Tuesday, June 30, 2015

She's a Papermaker!

I know... A Papermaker? Well we live in a mill town with a great love for their history.   It's been a long process to place Lina in school and let me say we are thrilled! Overjoyed! Relieved! 

Now to embrace a new part of our journey. 

Here's to the class of 2017!
Here's to you Hollywood! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Friends are Friends Forever

 Our sweet friends are in the states for a short while and we had the blessing of seeing them as they placed their feet on the ground. Michael W. Smith said it best in his song and the words ring true still today. These two became fast friends in Colorado and distance hasn't changed a thing.  Such Joy!

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends
words and lyrics by Michael W. Smith

Sand Volleyball

Keeping our girl's hands on the ball.
Seems to be our theme right now. It's been a busy month of sand volleyball, summer league and clinics but worth the time. Not sure sand is her "thing" as much a court v'ball but hey, if you don't try, you don't know and it's given her more exercise and strength training. Plus who doesn't like a beach! We'll take it.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

And Thar She Blows!!

Warm days in Washington and the basement project not looming in the background is a formula for some adventure! We are taking in some day trips this summer and exploring the great PNW. First stop: Mt. Saint Helens. I love reading about places to travel and following guide books. We stopped at a few of the recommend places along the way and it most definitely added to our day. 

The first stop was MP 22. Not Mile Marker but Mile Post.  I know, confused me too. Anyhow, this A Frame was freshly complete when the volcano erupted. The land around it is now 5 feet higher than before. This is about 20 plus miles from the actual volcano. That's how far the mud, water, and volcanic damage took place.

Mile Post 22 is also where Big Foot lives or lived if you think he died in the 1980 Volcano.

The trees along the route that have been replanted are marked by the year they were planted. Very cool site to see. We were told that Weyerhaeuser replanted 18 millions trees.

We stopped at a Forestry Informational Center that was free I might add. We had lunch and then went inside to learn about the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens. Thank you again Mr. Guide Book.

This view was mesmerizing. At first I thought ,"Is that a fence?" but we quickly realized the trees were all the same age. Looks like a very difficult puzzle you buy someone at Christmas!

Heading back down we stopped at a trail head to explore hummocks. What's a hummock? Glad you asked. I didn't know either. Check out this website for a better understanding but it's basically a landslide and the earth from one place forms hills somewhere else. http://www.mshslc.org/visit-msh/west-side/hummocks-trail/

These two are asked regularly,"Are you twins?" Of course we all know the answer but looking at this picture one understands why.

Our last stop before heading home was at Patty's Place for cobbler... also in the guide book. Delicious and a great way to end our adventure.

A fabulous day to venture out. Here's to more family adventures!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Just the Two of Us

 I love this man. I still shake my head thinking it's been 25 years of walking out this adventure together. TnT. Crazyness!  We've moved too many times to count, had 4 amazing children, changed jobs, seen each other in our best and in our worst. Argued, prayed, took on hard days and amazing nights, and we did all of it together. Life. We never gave up. He never gave up on me. I know that I know he is mine and I am his. We don't always see eye to eye but as iron sharpens iron, God is making something beautiful out of us.  I'm so thankful for my rock.  You still make my heart jump every time you grab my hand and flash me that smile. I am yours and only yours. I love you SHJ! I loved spending this glorious week away with you. Let's do it again. Shall we? 

Sunsets and Sandy Beaches

This alone would bring me back. My heart is happy on sandy shores where I sink my toes into the warm sand and hear the crash of the ocean as the it hits the shore and my heart is happy on warm days with the sun beating down reminding me I can move freely and yes, my heart is happy with beautiful sunsets painting the skyline.  I shared all this with the love of my life.What more could a girl want?


Aruba's Labor Day.. A Cause for Celebration

Labor Day Aruba style is much different than ours. Almost everything is closed aaaand the King and Queen visit. This year was their 200th anniversary celebration. The people of Aruba went all out. We decided to join the fun and make our way into the city. The military brought a few ships to shore, our US Coast Guard was there, they had food vendors... yes, more food... and carnival rides for the children. We were most surprised to see the King and Queen. And the cheering. The people love the Royal family. 

Apparently everyone LOVES Frozen too.

After succumbing to the heat, we decided to head over to a restaurant for some shade and grab a cold drink.  Again... we saw the King and Queen! They were making their rounds. Granted, they were in a car. None the less, that's twice in one day.

This is our view from the restaurant. We watched car after car try to make their way down to the celebration. We were VERY glad we took a taxi and could avoid this mess.

The Police or is it Polis? Anyhow.. they had it right. Grab a bike and go.

We managed to explore more of the town and eventually hailed a taxi to head back to the resort. That evening we walked back into Palm Beach for dinner and wouldn't you know it we saw the King and Queen once again. Three times is a charm.

And Away We Go... Aruba Bound!

Let the celebrating begin and bring on the sun! Both equally exciting. T and I flew across the ocean to Aruba for a week of fun in the sun by simply doing nothing. The joy of doing nothing. Maybe that should be the title instead? Honestly, this season in life has been so full my cup runneth over enough already. We took cribbage and our swimsuits. We laughed, walked, enjoyed the pool and ocean, and just rested. 

 Local grocery store
We stayed at a Marriott on the beach and were able to bring in groceries. We love traveling this way cause it gives us more freedom. We had two choices for grocery stores... a traditional store or one mostly of food with a Dutch origin. We chose traditional. The food was priced in US dollars or their own currency. We found mostly what we would eat and it served us well poolside at the resort. We took taxis whenever we went farther than a mile or two and met some great locals doing so. We got some great information on life in Aruba, why people that leave for college come back to live, and why they call themselves The Happy Island. I learned about the educational system and the government. The people are genuinely content and happy.  They learn 4 languages sometimes 5 by the time they graduate from high school. Yes, really. This island feels safe. The weather is the same and no fear of hurricanes. That would make me happy too.

After unpacking and putting my feet in the ocean, we quickly changed and headed pool side. Only time we weren't hanging out here during the day was for our evening walk to dinner in town or the day we went to the Labor Day celebration in Oranjestad.

We walked along the beach path to Palm Beach almost every night for dinner. They had outdoor vendors and food choices from Italian to BBQ. We even enjoyed a delicious Chinese meal one night. We came home 5 pounds heavier even after walking everywhere but the food was good!

One night at dinner eating at Smokey Joes, we sat so close to a couple we were basically eating together. Good thing I'm social. After sparking up conversation they shared some of their favorite food joints on the island.  Some of the people we met go back to Aruba every year and sometimes twice a year.  So one they shared was Linda's pancakes. We woke up one morning, put on our workout clothes and walked to find this place. It was a good mile and half or two miles from our resort but the food was sooo good, I would do it again. We were able to see some of the "normal" areas of the island too which was an added bonus. Some of Aruba reminded me of my time in Guatemala with their colors, styles, and architecture.