Wednesday, July 29, 2009

15 Years and 6 Kids Later...

I REALLY can't believe that it was 15 years ago--my freshman year at Linfield. 15! At the same time though, I won't say that it feels just like yesterday. Ha! No, too much good stuff has happened between then and now. A lot of growing up. But I do remember parts of that year like it was yesterday (which I don't know if that's saying much...lately I've realized that my memory is, well, not that great...ha! ha!). I remember moving into my dorm room--clean, brand new--and meeting my roommate Kendal on that first day. She was a local girl from Newberg. She knew people. And she was close to home and all things familiar. I was not. Later that day (or weekend) I met Allison. We were both what they called 'Linfield Legacy' students--others in our family had attended Linfield, too--so they had us pose for a group picture. How cool to find out that Allison had also been assigned a South Hall dorm room, almost right across the hall! I could have never predicted on that very first day that I was meeting one of my very best life friends! And then there was Tiara. Her dorm room WAS right across the hall. And again, who knew that she'd be like my kindred spirit? Lots of things made us different--she was from Hawaii, I was from Idaho--but one thing connected us like no 2 others. We were both incredibly homesick!!! So in that year, we learned to lean on one another and somehow formed an indescribable bond that has truly withstood the test of time. There were 4 others, too, who I would connect with right in my hall. 8 of us total. The South Hall Girls. I'm guessing that most other college freshman don't have the same experience. After all, we were just 7 random freshman (plus Ami, our R.A.)--strangers to one another--assigned to the end of the 2nd floor hallway, just by chance. Well, actually, it wasn't just by chance because it's easy to see now that God had a little something to do with it. Because it was those girls who remained my closest friends for 4 years. And beyond. What are the chances of that? 8 girls thrown together by chance actually clicking?! It really was a cool thing.

Over the years distance has certainly separated us but not disconnected us. Sure, some of us are closer than others, and some I haven't seen or talked to in a LONG time, but I am still so thankful for all 7 of those girls and the time we had at Linfield. And the moments we've had since. There has been tragedy, extreme heartache, joy, and triumph among us and while we haven't always been able to be there physically for one another, I've always taken great comfort knowing that these girls are with me in spirit. Always.

And thankfully, every so often, we DO get to come together, share space, and reconnect in a way that only happens when you get to see someone face to face. One of those times was this past weekend. 5 of us made it. A mini South Hall reunion of sorts. And it was just what this girl's soul needed. Amid the wine tasting, a trip to the beach, a backyard BBQ, and a visit to campus we laughed, we cried, we ate, and we truly just enjoyed being together again. Like I said, it didn't feel like just yesterday that we were freshman in college (laughing and crying back then, too). No, because there were 6 little reminders last weekend (ages 10 months to 6 years) of just how much has changed over the years. But even with all of the changes and all of the time that has passed, we just picked right up where we last left off. That, you know, is real friendship. Thank you, girls, for a fabulous weekend!
After a fun, super yummy dinner at Tom and Allison's on Thursday, we woke up Friday, loaded up the kids, and headed to Lincoln City. It was a great day on the beach! A little windy, but sunny and not too cold. The kids played and played, and when all was said and done, they were FILTHY! So a quick-change was in order before lunch at Mo's and then a little shopping and ice cream at the outlet mall. That night we headed back to Tom and Allison's for a little pizza and dessert. Great day!

On Saturday the good times moved to our house! We sent the guys out golfing in the extreme heat while us girls chatted it up some more, did a little cooking, and watched the kiddos play.

Tiara and Ami

Kendal's husband, Gabe, was the only guy not crazy enough to golf in the 100+ degree heat! Instead he and K had fun looking thru an old Linfield scrapbook (as did the rest of us). Looking at the scrapbook(s) I couldn't believe how much I had forgotten over the last 15 years! :( Like a fall break road trip to Cali. 5 girls stuffed into a teeny tiny 2-door car and a 4 day adventure that included a stop in San Fran and a day at Great America. Who forgets that kind of thing?! Seriously! But then the girls reminded me that I had surgery in my mouth just the day before we left. Ha! I must have been on some serious pain meds! (I know, my mouth is cursed. Chances are--though honestly I can't even remember what that surgery was for--that it involved the same ding-dang tooth that the orthodontist and dentist are STILL working on!!!) Anyway, I digress...

That evening, after a delicious BBQ, we headed over to campus with cameras and kids in tow. My pictures that follow are VERY amateurish, but Tiara--the pro--got some great shots of everyone. And in the process, it was fun to take a walk down memory lane as we strolled across campus.

Ami and Max

This little guy is my favorite! So happy and easy going.
Allison, Tom, and Andrew
Kendal, Gabe, Micah, and Dominic. Super cute family!
Of course we couldn't resist the fountain statues! I think Kendal is trying to hold me up. I think. :)
This pic is an attempt at a partial recreation of a shot from 15 years ago. Except for back then the sign said 'South Hall' and there were 3 additional girls. This is the '09 version! (It kind of stinks that they renamed our dorm!)
We tried to make the guys pose, too. They, uh, kind of made fun of us. :)

My favorite shot of the night! Cracks me up every time! Trust me, it was serious work to get those priceless expressions.
Tiara and Brian (with Tiara's 2nd floor dorm room in the distance)
Again, the weekend was SO much fun! I'm so thankful for all of the new memories, and I promise not to forget them!

