The rest of the vacation….

After our trip to Sisters, we came home for a few days to say goodbye and celebrate as our pastor of 10 years retired. We also had a few other things to do at home before heading off again!

Our second road trip commenced on the last Sunday afternoon in June. We packed up the car (again), and this time headed south to Eugene. We were in the midst of a very hot spell with temperatures near 100 degrees – a little unusual for Oregon in June. We arrived at our destination in Eugene and the boys immediately jumped out and ran to our friends’ backyard. They have *the best* tire swing. Ever.

 

Mmmm...dinner. Outside. We love summer!

Mmmm…dinner. Outside. We love summer!

We hung out with our Eugene friends for a couple of days – we went swimming at Amazon pool, took the kids on a short driving tour of the UO campus area and other local “attractions”, and mostly just hung out and enjoyed being with friends.

On Tuesday morning, we set off for Crater Lake. Though Artman and I had both visited Crater Lake in the past, we had not been since the children came along. They had all seen pictures and we talked extensively about how it was formed. But nothing can really compare to seeing it for real. After driving through the desolation and heat of central Oregon, we finally turned south into the park. Crater Lake is Oregon’s only national park, so we stopped, paid our fee, and got a map from the friendly ranger. As we continued on our way, we started to see small piles of snow. Of course, the kids begged to stop, and eventually we did…

CL_Snow

Once we convinced them that there would be more snow, they agreed to re-load into the car and continue towards the rim. After a few more miles, we got our first glimpse of the lake.

Wizard Island overlook.

Wizard Island overlook.

Wow. Pictures truly do not do this natural wonder justice. It is the bluest blue you will ever see. And as you stand at the rim looking down, there is almost complete silence among the onlookers, everyone is awe of its awesomeness.

We were camping at the park for the night, so after a fairly short stop, we re-loaded again and headed towards the visitor center for a bathroom break and water bottle re-fill. Then, onward to the campground.

Our campfire.

Our campfire.

We arrived at the campground, which was a few miles down from the rim of the lake in a dry, wooded area. All over, there were signs warning of bears and I had my first experience camping at a place with a “bear box.” For those who are not familiar with this, a “bear box” is a big metal box with bear-proof latches where you store *all* of your food. Including gum. Or anything that smells like food. I was more than a little nervous about sleeping in a nylon tent while storing my food in a metal box.

However, I am happy to report that we neither saw nor heard any sign of any bears while camping at Crater Lake. Whew.

We hiked up to the Watchman's Tower to watch the sunset.

We hiked up to the Watchman’s Tower to watch the sunset.

Snow on the trail to Watchman's Tower...

Snow on the trail to Watchman’s Tower…

Our next destination was Gold Beach which, it turns out, is a very, very, very, very, very, very (you get the picture) long drive from Crater Lake. After a few stops (some planned, others not), we made it to our destination. Luckily, we had reserved a campsite and were able to quickly get our tent put up and get ready for bed. We skipped the campfire and s’mores because we all had to be up early the next morning…

Musette and Danger Boy being silly at the campsite.

Musette and Danger Boy being silly at the campsite.

July 4th is what most folks in Oregon consider the 1st day of summer. Sure, we usually *still* have to wear warm clothes and wrap ourselves in blankets to enjoy the evening fireworks, but the days are just glorious! This year, we booked ourselves a jet boat trip on the Rogue River for the 4th. We all had a load of fun – we saw wildlife, had a great home-cooked meal in the little town of Agness, and learned a lot about the river itself. We even watched the fireworks from the boat! Such a fun day.

Danger Boy loved the boat!

Danger Boy loved the boat!

The next morning, we “slept in” – which means we didn’t set the alarm, but slept as late as possible in a tent where the “lights” come on at sunrise. After a casual morning, we packed up camp and headed to the Oregon Caves. Our route included a short jaunt through the northernmost redwoods – bonus!

