Saturday, September 29, 2007

Co-Op and Soccer

Yesterday was the first day of Friday School. I brought my camera so I could take pictures, but that didn't happen. We now have over 150 kids in our group and it is just a little hectic on the first day. My Medieval History class learned about castles and made candles. The Science For Fun class learned about volcanoes. The kids kind of get that "Wow, that's exciting!" as well as the "Wow, that's scary!" look all at the same time when they realize that we live less than an hour away from Mt. St. Helens. But they love making volcanoes to take home and erupt! I was hoping to get pictures of them with their mountains, but it started to rain about halfway through the project. So that makes it sort of difficult to take pictures when you are all running and trying to save your volcano from being destroyed before you get a chance to take it home and, well, destroy it.

After Co-op we drove down to soccer. Chris is coaching the 10 and ups and having a great time! The kids are making huge strides. It is no longer a "kick and run" game, which means you kick the ball as hard as you can and then everyone runs as fast as they can to get to it so you can kick it as hard as you can again. We were very thankful that the rain mostly held off and it only hailed on us a little bit.

When soccer was over we went to our friends' house for supper. Kate always makes wonderful food! Last night was no exception. We had Hungarian sausages, homemade sauerkraut, roasted potatoes, rye bread, and corn on the cob. (Someone at church gave us an entire garbage bag full of corn.) For dessert she had homemade custard ice cream with homemade hot fudge! The food was great but the company was better. That's 2 Fridays in a row we have gotten to be at the McMurrys'. I am beginning to feel a little spoiled.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Luke and Jeanette Got Married

Today we went up to Olympia for Luke and Jeanette's wedding. Chris and Luke were in seminary for a year together. It was a beautiful wedding! Luke's grandfather and father are both pastor's and had a role in the ceremony. Dave, Jeanette's brother, wrote a song especially for the wedding that was wonderful! I cried, but then I always cry at weddings.

They took pictures of each of the guests and had everyone sign a photo album slot as a guest book next to where their picture will be. They also had refreshments outside for guests to enjoy while waiting for the receiving line and the reception to get set up. Jeanette's dress was beautiful, too.

I wish I had gotten better pictures, but I was too busy visiting and having fun. But I did get some more good ideas for our next wedding. :o) (See our "thoughts to ponder" section)

God's richest blessings on you both as you begin the rest of your life together!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cannon Beach

My sister, grandma and I planned this trip to the beach a long time ago. My hope was that it would be late enough that the beach crowd would be gone but early enough that we would have beautiful sunny weather. Sadly, neither happened.

Thankfully you don't need either of those things to have a wonderful time. And we did!

The boys and I drove out Friday morning (we had to leave Chris behind) and headed out to the coast. We made great time and met up with my mom, my grandma, my sisters, and my niece and nephew.

Although it wasn't sunny, there was no wind and we had lots of fun playing in the sand and the ocean.

Charlie liked the sand...

but he LOVED the ocean!

We all helped build this sandcastle for Princess Maggie

We stayed in this very charming lodge at the north end of town and had a wonderful two-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen and a gas fireplace. If you are ever in Cannon Beach, I highly recommend staying here. (The link is on our list on the side bar) Not only is the room really nice, but you also get to use the gym-activity center at the Cannon Beach Conference Center for free and their ice cream parlor, too. It is lots of fun and is especially nice if the weather is bad. (which happens quite on bit on the OR coast) Carpet ball is our favorite game!

our room

playing checkers in the game room

We all played mini-golf

Haystack Rock has some beautiful tide pools, so we decided to take advantage of a later morning low tide and go and explore. They were fun to walk around and see all of the different sea life that lives on the rocks. It was like being at the aquarium touch pools. Unfortunately we hadn't realized how far down the beach we had walked until it was time to go back to the hotel and get some breakfast. And it was a LONG walk back!

Over half-way to Haystack Rock

We spent the rest of the day strolling to the kite shop, going to my favorite quilt shop (Grandma stayed with the boys and played poker while Theresa and I went, thanks Grandma!), playing on the beach and enjoying two very nice meals out.

a large group of people were on the beach building sandcastles near where we were playing

We were sad to leave Grandma and Theresa behind on Saturday night. We would have loved to stay. But we missed Dad and needed to get back for our first day of Sunday School and Family Nite.

