Saturday, July 28, 2007

Summer Abounds

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything, hasn't it? Life keeps trucking on by and it is always full.

Summer is abounding in our house. The carefree, lazy feeling of warm days and sweet summer evenings......the smell of the grill and sound of laughter as we gather on the back porch with our friends.....camping trips and other romps through the dips in the lake when you feel as though you'll melt from the heat of the brilliant days......yes, the evidence of summer permeates our very thoughts.

We have hosted a myriad of BBQs in our back yard and it seems nearly every weekend is packed with activities (usually involving at least one other family). My poor calendar is about to revolt if I mark it up any more.

Most recently, we went camping with our friends, the Eleys. Finding an open campsite anywhere near the ocean (which is one of our favorite destinations when camping with them) in the summer is something akin to staking out a claim in the pioneer days. If you are lucky enough to actually find something in a relatively convenient proximity to a bathroom, you had better dig in your stakes and spread those poles as fast as you can. There is no "keeping it in mind while we look for a better one" in this game! That is why we were so surprised to actually find an opening at Loon Lake Lodge on Hwy. 38 just past Drain, OR. We booked a group site as there were 11 of us in all.

The camp was very nice. Located directly across the street from the little lodge store/restaurant, it was very convenient indeed. Each and every site there was set up with its own port-a-potty so the bathroom was handy. (Though, our arrival was timed a little off....they had just had a group of about 40 people in our site who left earlier in the day and let's just say the bathrooms weren't exactly pleasant until they had been cleaned out 2 days later.....ICK!)

One of the highlights of the place was that the local deer population was very accustomed to being fed by the employees of the lodge. Every day, someone would set out some sort of food (resembling oats for horses) for the deer in various places around the lodge. The deer didn't seem to mind people much and even ate out of our hands a few times.

The kids and Big Daddy really got a kick out of this. Several times the deer wandered up into our campsite and nosed around a bit. They came quite close to us, yet were still on their guard and if we made any sudden moves they bounded away.

I have to admit it was rather exhilarating to walk out of your tent in the early morning and nearly trip over a young buck! Wow.

One of my favorite parts of camping, if I had to choose one, is sitting by the crackling fire. I love the smell of the wood burning.

We thoroghly enjoyed ourselves and plan on planning ahead for next year to reserve another site across the way from where we were this time. The other site had 2 yurts. If you've never camped in one of those you are missing out on one cool thing! We love yurts! I will write more about those ingenious inventions some other time. For now, I will leave you with a few pictures to enjoy.
Much love,

Monday, July 16, 2007

A modern-day parable with some excellent points for us to think about and apply to ourselves

The Pencil

The pencil maker took the pencil aside, just before putting it into the box."There are five things you need to know before I send you out into the world. Always remember these five things, and you'll be a great pencil.

One: You are capable of many great things, but only if you allow yourselfto be held in and guided by someone's hand.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you'll need it to become a better, more useful pencil.

Three: You have the ability to correct the mistakes you make. But it will require a one hundred eighty degree turnabout.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what's inside. Outward appearance does not define your value.

Five: On every surface where you are used, regardless of its condition,you must leave your mark.

The pencil understood and promised to remember.

Author Unknown

--Something to think about:We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to learn to live in the same box.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Bird.....on a Plane!

Well, after a bit of car trouble, flight rescheduling and a literal sleepless night.....Chicky-babe flew out all by herself to visit her Aunt, Uncle and much adored cousins for two weeks! Wow! She was so excited to get to travel on a plane all by herself. I'm sure she felt very "grown up". I was a little concerned for her safety (as any mother would be), but all in all I think I've handled it very well. I am confident that she can handle herself and am excited to see her get the opportunity to stretch her wings a little.

We had a little car trouble on the way up to Portland to put her on the 7:30 pm flight straight through to Denver. Just outside of Wilsonville at about 6:10 the serpentine belt SHREDDED itself all over the engine! Chicky-babe and I were stuck! We called Big Daddy to ask for help only to find out he was just sitting down with Sweetpea and little Mister in the expensive theater to see the movie Ratatouille. Aunt Shelli and Mr. Meticulous were out and about in other theaters seeing a double-header for his belated birthday present. Well, I saw no logic in making them leave their movie so Chicky-babe and I settled in for a long wait. Big Daddy called Aunt Naph and they got the ticket changed to the first flight out in the morning and he worked out with Aunt Shelli that she would hang out with Mr. Meticulous until we would get back. Big Daddy finished the movie with the little guys and tried to find a serpentine belt. Unfortunately, none of the parts stores were open at that hour and Walmart does not carry serpentine belts. He resigned himself to fixing it in the morning after we got Chicky-babe on that airplane and tried to locate Aunt Shelli to possibly drop off the littles with her while he made the hour and a half trek up to rescue us. No luck, so off he drove toward Portland toting two very sleepy and grouchy little kids.

In the meantime, Chicky-babe and I were thoroughly engrossed in her new book (which she had bought to read on the plane). Point Break by Anthony Horowitz. I have to say, that guy sure can write an interesting young adult spy novel! Well, the book, a set of press-on nails and the ODOT guy who stopped by to check on us and give us water kept us decently distracted from the fact that we were stranded along I-5 near no restrooms in the increasing darkness of night...alone. Finally, around 11:30 pm Big Daddy called to have us put on our hazards so he would see them to find us (we had not had them on previously to conserve battery power and because the ODOT guy said we were far enough off the side of the road on a large straight stretch that we didn't need to have them on).

Happy to see him and very hungry despite the snacks we shared from Chicky-babe's carry on bag, we locked up the van and piled into his work truck amid two sleeping babe's. Trying to find a place to eat that is still open at almost midnight and that has room to accommodate a big truck pulling a 12 foot trailer behind it is quite a challenge after a long day, but we settled on Arby's and headed home. We arrived home at 1:30 am and I drove Aunt Shelli home so she could go to bed too as she had to be up to work in the morning. Expressing my thanks, I headed home for bed as least for an hour or two! We had to drag everyone.....loudly protesting.....out of bed and stick them into the work truck (again) at 3:30 am so we could have Chicky-babe at the airport on time for the rescheduled flight.

Long story short...she made it on the plane and we fixed the serpentine belt on the side of the road, drove home stopping in Albany for a short nap when we were both too tired to drive safely and finally ending up back in our driveway by 3 in the afternoon. Big Daddy, crazy as it sounds, had to go to work for a little bit and I napped on my big bed as the kids sat on the end of it and watched a movie. Boy were we totally wiped out!