Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012 Part 2

Guest writing for Marin is her husband Kevin.

The second half of our vacation was spent in Ashland, OR.  A few years ago we spent two days in Ashland and loved it. So we decide it was time to go back and spend some more time there.  And we still love it there.

Pulling into Ashland we were met with sunshine and smokey skies.  The smoke was coming from the wildfires down in California.  After checking into our hotel, we went to downtown Ashland for pizza and the Green Show.  Ashland is famous for their Shakespeare Festival, which was in progress.  Before each evening's play they have a 45 minute free show of local entertainment on the "green".   As we waited in line to order the pizza, I made the comment to Marin, it must be family night.  The pizza place was swarming with families with young kids, which made it quite loud.  Of course our two kids were contributing to the noise.   Marin's comment back to me was, "there are a lot of hippies in Ashland". Turning back around, I noticed the woman in front of me was breast feeding her child while she made her food order.  That evening we saw Triaj.  It's a trio composed of a woman vocalist, a cello player and a percussionist who had bells wrapped all around his legs.  It was a perfect evening to see a outdoor show.

The next day we spent the morning roaming around downtown Ashland.  After browsing in the stores, we walked over to the Ashland Food Co-op to get lunch to go.  We got a delicious Rosemary fruit salad and a $12.00 chicken pesto wrap.  It looked good, tasted decent, but not sure it was worth $12.  We then walked up to Lithia Park to have a picnic in the park.

Picnic in the park

Our $12 chicken pesto wrap and rosemary fruit salad

Lithia Park has to be one of the best city parks in all of Oregon, if not the west coast of the US.  It has everything from duck ponds, open grass areas, walking trails, playground, band shell and a great creek running straight down the middle of it.  The creek is very kid friendly.  It has easy access and a lot of rocks to climb around on.  Molly and Keenan rotated between the playground, the creek and the duck pond.  Marin and I just kind of wandered around the three areas, enjoying the sunshine and the beauty of the park while making sure our kids didn't do anything dangerous.

Molly on the rocks in Lithia Park

Keenan wanting to follow the creek all the way to its source in the mountains

Marin looking good at Litiha Park

Later that day we headed over to Ashland's fantastic science museum, ScienceWork Hands-On Museum.  We spent over two hours in the museum, only leaving because they were closing for the day.  This place is designed for both kids and adults.  As the name of the museum says, so many hands on activities.  It has everything from pulley chairs, a bubble room, making music with lasers, testing your strength and endurance and challenging your nerves and coordination.

Molly and Keenan trying to get the white ball through the obstacle course using air pressure

The pulley chairs.

That night after eating Mexican food, Molly, Keenan and I went down to the hotel pool.  After about 30 minutes of tossing the kids around, Molly swallowed a mouthful of pool water.  She coughed a few times before throwing-up in the pool.  Luckily we were the only ones in the pool at the time.  We exited the pool, I wiped Molly down with a towel and then sent the kids back to the room.  I went to go tell the front desk person about the accident.  He didn't seem too upset when I told him what happened, but he wasn't pleased as he told me he would need to close the pool down for the night.  Needless to say, we didn't do any more swimming in the hotel pool. 

The next morning we decide to rent some bikes and ride along the Bear Creek Greenway, that runs from Ashland, up through Medford and into Central Point.   It was a great morning for a bike ride; sunny skies and perfect temperature.  The man at the bike shop said he didn't have any kids bike to rent, so we put Molly on the smallest adult bike they had. It was a tad big for her, but she did a great job riding it.  Keenan was on a tag-along bike that connected to my bike.  Marin was enjoying riding her comfort bike; sitting upright with a big cushy seat.