When we arrived at the Oregon Caves in late afternoon, we learned that the day’s tours had sold out. However, we had already made a reservation to stay the night at the Chateau, a historical hotel nestled across from the cave entrance. We knew we would be first in line the next morning!

Each tour has a limit of 15 people, and ours had our 3 children plus another family with 2 children. Our guide was great – he was a young graduate student and did a great job engaging the kids. Danger Boy had read up on the caves and could answer most of his questions!

Drapery formation in the cave.

Drapery formation in the cave.

The early explorers signed their names onto this piece of marble. In the nearly 100 years since that time, a new layer of rock has formed over the top preserving it.

The early explorers signed their names onto this piece of marble. In the nearly 100 years since that time, a new layer of rock has formed over the top preserving it.

After exiting the cave, we hiked up to the top of it and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the Siskiyou mountains!

After exiting the cave, we hiked up to the top of it and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the Siskiyou mountains!

The Oregon Caves are unique. Most caves in Oregon are lava tubes due to our location in the Ring of Fire. However, the Oregon Caves are marble caves, a far more rare occurrence.

Danger Boy and "Baldy" the eagle waiting for pizza...

Danger Boy and “Baldy” the eagle waiting for pizza…

After our cave tour, we loaded up for the long drive home. We stopped for lunch in Cave Junction and then continued north. After a couple more stops (ice cream at Rice Hill!), we finally arrived home exhausted but happy to be sleeping in our own beds.

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Summer in Sisters

Thanks to the generosity of a colleague, the Availables have spent many summer days at the “Sisters House” as the children lovingly refer to it. The house is located just outside of the city proper, but we love the location. The little community has great paved bike trails, a pool, and lots of room to explore.

Biking_Sisters

This year, we started our summer vacation at the house. The weather forecast was not the usual sun-all-the-time, so we planned some alternative activities to our usual bike-pool-bike-eat-bike-some-more.

Monday: We first headed to Skylight Caves, a lava tube only a few miles from the house. I had been to the cave many years ago and remembered it as a cool place. What I had forgotten, however, was the condition of the roads, if you can call them that. We first turned off the highway and headed down a paved road. Soon, the pavement became gravel, but it was still pretty good. A few more miles, and the gravel became big and chunky. Not much further, and we were on a wide dirt road which eventually become very narrow and rutted. When we got to the point where we thought the cave would be, we saw a few big trucks and wondered if we were in the right spot. Being a cave, there was not a really obvious entrance until we got out of the car and saw the big hole in the ground. Well…not actually that big. To get into the cave, there was a metal ladder *leaning* against the edge.

On top of the cave standing over one of the "skylights".

On top of the cave standing over one of the “skylights”.

Now, 20 years ago when I first went to the cave, I’m sure I was all about the adventure. After all, at 19 one has far fewer worries! However, I was a little nervous about letting my 12, 8, and 5 year olds climb down this none-too-steady-looking ladder into a rock-covered hole in the ground. They, of course, were all totally excited about exploring a cave! So, we sent down an adult first and everyone made it safely to the cave floor. First, we explored the “skylight” portion – a spot where there are 3 holes in the roof and light shines down into the cave.

Under the skylights!

Under the skylights!

Of course, the cave also had another tunnel and the boys took off in the other direction to explore. The other direction was more of a true cave – dark, low ceilings in places, damp…Did I mention that we entered this cave with 2 small flashlights and 2 phones? Ugh. Who knew how dark a cave could really be?! After crouching and crawling through about 3 small spots, I called it off and we headed back out. Danger Boy was a little bummed, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about what might happen if our lights stopped working. It was SO dark!!

Ack! The flash is so bright!

Ack! The flash is so bright!

Once we made it out of the cave, we still had lots of daylight left, so we thought we’d hike to the peak of Black Butte. Again, another windy road, chunky gravel, but when we got to the trail head, there were bathrooms and a well-marked trail. Whew! The hike started out fine – uphill, but not too steep. Pretty soon, it got steeper and the wind picked up, but everyone did great. Eventually, we could see the fire tower that we were hiking towards and that helped keep the littlest guy going.

