Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Morning Giggle

This is why I love  Ethel so much...
As soon as Mike started reading their morning text exchange I KNEW what her response was going to be. 
Its the very reason we became friends and remain friends.  She is adorable.

Monday, February 24, 2014

First Haircut

Today one of us went to the Groomer... 

Ruger's before and after. 
He left a shaggy puppy and came home sporting his first 'big boy' haircut.
And a big Schnauzer attitude!

Productivity at its Finest

This weekend we found ourselves feeling VERY productive.  It was a continuation of our productive week.  Saturday we were up early - that's what happens when you are exhausted on Friday night and sleep a solid 8 hours because you go to bed early.

Our roommates moved into their own cozy apartment last weekend (I miss them already).  We spent the weekend looking after our youngest grand.  Sunday night as they drove away with the last of their belongings, i.e. the cats; I resisted the urge to dive into a whole house deep clean (not because I was celebrating but because that's just the way I function) as I was working on Monday.  However, Mr. T was sleeping over since school was off for Presidents Day.  I rearranged the 'boy's bedroom' enough for a good night's sleep. 

After work Monday I started washing bedding and reloading empty closets.  We met up with Matt and Brit to turn over Mr. T to his folks once more.  Mr. T and Papa had a busy day of errands and some how managed to stay out of trouble. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent washing walls, shampooing carpet and large area rugs.  I remade the beds and continued my mad organizing of closets.  The first load was delivered to Idaho Youth Ranch and arrangements were made for an 'in-house' pick up of some larger items. 

Thursday and Friday I took a reprieve and went to work to rest my tired, aching muscles.  We made a couple of mental lists - some long range planning if you will - giving ourselves a time line for projects around the house.  There are plenty to keep us out of trouble, but we have a goal to reach.

Saturday we hit the ground running...  I walked Ruger around the park trails in our neighborhood taking advantaged of the sunshine.  We braved the crowds at Costco and the grocery store but successfully restocked our very empty pantry.  In celebration we toasted National Margarita Day with a shared plate of nachos and a couple of adult beverages. 

After Mass Sunday we soaked up some vitamin D and emptied the shed of it's overflowing contents, scrubbed the floor and the mini-frig before reloading the loft and shelves with only items that had been sorted and organized (though I bet he snuck in a few things too...).  Mike filled up both the trash and recycling bin.

Since the shed was his project and I was desperate to stay outdoors, I found a task of my own.  The wood pile (yes the wood pile) has been an eye sore for over a year.  Trimmed branches cut and piled haphazardly and leaves from two Falls caused me to avert my eyes whenever I headed that direction.  So yes, I confess, I organized/cleaned our wood pile.  I used my favorite tool in the world - the sawzall - to trim branches down to burning lengths, raked out leaves, pulled small kindling pieces (avoiding nasty hiding critters) and re stacked the logs.  The whole time burning any extra pieces of timber so that we might have a cozy, relaxing fire to enjoy while we took periodic breaks. 

When the embers burned down we wrapped up our time outdoors, with our chilled beers empty, we were ready to call it a day.  Chicken wings were thawing, showers happened and we answered the door bell to discover Mr. T and his folks out for a drive.  Soon after our daughter and Baby C showed up to use the laundry.  Additional wings were thawed, more veggies added to the pot and a controlled chaos ensued as the spontaneous visit evolved.

So as we start the new week we have cleared closets, organized storage, donated items, shampooed floors and washed walls - putting our empty nest back in order.   Temperatures are promising to be a huge Spring tease this week and we will take full advantage despite the little voice in the back of my head reminding me it's still February.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I'm not a big fan of the day - but there are few I hold close to my heart!
These two!

This Guy 

Crazy as it sounds right now, always these folks. 

My Dad

My Mom

Our baby brother.

My sister is my closest friend.

My nephews and nieces
Aren't my nieces beautiful?!

Our support system - always there for us. 

My sister-friends!

This Ore-Ida bunch who return to the Washington coast with us every year, rain or shine. 

She has been my best friend since kindergarten and even miles can't change how I feel.

We started out as roommates then squadron wives. 
Our travels have intersected over and over - reminding us our friendship is meant to be. 

The Ethel to my Lucy.
She accepted me for me - and still does. 

Friends in school.  
Fate reunited us when our sons met in kindergarten and were 'best friends' from day one. 

We met in school.  Nothing changes. 
We travel a similar path and have plenty to chat about when the opportunity is available. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Numero Uno

There is a new one year old in town and his name is Mr. C.

We arranged a family weekend on the Washington coast last weekend, and his actual birthday was Monday. Our daughter and son-in-law planned a first birthday party for Sunday to celebrate with family and friends.

One of Mr. C's favorite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle which was the party's theme.

The food all had Hungry Caterpillar signage - veggies and dip, a yummy fruit salad, cheese and crackers and tasty tritip sandwiches on sourdough rolls. 

And a very hungry balloon caterpillar to help decorate the room. 

Calder is a classy cupcake muncher.  
No cake smashing for this kid...  no sense in wasting even one delicious morsel. 

Weather was warm and the snow we've recently had was wet and perfect for playing. 
Mr. C. got his first taste of winter snow when he went outside to join his cousin  Mr. T. 

Happy Birthday Mr. C.

(Photos shared by E.Murray Photography)

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Sunday night.  I sit at my computer feeling exhausted - brought on by a nasty, lingering cold I cannot shake, thoughts going on in my head and things for which I have no control.

It seems lately I continually log into social media and find myself shaking my head or wanting to respond with something completely unacceptable.  It was time to wake up and ask myself some serious questions.  Do I alienate those people who feel they should always be at the top of my news feed?  Do I respond with a comment that makes me feel better?

