Thursday, August 28

God of Wonders

As a side note to our downtown ballet outing, I wanted to mention that after we left the ballet and walked back to the van, I started looking for my parking ticket. I felt a sinking feeling as I realized I had left my wallet at the ballet! This is downtown Portland, and like any downtown, it has lots of people and plenty of panhandlers looking for a handout. I called my hubby, and he dashed back over to the ballet for me since he was closer. I just knew it was gone for good...I'd have to pay the full amount of my parking ticket, call all my credit card companies, stop payment on the check I hadn't yet deposited, and say goodbye to the small amount of cash I so rarely have in my wallet.

As I was hurrying my kids back down the stairs and elevator to the ballet, I caught site of my son praying for me and my wallet and my daughter kept patting my arm and reassuring me that it was going to be fine because she knew God would keep it safe for me (yes, they knew I was upset because I was on the verge of tears...what can I say, I'm a girl!). To my utter amazement, my hubby called me within a couple minutes to say he found it right where I left it, apparently untouched!

The Lord was very gracious to me, indeed! He not only kept my wallet safe, but He allowed me a sweet glimpse into the hearts of my children that I don't often get to see.

Wednesday, August 27

Oregon Ballet

Abby loves music and dancing! So when I heard that the Oregon Ballet was doing rehearsals for the public outdoors downtown (just a block from Daddy's work!), I knew I had to take her to watch. Ryan thinks dancing is silly, but he really likes classical music, so he enjoyed Tchaikovsky and Abby enjoyed both. They were practicing Swan Lake, and even though there was a lot of downtime while they talked through the parts and made adjustments here and there, when they were actually dancing, Abigail was riveted!

Before the show we had lunch with Daddy at a place we often go to when we're visiting him at work. We always walk past this pirate, and the kids always want stand and look at him, so today I took a picture so they can look at it whenever they want!

Sunday, August 24

How Not to Hide a Geocache

Usually when we go geocaching we have to look a bit to find the hidden cache. Once you've found about 40 caches or so, you do sort of begin to get a feel for where it will be (aka geosenses) and can sometimes walk right up to it despite it not being out in plain sight.

There are other times, however, when it is so obvious that there's no possible way to miss it. Oftentimes when they are "hidden" this way, they go missing because nongeocachers (called muggles) find them and take or destroy them.

Can you find the caches in these pictures? I bet you can find them in about a half a second flat!

Saturday, August 23

Geocaching Contest

The Mt. Hood Territory is having a geocaching contest. They hid 10 caches in the territory, and the first 250 people to find seven of the ten caches by the end of August gets a geocoin! Then if you find all ten caches by the end of October, you can enter to win a prize package which includes a new GPS.

On our way home from camping we found number seven and number eight! We then drove to the chamber of commerce and claimed our geocoins, which is pictured above. Pretty coin, huh? I'm not sure if we're going to keep them or place them in caches, but it was fun getting them.

Number seven cache for us was at a really neat park in Sandy, Oregon. We found the cache, walked on the trail a bit, and then the kids played for a while.

Abby's favorite element of the playground was this tire swing that she really got going!

After leaving the park, we went to another cache located at an alpaca farm. This was number eight for us...only two more to finish the contest!

Friday, August 22

Old Camping News

*Sigh* I was doing so well last month at keeping up to date (did anyone notice that?), and then I stopped. I'm not sure why, but I just wasn't getting to my blog. Even though, this is old news, I am posting some pictures of our last days camping. This is my scrapboooking at the present time, and I can't bring myself to just skip it. Thanks for bearing with me.

Ryan kept asking me to take a picture of him every time he climbed a rock or tree, but I'll spare you all the pictures and just post this one.

I know I'm biased, but aren't these two dirty faces just the cutest?!

On our last full day of camping we decided to go for a hike. It was fairly warm, but we brought lots (seriously, LOTS!) of water and some snacks and headed off along the trail. It was a very nice trail, but apparently we went too far for Abigail as she had a complete meltdown on the way home. I gave her piggy back rides and tried to soothe her, but in the end she just had to cry it out, I guess.

We got back to camp, ate a meal and then relaxed for a while. The lake was terribly crowded, but we finally were able to carve out a small piece of the shore where we could get into the water. We all had a blast cooling off, cleaning up (nothing like a lake bath!) and swimming in the lake.

