Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Sprout

My sweet little complicated, particular, loud, loving, smart, wonderful boy. I can't believe you are old enough to start Kindergarten in just a matter of days now.

You are the child who constantly keeps me on my toes. Who is a whirling bundle of energy one moment and the softest loving boy the next. You are always surprising me with the new things you figure out and say. Right now I love it when, if you don't want to eat something, you'll say, "But I can't use that. I'm not hungry to it." I'm sure that they'll teach you the correct ways to say that in school, but for now I'm enjoying your little idiosyncrasies.

You've been my constant companion these last five years while your sister and brother went off to school. Now it's your turn to try your wings, and I am filled with the conflicting mommy emotions of equal parts dread and excitement for the new opportunities that will open up for you and will eventually take you further and further away from me. This will be a new chapter in both of our lives. I will have to get used to going to the mailbox by myself instead of waiting for you to wrap your skinny little arms around me and take our daily trip together. You will be off to explore new adventures every day. I will fill my days with busy work too. We will both adjust to it, surprisingly quickly I suspect, and maybe even wonder what we ever did before.

But for now, I am holding on to these last days of your babyhood with all my might.

To quote you, my precious son, "I love you lots and lots and lots".

For Always, Mom

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Multnomah Falls

I feel very fortunate to have been born on the Oregon coast, and to make my home in the Pacific Northwest where I am surrounded by beauty everywhere I look.Less than an hour's drive from my front door is Multnomah Falls, located in the Columbia Gorge. I first visited this waterfall when I was a child. It never fails to take my breath away every time I see it.It's a mile hike to get to the top of the waterfall. We didn't get to do it on this day. But we will be back in September to take the walk with our children, which I hope will be their first of many. We walked as far as the bridge with Grandma:The view from the bridge looking toward the Columbia River:
The bottom of the upper falls:
Looking down at the lower falls from the bridge. Girlie said this pool was looked like it was shaped like a heart:
My babies on the trail:
I can't wait to come back in September. That's when the salmon will be jumping at the fish hatchery and we'll make our trek to the top of the falls. I'll be sure to take pictures.
I have been knitting a lot and I do have a finished project to share with you, but that will have to wait for another day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hood River and Fish Hatchery

We took last Saturday to make another small getaway. This time we went to Hood River for some fresh picked peaches and to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery (which Sprout calls the fish factory). My mom was in town to join us for the trip. She's going to be snowbirding practically the upcoming entire school year from October through April (insert sad face here) so we don't have very many visits left before she leaves.

The farm in Hood River had a corn maze, which we all enjoyed:

The town is called Hood River because it sits at the feet of Mount Hood:
It was a beautiful valley.

Funny, I didn't get any pictures of the fresh fruit we brought home, but it included peaches, apples, cantaloupe, cherries, orange cherry tomatoes, plums, Walla Walla onions, and jalapeno peppers.

I remember as a child my Grandma Hasel would make a trip to Hood River and come home with boxes upon boxes of peaches for canning. It was a much longer trip for her from the coast. For us it's an hour and twenty minute drive, prime time for catching up on book club reading or knitting. I don't can the peaches, though. My family prefers to eat them fresh and juicy. There's nothing in the world that compares.

Next stop, the Bonneville Fish Hatcherywhere we ate a picnic lunch and nurtured ZimDee's love for fish
Here he is going on (and on...and on...) about the many facts of different fish. I love this guy:You can buy food pellets and feed the Rainbow Trout:
But the funnest part of all is if you can spot Herman the Sturgeon. He put on a great show for my boys:

Herman with some playmates:Watching for Herman from outside:There he is! Can you see him?What a great day.
Next up: Multnomah Falls

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Enchanted Forest Sunday

As promised, here are pictures finishing up our little getaway last weekend. We spent Sunday at the Enchanted Forest in Salem, Oregon.I've been visiting the Enchanted Forest since I was a child myself. Back in the day, it was just little buildings and castles with stairs. Over the years they've added some rides, but Disneyland it is not. Still, it's a great place to spark the imaginations of my children.

They even have miniature squirrel cages:
But the best part of all was the log ride. I've been waiting for years for my babies to get big enough to go on the fun rides with me. It was the highlight of the day:

Good times.

Summer Vacation

The Count and I have been talking about how we could really use a vacation. Not even Hawaii or Bali (don't we wish?), but seriously, just a day or two to get out of our routines. Or heck, how about out of the city limits?

We chose the hottest weekend of the year to make our little family getaway. I was looking forward to the heat as my last farewell to summer before accepting that fall was soon to be here. And seriously, for a girl who was born on the cold Oregon coast, you would think that I would be used to the Pacific Northwest's permanent state of spring and fall. But I crave the heat. I seriously do not understand when my friends complain that it's too hot here in Portland. It will be cold soon enough, trust me.

So where did we choose to go to enjoy the heat? Newport, Oregon, which turned out to be the coldest place in the state. It was so foggy that we couldn't even see the ocean. Here are some pictures:
We chose Newport because we have been promising our budding marine biologist, ZimDee, that we would take a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium before the summer was over. Yes, he's still as obsessed with fish as ever, and I hope he continues down that path. We also chose Newport because we could get there and back in a day without having to rent a motel room.

Apparently, a lot of other people had the same idea, because the line to the aquarium was longer than I've ever seen it:Which left me time to take some scenery pictures:

And it was all worth the wait.

For the jellyfish:
And the crab:

The tidepools:
The seals:
And the walk-through tunnel:
There was a really cute scene with a puffin splashing Sprout, I think on purpose:

And a very cool creature called a basket star:
But no trip to the aquarium would be complete without being eaten by a shark:

Next stop: The Enchanted Forest in Salem, Oregon.