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Saturday, July 28, 2018

I think this is the busiest summer I have ever had!  So many things happening that don't normally happen for us and they are all happening at once.  But it is all good.  Better busy than with nothing to do and nowhere to go!
The month started off with Mom getting a knee replaced.  It all went well and she was up and walking before the end of the day.  She has done so well that she is already done with her therapy before the month has ended.  She is determined not to let anything keep her down and Dad is the perfect nurse/therapist/cheerleader.  Of course, since she had her surgery on the 2nd, she wasn't able to celebrate the 4th with us this year.
Our neighbors, John Sandy,  Dennis and Jean and Emily's future in-laws joined us.  It was really nice to meet the newcomers to our family and it felt like they have always been a part of this family.  They just fit right in.

 It cracked me up when I watched this little video.  They sure moved fast, right?
Ariel and I spent a few hours picking my friend Wally's blueberries.  
I still can't believe that we are actually going to have a wedding!  Emily invited me along on their wedding dress hunt.  It was so amazing to see her try on the gowns.  She only tried on 5 and knew she had found her perfect dress.  Of course, I won't be posting it until after the wedding in December.
 The yard is still showing off its colors.
 and so is Mt Hood.
From the very first ,when we first moved in here, I have wanted to see if I could get to the river directly from my house.  Joshua really wanted to go along and help me get there and so we made plans to do it someday.  Well, that someday came and the two of us headed on down.  It was  pretty steep right at first and then once we got to the treeline, it started leveling out.  Josh had his machete along and hacked his way through to make me a trail.  And 1 1/2 hours later, we were there!  Once we got to the bottom, we noticed 4-wheeler tracks and then there was a huge high gate with cameras and signs saying NO TRESPASSING NO EXCUSES ACCEPTED!!   well, of course we didn't go in the gate, but we did go on into the river.  We soaked our feet a while and then headed back on up towards the house.  After we had gone up for a little while we started hearing a sound like a caterpillar or some kind of tractor, but we never saw it.  Then suddenly we started hearing dogs.  They were barking and getting louder and louder as they came closer!  Josh and I were going so fast, which was extra hard going back up.  Finally the barking stopped and we were able to catch our breath. We were so tired!  the trip down was 1 1/2 hours, coming back...1 hour!  not normal to go faster coming up than going down.  Josh choked me up when once we were back to the house, he said "Grandma, I am so glad they stopped coming after us, because I really didn't want to have to kill a dog."  Poor guy, not only was he trying to get himself up the hillside, he was worried about protecting me!
The deck on this place was rotting when we moved in and so we decided that this summer we needed to replace it.  John (son) and Ariel and Josiah all got in on tearing it off.
 I helped a little on the tearing off and putting back on and it was my job to stain it.  The kids enjoyed a lunch on the deck after it was done.  We still need to get the railing and steps done.
 It has been years since we camped.  Jessi and family invited us along on a trip to Wallowa Lake.  I have never been there, but heard so much about it.  It held up to its reputation.  Totally gorgeous.
Deer wandered around out campsite, we biked, we fished, we hiked, and kayaked.

I had to show the kids how to make my favorite camp recipe.  Camp Chicken Nuggets.  The girls helped me get them ready for the coals.
Josiah just had to fish.  and fish and fish.  He never caught anything, but it didn't seem to matter.  He fished.  We even rented a boat to get him out there closer to the fish, but still nothing.
 While we were in the boat, Jessi and the girls tried out the kayaks.  Arianna even went on her own.  The next day, we all rented kayaks and Josiah learned to go alone too.

We were home for a day in time to wash and repack and off we flew to see Dennis and Abby's new place.  It is gorgeous and they were pretty settled in, so there wasn't very much to help them unpack.
Home again with a week before we head off to Florida with the older two grandkids to celebrate Josh's 16th birthday.  Every day was loaded with something to do.  John's Dad had a cataract surgery, and then our nephew Dan and his wife Tamie and daughter Danielle stopped in for a couple of days.
July was a  packed month, but everything was something I wanted to do.  I wouldn't change a thing!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

It has been such a crazy busy month around here.  Great weather and so much to do.  Jessi heard that the tadpoles were out at Frog Lake so we made a chilly morning trip to see them.  It was so chilly, we came back to my place and had their picnic lunch.

