
feel: wooden shoes in his hand and Dutch cap on his head
hearing: the crowd singing Lang zal ze laven (happy birthday)
sight: he read the framed picture which included the words: In the spring of 2014, Kelly and I will cover the tickets for you and mum so that the four of us can go back to the motherland to see where it all began! Pofferjes, herring, trams, canals, kitchen tables, croquettes on the street! We'll see it all....as the Kasteels! You are the best dad we ever could have had!
(I think he was pleased.)

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The cousins all munched down some popsicles after digging in Auntie Mau's back yard today.

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Only another week of being a bus rider. Every day he hops on the bus and waves enthusiastically while we blow kisses.

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There was no way he was letting go of that jar of Nutella without a struggle.

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Most days he's sweet and loving and helpful and fun. Today was not one of those days. Naptime helped (way too many late nights lately) and so did giving each other a big hug at the end of naptime and talking about how we love each other even on the hard days.

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I'd been after him for weeks about his hair. He finally let me cut it late at night when I insisted I wouldn't let him in bed until the deed was done.

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Seeing this boy love to read so much warms the cockles of my heart. (And behind him is a boy in his birthday suit, jumping on my computer while he knows I'm busy and not chasing him off!)

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Happy summerness. I'm looking forward to lots of wet days ahead.

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We spent the afternoon shooting rockets at the park and are getting ready to b-b-q some marinated beef. We love the dads.

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This folder isn't the only thing that's had it. As wonderful as this school year has been, we're all ready for summer break!

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I was the slacker mom who didn't run any games but just walked around with the class, taking pictures and chatting with other parents....and I was still exhausted at the end.

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I had lots of helpers trying to help me blow. I'm blessed beyond measure and so thankful for the life God has given me.

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Last day of school yesterday and last day at our amazing elementary school for Ruby. Next year she's heading to the district S.T.E.P. program, which is an accelerated class. We're very excited for an amazing opportunity like this but it feels so bittersweet as we have had such a great four years with this school community. I was a weepy mess yesterday.

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First day of summer vacation. We've pretty much just been slogging around but I did take them to the library where they were all ecstatic to load up on books.

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In the past two crazy weeks our deepest converstions have gone along the lines of:
Can you grab another pair of underwear for Theo?
What is there for the kids to eat?
I'll get the yard mowed tomorrow.
What time will you be home?
Can you just fix all my computer issues...NOW???
A date day was just what we needed: Paper Source, dinner at Maggiano's and a little smooching and walking at Salt Water State Park. He's my favorite.

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We made chocolate covered bananas after church today and Theo insisted upon "yicking". Ruby and I doobied him up with this chocolate mustache and laughed like crazy.

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Chores are a part of their summer routine but at least they have fun doing it.

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What I found when I went to see why it was taking him so long to put her to bed. He is such a good daddy. He also stayed up way too late watching a science fiction show last night.

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He thinks it's fun to shock me when he knows all the answers.

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Ah, the chaos of family bathroom time post swimming lessons. The only way I can keep Theo from yanking the door open is by letting him play with Tom the Cat on my phone. Steam, boys smacking each other on the bottom, big sister just wanting it to be over, and mom yelling out instructions (but not too loud so the people in the lobby would wonder what on EARTH was going on in there!). I feel like I need a double when I get out of there!

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Oma and Opa hung out with the crazies at the park while I did a session. Then we all inhaled some fish and chips on the water.

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Whenever Quinny gets to play with the cousins, she makes a beeline for Ruby who loves to play with her too.

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