Monthly Archives: July 2008

Champoeg Barn Dance

Besides the neat living history demonstrations, Champoeg (shampoo-y) State Park also has a monthly barn dance – at least in the summer anyway. A small group comes out to play and teach fun different square dances.

The gentleman standing with his fiddle was the one teaching and calling the dances.

Barn Dance Band

On Saturday after our hike and adventure we got a sitter and Paul, my mom, and I went out to Champoeg to check out the barn dance. It was in a neat little barn behind the visitor center, and there was a nice cool evening breeze blowing through the open doors. We had quite the hoot square dancing as we hadn’t square danced since grade school.

Square Dancin'

More Square Dancin'

Paul even brought his spoons along and had fun playing along with the band.

Paul playing Spoons with the Band

It was quite a fun and unique date – we can’t wait to go to the one in August. 🙂


Filed under Living History

Tillamook State Forest Part 3- The Museum

The museum (free) at the Forest Centerr is amazing – loaded with tons of neat exhibits and fun things for the kids to do – complete with clothes to dress up in. There is a fascinating movie about the Tillamook Burn, that children and adults alike can enjoy.

Of course the kids had to have their photo taken with the giant Smokey Bear.
The family with Smokey Bear

We did the rest of the museum after our hike – so unfortunately the boys were worn out, James had to eat and Jacob had leaky pants, so he didn’t get a chance to play and explore the museum with the girls. He had to hang out with me in the car while I fed the baby. So, we will definitely go back soon so he can have some fun in the museum too.

First Everyone dressed up



Emily 2

Then the real fun began

Elizabeth, Emily, and Dorothy

Emily making a call

The girls decided to catch the train while they were there

Loading up the Luggage

Waiting for the Train

So, that was the end of our fun filled visit to the Tillamook State Forest Center. We can’t wait to go back so Jacob can have a chance to explore more. 🙂


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

Tillamook State Forest Part 2 – the Hike

After our climb up the tower I strapped James back onto my backand we took off across the big suspension bridge across the river and hiked off on one of the many trails. Our destination was the Wilson Falls.

Here we are with Grandma on the bridge before taking off down the trail (Grandpa, our fearless leader, is taking the photo).

All of us and Grandma - grandpa took the photo

View from the bridge

Hike 11

The scenery was absolutely astounding – gorgeous flowers, moss draped trees, and grand trees surrounded us.

Hike 1

Fox Glove

Ocean Spray

Hike 7

Hike 10

Jacob was a good little trooper, hiking away like the other big kids.

Hike 6

Hike 8

Hike 9

He did get tired out from time to time though, and had to hitch a ride on the Daddy Express.

Hike 4

At one point on the hike we came to a narrow log bridge that we had to use to get across the river. Down below us the water was quite deep, and was wide enough to go single file down the log. I was especially nervous having James in the backpack strapped to my back.

Crossing the bridge

Hiking across the log bridge 1

Log Bridge

Hike 2

A ways after the log bridge we be gan the gradual climb up too Willson fall.

Hike 3

And Finally, Wilson falls – which was beautiful, but easily missed. You basically had to look straight up over your head to see anything. I was a bit nervous having James on my back,and feel a bit off ballance – so my photos of the waterfall were horrible – this one is my Dad’s.

Wilson Falls 1

After the falls, Dad, Jacob, James, Emily, and I headed back, while Grandpa, Elizabeth and Dorothy continued for a while. The younger set walked about 3.5 miles – me packing James the whole way! WOOT!, Emily easily walked all of it, and Jacob walked at least 2.5 miles of it. Elizabeth and Dorothy probably hiked closer to 4.5 miles. We had a ton of fun, but towards the end I was really pushing it – and extremely sore after.

Next to come: Part Thre: The Museum


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

Tillamook State Forest Part 1 – the Fire Tower

Saturday was a big day. We drove out towards Tillamook and stopped on the coastal side of the pass at the Tillamook State Forest Visitor center. We climbed the fire tower, went on a nice hike, and checked out the museum. Because there was so much fun to see and do, I split the post into three.