It has been so nice out, so John has been going to get his parents to get them out of their apartment.  They sit in the lawn chairs and watch us work in our flowers.  Nice for them to just get outside a while.  A funny story:  Last summer, they were here.  Normally they drink a coffee or a glass of wine.  Since it was hot out, I asked Bob if they would like an iced coffee.  He said that sounded good.  John gave me a surprised look.  I made them their coffees and they drank them down.  When I retrieved their  glasses, Bob said "thanks, Vicki, I have never had a cold coffee before"  Ummm...I asked and he said it sounded good.  Then it hit me.  He thought I had said a 'nice' coffee!  not 'an iced' coffee!  hahaha!  oh well, now he requests them iced!
 Josiah has become addicted to fishing!  Ariel invited John to go with him and Josiah to the Rainbow Trout Farm.  He was so excited, he reeled them in and brought them home to eat.  Before they went, I was at the sporting store with the kids and Jessi buying Ariel his Father's Day gift.  I spotted a creel, exactly like the one my Grandpa McCool had bought for me when he started taking me fishing.  He was so proud to buy us our first gear and he made sure and took us all the time up Bridalveil Creek to fish with him.  Lindy and I loved it.  He taught us how to fish and made us rig up our own lines, worm and all.  We went along the creek bank and sometimes right up the creek.  We learned not to step in the holes that might have a fish in.  Sometimes after one of us had stomped through one, he would stop us and make us watch as he dropped in his line  and pulled out a fish.  Sometimes he gave us heck for stomping through those holes.  If we slipped and fell, then we got ourselves up and caught up with him. He didn't baby us at all.  Afterwards, we would get into his truck and head for home, but never without stopping in at the market to get a Mountain Dew and a chick'o'stick or Big Hunk.  I can't look at any of those three things without remembering him and all the memories I have of spending time with him doing what he loved to do as he passed that love down to us.
So when I spotted that creel, I had to buy it for Josiah.  And he did not disappoint, he loved it!  He proudly put it on and wore it home.
 I love to knit.  I learned how to knit in the 4th grade through 4-H.  Lately, I have been doing a lot of knitting.  I saw this pattern a while back and showed it to Arianna.  I asked her if she wanted me to make it for her.  She examined it.  Then she thoughtfully said, "No, I don't think I would wear it because it has a green collar and green does not look good around my face"  !!!!  Really?  She is 5!  What does she know about what color to wear around her face?  I showed Lina and she said she wanted it.  I finally finished it for her just in time for summer.  haha.  I had hoped to make it for Arianna and have it pass on to Lina so it would get worn more. 
She loves it.  That is what matters.
 I love my little side porch.  I call it my morning porch because that is where I sit every morning while I drink my latte and read my Bible.  It is quiet and so peaceful to watch the sun come up. It has a little overhead heater even!  So even if it is rainy or chilly, I can put a blanket over my lap and enjoy it.  Bazzel likes to sit with me out there.  Sometimes he waits for me in my chair.

Our Big Huge News of the month is that Emily is Engaged!!!

Matthew had Josh go on a walk with them and to be prepared to take some photos.  He did a great job capturing the moment.  The wedding is set for December 9th!
 John and Josh were starting the first leg of the Pacific Coast Trail (Oregon part) and so Rachel drove them to the Oregon border and then went to stay with her parents in Ashland. John and Josh have a 5 year plan to do a leg of the trail every summer to complete it all. So Emily came and spent the night with us. It was pretty awesome to have her send me a text asking if she can come stay here.  So nice to have her at her age want to spend time with me still.  
 Here is the sunset that Emily was also taking a photo of.

We had the kids overnight one night and I busted out the Monopoly game.  What a riot that was!  I think we all managed to get around the board once.
I took a drive over to Blue Lake.  Jessi had been there with the kids and said that there were tons of babies.  Was she ever right!  Not sure, but I am pretty sure, that my Momma was there...she came up to me, and almost ate from my hand the way she used to, but there were so many baby geese around, the commotion kept her back.  But she had the same markings on her head, and above her bill that I am sure it was her.  I think there must have been about 30-50 geese and babies there around me eating the cracked corn I take them.
 I think this cloud looks like a heart, don't you?  I added it to my photo heart collection.

 The hedge gets these spider webs all over the top...if you look down the hole in the middle there is a little white spider waiting form something to land on the 'trampoline' .
 Two wild pigeons landed in the tip top of a fir.  Kinda funny how they both had to have that same branch.  The two of them sat there forever.

