Wednesday, June 24

Clarno Unit Camping

We had such a great time exploring the fossil beds in May, that we decided to go back again and camp at the Clarno Unit this time so we can see parts of the National Monument that we didn't get to last visit.

On our drive there we passed hundreds of these huge windmills. I have never seen such big ones before, and when we rolled down the window to take the picture, we could actually hear the arms moving through the air!

We had a very nice site at the almost-abandoned campground. Ryan got right to work destroying a tree stump (ah, boys!) while Abby explored the local flora and fauna.

We took it easy the first afternoon, just settled into our campsite, made some Ziplock ice cream, stocked up on firewood, and explored the meadow and woods and campground.

Ryan was so excited because he found a knife while he was playing in the meadow! We decided he was old enough and responsible enough to keep and use it, and he spent quite a bit of time whittling.

Right after breakfast the first morning, we headed to Wheeler High School in hopes of being able to dig in their fossil bed. The weather was a bit drizzly, and we weren't sure we'd be able to dig or not.

However, when we arrived, we found the paleontologist was there, and she invited to come up by the dig. Because of the damp conditions, we weren't allowed to go into the dig itself, but we hunted for fossils on the hillside. The kids found fossils right away and were so excited.

The paleontologist brought a chunk of rock out of the dig and over to a tarp for us. She showed us how to break away the layers to expose the fossils. But before we could really get going, the rain picked up and she had to cover the dig and we had to leave. However, she was kind enough to give us several big chunks to take home, and the kids had a bucketful of fossils they had found on the hillside.

Since our digging was cut short and it was raining, we decided to tour the Wheeler Courthouse and hope the rain would let up. It was a beautiful old building, and we all enjoyed the tour, which included seeing the jail!

It was about lunch time, so we headed out to some hiking trails and had our lunch by some gorgeous rock formations. The hikes here were really neat because if you looked carefully, you could find fossils embedded in the rocks along the trail.

We tried to keep the hikes shorter than our last camping trip, and I think it was a good choice. The kids were happier with the shorter hikes, though they were still fairly strenuous since they went right up the side of the hill.

It was really neat to see this fossilized tree trunk just sticking out the side of the hill! It was just one of many fossils we saw on the trails.

On our way back to the campground, we did a couple of geocaches. One of them gave us an incredible view of the Clarno Valley.

The next day we explored the town of Wheeler a little bit more. We visited the museum and really enjoyed the schoolhouse portion. We ate our lunch at the picnic table by the schoolhouse before heading back to our campground.

When we got back to our campground we were dismayed to find that it was no longer quiet and empty. Instead a large boy scout troop had arrived, and we were sure it was going to be a long night. Ryan and Abby had fun army crawling through the meadow in order to sneak up on the boys as they were playing football.

Before long Ryan was dying to go play with the scouts. I was hesitant because they were so much older than he, but Daddy thought it would be okay so we told him he could to play. The scout leader graciously allowed him to join in (after getting our permission), and the boys completely altered their game just so Ryan could play.

I just can't tell you how incredible they all were with him! They included him and encouraged him and they were very gentle with him and each other while he was playing. After 20 minutes or so our dinner was ready and Ryan had to leave the game, which then got a lot rougher!

Abby wanted to play too, but she had to content herself with watching from the grass.

That evening I was sorry I had misjudged the scouts so much. At 9:00 it got quiet and we didn't hear a peep from them the whole evening! We found out the next day that the scout leader had made a deal with them that if they would settle down when they were told that he would allow them play football beforehand (which is apparently against the rules for the scouts these days). They were true to their promise, and we were very impressed!

The next morning we had to pack up and go home, but as we were having breakfast the scout leader came over to our camp and surprised each of the kids with a gift. Ryan was given a necklace with a Webelos medallion and they gave Abby a handmade cap, which she looked adorable in. It was such a thoughtful gesture, and we told them how impressed we were with the boys. It was a great way to end our camping trip!

Wednesday, June 17

They're Off!

Abby has been asking for quite some time for us to take the training wheels off of her bike, but I have been putting her off. Well, her training wheels were starting to be more of a hindrance than a help recently, mostly because she has tweaked them so badly from all of her falls. So with trepidation last Sunday, I took them off.

After about 20 minutes of falling and frustration, I told her I thought that was enough for today. She looked at me with sad eyes and said, "It just didn't turn out like I imagined it." Poor baby. I gave her a hug and encouraged her as best I could. The next day we went out again, and she did MUCH better! She wasn't having much trouble just pedaling, but getting started was the biggest hurdle.