Danger Boy and Artman leading the way...

Danger Boy and Artman leading the way…

When we finally got to the top, the fog was too thick to see much, but everyone agreed it was worth the climb!

Foggy, but still beautiful!

Foggy, but still beautiful!

Tuesday: On Tuesday, we had planned to try to meet some friends, but unfortunately that didn’t work out. Nonetheless, we stuck with our plan and headed to Smith Rock. It was another not-too-hot day, and we decided to just do a short-ish hike along the river. However, once we arrived and Danger Boy saw *all those rocks*, we couldn’t stop him from climbing! The trail we eventually climbed was called “Misery Trail” and though we didn’t find it particularly miserable, it was quite steep and we stopped a few times for “snack breaks.”

Behind the big tree is the rock we hiked up.

Behind the big tree is the rock we hiked up.

Danger Boy *loves* rocks. Fortunately, these were too hard to carry so we left them behind.

Danger Boy *loves* rocks. Fortunately, these were too hard to carry so we left them behind.

Snack break along the river.

Snack break along the river.

The view from the top was amazing and we were all glad we had made the effort. The way back was cool, too. We hiked by one of the more well-known climbs at the park – Monkey Face – and ended up doing our hike along the river, too. In the end, the grand total was about 3 1/2 miles.

Top_Smith_Rock

We ended the day with pizza and headed back to the house to crash for the night and get ready for the next day.

Wednesday: On Wednesday, we considered another day trip, but decided we were all a little tired and wanted to spend some time relaxing. Danger Boy, Artman and I biked into town and had a donut at the Sisters Bakery. We also biked around the community a bit and discovered that G.E.A.R.S. really has outgrown his “bubee” bike (Bumblebee) and is ready for an upgrade…he pedaled twice as much as the rest of us and still couldn’t keep up.

When it was time to go, everyone agreed that it had been another great time in Sisters! We were sad to go, but hope that we can come back again soon.

Bye Sisters!

Bye Sisters!

 

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Sleeping Beauty

Musette’s first love is school, but close behind is ballet. She’s been dancing since 1st grade and truly loves it. What started as 45 minutes each Saturday is now an hour 2 times a week plus another hour and a half on a third day. And when we hit performance “season”, that time increases again. But we couldn’t be happier that she has found a sport she loves. Added bonus: the studio is indoors, so no weather worries!

This is what Musette's bun looked like after her exam. Wow.

This is what Musette’s bun looked like after her exam. Wow.

After the girls do their exams in March, the focus turns to the spring show. This year, Musette’s studio chose Sleeping Beauty. This was a show that was new to the studio – it is more difficult to dance than most of the shows that the students do, but there was a particularly strong group of older girls and Miss June took on the challenge!

Many hours of rehearsals later, the show was on! Musette got to dance in two numbers this year – which meant lots more time on stage. She loved every minute of it and the audiences seemed to enjoy it as well.

Birthday party guest.

Birthday party guest.

Putting on her eye make-up before going on as a shadow.

Putting on her eye make-up before going on as a shadow.

After a few weeks off, Musette will be back in ballet for a few summer classes before doing the annual summer jr. intensive in August. This summer, though, will be her first time to do pointe work at the intensive. Very exciting!

shoes

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Five years old?! How did this happen?

As of March 13, my baby is 5 years old. Which means that next fall, he will officially start school. This momma is not sure she’s ready for that big step! G.E.A.R.S. on the other hand, has already been buttering up the principal and learning the lay of the land. He’s more than ready!

Happy 5th birthday!

Happy 5th birthday!

 

Just to review, our little blondie joined our family in 2008 and has kept us on our toes! He is always trying to keep up with the big kids – namely Danger Boy and Musette. He wants to do everything they do and has succeeded in a lot of ways. He figured out how to ride his bike sans training wheels back in the fall and is now speeding around the neighborhood lightening-fast. He insists on “reading” the Sunday comics just like they do. And he can’t wait to be at brother’s school!

