Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Birthday Girl and the Bear

 Taylor turned 7 years old!  She's such a big girl now!  All grown-up, (just ask her).

Birthday morning kicked off bright and early, maybe a little too bright.  

She wanted her daddy to be there to watch her unwrap her present, but she didn't want to wait ALL day for him to get off work.  So the only other option was to get up BEFORE daddy went to work. 

The ironic thing is, her gift was a surprise to nobody, not even herself.  She knew exactly what she was getting.  She paid for half of it with her birthday money.  But Daddy was there to watch her unwrap it, which was the important thing.  

She spent all morning putting her Lego house together.  Good thing she got an early start on it.  It took her about 2 hours, but she did it all by herself and had so much fun doing it. 

The finished product.  It's Lego's.  It's a dollhouse.  It's a Lego dollhouse.  It's two, two toys in one!  For hours of fun. (Okay, stop me now.  I'm getting too silly).

It was such an absolutely gorgeous day on Taylor's birthday that we spend the afternoon at a favorite park.  Then we had pizza, cupcakes, a movie of Taylor's choosing and lots of family time all evening.  It was wonderful and relaxing.  

Taylor requested Chuck E. Cheese for her birthday too.  We went the Saturday before her big day.  

It went a lot like last time.

Logan mostly playing video games and

Taylor enjoying the rides.  

We all enjoyed celebrating our princess girl, her fearlessness, her sweetness, her great big, toothless grin, and all her awesomeness.  She is a ball of energy and we love our 7-year-old with all our hearts!!!

Meanwhile, Logan's been working diligently at Cub Scouts.  He earned his Bear badge, his Religious Knot, and 2 arrow points.

 The Cub Master put 3 streaks of paint on his cheek, each one representing a level achieved in Cub Scouts.  Logan knew it was coming and told the Cub Master he didn't want the paint on his face.  The Cub Master said, "It's part of the experience" and that he had to do it.

Logan, trying to remember what he'd done to earn his badge.  None of the boys could answer that question, although Logan was able to tell how his Religious Knot was earned. 

We are very proud of Logan and his desire to do Cub Scouts, even though it's sometimes tough, with moving so often and participating in so many different packs.  (This is his 3rd pack this year).  

So there you have it, the Birthday Girl and the Bear.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Crater Lake

The other weekend, we went to Roseburg to visit family. 

We planned on hiking a new trail by Crater Lake.  It was still September and we were hoping to get one more hike in before the weather turned.

We were too late!  It had snowed early this year.  It was very cold and windy.  It was beautiful though, viewed from the warmth of our car.  

 Instead of making it to the hike, we made it to the Lodge.

The kids were excited to see snow and wanted to play in it.  They threw snowballs over the railing until their hands were numb.  

I didn't take any pictures inside the lodge.  It was kind of crowded, but I took this shot from the entry.  It's enormous inside.  It has large stone fireplaces that are perfect for warming numb little hands and noses.  

We enjoyed the view for a little while, all the while trying not to get blown over by the whipping wind.  On one occasion, I was trying to put on my 2nd coat, over my 1st coat, and it was literally ripped out of my hands by the wind.  I let out a quick, "Oh crap!" and ran after my sailing jacket.  Luckily, I got it back when it landed in a mud puddle. 

Needless to say, we did no hiking that day.  It was a beautiful drive up the canyon though and Crater Lake looked more amazing then ever with it's first layer of snow blanketing the hillsides.  

Can you believe how early and strong Autumn has come on this year?  Not so good for getting out and exercising, but perfect for curling up with a blanket and a good book, which is my favorite form of exercise anyway.  ;)

Friday, October 4, 2013


September 2013 was a historic month for me personally.  I stayed under my calorie goal every. single. day. in September.  It was hard.  The hardest day, was Sept. 30th.  I almost didn't make it that day.  

Each one of those pink stamps means I was under my calorie goal.  That's historic!

I've always had a hard time stringing two days together, in staying under my calorie goal.  I might have a good day or two and then a bad day or two.  Consistency was missing.  

