In late April, the family celebrated Hannah’s 13th birthday. Our first and oldest grandchild is now officially a teenager. She is a beautiful, talented, lovely young lady. It’s so hard to believe she is 13 already. Watching the grandchildren grow is amazing. Time literally seems to fly. Happy 13th birthday, Hannah. I am so very proud of who you have grown to be.
On April 20, 2012 I walked into the office to play on the computer and glanced out the window to our front yard. To my amazement, there was a giant, beautiful pheasant strolling on our lawn. I ran to get my camera, and was able to get a fairly good shot of him through the office window. I did sneak quietly outside to try to get a better photo, but he sauntered off into the field next door. I’ve seen him in our yard again since that first encounter. Apparently he likes our grass and flowers. Anyway, just wanted to share this beautiful guy with you – our new pheasant friend.
In early March, Thom and I decided to take a little getaway to Pendleton, Oregon. We visited the Pendleton Museum first. It’s fairly small, but has a lot of interesting items – like the “square grand piano”, antique fire apparatus, an original old cabin (complete with outhouse and root cellar), and a train caboose you can walk through (small quarters in a caboose). The museum is very interesting, has a nice little gift shop, reasonable fee to get in, and the volunteers running it are very friendly, knowledgeable, and informative about the museum and the Pendleton area.
Our second sightseeing goal was to tour the Pendleton Underground and Floozy House. I had never heard of the “underground” before in the terms that there is literally a catacomb of rooms beneath the city sidewalks, containing a variety of businesses (no longer active). The Pendleton Underground contained a butcher shop, ice cream parlor, pool room, bowling alley, several card playing/drinking rooms (most popular during prohibiition as you can imagine), a Chinese laundry, a small jail (which Thom and I were residents of for a short time as you can see above), and an opium den. If you are ever in Pendleton, I highly recommend the tour. I was truly fascinated.
Upon exiting the underground, the tour continued to the floozy house (again, no longer active) where gentlemen (or perhaps not so gentlemanly men) could rent “cozy rooms”. The gentleman would come into the house, pick a lady, and retire to the cozy room. The madame who ran this particular floozy house actually had a chapel room so the working girls could attend Sunday services. The girls had rooms they worked in (the cozy rooms) and rooms they lived in. The accomodations were actually pretty nice. The Madame’s room, parlor, and sitting area were the nicest of course.
You can see photos of the museum, underground, and floozy house by clicking here. We thoroughly enjoyed our few days in Pendleton and plan to go back again. Next time we plan to visit the Pendleton Wool Factory and the local Indian museum.
On March 4, 2012 Thom and I, Jim and Becka, and the grandkids took a family day trip. We drove to Multnomah Falls where we had a most yummy buffet breakfast in the restaurant there. You can eat your meal and see the falls through the huge windows. The food is outstanding.
After eating, we took a small hike to the top of the lower falls and a bit beyond. Absolutely beautiful views. Next trip, we shall attempt the fairly long and very steep hike to the top of the upper falls. People coming down from there told us it was well worth the hike.
After enjoying the falls, we headed for the Bonneville Dam where we toured the Visitors’ Center. The salmon run stairs are pretty cool. We were only able to see a couple of random salmon meandering through the undergound viewing area. At peak season, thousands of salmon can be seen traveling upstream.
A very short drive from the Bonneville dam is a fish hatchery; so we visited that also. Lots and lots of breeding of various types of fish. Along with the gazillions of little baby fish, we saw very large rainbow trout and absolutely huge sturgeon.
You can see photos of our adventures by clicking here. It was a wonderful family day – filled with beauty, learning, fun and laughter.
Thom and I had a terrific weekend (January 28-29, 2012). We went to Jim and Becka’s house on Saturday to celebrate Levi’s 9th birthday. We had a nice time visiting with family there, watching Levi open and enjoy his gifts, and eating some delicious sandwiches and birthday cake. It was especially nice to hear Hannah, Becka, and Steve play piano. When the party was over, we brought Levi home to spend the night with us.