This year, he has professed a love of and kinship to monkeys. We tend to agree that he is part monkey. He is our child who figured out how to be mobile WAY too young. He went straight from rolling over to crawling within days seemingly, and we’ve been running after him ever since. He’s our climber, too. Yikes!

It’s only natural, then, that his birthday party was all about monkeys!

Invitations!

Invitations!

We had banana-shaped invitations, and monkey-themed games. And, of course, lots of little monkeys to help celebrate!

Cupcakes!

Cupcakes!

Cookies for our guests to take home.

Cookies for our guests to take home.

A good time was had by all.

Pin-the-tail on the monkey.

Pin-the-tail on the monkey.

The birthday boy gets the first try!

The birthday boy gets the first try!

 

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Spring!

Yes, I know the calendar says August, but I’m going to rewind just for a few moments to sum up a few of the things that happened in our family this spring. Thankfully, I have photographic evidence to help me remember.

This spring in Oregon seemed sunnier than usual. Or at least sunnier than the last few rain-until-July “spring” seasons. This allowed us to spend more time outside doing more outside-y things.

We made a spring break trip to the beach. Notice - no rain, no gale-force winds!

We made a spring break trip to the beach. Notice – no rain, no gale-force winds!

Danger Boy *finally* got to play some organized soccer. (Remember, he missed the fall season because of his broken collar bone.) Our local soccer club runs a spring indoor session, and he really enjoyed it!

DB_soccer_1

 

DB_Soccer_kick

Danger Boy is in red kicking.

G.E.A.R.S continues to love pre-school. And life in general. Kindergarten registration starts early in our school district – we turned in the paperwork for him in February! I can hardly believe it…

Always ready to give a hug.

Always ready to give a hug.

Musette, of course, is continuing her dancing and music. Spring is full of concerts and competitions in the music world. This year, she was selected to be in Oregon’s All-State middle school orchestra. She missed one day of school and spent the night in a hotel! The students spent most of Friday and part of the day on a Saturday rehearsing and then played an *amazing* concert on Saturday night. She was exhausted at the end, but loved it! She also picked up another instrument this year  (the trombone) and decided to play a piece on it for solo and ensemble. I am continually amazed at how quickly she picks things up!

Musette_Concert

As for Artman and I, well…we just try to keep everyone on schedule and well-fed. We have both been doing some running this spring in preparation for summer and fall races.

We also both ran Portland’s annual Shamrock Run. It is a spring race which means the weather can be anything from cold rain to warm sun. This year was sort of in-between. It was fairly warm while we ran, but standing around afterwards was a little cool. Artman ran the 8K and I ran the 15K. And, like last time, I have vowed *never* to do it again. Famous last words…

Shamrock

Of course, I could go on…but I’ll just leave you with a few more pictures.

Danger Boy's DaVinci portrait was featured at the district art show.

Danger Boy’s DaVinci portrait was featured at the district art show.

Mmmmm.....s'mores!

Mmmmm…..s’mores!

We even had sunshine on Easter!

We even had sunshine on Easter!

We spent part of our Memorial Day weekend helping out at Suttle Lake.

We spent part of our Memorial Day weekend helping out at Suttle Lake.

And what's a sunny spring without a trip to the zoo?!

And what’s a sunny spring without a trip to the zoo?! (And yes, one of those children is not ours, but a sweet family friend.)

 

 

 

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Celebrate the Season

We love the Christmas season at our house. However, it also tends to be very busy, even to the point of being hectic at times. I sometimes harken back to the days before we had 3 kids and I had time to decorate, host a party, and breathe. However, I also *love* this season with children and know that in a few years I will miss all the craziness, late nights, and exhaustion of it all.

This year, like most others, we had a host of events and activities that filled our Advent season. As we’ve done every year since Musette was born, we began our celebrations with the Family Advent Festival at church. This family-oriented celebration is a time where we get together with our church family to do some crafts, listen to the kids sing, and enjoy a yummy potluck dinner.