One of the biggest draws to this forest center for us was the life-size fire tower standing in front of the museum. When my father was in his early twenties he lived on various firetowers throughout the Willamette and Cascade national forests for five summers. I remember very well being fascinated and captivated by his stories of living all summer alone in the mountains. Visitors were few and far between and his time was spent reading and hiking, and of course, spotting fires. The first summer after he and my mom were married they lived up in a fire tower too – so my mom has her own stories to tell as well.

The Tower

For that reason, it was especially exciting to take the kids to the forest center and climb the firetower. This fire tower was a very sturdy and nicely made one – while many that Dad lived on looked to be near falling down, or perched pecariously on tall craggy rocks and cliffs. I remember one in particular that he showed photos that he had taken from the outhouse perched at the edge of the cliff looking down over the precipice. I had hiked with dad to various lookout sites – most of the towers are gone now.

So, up we did climb…

On the Fire Tower

The kids were pretty amazed at how far up we had gone – my mom stayed at the bottom with James.

A Long Ways Up

Looking down to Grandma & James

Inside everything was arranged how it would have been if someone was living in it – minus the little stove Dad mentioned having. He showed the kids the fire finder and how it was used to spot and locate lightning strikes, etc. and their cordinates.

Dad/Grandpa explains how it all works 3

Inside the tower

Em looking through the fire finder

In the corner was the insulated stool that they would stand on if they were spotting fires in a lightning storm – the insulated stool had glass on each of the legs. Dad told us the story of the time he was radioing in a location while seated in a metal chair. He suddenly felt a prompting to move. Just after he got out of the chair a zap of lightning shot through the radio and hit the chair where he had been sitting moments before.

Jacob on the insulated stool

Dad on the radio

Dad also explained how panoramic photos were used to let the ranger stations down below know of fires and their coordinates, so they could get safely to the fire and work on putting it out.

Dad/Grandpa explains how it all works 1

Dad/Grandpa explains how it all works 2

Stay tuned for Part 2: the Hike


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Personal History

Who Needs Toys when You have a Box?

I caught a Lizard!

I caught a Lizard

The Sphinx

The Sphinx



Hello, Emily!

Hello, Emily!

Sardines in a Box

Sardines in a Box

Jills and Jack in a Box

Jills & Jack in the box!

Hey, it’s Dad in there!

Hey, it's dad in there!

Jacob Dodges the monster in the box.

Jacob dodges a monster in the box



Dorothy is in the House.

Dorothy is in the house!

Jacob and James

Jacob and James


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Jacob, James

Little Things Between the Busy

I had my eye exam last week and thankfully my eyes haven’t changed much. Because of our awesome insurance plan from Paul’s work we have great vision benefits, so I get contacts! 🙂 Woohoo! Today I had my fitting (it has been three years since I last wore contacts, and I am at a new vision clinic, so I couldn’t dodge the fitting bit) and got to order my new contacts – and wear my first pair home. Yay!


Last week when I had my vision exam, as the assistant and I visited, we tried to figure out how long it had been since my last exam. I finally figured out that it was the year before Jacob was born, and then I didn’t have another exam because of his heart surgery. She mentioned that she had open heart surgery when she was two years old due to Aortic Valve Stenosis. The doctors had told her parents that in seven to ten years she would need another surgery. She is now 28 and going strong – not yet having that second surgery. It was awesome to visit with her. It is always neat to meet adults with CHD and see that a normal wonderful life really is in store for our heart kids. 🙂


I am in the process of getting the first three chapters of my manuscript perfected to the point of being submitted to some different publishers – its rather exciting, but way, way, way more scary. Way more scary. I must say though, that I am so grateful for my awesome writing group for their support and encouragement – not to mention helping clean my manuscript up so it isn’t aweful.


Our trip to Utah is off – I’m dissapointed and relieved. I am bummed that I won’t get to see my brother from Vermont, as it has been nine years since I have seen him. There is a silver lining though, and that is that they are moving out to the Seattle area and we will see a lot more of him very soon. I am relieved because after all the business and nearly constant family (not that I am complaining – it has been so FUN!) I don’t know that I could handle a huge reunion with 26 kids – not to mention driving there with my five packed in our little van.

