Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We stood there with our hand right under the perch waiting for them to land and take a drink. You had to be still as a statue. And then the humming birds would start to get more and more comfortable with you. Then when they least expected it you would close you hand around them and if you were lucky, really lucky...this was your reward.
Katie gave Great Grandpa a special birthday outfit by putting B-Day confetti on all of his buttons.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
These snakes were treasures that we found along the way to Idaho somewhere in Oregon. What...where are they now, you say to yourself????
Well in the spirit of spontaneity and totally "lost your mind" kind of craziness we got this itch to go visit Great Grandpa in Utah for his 80th birthday and Boise is just the most perfect pit stop along the way. So on the weekend before school starts we found ourselves on yet another big adventure without poor Dad.
We had to make a bathroom stop somewhere in Oregon in the middle of the night. I sent the kids in and stayed out in the car with sleeping Sara. Five minutes later the kids all come running out shouting about some amazing find. Ends up they discovered the world's longest gummy snake! We had to buy one for us and one for the McArthurs our gracious halfway hosts!
I am a total fan of these little guys. I drunk 1/2 of one at 7:00 Sunday night when we left home and made it all the way to Boise at 4:00 am. I wasn't tired at all. It was awesome. I feel like a total sinner though. I have always been one of those no caffeinated drinks kind of Mormons.
So as I was saying...we pulled up to Sallie and Ray's driveway at 4:00 in the morning. I had expected to spend the night in a hotel along the way for the night and get to Boise in the afternoon, so they were not expecting us. I couldn't just go knocking on their door at such an unreasonable hour. So I had Emily and Chase sleep in the reclining captain's chairs up front in their sleeping bags. Kate slept in the middle row captain's char. And then I put the back seat down. Set up Sara's port-a-crib and then I slept in my sleeping bag besides her. It wasn't too bad. Except that at 6:00 in the morning my nephew Aiden looks out his window and sees our suitcase out on the curb. (no room for it in the car) He went in to tell his Mom that there were robbers. So out they all came at 6:00 to welcome us. Not much sleep...but oh well.
That morning we hung out with them and got to see Aiden off to his first day of Kindergarten. We all had good times holding one of our newest nieces, little Aubrey! She was so playful and good natured. After Aiden returned home the McArthurs treated us to a very fun float down their section of the Snake river.
The weather was perfect. We borrowed swim suits from Sallie's friends which I forgot in the car. So once again this summer my kids were swimming in their clothes.
Katie was a little nervous about these little waterfalls. They weren't too rough. But they sure were soakers!!!! The first little waterfall and I was totally soaked. Good thing the camera is "water resistant". Chase managed to stay dry the whole time until Uncle Ray maneuvered just right to make sure that on the last bit of rapids Chase took the brunt of the white water. Sure enough he went flying and lost his tube all together.
So it was a really great day. First we got to eat the world's longest gummy snakes together and then we floated down the Snake river. And when we got back in the car at 4:00pm the kids were nice and tired and I got to listen to Mommy music most of the way to Utah.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This little loop trail is so cool. You walk along a board walk along a part of the forest that was once covered in a lava flow. The lava ran though the valley toppling the trees. Once the lava cooled the trees slowly decayed leaving tunnels in the ground. Then there are pits were the the trees burned all the way down, roots and all leaving giant holes in the earth. It is pretty awesome. The kids all loved climbing in the tree tunnels. That is everyone except Sara. Thank goodness you can't see her face in this picture.
On our third day camping we loaded up the cars and headed to Mt. St. Helen's. It had been at least four years since we came here last with the kids. I don't think they had any memory of it. So I was really happy to take them again. I knew they would love it even more now that they were older. Ape cave is the longest continuous lava tube in the continental United States. It was discovered in the 50's by a group of Boy Scouts. The cave itself is 2.5 miles long. I am not sure how much of the tube is traveled by tourists. It felt like it took forever though. The ground is so uneven because of the lave rock. And this time we only had head lamps instead of lanterns so the lighting was poor. I also made the mistake of holding Sara instead of bringing the carrier. She wasn't very interested in being held and so she fought me the whole way. We called it quits a little before the end of the route and headed back - very slowly!
Here is our group. Karin headed back early too and so she and a few of the kids are not in the picture.
I was so brave this last week. The weather this summer has been so perfect. We have been trying to squeeze every bit of fun out of these last few months as reasonably possible. So in the spirit of having more good times I loaded up the car and took the kids and the dog camping all by myself. We went with our camping friends the Bakers and Huillets and we were lucky enough to have my good friend and Emily's best friend Judy and Kaityln come with us. This was our destination - Takhlakh Lake. The most beautiful lake I have ever been to. It was perfect. Just the right size (small enough for me to swim out and rescue Kate when her Kayak capsized). Beautifully tree lined. Clean, calm and remote and you just can't beat that beautiful reflection of Mt. Adams! We camped here for three nights. Just kicking back and enjoying the scenery and company.
Here is the group of kids: Rachel B., Hunter H. w/ Rebekah H., Rachel H., Adam B., Emily w/ Sara, Emily B., Chase, Sarah B., Kaitlyn F., Katie and Levi H.
Little Joshua H. was taking a nap and missed out on the photo. The kids had a blast with each other.
They fished. Emily caught a fish, watched Adam clean it and then it was cooked over the fire and Emily ate it all up. YUCK!