Oh, A-Hiking We Will Go!

Okay, so I'm trying to keep my feet wet in the blogging world. Because like I already mentioned, we are having such a good summer--I want to be able to look back and remember all the fun things we did! Case in point--our recent hike to Drift Creek Falls.

That particular hike was a first for all of us, and the kids especially loved it. And Dave and I loved that it was a relatively easy trek because we suspected that one of us (Dave) would be hauling Miss Molly most of the way back up. We were right. But G, thankfully, was a trooper. Next time we'll know to throw water shoes and changes of clothes into the backpack--the kids would have loved to play in the water more.
(Sorry about the grainy iphone pics...)

Good thing she's light (and cute)! And also a good thing (for her) that she's got Daddy wrapped around her finger! :)

Gulp. The suspension bridge.

Pardon the railing obstruction. While my 6 year-old had no qualms with the height or the sway of the bridge, I, um, did. I didn't have it in me to actually lean out over the railing to snap a picture.

Happy hikers.

Notice that LOTS of other people had the same idea! It really was a beautiful day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I know, the story of my life lately...I'm behind again! In fact, can I even be considered a true "blogger" anymore??? Probably not. Sad to say, but this writer at heart just, well, can't seem to find the words to write anything! And nope, I won't even blame it on a lack of time because that's the thing, it's summer, and the glorious part is that we have tons of time on our hands! So while I could be writing posts, I've been choosing to be very lazy instead. And it has been wonderful! Yes, there have been busy days, too, but busy by choice. Like our trip to Disneyland. We've decided that we love kicking off the summer season with a trip, but then July...that's our 'exhale' month, so to speak. Awwww. Very few days this month have we had to do anything. It's whatever we choose to do, and we've done a lot! There have been day treks to the beach, hiking adventures, berry picking, lots and lots of trips to the park(s), play dates, and picnics. Couple that with just as much time spent in our jammies, morning cartoons, afternoon movies, and some computer games in between and you've got the makings of a pretty perfect July. In my book.

And notice I didn't even mention sports camp(s)? Nope, we haven't done a single one this summer! Or art camp. Or science camp. Or... And, phew, dare I say my kids are still well-rounded! Ha! Ha! Someday I know there may come a summer when the kids will want to take part in those activities, but this apparently isn't the summer! (Thank goodness, too, because soccer camp is this week and it's FREAKING HOT outside! 105 degrees hot! Soccer? No, thank you.)

I guess the fact that this summer has been so enjoyable up until now is the reason that I don't dread August--when summer comes to a close and the school-year revs up. We have done everything that we said would be fun, plus we're looking forward to a couple more weekend adventures. So there will be no regrets this summer. No wasted days. Awwww. Feels good.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blueberry Goodness!

Before there were stitches...

Okay, so I got the order of my posts all mixed up. The not-so-good-trip-to-the-ER weekend finale preceded our July 4th least on my blog. And the events of July 4th don't even show up in the right order! Ack! So please pardon the backwardness. Up until the stitches, we really did have a fun weekend!

Although I have zero--zip, nada, zilch--pictures of it, Friday we were overcome by temporary insanity and decided to head to the beach! Insane because every other person and his dog was also trying to drive to the beach! And um, yes, traffic was a problem. BUT, when we finally did get there, the sun came out, the wind stayed at bay, and we had a super fun afternoon relaxing and playing in the sand. And then, when it was time for dinner, don't ask me how or why, but there was no wait at Kyllo's--our favorite Lincoln City restaurant!!! So all in all, despite the long drive to get there, it ended up being a great day.

Saturday, the 4th, was another hot day here in Mac. That meant it was another perfect day for the slip 'n slide! First, we went over to the neighbors' to try out their self-named "white trash" version (a.k.a. a bunch of odds and ends of linoleum pieced together to make one long "slide"). Douse it with the hose and...viola! Definitely slippery when wet and a lot of fun! Then later in the day our little friends Morgan and Nathan came over for some more watery fun on the real deal. Molly is still deciding if she likes it or not. The other 3 kids were sold a long time ago!

You can't really tell, but she is sporting a "I'm not so sure about this!" face.

I kinda sorta like this girl. A lot!

How not to wrap up a holiday weekend...

Disney Trip 09 - Days 5 and 6

Friday it was back to Disneyland. We spent all of Thursday over at DCA. Again, we got up early and enjoyed the first couple of hours in the park with minimal crowds. (Later on, after the fact, I read that Disneyland almost reached capacity on Friday! Yikes!) Dave and Grayson headed in the direction of Space Mountain while Molly and I hit Fantasyland one more time. It was fun to spend that time with just my girl. And it was fun for her because she didn't have to wait (albeit patiently) for anyone to go on rides that she was unable or didn't want to ride!

