Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Living on an island, we've seen plenty of boats these last 2 & 1/2 months.  

There was even a Race Week for boats the other week.  We tried to find a good spot to get pictures, but they were too far out.  You can just barely see the long line of sailboats out there.  

The kids found driftwood to climb on though and enough shells to fill their pockets, so it was still worth the trip.  

We've seen ferries, of course.  There are 2 ferry locations on Whidbey Island and the one Fidalgo Island as well.  

One time, out at Fort Casey, we saw a couple of cruise ships pass by as well. 

A tug hauling a barge at Fort Casey.  We've seen lots of tugboats and they always make me think of my dad.  He worked for years as an underwater welder and did tugboat maintenance & repair work. 

 There were always boat going under Deception Pass. 

 Fishing boat passing the Cornet Bay side of Deception Pass.

And of course, you could always find boats at the harbor.  This nice, big boat is docked at Oak Harbor Marina.

 Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.

Close-up of a boat docked at San Juan Island harbor. 

Some sort of barge or cargo ship leaving Anacortes Harbor.

Then there were all the sailboats.  We see them most often of all the boats out there. 

I'm going to miss our daily boat sightings when we go back to our land locked towns.  Even with the coast about an hour away, we never see these kinds of boats on the Oregon Coast.   

It's just another unique aspect of the island. 



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Taylor's new smile

Taylor now reminds me of a blonde Ellie from the movie UP!  She's lost 2 teeth in the last 3 days!  She can't stop smiling, she's so excited about it. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Anacortes 5K and Bellingham

Bright and early yesterday morning, I left a sleeping family and drove about half an hour to Anacortes.  I'd registered for a 5K walk, way back in May.  My goal is to do a 5K in each of our rotation towns.  And Anacortes was as close as I could get to Oak Harbor, unless I wanted to do a triathlon or a 24-hour relay race.  No thank you. 

I signed up by myself.  I went by myself.  I ran by myself.  So I had zero pressure.  The kids and I have been sick with upper respiratory infections this last week, so I really had no thoughts of doing much more than finishing.  I haven't been running for months due to a knee issue I had back in Jan.  

I got there early enough to walk around the neighborhood to warm up.  It amounted to 2 miles of walking before the run even started.  Once the run got underway I went out at a nice slow jog and thought I'd just see how long I could go.  When I got to the turn around spot I started thinking about jogging the whole thing without stopping.  When I had about a mile left and I was still feeling fine, I thought I could up the pace a little.  

That last mile was hard, but good.  I ended up with a total of 5.5 miles, thanks to the warmup and cool down walking and I jogged the whole thing without stopping.  I'm so glad I was able to run without knee pain.  It's been a long time.  

It was a small run, but well organized and fun.  I took no pictures, but I did get the tee-shirt, race number and participation ribbon to prove I did it.  

That afternoon we decided to head to Bellingham as a family.  It seemed like a neat place and we'd never been there.  It's only about an hour north of here.  

We heard of a place called Whatcom Falls Park that was supposed to be the place to see if you visit Bellingham.  

Going in the late afternoon made it hard to get quality pictures.  This old stone bridge is very cool.  

It was built from 1939-1940.  

 The trail continued and followed a shallow river most of the time.  

Exploring a little closer to the river. 

It turns out that this swimming hole is a very popular diving hole with the local teens.  That splash in the water is someone just diving off the ledge to the left of the picture.  We were there for about 5 minutes, in which time, no less than half a dozen crazy teenagers plunged and resurfaced in the water below.  Insane!

We decided to go about our business when a drunk lady tried to engage us in a conversation about which high school we went to.  

Then after playing at the playground for a few minutes it was time to take our monkeys home.  It was a nice day.  I love Saturdays and spending the day together as a family. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Birthday!

Birthday celebrations for Logan took place a day early because that's when James had the day off and we could spend the whole day together as a family.  

Logan planned the day and made a list of the things he wanted to do.  Number one on the list was to open presents.  He got a G.I.Joe toy.  He likes watching the old G.I.Joe cartoon shows.  Luckily they made a movie recently, so they are making the toys again.  

Taylor drew him some Ninjago ninjas.  She spent a lot of time on them.  It started with making a sign to tape to the bedroom door saying, "Logan, don't cum in! Love, Taylor"  Then it took about 2 days of drawing, cutting and pasting and cleaning up after herself, but she was adamant about what she wanted to do for him.  Taylor was so excited for Logan's birthday and about giving him her gift.

Next on Logan's list was to get donuts for breakfast.  We were all excited for that!  What a treat!  Logan mentioned that we were celebrating his birthday to the lady at the counter and she gave him a free donut.  

Next on The List, go to Chuck E. Cheese.  Since we'd just eaten donuts, nobody was hungry, so we decided to go see a movie as a family, to work up an appetite.  We saw Despicable Me 2, which everyone enjoyed.  

Then, to Chuck E. Cheese's.  This is the one thing (other than presents) that Logan really had his heart set on.  We've never been to a Chuck E. Cheese's before, so the anticipation was great.  

We got tokens and pizza.  The kids each managed half a slice before they started asking to go play games.  Turns out neither one of them was hungry... of course.  

Logan's favorite games were the airplane and car ones.  He wasn't too concern about earning tickets.  

