Thursday, September 14, 2017

First Day of School

I had all these grandiose plans to start school early, like in August, but in the end McKinley & Piper's first day of school was the same day as their public school peers.  I wanted to surprise them with a special pancake breakfast, but it was them who surprised me by waking up early, all by themselves, getting dressed and making their beds before coming downstairs.  I decided our start time for the first week would be 9:00 am, and they were promptly ready to go, sitting at the dining room table, waiting for me to join them.  The first day went pretty smoothly and quickly, and afterwards Piper was so disappointed that she begged to do more school.  This year McKinley will be going through Adventures in U.S. History and Piper will do God's Creation from A to Z, both from My Father's World.  As were are already in the middle of their second week, their enthusiasm has wavered a bit, and I'm still trying to navigate teaching two different grade levels.  But I'm so proud of both of my school girls!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

End of Summer

Just a quick photo dump to re-cap the end of our summer.   We had a lot going on in the month of August.  Tessa had her very first dentist appointment and did excellent!  Of course, she was the most excited to be able to watch cartoons while our dental hygienist, Rochelle, cleaned her teeth.  She wanted her sisters to be in the room with her for moral support, and at the end of her cleaning she chose a green popper toy as her prize.  I also started my final season with the cross country team and have brought the girls along with me for various events, such as our 60-minute fundraiser run and trail maintenance.  Lastly, we celebrated the end of summer with our neighbors at our 3rd annual Clearbrook Ct. BBQ.  Sophie was the coordinator, and she planned a slew of games, organized a bicycle parade & face-painting station, and choreographed the girls' dances they performed.

60-minute fundraiser run

Tessa ran a total of 3 laps all by herself.

McKinley and Piper ran together this year.

Afterwards they feasted on watermelon, and then we met the team at Round Table Pizza.

One friday morning for practice, we gathered as many rakes and shovels as we could find in order to spread out the bark chips over our home course's trail. 

McKinley and Piper were happy to help.....

......while Tessa stayed with me and munched on donuts.

Piper's favorite cross country girls: Jaci & Savanna.

Trail maintenance crew.

Our neighbors: Sam & Will.

Tessa and McKinley did a routine together.

Piper did her own dance.

And McKinley also performed her own dance, which included cartwheels and scissor kicks.

Momma did not do so well during the pie-eating contest.  After my first two bites of lemon meringue pie, our neighbor, Brian had inhaled his piece of banana cream.

The girls, however, were pie-eating champs, and they all received a prize!

During the bicycle parade, the girls threw candy to the crowd.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Total Eclipse

We all gathered in the cup-de-sac to witness the eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 10:20 am.  Newberg wasn't considered to be in the path of totality, but we were at 99%.  We figured at 99% there wouldn't be a whole lot of difference between a total eclipse and what we observed.  But boy were we wrong!  The street lights came on in the cup-de-sac, but the sky didn't get completely dark like we had imagined. And we missed seeing the beautiful, solar corona that a total eclipse is known for.  It was fun to hold out the colander over our white sheet and see the crescents (instead of full circles) get skinnier and skinnier.  We also got to witness the "shadow bands" that appear a few minutes before and after a total eclipse, which are faint, rapidly-moving bands that look like ripples of sunshine at the bottom of a swimming pool.  The temperature dropped about 10 degrees, and even the shadows of  leaves on the ground were crescent-shaped.  What an amazing experience!

 9:26 am

9:55 am

10:04 am

10:11 am

10:11 am

10:13 am

10:15 am

10:17 am

10:18 am

Monday, August 14, 2017

Oregon Coast 2017

During Ahmma & Dumpa's visit we took a road trip down the Oregon Coast.  We stayed two nights in Waldport, which is eighteen miles south of Newport. A fishing vessel had recently washed ashore during our stay. We pillaged it like pirates, but I still wasn't able to score a much-desired ship's wheel.  We ate crab cakes and fresh rockfish at our favorite lunch spot on the Newport Historic Bayfront: Local Ocean Seafoods.  Then we walked down to the docks and bought enough fresh albacore and king salmon to feed us for the next 3-4 meals.  Infact, Dumpa made some delicious tuna melts that the girls devoured.  We did some hiking in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, and took the Whispering Spruce trail which ascended to the Cape Perpetua Stone Shelter.  We also walked around Devil's Churn waiting for the big waves to crash into the inlet. After leaving Waldport we headed towards Gold Beach.  We stopped along the way to explore some tide pools, and the girls were ecstatic to touch so many "glubbies," aka sea anemones.  Our night in Gold Beach was merely a pit stop and a chance to re-pack our bags before we boarded the jet boat ride, 32 miles, up the Rogue River.  Twenty-eight years ago, Benji and his family took Jerry's Jet Boats to Agness for their famous, fried-chicken dinner, so it was pretty special to re-create that memory with Ahmma & Dumpa.  We actually stayed in Agness for two nights at the 150 acre historic Lucas Pioneer Ranch & Fishing Lodge. The meals we chose to eat at the Lodge were out-of-this-world! Everything was homemade and family-style!  We spent our mornings tromping around Agness, (population: 55) visiting their library, playing at their park, and also taking a boat across the river to Cougar Lane.  As for our afternoons, we lounged on the gravel bar and cooled off in the Rogue River.  Such a relaxing place, especially since we were the only guests for those two days.  Our boat ride back to Gold Beach was anything but relaxing, though.  Infact, after making arrangements to be picked up on our last day, the captain, before stepping foot on "Wildcat" warned us that we might want to wait for a tamer boat. Even after noticing most of the passengers had wet hair and were wearing rain slickers, we didn't think anything of it and loaded our gear onto the boat.  The only seats available were in the last row, which we now know were the worst seats to have.  And as we sat down, the captain turned to Ahmma and said, "I love ya Gramma, but I'm sorry!"  Our ride back to Gold Beach was like Splash Mountain on steroids, and we got drenched! Poor Tessa hid underneath a blanket the entire ride, but McKinley & Piper had the biggest smiles on their faces.  The only silver lining was that we got to witness a black bear eating berries.  We eventually found lodging in Crescent City, and the next morning we headed towards Medford for one last hoo-rah before saying goodbye to Ahmma & Dumpa: lunch @ In-N-Out.  Before we arrived in Medford, though, we wanted to show the girls the redwoods at Jedidiah State Park.