Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Successful Ward Campout

Before this summer, Ryan and I had been on two ward campouts. Our first was with our BYU married student ward. It was up in the mountains southwest of Provo and it was great. Our next ward campout was a few years later back here in Seattle. Hannah was just a few months old then. We packed her in our little Civic and headed over the mountains to the Church ranch. At about 2:00 AM the next morning, we packed her and our stuff back in the Civic and headed back over the mountains to home. It was not a fun camping trip. Lots of crying... not much sleeping... you get the idea.

It's taken us seven years to get the desire to go on another ward campout.

And so... with our ward campout just a few days away and our tent still packed in the box we brought it home from the store in ... six YEARS ago.... I thought I'd better make sure I knew how to set up the tent before we got out in the wild and realized we were missing a pole or a stake or something.

We set the tent up in the backyard. Miriam screamed when Hannah and I went in it for the first time. I think she thought we were being eaten by it or something. Poor girl.

Hannah, Emma, and Ryan slept out in the tent one night just for fun. Hannah's summer-long dream was to tell ghost stories and sleep out in the tent.
Good-night everybody!
The girls got cold at about 6:00 AM and came in the house to get a bit more sleep. A minorly sleep-deprived Ryan went to work.

The rest of the day involved playing in the tent... without Miriam. She still screamed when brought near it.

Here she's trying to get her shoes on to go outside. Not to play in the tent, but to stand at her water table and yell at the girls in the tent.
That Friday, with our tent ready, we went over the mountains to the Church ranch. After setting up camp, Ryan made Mac and Cheese with hot dogs on the camp stove. It was a bummer that we couldn't cook over a fire, but there's a burn ban right now so no fires. Positive side of that: you don't come home with all of your clothing reeking of smoke.

We enjoyed our fancy dinner outside our tent. The girls look like they were cold, but the weather was mild. I think Hannah just missed wearing her coat during the summer. Seriously, even when she got hot and took the coat off, she ran around with the hood on her head. Whateva.
For Miriam, camping was the best of times...

...and the worst of times. Note to file: do not schedule doctor visits and immunizations the day before big events like ward campouts.
Here's a preview of Young Women's Camp 2018:

After dinner, we walked through the campground where I went to Girl's Camp (as it was called) back in the day. For those that are familiar with the area, this is where the ampitheater was located. During last winter's crazy weather, the river got huge and washed the entire ampitheater away. It was amazing and kind of sad. Later on, someone told me that the ampitheather was rebuilt in another location. I felt much better.
The girls loved our campout and ran wild with packs of kids from the ward. At one point Ryan and I wondered where they'd wandered off to. Ryan found them sitting in the back of a handcart that some of the older kids were pushing. Ryan took a couple of pictures, told them to keep their hands inside the handcart, and sent them on their way.
If our camera hadn't run out of batteries we'd also have pictures of Emma going down the enormous slip and slide and Ryan and the girls canoeing on the lake. The girls said canoeing was their favorite part of the campout.
We all had a great time and can't wait for next year's campout.

Oregon Vacation: Girl's Golf

Last Oregon vacation post, I promise.

Ryan golfed once on our vacation and my Dad golfed a few times. All day long we'd watch golfers going down the 11th fairway behind our condo. All this golf activity necessitated the girls having their own golf lesson one afternoon.

Here Ryan is demonstrating the importance of meditating before you swing.

Not surprisingly, Emma was a bit of a wild golfer. We tried to teacher her proper golf etiquette and told her about saying "fore" if a ball was headed in Hannah's direction. Eventually, Emma just yelled "fore" before hitting the ball. It was a safe bet.

The girls really liked hitting the ball around. It was more of a hit than I thought it would be, so we'll definitely take the girls out again sometime. I will now be searching the thrift stores for super short golf clubs.
The practice green we were on had a sand trap which the girls were interested in. Because it was a practice area, the sand wasn't nicely raked like all of the other bunkers. Emma grabbed the rake and tried to smooth the sand. Apparently, that got boring after about two strokes.

Miriam wanted to be part of the action and didn't even get upset about the sand in her sandals.

A beach in the middle of the desert.

Golf courses make for nice, colorful pictures, no?

Some people are bothered by unraked bunkers and cannot be truly happy until they are made neat and tidy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oregon Vacation: Children's Museum

Mattson Family Endorsement: The Working Wonders Children's Museum in Bend, Oregon rocks. No offense to the nice people who run the Seattle Children's Museum, but the one in itty bitty Bend is way better. Not gonna lie. Now, the museum in Rochester, New York is probably the best in the country, but for the West Coast, we'll take Bend.

The lady who ran the Bend museum, however, may have been running a children's museum for a few too many years. When she found out we were from Seattle she told us that in two weeks she was going to be going on vacation. She would sail out of Coleman Dock in Seattle and vacation for two weeks in Port Townsend with a bunch of high school friends. She could hardly wait, she told us, with a look in her eye that made me worry she might try to stow away in our stroller. "Take me to Seattle! I can't take it anymore! If I have to clean out one more kid-sized grocery cart I may implode!"

Moving on.

Here's Hannah the Asian Princess and Emma the Parrot. Miriam is a very disgruntled Fire...person.
And now she's a monkey. Poor kid. She's just too fun to dress up!
And this picture was just too cute to pass up. Not taken at the Children's Museum, but Blogger and I don't agree on proper picture placement, so here it is. Please note: Emma's pushing the scooter with one of my Dad's golf clubs. We're all about safety around here.

