Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chehalis and Portland

After the park and beach we went down to Chehalis to visit my great aunt and uncle. Aunt Len was getting ready for girls camp the next week so I she put me to working finishing their flag. We went on a drive to see the damage from the floods this past winter. Remember when 5 miles of freeway were under water? She was put in charge of the shelter at their ward building. Most things have now been fixed but the free way is still being worked on.

The next morning the kids and I drove to Portland. We went to the Oregon Zoo. We were supposed to meet up with Ann Gray at the zoo. I couldn't reach her on her phone and I couldn't find her anywhere. BOOHOO!!! I was so looking forward to seeing Shelby and catching up on life with her. We hadn't seen her in almost a year. We did enjoy the zoo but I didn't get any pictures because I still didn't know where the camera charger was.

We left the zoo at 5:30, can you say rush hour? I needed to find a laundromat to wash Abram's sleeping bag, I don't know my way around Portland, and it's rush hour. Thank heavens for the internet and map programs on computers. Even with all that I got lost 3 times and accidentally ran a red light just trying to find the Walmart. While at the checkout in Walmart I noticed I left my checkbook, including anything to pay for my purchases, in the car. I finally got out of Walmart and spent the next 1 1/2 hours trying to find a laundromat about 3 miles from the Walmart. I found it just in time so they wouldn't close before I was done WHEW!!! We finished the load just in time to get to the airport to pick up Heath only 2 minutes late. Who would have thought it would take 5 1/2 hours just to wash a sleeping bag? Not an adventure I want to repeat.

We were officially now on our trip to California.

The Start of a Big Trip

In July we took a big trip to Southern California. My parents had gotten a 'trial' timeshare. My mom so wanted to have the whole family together on vacation. But alas, life happened. My youngest brother is on his mission to Charlotte, NC, my other brother and his wife were working their summer away to prepare for the next college semester (they are transferring to the University of Idaho so needed more money) and my sister's husband had some more tumors show up (In April 2005 he was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma) and would have to be in Maryland at the National Cancer Institute for another treatment (his worst yet). With all this I didn't have the heart to tell mom we wouldn't/couldn't go.

Heath was supposed to be in St. Louis for his annual training on the day we were supposed to leave. After checking Priceline for flights we found it would actually save $10 plus 1 trip to the airport if we packed up and all left the morning he flew out to St. Louis. The kids and I would spend that day and the next having fun and visiting my great aunt and uncle in Chehalis. We would pick up Heath in Portland the next day.

I have no idea how we fit everything we packed into that van. We should have gotten a picture but the idea never occurred to me until now. So, on Thursday we dropped off Heath and drove to Olympia. In Olympia there is this park that has trails down to the beach. On the beach there are sand dollars everywhere and I am not exagerating. We just happened to get there at the perfect low tide. What are the chances of that?!?!?!?! How lucky!!! I showed the kids how to tell whether they were still alive or not so they could throw the live ones back into the water. After picking up about 50 of them (I am not kidding) for keepers I told the kids over and over we had enough.

After picking up all the shells and running through all water and muck we sat on the beach to eat lunch and so the kids could 'write in their journals.' I don't know why that was so exciting to them but they loved doing this all week. I had picked up a spiral notebook for each of them at 5 cents a piece. Best 15 cents I ever spent. I gave me 5 minutes of peace and quiet. These were the only 3 pictures I got that day. The camera ran out of batteries and I didn't know where in that fully packed car the charger was put. This was just the start of our camera problems for the week.

The End of Summer??

It always amazes me how fast the summer passes. Where did it go? Every year I make a promise to myself that I just won't let it get away from me this year. I will lay on the lawn and watch the clouds. I will live up the sun and water. We will travel. We will go the the zoo, the beach, hiking, fishing, camping and everthing in between. Did it happen this year. Yeah for the most part we did all those things. . .but. . . it still seems the summer got away. Maybe no matter how good the summer is, it is still hard to let it go. Especially when this darn Seattle weather gives you the cold and rain the last week of vacation. I am going to try the next little bit to catch up on our busy summer.

I had planned to get that done this week but alas, the week got away from me with one bad thing after another. The vans transmission is going out EEEEERRRRRRRRGGGGGG!!! It would cost $4,000 to get it rebuilt. My sewing machine's timing went out in December and I forgot about it until this week when my ward is working on newborn kits for the humanitarian center. And the EQ Presidency was coming to visit and the house had to be cleaned (this was actually all in the same day). The EQ Pres. message turned out to be the bright spot. A scripture in 1 Nephi to gently remind me that Heavenly Father is at the head of our lives and to trust in him. So thank you EQP and Nana, the lesson goes on.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The New Place

The house here is not a whole lot to speak of. The spacing is weird, it's old, and it has a funky smell that I cannot get rid of no matter how much I clean and scrub. It reminds me too much of our first house. However, we are on 3 acres with a pond and a treehouse. Everything children dream about. They love catching snakes, slugs, tadpoles, frogs and salamanders. Ethyn seems to think he needs to keep them all as pets. EEK!!!! He even turned the old litter box into a place to put all the baby salamanders. I think these 3 kids are determined to drive me absolutely insane!!! Today the older 2 had come inside, I asked them, "Where's Abram?" "Playing on the porch with a snake." I walked out there thinking surely they are just teasing me. Nope, he was happily sitting on the porch playing with a 2 foot garter snake. I hate snakes. I absolutely HATE snakes and here my baby is playing with one.

With all the rain, comes all the slugs. The kids took a Costco milk jug and went out gathering up the slugs. The jug was 4 inches deep with slugs. They left it on the front porch, without a lid, last night. You can just imagine what Heath found when he stepped out this morning. About 20 or so slugs (the big 3-4 inch ones) crawling on the porch and a few headed up the front door, and yet there were still 2 inches worth left in the jug. EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! You can still see the trace of the trail they left behind. The picture below was actually taken at Heath's uncle's house in California.

They catch the cutest little tree frogs. Now, when I say small, I mean small. 2 of them were smaller than the tip of my pinkie. I do not care for frogs but these were just too cute and of course Heath had the camera. He always has the camera. One night Abram was supposed to change into his PJ's. He was acting funny, kinda worried about his pants. Turns out he had a 1 inch frog in his pocket. I'm not sure exactly what he planned to do with it and I'm not sure I really want to know. Needless to say, we have had many discussions on where these animals belong and where they don't belong.

There was I time years ago that I swore my children would never be into these things, especially my daughter, but eventually I gave that up and instead insist on bath time.

Back In Seattle Again

So it's a little late to post this but I moved back to Seattle the beginning of July. As I drove into town the tune 'Back in the Saddle Again' came to mind only I changed the words to "I'm back in Seattle Again". I don't know I thought of the similarity but I keep humming this toon over again. We are out in the country. While I do not like the house at all, the kids love it here. I will post more on the house later. Life has been so crazy since moving here. Trips to Southern California and Idaho, then Heath has kind of monopolizing the internet card.