Monday, September 10, 2007

School Days and Soccer

Well, we're off to a great start! Today was our first day back to school. It was also probably our best first day in a long time. Everybody got up ready to go and we were ready to start right at 9:00. I am so proud! Chris and Andy even made it out on their donut date and back before school started. Andy brought me a maple bar (my favorite) as a "first day of school gift" for the teacher. It was very sweet of him to think of me.

As I was getting lessons ready last night it hit me that we now have a 9th grader, a 7th grader and a 5th grader. What??? Where has the time gone? It seems like I was just teaching them the ABCs and learning the days of the week by singing the song from Barney. (Now Barney would be some sort of stunt dummy used in a movie that involved fireworks and dives off the garage roof. ) Today we learned about cellular biology and had a discussion of Shakespeare's quote "All the world's a stage..." and how it applies to the study of history and man's relationship to God, others and the environment. Oh, how times change. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Today was also the first day of our homeschool co-op's soccer league. I was a little nervous since our boys have never really played organized sports much, but thankfully neither had most of the kids that were there. Chris and the boys bought all their gear on Saturday and were all ready to go. They had fun, despite the heat, and said that the kids all seemed nice! I like that it is only two days a week and no one is on the sidelines screaming at their kids or the refs. :o)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Surprise Visitors

On Friday we got a surprise visit from Joel and Alice Lunde. I was doing housework when she called and said they were in town. So I happily dropped what I was doing and went to meet them at the church. They took us to lunch and we had a very nice visit. It was so encouraging and such a blessing to talk with them. I am sure that God knew that we needed them to come and to continue to be lifting us in prayer as we minister here.

It did make me homesick for Fergus though... :o)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Boys Are Blogging

The boys have decided that they needed their own blog where they can do whatever they want. So they did it. You have to check it out. The link is on our side bar and is titled "The Adventures of ZAW".

Be sure to watch their "Welcome to our blog" video. I think we got it working now!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Elk Lake Creek Trail

After returning from the river we headed out for our next trip: backpacking in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness. Chris and I actually had backpacks that we bought 8 years ago and had never used. We couldn't wait to go and break them in.

So we packed up all our gear and drove out to the trailhead. The weather was perfect and we made camp at Camp Nora, a great little camp on Elk Lake Creek.

Our camp

Our tents tucked back in the trees

the view of the stream from our tents

After getting camp all set up we headed out to Seven Falls to cool off for the afternoon. Seven Falls is a beautiful spot where the creek heads down a hill over several waterfalls into deep beautiful pools at the base of each fall. The water was cold, but the boys got in (and right back out) to swim.

Seven Falls

Sittin' at the top of the falls

The next morning we got up, ate breakfast and decided to head out on a day hike to a place the boys had camped before. So we packed up a pack for the day and set off. But when we got to a rather wide place in the creek that we would have to wade across, saw the beautiful swimming hole, and Andy accidently stepped in the creek and got his shoes wet we decided to spend the afternoon there instead. The boys had a great time exploring upcreek and splashing around in the waterfalls.

Making pancakes (it was a team effort)At the swimmin' hole

We headed back to camp for lunch and to spend the afternoon relaxing and playing around camp. Chris and I read a bit and the boys played Robin Hood in the woods.

We were all having lots of fun until Robin Hood and his Merry Men stumbled into a ground nest of bees up on the hill. All of a sudden William started screaming at the top of his lungs. Not knowing what had happened we headed towards the hill as he started running down the hill as fast as he could go. About halfway down he fell, got back up and continued running towards camp. Suddenly it dawned on me that he was covered in bees and was being stung. So I stripped off all his clothes and rushed him down to the stream. The next hour was very scary. Andy had also gotten into the nest and was stung numerous times. We sat with two shivering, crying boys for a good hour contemplating what to do next. We considered hiking out but it was getting late and neither were in any shape to be hiking out. So we gave everyone ibuprofen and decided to wait and see. Neither boy had ever been stung before and we were very thankful that neither were allergic. The swelling went down very quickly (thanks to God's grace and a long soak in a very cold stream) and by morning everyone was much better.

treating bee stings in the morning

To pass the time we read jokes from the Reader's Digest and play and sentence story game. Everyone writes down a sentence not having any idea of what the person before them wrote. Then you read all the sentences in the order they were written and see what you come up with. The boys loved this game and made me promise to share this one on the blog.

Pretty Pretty Princess loved living on her heart-shaped island off the coast of Hawaii.

Then Mary died.

Then the Rock Monster got married.