We decide to rent the bikes for only an hour since we knew our kids wouldn't last that long.  We got on the trail heading north towards Medford.  Everyone was moving along just beautifully as we rode next to Bear Creek.  We decided to make our turn around point Blue Heron Park, about seven miles from the bike shop.  The kids were able to play on the playground while Marin and I just basked in the glow of providing a fun vacation for our kids.  When Marin looked at her watch, she saw that we were running late and that we had to get back to the bike shop to return the bikes on time.  Instead of following the paved path in the park back to the greenway, we cut over a gravel road, that ran for about 100 yards, to get back to the pathway.  That turned out to be a big mistake.  All of our tires got thorns in them.  These thorns, called goatheads, turns out to be a big nuisance down here.  We stopped to look at our tires and started to pull them out. We knew we made another big mistake after we pulled out a few of them.  We could hear air slowly leaking from Molly's tire.  We jumped on our bikes and made a frantic push back to the bike store.  Molly got about a 1/2 mile before her two tires went flat.  Keenan and I pushed on to the bike store while Marin and Molly waited by a road that intersected the trail.  When Keenan and I got to the bike shop, I dropped off the bikes and then we drove back to Marin and Molly.  I loaded Molly's bike into our car and drove her, Keenan and I back to the shop.  Marin rode her bike back.  We were all hoping and praying that Marin's tires wouldn't go flat.  I was relieved to see her ride into the bike shops parking lot.   For the second time in less then 24 hours, I had to tell someone that we had an accident with some of their equipment.  The guy was pretty nice about it.  He only charged us $50 for the bike rentals, 7 replacement tubes and all of the time it would take him to get the thorns out of the tires.  So if you are ever in Ashland and you need a bike shop, go to Bear Creek Bicycles.  But don't tell them that the Mattias' sent you.

That afternoon we headed into Medford for the Harry and David's flagship store.  So many delicious gourmet foods to sample and enjoy.  After that we headed for the "best hamburger in southern Oregon", Jaspers Cafe.  

They were big burgers with an array of toppings.  I was the only one who could finish their burger.   So I had to finish everyones else's too.  I was quite full, but we still had dinner plans for tonight; a picnic on the grass watching a Green Show. We had picked-up picnic supplies from Harry and David.  Back in Ashland we had about 90 minutes  before the start of the show.  We decide to walk the length of  Lithia Park.  We were in for quite a surprise!

We came across a grazing family of "Ashland" deer.  They are so used to people, that they will pose so you can get a good photo of them.  

We came across another duck pond as we traveled up the wonderful walking trails in the park.   There we found two well behaved kids.  We were so amazed at how well these kids were being nice to each other, that Marin was able to take a very nice photo of them.

After a wonderful walk through the park, we headed back to the Shakespeare Festival to watch our last Green Show.  We saw Phoenix and Four Directions.  They put on another entertaining show as we munched on our picnic dinner.

The next day we slowly packed up and headed on our way home.  We made a stop in Jacksonville for some ice cream and a chance for Marin to do some shopping.  We had another wonderful vacation.  Ashland will always have a warm place in our family heart.  And the redwoods are so wonderful to explore.  Now we have to wait another 12 months to take our next summer vacation. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012

Guest writing for Marin is her husband Kevin.

We just got back from our vaction to the Redwood forest and Ashland, OR.  We spent two night camping in the Redwoods and three nights in Ashland.  This entry will be about our time in the Redwoods.   A later post will be about our time in Ashland.

We headed out early Monday morning arriving at the National Park in the afternoon.  Our first choice for a campground, Gold Bluff Beach was full.  Our second choice, Elk Creek was also full.   This was not starting off so good.  We headed south of the park to Patrick's Point State Park to find an open camp site.  The whole family really liked this campground.  Molly and Keenan highly recommend campsite 97 in the Agate Beach campground at Patrick's Point.  After setting up camp, we headed down the road some more to Arcata and Humboldt State University, Kevin's Alma Mater.  After picking up bagels for breakfast at Los Bagels, the family was hungry so we drove out to the Samoa Cookhouse.