After our evening swim, we changed into dry clothes and played a few rounds of Uno. Then Abby went to bed a little bit early, and the rest of us played Phase 10 dice game. We finally had to retreat into the tent to avoid the flying ants that were incredibly attracted to our latern!

I thought this was funny...we passed this car with this guy
"walking" his dog while he rode comfortably in the vehicle!

The next morning after a quick breakfast, we broke camp, but not before getting rained on. Guess we weren't quick enough. It was just enough rain to create a muddy mess on our tent and canopy. After we left the campground, we did a few more geocaches and stopped at a really cool park for an hour or so.

The final excitement of our camping trip was passing the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on the way home. No camping trip is complete without that, right?

Thursday, August 21

Oregon Splendor

Are you tired of hearing how much I love living in Oregon? I can't help it, just look at these sights we saw while camping!

Clackamas Lake

This deepest part of this lake is a whopping four feet, but because it's spring fed (and the headwaters of the Oak Fork arm of the Clackamas River) it is extremely cold and clear. There were some girls playing near the dock in a blow-up raft, and they must have told us at least four times that "you can die of hypothermia" if you fall into the water. Thanks, girls, I think I get it!

Little Crater Lake

If we thought Clackamas Lake was cold, it has nothing on this one! As I mentioned in a previous post, Little Crater Lake is 34 degrees year round. It is 45 feet deep, and so clear you can see the fallen timber lying on the bottom. It was formed when an artesian spring forced its way up through a fault and then washed away all the soft siltstone. It is breathtaking to look at (and swim in too, I imagine)!

The hillside was blanketed in these purple flowers. I have no idea what they are, but they were beautiful to see.

Anyone know the name of this botanical?

Oak Fork of the Clackamas River

Timothy Lake

Trillium Lake and Mt. Hood without her winter coat.

Most Foolish Boy Scout Leader

And the award goes to....

We watched as this Boy Scout Leader and some of his troop jumped into Little Crater Lake (gorgeous, huh?) after hiking all morning in very hot weather. This lake is 34 degrees year round. Don't you think a BSA leader would know about things like shock, dry drowning, hypothermia, etc. Thankfully, everyone survived, but I seriously question this man's suitability to lead a group of young men...and I haven't even mentioned him stripping down to his boxer briefs in front of all of us onlookers.

Ziplock Ice Cream

Did you know you can make ice cream (okay, it's really ice milk) in 10 minutes in a Ziplock bag? I have been wanting to try this ever since I first heard about it, and I even took the supplies along to make it last time we went camping. However, it was way too cold to enjoy ice cream, so I skipped it.

Well, it was plenty warm this last weekend (think 90s!), so we gave it a try. It was so warm that we didn't really have tons of ice, so we only made one batch. You put milk, sugar, and vanilla into a quart size Ziplock and close. Then put that bag inside a gallon size Ziplock along with rock salt and fill halfway with ice. Close the bag and squeeze for five to ten minutes. Viola! You have ice cream!

I didn't have terribly high hopes about how tasty it would be, but I must say, it was pretty good! The kids thought it was pretty neat to eat ice cream while we are camping, and we will definitely do this again.

Camping at Timothy Lake

You don't want to hear about our first day of camping, really, you don't. Everyone was grouchy (especially me), and it wasn't pretty. However, God is gracious and answers prayer, and the rest of our weekend was very enjoyable (except for that rainstorm as we were packing up...I could have done without that)!

Do you like our new tent? We do! We paid $50 for it, so that makes us like it even more, especially since it's a $300 tent. It was a display model or something, and so we got a great deal from my new favorite thrift store Project Hope. (They buy liquidated merchandise from Target and Fred Meyer, and they have some really nice--new--stuff at great prices.) At any rate, we can actually stand up and get dressed now. There is also room for our clothes and a few more people too. Whooo-hoo!

I couldn't resist surreptitiously taking a picture of our neighbor's pitiful tent. I don't know if they forgot the other two shock-corded poles or what, but they only had one in the tent and they strung up the rest of the tent with rope. I don't know how the two of them even got inside this to sleep as it was only about three-feet wide! It cracked me up every time I looked their way.

