Tag Archives: nature

Our Summer in Pictures Part 2

We went swimming at Houston Woods State Park a few times

Houston Woods 1

Houston Woods 2

Houston Woods 3

Cincinnati Fire Museum

Cincinnati Fire Museum 1

Cincinnati Fire Museum 2

Cincinnati Fire Museum 3

Serpent Mound

Serpent Mound 1

Serpent Mound 2

Serpent Mound 3

Serpent Mound 4

We went Canoeing at White Water Miami Forest

Whitewater Miami Canoe 1

Whitewater Miami Canoe 2

and at Houston Woods

Houston Woods Canoe

Jacob participated in his first Raingutter Regata

Raingutter Regata

Finally, we made a number of fun zoo trips to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoo 1

Zoo 2

Zoo 3

Zoo 4


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

Our Summer in Pictures Part 1

Okay, well our summer plus a little extra. πŸ™‚

Liz’s Birthday – She had a reverse, upside down, inside out party πŸ™‚

Liz B-day

Dot’s Birthday

Dot Birthday

We worked on clearing a trail in the woods in our back yard. Here are the beginning stages.

Yard Fixing

Jacob joined Cub Scouts and got to attend Tiger Treks

Tiger Treks

We explored the Clifton Mill and went hiking in Clifton Gorge

Clifton Collage 1

Clifton Collage 2

Clifton Collage 3

Clifton Collage 4

We went hiking at Shawnee Lookout

Shawnee Lookout Collage 1

Shawnee Lookout Collage 2

And we explored the Gorman Family Farm

Gorman Farm 1

Gorman Farm 2

Gorman Farm 3

We hiked around Clifty Falls State Park in Indiana

Clifty Falls 1

Clifty Falls 2

Clifty Falls 3

Clifty Falls 4

Jacob got to go to Twilight Camp – cub scout day camp that meets in the evenings. πŸ™‚

Twilight Cub Camp 1

Twilight Cub Camp 2

Emily had her 9th birthday

Emily B-day

and Paul and I got to go on a couple tours exploring Cincinnati

Cincinnati 1

Cincinnati 2

Cincinnati 3


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

Here Comes the Rain…

It’s been raining…


Our lawn is a soggy muddy lake that squelches up around your feet and threatens to suck your shoes off. The usually dry little ditch in the back yard is a steady stream, and, after particularly hard thunderstorms, washes over our little wooden bridge. You can stand out side sometimes and be drenched to the skin in a matter of seconds (which is pretty cool, actually).

I don’t mind it, after all I am no stranger to rain. I lived in Oregon for close to twenty years and sometimes we had weeks of never ending rain, whether it was a light drizzle or a heavier rainfall. But, while I tolerated the rain before, out here I love it. It is a warmer rain, with big fat juicy drops that splat as they hit your skin. It just begs to be danced in. And it’s frequently accompanied by thunder and lightening – I love thunder and lightening!

As I watch the rain fall outside, I am reminded of a *post I wrote about five years ago, about how much I missed the thunderstorms I was accustomed to as a child. I never dreamt then that I would be a mere five hours away from my childhood home, enjoying the thunderstorms again and being the one telling my kids to hurry inside “before they got fried.” It’s pretty cool, actually, and I know I am where I’m supposed to be. I think, once all the kids get home from school, we’ll have to have a rain dance!

*From Thunderstorm written in January 2006:

A burst of thunder announces the rain before it even arrives and lightning splits open the sky. With a squeal of delight I dash outside to our front porch. Rain falls to the earth in sheets. Darting into the rain I fling my arms wide spinning in giddy circles. I turn my face to the rain and let the raindrops splash against my tongue.

β€œHurry back up here to the porch before you get fried!” mother playfully calls at the second roll of thunder and strike of lightning. I settle myself into my favorite spot to watch the show, under the old table on the porch. As the rain pounds the earth incessantly, the intoxicating scent of damp earth washes over me. I enjoy nature’s fireworks accompanied by astounding sound effects.

Too soon it ends and steals away as quickly is it came; torrents fading into drips. The sun forces its way through the clouds and the only remnants of the storm to be found are giant puddles in the fields. We bound through the fields from puddle to puddle. They become wading pools as we splash and play in the summer sun the water lapping at our waists. Too soon the life is sucked out of them and we wait, anxious for our next thunderstorm romp.


Filed under Nature

We’ve been busy…

First, Jacob had a birthday! He turned 6 last month and we celebrated with a construction party. I had fun doing a crazy cake, but I think my cake decorating skills detiorate with each additional kid πŸ˜€


We had two camp outs in the basement – one for the girls and one for the boys (so cool that our smaller tent fits in the basement!)



