Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Today we broke camp with packed lunches and double water bottles and hit the Oyster Dome trail on Blanchard Mountain.
We climbed about 2000' in 2.5 miles.
The views from the top are breathtaking (especially if you get too close to the edge of the cliffs!).
We had a slight detour (some say wrong turn) instigated by our "engine" (the hikers at the front).
They had studied the map, were wearing compasses, and knew that we were .3 mile from the final turn off.
But in their raging excitement to reach Oyster Dome, they missed a junction and headed southeast when they should turned north and hiked the last .2 mile to the viewpoint.
Amazingly, we came across some friends from church who mentioned the boys being on their way to Lily Lake... at which point we knew they had gone past the (hard to see) trail junction to Oyster Dome. Thank you, Lord, for sending those people at just the right time!

I left my pack with the other members of our "caboose" and ran almost .7 mile screaming 'JOE' (easiest name to scream the loudest).
The wayward hikers reached the Lily Lake sign at about the same time that they finally heard my shrieking and doubled back in quick time.
We had a briefing, and discussed the ways the situation could have been avoided (more frequent "wait" stops for the caboose to catch up, even when they're almost there and very excited).
The rest of the hike was fairly uneventful, save a few scraped knees and a bit of rushing to get to the cars in time to get to the Scout meeting (with dinner waiting ~ Thanks to Renee!) in time.

The day was fabulous and it will be even better after I have my shower!
What a great group of kids~

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hope visits
Our sweet Goddaughter and neighbor hope came for a visit today.
She memorized a few books and helped load the dishwasher...
Actually, she reminded us of the many treasures of new life!
Off to go camping with Joseph's patrol. Bye for now.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Picking Days
Time to start hunting and gathering berries to fill our freezer.
The local strawberries are in, and the raspberry (early varieties) are just coming on.
We picked both with our cousins who visited on Thursday. The net take was about $21 that day, and we picked another $24 the next day. Hopefully we can get back to the fields before the strawberries are gone, but personally I much prefer picking raspberries (not back-breaking!).
This summer tradition brings out the fruit-flies for sure! We can hardly get them processed/put up before a world of little annoying bugs appear out of nowhere! But it's worth the extra (unwelcome) inhabitants to have a good supply of the delicious fruit on supply year-round.
Been picking yet?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Try to guess....
Which family member was not very excited for the family photo~
It's not going to be easy...
But if you put your mind to it, you should be able to make a guess!
We had to have our family photo taken for a new parish directory (a new one about every 5 years).
While we were color coordinated, I had a friend of Zac's snap a few shot of the family outside before Tim had to get back to work.
Let's just say some of us were more "in the mood" than others!
But I won't give away the answer!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

What do we love about our city's all comers track meets? Everything!
We've been coming out on most Monday summer nights for 9 years or so. Peter "ran" track before he could even run!

Now the track meets are like old-home week, with the friends & families we see making the event much more than just a sports event.
Tonight was our first track meet of the '09 season.
A few surprises tonight: Peter's 800 time was better than Joseph's by about 4 seconds... a first! Although we emphasize sportsmanship and running against your own best time, the boys know who's doing what, and they do have a competitive streak (coming from who knows which side of the family!). There was a track meet a few years back when Zachary made a PR in the 800, while Joseph's 800 time that night was several seconds faster.

Both boys handled Peter's "win" in the 800 very well, and went on participating in the other track & field events. A favorite is the 'jogger's mile' in which the runners attempt to run the exact time they predict (on paper) before the race. The times are called out at the 400, but afterward there are no times (and no watches) allowed.
Tonight BOTH Joseph and Peter "won" the jogger's mile by predicting their times within the allotted 3 seconds. Joseph was within 2 seconds, and Peter HIT his mark!

They were awarded this year's jogger's mile T-shirt and will wear them proudly to be sure.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saturday night at camp... DUTCH OVEN COBBLER time~

I think we made at least 6 Dutch oven cobblers over the weekend, maybe more... the cake mix was on sale for 89c box, so the cost was relatively low. Canned raspberry pie filling for the chocolate cobbler was worth the extra $.

All the Webelos and siblings were interested in taking part in the dumping & stirring (& licking) in preparation for the cooking of the cobblers.

Thomas O. shows the new patrol how to do a proper "I'm a star" for future reference. Look at the form!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saturday's main event:

3 mile hike up to Little 8 Mile Lake

and 1/2 mile more up to Big 8 Mile Lake
Crossing the creek on the fallen tree bridge is sure to be remembered as a highlight of this hike by our adventurous crew. Seen here, Peter and Enoch take it nice & easy coming across as the others behind them prepare for their crossings. (We found out later that a more cautious group ahead of us crossed on hands & knees.)

Lunch at the shore of Little 8 Mile Lake began with a safety talk about why we would not be swimming.

Having fun at the lake, while not allowed to swim (safe Scouting) meant negotiating a fallen tree or two. Following Riley's lead, see Joseph and Judah taking cautious steps along the log in a test of balance prowess. Shortly thereafter, a few of our guys waded up to their knees (or maybe it was their thighs?) and took a quick plunge at the shore line (this activity was only for those not wearing cotton). The water was so frigid that anything more than a quick step in & out was pretty well impossible.

After lunch at the little lake, about half the hikers continued up half a mile to the upper lake, which provided vistas well worth the extra effort required.

