The Best Day, 2017 Edition

Probably the single best day of 2017 took place in early July. It was preceded by a series of unfortunate events, which I feel compelled to outline. In November of 2015 we had a failed pregnancy. For the next year and a half we were again trying to add a little one to our family. For me, that meant doctor visits with fertility specialists, procedures, pills, injections, ultrasounds, blood tests, peeing on so many sticks (ovulation tests and pregnancy tests) etc. Most of the time it was physically and emotionally unpleasant and at sometimes it went well beyond unpleasant. I understand that other couples go through far more when dealing with infertility and sadly, some end up with far less. So I suppose that all in all, it wasn't too bad. But it was bad enough. Then in June 2017, Josh switched jobs, which meant that we had a month without insurance. We got to take a break from the fertility stuff but would have to make some difficult decisions when we went back to it. Here is where …

Island Park and Yellowstone

August began in Island Park, Idaho for a family reunion. We spent a few days in Yellowstone, went on a hike, floated a portion of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, played volleyball, ate yummy food, and made memories. Eli still regularly mentions the cabin in Idaho and asks when we will be going back.

The whole Mendenhall crew

All of the cousins.
Eli and Susan on an old train bridge over Henry's Fork. 
Checking out Big Spring, which is the source of Henry's Fork. There were tons of huge trout swimming right below us. 
Our first day at Yellowstone was a bust. We left the house late, had to stop at a pharmacy in West Yellowstone for some Benadryl, and got stuck in the wrong line of cars entering the park. By the time we actually go in the park it was time for lunch. After a picnic lunch we tried to go see a few things but there were cars and people everywhere. It was crowded, hot, and quite unpleasant. We did go to Firehole Canyon, which is one of only two places in the P…


When the weather is rainy and cold from October to June, you really appreciate the sunny days. What better way to appreciate the sun than spending some time outside? Some of our July was spent at the King County Fair, going camping with friends, and swimming in a local river. 
Rides at the fair.
Josh and I soaking in the summer.
We have gone camping with the Toltons every summer for the last three years. It's basically a tradition. These boys have so much fun together!
Riding around in the raft. We didn't take very many pictures of our camping trip. But we had a great time! 
On a hot day we decided to head to the river. We've been to this spot once before and there were quite a few people. This time, we had the river to ourselves and it was super fun.

Lake Valhalla

In early July we hiked into Lake Valhalla, which is about 7 miles round trip. There was still a fair amount of snow, which was fun. Who doesn't enjoy a snowball fight in July? The water was crystal clear and we could see trout swimming around, though they didn't have any interest in our fishing lures. The water was also ice cold but that didn't stop Josh from taking a dip in the lake. I could barely even keep my feet in the water for 30 seconds before they starting stinging from the cold. He said the water was warmer where he was, but even if that was true, it couldn't have been that much warmer. Several other people who were at the lake went in as well, so maybe I'm just a wimp.

One of the snow crossings. Closer to the lake basin the snow patches got larger and decidedly cleaner.
This is some beautiful county.
View of the lake after crossing the ridge into the lake basin.
Eli chillin' on a log, eating a snack. I'm pretty sure his favorite part of hiking is…


In June we flew to Los Angeles to spend some time with Josh's Grandpa, Papa or Great Papa to Eli. His health had been getting progressively worse and we wanted to be able to spend some time with him before he passed. We saw Papa at his house right after we got into LA and he was not doing well. By that afternoon he was admitted into the hospital. He was in the hospital for the duration of our stay, but by the time we left he seemed like he was doing quite a bit better and would be released soon. As it turns out, he was released from the hospital but passed away later that summer, in August. We are so grateful that we were able to make the trip down to see him one last time.

We were in LA for about a week, and though we visited Papa in the hospital almost every day, there was still a lot of time to have some fun. We spent one day at Disneyland, which was extra special because it was Eli's first time. Josh, Eli, and Josh's dad (who Eli calls Papa) went on a fishing trip, and…

Anniversaries, Air Shows, Academics, and Ammunition

Josh and I celebrated our 11 year wedding anniversary by going to Portland for the weekend. We had planned on taking the train down but as we were walking out the door to drive to the train station (literally walking out the door) we received a call saying the train was cancelled. There was a big storm and there were 11 mudslides on the track between our Station and Portland. We were all packed and ready to go, so we just drove down instead. We had a great time exploring the city and ate a lot of good food while we were there.
Outside the Pittock Mansion on the hills above Portland.
For the last two years we have gone to an Air Show at Paine Field in Everett, WA. It is a historic airshow, so the planes are predominately WWII era. It is a fun air show. 
Checking out the airplanes
For the 2016-2017 school year, Eli and three friends participated in joy school. The other mom's and I would take turns hosting a little class once a week. The kids loved it and it was a nice introduction …


We had a few fun outings in April. The first was to the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union. There are several small boats that are open for the public to climb into and many that are owned privately or being restored that you can view only from the dock. We totally lucked out and a woman who is in the process of restoring a rather large (50' maybe?) sailboat invited us onto her boat to see  the restoration while it was in process. It was pretty neat.

I love this kid. 
In one of the boats.
 The next event in April was Easter. We dyed some eggs and went to the egg hunt at the park across the street from our house.
Showing off the eggs he liked most. 
Post egg hunt, with quite the haul.
Also in April, we acquired a small inflatable raft. We went to test out the raft and Eli's new fishing pole on a local lake. The wind was brisk enough that the raft drifted at a rather fast pace, too fast for Josh to both fish and paddle. So while there were no fish caught, at least we know the…