Friday, August 28, 2009

Sitting in the airport

(I wrote this last Friday morning - tried to post then, but we had too much happening over the weekend, and then we were back to school on Monday. Sorry to be lame with a late post, but I haven't posted anything in so long...)

(We have more wonderful news - new posts coming soon - stay tuned!)

Hooray for PDX and free wi-fi! Mark and I are sitting here waiting for our plane. That would be waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Beautiful pinky-gold-purple clouds outside as the sun is coming up (6:15 am). (Why do we say "the sun is coming up"? Really the earth is spinning madly around toward the sun again...)

Anyway, we're on our way to go meet Ethan Haynie for the first time. Yesterday Hillary posted on her blog that he is in the 97th percentile. He already weighs almost as much as Maddy, and he's only one month old, she's 4 months old. So fascinating how individual all these little people are. Mark and I are excited to meet him. We're taking a Bumbo chair for a baby gift, which Mark is very kindly carrying onto the plane. He's such a good grandpa.

I haven't had a minute to post about our backpacking trip into Jefferson Park last week. It's not really a park, but it sure is gorgeous. It's in a wilderness area in the Willamette National Forest, right at the base of Mt. Hood. To get there, you drive to Salem, head east on Hwy 22 past Detroit Lake, then drive up a gravel road for 6 miles to the trailhead.

From the trailhead, it's a 6-mile hike to Jefferson Park. That would be 6 miles UPhill, but it's not really all that bad. The trail is well built and the grade is even and not too steep. Lots of shade, and the trail isn't too rocky. It was actually harder on us hiking out, DOWNhill, because all that downhill is kind of hard on our middle-aged knees and toes. (Our heads and shoulders did fine - ha!)

We hadn't been on a getaway, just for us, in years. Years and years. Maybe the last time was when we went to the coast in southern Washington on Labor Day of 1997. We've been on a number of road trips and other outings since then, but we're always with someone else, or headed to someone's house for a visit, or something. It was wonderful to have some time away to play all by ourselves. Twelve years in between is way too long.

My very cool blogging friend, Dorothy Jenson, recently posted a bunch of photos on her blog in the form of a slide show. She made it using her free PhotoBucket account, and I want to be cool like Dorothy, so I'm going to just save this little snippet and see if I can open up a PhotoBucket account of my own and upload some photos and make a slide show right here in PDX before our plane arrives...

Friday, August 14, 2009

So many busy, happy things...

I have felt guilty not posting in so long, but I have hardly known where to begin. So many happy times, so many blessings, and we have been so busy enjoying them all that there hasn't been time to post and do any of them justice. Here are a few highlights.

Mark had a good experience at Cub Scout Day Camp. He moaned and groaned a little about walking up and down the hills, but there aren't that many of them, and the exercise on uneven terrain was really good for him. By the end of the week he felt stronger and more fit. Here's a photo of the two of us when I went up on the last day.

The day after Day Camp, little Ethan, son of Joshua and Hillary, was born! I don't have a full-size photo of him, so this one will have to do for now. This one was taken on the day he was born, July 24, a little pioneer day baby. He is growing by leaps and bounds, and he looks so much like Joshua.

On July 28 Mark and I left for 4 days of camping at Sparks Lake with our dear friends, Ken and Dorothy Jenson, and some of the other "empty nesters" from our ward. Holly and David and Arora came out and joined us for a day (they didn't stay the second night, because Arora was throwing up in the tent the first night). It is so peaceful and relaxing at Sparks - we felt like we really got away from our daily life out there at the lake.

Mark in his favorite relaxing position at Sparks Lake. We went in fully clothed because it was so hot - with our clothes wet, we stayed cool for a couple of hours after we came out.

Paddling the canoe with David and Arora.

Mark and Ken feeding the birds - bits of bread in each hand and on top of their hats. If you look closely, you can see the bird that landed on Marks right hand.

After we came home from Sparks Lake, we were here for just a Sunday, then we turned around and headed to the hills to go backpacking with grandkids. Our first outing was to Twin Lakes with Kat and Sarah. They are seven, and this was their first backpack outing. They did great!

Kat and Sarah on the trail to Twin Lakes.

Sarah and Kat learn how to set up their tent.

We had directions to a "letterbox" hidden beneath an old log about 1/2 mile past Upper Twin Lake. It made a great adventure and treasure hunt for the girls. Here is the moment where Kat and Sarah discovered the letterbox. We brought stamps and a stamp pad with us, and we all put our signatures and stamps into the tiny journal tucked inside the letterbox.

Mark, Sarah, and Kat enjoyed drinking their hot chocolate on the "bouncy log."

The four of us (me, Sarah, Kat, Mark) ready to hike back to the trailhead.

We met Jayesh at the trailhead and traded the girls for Josh and his friend, Kameron Christensen. Jay took the girls home, and we drove with the boys to Olallie Lake, where we donned packs and headed for the multitude of small lakes that surround Olallie. We had three days of joy hiking among the lakes and hills nearby.

Kameron and Josh pause by a small meadow.

Mark, Kameron and Josh swimming in Sheep Lake with their Thermarest sleeping pads.

Mark at the top of Potato Butte. Mt. Jefferson is in the background.

Kameron and Josh - ready to hike on a rainy morning.

At the end of the hike - back to Olallie Lake. (me, Kameron, Josh, Mark)

Then this week I went to Utah for a very quick trip. I helped Polly drive down for her sister-in-law's wedding. Too long a trip for just a mama and three young children! The kids were great on the trip, but we stopped frequently to let them get out and run around, so it took a very l-o-n-g time. We left at 5:30 am and didn't arrive until almost 11:00 pm! Then I spent a day and a half with Katie. It was really fun to visit her before her baby arrives sometime in the next 2 or 3 weeks.