"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least." ~Goethe~

29 May 2009

A Sunday afternoon drive

Here lately no one in the family has been content with just sitting at home and looking at the four walls.  Sunday was one of those days.  Most of the day was spent out in the yard putting in our new flowers in the little buckets, strawberry plants in hanging baskets, piddling around in the flower beds, etc.  I get started in making things look nicer outside and I can't stop.  Finally Glenn came up to me and said we were going on a drive.  How could I refuse.  I've been loving these adventures alot lately.  So off we went to top off the tank, grab some snacks and drinks and up into the hills near our house.  It's secluded up there but I couldn't help but feel jealous of the few lucky folks that have homes in the hills.  The peace and quiet was heaven.  JEALOUS!!
At one point along the road a little creek was to be seen and of course we had to make a stop.  Glenn went to go take pictures of birds and the girls and I stayed in the truck and listened to the creek and birds.  The embankment was a bit steep from the road to the creek so I choose to stay in the truck because I could just envision a 5 yr. old slipping down landing into the creek.  So with that in mind, the truck it was.  The creek sounded quite nice where we were at.  We got lost in the sounds and didn't notice that Glenn had come back up to the truck until he closed the door.  Good thing there were no crazy "Jasons" up there.  We wouldn't have had a chance.  :)

Down the road a piece we started to see where there used to be an old mining town in the foothills.  It didn't last long.  Not much up in the hills.  It was funny to see this old mine shaft with the car above the entry.  Who knows why.  The girls thought it was funny.  A couple of feet into the entry everything is fenced off so no one can get in and get hurt.  The was another shaft near by where the building over it was all collapsed and very shaky looking.  It looked like the entry dropped straight in the ground so we stayed in the truck where it was safest. 

We finally made it out of the seclusion of the hills and into the open prairie where there were lots of cows grazing.  We couldn't help but get out and go exploring.  There is private land up there so the girls were shown where they could go and what to stay away from.  Of course Brenna had to go over and touch the barb wire after being told not to get near it.  After I showed her my scar on my leg from when I was 13 or so, she stayed away.  (We were at a friends of my Dad's and their really mean dog came after me.  I tried jumping a barb wire fence to get away from him but didn't clear it.  The dog left me alone once I was caught in the wire.  Ripped right through my favorite jeans and my leg.  Psychotic dog.  I think he was laughing at me afterwards.  Stupid butthead.)  Anyhoo ...  (darn flashbacks)

The girls found it neat to be in the tall grasses as the wind was blowing them around.  You could hear the grasses blowing around if you just sat quietly and listened.  It took a bit for the girls to settle down and grasp that whole idea.  I think they finally got the message when Glenn and I gave them the "eye" and told them to stop and sit.  They sat there for the longest time just listening to everything.  The birds, grasses, wind, bugs, and a coyote.  It was pretty cool seeing their faces when they heard something new.  Awesome.  :)

There were more wild lupines to be seen.  I've never seen them with this purpley-pinky color.  ( love my color descriptions, don't you. ;) )  There were tons of wildflowers to look at.  I would love to have all that color in my yard.  Not enough room in my little piece of dirt.

We watched the clouds move in around us but nothing happened.  They were just making their way up to the mountains so they could make all the Memorial Day campers miserable.  It happens EVERY year but yet no one learns.  And then everyone gripes about how their trip was wet and cold.  Not too bright.  I love to look at the clouds.  There are always shapes in them.  Glenn got a really cool pic of one that looked liked a dolphin.  So cool!

After I had enough of looking around, I found a spot in the grasses and sat for the longest time just watching and listening to everything around us.  I do get lost in all the quiet serenity.  Glenn to grab my camera out of the truck and snapped this pic while the girls and I were soaking up all the beauty of the hills.  He doesn't stand still for long, always looking at things just like the girls.  I just get to a point where I've seen enough and just want to listen to things.

At one point we realized that it was getting close to dinner time so we headed back down the road to eat fast and come back up to our spot and watch the sunset.  The most wonderful idea from Glenn.  As we were passing the cows, you guessed it, the girls once again tried "speaking" to them.  Why do kids do that?  A few of them ran from the side of the road and Glenn said that they were probably afraid they would catch "mad kid disease".  I darn near pee'd my pants!  And nearly spit my water all over the inside of the truck!  Luckily the window was down.  The girls giggled but I don't think they found it to be as funny as Glenn and I did.  :)

So after woofing done dinner and heading back up the road from the house, we came back up to our spot to enjoy the most wonderful evening light ever.  The hills were beautiful!  On the very far right of the pic is the valley where we live.  So cool to think that just a 20 min. drive up the hills and we have all this wonderment to look at.  We were there for about 2 hrs enjoying everything.  You wouldn't believe how much louder the bugs were at this time of day.  I would love to have a house there so I could listen to all of the chirping lull me off to sleep every night.  I had to get up out of the back of the truck and walk around because I actually found myself getting sleepy from it all.  Glenn thought that was funny but said it would drive him bonkers and he would not get any sleep at all because he would home in on the rhythm of their sound.  Too bad for him.  I would LOVE it!