G.E.A.R.S. sings!

As a Wolf Cub, Danger Boy has a couple of holiday-oriented activities with his scout den. One that we’ve participated in a couple times now is Scouting for Food where the scouts walk house-to-house in an assigned local neighborhood and collect food for the Oregon Food Bank. It is fun for the boys, but also helps them to understand how important it is to help others.

G.E.A.R.S. goes to the greatest preschool *ever* and this year they had a cute Christmas program where they sang songs wearing cute costumes. Always fun to hear 4 & 5 years olds singing Christmas songs!

Of course, one of the biggest events during this season is Musette’s multiple performances in her dance studio’s version of the Nutcracker. After several years in the role of soldier, Musette danced the role of a gingerbread chef or “chefette” this year. This coveted role is unique because the girls are not only the only guest dancers to be onstage during the 2nd act, they also go out and serve cookies to the attendees after the performance – still in costume! [Musette is considered a "guest" dancer because she is not yet in "company" - the pre-professional group of dancers who dance the featured roles.] As always, all 6 shows got rave reviews from the sold-out crowds.

Backstage in full costume, ready to go onstage!

In addition to these activities, we also find time each December to go get a fresh-cut tree. We try to put up a few decorations, and of course there is our tradition of Christmas Eve services at the church. We go as a family to the 5 p.m. service and then to grandma and grandad’s house for dinner, dessert, and one gift – Christmas PJs. Grandma also has a stuffed stocking for each child.

Finally, on Christmas morning, we get up (not TOO early) and go downstairs to see what Santa has left. No one is allowed to go alone – we ALL go together.

Sometimes, you have to REALLY want something…

Next up, coffee for mom and dad while everyone opens stockings.

Waiting to be opened…

Finally, after eating breakfast, we open gifts.

We love our Christmas traditions and the craziness of it all. We also love the quieter days AFTER Christmas when we can sleep in (well, if 7:30 is sleeping in), watch movies, play with new things, and just enjoy being together.

Merry Christmas to all!

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October Birthdays

October is a busy month for the Availables and extended family. Lots of birthdays to celebrate!

Swiss Army Mom continues to get older each October, but more importantly her 2 best birthday presents *ever* celebrate their birthdays.

Musette turned 12(!) on October 10, and this year she decided to have a Red Carpet celebration. She invited a few girls over for moving-making and a sleep over. They all arrived on Friday night and we made pizzas and enjoyed lemony cupcakes. The girls also filmed the ending of the movie – first!

The next morning, everyone got up, ate some breakfast, and headed out on a scavenger hunt movie filming adventure. With 5 girls to be featured, we made 5 stops, each related to that girl’s character in the movie.

Clue #1

Clue #2

clue #3

clue #4

the *final* clue

At the final stop, a bit of movie was filmed and the clue led the girls to the local pet shop where Musette’s gift of a pet beta fish was waiting for her.

We sent the girls all home about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, exhausted but exhilarated. Happy 12th Musette!

Next up, Danger Boy. He chose to have an Avengers party – this boy *loves* the Avengers. So, we took the theme and ran with it!

On a rainy Saturday in late October, we welcomed several boys and a couple girls to celebrate Avengers-style.  Assemble!

First, we invited everyone to make a Captain America shield using heavy-duty paper plates.

Next, we headed outside for a hammer throw (Thor) and some faux bow-and-arrow shooting to honor Hawkeye. Prizes were pixie-sticks made to look like hammers and arrows!

In the garage, Artman set up a green screen so the attendees could get photographed in costume. He then added cool backgrounds with photoshop.

Each child’s “quiver” (aka goodie bag) contained an Ironman mask, some superhero and villian rubber duckies, and Avengers stickers.

Finally, there was cake.

Not just any cake will do. Artman built a heli-carrier frame, complete with spinning fans. Swiss Army Mom added the cake and decorations.