When Marin was telling people where we were going for vacation, a few of them suggested this fine place.  It is a set menu with family style seating.  We started out with fresh home made bread, vegatable soup and salad.  Then came the main entrees of southern fried chicken and ham with mashed potatoes and corn.  For dessert we had home made apple pie with whipped cream.  Delicious!

After dinner we drove back into Arcata.  it is a beautiful college town, with the campus backed-up into a redwood forest.  I showed them the dorm building I lived in, Madrone; the main building where I had most of my classes, Founder's Hall; and the track where I spent most afternoons running over hurdles.  That night we settled into our campsite and got an amazing display of the stars.

The next day we woke to a foggy morning, with sunlight filtering through the mist and trees.

After breakfast we decide to wander around Patrick's Point and made our way to this rugged coastline.  We could hear sea lions down in the water.

With a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches inside us, we drove into the coastal town of Trinidad.  Marin has decided this town is on our list of places to retire to.  Molly liked the HSU Marine Lab where we got to touch tide-pool creatures.

It was now time to discover the redwoods up close and personal.  We headed to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove.  These trees can live up to 1500 years old and reach heights way over 300 feet.  These trees are just massive and you don't get a true understanding of how big they are unless you stand right next to them.

I had one more stop planned for the family this day, Fern Canyon.  It required us driving six miles on a dusty, gravel road with many pot holes.  The whole family put up a fuss about how we should not drive on this road, but I kept going.  About a mile from the trailhead, we came to our first stream crossing.  Marin demanded we stop and said that I would have to walk the rest of the way there.  She would stay in the car and knit.  Molly was going to stay with her.  I got out of the car, put Keenan on my shoulders (since that was the only way Keenan would go with me) and walked the rest of the way there.  About 100 yards from the trailhead, I turn around to see Marin driving the car to the trailhead.    She had decided that she wasn't  going to wait in the car anymore.  I don't think she was disappointed by her decision.  Fern Canyon's walls are 40 feet tall and covered in ferns.  There is a small creek that runs down it and fallen redwood trees across the trail that have crashed down from above.   Both Molly and Keenan thought this was a cool place to hike around in.

On the drive out on the gravel road, we came across a herd of Roosevelt Elk and a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.

The next morning we broke camp and headed north towards Ashland.  Before we left the Redwoods we stopped at the Big Tree and the Cathedral trail loop.  A great hike for a family with kids who don't like to hike.  Tons of huge trees as well as fallen trees that kids can climb around on.

Our last stop before heading back into Oregon was the Trees Of Mysteries, with it's statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  It is a total tourist trap.   Of course, we left with several souvenirs.

My next post will be on our time spent in Ashland.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day at Elk Rock Garden

After church, our family drove over to a neat little hidden garden in Lake Oswego. To get to it, you have to drive past large beautiful mansions with spacious manicured lawns and yards that back up to the Willamette river. I've never used the ipad before solely as a camera, so u will have to let me know how good you think the quality of the photos are. We didn't have much time before they closed, but for Keenan, the 30 minutes was enough. He isn't old enough to appreciate all the beauty's of the earth. It was a perfect day, however, for a nice walk and the ever-present heavenly scents of the garden.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Revisiting the Past

One Sunday in early October, the 2nd of Oct. to be exact, we were out for a family walk on a nice new path in Wilsonville. It was a wet day, but that didn't stop the kids from wanting to play on a school playground that bordered the walking trail. Keenan's favorite thing to do at playgrounds of late, is the monkey bars--something he has been successful at for the past several months. He falls off sometimes, which all kids do. Unforrtunately, this time he apparently fell on his right arm (none of us witnessed the fall). He, of course, cried--but not very hard. We looked at it and nothing looked differently. He cont'd to complain, but mostly about having to continue to walk because we hadn't started our actual walk yet when the kids got sidetracked by the playground. After 15 minutes of complaining, we turned around and went home. Well, long story short. 4 hours later when Keenan's arm started to swell, we called the Providence advice line and were sent to the Milwaukie Providence ER where Keenan's arm was x-rayed and found to be broken in 2 places. After seeing an Orothopedic surgeon two days later, we were given further bad news: the break in Keenan's Ulna was too close to the elbow joint and so surgery would be needed to place a pin in his bone. Bummer.