The girls found two beetles to look at.  One escaped down a hole in the ground and the other wasn't so lucky to get away from the little observers.  Glenn and I were quite surprised to see both of them picking it up and touching the thing.  At some point, both girls used to be afraid of earthworms and wouldn't get 10ft. near one.  Then one of them got to the point of pulling the worms apart because Brendon told them they would grow new "ends".  So every once in awhile one would be "divided" as a little one would watch to see it happen.  After realizing it doesn't happen that fast, that bit of fascination wore off.  Thank goodness!  So back to the beetle... Brenna wouldn't actually hold the beetle but would follow it on the ground so she could at least touch it.  Still shocking being she still freaks about pencil head sized bugs that get on her.  You should see this child running around playing and then suddenly stop in a dime when she realizes there is a wee little bug on her.  Then she stands and squeals until someone comes to save her.  Quite hilarious!  Free entertainment!

It was completely dark when we found ourselves pulling into the driveway back home.  No one wanted to leave the hills but Glenn wasn't sure how easy it would have been seeing all the cows all over the road up there when it got dark.  I do believe that the cows hang out on the road at dark.  You wouldn't believe all of them we had to stop and wait for as we were heading out to the main highway.  Too funny!  It was well after 10pm when we all got to showered and hit the hay.  It didn't take long for anyone to go to sleep, without the bug sounds. ;)  We had a great time that day.  I'm sure we will find our way back up to "our" spot again soon.  It was wonderful!  Too bad one has to work to live because otherwise we would already be living in the hills.  One can dream though.

Well, off for a few lessons today and then some sewing.  I've got fabric cut out to make skorts and tops for the girls.  I get a bit frustrated with patterns at times because I have to add length to things just so the girls don't look like hoochies in the finished outfits.  They aren't adults for crying out loud!  I just don't get it.  And then we wonder why there are so many problems in society today.  :(  Anyhoo, I'm making some potholders that I started crocheting last night.  I'll take pics later and show them off.  (I'm still trying to figure out what to do on my next big project.  Haven't quite wrapped my brain around it yet.) Pretty cool they are.  They are nice and thick and look like they will last a long time.  Off for another warm day here.  Good thing we have A/C.  I feel bad being that we are at home staying comfortable and Glenn is out in the heat all day.  But I have to tell one secret I have about Glenn.  I love smelling him when he gets home.  He always smells so fresh!  Weird I know.  But he doesn't "stink" when he sweats.  He has no BO.  Seriously, no joke.  So I always get a sniff in on the neck when he walks through the door.  You know, hugged and mugged.  That's my ritual at the end of the day when he comes home.  He would kill me if he knew I was "telling" this.  Oh well, could be worse.

Remember, find something that makes you smile for the day.  There is ALWAYS one thing out there, find it.  :P


27 May 2009

Owyhee Upland Byway

A couple of weekends ago, we decided to venture out to an area we have never been in our state.  We have been back in Idaho for some time now and have never traveled on the Owyhee Uplands Byway, which goes along the south side of the Owyhee Mtn. range.  We always get to look at the north side from where we live.

So we all got up quite early because it is an all day drive being the road is only 1 1/2 lanes wide, gravel and you only go about 35mph the whole trip.  You wouldn't want to go any faster.  You would miss all the wonderful sights!  And that is the reason for going on the trip.

There were tons of wildflowers to be seen.  These were my favorites.  Wild lupines.  Gorgeous!

One view of the Owyhee Mtns. we never get to see.  You can't help but feel a sense of calm come over you when you are out in this great expanse of openness.  There are a scant few who live out in the area around the BLM area and you can't help but wonder about the slower simpler life that is to be had out here.  I think I would love it.  You would probably find me sitting outside in the grasses taking in all the sights and sounds, when I should be doing something else.  :)  It was nice to get out along the way to take in the sights and sounds and take in all the fresh air.  And of course the girls would get out to look at the wildflowers and ... yes you guess it, rocks.  LOL!!!

You come the canyon where you start heading downwards to get to the North Fork campground.  Very simple.  Not a lot there.  But at least a restroom.  There was a trail you could walk on to explore the area.  That was cut short because along the trail a baby bunny was seen and quite some time was spent adoring him.  So we ended up back in the truck to head up out of the canyon to see more sights. 

The North Fork campground from above.  
And yes, you would know that the drop off would be on my side of the truck.  :)

I even caught Mr. Bunny taking in the sights along the way.  Little Moose was napping with Brenna about this time.  Early morning wake up you know.  :)

We came upon Graves Creek reservoir, which was more like a large pond compared to the reservoirs around where we live.  The little creek that ran from it was so pretty and the sound was wonderful.  Oh how I would love to have it in my yard to listen to it every day.  That would be heaven!  Everyone pacified me and let me walk along it so I could soak up the sights and sounds for a good bit.  I finally came to my senses and realized that I couldn't stay all day.  So off we were again, down the road for more exploring.

There were lots of cows wandering the road that we had to slow down for.  You hit them, you pay for what that cow would have been worth at selling time.  I don't have that much in my pocket.  There were a few that got very close to the truck and the girls took the opportunity to try to talk "cow" with them.  It wasn't much of a conversation as one could imagine.  :)

There was a creepy critter that was slithering across the road that Glenn and the girls had to stop and watch.  Yes, they stayed in the truck.  I kept locking the doors on everyone so they couldn't get out.  My back is crawling just looking at the pic.