I took the kids to Krohn Conservatory during spring break – It’s hard to take good focused close-ups of plants – or anything! – when trying to keep track of six kids πŸ˜€ So, I put up very few plant photos – I’ll get better ones when Paul is with me πŸ™‚


Spring is finally springing! And its so exciting to discover what’s been planted in our yard. The kids fully enjoyed a gorgeous day last week. And we got our lilac bush planted!



Plus, Paul went on an adventure to see how big our yard really was and how far into the woods it goes – then he gave me a tour – it’s hugely awesome! We are excited to clear debris out and make more portions of our woods available to the kids. There are some really cool domed clearings where the trees have grown over making a natural little home. It’s beautiful! We’ll take photos of that stuff as we get back in there and get things cleared up – there are a lot of beer cans, broken bottles, tires – even an old swingset back there. So, we have lots of work to do!

Finally, Robert is 7 months old! He’s been eating solids and rolling and for the past month or so he’s been doing the army crawl – and getting faster by the second! The last couple days he decide to get on his hands and knees and will sit and rock back and forth – taking one crawl forward before flopping down and commando crawling where he wants to go.


Today he even pulled himself up to a shakey stand – always hanging onto my hands of course!

*for whatever reason the pictures don’t show up sometimes – if you still want to see them, you should be able to if you click on the white non-picture


Filed under Bobert, Cakes, Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Miami Whitewater Forest

Our stake has this awesome thing where every second weekend of the month is Family Friendly Weekend – no meetings or activities except for church on Sunday can be scheduled on that weekend to encourage families to spend more time together. As a result, we decided that these Saturdays would be our outing days.

Right now we’re having lots of car trouble so we chose to go someplace close to home – an nice little county park about fifteen minutes away. They have a few nice nature trails, plenty of picnic areas, a park, and lake – when the weather warms a little more we’ll take our canoe out.

This time we decided to go on a hike – the longest one was 1.6 miles so we did that one. It ended up being perfect for James who was on his first “walk on your own” hike. For just turning three at the end of December I thought he did pretty good. We’re hoping to have him up to close to three miles by the end of the summer. Though it was a short hike, we had all the kids wear their backpacks (except James) and pack their own water and snacks, so as we get ready for longer hikes, they’ll be accustomed to it.


One of the favorite things about hiking is finding the perfect walking stick – All the kids quickly become obsessed with finding the perfect stick – in fact, James was often carrying two or three sticks. πŸ™‚


We love bridges on our hikes! Especially because trolls can often be found lurking around them.


“Fee Fie Fo Fum!”


“Who’s that tromping over my bridge?”

And this bridge is infested with trolls!


Then there’s the ever so popular activity of racing ahead and hiding behind trees to spring out at the unsuspecting hikers still to come. My dad did this with me when I was little, and so the tradition continues. The kids pick up the activity quickly – unless this tree just happened to sprout arms, feet, and a backpack!


Another favorite hiking tradition is tree hugging. I suppose it all comes from being the kids of a botanist, but this started when I was little. As you can tell, I am teaching my kids well. πŸ˜€


I thought they had been attacked by the trolls, but they informed me they were napping while waiting for James to catch up.


Little legs give up.


And stubborness sets in.


Finally I tell him he can be the troll at the next bridge we find, and miraculously it gets him moving.


Wait for us Dad! The boys hiking together


Back at the parkinglot/picnic area




I looked over while eating my apple to see my five oldest kids lined up by age hanging out the little windows of our picnic shelter.


Robert and Dad couldn’t be left out!



Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Humor, Jacob, James, Nature

Winton Woods

There are some beautiful and fun parks in our county with walking tails, lakes for fishing and canoeing (we can’t wait to take our canoe out when it warms up a bit more), and playgrounds.Β  A couple Saturdays ago we took the kids (all but Em, she was on a little trip to Tennessee with one of her friends) to Winton Woods. The highlight of the trip was definitely feeding the ducks and geese. While we had tons of fun, we sure missed our Em.






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

January Spring

Ok – I know it’s February already, but this photo was taken on January 31st. I couldn’t find the card reader until a few days ago to get the photo off the memory stick.

We came home from church Sunday afternoon and noticed our first blooms in our garden – we had early flowers before, but I don’t recall ever having blooms in January.



