Saturday, October 18, 2014

Random Photo Saturday

 photo 25bde9cd-641d-4f92-9daa-606a8a683ef8_zps8a1b9e45.jpg

One of the roads that wind through a nearby state park. The landscape is looking quite October-y now. ;-)

post signature

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Random Photo Saturday

 photo f0b2778e-9257-4b5d-b512-e2dda57d6774_zps8ce80ec2.jpg

My very talented friend made this Fall picture frame for me and dropped it off at my house yesterday. The frame is now part of my attempt at a Fall "tablescape." It was actually exactly what I needed to complete the centerpiece area, and it adds so much warmth because it was handmade. Thank you, Charlotte.

post signature

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Time Flies

Just Son and I spent some time driving around the state park after school yesterday -- a tradition we started just eight years ago. We aren't able to drive around every morning and afternoon as we once did, but we still head out there as often as time allows.

It had only been a week since our last visit, but I was stunned by how much the landscape changed.

 photo f7d7384e-86bf-41f1-9e51-62f6ece78ee4_zps6f40805e.jpg
What was once mostly green has started to burst in to reds, orange and gold.

 photo 7c7124f7-16f6-439a-aefd-adddab64aeea_zps2fb69819.jpg

The afternoon sun -- although still strong -- didn't seem to radiate the warmth it did just a week ago.

 photo 2ebfcd2f-a3a1-46c6-bd08-706bd81d385d_zpsca0958ba.jpg
Even the sky seemed to be on the move, signaling that things were changing.

It was then that I heard a voice that I swear just yesterday was that of a child, ask in a husky tone, "Mom? What happened to September?"

"I don't know," I said....

 photo 688304cd-5575-49ff-8547-78f18b1306af_zpsc2b8d5b1.jpg

"... Time flies."

post signature

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

First Day

I was going to write a really long post explaining where I've been and what I've been up to. I was going to insert all those photos that I took throughout the month of September but was too lazy to post. But when I uploaded that first photo and started writing that first paragraph I thought, "M'eh." So, I scrapped it all and decided to start over. It's the first day of a new month, so let's just move on and leave the past behind, right? Well, easier said than done.

When I started thinking about what to write (that had nothing to do with the past), I drew a blank. I could start with something like, "It's a dark and stormy day," but it isn't. It's actually overcast and there are telltale signs that it rained last night (i.e. wet grass, leaves and pavement), but that would be kind of a long opening sentence. (Not to mention that the sentence has no "ring" to it.)

I could write about our two black cats, and how they look like matching bookends as they sleep next to each other near the gas fireplace in the basement family room. But they're not there. Actually, I have no idea where they are at the moment. 

I could even write about the coffee I have sitting next to me in my winter-themed mug, and how it's the most excellent brew I've ever tasted. But for some reason it actually turned my stomach a little not that long ago.

Yeah, this writing about the present is harder than it looks. So I guess I'll just have to resort to doing what I really wanted to avoid my first day back after a long-ish blogging absence: posting a random photo with a trite caption like, "Happy First Day of October!"

 photo 45eb4a26-b0dd-4083-8d60-b1beee3e6fd5_zps299eb461.jpg

Happy First Day of October!



post signature

Monday, September 22, 2014

Of Apples, Apples And More Apples

Just Son may be getting older, but one tradition he hasn't grown out of yet is picking his own apples.

 photo 73cf2238-9385-46ed-8afc-3ba4d71ad764_zps58e314aa.jpg

Saturday -- despite Just Dad being tired after just returning from a conference the night before -- we all hoped in to the car and made our way to an orchard south of us.

It was a beautiful sunny day. In fact, it was so sunny and warm (about 77 degrees) that the three of us wished we had worn shorts. But picking apples while wearing shorts just doesn't seem right for a Fall activity.

 photo e3f443cd-6a8e-44a2-af96-f25442ff7faa_zpscb119cae.jpg
So we suffered while we strolled through the orchard. ;-)

 photo 5003d147-60cb-436c-8329-68100128f9d0_zps2b58b705.jpg
We picked apple...

 photo db5684ce-41e1-4639-b69d-271cc68a9413_zpse0fcb39f.jpg
... after apple ...

 photo db70a7ef-50a5-4238-b733-052676a98ba3_zpsfa1c4a39.jpg
... after apple...

 photo 64aa2b87-b004-43c0-9606-b5955bf78354_zps52cf48d2.jpg

... until we filled the equivalent of a 10-pound bag.

 photo c160350a-6961-4945-82ad-19c0b8f3c9e3_zpsc930056f.jpg

The end.


post signature

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Growing Pains

Just Son officially became a fifth grader this morning. And even before the first bell rang, I had a feeling this year would be different.

 photo f7da4bac-75a0-4063-819e-087f585dba43_zpsfb227ddd.jpg
I could tell during our vacation, actually. After all, he shot up about 3-4 inches between the end of the last school year the start of this one. 

 photo a6452171-dd55-439a-9b38-d7c37a3307a6_zps996909b6.jpg
I could also tell things were changing when I noticed that instead of wiggling around and being playful (as he's been in years past), he just stood still on our front porch while I took photos of him yesterday.

 photo 7450c8e9-0942-4305-b24f-54dfcfdda73d_zpse20bc6d4.jpg
My heart started aching for those silly years we're leaving behind, especially when I saw that all I was getting from him was shot after shot of JS acting like a little grown up when I told him to move around a little.