We took Levi to dinner at a local hamburger joint called “Alf’s”. It’s named after the monkey who resides in a room adjacent to the dining room area. You can watch the monkey’s antics through a big glass window as you eat. Alf is a cute monkey, dressed in shorts. He was quite entertaining – swinging off the bars in his habitat, hiding under his blanket, and coming to the window to gaze at the diners. I think Alf must feel that the diners are his entertainment, not the other way around. Levi seemed to enjoy his butterscotch shake and footlong chilli dog; and watching the monkey. When we got home, we all sat down and watched “Predator versus Aliens” and “War of the Worlds”.
On Sunday morning, we headed for Mariners’ Square in Newport, OR. Even though it poured rain the entire day, we had a terrific time. We went to the Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the Undersea Gardens. We had lunch at a little place just down the street from Ripley’s. I had a delicious chicken sandwich, Thom had a yummy omelet, and Levi had a humongous banana pancake. He wanted a large pancake, but the waitress told us the small pancake was plenty big. Thankfully we ordered the small pancake because it was a little a larger than the plate – a good 14″ in diameter – the biggest “small” pancake I’ve ever seen. Levi managed to eat half of it.
We got Levi back to his house on Sunday evening. It was a most satisfying weekend all around – full of fun, adventure, and new memories. You can see pictures of this wonderful weekend by clicking here.
Happy 9th birthday, Levi Samuel! Can’t wait to see what we can get up to next year!
Well, so much for my idea of updating my blog monthly. It’s been over three months since my last post. Being retired, I thought time would pass more slowly and leisurely and I’d find myself with lots of time on my hands. Hasn’t happened that way. Instead I’ve discovered that time flies and it flies pretty darn fast.
Multiple events have occurred since my last post:
- Thom and I went on a weekend trip to Ocean Shores, WA. I loved it, but Thom found it to be a bit too foggy, gloomy, and cold weatherwise. It made walking on the beach easy though because we were the only ones there visiting a multitude of seagulls and pelicans.
- Since Thom and Jim’s birthdays are both in September, we celebrated them together at our house. Thom’s 60th birthday and Jim’s 36th.
- October brought the celebration of Simone’s birthday; and, of course, Halloween. Our first Halloween in our new home; and we had probably 30 trick-or-treaters. It was fun.
- On our way to San Diego, we spent a couple days in Carpenteria (near Santa Barbara). We had a lovely time walking the beach in Carpenteria and visiting Santa Barbara.
- We attended our niece’s wedding in San Diego. Briana and Zac were married on 11/11/11. It was truly a fairy tale wedding. The highlight for me was that all four of us siblings (me, Larry, Lisa, and Linda) were together and that rarely happens.
- While in San Diego, we got to see Craig, Brenna, and Charlotte. Charlotte grows as quickly as time flies. It was great to go to Gymboree with them and watch Charlotte play and learn.
- We visited Dave and Joy in November; and had a lot of fun watching Davey and Katey playing soccer.
- Thanksgiving was celebrated at Mom and Dad’s home in Yuma, AZ. Lisa was there also; and Larry came by. Since Briana and Zac live in Yuma, we also got to visit them for a bit in their home there.
- December was filled with fun. We went to a nearby tree farm and got our first ever fresh cut Christmas tree (a noble fir). We invited the grandkids over to help decorate it. Christmas day was spent at Jim and Becka’s home. The grandkids got a beautiful piano from Jim and Becka which they were absolutely thrilled with. Then, of course, we had the joy of listening to them all take turns playing. All the kids, with the exception of Sophie, play very well. Sophie will start taking lessons in another couple of years.
- January found us driving back to California to attend the wedding of our nephew, Tim. Tim and Tracy Lynn were married in Hesperia on January 7th. It was a beautiful wedding.
- Back home again, we woke up to a blanket of snow at our house on January 15th. Everything looked so pristine and white and peaceful and gorgeous.
