After swimming lessons today, our friends invited us over to play in their hot tub for a while. Since it was only about 63 degrees when we arrived, it was a good thing the water was heated!
Abby took a liking to this diving mask and spent a good hour exploring the depths of the hot tub. After the kids splashed for about two hours, we ate lunch, and then they played on the trampoline for a short time before we left. The kids were all starting to kind of melt down, and despite my enjoying chatting with another adult (something I really don't get that much of), I decided we'd better go home for the afternoon. Well, it was fun while it lasted!
Wednesday, July 30
Monday, July 28
While Daddy and Ryan were having a fun guys weekend camping in central Oregon this past weekend, Abigail and I had ourselves a girls weekend. After we packed the boys off in the van, we went to her swimming lessons. She is doing so well! Then she showered and changed into a dress, and we went over the hill to have some fun.
First we stopped and had a nice lunch at Stanford's (thanks to a gift card we received in the mail). She had the seafood chowder, grapes, salmon, and what the restaurant calls the World's Smallest Sundae. She ate every bite and enjoyed it immensely!
After lunch we did some shopping, which didn't yield too much success. Finally, after spending some time in the pet store, we went to the movies and saw the new American Girl movie. The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful, but it was nice to spend some quality one-on-one time with my little girl.
Ryan and Daddy has their first guys camping trip last weekend. They were originally going to be fishing with another father and son, but when that got cancelled, they decided to go on Ed's company's annual campout instead.
Obviously, I wasn't there and will mostly let the pictures speak for themselves. It looks like they had a lot of fun! This little girl is Ed's boss's daughter. Her name is Eva, and apparently they hit it off very well. Ed says he spent most of the first day having her call him Wall-E.
Daddy managed to do some fishing, though not in the canoe as he has hoped. Apparently Ryan is now terrified of it (for reasons unknown to his parents!) and wouldn't set foot in it. I guess the raft isn't as scary to him as the canoe because we have quite a few pictures of him in it...most of them with Eva.
They did some geocaching at the nearby lava flow and even saw these neat rock paintings done by Native Americans long ago.
Wow, that's a gorgeous valley! I'm not a fan of the desert, but this spot would almost make you forget you're in the desert.
They found a patch of snow to play in. I'm guessing that's pretty unusual for the middle of July, but it's been a very mild summer here.
Ed tells me Ryan was in his glory with all these little kids to lead around and get to do his bidding! Thankfully, he was well behaved most of the weekend and didn't get into any scrapes with the other kids (or adults).
Friday, July 25
Since my birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, we decided to celebrate it the Saturday before. After making me breakfast Saturday morning, we decided to do some geocaching. We haven't done much of it this year, but there is a contest going on that we wanted to take part in, so we headed over to the Mt. Hood Territory to do some exploring. We found five of the ten caches for the contest and saw some neat things too.
For some reason our maps didn't print out on our cache sheets, so we had to find the locations strictly with our GPS. You wouldn't think this would be that difficult, but it took us quite a while to find our first cache location which turned out to be a winery with a small lake.
We visited an Elk Ranch. Though we didn't take the time (or the money) to participate, they have a full tour. We may come back some other time to take the tour and visit the petting farm. They even sell elk meat and interesting jewelry made out of elk horns and elk droppings (eewww!).
We also went to a demonstration forest with lots of trails and apparently a campground because there was a lone Boy Scout looking for his troop. Again, we didn't take time to hike all the trails, but we will do that when we're in the area again sometime.
We found a cache at a lavendar farm. They had already harvested the lavendar for this year, except for the decorative areas. It was out in the boonies, and I was relishing the absolute quiet!
The last cache we found was at a place I've been wanting to visit for some time called Philip Foster Farm. It is a mid-1800s interpretive center. An excerpt from their website says:
Philip Foster was one of Oregon's earliest settlers, arriving with his family by ship via Cape Horn and the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in 1843...Foster was also an entrepreneur, partnering with Sam Barlow in constructing the Barlow Road in 1846, operating a store in Oregon City, and founding a flourmill and cattle company with Dr. John McLoughlin, known as the Father of Oregon. Foster bought a 640-acre land-claim in Eagle Creek in 1847, which he developed for the arrival of emigrants traveling the Barlow Road, the "last leg" overland segment of the Oregon Trail. He cleared land, planted crops and orchards, built a house and a store, as well as constructing a lumber mill and gristmill. The Foster place became a welcome sight for pioneers struggling over the shoulder of Mt. Hood after their 2,000-mile journey from Missouri. With the store, cabins to rent and meals offered to the emigrants, Foster's Place was indeed the First Destination Resort in the Oregon Territory.
Unfortunately, it was closed when we were there, but we were able to walk the grounds and look at the buildings and covered wagons. Our homeschool group is planning a trip out there this fall, which will be great!
Last Friday we had an errand to run downtown, so we picked Daddy up from work and were going to go do our errand. However, there was a sand scuplting competition going on in Pioneer Courthouse Square, so we decided to check it out.
