Monday, July 30, 2012

Adventure Sunday

It came as no surprise that Joe was true to his word and would make up, in one weekend, what I had failed to do throughout the week... make Shawna feel as though Bend is a place of fun and exploration (I admit that it is... I love this beautiful place we live in... but I will also admit that these "adventures" seem arduous on a weekday-ly basis to a mother of two young children whose routine involves cleaning, laundry, naps and meal planning.)  And so adventure Saturday was followed by adventure Sunday and we spent an entire weekend enjoying the outdoors.

We managed to squeeze in a scenic drive out to the Metolius River recreational area where we navigated our way out to a trailhead whose 6 mile loop would take us to the Wizard Falls fish hatchery and back.  But after traversing about a mile of narrow dirt path along the river, we opted to turn back and make the drive to to the hatchery instead.  A good move considering the kids were walking at an ever slowing pace and Aubrey continuously wavered between walking and wanting to be carried by Joe.  So we enjoyed a short hike, drove to the hatchery where we fed and learned about the fish and made a quick stop on the way back at the infamous "Head of the Metolius" where the river simply "starts" from water flowing out of the hills (much more exciting in anticipation than reality...)

And so ended our weekend of adventure... our attempt to entertain a teenager.  And when asked "so if someone asked you if you had fun doing all these things... what would you say?" her slight smile and lack of response was enough for me.  Who wants to admit, at 15, that adventure weekend with extended family could actually be fun? ;)

Hosmer Lake Kayaking

When we got the idea to bring my 15-year-old niece here for two weeks this summer, I had no idea how challenging it would be to entertain a teenager.  My life is all 3 and 6-year-old entertainment... coloring, swimming, naps and playgrounds.  I felt like a failure on the weekdays when my response to "what are we doing today?" brought a look of apparent indignation.  So it was Joe's mission on the weekend to make her life in Bend adventurous and so deemed Saturday "ADVENTURE Saturday!" a term he used with enthusiasm several times throughout the day.  Though it may not have been her idea of fun, it was better than sitting in front of the TV and an experience she may never have had otherwise.  And despite the act she put on of being "forced" to come along, when the beautiful 2-hour kayak adventure had come to an end she turned to me sweetly and said "thank you."

Never having been to Hosmer Lake, it was a new experience for all of us.  The Cascade Lakes offer so much beauty and serenity... it's hard to believe we've been in central Oregon for 4 years without taking full advantage of all there is to see.  It just makes me think there are so many new adventures still yet to come.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kindergarten is Over

My sweet boy finished his first year of "real" school last month and admittedly, his last day was probably just as hard for me as his first.  I just kept thinking "first grade? SERIOUSLY?!" As I looked at the little first graders heading out on their last day of school I realized that, if these emotions continue to haunt me through every transition, we're in for an exciting mental roller coaster.  When is a mother ever really ready to let go?

He flourished this year and it was an exciting transformation to watch as a a mom.  His desire and passion for learning made me proud.  God blessed us with an incredibly bright, compassionate and intelligent little man and while I cringe at the speed with which he seems to be growing before my eyes, I look forward to the new developments first grade will bring.  But for now... let's just enjoy the summer :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Grassick Family Camping 2012

We tried to choose a location more central to all family campers this year and had tossed around Shasta as an idea after last year's trip but needed a place with full hookup for the Grassick 5th wheel (which the state parks in and around that area are apparently lacking.)  So we ended up choosing Mt. Lassen and finding (rather late in the planning process this year) a KOA kampground that would accommodate us all.  July 4th-8th (Jill and her kids, and our Bessman family choosing to show up a day late on the 5th.)  A whole lot of dirt, not a lot of sleep, but a ton of laughter, bonding and memories.  Too many photos to choose from so I created a few collages that summarize the highlights... 

The setting was perfect, two campsites just close enough that, had we been strangers, would have been WAY too close.  Perfect for family ;)  One site held the 5th wheel and the Grassick #1 tent (housing Joey, Lindsay and 3-year-old Sevvy.) While the other site held Grassick tent #2 (with Jill, Shawna, Josh and Molly), the Bessman tent (Me, Joe, Brendan and Aubrey) and the campfire that we gathered around each day.  Two fold-up camping gazebos allowed us to push two tables together for a much nicer covered group dining area.

The KOA provided a number of possible activities including a swimming pool, movie night, and rent-able pedal karts.  Jill opted to rent Josh a kart for a half hour one night which turned into loads of fun (and arguments) for the adults (you pedal BACKWARDS to brake!!)

The family was split (in decisions, opinions and activities...) one day as we tried to decide who would be going with Dad on the 5 mile, arduous round-trip hike to the peak of Mt. Lassen.  The decision may not have been fair (and I admit I felt rather guilty) but it was I who made the trip with the men-folk as Jill, Lindsay and Nadine stayed behind with the kids (opting for the kid-friendly cave exploration.)  Despite the 10,400 ft elevation at the top and the chilly winds throughout, the view was beautiful and the experience one I won't soon forget.  My brother, my dad and my husband.  I love those men... all three of them... 

Our last day of adventure took us on a hike to the boiling mud pools of Bumpass Hell.  And the theme tended to be "we're going on a 3 mile hike?  I thought this was just a look-out!" as we drug all 5 small children (and Shawna) along the snow lined narrow foot-path.  But the pools were amazing (albeit incredibly sulfurous-ly stinky) and well worth the "misery."

Things I learned on this trip:
- Shawna can build an awesome campfire
- Reese's peanut butter cups have got to be the best idea ever for a s'more
- Deer in the Headlights will need to accompany every camp trip from here on out
- "Tampons... they're like duct tape for girls..."
- I will never get over the excitement of being with my brother, my sister, and my dad all at the same time
- Dad can get downright (hilariously) vengeful when it comes to card games
- I will never stop looking forward to these trips, as long as they stay a tradition...

Until next year...