All the pigs moved south to Arizona for the winter.

Owww, this fire is hot!

Pretty Pretty Princess lived in a big house with a huge room for working on her crafts whenever she wanted.

Then she grew a beard.

They ran all the way to New Jersey.

Then they went home.

This special offer ends June 17th.

This was the boys favorite story that we wrote because Pretty Pretty Princess grew a beard. By the way, Pretty Pretty Princess is a character I made up while camping on the river because it was kind of fun to tease the boys about her. :o)

The next morning we started packing up and eating most of the leftover food so we would have as little food as possible to pack back out.

Packing the packs to go home

What do you do with a pair of shorts that got ripped when you fell down a hill running from a swarm of bees?

Use it as a hat!

The Collowash River (we found a great place to camp along the river next summer!)

We stopped at an Izzy's buffet for supper on the way home and enjoyed a non-reconstituted meal.

We had a great time, despite the bees, and are looking forward to going back next summer.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Camping on the Columbia

Camping on the Columbia River is the vacation I look forward to all year. It is the most relaxing week of my year. We boat in and camp right on the beach where the boys play all day and we can do whatever we want: swim, read, eat, play games... It's perfect!

Now I admit that it is a little unpredictable out there with the constantly changing water levels (thanks to the dam). And with last year's mishaps: the boat getting beached, running out of gas and the motor not running, but I still love it!

Unfortunately this year was no exception. We had hoped to leave first thing in the morning, but due to circumstances beyond our control (somehow the dog got fleas)we got a late start.

When we got to the boat landing the water was low but we got the boat in the water with little trouble. Will, Zack, Betsy and I waited with the last of the gear while Chris and Andy went to find our spot for the week.

Still waiting...

Well the water was a bit lower than we had thought and once out of the shipping channel they had to do a lot of pushing. Two hours later they returned to the dock soaking wet and unsure of the place they had chosen. Thankfully the water was going up again so we were able to park a little closer to shore for unpacking the last of the stuff. We were also thankful for the light of a nice full moon to light our way while bringing things in from the boat to shore. After a quick supper we headed straight to bed so we could get up at 2am and see the lunar eclipse. It was beautiful and we had a perfect view from the door of the tent!

The boat from camp
Camp from the boat

The next day was gorgeous and we had a great time doing all the things we love to do on the river...

Andy tubing
Sand Island from where we anchored the boat
Climbing the cliffs on Sand Island
William getting ready to go tubing

We were also looking forward to Grandpa and Grandma coming out for the day in the morning.

At some point in the night I woke up and could hear waves lapping up on shore VERY close to the tent. Sure enough, the water had come in A LOT and was now much closer to our camp. The next time I woke up the waves were much louder (due to the fact that the water was a bit closer) and the wind had picked up. When I mentioned this to Chris he said he was a bit worried about the two backpacking tents he had set up for our upcoming trip over the weekend. I got up to look out the door just as one of the tents blew by us into the river further downshore. I also noticed in the full moonlight that THE BOAT WAS GONE!!!

Thankfully we had both anchored the boat and tied it to shore, so while it had moved downriver, it was still tied to the log. So Chris and Zack braved the wind and the waves to bring the boat back to its original location and added a second anchor. The rest of us "battened down the hatches" on the rest of the camp so it would not blow away while we slept.

Needless to say, Chris and I didn't get much sleep. The wind howled the rest of the night, the water was creeping up ever closer to the camp and an hour later the boat had floated back downriver.

the water is getting closer

When we finally got out of the tent, it was miserable. The river looked like the Pacific Ocean, the wind was constantly blowing, sand blew into everything (including the tent). Eventually the boat broke its anchor line, the boys dug a moat to protect us from the water and we ate a rather sandy breakfast inside the very stuffy tent (it got up to 90 that day).

Digging our moat

Enjoying a rather gritty breakfast

After a few hours we decided to call it quits. The forecast called for more wind and we had had enough. Grandpa and Grandma came and helped us pack up our stuff and we headed home early.

This is a video of us packing up in the wind after it had died down a bit.

It wasn't what we had planned, but we had one glorious day and a real exciting adventure!

And just to make the trip a little more exciting the boys found Mario's cage door open when we got home and Mario was gone! (For those of you who don't know, Mario is our rather large pet rat) Thankfully (yet again) he had not gone far and William found him hiding under Zack's dresser. Now Mario has two large rocks on top of his cage door!