Coming down the trail, we stopped frequently. Besides the fading energy levels we also had a few "hot spots" on our feet to be treated with good old duct tape. (See Tim offering a patch to Enoch to help prevent blisters.)

Our last big adventure on the trail was finding the giant garter snake who had just eaten his lunch.

Unfortunately, being held upside-down for the viewing pleasure of our Scouts meant that gravity got the best of his nibbles, which... well, you get the point! (I spare you the photographic evidence of his lost lunch.)

A few drops of rain began to fall just as we reached the trail head and made way to the vehicles. Great timing, wouldn't you say?

Stiched Up and Ready to Go {Camping}

Completing a mandatory pre-departure medical visit for stitches, we hastily finished packing and headed out.  It was slightly odd leaving without Zachary, who opted to stay home from the camping trip in order to attend the annual ordination Mass at St. James Cathedral in Seattle Saturday (5 new priests!).

With an extra seat in the van for our drive to Leavenworth, we invited Ezra to join us for the extra camping day/night as his family would arrive Friday.  We went a day earlier than the rest of the troop to secure extra campsites for the overflow campers from our Webelos den.

Leaving a bit later than we had hoped, but happy to be on the road, we encountered a 5 mile back up on Hwy 2 which had been closed due to a serious traffic accident. It felt like a line up for a summer ride on a state ferry, with the stopped travellers hanging out on the side of the road making the most of the long wait times. Our guys passed the time tossing footballs and it wasn't too long before the creep began and we were slowly let through the accident zone (which was completely cleared by that time).

We arrived at camp just in time for dinner and a campfire. Luckily, Ezra had packed a headlamp AND a flashlight (we all forgot to pack flashlights), so he loaned the flashlight to us so there would be a light source in each tent. In the morning Joseph and Ezra visited the troop's group site and marked out the creek-side campsite for their patrol, the Burning Bullfrogs.

Our Friday at camp was spent waiting for the rest of the troop (and pack) to arrive. With a quick trip to Leavenworth for ice and charcoal (and cold treats thanks to Tim!) we were able to make a cell phone call to Zachary who sent our headlamps (and a few other forgotten items) with a family who departed Friday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bloody post, be warned!

Before we go camping...
We go get 3 stitches.

Joseph was "packing" for a big camping trip last weekend when he came crashing down on the post of Zac's bed. How could that happen you may be wondering.... Well~

Shooting Zac with a nerf gun (while packing?), Joseph invaded Zac's space, and pushed his luck just a little too far.
Zac (known for being a gentle big brother, but also known as the "head banger" at church for keeping altar boys in line) had apparently suffered enough brotherly chaos and shoved Joseph, unintentionally head-first into the bedpost.
That's when I got the call on my cell phone, while in line to pay for groceries (for camping desserts) at Fred's. I decided to go ahead and complete the transaction, and let Zachary take first crack at first aid efforts.
As soon as I saw the wound, I knew there would be professional assistance needed. Off we went to the doctor's office for 3 stitches.
Not the best way to prepare for a big camp-out, but then again, who really likes packing anyway?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Webelos here
we come (again)!
Last night Peter crossed over into the Webelos program. He could not have been happier to be in a brown uniform (finally!).
His new Webelos den will be going camping together this weekend in central Washington, as guests of Zac & Joseph's Boy Scout troop.
Peter can't wait to pitch his tent, tie his knots, start a fire (safely), lead a skit, and go for a 3+ mile hike. All fun enough... but even more exciting when they count toward his Outdoorsman badge.

He's quite an outdoorsman already, the result of being a tag-a-long on so many Scouting adventures geared for his older brothers over the years. Now it's finally his turn to be the official fire starter and take a turn on the camp stove.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Highland Games

Our troop coordinated the parking at the local Highland Games event this weekend, waving flags, directing cars and collecting the money.

Joseph asked to wear his kilt for the big event, and Peter and I decided to join him.

Yes, Joseph was teased by one of his friends who called him a ballerina. (Interestingly enough, this friend's hair is longer than mine!) But Joseph wore his kilt well, and endured the teasing in a good natured way.

A highlight of the day was taking a break from the parking detail to visit the Scottish clan booths inside the gate, where the boys were excited to find our family "MacIntyre" represented.

Of course, seeing the chain mail and models of ancient warriors' weaponry topped the list of cool things to see, too.

The ongoing bagpiping and drumming gave us the feeling that we were transported far away to another time and place...

Just another great Scouting adventure, right in our own backyard!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dog days of.... Spring!
Who would believe it's still spring in Washington? With a few weeks straight of gorgeous weather...
Charlie got to go for a swim in the lake tonight. And who else do we know swimming in the lake these days?
Peter, Joseph and Collin!
First swim in the lake this year. It wasn't too cold, either. (But I didn't go swimming.)
Zac would have liked to swim too, but he was busy celebrating a friend's 16th b-day.
Happy 16's to both Taylor and Ryan this week. Wow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hiking we will go...

How amazing to have such beautiful spring weather to enjoy hiking!

Our big hike last week took us climbing up to a ridge line a few miles from our house, from which we could see the San Juan islands, the city and even into Canada.

Spectacular views.... but my favorite views were the boys (and the dog) enjoying each others' company and working together to reach our goals.

At the end of our hike (at Collin's house) we were treated to blended strawberry lemonade (thanks, Nikki!). The boys worked together on their menu plans for an upcoming Scout camp-out.

Where will your next hike take you??