Take a good look at the cute kids in this picture. This is the cleanest you will see them for the remainder of the trip, excepting the times we were actually in the lake! Due to the fact that it hasn't rained in a while, it was incredibly dusty at our campsite.

We spent most of our day Saturday doing some geocaching. We took some fun trails and hikes and saw some gorgeous sites, which I will publish in another post soon. We had a neat little tour of this Historic Ranger Station that was built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the depression. The CCC did a ton of work in Oregon, and it was interesting to hear more about their forestry work.

Kids, take a good look at this machine. This artifact is what's known as a typewriter. It's what old folks (yeah, people like me) used to use before there were word processing programs and computers and text messaging, etc. Who knew my kids would be enthralled with it? They begrudgingly took turns typing out their names and other things and had an absolute blast...go figure!

It is amazing to me that just about anywhere you go, you can find a geocache or two or 100 to hunt for. We printed out about 25, several of which are part of a contest that we're participating in.

"Hurry up and take the picture, we're getting eaten alive by mosquitoes!"

After a hot day of tramping through the woods, we stopped at Frog Lake and took a dip. I know it looks like Ryan and Abigail are out in the middle of the lake, but if you look closely, you'll see that Abby isn't even shoulder deep in the water! It was a very shallow incline and they had lots of room to play and swim without worrying about getting over their heads. Hubby and I went out too and cooled off for a little while, and it felt so good to get the dust off!

Abby was fantastic at rounding up piles of kindling for Daddy to build the fire with, and Ryan helped carry loads of bigger wood. He's getting so strong! Too bad it was so hot that we didn't really get to enjoy the fire too much.

Wednesday, August 20

Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Last night at the dinner table, Daddy asked the kids if they knew what tomorrow was. After going through a list of special days, Ryan finally hit upon the answer:

R: It's your anniversary!

D: That's right. Do you know how long we've been married?

R: Oh, about 300 years--no, wait, about 30 years?

D: So let's see that would mean I got married when I was just a couple years older than you are. Are you going to get married when you're eight?

R: Yep. I'm going to marry Malee!

D: Really. Does she know this?

R: Yeah, it was her idea, she's the one who told me.

I'm going to have to start keeping a closer eye on those two. I didn't realize they were courting! As for us, actually it is only 15 years today, but I look forward to making it to 30 (and more).

Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Monday, August 18

Burqa Anyone?

Now that Abby is out of the toddler clothing section, Mommy is not happy with the selection of clothing available for my little girl to wear (truth be told, I wasn't estatic about some of the toddler selections either). I hate shopping anyway, but having to maneuver my way through the overly pop culture, immodest maze of buying clothes for Abigail is not conjuring up any new warm fuzzies for me.

Then on our way to our campground this past weekend, Abby herself found the perfect solution...she could simply wear a burqa from now on!

Curling Up With a Good Blog

Today we are having thunderstorms and showers. It's dark and what some would call gloomy, but it happens to be my favorite kind of day, the kind of day that makes you want to curl up with a good book. Though I should be diligently getting the house in order and all the camping gear restocked and ready for hubby's upcoming camping trip or even posting on my blog, I'm not. Instead--in between washing, drying, and folding a gazillion loads of laundry--I've been reading this blog I stumbled across this morning. The blogger has just received her medical degree, but for the last three years has been documenting her journey through medical school, internship, etc.

I dare you to read this or this and not want to read more too!

Sunday, August 17

We're Back

We arrived home from our weekend camping trip a little before 5:00 today. We spent about two hours unpacking, showering, checking mail, and catching up on email. Now the kids are headed to bed a little early, and Eddie and I are settling in with some popcorn to watch the Olympics for a few hours (looks like we missed some really great events while we were out enjoying God's creation!) before turning in ourselves.

I hope to get some posts of our weekend up tomorrow, so check back then...

Saturday, August 16

Grammar 101

For some reason I can never keep the past tense of lay and lie straight in my mind. (Click here for help with other confusing words.)

Lay vs. Lie

                                  Present          Past         Participle

To recline                    lie, lying          lay           has/have/had lain

To put or place
(verb followed
by an object)              lay, laying       laid           has/have/had laid

To tell a falsehood       lie, lying          lied           has/have/had lied

Examples in the Present Tense:

I like to lie down for a nap at 2:00 p.m.
I am lying down for a nap today.
The hens lay eggs.
The hen is laying eggs.
I am tempted to lie about my age.
I am not lying about my age.

