Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Well, we are slowly gettting back into a routine.  Whatever a routine is during the summer.  I am back in the church office minus the boys.  My mornings are a bit boring right now, so I will probably start snooping around the church to find some cupboard and closet that needs to be cleaned or organized.

Right now, we are getting ready for Kinderfest.  Kinderfest is a free children's festival that the Chamber of Commerce in Leavenworth puts on.  Our church and another church in town help plan out the carnival booths and man them.  Several other groups like the rotary club, the Icicle Arts, Salmon Fish Hatchery, etc also pitch in and run their own kid-centered activity booth. 

It is a fun festival, but a long day for all of us working.  Todd and I will be downtown by 8 am setting up tents, tables, chairs, and games so that by 11 everything can start running.  Then at 3 we close it all down and clean up so the next entertainment act can come in and finish the fourth of July celebration.  We don't do fireworks here due to the fire danger so alot of people head out of town to Lake Chelan or Wenatchee for the big finale.

Generally, I am pretty stressed about the whole thing, but, for whatever reason,  I haven't really stressed over it...yet.  Today, my task is to finalize all of our volunteers and order t-shirts for them to wear.  The Chamber has liked our church's t-shirts so much they were looking at ordering t-shirts for all of the volunteers.  However, they haven't told us whether or not they are going to follow through with that so I have been told to order t-shirts regardless of what the chamber does.  ok...now the stress is starting to build.  Time is of the essences and the pastor...ahem..my husband is not a big on thinking ahead.  He is more of a spur of the moment kind of guy.  So despite how busy my afternoon was I need to run by the local screen printer and see if she can make us shirts in time.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Long Journey Home

We are finally home.  We took a four hour trip and turned it into twelve hours by driving around the perimeter of the Olympic Peninsula.

Our first stop on our journey home was the Hoh Visitor Center in the heart of the Olympic National Park.

Did you know the rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula receives 140 inches of rain a year?  That is a lot!  You can imagine the how green everything was.  The trees are huge.
This giant spruce was over 270 feet tall and it was just a seedling when Christopher Columbus found the New World.  There is also a lot of moss growing on everything.

 We learned a lot about Nurse Logs.  These are fallen trees that give new trees a "leg up" when trying to grow and survive under the dense canopy of the forest.  Since sunlight has a hard time reaching the forest floors, those seeds that land on fallen trees are able to grow and thrive since they are higher up.  What we found were rows of trees on growing off these fallen giants.
 Brian is still our energetic hiker who is looking for every rock or tree to climb on or in.  I have a video of him when he was two years old.  He was climbing on every rock in our path and we were constantly calling him back to the path.  Nothing has changed in the past eleven years. lol

Did  I mention earlier that the moss grows on everything?  Bonnie got a kick out of this old phone booth. I don't know if it was the moss on it or that the archaic phone booth existed.

Ten miles down the road from the Hoh Visitor Center was Forks where we stopped for lunch.  By the way, Forks does not have much of anything.  The only fast food restaurant was Subway, but if you want to go on a Twilight Tour or Big Foot Tour there are lots of those around. 

Another hour down the road and we drove through La Push and hit the 2nd Rialto Beach.  The beaches on the northern end of the peninsula are more rocky than where we vacationed at so there is a better chance of seeing some sea creatures that get left behind in the tidal pools.

 We tried to time our visit to the beach so that it was after high tide. 
 We saw lots of sea anemones.  They were beautiful pinks and greens and everywhere.
 Once again, Brian was in heaven with all of the rocks to climb and explore.
 We found various crabs, mussels, snails, and barnacles.
 Our favorite find was all of the starfish.  The kids were surprised how hard they were and just how strong their suction power was.  They did not want to come off the rocks they were clinging too.

 Our last stop was the ferry in Kingston which would take us over Puget Sound to Seattle.

It was so nice to finally head over Stevens Pass and drive back into Leavenworth.  Our weather the whole week was awesome.  Sunshine every day and mild, comfortable temps.  Unfortunately, it is grey, rainy and cold back at home.  Tomorrow marks the first official day of summer and I am ready for it to start. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Final Day

Today was our last day at the beach.  Yesterday we went in to Ocean Shores to ride the Go-Karts, get some ice cream, and check out the Ocean Shores beach.  Todd decided to walk home so we left him there while I drove the kids back to the house.  It took Todd two hours to walk back the 6 miles of beach. 

While checking out my facebook, I got a message from my high school/college youth leader from Grace Baptist Church in Chattanooga.  Paul Rice who now lives in Florida works for a company who owns several thousand acres of forest land here in Washington.  It turns out he was staying in Ocean Shores last night so we managed to connect and he came over to visit with us.  It has been twenty-one years since I have seen Paul.  It was Paul's youngest brother who introduced Todd and I and was a grooms man at our wedding.  It was a nice surprise to visit with Paul.

