Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Canadian Christmas

Before Christmas there was the annual trip into the woods to find our tree and play in the snow. Finding snow was easy but the trees were elusive. Last year we found a spot that had some nice trees and we were hoping to go back to the same area. However, the snow was much deeper this year and there were trucks stuck all along the road, which made it impassible. I'm not certain we would have made all the way in our Subaru even if other vehicles weren't blocking the road, but it would have been fun to try. Outings like this make me miss Idaho. There are probably places in eastern Washington that aren't so busy, but this close to Seattle even the forests are crowded. So rather than find a tree we found a spot to play in the snow, enjoyed our traditional lunch of chili and hot chocolate, and then went to a tree farm for a tree. I will say, it was the prettiest tree we have ever had so it wasn't all bad. We will give the mountain another try this year.

Eating the snow. 

Chili and hot chocolate

The snow thwarted our plans but it sure was beautiful.

Tractor ride through the tree farm

We drove to Creston, B.C. to spend Christmas with my sister's family and my parents. Eli had some sort of stomach bug the day we drove out, which was unpleasant. He woke up seeming fine but by the time we were packed and ready to go he did not feel well. He vomited twice in the car but overall it could have been much worse. When we arrived at my sister's house he went right to bed and woke up the next morning feeling just fine. Hallelujah, it was a Christmas miracle. 

While in Creston we went sledding, skiing (Eli's first time, my second time), ice skating, swimming, played volleyball, and ate yummy food. We had a really fantastic time. Spending time with family is always fun but the snow makes it magic, especially at Christmas.

Aunt Anita towing Eli to the top of the bunny hill. 

Eli Skiing for the first time.

L to R: Josh, Scott, me, Anita. 

Josh has waited 11 years for this to happen. 

He was pretty excited to finally get me on a ski hill.

The community center in Creston has a pretty sweet sledding hill. We went sledding two different times and I'm not sure Eli loved it, but he did love playing in the snow and having snowball fights. 

Eli and I

Josh and I wiped out.

Grandma and Grandpa

Snowball fight!

Ice Skating

The whole crew.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

East Coast Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving we visited Josh's brother and his family in Virginia. We hadn't been to visit since they moved to VA several years ago and they have had two kids in that time. We were excited to meet our nephews and Eli was excited to meet his cousins. We were also looking forward to doing some East Coast sightseeing.

Our first adventure was to an old mill near their home. The water wheel and gears were incredible, the movement was almost hypnotic.

At the Burwell-Morgan Mill

Our next adventure took us into Washington D.C. for the day. One day was definitely not enough time to see everything we wanted to see, but we really enjoyed our time there. To get to D.C. we drove about an hour to a Metro station and took that the rest of the way. Eli and cousin Benjamin both seemed to really enjoy the ride on the train. We enjoyed it too, other than when Eli decided to lick the handrail. That may be the most disgusting thing he has ever done. 

Once in D.C. we headed to the Air and Space Smithsonian. After that we went to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Then we made the long trek to the other end of the National Mall to see the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. 

Chillin' on the Metro, before he licked the handrail.

Josh and Eli enjoying the Air and Space museum

Checking out a video about what it would be like to land on an aircraft carrier. 
L to R: Josh, Eli, Benjamin, Jereme.

Washington Monument

My boy and I


National Archives

On our way to visit President Lincoln

Not every day you get a photo op with a former president.

Starting to get cold. 
The downside of going to D.C. in November is that it was pretty cold. Especially when the sun starts going down, which was at about 4:30pm.  

Sunset on the Washington Monument.

After our day in D.C. we went on a road trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I hadn't heard of the Outer Banks but as we were planning our trip Josh mentioned that this was somewhere he really wanted to go. So we rented a house for a few days and spent Thanksgiving in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Odd name, cool place. The house we stayed at was 3 blocks from the Atlantic coast to the east and about 10 blocks from Kitty Hawk Bay to the west. On Thanksgiving we spent some time in the morning at the beach and then rode bikes to the Bay in the evening to see the sunset. 

Neither of Jereme and Christy's cars fit all 7 of us, so we rented a van. It was supposed to be a mini-van but when we went to pick it up they didn't have any available. So we were "upgraded". Nothing says "party" quite like a 15 passenger van.

Benjamin enjoying the beach. 