In fact, Ed's company was partnering with Regence Blue Cross on a sculpture and some of his coworkers were working on the scuplture. The event benefits a children's charity, and there were quite a few entries.
the Doctor Away, and it won the Judge's Choice award.
Most of the scupltures had kid themes, but my favorite was one with an Olympic theme that featured the Great Wall of China. I loved the dribble trees all over the mountains.
It was a fun activity, and the kids were thrilled because they got balloons. In fact, then ended up with two each, one for each time we were there. When we first arrived the judging was going on and we couldn't up close to the sculptures, so we left and ran our errand, had dinner, and came back later. The second time we were able to walk up close to the scupltures and spend time looking at them, as well as see which ones won which awards.
As we were walking back to our parking spot, we had to stop and watch them constructing the pilings for what will one day be the tallest building in Portland. Ryan is still very interested in construction machinery, so it was fun to watch them dig the holes with huge augers, pour concrete with the pumper trucks, and move large objects with the cranes.
Tuesday, July 22
I am not a beach lover. Walking along the beach is enjoyable, watching the sun set over the ocean is lovely, finding beach glass or interesting shells is exciting, and who isn't mesmerized watching the never ending crash of the surf for a while, but that's about all the positives I can muster up about going to the beach. When I am there I am in awe of God's power and how He never stops sending the tides in and out, but after a short time, I'm ready to go.
disappeared under a coat of blown sand!
I know many people who just can't fathom how anyone couldn't love the beach! Well, the sand irritates me, especially if it's blowing in my face. I grew up where it was very windy almost every day, and I grew to really dislike the wind. It seems like the wind is always blowing at the beach, at least the ones here in Oregon. I am also not fond of noise, even "white noise." I guess most people are lulled to sleep by the roar of the ocean, but I just want to run away and find someplace quiet!
Like most kids (and apparently adults), mine love the beach! So when Ryan wanted to go to the beach for his special day, I pushed aside my reservations and cheerfully agreed (I think I was pretty cheerful about it, anyway). We spent hours on the beach, which in addition to all the things I listed above, was also pretty chilly. The first day the temp was 68 degrees, but the next day it was in the mid 70s, though you'd never know it because of the wind. It was blowing off the ocean and made it feel more like it was in the 50s.
I really did have a good time during our beach camping trip, though I would never have chosen it if it wasn't for the love of my kids (a week later I am still finding sand in unusual places). Next family camping trip: Timothy Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest, definitely more to my liking!
Monday, July 21
When was the last time you saw gas below $4 per gallon? We did this weekend (out in the boonies of Eagle Creek, Oregon, of all places)!
Who knew I'd be celebrating $3.99 when just two and a half years ago I was fretting over gas being over $2 per gallon and giddy when it went to $1.99!
It has been three years today since I first began blogging. I waver back and forth about continuing since I often lack the time to post the things I want to, but my blogs have become such a resource for me that I've decided to just keep on blogging despite my sporadic posting. Some is better than none! Even if no one else reads them, I can't count the times I've looked back through my posts to find a piece of information or a date when something happened.
However, I have decided to make a significant change in the way I blog. I am going to try combining Ryan's and Abby's blog into this one. I think telling the story once instead of two or three times might help me keep up better. I will keep their blogs up and may occasionally add a post, but for the most part they will be just archives (or for a backup plan if I decide I don't like having them combined afterall!).
For those of you who have persevered in reading my blogs over the years, thanks so much for visiting! Your comments have been encouraging, and even those of you who don't comment, I always like to see your visit show up on my site meter!
Monday, July 14
We went camping this weekend and today was spent cleaning everything and putting it back in order for our next camping trip (hopefully next month). The kids and I washed the van as well and all the while I kept thinking about this comic strip and decided I had to post it. (I swiped it from Beth over at Family...Food...Fun. Hope you don't mind, Beth!)
Saturday, July 5
Before arriving at our destination for the 4th of July celebration, we did a few geocaches. We haven't been doing much this year, and it was fun to get back to it. The kids especially liked this cache site and had a blast climbing all over the rocks.
Some friends of ours that we met long ago when we lived in Memphis invited us to spend the day with them. We spent the 4th with them last year and were so happy they invited us back again this year. Their kids are fully grown, but they were there along with their friends. It was an added bonus that one of their friends played with Ryan and Abby for hours rough-housing and goofing off. He even spent quite a bit of time scouring the grass looking for tiny flowers just to please Abigail!
We grilled out, played games and just generally had some nice fellowship. At long last it was dark enough to finally light a few fireworks before calling it a night and driving home. We left at about 10:45 and there were still area fireworks shows going off till the finales at 11:00 (it gets dark LATE here!), so we enjoyed those as we made our hour and 15 minute drive home.
(Once we arrived at our friends' house, I completely forgot about my camera and only got a couple of pictures.)