Today we stayed at the house and read books, played a round of spoons and Monopoly, and watched movies.  It was a lazy, lazy day.  The weather once again was perfect so we decided to head back to the beach to try to catch another sunset BEFORE the sun sets.

A perfect end to the day. 

Tomorrow morning we pack up and head north to Forks.  While in Forks we plan to head over to La Push.  Unlike the sandy  beaches over here, La Push's beaches are rocky which means they are a great place to find tidal pools.  We are hoping to find some star fish and other sea creatures in the pools.  We  will then head over to the rain forest and finally make our way to the Kingston ferry crossing before heading back home.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Nine o'clock last night we scrambled down to the beach to catch the sunset on the water.  Our beach house is a half a mile away so it is always a gamble to know whether or not the clouds are going to be in the way or not, but we took the risk anyway.

 I think we missed it, but there was still some nice color in the sky.  The Coast Guard was out though and so was a Black Hawk helicopter searching the waters (I haven't watched the news yet, but I wonder if someone was lost at sea.) 

Todd decided to use the time to take some family pictures. 
So, of course, the kids put on their best faces....
 Even Todd and I gave our best poise... lol
OF course, we didn't need to get one of Bryce because he always puts on his best face. lol
The whale is still here.  Evidently, KING 5 news was here earlier filming the whale.  Marine biologists believe it was killed by running into a ship, literally.  It has been dead for a few weeks before washing up on shore.  BTW, it still stinks.
A walking on the beach, skipping broken sand dollars, and celebrating our family was a wonderful way to end the day.
Happy 20th Anniversary to my wonderful husband.  Love you Todd!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

What a great way to spend Father's Day!  Being a pastoral family, Sunday holidays take a back seat.  We have so many responsibilities on Sunday that celebrating anything is hard to do.  So it is nice to be here on vacation with no responsibilities and time to enjoy one another.

Before we left, however, Bonnie and I dropped off my father-in-law's father's day gift.
 Bonnie used an old photo of Don to sketch his face for art class.  I thought she did a great job, so we matted and framed it to give to Don for Father's day. 
The weather has continued to be really nice here.  The weather forecast had been bleak at first but the sun has continued to shine and the temps have stayed in the 60s, much better than what we expected.
 Although conditions are not great for swimming the kids have found plenty to do on the beach.
 Bonnie has been spending her time sketching the landscape around her with pastels.
 The boys found the remnants of a fort and have continued to work on it.
Todd and I have enjoyed just walking the beach and laying out on the sand to read our books.
This is turning out to be a very restful and peaceful vacation.

Friday, June 14, 2013

From Wolves to Whales

We made it to the beach and believe it or not, we even have sunshine.  We figured we better head to the beach and enjoy it while we can.  Little did we know, what was waiting for us on shore.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


The James family is on vacation.  School let out yesterday at noon and as soon as we could we loaded up the van and took off.  The kids thought we were going to Copalis Beach off the coast of Washington, but instead we surprised them by going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound first. 
The kids helped us quickly to unload the van and changed into their swim suits.
At one point, Bonnie commented that this would be a great place to hang out with friends.  Little did she know that we had invited our friends, the Townleys, to come out to Great Wolf to play with us since they live just a few minutes away.  They liked the idea so much that they booked a room for themselves.  Now the kids have Brent and Tiffany to hang out with while Todd and I could hang out with their parents, Chris and Michelle.  Just a side note...twenty years ago to the day, Chris stood up with Todd as his best man in our wedding while his wife, Michelle, helped to decorate our car with tissue paper and tin cans. lol 

  The Townleys are heading over to Leavenworth this weekend to dedicate a bench to their dad, Bryce, who passed away last September.  Bryce was the director of the boys ranch where Todd lived when he was thirteen.  Their family has been a big part of Todd's life.  Our kids were really bummed when they heard they were going to miss seeing all of the Townleys so they were especially excited to find that they would have two days with them to enjoy.  Tomorrow we will head over to their house to visit for a little while before heading off to the beach.
 Coming out of the Howling Tornado.  
This was the first ride we went on when we got to the water park.  Little did I realize that it is the scariest of them all.  Guess who ended up going down it backwards?!  Yep, me!  Then you glide straight up the wall until you think you are going to fall out of the tube then down the wall and up the other side.  Back and forth a few times before spiraling down the tubes to the end.  I haven't gotten up the nerve to go down it again, but the kids have been down it lots.
 It took Bryce a couple of times before he finally realized that he is just too tall to walk across the lily pads.

Warming up in the hot tub.

 We have a couple of other surprises in store for the kids.  On our last day of vacation we are planning on driving up the Washington coastline to visit Forks, WA.  Then we will take a drive through the rain forest.  Catch a ferry across Puget Sound and finally head home.