Friday, July 18, 2014

Bumping Lake Getaway

People, it's hot as Hades here in E. Washington and has been for more than ten days. For us that means over 100 degrees F, and many have been 105-109. While we are most thankful for working air conditioning, after a few days it's nice to get away from the constant heat. We went to Bumping Lake

Bumping Lake is just to the east of Mt. Rainier National Park boundary so quite a bit higher in elevation than the Tri-Cities, which is about 500 ft. So the days were warm, but it cooled off nicely when the sun went down. We even had clouds and a few sprinkles which never developed into even a light shower.

Matt and Mystie took the kids up to Chinook Pass where they got to play in the snow on one of the hottest days of the year. They really loved that.

Daniel and Melanie did some exploring and found a place for Melanie to do some plein air painting.

Geoff and Amber did a little exploring as well. Yep, the honeymooners joined us for the weekend, giving their new tent a try. The tent was great, but they definitely need some air mattresses for the next trip!

Lots of time was spent just hanging out around our campsite.

There were tadpoles galore in the shallows of the lake with just a few tiny frogs. In a couple of weeks the place will be overrun with frogs! Hans and Jaeger did a bit of tadpole hunting with Aunt Melanie. Don't worry - it was catch and release!

And Uncle Daniel gave a lesson in push ups to the younger set.

The weekend was a great success, although we missed my younger kids who all were working over the weekend. The lake is about three hours' drive from home, so not too far. The campground has no facilities except for vault toilets, no water and electricity at the campsites, so we had to take on water which was a trick because the faucets did not have threaded spouts to attach a hose to. That did not stop Gary though. He thought about it a bit then asked for a plastic bag. I thought, that's weird, got him one, and he proceeded to create a gasket out of the bag and we filled the tank without a lot of spray on us! That's why I married him!

I didn't marry him for his winterizing skills. The trailer kitchen faucet didn't get emptied of water apparently, as when I turned on the water pump, water came streaming out of a rip in the neck of the faucet. Argh! So I resorted to tent camping techniques and all went well. Except for the trailer battery was going out and wouldn't keep the refrigerator lit! So Gary trekked into the Costco in Yakima for a new battery.

The worst though, was when in unhitching and leveling the trailer, the tongue of the trailer wasn't balanced properly on the blocks. As he was raising the tongue, it slipped off and the trailer went forward and boom - the thing hit the ground. Luckily, nothing was broken, but what an alarming event! That was a first in ten years of trailering.  So back to square one, rehitching to the Expedition, repositioning the trailer, leveling on a very stable base, then unhitching.

So a very eventful start to the weekend. I think maybe next year we should take a little preseason camping trip and check out all the systems before we go on a big family trip!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Monday Night Softball

For the last couple of months, Monday night has meant church league ladies' softball games. Our team is sponsored by our church, but we've taken in players from other churches who don't have teams.

Kirsten has been playing for several years now and has gone from a total neophyte, to one of the team's better hitters and a good catcher. They usually make the young girls catch as it's pretty hard on the knees.

Pregame Prayer

Action on the Sidelines

About to score!
We have some lovely summer evenings so watching softball games is a nice way to spend some time. Usually there are friends to chat with and lots of little kids to entertain us too.

This week, though, we're having a heat wave and the hundred-plus-degrees zap your energy! In between games, they turn sprinklers on the fields to keep the dust down, so some of the girls soaked themselves as well. Water inside and out is definitely what it takes to manage the heat.

In honor of our July heat, I've changed the header on the ol' blog here to reflect what I spend my time doing - moving the sprinkler around!

Stay cool, my friends!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Something I Finally Learned

The roses are putting out another flush of flowers so lately there's been some new growth, which means aphids again. It's funny how some of the roses really attract lots of aphids and others have just a few. Anyway, along with the aphids there are lots of lady bugs and lacewings.

But I saw another bug that I hadn't noticed before.
How could I have missed this creature all these years? Or perhaps I just blasted them away with the hose and didn't think about what they were.

Yep, it's a ladybug larvae - and I saw lots of them. You wonderful gardeners out there are chuckling at my obtuseness, but now I know those are what I want to see in the garden!

And today I saw several of the next phase in the ladybug life cycle: the pupa.  Soon another generation of ladybugs will be helping me keep my roses healthy!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Summer Swim Lessons

Now that the wedding is over, life is quite serene. My older grandchildren are in swim lessons at the city pool, so the last couple of mornings, I've gone down to spend some time with the gang. Kirsten went along with me to take some head shots of Mystie for her blog or some such thing.

Knox climbing on the "ship"
Today Knox decided not to play in the wading pool, but play in the sand pit and climbing structures.

Geneva trying to get to her mother
Geneva thought she wanted to play in the ship, but when Mommy started to walk away to sit down, she decided she wanted to go along.

Life is better on Mommy's lap
My oldest and youngest
I didn't get pics of the kids in the pool, so maybe next week I'll be able to get a couple of good shots. It's really lovely to spend a couple of hours outside with Mystie and her little group, enjoying the weather and watching the kids play. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

A Nerd Wedding

My oldest son, Geoff, and his love, Amber, were married on Saturday. Two unique personalities, totally in sync and so complementary to each other, I had a feeling she was the One when he first brought her home.

Photo shoot at the Carousel of Dreams
The wedding itself totally reflected them.The prelude music was a compilation of their favorite music from computer games, anime, horror films, and Dr. Who. The guys in top hats and bow ties. The readings from the Bible and a poem by Neil Gaiman, "The Day the Saucers Came". After traditional vows, they read their own vows. Even the hymns we sang had anime or a gaming reference, which I was totally unaware of! :)

Directly after the ceremony, a horse and carriage took them to the reception site at my oldest daughter's home.

My 4-year-old grandson and ring bearer, Knox

I think it took about an hour for the bride and groom to arrive at the reception, so the party was in full swing when they did get there. 

All My Children

My son-in-law, Matt, had the yard looking all gorgeous, including the now-working waterfall! Mystie, as the bossy oldest sister, is an amazing wedding coordinator. Together they can put on a wonderful reception in their yard and seemingly never skip a beat. After the dancing got going, they cut loose with their swing dancing.

Of course, the kids love to get out on the dance floor, and one of the stars of the show was my nephew Justin's little boy, Oscar!

I had to get in on this selfie with two of Geoff's best friends, Nick and Matt.

Now the celebrations are over and everyone's returned to their homes all over the Northwest. Slowly I'm putting the pieces back where they belong. As I do so, I can't help but remember and be grateful for so many who made the events run so smoothly and all who were so supportive of the newly married couple and so extremely happy for them!