Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fleeting summer days... Happy Birthday Dad!

So this is it!  Back to school for us tomorrow and we are excited and reluctant at the same time.  We did manage to have a really wonderful summer, filled with visiting family, friends, camping, hiking, playing, waterballoons, books, the works.  

This week I wrangled a few more more play-dates, both with Esme and with Gretta.
 Owen and I harvested a pair of gargantuan zucchini from the garden, Mom is still trying to figure out what to do with it.
 We headed out to Manzanita for one more lazy beach day
 Owen got a cool portable aquarium and we filled it with washed up jellies, ctenophores, worms, amphipods and mysids.
 and had a blast watching them all bob around the aquarium.
 Last week we painted pottery with J and E, and this week Owen and I made some fused glass bugs... we still have to pick them up, but then will show off all of our creations!
 We also got a visit from David, Bob and their pack of pups this weekend and got to enjoy a great lunch together and a visit to he Farmer's market.
 To completely max out Saturday, we also had a big first-grade water fight at the park, followed by a few hours of playing with my classmates.  It was so great to see everyone again, and made me pretty excited to be getting back to school.  Owen went to Aidan's birthday at Oak's bottom which seemed so great that he missed going to the Jade Market with Mom and me in the evening.  We met up with J, E and V had a nice dinner, saw some entertainment and headed home.

 Today is a big day though... It's Dad's birthday!  Although sort of low-key, it really was a pretty great day.  Owen got up early and blew up balloons and made a great banner, We had a yummy breakfast with fresh baked bread and poached eggs, followed by presents and apple cake (Dad's birthday favorite).

 We had a slow morning of party activities in the back-yard, and Dad setting up his new phone, followed up with a walk into Woodstock to have lunch at Double Mountain, the new brewery that we hadn't been to yet... it did not disappoint, the truffle shuffle pizza and beer taster were fantastic (and we have a new favorite... Randall's knife!).  After heading home and Owen getting caught up on pokemon go.... we all relaxed a bit then headed out to see Kubo and the two strings, which was beautiful and great to see together.  Dinner, because dad is such a fun-gi... (ha!) was more mushrooms... a chanterelle ravioli made by Owen, Dad, Me and a bit of help from mom.  Happy Birthday to my most magnificent Dad!!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tick-tick-tick the sound of the end of summer vacation approaching

 Oh the fleeting days of summer!  We have had so many great adventures, we sort of feel like we are just getting going with the lazy summer days and are already counting them down.  Although we had a lot of play-dates with Esme, Mom only got the pictures from me and Joaquin having a pretty epic water fight.  This was after a great lunch all together and a date out to the pottery painting place.  J and I made some pretty cool sculls wile the girls painted some sweet critters and the Mom's worked on some much more practical spoon rests.

 Grace has really helped me perfect my water-fighting skills with loads of practice with water-balloons, squirt guns and just plain ol' splashing cups of water on each other this summer.

 Although frankly we are pretty happy just hanging out at home all day long, Mom needs to get out periodically so took us to the Rice Museum for the afternoon.  We were pretty impressed by some of the rocks, but Mom was the most excited of the bunch. There was the largest thunder egg and some amazingly gigantic rohodochrosite (the Alma Rose) that was most impressive!

 We have also baked some pizzas.  In Fact I have been really in a serious baking spree... in the past two weeks I have prepared breakfast for the whole family (My specialties are crepes and pancakes), made zucchini brownies, several batches of fresh squeezed lemonade and a few batches of chocolate chip cookies.
 The most awesome part of this week was our annual (plus) camping trip with Joaquin, Esme and crew!  This time we headed inland to Clear Lake up near Sisters.  We had some nice campgrounds just upland from the lake.
 with a path right down to the lake itself. Grace found her perfect spot on an old stump overlooking the lake and spent lots of time there.
 Even though Dad brought his kayak, we also rented a boat so we all could be out on the water.
 and every body got a turn rowing.
 Grace and Esme, when they could coordinate did fantastically well together.  Those gals are strong!
 Although both Joaquin and I got to spend some time fishing with Dad, nobody caught any fish.  We suspect the lake is so darned clear that the fish knew something was up when a big yellow banana dropped a worm down on top of them (it was so clear you could see the fish ignoring you!).
 row your boat!  Clear lake is a fairly young (3k years) lake that was created when a lava flow blocked the outflow of a spring in the area. It is pretty cool, you could see all the way to the bottom in most places and even some 3,000 year old trees submerged and standing underwater.
 I am a powerful and powerfully splashy rower.... but when you want to make it across the lake in a hurry... I"m your guy!
 The afternoon on the lake was growing hot, so we headed to Sisters for some ice-cream
 and coffee for the adults.
 and hair salon days.
 In addition to being beautifully clear, the lake is also seriously cold... like too cold to safely swim in (about 43degF), which was tantalizing and frustrating on such a hot weekend.  Rowing was a pretty good way to sort of drag your feet and hands until they were numb
 but after a few hot days with no showers, Joaqun, Ray and I braved a quick dip.
 J and R were pretty brave and made a few good dips before I finally got my courage all the way (past my knees)

 and even I took the plunge!  I hopped out pretty quick but it was refreshing!  Otherwise we spent our time rocking wildly in the hammock, walking down to stand in the cold waters, admire the lava flows, and even a bit of slack-lining.
 Our favorite activity though really is preparing the campfire.  J and I have perfected the flint-and-steel fire starting techniques and got most of our fires going.  Grace and Esme were great at negotiating appropriate wood stacking technique and everyone loves cooking over a smoldering fire.

