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Camping with the kids

This past weekend we took the kids camping at Nehalem Bay State Park. It was… challenging. Not that it wasn’t worth it… it just… took a lot of effort. There were times we had to remind ourselves that home was less than two hours away and we could leave at any time. But hey, we did it! The kids had a great time playing on the beach both days – soaking up the sun, splashing in the water, flying the kite, and generally getting sand everywhere. The hardest part was in the evening, I think. Of course the kids couldn’t get to sleep on time, were occasionally loud which I worried bothered our fellow campers, and then there were “incidences” – like when Leo jabbed himself in the eye with a fork and I feared that we’d have to rush to the hospital, or when Chloe fell face first into the fire pit, scraping her face, bloodying her nose and getting soot all over herself. And sleeping, well… we only have 3 sleeping bags, so I shared mine with Leo, which was kind of awkward, and I kept waking up all night wondering if he or Chloe was cold.

Anyways, it was a good learning experience (and exercise in patience!). Next time we are going to do what our neighbors are doing this week, and getting a yurt. 🙂
More photos can be seen here.


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Camping at Lake Quinault, Olympic National Forest

I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day weekend!

We decided to go on a rare camping trip to the Lake Quinault area of the Olympic National Forest. It was cloudy, wet, and very cold (Hello! Rain forest!), but we did enjoy a brief break when the sun made an appearance on the second evening. I was finally able to pull out my camera and once I started I could hardly stop taking pictures. Everything was just so verdant and sparkling.

We pitched our tent in a beautiful spot, surrounded by lush vegetation and old-growth trees, right beside the lake. With Chloe in her framed backpack carrier, we explored the nearby rainforest trails, including one leading to the largest Sitka spruce in the world. The Lake Quinault Lodge was also picturesque and charming with it’s rough, weathered facade and stately presence.

Overall, the weather proved to be our biggest challenge, and sadly, our air mattress sprung a leak the very first night. We had bought a new REI Kingdom 4 “family” tent on sale just a few days earlier, and although roomy, it had a poorly designed fly that didn’t keep out the rain. Luckily David played it safe and packed our old Mountain Hardware tent, too, which was much more suited to the wet and cold environment.

I think I was the one who enjoyed our trip the most. Chloe wasn’t thrilled about the long car ride, or sleeping in her coat, but she did remarkably well and had a good time. I’m also proud to say we packed everything we needed, including food for delicious and easy camp-friendly meals. Our last night we enjoyed a special dinner at the Salmon House Restaurant in the Rainforest Resort Village while we watched the sun go down behind the mountains. It was a moment of perfection for me. I can’t wait until next time (when hopefully it will be just a little bit warmer!)


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A weekend away

We had a wonderful weekend visiting friends north of Seattle. The weather was sunny and perfect, and for the first time I could see the entire skyline of Seattle, including the Puget Sound and distant mountain ranges. I would love to live so close to the water. We arrived late, but with enough sunlight left to visit Hayworth Park and let the dog have some off-leash time.

On Sunday morning our families took the ferry to Whidbey Island, to the picturesque town of Langley. The toddlers tossed stones by the waters edge and we all peeked into the various shops until lunchtime. Unexpected treasures were found at the Chocolate Flower Farm where I bought up an envelope of the richest hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted and David found Chloe a like-new Little Tikes Tambourine for only $1 at the Good Cheer Thrift Store. Lunch was very tasty at the French Bistro, Prima (I’m always up for a good croque madame). The girls were getting tired though, so we parted ways soon after, but David, Chloe and I hung around just a little longer, to soak up as much of the island atmosphere as we could before the long drive ahead.

Greta and Ava picking up rocks
David and Chloe dropping rocks into the water
The gorgeous view from Langley

See all photos


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Found objects and other excitement

Found objects are so interesting. You can’t help but imagine how they got to where they are. What the circumstances were. Who they belonged to. Their prior lives. Kind of like I wonder about Barkley. Who loved him first? Who was with him when his baby teeth fell out? Was his one floppy ear broken by accident or was he just born like that? These things I’ll never know, but it stirs the imagination in several different directions.


Found object: blue toy soldier.

Found object: flashing dog tag. It still works!

Found objects: Maple leaves with galls.

Another exciting event this weekend occurred while we were at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro today. The park is currently severely flooded by the adjoining Tualatin River. Paved trails abruptly end and are completely uncrossable. You can see the halves of trees sticking up out of the deep, milky opaque water. At one point after a trail stopped, David, Barkley and I walked out onto a huge fallen tree over the river to take a better look. In this situation, Barkley was pulling on the leash too hard for my balance and comfort so I bent down to unleash him. When I gave the release command, and pointed back down the tree toward David, he must have misunderstood me. Instead, he immediately leapt off the tree and into the moving water, shocking us both, only to find that his passage back to land was blocked by large tree branches and crisscrossing vegetation. The tree was too high above the water-line for him to get back on and he was desperately trying to find purchase somewhere, but couldn’t get a grip on anything, clawing wildly at the bottom bark of the trunk. Luckily he was wearing a body harness. David rushed over, knelt down and eventually was able to drag him out. David is my hero. It was over pretty quickly, but I know we were all a little shaken by the experience. The thing is, Barkley always enters water gingerly and with caution. I’ve never known him to just jump in like that. Was he just so trusting of me to blindly follow what he thought was a command into the water? I just don’t know what he was thinking or why he did that. I guess I’ll never know. I just hope that all doesn’t happen again.


Hard to believe but there is a parking lot under all that water.

One of the paved trails flooded by the Tualatin River.

Barkley safe and unharmed after the incident.

Getting his confidence back. He decided he prefers running on top of the water.

Just to be sure this experience wouldn’t frighten Barkley out of the water forever, David rolled the ball into a much safer and shallower area, barely inches of water. It took him a few moments, but after very cautiously peering in and taking it one step at a time, he quickly got over his initial reservation and retrieved the ball. Whew!

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