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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chiloquin / Crater Lake / Tumalo State Park

Our first joint adventure with Travis, Natalie & the boys was a two-night stay at a rental house in Chiloquin, which was about thirty minutes from the south entrance to Crater Lake National Park.  We arrived late in the afternoon, and while Uncle Travis made spaghetti, the kiddos had a blast playing hide and seek in the upstairs bedrooms.  We were a little apprehensive about the sleeping arrangements because Piper had begun to wake up repeatedly in the middle of the night again and was supposed to share a room with Micah, Luke & McKinley.  But much to our surprise, the kids did great.  Both nights they stayed up chatting (making memories for a lifetime, I hope), and we eventually had to threaten them to sleep around 9 pm.  The first morning was cool, and as we drove into the park the temperature dropped to 45 degrees.  It was also raining and foggy, so we decided to visit all of the visitor centers, get some hot cocoa at Rim Village, and hike down to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook, which is below the rim of the caldera.  We waited to see if the weather would clear up, but all we saw was a glimpse of Wizard Island.  After we returned to our house, where it was warm and sunny, we completed a tabata workout.  The following day the temperatures remained in the high 40's/ low 50's, but it was completely clear.  We hiked up to the Watchmen Tower, and the view was amazing!  But we scrapped the hike down to the water because it was just too cold to jump in.  After we ate lunch at one of the many rim overlooks, we started drive home.  However, we made a detour through Bend and Sisters, and decided to spend a couple hours at Tumalo State Park.  The weather was super hot, and it was the perfect day to play in the Deschutes River.  We even borrowed some inner tubes so the kiddos could float down the river a bit.  So much fun!   So much fun…..that we started planning a tubing trip closer to home.

Even though it was cloudy, the sunrise was beautiful.

We were out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by cows.


McKinley does a plank to get warmed up before getting dressed.

Piper does a hollow hold.

Crater lake?

A view of Wizard Island from the Sinnott Memorial Overlook.

Back at the house, the kids explore.

The next morning we remain bundled up as we eat breakfast.




The Watchman Tower.







The Deschutes river.


Dadda does an underwater sneak attack on McKinley.

Hey ladies!

Tess puts her toes in the cold river.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cousin Lovin'

We are so excited to have more family in town!  Uncle Travis, Aunt Natalie, Micah & Luke are here for a whopping ten days, so stay tuned for photos and stories of our adventures together.

From left to right: Lukester, Micah-moo, McKinners, Tessie, and P-cub. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Block Party in the USA

Yesterday was the 2nd annual Clearbrook Court Barbecue, hosted by our neighbors, Ed & Lisa Stokes. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people!  When we moved into our new house, we never could've imagined being part of a community like this.  But now that we've been in the cul-de-sac for almost a year, I can't imagine moving elsewhere.  Although a few neighbors were absent, due to previous commitments, I've already heard whispers of another possible get-together in the fall.  Can't wait!


Tessie loves to suck on her tongue. 

Brian, so graciously, volunteered to pull the wagon train for the parade.

Micah and Luke, who are visiting from CA, joined McKinley, Piper, Tessa & Sophie in the parade.

They had fun throwing jolly ranchers at the crowd and ended the final pass-through with a rousing vocal performance of "Let It Go."

Whip cream mustaches!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Newberg Days

Our final days with Ahmma, Dumpa and Great Nonna were spent around Newberg.  We visited the Heirloom Rose Garden to buy some fragrant roses for out front yard.  Nonna agreed to help Dadda organize a beautiful flower-scape, and she even grabbed a shovel to dig holes for our new flowers.  When I asked her to rate her sleep experience on our new Pottery Barn sofa bed in the girls' play room, she gave it an 8 out of 10.  One afternoon we filled up the swimming boat so McKinley could show Ahmma and Dumpa what she had learned during her swim lessons.  Since it was Tessa's first time in the boat, I just had to capture her having fun at every angle. See below.  We also hosted a little tea party  on our backyard patio. Our neighbor, Lisa, made the most delicious scones I have ever eaten.  Dadda and I even snuck in a dinner date before Ahmma and Dumpa left. It was nice to get dressed up and leave the flip flops at home. We also did our first partner WOD together at Newberg CrossFit, while the girls stayed home.  So fun! Thank you Ahmma, Dumpa and Great Nonna for coming out to see us.

Pretty new flowers.

The girls model sun hats at the Heirloom Rose Garden.

After acclimating to the cool water, she sat down and loved it!




Rub-a-dub-dub….three ladies in a tub.

The first all-sister bath party.

McKinley and Piper help me set the table before our tea party guests arrive.


From left to right: Great Nonna, Faith, Lisa, McKinley, Betty, Sophie, Ahmma & Piper.

Four generations of Howards.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day Trip # 2: Astoria

Our second outing was to Astoria.  We left around Tessa's morning nap time and made it to the Astoria Column shortly before lunch.  Dadda, Dumpa, McKinley & Piper climbed to the top and yelled down to us.  Before we left the girls did hill sprints with Dadda and then proceeded to do log rolls down the hill.  After lunch at the Wet Dog Cafe we bought some fresh fish at the docks and headed to Cannon Beach.  It was quite windy and a little chilly at the beach, but it definitely was a nice break from our hot weather in Newberg.  The girls had fun playing in the sand, while I fed Tessa some puffs on the blanket.  On the way home we stopped at Dairy Queen for an ice cream break. Even Tessa got a little taste.




On top of the hill which overlooks Washington and the bridge to Long Beach.


Log rolls!

Sprinting up the hill with Dadda.


I don't know how the girls stayed warm in their swimsuits, but I was glad I brought a coat.


Haystack Rock in the distance.