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Filed under Nature

Silver Lake Writer’s Retreat 2009

Last Thursday I woke in a panic as the doorbell sounded at 6:00 in the morning. I cursed my alarm (which I checked twice the night before to make sure it was set right – evil thing) and dove into the shower while my husband answered the door to let my friend, Christine, know that I would by ready in a few minutes. While they loaded my stuff, I sped through the shower, dressed and jammed a hat on my head. Not exactly the way I wanted to make my first impression on the writing retreat – I was just praying I didn’t have to do my presentation until Friday or Saturday. πŸ˜€ (At least I remembered my camera, unlike last year)

After an enjoyable 6-7 (with stops) hour drive (it really was enjoyable – there were no screaming kids, we didn’t have to stop every hour for the nearest bathroom, and I didn’t have to dodge missiles even once – I just enjoyed adult conversation for the whole time – woot!) we arrived at beautiful Silver Lake rec area in Whatcom County, Washington (practically in Canada). With relief I found out I didn’t have to present until Friday (yay – no hat head) and I was able to relax for a while, do some exploring, and settle into our cabin (we had the one with the bathroom – so no showering in the freezing cold bath house with quarter fed hot water – woot!)

Oh! And true to my name, I had my one goofy moment. Luckily, no one was around to witness it :-D. (I just have the painful bruises on my knees and left leg as evidence.)

Retreat 2009-001

In this collage (going from left to right, top to bottom):

1. This is the view of the lake from our cabin.
2. The Main lodge. Down below you can see some canoes and boats – Upstairs you can see the glass windows – that was the day lodge where all our presentations took place.
3. Row Boats – we had one canoe and one rowboat rented. I took the rowboat out with Wendy, and we had a blast rowing about the lake. πŸ˜€
4. I LOVE Cattails and I haven’t seen one in a really long time – I was positively giddy to see so many around this lake – it made me happy πŸ™‚
5. Silver Lake
6. This is the beautiful little bridge we walked over every morning and evening to get back and forth from our cabin to the main lodge. I think I took a zillion pictures of it.

Retreat 2009-002

1. I made friends with this Canadian Goose. Really. I did. Well, I suppose if you ask Christine, SHE will say I was chasing it, but really I wasn’t – I was just following it around with a camera. It did hiss at me though, I thinking it was having relationship issues πŸ˜‰
2. My Bridge, my bridge, I love my bridge
3. While the leaves were just starting to turn (it had been warmer than last year, so we didn’t have as much color), the reflection in the lake was astounding.
4. My in front of the cabin – cabin 7
5. The complaint department – I just died laughing when I saw this. πŸ™‚
6. There was this beautiful leave floating on top of the water right by the bridge. We also were spying on several crawdads, but I couldn’t get very good pictures of them.

Aside from exploring and soaking up the gorgeous scenery around us, we had plenty of time to write, visit, and write some more. There were some great presentations. We learned everything from time management with Marsha Ward, to Internet savyness with Liz Adair, and Writing Humor with Kersten Campbell. It was so fun chatting with all the other ladies and hearing about their projects and making new friends.

Retreat 2009-003

Everyone was so wonderful and amazing – and talented – it was a pleasure to hang out with them for a weekend.

Now, I know I haven’t said much about my presentation as I was preparing it, but now the time has come. I did Ninja Writing: Enhancing your writing through using your environment (including the 5 senses in your writing), the element of surprise (humor), and setting traps (foreshadowing – what it is and how to do it). I felt really good about how the whole thing went and, after much encouragement, I think I might send in a book proposal for it. I even had cool ninja masks for everyone! (and I wore my goofy slippers)

Retreat 2009-004
(Thanks to Wendy who took the awesome Ninja Photos!)

Saturday almost came too quickly and I can’t wait for next year. I arrived home to find everyone not only alive, but happy – and the house was even clean! I have the most amazing husband ever. Oh, and 911 was only called once! (more on that in the next post…)

P.S – This morning I got my first rejection for The Heart of the Castle – Woot! πŸ˜€


Filed under Nature, Photography, Writing

Let it Snow!

We’ve got powder! Honest to goodness powder – the so powdery can’t make snowmen powder! It snowed all day yesterday and into the evening. Roads are horrible, so we have Daddy home today. There is something magical about singing Christmas carols around the piano when there is snow crisp and clean outside, the chirstmas tree is lit, and water is heating on the stove for hot chocolate. Mmmmmm.

Of course the kids had to romp and play this morning, and while the snow isn’t deep, it is enough to excite us oregonians.

December 15 Snow Collage 1

December 15 Snow Collage 2

December 15 Snow Collage 3

December 15 Snow Collage 4
And here I sit in my chilly office (I keep my door closed so the heat from the stove stays in the main room where it is needed most) with my red sweater wrapped around me, sipping on my hot chocolate and enjoying a beatiful winter view of our backyard from my window.Β Β  (insert sigh of contentment here) πŸ™‚


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

An Orange Moon

The other night the kids were thrilled with the color of the moon – of course I took a photo of it. At first a branch was in the way – I hadn’t wanted to step of the deck (I was barefoot, it was dark, and I didn’t want to find any doggie presents…)

Moon 1

I finally did get off the deck and got a clear shot of the moon – and I didn’t step on anything gross either!

Moon 2


Filed under Nature, Photography