Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Backpacking to Sheep Lake | Rainier National Park

It's been several weeks since this adventure. If I had posted my thoughts right away, they would have come out steaming with frustration and angst. I was ready to toss my whole love of the great outdoors in a bucket and walk away. But I hated to do that. I was questioning whether my priorities were right, whether we were trying to escape real life, whether this really was the best thing to do with my kids.

Letting things sit for a few weeks often helps to bring clarity. The layers separate, the sediment settles to the bottom, the liquids clear.

I can look back on this experience now and chuckle. I was that mom. The mom with a goal, something to prove. The mom who thinks she wants something for her kids and will press through crowds and climb up on high things to get the prize.

See, I want my kids to choose nature experiences over just about any other form of entertainment. I want them to crave exercise, to crave time in the wild -- loving fresh air, cold water, mountain berries.

I'll admit that maybe I'm trying too hard to make them fall in love with the things I love.

We hiked 2.5 miles into Sheep Lake in Rainier NP. The description I had read said it was a great first backpacking trip for kids, without much elevation gain. They were kinda right. I would call it a gradual climb. Yes, the trail is pretty kid friendly. We could have had more fun if I wasn't "come on, we gotta get there" mom [my backpack wasn't packed well and was causing great pain to my neck and shoulders]. We would have had more fun with friends [but umm, the looks we get when we talk about backpacking?].

We should have packed in more water.
We should have patched the hole in the tent screen.
We should have brought books and games.

Ezra carried a box of wheat thins, Peter had a small backpack stuffed with his sleeping bag and his water, and I carried the rest. We should have brought donkeys. #justkidding #maybe

So -- long story short -- we made it, we played in the water a bit, we sprayed way too much bug spray, we ate most of our food and drank all of our water, we set up camp. And then we decided to pack up camp and hike out. We just weren't having a lot of fun.

This summer has been the summer of canceled plans -- mama planned for every weekend to be full of adventures, but this just didn't end up working for everyone else. We didn't go to Lake Crescent, we didn't go to Lake Chelan. We hiked five miles in Rainier NP that day and then drove back to daddy's hotel in Yakima. We watched a whole bunch of PBS Kids and then decided to go home and skip the whole Lake Wenatchee thing too.

I felt like a failure to myself and to my kids.

But, at the end of the summer, with a bird's eye view on things [if only], I'm thinking this summer taught us a few things. We'll probably need reminders [fo sure], but I think we'll start to put a greater priority on home life and simple routines and people who mean a lot to us. I'll always love a cool dip in a mountain river, the sound of paddles pushing through a silent lake, the feeling of summiting anything and looking around on the world from an outsider's perspective. But there IS more to life.

Sheep Lake is pretty cool, if you can get there in between snows and mosquito seasons. ;p Bring friends, bring donkeys, bring strong husbands, bring lots of water or a water purification device, bring a good book.

GO. Adventure. Chill. Clear your brain.
Then STAY. Mow the lawn. Harvest the tomatoes. Go out with a friend.
Adventure and Home. Both good things. But too much of any good thing can make you sick. #lessonssummertaughtus

Now -- on to the adventures of the school year [announcements to come]!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#RiverPlay + #LyveHome = Easy Photo Management

Family Reunion
Family Reunion

A couple weekends ago found us soaking up the sun and the cold river and the family love at #RiverPlay on the Columbia River. When we weren't eating delicious food, we were basking in the glory of SUPER COOL cousins keeping our kiddos busy and out of trouble!

I was tired after a stretch of single parenting/camping in Canada and my honey was equally tired after working his tail off {four 12 hour days}, so it was the perfect weekend retreat. Relaxing and refreshing. Kinda like lemonade.

Making Lemonade
Making Lemonade
Making LemonadeMaking Lemonade

I should have taken more photos and now looking back, I really wish I had BECAUSE waiting for me at home was the coolest photo syncing device ever. It can hold a crazy amount of photos -- like over 16,000. Every time I take a photo using my phone, it goes directly into the database and can be accessed from all other connected devices. Same thing if the photos are on my computer -- I just plug into the #LyveHome box and choose the folder I want to send over. Once those photos are transferred, I can view and share them from my phone.

I used to have to email myself photos to get them from computer to phone or the other way around! No longer!

And if I had other devices {like an iPad or any other cool gadget}, I could connect those up too. My husband's phone....the kid's tablets...everyone can have access to the pictures and send their photos onboard too.

It's pretty sweet stuff. You wouldn't happen to want one, wouldya?


LyveHome | Your Personal Photo and Video Manager [yep, video too]
  • Your photos and videos are automatically protected on your LyveHome, from wherever you are.
  • All photos are cataloged by date and easy to view on any device.
  • The LyveApp is available on any Android or iOS device.
  • The LyveHome box has a USB port and SD card slot so you can import old photos from external hard drives, memory cards, etc.

Check out this short video to see it in action and tell me what your favorite feature is in the comments for a chance to win a LyveHome [$299 value] for your family!

Life doesn't stop just because your memory card or phone is full. With Lyve, you've got plenty of space for all those times you want to remember, at home or on the go. Your first marathon, baby’s first steps, summer days at the park…you focus on capturing and let Lyve focus on keeping your photos & videos safe, sorted and always accessible.

