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!

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