Thank you for another super camping trip folks!  We feel so grateful that in spite of heat, restless nights (whether kid induced or mom and dad's mattress popping), that perfect combo of raw and burnt that defined some of our meals, that we have such wonderful, fun and patient friends to spend a weekend with and beautiful places to visit, listen to the birds, float on crystaline waters, and get grubby.  I just realized we don't have a picture of J and E"s new pup... Leon... this was his first camping trip, and I think that he can Scooter can coexist (Scooter really isn't looking for a play-mate, but he could totally hang out with leon!), and overall he did really well!  Welcome to camping Leon!  Both dogs did great in the boats and hanging out at the campsites.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Uncle Ryan Visited!

So, this is one of those few weeks we have this summer with no camp, no scheduled events, and warm days ahead of us!   We have been loving the Olympics!
 My favorite is gymnastics and swimming so far, but there have been some impressive bike and track races that had us on the edge of our seats!  Ever since seeing the women's gymnastics amazing team I have been practicing my cartwheels, and after about 50+ attempts every evening, I now have a really great cartwheel!  Simone Biles taught me the importance of sticking my landing and I insist on a perfect finish. I also must do them in front of olympic events to ensure that everyone watches.
 We love being back home with fluffy, and he has been getting lots of exercise and treats while we are at home.

 Although a lot of Owen's friends have full day camps still (so he gets to watch movies that I"m not ready for, so he is cool), but I have had a few great play-dates this week.  I went over to Gretta's for a day and Esme has got to play a few times... on Friday we even got to go to the pool at last!  It was so lovely, I think Mom is sold on a few more visits in what remains of the summer.
 But he best thing of all, Uncle Ry came out for a visit!  We tried our best to keep him busy this weekend, and fully caffeinated.  We picked him up on Friday and grabbed dinner at Dicks kitchen which served up some great burgers and set the culinary tone for the weekend.  Saturday, Owen got up early and made crepes for everyone (actually I should mention that this week alone, he has made zucchini brownies, chocolate chip cookies, woke up ahead of MOm and Dad and made crepes and pancakes.. all pretty much completely on his own, we are stuffed, and loving it!).  After breakfast we headed over to Water Avenue coffee followed by browsing at Clive Coffee next door.  Of course, though we try we can't drink coffee all day long, so we headed over to the zoo because Mom hadn't seen the elephant lands yet (Owen and I got to go with a YMCA camp earlier),  It was hot but still fun to see the elephants and a few other animals, I was most excited about the polar bears, Owen the anconda.
 We were all hot by the end of our visit so we headed out to try new snowcones at herbs (which made Owen and me very happy with the syrupy cold sweetness!).

 Finalized with a waterballoon fight (AWESOME!)

 and dinner that Mom made with some great albacore and salad fxings.  We were inspired by some videos Uncle Ry showed us and made fluffy some wee tacos that he has thoroughly enjoyed.
 Oh and a game of chess and some Olympics to close down the day... pshew!!!
 Today, after breakfast we headed out to Good Coffee for a nice stat to the morning, then headed out to the gorge for some beautiful views and a hike.
 We stopped first at the Vista house and enjoyed the beautful view on a really perfect day outside.
 Then headed over o Multnomah falls.  Mom and I made it up to the bridge, then went back down for a soft-serve while Owen and Uncle Ryan made it all the way to the very top.
 It's a great hike and they worked hard to come back to us before we started worrying (much).

 After playing in the river to cool off everyone's feet a bit,

and trying to catch fish in our hats....

 AAAAnd Uncle Ryan impressively doing a pull-up on the rail road bridge... with me hanging off of him!!!
 We followed up our gorge explorations with a visit to Prince Coffee for Stroopwaffles and (bien sur) coffee!  Plus a two-fer visit, Mom didn't realize that Prince was right by Paul Bunyan!  By the time we were headed home we decided that since lunch was basically ice-cream and stroopwaffles and coffee that everyone needed some real food, so managed to get in to Pok Pok pretty quickly and enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner of some really fantastic food (those wings... yum!). We finished up Uncle Ryan's visit with a quick waterballoon fight (two each) and a big wet hug before sending him back to Abby and Gail.  Thank you so much Uncle Ryan for such an amazing visit and fun weekend!  We loved hanging out with you and hope you come back soon!!!
 So, Alas, Dad missed much of this visit as he was fishing for salmon all weekend.  He came home with two fish (a chinook and a coho), so he was pretty happy,  He was particularly impressed with my cartwheel.  Though it is hard to capture the speed!