I think he sensed that I was longing for those good old days because while I was snapping away, he unexpectedly stepped right up to the lens and said:

 photo 76e647dd-e0b3-423e-a22b-b1a4c8b0c071_zps937486fb.jpg


Here's to growing up -- and also to the start of fifth grade.

post signature

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wrapping It Up

It's so hard to believe that only one week has passed since we returned home from our vacations. With so much going on as the start of the school year nears, it's almost as if it's been months since our return. Just Dad is back at the university for faculty meetings and class prep; Just Son participated in a percussion camp for fifth-grade band students; and the a/c in our house stopped working not once, but twice, within the last week. So much for a vacation from our vacation, huh? ;-)

Because of all the activity around here -- combined with this cold I've been trying to get rid of since catching it in Oregon -- I've barely had the energy to look through the photos I took during our last few days of Vacation #2. To summarize, JD's middle brother joined us in Oregon for a couple of days. We saw relatives and family friends whom Just Family hasn't seen in years. There were also trips to the Oregon Ducks store (yes, we're ready for game day), as well as last-minute visits to various retailers for exciting things like TSA-approved cough and cold medicine. Then, around 5 p.m. last week Tuesday, we were on our way back to reality -- but we first had a short layover in Denver. ;-) By the time we finally got back to our home and our cats, it was around 1:30 a.m. the following morning. Yeah, I know, *phew!*

But I can't not post at least one photo from our last few days in the Pacific Northwest, so I'll post this:

 photo 549d997b-b2c9-4cd3-a053-fc05de787812_zpsc9d38e3c.jpg

Mt. Hood, up close. It was taken on Aug. 9 during our day trip with JD's brother to Timberline Lodge.

And that, my friends, is the end of Vacation-ollapalooza 2014.

post signature

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Random Photo Saturday

 photo e021d8f6-ef77-4e45-b458-22b2100c570d_zps0f12faf8.jpg

Castle Rock, just off the coast of Arch Cape. The rock, formed millions of years ago by lava flows, is named "Castle Rock" because it resembles a castle turret. It's located about a mile offshore.

post signature

Friday, August 8, 2014

Say, "Cheeeeeese"!

 photo 8ecd7860-fc45-4e78-a3e3-19266ed34d0f_zpse944e94b.jpg
We had planned to pass the town of Tillamook on our drive back to Portland on Thursday, so we of course had to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Facory.

 photo 6de00420-32f7-4383-b879-82964e00155a_zps938c160d.jpg
Tillamook cheese (and ice cream) is some of the best I've ever tasted. Really. Both my hubby and I were basically addicted to that stuff when we lived in Oregon years ago. The cheese we get in the upper plains is good, don't get me wrong. But there's just something about Tillamook cheese...

 photo 6b116e93-a56e-4d9a-b92b-068aa79b0d9f_zps3485b2b4.jpg
Many other people must feel the same way, because this was the line for the free samples. (Yeah, we kind of skipped the self-guided tour part. ;-) )

 photo 68e897b5-0299-434f-bca7-71b5cbd7115a_zps16384c2d.jpg
Mmmm... mmmmm......

 photo f10138c1-e46d-4f27-9748-118e7c653361_zps18d3147f.jpg
Just Family's favorite was the smoked black pepper cheese. Yes, it was JS approved.

 photo 9808e33f-99b4-4cd0-a29e-933f82856ce4_zpsfec936f9.jpg
We had arrived around lunch time, so our next stop was the on-site lunch counter. All three of us ordered grilled cheese sandwiches. They were outstanding.

 photo ab414f09-fcd2-4fd0-ad91-9c7705f73285_zps2343db97.jpg
We went to the observation area after lunch to watch the factory in action. Although we didn't get to see the areas with the secret ingredients ;-) we did get to watch factory employees box up all that wonderful Tillamook cheddar. YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 photo 620336bc-704e-4330-879e-9120b1ebc479_zps097c29ee.jpg
Another view.

Finally, it was time to head back to Portland -- but not before hitting the gift store.

 photo 99640931-44cb-46ff-8d75-294d74e8c006_zps2304aa7a.jpg

We had already had our fill of Tillamook ice cream while at the beach cabin -- and cheese would likely spoil on the drive back to Portland --

 photo 8fc0f0de-7d9f-42eb-a8ca-bbc3ee194322_zpsb2557621.jpg

so I made a beeline for the fudge counter. :-)

Quarter-pound each of Milk Chocolate Hazelnut, Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate Raspberry and something that I think was called Candy Dream????

 photo a91ae437-104e-4bec-8124-fe95bf28228c_zpsffb8bfd7.jpg

Good stuff.

post signature

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Of Beaches, Sandcastles And One HUGE Rock

When I had mentioned waaaaaay back in July that it would be fun to visit Cannon Beach while in Oregon, I had imagined it would be just a day trip. Never did I imagine that Just Family would end up staying two nights on the coast. But that's just what we did Tuesday and Wednesday night, thanks to my hubby's aunt and uncle who own a rental cabin along Arch Cape.

 photo 5ac04197-5496-4610-b92f-f0a990a6c11b_zpsa01c9851.jpg
This wasn't my first visit to the Oregon Coast. The last time I was here was a couple of decades ago. (Yeah, time flies.) This was, however, new to Just Son.