Well, after a few more days of practice, she is doing great. She is still a bit unsteady, but she's got it. She has had many bruises and scrapes already, and I hope and pray we can keep it the injuries minor.

Tuesday, June 16

End of the Season

The assistant coach pointing out to Ryan that he
hit the ball all the way into the outfield!

Ryan's Little League season ended with a wimper last week. His last game got canceled due rain, and we were all disappointed about that. But he had a great time, learned a lot, and made huge progress in his skills this year!

In fact, as the manager was giving out the trophies at the end-of-season party, this is what he said about Ryan: "At the beginning of the season, this boy used to run screaming when the ball came to him, but he turned out to be one of the best hitters on the team! Good job, Ryan!"

The team's party was at our local bowling alley, and Ryan bowled his best game ever. Just check out that score!

Now, we have Daddy's softball team to root for during the summer before Ryan plays fall ball again in September. Apparently we've become a baseball/softball playing family when I wasn't looking!

Sunday, June 14

A Brief Lull

Wow, I don't really know how or why, but we have been incredibly busy the last several weeks (actually months). I can't seem to catch my breath from one thing before I'm on to the next thing, but today has been nice and relaxing. We got to sleep in a little bit before heading to church, and then we had a leisurely lunch afterwards. We did some work on the kids' bikes, raising seats and handlebars, pumping up tires, and taking off Abby's training wheels (look out Urgent Care!). We worked with Abby for a while learning to ride sans training wheels before coming in to just relax the rest of the day.

Ryan has a special "half sleepover" birthday party tonight (not spening the night, but staying up late playing video games), but the family is picking him up and dropping him back off this evening, so we have no commitments for the rest of the day! It feels great!

I have said this before, but I am again contemplating giving up my blog. I love to look back over it and see how my kids have grown and read about things I have totally forgotten about, but it's starting to feel like an added stress in my life to keep it updated (which I obviously am not doing very well). Maybe now that Ryan's baseball season is over I will feel differently, but it just seems like I am not able to do everything I want to do and my blog is one of the things that slips through the cracks.

Until I decide for certain though, I think I'll use some of my leisure time this afternoon to catch up on some blog posts I've been wanting to do.

Updated: Day One Camping, Day Two Camping, The Hobbit, Impromptu Zoo, Warm Days

Wednesday, June 10

Outing with Daddy

It's been almost two years since the last time I was able to visit with my best friend Becky, and it's been six years since she's been able to visit us in Oregon. She came last week and stayed for almost a week. She and I visited the Rose Garden, then we all went to Mt. St. Helens for a day (I forgot my camera and am hoping she will send me the pictures she took), but the rest of the time was mostly spent at home just visiting and such.

However, my hubby planned to take one whole day off from work and take the kids to the zoo so Becky and I could have some more time to ourselves! So on Tuesday I packed the three of them a lunch, and off they headed to the zoo.

It wasn't long after Becky and I had eaten a late breakfast when we got a call from him asking me to look online to see what in the world was going on at the zoo. The line was ludicrously long, and he was debating whether to stay or not. Turned out it was $2 Tuesday, and everybody and his brother decided to take advantage of it! Thankfully, we have an annual pass and he didn't have to wait in that long line, which tipped the decision in the favor of staying.

I'm told that except for a grouchy little boy, they had a wonderful day. They took the zoo train over to the Rose Garden and had lunch there. They played at the big park near the Rose Garden, and then caught the train back to the zoo again.

It was a wonderful treat to have had two days of uninterrupted visiting and relaxing, and I'm grateful to my hubby for giving those days to me!

Saturday, June 6


This fall it will be 29 years since God in His sovereignty plucked this scared little girl out of the public school system and graciously filled a painfully empty desk at a local Christian school. As a clueless 14-year-old, I had no idea that the somewhat hostile and cold demeanor of the girl sitting in the seat next to me was due to the recent crushing heartache of losing her best friend to a drunk driver. Her friend happened to be the former occupant of my desk, in fact, of most of the desks I now sat in, as well as the books I carried and even the Bible I was given.

But God...don't you love those two words? But God in His grace and mercy brought us together and has kept our friendship throughout the years. Becky, I thank God for you and for your faithfulness to me. Thank you for driving all the way up here to visit me and my family. I truly enjoyed my time with you!

My sweet husband watched the kids on Saturday while
Becky was here so she and I could have a day to ourselves.
We went to the Rose Garden, out to lunch, and had a
wonderfully relaxing day of visiting.


designer : anniebluesky : blogu