Examples in the Past Tense:

I lay down for a nap yesterday at 2:00 p.m.
The hen laid two eggs yesterday.
He lied on the witness stand.

Examples with a Participle (has, have):

I have lain down for a nap every day this week.
The hen has laid two eggs every day this week.
He has lied each day on the witness stand.

Friday, August 15

Geocaching Basics

Wikipedia defines geocaching as "an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value. Today, well over 800,000 geocaches are registered on various websites devoted to the pastime. Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica."

Recently I've had several people ask about geocaching and some family members also recently began, so when I was cleaning out our geocaching pack this morning, I thought I'd take a picture of the contents to show what we take with us when we go out hunting.

We also bring the printout for the specifics on the cache (we keep these in a notebook, but when we're out on the trail we only bring the page for the cache we're finding), water, and often a stick for poking around in areas we don't want to stick our hands!

The packed backpack and our current stash of swag or trading items.

Small backpack contents:

insect repellant
extra ziplock bags & plastic grocery sack for picking up trash
gloves for retrieving caches in questionable locations or among thorns
hand sanitizer
basic first aid kit
extra batteries
flashlight for looking in dark spots
lip balm
pain reliever
bag of swag

Thursday, August 14

Mountain Camping

We're off for our last family camping trip of the season this morning. We had planned to leave yesterday afternoon, but after only sleeping a couple of hours Monday night and getting home so late from Seattle Tuesday (and then watching the Olympics way too late), we wanted to get a good night's sleep before we go camping. We packed everything into the van last night except the food, so it was fairly easy to get an early start this morning.

I'm a little disappointed that we'll miss three nights of Olympics, but it's supposed to be near 100 degrees here the next few days, so I'm glad we're heading to the mountains where it will be nice and cool!

Wednesday, August 13

The Rest of the Day

After leaving the hotel pool, the kids and I ate lunch and then spent the rest of the day walking all over Seattle. We first walked to the Seattle Center and tried to find a geocache located under the Space Needle, but there were way too many people around to be able to look for it without attracting attention.

So after watching the elevator go up and down the Space Needle a few times, we started walking toward Pike Place Market, stopping to find a different geocache along the way.

We had to make a bathroom stop as well, so we went into Subway. Ryan made the observation that if we took a picture in the mirror we could get a picture of all three of us, so we gave it a try.

Then since the bathroom was for customers only, we bought each of us a cookie and we shared a bottle of milk for a snack. The cashier said the market was only 10 blocks away, so off we went. He was wrong. It was actually 14 LONG blocks.

Once at the market, we browsed through the gorgeous flower booths, produce stands, and other miscellaneous merchandise. This is truly one of my favorite places to visit when in Seattle.

We stopped and watched them throw fish at the famous Pike Place Fish Market. In fact, the kids got a huge kick out of watching them fool me into ducking like mad when they "accidentally" missed a tossed fish and it hit me instead. Of course, it was only a stuffed salmon, but when it's coming at you fast, it's an easy mistake to make! (That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.)

Lastly, we made our way to one of our favorite treats, the Daily Dozen Doughnut Company. They make fantastic miniature donuts and you eat them hot out of the oil plain or tossed in either powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar (our favorite), or sprinkles. Yum!

We sat on our stools, ate our donuts, and watched the people milling about while we waited for Daddy to arrive after his long day of learning about new technology. There were lots of people at the market, and Seattle is full of interesting people to watch.

After he met up with us, we walked back to the fish market and let the kids look at the "famous" monk fish. Daddy wanted to be there to see the kids' reaction to it. They rig up this huge ugly fish where someone from behind the counter can make it move and startle unsuspecting people.

Poor Ryan! He screamed bloody murder while Abby placidly looked on completely unperturbed by the whole thing. I wasn't quick enough to get it on video unfortunately.

This fishmonger is holding a real fish called a
Parrot Fish...gorgeous, huh?

We decided the walk to Ivar's was just too long after all our walking already, so we instead made the long walk back to our van and drove to dinner. Then we hit the road home. Abby fell asleep just minutes into our drive, but Ryan stayed awake for about two hours before succumbing to sleep. It was a long day, and we were all happy when we finally pulled into our driveway at 10:30 last night.


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