I didn't lose any weight the whole time we were in Oak Harbor, so I decided to do something drastic.  I would stay under my calorie goal for an entire month.  Whoa!  Insane!  It worked though.  I got a stamp on each day and I lost 4 pounds.  Yay!  I'm working on October now.  

Also in September, we visited the historic city of Oregon City with our friends from Corvallis.  

Oregon City was established in 1829 by Dr. John McLoughlin, who worked for the Hudson's Bay Company.  It was the first U.S. city, west of the Rockies, to be incorporated.  

Dr. McLoughlin (he was a physician as well) chose Oregon City because of it's proximity to Willamette Falls, for a future lumber mill.  

Did you know there was a waterfall in Oregon City?  It's there, behind all those industrial looking buildings. 

There it is.  It served the Native Americans for who knows how many centuries.  At the time of Dr. McLoughlin's coming, there were many tribes living near the falls, for the fishing. 

Oregon City is also the end of the Oregon Trail.  It was where all the pioneers ended after trekking across the country.  It was where they applied for land claims as well.

So there are lots of historic homes in town.  I love old, historic homes.  They have so much personality and... well, history.

We were able to go inside the Stevens-Crawford Home.  It was built in 1908.  The husband (Stevens) and the wife's family (Crawford) were early Oregon City settlers.

A close-up of the books in the secretary.  A couple of the books I recognized as ones my grandparents had in their home.

It was the daughter Mertie, who lived in the home for 60 some years.  She collected dishes and tea cups.  The cupboards were full of them.

 Mertie was one of the founding members of the Historical Society in Oregon City and left her home to the society upon her death.  She never married and had no children.

The phonograph still works and they played it for us.  It was very loud.  There was no volume button.  They played Marches and Hymns.  No Jazz or "modern music" for the religious matron. 

 The spice rack.

 The original oven, the kind you build a fire in.  My grandmother had one like this in her home as well.

   And the washing machine. 

This is the Ermatinger House.  It was built in 1845 by Francis Ermatinger (another employee of the Hudson's Bay Company).  It's the oldest house in Oregon.

It was in this house that a famous coin toss took place, to decide what to name the future town, then known as "The Clearing."  One man wanted to name it Boston, but the other guy won the toss and "The Clearing" became Portland, Oregon.  

We also toured Dr. McLoughlin's house.  I wasn't allowed to take pictures there.  I don't think I was really allowed to take pictures in the other house either. 

Originally the home was built quite close to the Willamette River and falls.  It was later moved up the hill to preserve it and make way for paper mills and such. 

Dr. McLoughlin was actually Canadian, but he worked for the British Hudson's Bay Company.  He got in trouble with them for giving too much aid to the American pioneers.  So he resigned from the Hudson's Bay Co. and applied for U.S. citizenship.  

This is a view of the Municipal Elevator from the promenade.  Notice the set of windows overlooking the town.

Oregon City is a tiered city.  It has three tiers.  One down by the river, one up on the bluff and one up even higher.   Originally a set of wooden staircases were built to get from the river to the bluff.  Those were eventually replaced by stone stairs, then Oregon City built it's Municipal Elevator.  

This is the view from one of those windows overlooking the town.  

Let's see,  what else did we do in Oregon City?

We went to Carnegie Center, which is now their public library.  It was built in 1913.

 Taylor and her sweet friend are looking at the same book and trying to stay on the same page too. 

The boys, huddled around what else, but a Lego book.

The whole group of us, in front of a sculpture that is half horse, half sea creature.  Our friend's oldest boy has studied mythology and was able to inform us that this creature is called a Hippocamp or Hippocampus.  

It was a very fun and educational day, visiting Oregon City, even though it rained most of the day.  You just can't count on nice weather in Oregon, so we ventured out anyway.  

We stopped for lunch at a park that had covered picnic tables.  There was a splash pad there too, with mounted water "guns."  The water at the splash park was not turned on, of course, but that didn't stop the kids from running around and playing there in the pouring rain anyway.  

I later asked the kids what their favorite part of the day was.  They both said it was running around at the park with their friends.  That's what it was all about anyway, really, getting together with our friends.  Any excuse will do.