Thunder eggs were to be seen along the side of the road.  The majority of them had been busted up from others who may have been trying to release them from the rocks they were embedded in.  Such a shame.  Some look like they actually had crystals in them.  They are very fragile.  That was very neat to actually see some instead of seeing them in books and on the net.

Old homesteads were barely standing.  Could you imagine the stories these places could tell.

There were quite a few corrals to be seen along the way.  There are a lot of cows wandering around these parts.  That would be way to cool to actually see the cows being rounded up by the ranchers.  The ranches are HUGE out here.  Way cool!

At one point we stopped and had lunch along the side of the road.  Nothing like a bring your own stuff on the cooler and making a big fat sandwich after all the exploring that had been done so far this day.  And the girls loved walking around exploring while hanging on to a yummy sandwich.  Nothing like "breaking" the rules and not having to sit down while eating.  
We had a marvelous view still of the Owyhee Mtns. still.  That mtn. range is really big.  Never knew they were so long.  And the other neat thing was that to our south we could see the mountain ranges in Nevada!  WOW!

By the end of the day, we had come to the end of the byway.  Which was kind of sad being we had such a good time seeing everything we could.  We will definitely have to make another trip again so that we can stop and explore more areas we missed.

At the end of the east side of the byway we came upon the Turmes Ranch which used to be a traveler way station for the pioneers who came through the area.  The stone buildings are still standing.  A true testament to all the dedication and hard work that the Turmes family put into their property.  Wouldn't that be the neatest thing to live in a house built with all that stone and know that it would not easily fall apart on you.  I think that would be wonderful right about now, with how I'm feeling about my house lately.  

Across the byway was the family graveyard where at least four Turmes family members are laid to rest.  There is something that comes over you when you see the years that a person was born and when they past away, 1840-1904.  And the work, respect and craftsmanship that went into a tombstone in those days.  It was breathtaking.  

After getting off the byway, we made our way back towards Mtn. Home.  And can you believe we didn't stop at Golden Crown (our most FAV. chinese rest.) for dinner!  Everyone was too tuckered out to stop even for take out and so down the road we continued to get home.  I was starting to wonder if something was wrong with us because we never pass that up when they are open.  Lapse of insanity!  :)

We saw lots of new, neat, wonderful things that day.  Pronghorn antelope, bunnies, birds, cows, the landscape, etc.  Idaho is truly a beautiful state.  We have such a vast array of landscape that it blows my mind.  High desert, prairies, farmland, foothills, lava flow areas, mountain peaks, etc.  It's just simply beautiful.

Have a great day everyone!  Hope you find something near you that takes your breath away!


26 May 2009

the table runner is finished!

I finished the table runner last night and couldn't wait to block it before putting it on the table.  I'm happy with it.  Now I have all these other ideas running through my head again.  It's an illness.  I will NEVER have enough time to do everything I want to do.  Such is the story of my creative little mind.  Too many ideas running around aimlessly with no real purpose in life, yet.  :P  I have an idea for something for my sister who is due in Dec. with her first.  So I will surely have to get my act together for that project.  Definitely don't want that being finished years from now.  The wheels are turning for that.

The big "thing" that happened over the weekend here was that I finally bought my tomato plants and strawberry plants.  We even picked up flowers for our little buckets that hang on our fence in the back yard.  So at least now there is some color to be seen back there.  They are so darn cute and it doesn't seem right in the yard until the buckets are filled with pretty little blooms.  Em had to have her purpley petunias...

and Brenna had to have her red & white impatiens.  Now I have to get my act together with getting the vegetable garden planted and see what happens there.  We are trying a few new things this year.  Hopefully it will all turn out.

Off to finish my list for the day.  I've been struggling with it all day.  I put too much on it for today and I feel I haven't gotten a thing done.  Oh well, at least our friend popped by earlier and turned our sprinklers on, so all is good there.
A few sewing projects are waiting for me to finish.  The girls can be so patient with me at times when it comes to all the cutesy little things for summer to be made.

Hope your lists are going better than mine today.  Oh well, all you can do is smile and keeping plugging away.  No  since in stressing about it because it's really not worth it.  Life goes on.  At least everyone is happy with popsicles and sprinklers and I still have a huge yarn stash to look at.  What else could one ask for?  besides dinner for tonight!  :)


23 May 2009

A day of rock hounding

A couple of weeks ago while Glenn was still off from work, we took a day trip to go rock hounding.  We weren't too sure if there would be anything to spectacular about the trip but we were willing to go on an adventure and just see what happened.  Anything was great after dealing with the leak in the house and getting that fixed.  So off on a stress relieving trip we headed, down the road with snacks and goodies in the back and the all important collection bags.  Sometimes these bags are being drug back to the truck because we have two little people who can't bare to part with the treasures they find.  This day was no different.  Bits of agate, petrified wood, purpley colored rocks, red ones, stripey ones, etc.  Brenna found one that was almost as big as her and she was trying to pick it up.  Even if it meant she would bust a gut doing it.  Luckily we talked her out of it and she found more manageable ones.  Phew!!!
We noticed on our trusty little map we printed out that there was mention of an old stage stop that used to be in the area in the days of the pioneers in this area.  With a little searching we found it (the foundation) and the well that was used.  As you can tell, drinking from it is not recommended any longer.  Refreshing, isn't it?  But it does look that it was lined with rocks all the way down.  Could you imagine taking the time to do that?  Not sure I would.  Luckily it is fenced in so no one falls into it.  No one would ever hear you if you did.  That would be rough.