Taylor was more into playing the games to earn tickets, but she also went on a couple of "rides."  

Logan with a mechanical Chuck E. Cheese.  The "real" one came by when Logan was playing one of his airplane games, so he couldn't spare a second glance for ol' Chuck.  

Logan also wanted to go to a museum in Coupville, but that was a quite a ways in the other direction, so that was postponed until another day. 

Lastly, Logan wanted to play at Windjammer Park, a park we play at almost daily.  We went though and he loved it as much as he always does.  He loves being outside and running and jumping and being in his own little world with his own sound effects.  

He and Taylor get along and play well together most of the time.  He's a wonderful big brother and loves his family more than anything in the whole world.  He's grown and matured a lot in the past year and is a big help around the house.  He has his chores that he's happy to do and a few others that he does less happily.  

He's a good boy though and we're so proud of him and love him so much.  I can't imagine our family without him.  My 9-year-old boy!  

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Camping Trip

We went camping in the Olympic Peninsula last weekend. 

We stopped in camp long enough to set up the tent and pay for our spot, then we headed off to hike.  

We hiked a trial called "Griff Trail."   This time I caught James being goofy too, not just the kids.  

It was another steep one, with loose rock, which made for a tricky descent.  It took us almost as long to come back down the mountain as it did to go up.

But, once again, the view was spectacular and made it worth every step.

We talked with the kids about how the Native Americans lived in this area long ago and we were able to sit up there and have the same view they had, all those years ago.  Amazing. 

One of my favorite sights in the world, a mountainside completely covered in a blanket of dark green trees.  So pristine and uninterrupted. 

Poor Taylor got a headache on the way up and it was really hurting her by the time we got back to the car where we had the Children's Tylenol.  We'll have start carrying that in the Camelbak from now on.  I felt so bad for her. 

Madison Falls. There was a short, paved path to this cute little waterfall.  It was close to our campsite, which was in the Olympic National Forest, near the Elwha River.  

 A gigantic stump, with the center rotted out of it.  What a find!  

This was the first time we've camped as a family in a very long time.  Believe me, we felt out of practice.  It showed in all the things we forgot, like pillows and socks and extra blankets.  

We were able to build a nice little fire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows, so we remembered the important stuff.  :)

The kids were so excited to be camping that they went to bed early, just to be in the tent and in their sleeping bags. 

Which was fine by us.  It gave James & I time alone to hang out by the fire.  I also love watching the dancing flames of a camp fire.  Another favorite.  

After a night of being not quite warm enough or comfortable enough, I was awake early, or I should say, often.  Once we got camp packed up, we were off to the Hoh Rainforest.  

Did you know there was a rainforest in the U.S.?  I didn't.  When I think of a rainforest I think of tropical birds and the Amazon.  

Well, there is a rainforest in the Olympic National Forest.  It's a temperate rainforest. 

The thing about the rainforest is that it rains a lot.  A lot, a lot.  140-170 inches a year.  By comparison, Seattle, WA gets about 38 inches of rainfall a year.  Doesn't seem like that much now. 

Because the rain is so abundant the trees don't have to work at all in order to grow.   As a result, there are roots running all over the place, above ground!  

"When a big tree falls it can provide a stage for new life.  Hemlock and Spruce seedlings unable to survive on the tangled forest floor, absorb minerals, moisture and warmth from the decaying trunk."
(From one of the posted signs in the rainforest)

"After their roots reach soil, new trees often seem to stand on stilts as the nurselog moulders away."
(Also from a posted sign)

Taylor walking through the rainforest.

 Logan, in front of one of the largest Sitka spruce trees in the U.S.  It's over 270 feet tall, over 12 &1/2 feet in diameter and 500 - 550 years old. 

The gray-blue color of the Hoh river comes from "glacial flour," which is finely ground rock created by glacier movement. 

 We passed a beautifully clear lake on the way home, called Lake Crescent.  

 We drove through Forks, Washington, made famous by the "Twilight" series.  It was overcast, which is the precise reason Forks was chosen as the location in the books.  It was pretty amazing actually, it was sunny to the east and west of Forks, but not there.  We also went through Port Angeles, another NW town that was in the books.  

 We stopped by a place called Jamestown.  They had all kinds of Native American art work and totem poles. 

We ended our weekend back at Port Townsend where we were to catch the ferry back to Whidbey Island.  But first we wanted to check out the town of Port Townsend.

 This is Wilson Point Lighthouse.  It has an automated light and is closed to the public, so this is as close as I was able to get.  

Just 5 minutes after I took that first picture, the fog came rolling it.  Suddenly it was surrounding us. 

 Sailboat becoming enveloped in fog. 

 Some neat homes and architecture in Port Townsend.

 It's such a cool town to stroll around in.

Port Townsend City Hall.

Taylor even found a main street named after her.  It really is a cool town now.  

 Fort Worden in Port Townsend.  It was a military base, but apparently it uses it's buildings for things like classes and community events and conferences.  It was neat though to see all the white and green buildings as they might have looked during their military days.  

Another building in Fort Worden.

 View of town from the dock. 

Looking toward home, from the dock.  We had such a great weekend camping.  We didn't want it to end, but I did want a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed... 

because the next day we were going to celebrate a birthday.