Sunday, April 27, 2014


On Friday, our family split ways so that Mikayla and I could attend the "Regionals" tournament for her volleyball team, while John and Brayden stuck around town for a lacrosse team dinner, breakfast, and the varsity game on Saturday.

While John was bummed to miss out, Michele and her girls were pleased with the arrangement as they volunteered to take their place in our hotel room.   They haven't had a good chance at a get-away in a while, and for them, hunkering down in a hotel room with free breakfast, a housekeeper, and an indoor pool was just about ideal.  Their only bummer - the fact that we had to leave and be away for the mornings to early afternoons of each day.  ;)

We got some swim time in on Friday evening before Mikayla got a decent bedtime so she'd be up and ready to be at this place by 8am.  This is the first year they've held the Regionals here, and I have to admit, it was quite exciting - especially after navigating to it easy enough and finding a parking spot not too far away in the midst of "Scary Portland".  

With lots of time slated for getting there and finding parking, we found ourselves with plenty of time to kill.  We wandered around, took pictures, and for me, the highlight, was listening to one of the talented players in attendance belt out "The National Anthem".  It gave me chills and I felt like it was a special thing indeed that Mikayla was able to participate in an event that was honored in such a way.

This picture doesn't even do justice to the enormity of the space.  I had my doubts that it would work, but it was really very well organized and nice to have chairs lining the courts so there would be no dragging blankets or lawn chairs to stake our spots.  

The original "Four Amigas" from last year's team - still just as tight, and now even more skilled. 

We were ranked #15 going into the tournament.  Not bad considering there were 54 12's teams represented, and our team is the "2nd" place among our 12's age group in Webfoot.  However, we ended up being matched against the #7, #3, and #11 ranked teams - so we lost all of our matches.  We did start the day in an outstanding manner, though, by winning our first set in a dazzling fashion.  But, we lost momentum.  It's okay, it was expected and nobody fell apart because of the results. 

Particularly not Mikayla - she was jazzed and ready to hang out with her cousins.  They had a good time returning to the pool and playing "Headbands".

The next day was pretty much the same.  During some of the downtime, I went to town French-braiding hair...these are the same four girls from the earlier pic.  

A collage put together by Michele of the fun they all had. 

Our adventures ended with a trip to the Woodburn Outlets - picked up some fun items for the girls and just enjoyed being together.  Definitely a great girls' weekend.

Monday, April 21, 2014

An Easter in Sunriver

In a scenario almost identical to last year, we found ourselves headed to Sunriver for a four day/three night weekend, courtesy of free nights because of gift certificates previously purchased.  A big shout-out to the Schilling family who donated one of their nights as they wouldn't be able to use it.  Thanks guys!  It made all the difference to have that additional night.

We chose to go on Easter weekend, 1) because Brayden attends a Catholic High School and they take "Good Friday" off from classes, and 2) because we've never set lasting Easter traditions, so we might as well be at a place where we can fully acknowledge all of the glory and splendor of His creation as we celebrate the ultimate GIFT given through sacrifice remembered on this weekend.

Thanks to Steph picking up Whitley a little early, and John getting off work early, we were able to get on the road and make it to Sunriver in record time.  It was made even more pleasant with the ability to watch the Ducks' Softball team defeat California en route.  (You gotta love technology!)

I could say that we gave the kids their "Easter baskets" early as we didn't want to confuse the commercialization of the holiday with what it really means to us.  But really, it was because we wanted them to consume all that candy over the course of the weekend and bring as little back as possible (so we wouldn't be tempted later). 

Oh yes, definitely MY HAPPY PLACE!!!

And the view outside, yeah, not so bad either!

On Friday morning, Brayden and John took off for Bend while Mikayla and I walked to the Village Mall.

Hot Lava Baking Company supplied just what we were hoping for...

Good times on another girly date...

The blue skies and mountain views from our condo...

The reason for John and Brayden's trip to Bend?  Well, it was an attempt to get this...HIS DRIVING PERMIT!   Oh my goodness, our life will never be the same.  #parenthoodjustgotscarier

The family celebrated with some time spent in the mini-pool hot tubs that are dispersed throughout the lodging units.

Brayden took the wheel again later that afternoon as he drove us the short distance to the Village Mall where we planned to have "linner".  John is doing an exceptional job working with him - this will be an outstanding exercise in their communication with one another, that's for sure!

We love this place  - it's got something on the menu that everyone enjoys...

How the kids spent their time waiting for the food to arrive:

Dining al fresco.  It was a GORGEOUS day!

The Village Mall is definitely under reconstruction in attempts to "spiff it up" and make it more family friendly.  This "criss-crossed double slack line" was one of its newer features that our kids took advantage of.

Later on, they spent their time playing a little lacrosse.  

Which actually, later on, led to us purchasing this for spring could end up being pretty busy for this family-

After that - well, this picture says it all - Brayden was BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS.  It actually turned into some necessary conversation about his need to find something productive and happy to do while we are enjoying our "chill" time.  Some of it had to do with not taking ADHD medicine (which at least half a dose, we've now realized, is necessary even on vacation - new family rule!) - but, some of it was just Brayden wanting to be non-stop entertained.  As I've repeated a couple of times now when talking about this, how blessed are we that one of our biggest family arguments on a get-away is that our 15 year old desires more attention and interaction with our family.  =)

On Saturday morning, we decided to cash in some of those previously mentioned gift certificates (that weren't used up at the spa at Christmas time) in some dining at the lodge at their cafe and purchases in their resort gift shop (with some really cool stuff).  

So cute, Brayden playing "Peek-a-boo" with the camera...

Pictures courtesy of Mikayla of breakfast that morning...

And, the sign we purchased and brought home from the gift shop.  We love it, and it kind of signifies how we want folks to feel when they spend time in our home.  

When we returned to the hot tub later, there was a family from Klamath Falls that we really hit it off with.  This little girl, Piper, thought Mikayla was pretty special.  

That afternoon, we went to see this.  As we've been avid followers of ABC's "Marvel: Agents of Shield",  it was even more of a draw than usual to catch this overlapping action flick.  Mikayla thought it was, "okay" - the rest of us LOVED it.  =)

Easter Sunday was definitely not a conventional one for us.  We certainly tried to keep the focus where it should be on such a day.  And keep the harmony.  This place definitely accomplished the harmony aspect...

This is in Sisters - kind of a ghost town right now as the whole main strip is under construction...

But, thankfully, this place was still open.  =)

This was supposed to be a single scoop of Almond Joy ice cream in a waffle cone.  I ended up having to toss half of it as it would have overflowed as it melted all over the car...

Our evening ended upon return from Central Oregon with a little PF Chang's for dinner.  Still a bit unconventional, but so tasty.

Celebrated traditionally or uniquely, the message of Easter remains the same - and oh, how thankful we are for that...