The weather was gorgeous for this day outing.  A little breezy, but nothing a good ole' jacket recently bought on a trip didn't fix.  Man I really like my jacket!  :)  While Glenn and the girls walked along the creek looking for treasures, I enjoyed staying in one spot picking at the dirt in a few places seeing what I would find and mostly listening to the water in the creek.  I found two pieces of petrified wood just sitting on my tail not moving too much.  Pretty good day if I must say.  I have to say that there was one rock near where we parked that caught my eye and I had to start digging for it.  So I did end up with a good sized rock but at least I could pick it up and carry it.

After exploring for a few hours, it was snack time and back to the truck we headed.  The girls thought this would be a good time to get some "driving" experience in while Glenn and I looked on.  Luckily we had the keys and neither of the girls could reach the clutch if they tried.  Just listening to them on their "little trip" makes me a little nervous for what is to come when they reach the age to drive.  Let's just say there was lots of squealing tires, hitting the brakes, break neck turns, etc.  Maybe I can keep them off the road till they are 21.  Cross your fingers for that!  :)

So, we found the area where the stage stop used to stand.  It looks like it was dug into the ground for a couple of feet and then handmade bricks were placed around for the foundation.  Very cool.  Just think of how much work that would have been to build  that place.  I'm thinking it was at least 30' x 15'.  Decent size for way back then.  Em was trying to imagine who would have been traveling this far out "back in the day" and why.  Quite the imagination I tell you.  Once she gets going with her tales, you just sit and wonder where she comes up with all this stuff.  Too funny!!

The foundation bricks.  Too cool!

After all of our exploring and finding treasures, it was time to head home and find a spot in one of our flower beds for all the new great finds.  They have to be put in just the right spot.  We let the girls handle that.  We know that where ever we put the rocks, they won't be there when we come outside the next time.  

On our way out from the FAB spot, we saw a huge herd of cattle.  One just happened to be on the wrong side of the barb wire fence.  And you know that the girls made Glenn stop so they could moo at her and try to talk "cow".  Just don't ask.  You should know by now from reading past blogs that they need help.  :)  Soon after we got home the rock tumbler was taken out just to see if we had any treasures to speak off.  We will see some time this weekend.  I have been listening to that noise for the past two weeks.  Luckily it fits into a cooler and that drowns the noise out a bit.  I don't like "noises" any more around here.  :)

So now we wait for Glenn to come home so that we can all head to the garden center to pick out some pretty flowery plants to put in all our buckets out back.  I think we are on a mission to find some strawberry plants too.  I hope we can find some.  The girls will be devastated if we can't.  Can you believe I still have to buy seeds for the garden too!  I'm way behind in the ballgame here.  

The girls and I were talking about what we would look for while we were on our walk down the hill to the Saturday Market here in town.  Very nice morning for that.  If it could stay like that forever, I would be happy.  We made our way to the LYS to check out what they have for the upcoming bag sale next week.  45% off of everything you can cram in one bag!  And it's a good size bag!  So there was some planning with that.  Then through the market to see what was there to be sold.  The girls weren't impressed with much being that the local cherries weren't there yet.  So that will be the schedule for the next few Saturdays; walking down to the market to see if the cherry orchard has a stand there or not.  I hope it comes soon.  So to help with the sadness of no cherries at the market, we stopped at a sandwich shop to get lunch and head over to the park near the house.  That helped a bit.  No mention of the disappointment yet, until Dad gets home.  :)  

Days like this are what one hopes for.  Quiet, easy going, no headaches and just letting things happen however they may.  You really can't complain.  I'm not.  Hope your day has been like that.  If not I hope it happens some time this weekend.  Off to finish a couple of things before we hit the garden center.  I'm hoping for something red.  Cross your fingers.  

Keep smiling!  Toodles!!

21 May 2009

Two rectangle grannies down, one more to go...

It almost seems like I haven't done much of anything with my yarn and hook here lately.  I've been trying to get things caught up around here and it just seems things keep on coming, standing in line, waiting on me.  If it's not a leaky pipe somewhere to be found, it's a broken handle on the drain pipe of our sprinkler system, etc.  So yesterday you would have caught me digging a 3' x3' hole that was nearly 4' deep just to get to the stupid handle that needed replaced.  Now you must know that I have a neighbor that must always come over and tell me that I should leave jobs like that for Glenn to do when he gets home.  You would think that after 13yrs of being in this house and having the same neighbor that she would have learned by now that I do not leave things to be done when I can get in there and get them fixed all by myself.  I can't wait for things to be fixed.  Drives me crazier than anything I can think of.  BIG pet peeve!!  And why wait for Glenn to get home and bust his tail some more after doing it all day long already.  It's not right.  So by the time Glenn came home he and a friend of ours hung themselves into the hole I dug and fidgeted with the broken handled piece and rusted screw until they came off.  Let me tell you that "Liquid Wrench" is my new best friend around these parts.  AWESOME!!!  So then off to the hardware store it was to get a new handle and screw, back to the hole to attach everything and fill all that dirt back into that @$@#^&@**&^#@ hole.  So now our other friend can come over when he can to turn our sprinklers on so I don't have to keep going out in the yard to move a sprinkler all over just to water the yard.  Yes, I am spoiled with our sprinkler system and I wouldn't have a yard without one.  It's nice to have it come on during the night when I'm sleeping and my yard look wonderfully green.