They leisurely kayaked and canoed around the lake all by themselves.
Even Katie got over her fear of water (this summer has been huge - more of that later) and enjoyed the boats. Mom was enjoying watching her too, until her kayak tipped and I had to swim out and bring her back to shore!
Sara and Chase really enjoyed all of the wild blueberries and huckleberries growing along the lake. One day we decide to take a break for the leisurely lake side life and went on a hike. Adam and Karin had found a trail that led to an old lava flow. So off we went letting the dogs have the fun of the forest. It was so cool. Almost prehistoric feeling. Here we all were walking on the top of this huge lava flow with burnt toothpick trees all around us. It was totally cool. I didn't get a great shot of the amazing view. You will just have to trust me that it was pretty spectacular. We could see Mt. Adams, St. Helen's, Mt. Rainier and even Mt. Hood off in the distance.
I just love Washington wilderness. I am so glad we have such wonderful friends to share it with and that we have had wonderful weather to enjoy it all in this summer.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I also missed out on her attempts at beautifying our poor kitten Nacho. She have him a Vaseline hairdo. His poor fur didn't recover for at least a week.
She also got into my make-up who knows how many times until we finally put a lock on the drawer. I think she destroyed two lipsticks, my powder compact, one eye shadow, a handful of chap sticks (I' have several because I am addicted) and dumped out half of my foundation (which is fortunately the same color as our carpet).
There is never a dull moment in this house. But why clean when I have this little Tasmanian devil to deal with!?!?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Folks, that is one very closed off tunnel and one very dissapointed group of bikers! I guess during all the flooding last year parts of the trail were washed out and without any money in the budget the repairs have had to wait. I swear that if we hadn't been with our law-abiding friends I would have jumped that fence! I was so bugged (not bummed-bugged implies frustration and a pinch of anger). I hate when plans that I feel responsible for go haywire! So we sent out the men as runners to try and find an accessible part of the trail. No luck. After sitting in the parking pot for at least another hour we all piled into our vehicles, drove down to where we were going to finish our bike ride at Ollalie State Park and had a picnic dinner to beat all picnics! Check out our spread!
We couldn't go home without having some fun. The kids all improvised and found a pretty little river to jump in. I have to say that I was really proud of all the kids. There was hardly any complaining! We stayed for a while just hanging out and letting the kids swim in their clothes.
We will be back Iton Horse...you can count on that!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Our kids were so excited that they were the ones that would get to take Grandma on her very first legitimate camping trip. I tried to sooth her nerves with the fact that we were only going for one night and that she could sleep on our air mattress. But then 15 minutes into setting up camp there was no more air mattress. We pumped it up. And then pumped it up again. Then we patched the hole with duct tape and pumped it up again. I kept taking sideways glances at my poor Mom as the air slowly leaked out of her night of comfort. She never let on to the turmoil that was undoubtedly going through her head. I wonder what she was thinking. Probably that the two hour drive home was looking really good right about then. I had this horrible guilt weighing on me. Here I was responsible for taking my Mom on her first ever camping trip and making sure that she enjoyed it enough to do it again. And I didn't have a bed for her. Kids have bones young enough to absorb all the bumps and discomforts of sleeping "al natural" on the ground. Us adults we need padding...So Dave and I gave my parents our new sleeping rolls. (I have used them since...the are luxurious!) My poor Mom was so brave and never said another word about it.
So here we are camping at Kalaloch. It was so fun to sit around the fire with Grandma and Grandpa. Everyone had fun telling funny stories about each other. We did a few mad libs, had a easy camp dinner of roasted hot dogs, made smores and put on a traditional Wilcox light show.
We had a huge roaring fire thanks to Chase. Dave sent him out to gather firewood. After he had been gone for a long time (maybe 30 minutes), poor Grandpa started to get worried. He went out after him. A while later he returned with Chase in toe carrying this crazy log that was just as tall as him and probably just as heavy. As we all sat around the campfire Chase treated us to a story that had us all laughing. I wish I wasn't so behind in my journaling. I would remember it better. But it went something like this:
Dave had dropped Chase off at one of the trails to the beach to get drift wood for our fire. But on his way up, with this huge log Chase had forgotten which path to take to our part of the camp. He kept hiking down the beach to try and find it. He crossed a river (which he hadn't crossed to get the log...you would think that would have tipped him off)and kept going. He finally arrived at a small "village" (his words) where everybody was "old" (also his words). He asked one of the old ladies where our camp was and she told him a couple of miles back the way he had come. (mind you he is still carrying that ginormous log) When my Dad stumbled upon him he had made his way up the right trail and was dragging the big old log behind him.
We were all laughing so hard. I asked Chase to pick the log back up after he had stumbled into camp, let the log drop to the ground and told us his story. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. But he was a good sport!
Katie had been waiting all day to teach Grandma how to make smores. I think she was shocked to find out that Grandma had never made real "fire" smores. She helped put my Mom's marshmallow on the skewer, showed her where the best place in the fire was, taught her how to turn the skewer and really got into the whole ins and outs of putting the smore together (you know graham cracker, chocolate, melty marshmallow). Grandma was a good sport letting Kate be the teacher. Here they are enjoying their tasty treat.
After the campfire fun we were visited by aliens...no not really we just had fun teaching Grandma and Grandpa how to put on a light show. This one is my favorite!