Monday, May 27, 2013

Point No Point

Today after church we decided to drive up to Point No Point Lighthouse.  It is one of my favorite beaches here because it is sandy and covered with driftwood.  I also just really love its location, on an open part of the Sound.  Today we got a special treat.  As we arrived we discovered a baby seal on the beach!

 He was alive, apparently just resting.  A lady there said that often the mother seals will push their babies up onto the beach to rest while the mother fishes nearby.

So sleepy.

 He did get back into the water a couple times but then returned to the beach.  We spotted the mama just off shore occasionally, keeping an eye on junior.
A large ship had passed through before we arrived, so we got to enjoy some pretty big waves for a few minutes.  I'm always amazed at how long it takes the waves to reach shore, and how far they will travel without dying out.

As usual, the kids had a blast playing in the driftwood forts.

Driftwood teeter-totter.

And Lincoln had fun spotting birds... this bald eagle.

 We even bumped into Jesse's teacher at the beach.  Jesse was really funny about seeing her out of context like that.  He was very shy with her.



A beautiful fun afternoon.

My Birthday and Mother's Day

So it happened again.  I turned another year older.  But I'm totally OK with that, given the alternative.  Lincoln made me my requested dinner of chicken salad sandwiches, and Kennedy made me a lemonade pie.  In the picture below it appears to be en flambĂ©, which makes me feel really old. ;)

Julia and Renie picked me some beautiful bouquets.  The kids were pretty amused by their card selection, which featured a dancing pickle. 

I sure am grateful for these five amazing blessings, and the awesome blessing behind the camera!
And speaking of the five little blessings, here I am with them on Mother's Day.
Lincoln is so great about helping the kids plan an awesome breakfast in bed for me on Mother's Day.  It has become a tradition that I love!  They wake me with a yummy breakfast and a pile of home made cards and gifts.  I always love seeing how excited they are to do this for me.  Blessed, I tell ya. 

Julia picked me a beautiful flower.  I love how it looks in this jar!
I can't believe how old my kids are getting.  I really enjoy them at this stage.  They are so independent, but still need me, if that makes any sense.  I am certainly proud of what they are becoming.

Beach Bums

I've been really lousy at keeping up with blogging, so I thought with the month drawing to a close, I would share some highlights from May.

Early May brought beautiful weather to our little island, and I never like to miss an opportunity to get out and soak up some sun.  So while the sun shined, we ditched everything else and got out to enjoy it as much as possible.

  We went to Old Man House Beach, just across the pass from the island on two occassions.  In the picture below, we are looking back toward Bainbridge Island.  My friend Lindsey is always game for loading up the kids to go do something, which is a lot of fun.

Lily loves to hang out with the big girls.
The next pictures are actually from my birthday, in April.  We went to Point No Point Lighthouse.  When we first arrived it was pretty chilly, but we stuck it out and finally the sun came out and warmed us right up!

I love living where we are surrounded by beaches!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend in Beaverton

As I have mentioned before, a big part of our decision to move to the Pacific Northwest was that we haven't had the opportunity before to really explore this part of the country.  Our intention, upon making the decision to move here, was to take full advantage of our location and take frequent trips to the surrounding areas.  Another big bonus to moving to this area was the proximity to our dear friends, the Daines, who live in the Portland area.  A couple weekends ago, we made the 3 1/2 hour drive down to Beaverton to spend a few days with them.  Let me take a minute here and say it is so fun to be close enough to them to do that!  Some of our kids have said that when they were younger they thought they were their cousins.  I love that.  Living away from our families for most of our adult lives, it is nice to know that our kids have still had friendships with people that were so close they felt like family. 

The weather was absolutely perfect when we took off early Friday morning.  Our intention was to take our time traveling down there, making a detour over to Mount St Helens along the way.  Texting with Anita after we left, however, I found out that Joe had taken a 1/2 day and that they were expecting us by early afternoon.  We took a family vote and decided to skip Mount St Helens this time and just take a camping trip there another time. 

Friday afternoon and evening were spent hanging out together grilling, playing kickball, and sitting by the campfire telling stories.  It never takes long for the stories to devolve to bathroom/poop tales, but we never claimed to be the classiest bunch.

Saturday morning we packed a picnic lunch and drove to Multnomah Falls.  I've wanted to go there ever since I first heard about them some time ago.  The drive there was lovely.  Perfect weather and views of the great mountains (St Helens and Hood) made it delightful.  Having spent five years in rural Dodgeville WI, and now living on a relatively small, quiet island, I have gotten pretty soft when it comes to traffic and the congestion of being in/near a larger city.  I felt like I could breathe again when we left Portland behind and the Columbia River valley opened up in front of us.  It is absolutely breathtaking and I couldn't take it all in fast enough. 

Since the weather was so perfect and it was a Saturday and the falls are easily accessible and awe-inspiring, it was kind of crowded when we arrived.  The parking lot was full, so we had to drive on a little further and park beside the road.  This wasn't a big deal, except that in order to get back to the falls, we had to cross a bridge.  Which wasn't a big deal, except for the signs prohibiting foot traffic across it.  We would have done it anyway if we didn't have four adults and 10 kids to get across.  Instead, we decided to climb down and walk under the bridge, next  to the railroad tracks.  This worked out fine, though it took us a little longer to get there.

I was really surprised how close the falls were to the road.  Just driving by you can get a pretty good view of them.  At the base of the falls there is a cafĂ© and restrooms and gift shop, also quite unexpected.  We had already determined that we would hike to the top of the falls, a one mile hike one way.  A one mile hike is pretty easy, except when it is up a cliff.  The trail was great, many people we encountered pushed baby strollers (!) up it, but it was definitely uphill.  I believe the sign said there were 11 switchbacks.  From time to time we would stop to rest and I would take those opportunities to drink in the view of the Columbia River gorge dropping away from us as we climbed ever upward. 

The kids were awesome hikers.  Of course, most of our kids are Big Kids now, but even the littler ones did great.

 Upon reaching the top, we OOoooed and Ahhhhhhed for a while from the overlook, snapping pictures and resting our tired legs, then we found a spot upstream from the falls where we could sit on the rocks and eat our lunch.  

The trek back down the hill was much easier, aside from littlest Daines tripping, scraping up elbows and knees, and almost bouncing off the trail and down the side of the mountain. 


The drive back to Beaverton was pretty quiet, as everyone was tuckered out from the adventure.  It also made for a quiet evening of playing games and watching funny video clips online. 

Sunday morning we went to church in Beaverton, but had to cut out early, right after sacrament meeting, so we could make it back to Bainbridge Island in time for Kennedy's flute recital.  Driving home I was again struck by how lucky we are to be able to see Mt Hood, Mount St Helens, and Mt Rainier on that drive.  Such majesty and power in those mountains!

As always, each time we see the Daines it just leaves me excited for our next get together.