So today I am not moving very fast at all.  I went to bed last night VERY early because I couldn't move another inch.  It was all I could do to shower and eat dinner.  Thank goodness I put dinner in the crock pot very early in the day because the gang would have been eating pop tarts or something otherwise.  And I will keep Glenn FOREVER!  He cleaned the floors for me last night and got the girls off to bed without a hitch just so I could go to bed early.  I do love that man!!  All I have accomplished today was laundry and a wee bit of tidying up.  That's all that is on the list.  Thank goodness for left overs.  :D

I did have to show what I have been working on here lately though.  I have made some rectangle granny things for my kitchen dining room area.  I really like them a lot.  It may be a new addiction for me.  I can imagine all the wonderful colors I can make these beauties with so I can have all kinds of beautiful color to look at.  

I will make a pattern up for this.  I just haven't decided what to do with it yet.  Glenn says I should come up with a pattern and sell it because of all the work I have put into it.  We'll see.  I'll keep you posted on what I decide.  Anyway, off for some more  Aspercreme for the hands and Tylenol for the rest of me.  I hope this is it for digging around this place for a long time.  If I had to dig like that for a garden, I wouldn't be putting one in this year.   Thank goodness there isn't that much to do out there because I have to have my tomatoes and okra.  I wouldn't be able to go on!  Off to fold clothes so that I might be able to work on the table runner that I already started.

Have a FAB day!  I hope everyone is moving faster and easier than me today!  I'm pretty sure you are.  Man, if this is what getting old feels like, I don't want any part of it.  :)

Toodles Noodles!!!

18 May 2009

The last day in Oregon

Our last day with Gary and Chris was a wonderful one even though we just stayed near the house.  There was a small breakfast for everyone because we were still recovering from all the excitement and fun from the day before.  The dogs must have known we were staying "put" for the day because you could tell they were anxious for a walk with the girls.  So one more trip was made out to the field to burn off all the excitement they had.  Afterwards, plans were made to go get some yummy chicken for a picnic and then do some exploring near the house.

We made our way up to Bald Peak State Park, not too far from the house.  Beautiful views from the top of that big ole' hill.  On a clear day, when looking east, one can see 5 of the biggest mountain peaks around the area (Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier).  That doesn't happen often though from what we hear because of the constant cloud cover and the rain that moves in.  So if you are in the area on a bright, sunny, clear blue sky day, run up to Bald Peak to see the mountains.  We saw 2 on the day we were there.  On the west side of the peak you could see Tualatin Valley.  Very pretty and green.  That is when Gary and Chris had a wonderful idea to head over to Hagg Lake and have the picnic and walk the trails for a bit.  Great idea guys!  It turned out to be much better than fighting the wind at the peak.

So off we went to devour the yummy KFC that was bought and to discover new things.  After all the food was eaten there were rocks to be thrown into the water.  It is well known by now that anytime you have Brenna around those two items (rocks & water) there will be some throwing to see how big of a splash can be made.  There was even some rock skipping lessons further down the trail.  5 was the most skips we counted, can't remember who accomplished that though.  Too many rocks being tossed to really pay attention.  A few more good skipping stones were found and put into pockets to be saved for another skipping area, then off to another part of the trail to be explored.

Down the trail a bit another spot was found off the trail.  Chris and the girls had to throw their last precious stones out in the lake but the waves did not cooperated for excellent skipping.  Better luck next time they decided and off for more hiking.

You must know that another thing the girls always do when hiking is the search for the perfect hiking stick.  Very few hikes end up with the same stick throughout the entire hike.  Too many choices out there to test out.  Em found hers first and was pleased with her choice.  Brenna then felt the pressure to find one for herself.  There was a moment on the trail when all the adults turned their backs for just a quick moment and then we heard Em squeal "oh my gosh!".  When we turned around we saw Brenna trying to wrestle with a "tree" that she had picked for her walking stick.  The limb was so heavy for her that it was throwing her around where she stood just from trying to lift it and balance it.  We laughed so hard it hurt.  That girl is determined.

As you can tell in this pic we convinced her that the "tree" would not be a good choice and she picked another, much smaller version.  The compact model.  :)

It was a beautiful day down by the lake.  Very pretty scenery.  The boys were enjoying the day with sharing common interests in hiking, exploring and just anything to do with nature.  We caught them in a "Lewis & Clark" moment down by the lake.  Too funny!

After our bit of hiking we were off to see a different spot of the lake where there is a pier where you can walk out over the water and see another pretty view of the lake.  The girls thought that was cool to be up over the water.  There was a gentleman and his wife who were fishing off the banks and showed the girls what they had caught so far.  Brenna thought that was cool and wondered if there were sharks or whales out there.  Isn't funny what is just sitting in those little minds, just waiting to pop out.  I love it.