Happy 8th birthday Danger Boy!

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Start-of-School Excitement

This year, school started with a bang. And then some sirens, and an ambulance ride for Danger Boy…

Let me rewind for a moment. Waaaay back in September, (almost) everyone went back to school. Musette started 7th grade, adding Jazz Band to her already busy schedule of orchestra, band, and regular classes at her beloved middle school. She loves school and has continued her ballet courses as well. She is now training 3.5 hours per week and working towards going en pointe sometime in the next year.

Danger Boy started second grade at a *brand new* elementary school. And he is having a great year! He loves his teacher and his classmates and his school, especially the library where you can slide down from the upper floor to the main level. He continues to show his amazing talent for art and his favorite subject is math. He also likes to throw out fun, new vocabulary words that he learns from his teacher’s read-aloud books. **More on Danger Boy soon…

G.E.A.R.S. (formerly known as Bio-Hazard Baby) started his second and *final* year of pre-school with a new teacher, but lots of familiar classmates. He, too, loves school and continues to be his silly and sweet self. He loves riding his bike, listening to stories and drawing/coloring. He, too, loves Danger Boy’s new school and *can’t wait* until he can go there…Swiss Army Mom is not quite as ready.

G.E.A.R.S. with his BFF hanging out at the park.

Swiss Army Mom returned to the middle school and is really enjoying teaching science to 7th graders. She enjoys working with this age group and has lots of fun colleagues! Swiss Army Mom is also the secretary of the newly-formed PTA at Danger Boy’s school, another fun adventure. She is also continuing to do some running and has a couple more half-marathons and a 15K on schedule for next spring.

Artman’s school year is a little different than everyone else’s AND he continues to teach through the summer. However, he did add a new class in October and put in a lot of miles on his bike in the late summer and early fall. He capped off his bike-riding year by completing his first Century Ride – 100 miles of riding around the southern Willamette Valley in the Farm to Farm Century. One of his older brothers rode with him and they enjoyed riding the roads around where they grew up.

A family hike around Trillium Lake in early fall – gorgeous!

**Now, back to Danger Boy. On the 4th day of school (Monday, September 10), I was sitting at my desk during my prep period (about 11:30 a.m.). My cell phone started vibrating and I looked at the number – it was “unknown” but I recognized it as being from the school district where the children go to school. (All their numbers have the same first three digits.) So, I answered it thinking maybe someone had forgotten lunch or I had forgotten some piece of paperwork. To my surprise, the secretary of Danger Boy’s school says, “Danger Boy* has fallen and we think he broke his collar bone! You have to come get him NOW!” This normally very calm-voiced person had a real sense of urgency in her voice so I knew Danger Boy was really hurt. I hung up, called Artman and asked him to head over there since he was closer. By the time Artman arrived, the firetruck was already there and the ambulance soon followed. The paramedics thought he needed the E.R., so they loaded him up and off he went. Artman and G.E.A.R.S. followed and I met them there as soon as I could. After a couple of x-rays, the doc came by and confirmed the initial diagnosis: broken collar bone. He didn’t say it that way, of course. More like “closed fracture of the left clavicle” or something…nonetheless, the confirmed injury meant an end to Danger Boy’s soccer season, his left arm in a sling for a few weeks, and no bike riding for a loooong time. Big bummer. But the good news was that it healed completely on its own with no need for surgery. Whew.

Next fall, we’d be fine with *less* excitement…

*names changed to protect the innocent

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I met someone *famous*

Well, sort of…depends on what you consider famous. Here is Portland, we have the Voodoo Donut guys, a Baldwin brother, a few assorted professional basketball players, an occasional spotting of some Grimm actor, and Chelsea Cain!

Who, you may be asking yourself, is Chelsea Cain?

Well, here she is! And if you look closely at the podium, you’ll see copies of her latest novel, Kill You Twice. Cain writes about a female serial killer – The Beauty Killer – and the web of people she has entangled as they try to capture and contain her. She is a masterful writer – she has good character development, exciting plots, and somehow makes it possible to read some pretty gory stuff without really getting icked out.