After the umpteenth time I read my news feed, wondered the intent of comments made and signed off - once and for all.  I deactivated the account.  Oh it's still there.  I can log on any given moment and step right back into the 'mean girl' drama but why bother.

I took it a step further and removed Snapchat and all but two of the games I play with family and friends. I regained some control - and you know what?  It feels marvelous!

There are so many impersonal relationships in social media.  Oh sure. you can drop a quick note to say Hi. You can put up pictures to share.  But where is the interaction?  Sadly its not just friends - its family interaction too. 

Now maybe I can finally get around to finishing the multiple blogs I've started and never finished.  Or at least reacquaint myself with my creative side once again.  As for reaching me...  I'm still in the same place, same email, same phone number. Lets talk!

At Peace

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Weekend Get Away

A year ago my hubby and I escaped the dreary valley inversion we call winter for a weekend over on the Washington coast - stepping outside our usual destination for another of the Olympic National Park Lodges - Lake Quinault.  We had a lovely weekend and talked how we wanted to share this lakeside haven with our family.  

In October I received an email invitation offering a special rate for multiple nights or multiple rooms.  I contacted our family and said "if we planned something in February which weekend would work best?"  Working around my Friday work responsibilities and an upcoming lacrosse season we were very excited to pick the first weekend of February for our family get-away to the Washington Coast. 

We created a fun travel brochure to share with everyone for Christmas, offering details of Lake Quinault Lodge and travel options.  We knew going into the planning this was crazy - 20 hours on the road for one night - but we really wanted to show our family this special place we found.   But just in case we offered receipt and reservation information in case someone had to make changes.  Things happen - better to give them a chance at a weekend that works best. 

The week of our departure had arrived and plans were secure.  Erin, Chris and Calder were heading out after Chris did a quick check at work and staying over with Calder's Madrina Tara in Portland.  K(squared) were taking the day off the explore Portland.  Matt, Brit and Mr. T were driving over with us after our work day ended. 

Unfortunately I woke up Friday morning with a raging head and chest cold.  I managed to work until noon and came home to sleep until Mike woke me saying Matt was off work and ready to go.  While I napped Karissa had texted to say they broke down just west of Hermiston, OR.  Fortunately Erin, Chris and Mr. C were an hour behind them and able to lend assistance. After antifreeze, phone calls and more waiting,  Krieg and Karissa's vehicle was carried away to Hermiston on the back of a tow truck and their belongings were loaded into the Murray's rental car.  All ended up spending the evening with Tara, having an early celebration for Mr. C's first birthday. Our own journey was uneventful though we drove through falling snow through both passes to Cascade Locks and our own evening's destination. 

Mr. T took up residence in his 3rd row.
The bridge at Cascade Locks.
Our usual resting place...  trains and river traffic kept Mr. T entertained in the morning.

Saturday morning we were greeted with beautiful sunshine and blue skies as we headed out after breakfast. We met up with the rest of our crew at Centrailia Deli and Barbeque for lunch and an opportunity to catch up with our daughter-in-law Debbie and oldest granddaughter Andrea.
In the entryway of the Deli there is a lovely memorial created in honor of Mike's oldest son Rex who left us in 2008.

We continued our drive out to the coast and Lake Quinault Lodge where we checked into our rooms and decided what to do next.

Lake Quinault Lodge, Amanda Park, WA
The view from our room.
Mr. C is WALKING - perpetual motion and TURBO charged!
Mr. T - always knows when he has returned to his birth state.  He says he is 'home'. 
Checked into our room and looking forward to the next few hours with our family. 


Krieg and Karissa 
We wanted to drive the additional 30 minutes up to Kalaloch, enjoy the sunset on the beach and have dinner at Kalaloch Lodge.  What could be better?  

Happy to be on the beach again
(Sigh) - my family on the beach together doing what we love. 

The combination of low tide and the sunset created some great reflectivity in the wet sand.

Chris, Erin and Mr. C. 
Mr. C enjoyed his second trip to the coast in his first year. 
We were definitely enjoying ourselves.  A side note:  despite how bundled up we are, the temperatures were mild and for the first time I can recall in many visits, there was no wind. 
Britnee and Matthew
Mr. T found a sand dollar with the help of Whytee (Chris). 
Our Family!
We enjoyed a pleasant leisurely meal inside the Lodge together. 
Lakeside Cabins

There are several lodging options at Lake Quinault Lodge.  Our first visit we stayed in a "Fireside Room".  This visit we were in the "Lakeside Rooms".  Another option is inside the historic Lodge itself as well as the "Boathouse".  Each type of room offers different options for everyone. 

View of Lake Quinault from the lake. 
Morning lakeside.

Our family inside the lodge. 


Inside the main lodge there are game tables set up for chess and checkers.  There is an armoire filled with puzzles and games.  The restaurant is just off the sitting room which also includes a nice bar area for evening cocktails in front of a roaring fire.  During our first visit Mike and I enjoyed a drink in the comfy leather chairs, while others around us read their books and visited.  

The night we arrived there was a small wedding taking place in the lodge.  Sunday morning the wedding party was seated for breakfast before we were.  By the time we were seated they larger party had yet to be served so we opted to load our cars and head on down the road as we knew those heading for Boise would want to get started instead of wait. 

Driving through Aberdeen, the kids discovered a cute little restaurant for breakfast.  Yep - It was called (ready for this?) Moo Moo Oink Oink Cluck Cluck Restaurant.  It has been open only six months.  The five members of our family in the first car took up two tables with two remaining chairs.  Our five opted for a nearby booth which enabled us to still chat as we watched the local TV channel flood the airways with Seattle Seahawks news and Super Bowl preparations.