I was able to catch a wonderful moment with the girls adoring each other.  The two of them love each other to no end, even though some days you would wonder.  Usually that is only when two little ones get tired.  I always try to hit home to them that they need to be kind and loving to one another because one day there may be a time when all they have is each other.  I do see where teaching them to like, love and depend on each other has hit home for them and can only hope that it is forever.  Brenna says Em is her best friend for life.  I'm feeling a tear coming on.  Okay, it's gone as I hear the two of them disagreeing about something in the other room.  Gotta love it.

So after another wonderful afternoon, back to the house we went past the twisty turny road.  It was nice to see that there are other not so freaky options for getting to the other side of the hill where the house is.  It was hard getting thing together for our trip home.  We didn't want to leave Gary and Chris.  The girls told them to go ahead and move now and they could stay with us.  After packing all of our stuff in the truck, we cleaned the "bus" out so it could be brought back to Bill.  Gary said he was shocked about that and didn't expect that.  He was just glad to help us have a great time together.  You are awesome Bill!  Then there was baths to had and then some serious snacking and scrounging to had be had for dinner.  It was funny to see some of the choices that were being made.  No one is picky in this group.  Sometimes those are the best dinners.  Especially when there was a game of cribbage to be played.  All I can say is that the girls did not get doubled skunked.  Sorry Chris because I know I'm not the best partner in this game.  But it was fun!  At the end of the evening Matt, Gary & Chris' son, made it in from the 2 hr. drive from Fort Lewis.  He wanted to see us again before we left early in the morning.  It was nice to see how much he had grown also.  Especially since he decided to go into the military.  Very proud of him!  There was another game to be played and then it was off to bed for everyone since we were leaving early.  I don't think anyone wanted to the trip to end because the four of us stayed up late yacking when we should have been sleeping.

It rained hard during the night and it had slacked off a bit in the morning.  It took forever to get in the truck and back out of the driveway.  But finally we were headed down the road, back for home.  We thought about stopping at the falls again but it was raining too much.  The storm that had come in over the night was dealt with for the entire trip back home until about the last 1 1/2 hrs.  At least it wasn't as windy and Glenn didn't have to hang on for dear life to keep the truck on the road.  I wasn't impressed when we had to go back up Deadmans Pass.  The clouds were so thick all the way up the road that you couldn't see 3 or 4 white lines ahead of you.  I tried not to focus on that and was reading the map even though I knew where we were going.

It was good to get home.  But that was short lived as we were bringing things in the house and I made my way downstairs to the computer room.  The leak was back and it was louder!  My stress level went up and I was sick to my stomach for a few days until we FINALLY located the stupid leak and got a plumber in to fix it.  And yes, it was under the slab foundation of the house.  Luckily the new water line did not have to go under the house and it was run through the walls of the furnace room.  So now I am noise free and I'm not asking everyone "what's that noise".  At least not as much.  The only noise I have to deal with now is the rock tumbler that had to be started as soon as we got home.  :)  Love it.

The rest of the week that Glenn had off was spent exploring areas we have never been around our house.  That is a goal of ours to make sure we are not wasting days sitting at home when there are places to be seen and explored.  It seems that there are different priorities around here for the last couple of months and we are liking it.  Glenn and I are making the most of things and making sure the girls are growing up with some wonderful memories other than sitting in front of the boob tube and playing video games.  Life is not all about work but spending as much time together as possible.  Em said it's sad to think of all the other people who put petty material things at the top of their list and don't put family first.  YES!!  I'm so proud.  So off we go for some exploring that will be remembered forever.

It's going to be a scorcher here today and the girls are itching to play in the sprinklers.  I've got to go find something easy for dinner that doesn't include the oven.  I'm trying not to use the A/C until the very end of the day.  I had all the windows open at 6am to let all the cool air in the house.  Hope everyone has a FAB day and I will be in the shade with some lemonade finishing the latest crochet project I started.  Hopefully today.  :)


17 May 2009

Another day at the coast!

Yesterday was another fun day of exploring here for our gang.  I will post about that in a couple of days.  Very cool place that we have never gone to see and it  so near our house.  This is why we are trying to make an effort to get out more and see things that we would otherwise never see because we would be sitting on our big ole' butts doing absolutely nothing. So, without further delay, back to the trip to Oregon... 

On to day 5 at Gary and Chris'.  We still had the bus that good ole' Bill lent us.  And "G' was our driver again.  A very good driver I must say!  (yes, I'm buttering him up.)  :)  We headed out to pick up Amanda and Justin this time at our meeting place at a casino along the way.  Amazing how many people were already there so early in the morning willing to throw their money away.  Maybe I should have stood out front asking for donations to a family fund (mine).  Better than feeding it to machines.  Anyhoo, our first stop was at Lincoln City, Or. where we went looking for glass floats that local glass blowers make and leave along the high tide area of the beach.  Nothing to find.  I think some very early risers beat us to them.  The guys went looking at all the driftwood that was ALL OVER the beach.  Definitely not a beach I would go swimming in when the tide comes in.  Too much to get tangled in.  But it was awfully neat to see all of the wood and all of its shapes.  Very neat.  