 Clouds are pretty amazing...and always changing my view.

strawberries and raspberries from my own garden.
We had a few deer show up in the yard.  The Mamma with twin fawns was at the beach.
 The yard is bursting with color.  I think this is the best it has ever looked.

 a few of the hummers that sip is the most shiny copper color
 The 'Dinosaur plant' has such huge leaves.  I put my flipflop on one of the leaves to show how huge they are.  Maria and Alison and I are going to make bird baths out of concrete with them this fall.
Speaking of Maria and Alison, we took a trip to a winery in Oregon City that had a plant sale going on.  All we bought was wine.
We had our 44th anniversary.  Jessi and Ariel asked us to join them camping at Ft. Stevens, but we decided to stay in Astoria and join them in the daytime.  We arrived a day before them and spent the day around Astoria.
We went to Bridgewater Bistro for dinner.  It was right on the waterfront with a great view.  I had something really weird, but really really good for my dinner.  Crab Cheesecake.  The name is what makes it sound so awful.  It was delicious!  Crab in creemcheese on a pecan crust.  Savory and not sweet at all.  I would for sure order it again.
Around and about Astoria.

 No tattoos, but loved the sign.
Fort Stevens was always the campground of choice as our kids grew up.  It had it all for us.  Bike trails, the Battery Russel, Coffenbury Lake for fishing, the Peter Iredale shipwreck and the ocean and sand, and of course the campground.  We loved our time there and all of us have awesome memories of our summer camping trips there.  It was so special to go along with the grandkids and be part of their new memories of it.
Arianna is such a little artist. As soon as she hit the sand, she made a little Happy Anniversary (anuvrchre) sign for us.  

Roasting marshmallows are always a hit.   Lina's expression is a riot.  Her's had been on fire.

 While Lina napped, the older two and Ariel and John and I rode our bikes to Battery Russel.  It is an old military building that had weapons during the war.  It was only fired upon once by Japan.  My kids used to take their water guns and have wars all over the place.  Then they went with their church youth groups camping and the whole youth group took over with water wars there.

 You can't go camping with kids and not make camp ice cream.  A large coffee can filled with ice and rock salt and  a small coffee can with whipping cream, milk, sugar and vanilla and maybe a few chocolate chips or berries.  put on the lids and roll it around until it turns to ice cream.  But eat it fast or you will end up drinking it.
I think the biggest highlight of the weekend was watching Josiah reel in the fish.  At first, he was bummed because they were not biting the way they had at the Rainbow Trout Farm.  Just as he was about to give up...wammo!  He hooked one.  Oh man was he happy as he reeled it in.  Then on went new bait and into the water went his line.  and again and again and again, until he had his limit!  I just loved watching the excitement on his face as each fish hit.

He was so proud to use his new creel that I bought him.
Josiah the mighty fisherman, can not manage to watch them getting the hook off.
 Lina gave it a try too, but lost it.  Later on at camp, we cleaned them and cut off the heads.  Everyone else took off, because they could not watch it, but Lina stayed, but had to keep her back to it...I caught her taking a peek though.
Josiah, Ariel and I were the only ones to eat them.
We went home the next day, but they stayed on 2 more nights.  Josiah caught his limit the next day too!
A few days after the camping trip, Dennis and the boys made an unexpected short trip up here.  He had CARD business to do, so I got to spend the days with the boys.  And of course that meant time for all the cousins to be together.  Even Josh, their hero got in on it.  They adore him.  They look up to him and can not get enough time with him.
 While they were here, Great Grandma had her second cataract surgery.  We all went over and took her Taco Bell once she got home.  The kids were all eyes and stares when Grandma entered the room.  The circled around her with mouths open as we explained what had happened.  I ended with "she can see really good now'.  Daniel didn't look away from her patch as he said "no she can't".
 The activity never stops when they are all here, meals, water, slip and slide, car races, and spending time together.  Josh needed a break from the kids wrestling so he got on my computer to play his game.  Even then he had them circled around him.

Josh took turns dunking the kids into the water at the end of the slip'n slide.  Lina wanted nothing to do with that and stayed glued to her little chair next to me.  All the while she glared at him, making sure he didn't head her way.
One of the best parts of having all my kids together is seeing them as adults.  It is hilarious to be kicked out of the kitchen and have them do the dishes and empty the trash!  I wonder what they would have said to that happening as I forced them to do their dish nights as kids.  They actually seem to enjoy it now!

And I enjoy watching them enjoy each other!
We had an impromptu engagement party for Emily and Matthew.  She brought up little gifts for each of the kids as she asked them to take on roles in their wedding.  Josiah will be a drummer as Emily walks down the aisle.  Arianna and Lina will be flower girls.  (You should have heard Lina's fast yes as she accepted.)  and Daniel and Gabe will be ring bearers.
We ended it all with a cake.
And of course we could not let the opportunity go past without celebrating Dennis birthday a few days late.  It isn't very often that we get to celebrate with him in person for his day.