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Friday, August 29, 2014

 Arianna is 2!
 Where did the last two years go?  
 Great Grandma McCool made her a doll cake.

I have not mentioned that baby #3 is on her way!  Yes, it is a girl! Pretty excited to meet her the first part of December.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dennis and Gabe came to visit for a few days last week.  Abby had to go back east for a class she needed to keep up her certificate, so she didn't come with them.  We packed a lot of family time into our short time together.  Day 1 was so fun watching the cousins get to know each other.  
 Day 2 we walked to the park and played on the swings and in the Spray Pad. 
We ended that day with a BBQ for the whole family to get to see them at one time.
Day 3 we took a Dixon family hike into Wahclella Falls.  It was a short hike that was just perfect for the little ones to have a good time.  Of course I took advantage of having everyone in one place and got a family shot.

Wahclella Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
It is always so amazing when I have all three together.  
After our hike, we came back to the house and had dinner and then went on an after dinner walk to the lake.  This family is so awesome!!!
After the little walk, we made a school outfit shopping trip with Gabe.  Emily and I took him.  He picked out a shirt first thing...and nothing else would change his mind from the first shirt. So we brought it home.  Dennis took one look at that shirt and made a little chuckle.  Yep...Gabe already had that shirt and he really loves it. So much that he wanted another one.  So Day 4, it was time for them to head back to their home.  But first we traded in the shirt for one just like it but a different color.  A hug to his little cousins and it was off to the airport.  I just wish there was a way to all live closer!  But isn't that what all mothers want?

Monday, August 11, 2014

 Last weekend we had our annual back to school shopping weekend with Emily and Joshua.  I am not sure when it actually happened, but somehow, a 'back-to-school outfit' has turned into a back-to-school shopping fun to be a Grandma!!!  Along with the shopping trip, we also have discovered we now have a trip to the Alpine Slide included.  Don't ask me What that has to do with back to school clothes, but it does.  It really does.  The slides are so fun, but the race cars are the big hit of the time up there.  and don't forget the 'hamster ball'...a huge blow up ball that sits in a huge blow up pool of water, that they get in and make it roll all over the pool. They were supposed to actually get out and put some cross country running miles in while they were with us for the weekend, but instead they raced down the mountain on a sled, hiked up to the lift to get to the very top of the mountain for the most awesome view, raced cars around a track, ran miles in a blow up ball, and did somersaults on a trampoline and played a round of mini golf. The next day was shopping and yesterday was a walk to the lake and a water fight with Josiah and Arianna after dinner.  I would say that was a pretty good workout for them too, don't you?

The best kept secret!  After all the years of going up to the slide, this year, I discovered that you can ride the lift up past where you get off for the slides.  You get off and then hike up a little farther to another lift that will take you all the way to the top....and you are blown away with this most awesome view of Mt. Hood!!  I guess I am giving away the secret, but it is worth sharing.  
 This is a little warming hut halfway up to that view.  They have it set up outside for summer weddings.
 Emily had me take this one on her phone...she is such a creative photographer.  She sees all kinds of things and gets some pretty unique ideas for her shots.  She held up her hands and had me hold the phone in front of her face and told me when it was the right angle for me to press the button to get her shot.
Jumping from the swings at the park.
 The last day here, I needed to go to the store...and guess who drove me there?  Now it was one thing to have my own kids grow up and start driving my car...but it just does not seem possible that my grandkid is old enough!  She is an excellent driver, but it just does not seem possible that the years have gone by so fast!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jessi and Ariel invited us to join them in SunRiver for camping.  We had a fun time, biking, swimming and doing all the things you do when you go camping.  I even got to take Josiah on his first LION HUNT!
 Bonnie and I drove up to Trillium Lake to get some star shots. It was a perfect night for it.  We got there early enough hoping for a pretty sunset, but there were not any clouds, so we didn't get the sunset we wanted.  But if there had been clouds, then we would not have gotten the star shots we were actually up there for.  Here is one of the mountain just as the sun was stetting.  You can see the lift that stays open year round in the shot below.
This one was taken just as the stars began to appear.  The water made a perfect mirror to reflect them.
 Beside us was a great view of the Milky Way.

 Here is my favorite of the night...just as I began the shot, which was a 30 second exposure, somebody at the other end of the lake turned on some lights.  It really added a nice touch to get the line of light across the lake and the trees on the other side.  Those lights you see on the mountain are from the Timberline Lodge. The colors on the horizon all pop out when you do the long exposures.  So much extra light we don't normally see shows up.
Do you see the Big Dipper?

 This last shot was a 30 minute exposure.  A man that was shooting up there told us that you have to find the North Star and shoot towards it to get the circle.  He showed us exactly how to find the North Star, right up from the Big Dipper.  This was the first time I have tried a long exposure like this.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  I am not sure if you can see the lines from the stars, but you will notice that there is a little blip...I guess my tripod must have been bumped about halfway through the exposure.
I have wanted to do a long exposure light trail shot and when I saw the winding road up to Rowena Crest last spring when I went with Bonnie to get sunrise/flower shots, I knew it was the perfect road for it.  A few weeks ago, John drove me up there give it a try.  The trouble is, nobody was up there!  That meant no cars going up or down to make the trails.  So John drove up and down for me!  6 trips up and down!!!