We saw some harbor seals and sea lions on the beach across from us.  Very noisy creatures they are.  It was cool watching them flop around, sliding in and out of the water and thumping each other if one of them got in the way of something.  The girls thought it was cool.  They had quieted down for a few minutes and Amanda took her cell phone out and played a recording she had on there.  Yes, it was seal sounds and yes the little buggers across the way started up again and a few even jumped in the water.  Needless to say Amanda was ordered to put that thing away before she invited them over and didn't realize it.  The girls thought that was pretty darn hilarious.  After the visit to this beach, we headed down the road to Depoe Bay, Or. where there is a whale watching center.  We weren't able to see any passing by on their way to Alaska while we were there but the girls were able to learn quite a bit about whales and how they "work" (as Brenna said).  They were able to touch a sample of baleen that was from a whale that was beached a long time ago.  Pretty cool!  Very informational place.  A must see if going through Depoe Bay.

After our attempt of whale watching, we were back on the road headed to Newport, Or. to stop at Yaquina Head National Park.  We were so glad we stopped here.  We had so much fun!  I could have spent all day there, as long as the tide stayed out. :)  We arrived while it was still low tide so we passed on the hiking trails and went straight for the tide pools below the lighthouse.  Cobble beach was so amazing(the link is a pic of the beach at high tide to show how far up the water comes and covers everywhere we were standing).  There is no sand.  Only black, round rocks that make up the beach.  And no, one can not take them as a souvenir.   And you have to be careful walking down to the tide pools on the rocks because you will start sliding.  Yes, I know. :)  I have never seen so many cool creatures in all my life!  There is nothing like this down in the Gulf I have ever seen while growing up around that area.  There were tons of starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, mussels, limpets, crabs, on and on and on.  Too much to see I tell you.  You could touch things, carefully and surely had to make sure that you didn't step on the mussels that were everywhere.  It felt like you were playing a game of Twister as you were watching were you stepped.  :)

There were so many colors of starfish (5 legs)!  Pink, purple, red, orange!  Way too cool!  We didn't see any sun stars (9-10 legs) but we looked as hard as we could.  And there would be 15 or more or crowded together in one pool.  Never seen that many all at once before either.  I was as excited as the kids were.  I didn't try to contain myself a wee bit though.  Just a wee bit.

There were purple sea urchins and red ones too!  And you could see where they would wear away the rock to make their little "beds"  Did not know that they could erode the rock away like that.  The mussel shells are left to cover them because otherwise the birds some down to the pools and pick the urchins out and fly off with them.  Most of the time the birds just drop them in the parking lot above when they can't eat them.  Mean little buggers.

We came across a Gumboot Chiton.  And they really do look like the sole on a gum rubber boot.  Very funny.  Their skin is hard and leathery feeling.  Weird touching it.

The girls had fun going all over seeing all the little pools with all the creatures in them.  Brenna was timid at first but the more she saw Em checking things out she went for it too. :)  You see in the pic how thick the mussels were on the rocks.  Very neat!

A tide pool with everything huddling together.

There were a group of kids there also on a field trip from school checking things out at the pools.  We tried to stay out of their way because they were running around not really paying attention to the rules of not stepping on the mussels and staying out of the tide pools.  The poor ranger that was there was running ragged reminding them of the rules and not killing things.  Finally the field trip ended and we left with the pools all to ourselves to share with a few older couples.  The ranger came up to us and asked if we were with the field trip.  Glenn and I told him no and that we were from out of state on vacation and that we homeschool.  You won't see my kids not listening and acting up like the other kids.  So he asked if he could show the girls some creatures that he didn't show the others because he was afraid the creatures would be killed.  See, it does pay to listen and obey the rules!

So off we all went to go see a sunflower star (24 legs)!!!  Yes, 24 legs!!!  Never seen anything like that in my life!  I just had to stand and watch it for a bit.  Amazing!  Very squishy feeling.  Not as hard as the starfish.  We saw two of them at the pools.  One a grayish pink and one was an orangey red.  

Then we were off to see a sea lemon.  It is a type of sea slug.  And when you touch it your hand smells like lemon!  Very cool.  You can see it hidden in all the kelp on the rock.  It's yellow "tongue" was out eating on some of the kelp while we were watching.  Pretty cool! 

Then we were shown the purple shore crabs that hide under the cobble stones at the waters edge.  So cute!  Em was brave enough to hold one but not Brenna.  It one thing to touch something that doesn't move very fast at all.  But not something that scoots right across your hand and arm.  The ranger told Em to keep her hands right down by the rocks otherwise if the crab fell, the fall would kill him.  Didn't want that!