So here is Keenan wearing his splint at Emanuel Hospital for an "out-pt" surgery. We arrived at 9:00 in the morning and didn't leave until 4pm in the afternoon. He doesn't look too thrilled in this picture, but he actually had quite a bit of fun riding the small cars and playing video games in the kid's waiting room.

This is the silly Keenan we know and love.

Waiting in the pre-op room and trying to keep Keenan occupied. He had already been given a dose of a relaxant and it was quite entertaining to see him start to act a little "drunk."

Post operation. Keenan slept for a VERY long time. He looked so peaceful.

Back to his usual crazy ways. In many ways, that cast did not slow him down one bit. Writing and eating were another story. He already had a difficult time writing with his right hand and so if you can imagine the struggle he had trying to write with his left. . . . Eating with his left hand was actually easier than I thought it would be. In fact, after he got his cast off, he continued to eat with his left hand for several days afterwards. He may have never stopped if we hadn't prompted him to use his right hand.

Last photo before we headed to the Dr's office to get his cast off.

4 weeks later and the cast is off! I had never witnessed a cast coming off and didn't really know what to expect. The technician said it would only tickle Keenan and boy, was that true! Keenan squirmed and kicked (the technician, yikes!) and I had to contain his flailing body parts while his cast was being "sawed" off. I brought Keenan's sling as recommended because his arm obviously would need some transition time from bent to straight. He gladly wore it pretty much the rest of the day, but by the next day he was as good as new :).

Epilogue: Later x-rays show the arm to be healing very nicely. Bummer thing is that in 5 or so months Keenan will have to go back into surgery to have the pin removed. Sorry, kiddo! :(

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Things Kids Say

Keenan: I want to marry a girl in my class.
Me: What's her name?
Keenan: Addie Mae.
Me: Why do you want to marry her?
Keenan: Because she's so nice and doesn't do anything bad. . . I really want to marry her. . but not now--when I'm older like you and daddy.

Keenan's Kindergarten Picture

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Go Outside

A little recap of some of the Mattias' outside adventures. The music is by The Lonely Forest.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Easter

I know I'm late posting for Easter, but if you compare what I've been doing the whole year (basically nothing), I think I'm doing pretty good! :) We had 2 Easter Egg Hunt's this year: One on Saturday (I try to separate the commercialism with the religious significance of the holiday) at home with all the candy; the other one, a small one down at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Dallas and with all the eggs we and my brother Paul's family dyed. This was the first year that Molly questioned the reality of the Easter Bunny and even now, I'm not sure if she believes or not because Kevin and I never gave her a straight answer. I don't want her to grow up! Next thing we know, she will stop believing in Santa Claus and I can not have that!

Anyhow, our house is not very big with not very many hiding places and so I thought Keenan and Molly would find their eggs quite fast. I was surprised how long it did take them. I love my kids, but they sure aren't very observant! ;0
Funny thing also is that Keenan kept following Molly around and of course, she was taking everything in her path leaving nothing behind for Keenan. We took several video clips and you could overhear me several times telling Keenan to go to a different place in the house or telling Molly to leave SOME candy for Keenan :) The first picture below is of Keenan with not very many eggs in his basket. Fortunately, he could care less, he was having a good time.

Keenan taking a break from the hunt to enjoy some candy.

Molly very pleased with her haul of the loot.

Easter egg hunt in Dallas. The clouds decided to open up right about this time, but the kids didn't seem to care too much.

I think this is a great picture.

Couldn't resist taking a picture of the slug who found his way on top of the brightly colored easter egg hidden in the green grass.

Always a challenge to get four little kids to not only smile, but to also LOOK at the camera :) (I love little Coley hefting that big egg up in the air: it was stuffed with rice krispy treats-yum!)