One of the first things JS noticed was that the water here is a lot colder than the water in Hawaii.

 photo d09e9e7d-dcec-422c-85c5-ae5d09bf22b3_zpsf3ab9548.jpg
But that didn't stop him from heading down to the beach when we arrived Tuesday afternoon. Really playing on the beach would have to wait until Wednesday morning, however, as JD and I wanted to get a few groceries for our stay here.

We did get a chance to explore the nearby towns of Cannon Beach, Seaside and Gearhart, as well as stop to take a few random shots

 photo 0b12ee20-25b3-4c0b-abe4-c71b52bbaf35_zpsb394de14.jpg
like this...

 photo 4fdeda44-8649-44d9-9b5e-675bec5902bf_zpsc605bd41.jpg
... and this.

By Wednesday morning, JS was ready to explore the shoreline.

 photo 1992b617-0445-4157-b238-cade4ede625d_zps4cb776d0.jpg
While JS and his dad worked on building a sand castle, I did some "beachcombing." OK, I may have also taken some photos along the way.

 photo 7b694c57-80a7-4141-b7c3-2537cf192a67_zps503777af.jpg
Here's one.

 photo d40a09fe-c5ef-420b-9166-32605bdcc879_zps59b83e1b.jpg
And another.

 photo 4f114a91-ff55-4ea6-a5f5-e878ac791ad0_zps63c42501.jpg
And another.

 photo 311a4f3c-94b8-437f-afc2-b1ade484879c_zps92af6feb.jpg
And another.

 photo 86200b33-85ab-4fbb-8f0a-b4b7b973997f_zps8c223158.jpg
And another.

 photo 1846fd3e-5f53-4feb-b5b6-ebc7036fe020_zps85cc71cc.jpg
Oh wait! One more.

No, I didn't forget about the guys and their sand castle.

 photo 139bc2b8-4de3-40cb-a2ef-56749402be3a_zpsea7c0a5c.jpg
JD took photos of me...

 photo 7308754f-c87c-4f57-b4d1-4a9ece0bf7a7_zps8dfb9c74.jpg
... while I took photos of the castle, complete with objects I collected while beachcombing.

After lunch, we decided to finally head north to Cannon Beach to see a big rock. Not just any big rock, of course, but this one: Haystack Rock.

 photo 2eb697cb-3894-41de-aeeb-0295debecc65_zpsf92704b4.jpg
The rock rises 235 feet from the edge of the shoreline, according to a guide book, and was formed millions of years ago by lava flows. How cool is that?! (Geology geek-i-ness rears its head.)

 photo f7531de7-6060-49bf-a845-75a960b5de2f_zpsf2f81998.jpg
Don't let the photos fool you. It was a good two-mile walk (one-way) from where we parked to get to Haystack Rock.

 photo eea4ee08-3399-4ce8-b788-233a577d07c1_zps38ee41e8.jpg
Along the way, we saw many people taking advantage of coastal winds by flying kites.

 photo 7c74b0a6-dc93-496b-a216-fcfc4c4554be_zpsacaba31d.jpg
We also saw a variety of shore birds.

 photo 96656ef7-7883-4622-92a3-6f51e958b905_zpsbd7efe55.jpg
Once we got to the rock, the guys set off to explore the tidepools while the tide was still fairly low.

 photo 48cabac2-0941-4cac-bd7f-8138adeaf8f9_zpsbca079de.jpg
No, we weren't the only people there.

 photo bf2966d3-10aa-4c1f-8ed6-3ebd8915383e_zpsb6308cbb.jpg
Not by a long shot.

 photo ba109b34-80ef-41bc-b721-2d61367acc3b_zps8b5fdb04.jpg
Even though it was quite a busy place, we still enjoyed seeing these guys.

 photo 17b2354a-5d90-4b36-a2ae-b19b1b82b253_zps2217836d.jpg
Isn't marine life fascinating? :-)

After some time exploring the rock, we turned around to head back and were greeted by this sight in the distance:

 photo 8f6bbca9-2586-46c0-b6df-d3b68c2a75b1_zps3a96601e.jpg
Very low-hanging clouds.

 photo 17c876ad-0006-4e80-b375-d4591e840f28_zps2b4e14c8.jpg
No one else in the area seemed to notice or care, so I decided to play it cool rather than run down the beach yelling, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" ;-)

 photo ca7dcb96-785d-4147-bcf9-9b02f62c9c34_zps89152c91.jpg

You wouldn't be able to hear me anyway over the roar of the ocean and the wind. Besides, it was a beautiful day.

 photo 7c57eca6-97e1-47e6-b9e3-f30358e71f90_zpsdde242f3.jpg
And it all ended with an equally beautiful night.

post signature