Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dog Parks, Holes-In-One, Waterfalls, Snowmen, and Half-Baked Ice Cream

I'm not a fearful person in general, but sometimes when I have whole weeks ahead to entertain a three and a half year old for over 9 hours a day, flying solo (Christi is wisely spending the final days of tax season with family down in California), I get a little antsy.  So, we get a little creative with how we fill our days.

On Monday, I had the benefit of having the Schilling kids around.  (It was an inservice day for their district).  Nati and Ellie went with me to the Splash park and dog park (obviously, Sahalie went too).

Upon arrival home, Whitley was entertained by Traig, teaching her how to cast in the back yard with her BRAND NEW BARBIE FISHING POLE!  (It lights up on the handle - so COOL!).

On Tuesday, the last official day of the school year's Bible Study occurred.  We entertained ourselves in the elevator for a bit - this time she did not press the "CALL FOR ASSISTANCE" button (that was embarrassing last time).  

I told her if she was a good sport about going into her class during Bible Study (sometimes she gets a little fearful), we'd go golfing.  She was a GREAT sport - so we were on our way to Putters for the afternoon.

What a cutie-patooty golfer!  However her form and golf etiquette might need a little work before she begins competitive play. 

I set her up with the hand hold on this shot... but, she didn't opt to stick with it.  

She got pretty tickled when she finally got the ball in the hole.

I kid you not, at this hole - she got a HOLE IN ONE!   All her - no help at all on my part!  

Woohoo!  So proud of this girl!

We killed a little time in the arcade too - her first "Plinko" video game choice netted us 350 tickets right off the bat.  Score!

Our "Putters" experience ended in the indoor playground - where we met some fun new friends to play with.  

With a little more time to kill before picking up Mikayla from school, we checked out some parks in that part of Eugene.  Whitley is all about blowing Dandelion wishes these days.  When I asked her what she wished for, without batting an eye, she replied, "A turtle".  Okay - I thought, with all the recent interest in cat videos, she was gunning for a kitten, but what do I know? =)

Wednesday was actually spent at home and in our own neighborhood.  We walked to the park after dropping off Sahalie to get spayed, and spent some significant time on the trampoline (as well as watching Funny Cat Videos).

Thursday was ridiculously wet.  100% chance of rain and over and inch and a half came down.  So, we hit the movie theater and watched "Zootopia" for the second time.  She's definitely getting into the movies more these days, but it comes at the cost of her very loud questioning of what's taking place on screen.  Hopefully, by the time this gem is released in June, we'll have gotten past that!  (Can't wait!) 

I wasn't even sure what we were going to do Friday morning at the point of dropping Mikayla off.  However, upon noticing Whitley being pretty content watching a video in her cozy jammies in the backseat, I thought - "Let's go for it" - and off we went - traversing into the mountains for an adventure.

All that precipitation came down as snow above 3500 feet, but Friday had already begun the weather pattern's "turn up the dial" - as predictions have the temperatures expected to be in the mid-80's by Monday.   So, while the roads were safe and clear, there was quite a bit of white stuff to tromp around in at the top of the mountains. 

Our first stop was Sahalie Falls - to get a pick of Sahalie with her "namesake", and let Whitley make footprints, snowballs, and a snowman. 

I love this destination - and love the hike around these falls and the accompanying Koosah Falls even more.  But, Friday was not the day for hiking...not with a pre-schooler in the snow, and a dog recovering from being spayed.

We whipped this guy out in short order.  

His nose is an apple-cinnamon straw from Whitley's snack bag.  =)

I thought it would be adorable to leave the little guy in the parking lot where he was built at - but Whitley wanted to hide him.  So we left him safely underneath a tree further away - so he wouldn't melt as fast.  

I was so giddy driving this route - it was truly filling my soul with every turn of the bend and outlook on God's creation in such brilliant display!

Our final destination was the Metolius area where we would spend the third Friday in a row feeding fish!  (Please, Lone Pine Farms - open up for the season, I would rather feed goats than fish any day!).  Wizard Falls is great, but...

It's the view of the river going over the bridge to the entrance that takes the cake.  UNBELIEVABLE. 

More quarters to buy more fish food and throw it into display ponds.

And maybe to not-so-interested geese.

The benefit of this hatchery is this beautiful pond to walk around.  We had lunch at a bench with this as our view.

And, this place, our beloved Camp Sherman General Store!  I told her our final adventure for the day would be getting some ice cream.  (Friday Funday!)

Whitley wasn't content just getting an ice cream bar - as I had planned to get - and instead just wanted chocolate ice cream.  Oh.  "Well, here's a Ben and Jerry's "Half Baked Ice Cream" we could share together that has chocolate ice cream in it".  She made a valiant effort, but only took care of maybe a quarter of it.  Seriously, Whitley?  Do you know the calorie content?  And, it's not like I can keep it frozen to take it home....and I spent $6.50 for this little pint - I mean, I can't let it go to waste!  And, chocolate is bad for dogs, so I can't share it with Sahalie.  Sigh.  It was left up to me to finish it off.  

That was indeed the finale of our busy, abundant week.  I definitely enjoyed my one-on-one time with Whitley, but I look forward to sharing adventures with our Harris girl friends as soon as they return!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Embracing the Sunshine!

While the weather the took place during spring break really wasn't that great, the week after was quite spectacular.   So, right before the Groupon expired, we took an adventure out to the Cascade Raptor Center.  It's a location I've never been to before, (a rarity, as it involves animals and is located in Eugene) - so it was fun to explore it all anew with Whitley.  She enjoyed it, but was quite disappointed (especially in light of the fun FEED ME cups we got to use at Wildlife Safari) that we weren't able to feed any of the birds we saw here.  Trust me, Whitley, it's much safer this way!