Shout out to Uncle Dave. This looks like the latest in ultrasound technology, right? This was in the vetrinary clinic in the museum. Note the girls are wearing stethoscopes and scrubs.

Emma kayaking through the outdoor portion of the museum. Life jackets on - so we can be safe! (Name that cartoon character!)

Some South of the Border costumes.
The girls "painting" in the construction/building area.

Hannah's weather predictions... or forecasts. You be the judge. Emma was running the TV camera so that we could see Hannah on the TV screen. You know they loved that.

The grocery store - a necessary part of any kid's museum. I tried taking Miriam into here, but she just kept shoving all the make-believe food into her mouth. Hmmm... maybe should have given her more lunch that day.

Miriam, working the line in the pizza shop.

Emma's pizza, ready to go in the oven.

Is anyone else reminded of the Sweedish Chefs from the Muppets?
"Hello, Hannah's Pizza Palace where the prices are low thanks to cheap child labor. Hey shorty! Yeah, you Miriam, hurry up with the pepporoni!"

Oregon Vacation: Swimming

Swimming is the girl's favorite part of vacation. Isn't it that way for most kids? When I was little and we'd go on family road trips, I remember my sisters and I begging my parents to let us stay at Motel 6 each night. Holiday Inn? Nope. Hilton? No way. Mariott? No thanks. Why? Because we knew that Motel 6 would have a swimming pool and we'd be able to swim before going to bed. Motel 6 never failed to have everything we wanted in a vacation: swimming. Fancy rooms and continental breakfasts were unimportant.

As with me and my sisters, my girls vacation to swim. Between trips to the pools, we did do a few other things. We visited the park one day.

And then we went to the pool.

Miriam, though petrified of our backyard wading pool, grudingly decided that floating in her "boat" in a semi-warm pool on a 88 degree day wasn't a bad deal.

Hannah favored the noodle float and bobbed around happily.
Emma was beyond thrilled that she could touch the bottom of the pool. She liked dancing in the water and riding around on Grandpa's back.
Here's Ryan's legs. The girls thought his underwater handstand was amazing.

Miriam's favorite pool was the baby pool. She could hold onto the side and move around on her own. She was moving so much that this was the best picture I could get of her.
More vacation pictures to come!

Oregon Vacation: The Deer Whisperer

For some reason, Miriam loved the couch on vacation. The kind of love that causes one to cry when taken from it kind of love. Her favorite thing to do on the couch was to look at books. Here she's reading Lion is Down in the Dumps - a Sweet Pickles book. I have vivid memories of reading Sweet Pickles books in my second grade classroom. I loved those books. Now that I've read all of them about 200 times to my kids, I don't love them quite so much. But they still love them and that makes me happy.

It's become a tradition that, when we're at Eagle Crest, the girls create a pretend grocery store on the back deck. They do this almost every day: buying things from each other, having the adults come buy things from them, arranging their products by size and color (Hannah - that's my girl!), and allowing Miriam to tote around a box or two.

Emma posing next to her grocery store. We had family pictures taken a few weeks ago and ever since then she's been really into posing.

Notice the deer in the grass behind Emma and Hannah? We saw soooo many deer on vacation. At least 3 deer per day, sometimes a lot more. Ryan and my Dad golfed on the course behind our condo and saw about 5 deer along the course. One particular evening, we weren't the only ones to spot the deer.

This other guy, who Ryan dubbed "The Deer Whisperer," saw the deer and decided to come out and feed it. From his hand. Though the deer liked the carrots he was getting, he didn't like the Whisperer. The deer was obviously nervous as the Whisperer tried to pet him, but apparently the carrots were too good to pass up.

Oregon Vacation: Driving and Arriving

My parents invited us to spend a week with them in Central Oregon. It's about a six hour drive from our house to the condo just outside of Redmond, Oregon. With our portable DVD player loaded, we set off over the mountains.

Emma was, by this point, already tired of her this car trip. Miriam and Hannah were still hanging in there.

As we got close to the Columbia River we noticed lots of these wind power-generating things. Windmills? Anyone know their proper name? Whatever their name, they were very cool. They must be fairly new because we didn't remember seeing them two years ago when we last drove this highway. They looked quite space age - especially because there were so many of them. Like hundreds in both Washington and Oregon.

Descending to the bridge over the Columbia River with Oregon to the left and Washington to the right.

Anyone else know the words to the Columbia River song?

Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on Columbia, roll on
Other great rivers give power to you
The Yakima, Snake, and the Klikitat too
That's all I can recall. Hmmm... maybe Google can help me....
Yes! My friend Wiki (via Google) is always there for me. Here's the complete lyrics:
I was close. Sort of. Thank you for humoring me.
Moving on.
As we continued into Oregon, the girls watched High School Musical 2 while Miriam cried. She stoped only for fruit snacks. We went through an entire box of fruit snacks on that drive. No, Miriam didn't eat them all, but more than I'd ever confess to my pediatrician.
Eventually we reached our destination: Eagle Crest! Here's the girls in their room. I thought I'd take a picture 'cause I knew the beds wouldn't look that neat for the rest of our stay.
Stay tuned for: swimming! the deer whisperer! girls in sand traps! pretend grocery stores! Sisters the city! Ryan doing a hand stand!