The ranger also told us that if we hung around for another hour or two the high tide would come back into the pools and we could hear the cobbles sing.  Apparently when the waves come over the rocks and goes back a bit the movement of the rocks sound like singing.  That would have been cool to hear but we had so much more to see.  So we told him thanks for the wonderful tour and back up the stairs we went to head of to the lighthouse.  When we got almost to the top again Chris started yelling at everyone to turn around and look out past the huge rocks around the tide pools.  Very deep water there.  And to our surprise there was a gray whale splashing around  out there!  If he had been out there while we were in the pools we couldn't see him because of all the big rocks separating things!  Did that make our day!  We all just about pee'd our pants.  I even saw a spray further out in the water from another one going by!  That was the best!  I'm so glad we all got to see the whales.  It made the whole trip complete.  So up to the light house we went where I was convinced into going up to the top.  It took some convincing.  I'm not a fan for steep stairs that one could slip and break a neck on.  Too much huh.  I'm a wuss.  Of course I made the little mtn. goats go ahead of me with Glenn so I wouldn't have to see them "running" up the stairs and make me freak out.  Nice view at the top but I was glad to get back to the bottom.

After that wonderful stop we were off for the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  Another very cool place.  I hear there is another attraction nearby that a lot of people mistaken for the aquarium and its very cheesy.  If you visit make sure you go to the OCA.  There were tons of things to see!  The jellies were mine and Glenn's favorite.  These red and yellow ones were so pretty!

And then the "normal" jellies were so beautiful!  They were huddling all together in a big mass and the tank looked so cool with the purpley pink color the jellies gave off.  They were hypnotizing.  We were all there watching for quite a bit.  Brenna said they looked like see through marsh mellows

Then there were to touch pools for the kids.  Yes, even the big kids!  Em had no fear what so ever.  She finally convinced Brenna to touch the little stingray and then couldn't get enough.  Another little girl came up and was afraid to touch.  Brenna told her not to be afraid because she was brave enough to touch him  and "I'm always scared to touch creatures".  So she got the little girl to touch and she didn't want to leave that touch pool either.  They all had to check out the horseshoe crab and the baby sand shark that was also there.  The little girls parents told Brenna thanks for telling their daughter to try it.  Brenna told them "you're welcome".  Yes, they just about fell over.  We heard them say "you never hear that anymore" as they were walking away still watching Brenna.  We all got a big kick out of that.  There was another  touch pool full of starfish, sun stars, sunflower stars, sea worms, crabs, etc.  that the girls had a blast at also.  Very cool.  We even saw sea pens in a tank in another room.  Very pretty!    We went by one dark tank that had the biggest crabs I have ever seen in my life!  They were almost as big as Sassy and Rex!  Yes, dog size!  Glenn and Gary both decided that would be some good eating, so we got them away from there in a hurry.  :)  Then after all our exploring all the tanks we went outside to see...

The sea lions and harbor seals.  So very cute!  And very big hams.  The minute they saw people coming up to the exhibit, down in the water they went to show off.

Then we saw sea otters that were HUGE!!  I bet as big as Brenna.  No joke.  And can they rip open a clam and clean that bugger out with one tug!  Cuddly cute but very big.

There was one BIG octopus in a tank.  My picture didn't come out great.  He had himself crammed into a crack in the rocks in the back of the tank.  Not something I would want to meet up with in the water. 

Then off to see the passages of the deep where all different kinds of fish and things are.  Sturgeon, sharks, sting rays, etc.  Awesome walking through the walk ways with everything swimming around you.

And last but not least, the sea bird aviary.  Very pretty birds.  The common murres look like penguins a bit when on the rocks, but these birds fly.  The puffins were pretty and there was one there who I don't think had a full picnic basket, if you know what I mean.  Even the volunteer there said that one particular one is stranger than the rest and loves to come up and splash anyone who gets near the glass.  The other just mind their own business.

Of course you know the girls had to get a souviener at the gift shop.  A couple of t-shirts and a stuffed animal stingray for each was picked out.  And then as we were about to go pay, my trusty pal Glenn spotted the jacket!  Yes, I finally found a nice jacket without cheesy embroidery on it.  I was happy and didn't even look at the price tag.  The colors were nice and the embroidery for the aquarium was nice so I didn't even pay attention to how much.  Let's just say that when we went to pay and the lady said "Wow!  I didn't know these jackets were only $33!"  I was very pleased and so was Glenn.  You could see the sigh of relief that came over him.  LOL!!!

So after this long exciting, most wonderful day, back we headed home after a stop for dinner.  "G" did not disappoint with the drive home and can you believe that after we dropped Amanda and Justin off to their car, we finally finished the ABC game!  We had found the last three most difficult letters on our way back home.  We all gave a great big cheer!  That is the longest it has ever taken to play one game.  Once home, there was some puppy time to be had, some snacking to be done and just some kicking back.

Very good day it was!  Everyone hit the sack with smiles on their faces.  It was hard for us all to stop talking about all we had seen.  AWESOME!!!

Well, off to plants some things in the flower beds before it gets too warm out.  Hope everyone finds something that makes them happy today.  Just being outside with the girls is enough for me.  Glenn is off with a friend at the Bruneau Dunes.  It makes me nervous just because the two of them alone ALWAYS seem to find trouble somewhere and one of them always come back with a boo-boo of some sort.  Never fails!  There was a hiking trip once that included Glenn slipping, then sliding down the side of a hill only to crash at the bottom and nearly knocking himself out cold.  Don't ask.  Long story about the coming home bit.  You would probably think I was ever so evil.  Just know that I had warned the boys not to go on that trip that day but no one listened to me.  They do now, a little bit.

Anyhoo, have fun and smile!