So, that leaves us with a week and a half of unexpected free time – maybe we’ll go camping, or maybe we’ll bash around locally. All I know is that we will have a week and a half of FUN! 🙂


We have been enjoying having my parents here sooo much – I really wish they didn’t have to go so soon – they will be taking off in a week. The time has flown by so fast. We are so thrilled to though that they are going on a third mission. We miss them, but are so proud of and excited for what they are doing. We have enjoyed listening to the mission stories and seeing all their photos. I feel like I have the most awesome parents in the world!


One last observation – it sure is hard to find time to clean the house when you are constantly on the go. 🙂


Filed under CHD, Family, health, Heart, Writing

Going up the Gorge

So, this morning my bro and his family, my parents, and myself and kids took a drive up the Columbia River Gorge. We drove down the gorge to the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery. We stopped at the fish hatchery first and checked out the Salmon, trout and giant white sturgeon.

Dorothy, Emma, Laura, Elizabeth, and Emily at Fish Hatchery

Jacob at the Fish Hatchery

Then we drove to the dam’s visitor center. The kids were thrilled that we got to drive across parts of the dam – and beside the visitor center there was a gorgeous view of the main part of the dam with its spillways open. And a cool little shelter/house that the kids had fun playing in.

Bonneville Dam

The Kid Crew at Bonneville Dam

Elizabeth, Jacob, Emily, & Dorothy in front of Bonneville Dam

We had a really special treat while at the visitor center – we walked in right when a presentation about how electricity is made, and at the end were able to go to the observation deck of one of the power houses – it was really cool.

Lizard, Emmy, Dot, Jacob, & James at Powerhouse - Bonneville Dam

On the way home we made a mandatory stop by Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

The Smithy


A piano student informed me this last week that a nearby State Park has Living History Days every Saturday. They were period clothing and demonstrate different crafts such as tailoring, woodworking, blacksmith, children’s jobs and games from the 1800s and other such things. The activities are free – only $3 for parking, and not only do you get to participate in the activites, but you get to roam the park as well.

This last Saturday the Blacksmith was at the park. We packed up the kids and headed out, and a short 10 minute drive later we were in the park and standing in front of the black smith. The neatest part of it all is that they have the kids (and adults too if they want) participate. Each kid got to turn the crank that blew the air to get the fire hot. The Blacksmith would heat up the iron and then allow the kids to make a nail by hammering the top.









The Finished Nails



We also got to see a gunsmith – the gentleman really made his own guns, and they were very beautifully made, and a wheelsmith. All in all it was a blast. We will be heading back as frequently as we can for these marvelous demonstrations.


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, Living History, Lizy, Photography

At Least the Swelling went Down By My Birthday

We had set the small dome tent up in the back yard for the kids to sleep in while my brother and sister-in-law were here.  The kids had enjoyed some fun nights out there during the week, but Paul and I decided on Thursday it was time to take the tent down.  Jacob had torn a small hole in the netting – which I am going to attempt to patch.  I figured I would be the good helpful wife and approached the tent.

I grasped one of the tent poles and pulled it out from it’s loop.  Quicker than I could blink the pole slipped from my hand and whisked through the air – a deadly arc slicing the air. As it lept toward the sky it caught my upper lip and flipped it up so fast, I thought it was going to be sitting there vibrating back and forth for the entire evening. My lipped swelled up bigger than a cherry, bruised, and bled a little. 

Once Paul knew I was allright, he was trying his hardest not to bust up laughing – until I finally said, “It’s okay dear, you can laugh – it was pretty funny. But, if the swelling doesn’t go down by Saturday you are not taking a photos of me & I am not going anywhere.  Well – Friday the swelling was way down, and today it was nearly gone – it turned pretty colors, but at least it didn’t look like I had some sort of abnormal growth on my lip.

So, I can add another item to the “Be careful or you might poke your eye out” list.

So, the birthday was a lot of fun – the funniest gift (my present from James, of course):

DIaper Changing

Diaper Changing

Dorothy Diaper

The Bestest B-day present: My beloved backwards goofy watch was loosing time – my faithful husband managed to track me down a new one – a near impossible feat. 🙂

Goofy Watch


Filed under Goofs, Humor

Family Communication

Family Communication


Filed under Humor