We also did a family first that day and rode the Mark Twain Riverboat. A nice little break and a good time to apply more sunscreen. Then it was out to Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. Molly, as you can see in one of the pictures, was NOT a fan of the tunnels.

After touring the island, we grabbed some lunch (or maybe we ate first?) and then it was back to the hotel for a midday break. It was the kids' last chance to swim and they took full advantage. We hit both the regular garden pool and the pirate-themed play area one last time. Then it was back to the park for the the new Celebrate! Street Party, which was...meh. But, like most things at Disneyland, it was worth seeing once.

The rest of that night is a blur. (I knew I shouldn't have waited so long to blog!) Anyway, I'm sure that at some point I bought myself a 'tigger tail'--a little piece of marshmellowey-caramel-orange-cream-with-chocolate-drizzle-on-a-stick bliss--and maybe a churro, too! It WAS vacation after all!

And, because I'm lazy, I'm going to wrap up day 6--our last day--in this post, too! It was Saturday. We slept in, checked out of our hotel room, then walked thru Downtown Disney to the Disneyland Hotel for our breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen. It has become a tradition. And up to this point, Molly screaming in fear the whole time had become a tradition, too! Ha! Ha! But Auntie Sarri and Uncle Joel, you'll be happy to know that there was no screaming this time around. :) True, hardly any photos of Molly with characters either, but at least we got to dine in peace. And boy did we dine! Holy cow, Dave was recounting his meal afterward, and I think he ate enough to feed a small army! But you have to get your money's worth, right? And actually, there was one big highlight for Molly. All week long, the one "person" who she would have liked to see but didn't all of sudden showed up at our table! Princess Jazmine! Later Molly got to dance with her, too. Very cute.

And then, after that, we killed a few hours in the HOT California sun before it was time for us to catch the bus back to the airport. And so our vacation was over. Tired, happy travelers we were. Ready to sleep in our own beds but also ready to start saving again for our next adventure! To where?...hmmm...

Disney Trip 09 - Day 4

I think I can, I think I can...I WILL keep blogging, I WILL keep blogging...(Can you hear the train pushing up the mountain?)

Okay, day 4. All about the princesses. And our own Princess Molly.

We ate breakfast At Ariel's Grotto, which is where you go if you want to see princesses. And let me tell you, sometimes we force Molly to put a smile on her face for pictures, but there was definitely no forcing this morning! She was just plain happy. Really, really happy. And it was so fun to watch her. If she hadn't been so "star" struck, then she would have been a chatter box, too, but she was mostly just content to gaze at them, hug them, and smile (a real smile!) for the camera.

Then afterward, thanks to Grayson's new enthusiasm for "thrill" rides, we hit Grizzly River Run for the first time. And no, I'm not dumb. I knew that I could get wet. I watched lots of people come off the ride a little damp--water spots on their clothes, maybe a few drops in their hair, some with squeaky/squishy shoes. But me? I got SOAKED! As in drenched. As in a wall of water came over my head and landed in my lap (and on every other part of me). The people on the other side of the raft got quite a good laugh at my expense. Ha. Ha. Good thing it was a warm, sunny day. But still, I was more than a little uncomfortable. And the wet look? Yeah, it just doesn't work for me. Unless you dig frizzy. Grayson though? He loved it and went a second time with Dave. And yep, you guessed it...Dave hardly got wet. Figures.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Disney Trip 09 - Day 3

On Day 3 we were in line by 7:30 for an 8 a.m. opening. The weather, pretty much all week long, was just perfect. A little 'June Gloom' in the mornings to keep things cool, and then sunshine in the afternoon made for great late day breaks at the pool/water area.

Wednesday's highlight was definitely the Jedi Training Academy! It is staged 4-5 times a day, and each time they select around 20 kids from the audience to participate. Of course there are TONS more kids who want to be picked though. But who are we kidding? I of course had done my research and knew that it's the kids who hold up signs that most often get picked. So a sign was made even though G wasn't too sure he actually wanted to try to get picked. He was a little reluctant and a lot nervous until just at the very last minute. Then when he noticed that some of the kids were obviously much younger/smaller, he hoisted the sign overhead and...viola! He was picked! It was so cute (in a Star Wars kind of way) and fun and something I knew Grayson would be SO glad he did. And he was. But boy, when Darth Vader suddenly rose up on a platform from under the stage, I thought it might be all over! He was a big, scary looking dude! I thought for sure Grayson would either 1) run back to us, or 2) pee his pants! Thankfully he did neither. And the fact that he got to battle Darth Maul (who he likes (to despise) more than Darth Vader) was just icing on the cake. Truly a great memory for G.

Other highlights from Wednesday:

- We ate at a relatively new Disney restaurant--the Celebration Roundup Barbecue. It's outside, and you eat at picnic tables. So fun and the weather was great! Kind of like a character meal because Jessie, Woody, and sometimes Bullseye from Toy Story are there, but there's also a stage show going on while you eat. The all-you-can-eat food was yummy, too! 4 thumbs up from this family!

- In the evening we rode on the ferris wheel for the first time. Pretty cool to be so high up!

- Grayson also discovered Mulholland Madness on this day. Yikes, that's a zippy little "roller coaster"!