Saturday, July 30, 2011

Larison Cove

For over a dozen years now, we've done a group camping trip with friends and family. Over the years the locale has changed at least four times. The group number has reduced significantly, but that's okay - sometimes change is good, and now it is more an opportunity to hang with Mom and Dad and a couple of other families we are close too, vs. putting on the "social smile" all weekend long.

Due to the drainage of Hills Creek Reservoir last year, we opted for a locale at another reservoir. The camping turned out to be okay there, but it was still lacking in "atmosphere" for me. Truth be told, I'm more of a "higher elevation/central Oregon" camper, but there's lots of factors in choosing on behalf of a group - with distance being paramount. So, this year, we opted to return to Hills Creek - but reserved a different campsite - literally "site" unseen. =) Therefore, before we all showed up, I thought it might be a good idea to check out the layout, to see how we might all fit once we arrived.

The plan had been to drag Brayden and Mikayla with me, but this week there's been a lot of "switching of kiddos" with the Meyers. So instead of Brayden, Christina came instead. Not that I didn't want Brayden's company, but lately, it takes all of 13.7 seconds for my kids to be together for them to start bickering. To have two girls in the backseat that actually wanted to sit next to each other was truly a delight.

The trip is only an hour from home. We packed Sydney too - believing we'd have a chance to throw a tennis ball in the water for her. After checking out Packard Creek Campground and giving a "thumbs up" to the water level in the reservoir as well as the camping conditions at our reserved site - we drove about a quarter of a mile to Larison Cove. For all the times we've camped at this spot, I've never checked this little lake out. It's so beautiful!

We then spent about a half hour hiking to the source of the lake - Larison Creek - and stopping again for Sydney to get wet. She LOVES water - and she sure needs the exercise! It also cracked us up that she was scared of the stump in the water - she obviously didn't know what it was and had to cautiously approach it and sniff all over. What a goof ball. My vehicle is so perfect for these occasions in that it has a very deep "trunk" (0r whatever you call that back spot in a van) with a waterproof rubber liner - so no matter how dirty she is, she's contained and can't make too much of a mess.

All told, it was a glorious way to spend the first half of the day. (Especially after starting the first hour at the Group Power workout - it's been a month since I've been....bad girl....and the consequences of such behavior is that every muscle hurts in my body right now, the morning after....) The rest of the day was spent with Amy and the kids at the pool, and then a family adventure to see "Zookeeper" at the movies. A "Fantastic Friday" indeed!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sons of Thunder 2011

"Sons of Thunder" finally arrived - you should have seen the grin on Brayden's face before he and John departed. They took off Thursday evening, as is the tradition, with Dave and Logan to spend an extra night on the campgrounds.

Also a tradition the next morning is heading to Lorene's Cafe for a true greasy spoon breakfast. Sadly, they closed down, but they were able to track down one of the cook's new locale - serving much the same quality "clog-your-arteries" goodness.

Following that, the guys went to check out a used bookstore in the building that used to be a bank - hence the boys posing before the vault.

Back to Camp Tadmor - ready to begin some ropes course fun - by then Mark, Andrew, and newcomer Jackson (every picture has him in permagrin...he's so happy to finally be part of the crew!!!), and Michael and Traig join our mix:

The next morning, Traig won an award for his age division for well as a new pole. This guy helped out a bit in him achieving that.

On to the group hike - love this picture as well as the one following of Mark and his boys:

And then, some fun challenges - not so sure what the point was, but they look like they were having fun!

This is the "Affirmation Stage" in which each boy stood on the stage and the dad spoke words of affirmation and how he is "well pleased" with his son - just seeing the pics made me nearly tear up:

Michael - at his finest:

The hairnet is supposed to go over just the hair Brayden....maybe there were mosquitoes he was trying to protect himself from:

And some very fitting final shots on Sunday morning. The boys are all sad that last year will be their final one....oh, "Sons of Thunder" how good you've been to my guys!

Bullwinkles Family Fun Center

It's the third year in a row that we've upheld this tradition, to head to Bullwinkle's Family Fun Center in Wilsonville on the Sunday evening following "Sons of Thunder". This year, Travis and Stephanie were finally able to join us (including the Schillings and Meyers) - a good thing as that Sunday was his birthday. As I've described in my previous post, I wasn't able to join in, but thankfully that didn't stop the rest of the crew from having a blast (and yes, forced Stephie's hand in participating with Mikayla when she probably wouldn't have otherwise....all part of our evil master plan Stephie - hee hee!)

First up - Bumper boats! With the thermometer reading 88 degrees, it was a great thing indeed to get sprayed with water....I love all of the expressions John was able to capture!

The Go-Carts were the big appeal this year, probably due in part to Travis' enthusiasm towards them. Brayden did eventually get to drive his own, but was also stopped a couple of times because he didn't quite reach the acceptable height....grrr.....

I think Amy was also able to capture a lot of the fun on her camera, so there's probably more pictures to come. I'm already looking forward to our next adventure there that I'll be able to participate in! (And, btw, I'm feeling MUCH better - I actually feel like I'm among the land of the living again - PRAISE GOD!!!)