November in Review: Why We Do What We Do

What am I talking about when I type, “Why we do what we do”. This short post is about why we continue to maintain a website and write what we write….oh and about November 2010.

Our website has been public since spring 2004. At the time, we set it up to share photos and stories with friends and family while we lived in Armenia. The site was basic, but met our needs. After returning home from Armenia, I updated it to reflect our life after Peace Corps. It captured our transition to Oregon and addition of Ethan to our family. Admittedly, I didn’t update the website as much as I’d like during Ethan’s first couple years. With the birth of Autumn this past March, and an update in WordPress capabilities, I decided to get my act together and truly focus on updating our website.

Today, our focus with every post is to provide a written record of our life so our children can look back and learn about themselves, parents, and family. It’s really that simple. I’m trying to capture those big events as well as small, somewhat insignificant, ones too. I want them to understand the “present” of every post. I hope they can read these posts and piece together how they were raised. Perhaps, they will learn a bit more why they are the way they are. Most of all, I hope they are entertained and find that life was good and fulfilling.

20101125_0400So what are the highlights for November 2010 that Ethan and Autumn will read about at some point later in life? My brother Mark made it up to visit the family and meet Autumn. He and Ethan had a great time going on adventures throughout house. Later in the month, our first snow of the season arrived to the Seattle area. It caused chaos in the Seattle area, but we stayed home those couple days while the roads cleared. We then spent Thanksgiving in McMinnville, Oregon where we enjoyed time with Laura’s family, and made a much too quick visit to Eugene to see friends. Most important, Laura and I celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary in style: dinner at a local pizza parlor in Lafayette, Oregon.

Uncle Mark visits and Ethan takes him on an Aardvark hunt

“We’re going on an Aardvark hunt, we’re going to catch a big one” and the two fearless adventurers, protected by their firefighter hats and carrying shopping baskets and snakes, set off through the house to find the fearsome Aardvarks that lurked in the back halls. Nephew Ethan, along with his sidekick Uncle Mark, stormed the house so all could get a good night sleep.

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October in Review: The Month of the Heffalump

Heffalump! What the? Okay if you don’t have kids you probably don’t have any idea what a Heffalump is. I didn’t either until earlier in October I randomly selected for Ethan Pooh’s Heffalump Movie from Netflix. That’s all it took. He watched it, laughed a lot, smiled, never ate his popcorn because he was glued to the movie, and came back asking for more. Seriously, he loves anything about it (characters, songs, dialogue, pictures). There is no doubt that October became the month of the Heffalump.

20101003_0166But we also got our fair share of Vitamin D and hiked the Cascades, saw the Salmon run, visited McMinnville, watched Autumn get her first tooth and chomp down her first solids, and finished the month with the cutest little horse and firefighter you ever saw. Our weekends and family time took us near and far. Here’s a brief summary of our October:

  • Salmon Festival
  • Skagit Valley Festival of Farms Tour
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Games, games, and lots of games (mostly puzzles)
  • Big Four Ice Caves Hike
  • Robe Canyon Hike
  • Community Trunk ‘n Treat
  • Trip to McMinnville, Oregon to visit family
  • Neighborhood trick or treating
  • Pumpkin carving
  • Toolbox building

The fall colors were in full bloom here in Washington and down in Oregon. Our drive down to McMinnville was gorgeous along I-5. Here’s to a great November.

Big Four Ice Caves Hike (Mountain Loop Highway)

Autumn hanging out at the Big Four Ice Caves
Autumn stays warm in front of the Big Four Ice Caves.

Another gorgeous weekend in the Seattle area provided the opportunity to hit the trail. We got a mid-morning start today and headed back to the Darrington District on the Snoqualmie-Mt. Baker National Forest where we hiked the Big Four Ice Caves trail – located about 1.5 hour north of Seattle on the Mountain Loop Highway.

Despite the beautiful hike, the drive up to the trailhead is as much fun as the hike. The Mountain Loop Highway is spectacular this time of year as the deciduous trees prepare for the winter months. There are a few small towns that dot the landscape but it’s pretty much just forested land along the Stillaguamish River.

20101017_0526The weather was a little cool this morning and produced ice on the boardwalks in the lower part of the trail. Ethan loved scarping all the ice off the boardwalk planks and resting benches. He also liked to taste it which we tried to put a stop too. He is an explorer and is very comfortable on a trail. He’ll explore anything and everything along the trail which is why it took about an hour to go the one mile length of the trail, and 45 minutes back down. We answered his questions and identified flora along the way. We also gently persuaded him to keep trekking. Don’t get us wrong, we know it’s all about the journey and not the end, but there are only so many mushrooms we enjoy viewing.

Autumn yapped most of the way up before succumbing to yapping fatigue and fell asleep. We woke her up for pictures, which she kindly obliged us with, and fell back asleep. This was her first hike in our Kelty Child Carrier and she did superb. It was nice for Laura to move around a bit more and I was happy to not have to chase Ethan.

20101017_0579We actually avoided the ice caves. We stayed on the trail and viewed them from a far where our kids were safe. There are plenty of warnings to not go near them or in them because of the chance that the ice will fall. Just a few months ago an 11 year old was killed while near one. But from what we could see it was a neat formation to visit.

We’re glad for the mid-morning start because when we got back to the trailhead the parking lot was almost full. There is no doubt this is a popular hike. The trail is one mile up a gentle slope to the base of the Big Four Mountains. The trail is in great shape with the first 1/8 mile paved and the rest either a wood boardwalk or compacted crushed rock. There is/was a lot of trail work that has made this a very accessible hike.

This is definitely a hike we’d do again with friends and family. It’s an easy hike for children (Ethan did the entire hike except for stream crossing where the bridge was being repaired) and a great drive through the forest.

Salmon Days & Family Farms

We welcomed the month of October with a bang! We headed south on Saturday for the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival in beautiful Issaquah. We followed that up with the Festival of Family Farms in Skagit County on Sunday. Both days offered some of the best reasons of why we love the Seattle area.

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