Now, for a little history…Cain used to write a weekly column in the Oregonian (our local paper). She wrote about her daughter who just so happens to be about the same age as Danger Boy. Artman and I would read the column and laugh out loud – not only because Cain has a knack for humor, but also because we could relate to so much of what she was saying!

Fast Forward a few years, and her first novel, Heartsick, was released in 2007. Artman got it for me and as soon as I opened it, I couldn’t put it down. I loved the book for many reasons – the characters, the uniqueness of the storyline, and a setting I could easily picture as I’d visited many of the Portland-area places she described.

Since then, Cain has written several other books in the series, so when I found out she would be having her “book release” party for her latest novel at our local iconic bookstore, Powell’s, I knew I wanted to go! I think I have only ever been to a couple of book signings/author talks, but it is a fun experience – especially when the author writes about serial killers AND has a great sense of humor!

She was SO nice up close and in person! And that’s the book – for Artman – that she signed!!

And she *even* included severed body parts as a bonus. LOVE!

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I’m back! And now for some updates…

So…I’ve taken a bit of a break. Life gets busy sometimes. I’m going to try to do better, though.

These last few months have been good. And busy. Here are a few things we’ve done.

Danger Boy, our Tiger Cub, made a cake with Artman (aka Dad) for the “Sons and Dads” cake decorating contest at the Blue & Gold Banquet in February. They won one of the categories!

BioHazard Baby turned 4 in March. Wow. Time, perhaps, for a super-moniker update. He tells me often, “Don’t cry about my birthday mommy.” I guess he senses my unease with his growing up. Wasn’t he *just* born??

This was spring. Really! Every once in a while the *sun* comes out in Oregon before July. This was one such day. Glorious!

Easter. Yeah, they’re cute but they don’t cooperate so well. I tried.

A certain first-born child (heretofore known as Musette) decided to try a second instrument – the clarinet – so we’ve added more concerts to our agenda. But they say music is good for the brain.

Musette and I got to see a *sneak preview* of Brave! Very fun.

BioHazard Baby finished his first year of pre-school at First Friends in June. He loved everything about it! Except the hat. Silly mortar boards.

We took a big road trip in June, first circling through Eastern Oregon and Washington to visit college buddies. Then we headed up into Canada where we did some camping before heading back Westward to Vancouver, BC to catch up with another old friend. It was a great trip!

Feeding the ducks in downtown Spokane.

Danger Boy helps Artman set up camp.

Everyone loves S’mores!

Riding the SkyTrain with our friend in Vancouver, BC.

Once we returned home from our trip, it was really time for summer to start. We did a few more fun things.

Danger Boy and his faithful friends, Bun-Bun and Hop, tried overnight camp for the first time. And LOVED it! Guess we’ll be heading back to Suttle Lake again this summer…

We caught a movie with a few hundred friends at Pioneer Courthouse Square. ET. Phone home.

Danger Boy also went to Cub World and proved himself a pretty good shot with the BB Gun.

The boys participated in our local Fun Run followed by a crazy trolley ride home.

And even though BioHazard Baby and Danger Boy are not putting on their best “game face” here, we really did have fun crossing 8 bridges while biking 24 miles through the beautiful city of Portland.

And on the *very* last day before I had to go back to school, we headed out to the beach for the whole day. We splashed in the waves, dug holes, and even climbed the GIANT dune at Pacific City. It was a glorious day!

School, of course, has since started back. And so far, this year has been a great one. Of course, we still like to eek out some fun before the rains begin.

Here we are with a fun group of friends having just completed the Tour de Lab – only the Puppy, though. Didn’t have 26 hilly miles in us on this day! But we’re training for a 40-miler for next year…

Well, I think I’ll stop here for now. There is still, of course, more catching up to do, but I’ll save that for another day…

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