Clicking on the links throughout this blog will take you to pictures of the different events. I must say that I am loving it in Oregon – the rain, the lush green pines, the clouds, the hills, being able to see the grandkids and Jim and Becka more often . . . it’s all I dreamed of retiring for and it’s a dream come true.
There you have it. I would tell you that I’ll blog more often, but I’ve said that once before and we know what happened . . . three months later. Ah well, I’m sure you know . . . time flies.
Thom and I recently babysat the grandkids (kind of a misnomer since only Sophie is a baby now) for four days while their parents went to the PAX Convention. We had an awesome time with them. We played games, had a picnic at the park, and took them to the State Fair held in Salem. This was the largest fair I have ever been to. Quite impressive. We watched part of a loggers competition, the kids participated in a Lego Ninja Spinners event; and we all walked through barns full of gigantic cattle, enormous pigs, soft sheep, and a variety of barnyard fowl. They also had great food, photography, quilts, and crafts exhibits that we all enjoyed. The kids were treated to a vibrating foot massage (photo above) to help their weary feet. Of course, the kids had to go on a couple of the scary carnival rides. Thankfully they had a peaceful little canoe ride for Sophie Grace – she loved it and went on it twice. You can see pictures of our time with the grandkids by clicking here. We had a ball; and Jim and Becka had a great time at PAX – it was win-win all the way. Looking forward to next year’s adventure.
We got inspired in August to make some minor home and yard improvements. We added decorations to the patio/deck area and the kitchen; and we did some planting outside in the yard.
The kitchen now has a sunflower theme which I really like. We got a variety of vases, pots, bottles to decorate the cabinet tops and the counter. Then we placed artificial sunflowers, leaves, twigs, and other flowers in them. I’m really pleased with the result. The kitchen is brighter and more cheerful. On a return trip from California recently, we purchased a couple of carved wooden pine trees from a quaint restaurant in southern Oregon. They now decorate the deck/patio wall. Going for a foresty/woodsy feel there.
We have done a lot of planting in the front and back yard. In the front yard we planted a dwarf pine, several mum plants, a hydrangea, and foxglove. I so love that we can grow such a wide variety of beautiful flowers here. In the back yard we planted several aborviates, one “Dick Clark” red rose bush, one yellow rose vine, a pine tree, an evergreen bush, and a magnolia tree. When all these plants grow up, the yard will look awesome. The magnolia tree is about 8′ tall now. It is evergreen so it will look nice year-round; and in the spring/summer it will get these huge awesome white blossoms.
You can see pictures of these home improvements by clicking here.
Thom and I went on a family camping trip to Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Washington last week. Jim, Rebecca, the grandkids, and two of their friends were there; as well as Rebecca’s sister, brother-in-law, and their two boys. Cape Disappointment is an incredibly beautiful place right by the beach. It was literally just 50 steps from our camp site to the beach. One day we took six of the kids on a 5-mile hike/walk. Walked to the “Wakiki Beach” side of the park. This part of the beach is covered in an incredible amount of driftwood. We had planned to walk the trail up to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, but found it far too slippery with mud from the rain the day before. It was a very narrow trail and a slip off of it could easily send one down the cliff side. We didn’t want to risk it. We were able to see the lighthouse from a different vantage point and we all enjoyed the walk. The children were very tired by the time we arrived back to camp. You can see pictures of our camping time at Cape Disappointment by clicking here. Cape Disappointment is a beautiful place and the campground is very nice. I highly recommend it. We had the most wonderful time.
I had an incredibly awesome Mothers Day. It has been nine years since I was with my son on Mothers Day, so when he and his wife invited us over to his home for dinner to celebrate the day, I was thrilled. We got there late afternoon and spent some time visiting with Jim and Rebecca, and playing with the grandkids. Then Jim, assisted by his eldest daughter Hannah, made the most delicious rib eye steak and lobster tail dinner. I swear I have never had such good lobster before in my life. The whole dinner was just perfect. It’s so very nice to live in Oregon now and be able to spend time with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren here. I could not ask for a better family nor a better Mothers Day.