When you are on vacation by the beach, you play in the water. Even if it is only 50 degrees outside. Although, we've gotten used to beaches here in WA, which seem to always have bad weather so this was just a regular day at the beach for us. 

Sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay on Thanksgiving Day

Enjoying the sunset


The sunset was incredible.

The day after Thanksgiving we checked out the Wright Brother's memorial.

"In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright conceived by genius, achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith."

Enjoying the beach one last time.


Our final adventure was to Harper's Ferry in West Virginia. It's an incredible little town nestled between the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. The history of the town and it's involvement in the Civil War was really interesting. 

National Armory Fire Engine House. Also known as John Brown's fort.

The Appalachian Trail runs through Harper's Ferry so we got a quick family picture on the A.T.

We had such a great time visiting Jereme and Christy and their boys. They were gracious hosts and tour guides and we are really hoping to be able to go visit them again. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

This and That

August, September, and October went by and we took only a few pictures. It's sad really, we did some fun things. In August we went camping on the coast with some friends. They have a son the same age as Eli and they are good buddies. Even though it was August, the weather was not very warm and the water is always cold but they didn't seem to mind. We camped only one night, but it was a great time with friends.

The only decent picture from the camping trip. 

Josh missed the next adventure because of work, but a few weeks after camping Eli and I went to my parents house in Idaho to spend time with my family. We were camping for most of the time there as well. All of Eli's cousins from the Mendenhall side of the family were there and most of the aunts and uncles.

Ginger, Eli, and Kimberly getting the last of the whipped cream from the mixing bowl.

Hanging out in the back of Grandpa's truck. (L to R: Andrew, Susan, Ginger, Kimberly, Lilly, Eli, MaKenna)

This was the view from our campsite. There was a river running right by the campsite, which was really wonderful as most of the days we spent there we over 90 degrees. The haze in the photo was caused by a huge wildfire. We went rafting while we were there (5 adults and 6 kids in one raft for 2 hours...) and from where we put the raft in you could see where the highway was closed due to the fire. 

I didn't get any pictures of all the fun we had playing with family, watching two musicals in an outdoor theater, sleeping in grandma and grandpa's camper (Eli loved the camper), rafting the river, floating another, smaller river, or riding four wheelers, but we had a great time. 

In early October Eli and I went on a hike to Snow Lake. It is just over 7 miles round trip. The longest hike Eli had done up to this point was 5 miles, so I wasn't sure if we would make it. I was ok with not making it all the way, I just wanted to see what we could do and still enjoy our day. This was one of the best days of parenthood to date. Watching Eli enjoy doing something I love was incredible. We stopped along the trail to throw rocks, we saw some pika, ate some snacks, and enjoyed one of the last sunny days on the trail before snow and weather shut us down for the season. There were a few times when he required a word or two of encouragement, but I was also completely willing to turn around before the lake if he started getting too tired or if he wasn't enjoying it anymore. That was the amazing part; he was loving it as much as I was. We were singing and exploring and laughing as we hiked. It was the best.  

Enjoying some sandwich at the lake.

The only thing that could have made the day better was if Josh could have joined us. 

Snow Lake from the top of the ridge. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Air Show and Bertha May

In late July we went to an air show at Payne Field in Everett. It was predominantly WWII era airplanes, which was pretty cool. I think air shows are interesting but Josh and Eli both really enjoy them.

Inside the Pan American DC-3

Two happy guys 

Eli was not a fan of the teeth on this P-40

Watching the show. 

We think this is a Grumman Hellcat

A few weeks later we went on a hike to Bertha May and Pothole Lakes. Pothole is a good descriptor for both the lake and the road to the trailhead. We ended up parking on the side of the road and walking the last hundred yards to the trailhead because we did not have the clearance to tackle the last section of "road".

The hike was fairly short and the bushes around the trail were packed with huckleberries. They were ripe, and dense, and delicious. The abundance huckleberries made up for the total lack of fish. We always hope there will be good fishing in the lakes we hike to, but that seems to rarely be the case. 

Trying to catch some fish

They were pretty far out on that log. 

These small frogs were everywhere. There were thousands of them hopping about. At times it looked like the ground was moving as they would hop to move away from our feet.

So tiny! They really were kind of cute.  

So many berries! They were big for huckleberries too. 

The lovely Bertha May