How to enter to win:
1. Click over to the LyveHome site {it will open in a new window}
2. Look around, check out the cool features, watch the video
3. Come back over here and write a comment telling me what you like best about the LyveHome

One winner will be chosen on September 1, 2014 and will receive a LyveHome soon after in the mail! Please leave your email address in the comment so I can reach you if you've won!
*Sorry international friends; US Residents only 

This post is sponsored by LyveHome: Your personal photo & video manager. Lyve brings together the memories scattered across your mobile devices, automatically consolidating them into an easily accessible, organized view.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Bee Stung Me. Ouch.

Coquihalla River
these are my feet in the crystal clear and cold waters of the Coquihalla river near Hope, BC
I'm wishing I could stick my throbbing foot in there right about now

I just stepped on a bee while playing ultimate frisbee. One of those I love more than the other.

So, I limped home. The sun is casting glorious colors all over the sky as it sets and I'm sitting here wincing while I try to be a big girl.

I can't even begin to explain how busy I've been this week. I thought we were busy with traveling back to back to back. Well, that one was brand of crazy and this week was another! I've got several posts waiting half-finished. They are going to get stale if I don't hurry up and get them out onto the shelves.

Ow. My foot hurts. I gotta get my sorry self into bed.

Here's a quick update on me.

Making: Plans for teaching preschool this fall. YEP, I got a job!! My first classroom teaching position!
Feeling: Well, there's a distracting stinging sensation in my foot. I was feeling super excited earlier today.
Reading: Almost finished with The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Tough just because so much is wrong relationship-wise. But a very good story.
Planning: For a busy week of training and classroom setup and then end of summer vacationing.
Resisting: The urge to cut my foot off.
Thankful for: When things fall into place without me doing really anything at all. When it's really obviously God's hand at work.
Sharing: My favorite quote this week -- "The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water." John Keats

Sometimes I wish we had a nice cold river in our backyard. Mmmm.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Larrabee State Park | Hide and Seek Paradise

Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
I'd like to thoroughly hash out my feelings regarding travel and kids and camping and how I love it so much, SO MUCH, and yet how tired I get and how angsty the kids get because they miss their friends and sometimes they wet their sleeping beds and YET they have so much fun playing outside chasing each other up and down trails and yelling "bombs away" and then how we read bedtime books in the tent and fall asleep together breathing fresh air and looking up at the stars if it isn't raining and I just don't want to be anywhere else at all BUT we miss daddy and get tired of eating out of the car and sometimes I feel like I'm running away from something but I just don't know what it is and sometimes I don't care I just want to get back out there and drink in the beauty of nature and forget about life and its complications.

Sometimes run-on sentences feel REALLY GOOD.

The bottom line, what I've decided, what I'm going to aim for in the future, is BALANCE. Hah! Right? Because we weren't just waiting ALL winter for the weather to be compatible with tent camping. And we wouldn't try to cram 20 adventures into 12 weekends of summer. No, not at all. In the future ---- ready for it? ---- we need to invest time in resting-at-home weekends. Truly. Sadly. Necessarily.

It might look like this:
Weekend 1 -- two nights at Lake Chelan with our kayaks and fun family
Weekend 2 -- home for tacos with friends and harvesting berries and tomatoes and basil and making pesto and mowing the pesky grass
Weekend 3 -- three nights in the San Juan islands with our bikes and boats
Weekend 4 -- home for backyard campfires and ginger beer floats and floating local rivers and family bike rides with the neighbors
Weekend 5 -- two nights in the Columbia Gorge with hikes to Gorton Falls and Oneonta Gorge with friends
Weekend 6 -- home to freeze a peach harvest and several dozen cobs of corn and to make tamales and salsa

The home weekends look fun too. They do. But I'm not going to promise we won't do some adventuring away from home during the week...if the spirit moves. But I'll try to keep it in check. Why does getting out of dodge appeal to me so so so so much? It might be a syndrome.
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park

Trip Details:
Larrabee State Park -- which has more to offer than we could even begin to explore. I'd love to come back and hike to Fragrance Lake. And next time I'll bring my husband and our kayaks. The coastline here and little nearby islands would be perfect to explore from a boat. The campground is FAB-u-lous, with many many trails and big trees and undergrowth and jumping off and climbing spots. It was hide and seek heaven for the kids. The showers weren't anything special, but they were THERE {which turned out to be a lifesaver!} and free. We'd go back here in a heartbeat. Did you notice the view across Samish Bay toward the San Juan Islands? Nice, right? Kinda makes me happy. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


This is my seven-year-old who now LOVES waterslides. :) It's fun to see him tall enough and brave enough to try new things! We took a friend with us to the waterpark and had a great time, even though the temps dropped to the 80's that day.

Yesterday was spent searching for a financially feasible Epipen option and reading some seriously scary stuff about allergies. My kids were bored and hyper and running circles around me while I tried to figure out what to do at the grocery store pharmacy. Two adults spoke to them about not running and not climbing on top of the cart. I was humiliated and trying to ignore the onlookers and just focus on my boys. They are missing their daddy wrestles -- it really helps meet their physical needs.

Making: Feta Ciabatta Sandwiches. The kids aren't appreciating squash right now, but I still think these are delish.
Feeling: Tired. Sore. Guilty. Worried. Afraid. Pretty much normal, in other words.
Reading: The Entitlement Trap by Richard and Linda Eyre
Planning: To listen to Ralph S Mouse in the car while we drive today.
Resisting: All above feelings.
Thankful for: New starts after rough days.
Sharing: This article about education and the common core and entitlement. And these robots.