The next day, we did get to feed some animals - this time at my mom's house.  The following picture show Sahalie's first encounter with horses at all - and in particular, Celila and River.  I couldn't believe it when River started LICKING Sahalie.  It was so precious, and I was so proud of Sahalie for being so calm and patient and not alarming the horses in any way.  

Whitley is getting braver by the visit.  She so badly wants to see the horses fed each visit, but as soon as we get close, she'll back up and let me do the feeding.  This is the closest she's gotten in a while.  

Later that day, we took an "adventure" (as Whitley called it) to the Gilham Park.  Taking a 60 pound dog that is not very well leash-trained, and a (strong-willed?) pre-schooler on a tricycle can sometimes be daunting.  Today, it was a lot of effort. 

By the time this picture was taken, we'd spent about 90 minutes at the park.  Thirty minutes were spent with Whitley crying hysterically after falling out of a swing.  It was NOT the trauma of the fall that scared her so much, it was the piece of bark that scraped her finger that had her terrified.  She was worried she had a sliver, but wouldn't let me touch the finger to see - dealing with owies on fingers and toes is her absolute kryptonite.  Otherwise, that girl is tough as nails.

In the midst of this melt-down, Sahalie had had it being tied to a tree and had slipped out of her new harness.  My arms were covered with scratch marks in my attempt to "peacefully" get her back in without letting her escape, all the while having little ones want to pet her because she's such an attractive puppy to see for kiddos.

We finally got everyone settled with Whitley done crying and opting to continue her play time at the park when I sat down next to her in the sand and heard the telltale sign of my khaki shorts tearing down the backside.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!  I ended up staying seated until everyone left, so I could get up in privacy - and pull my shirt as far down as it would go to be able to walk the mile back without giving everyone quite the view of my underpants.  Sheesh, it was an ADVENTURE indeed!

On Friday, I was ready to get out of dodge, so Whitley, Sahalie and I headed out to the Leaburg Fish Hatchery.  It was even better than I remembered, and we were once again enamored by the sturgeon in the display pond that were at least six feet long.

A stop off at a new park find in the Thurston area before heading home.

I picked these beauties from my lilac tree on Saturday.  I love that their presence signifies summer is around the corner.

Meanwhile, Brayden spent Friday night and Saturday on the other side of the mountains in Bend with his lacrosse team.  He was able to play varsity during those games and scored during each of them.  WOOHOOO Brayden!  With that stat in the scorebooks- it would seem he just lettered for varsity.   =)

Upon his return, he took a trek up Spencer's Butte with Carson, Devin, and everyone's girlfriends.  The guys did their pose on the bottom first, and then the girls tried their best to impersonate them.

Sadly, while Brayden was out and about this weekend, Mikayla spent it throwing up with the Norovirus.  She felt the most comforted in our room with me at our side, so it was not really a shock when I awoke at 3:45 Monday morning with the same nasty bug.  (Whitley had had it previously in the week, so its origins were not much of a mystery).  I can't say that was a 24 hour period I'd ever be excited to replicate, but sadly, it was the following two days of a migraine that were actually even worse.   I was feeling pretty down about life by the time Wednesday came around - Brayden's 17th birthday, and I barely had the energy to deliver Subway to him at school.  Thankfully, at this age, it's not as significant for us to throw a huge birthday celebration....Brayden insisted he was okay.

Thankfully, by Thursday, both the weather and my well-being had improved - so much so that we were able to do this on the trampoline.  Bounce with the sprinkler.  OH THE JOY!

And, on that Friday, another return to Leaburg to feed the fish.  Whitley was proud to show off her new board shorts in this first picture. 

This might be the last time Sahalie goes with us to the hatchery.  She's way too interested in the fish - and I had to hold on with all my might for her not to step into the water to take care of lunch for herself...

Sunshine through the forest - what a turn around for my spirit from the start of the week!

In fact, spotting these waterfall flowers sprouting up later that afternoon was the icing on the cake.  By Mother's Day - all the green will be light blue....I love this time of year!

That evening, we piled into the car to go watch Brayden play lacrosse at Marist.  It felt good to actually want to go out on a Friday night with the weather seeming more like June than early April.


This weather resulted in all of this happening - "spring cleaning", flower planting, and updating the side patio outdoor living space.  John put in SO much work cutting down the ivy (don't worry, it will grow back to cover the fenceline, but it had gotten out of hand invading the least that's what John told me when I freaked out upon finding it cut down!) - and then power washing all of the concrete. 

I took a time-out from planting and sprucing up to take this one across town for her first lacrosse game.  This smiling gal earned the first goal for her team of the game - and the first one of her lacrosse career!  Woohoo Mikayla!

The Schilling kids drove down to join us that evening - and conveniently picked up our new firepit en route from the Home Depot in Corvallis.  Lookin' good!

All this clean-up effort was significant and expedited so this could happen.  Brayden brought Taylor over after their attendance at the Mr. Spartan Night, to not-so-subtly ask her to go to prom with him.  Well done, Brayden, well done.  (And, yes, she was surprised.  She thought she was stopping by and going out back just to meet his cousins). 

The next day, the kids did some significant bonding after church together - going to Greenhill to play with the dogs yet-to-be-adopted, and then climbing Spencer's Butte together.  

It was a perfect way to spend "National Sibling Day".  

Later that evening, the girls tested the firepit's capabilities in making s'mores.  It's gonna take some more practice to work with the propane - I'm game for the challenge in these upcoming months, that's for sure!