Friday, November 28, 2008

Grateful, thankful us

What a privilege to have our wonderful, happy, boisterous family at our house this year - both sets of parents, Derek & Sara, Brent & the boys, my sister Shannon & my brother Ryan. The only two that were (sorely!) missing were Danny, who wasn't feeling well, and my brother Adam, who is studying like crazy for a monster test coming next month. We have more to be thankful about than we can express - as our friend Amanda says, we are thank full.

Derek rolls the winning die in an action-packed tournament of Austrian Chase....
and jumps for joy at his good fortune! And that's how we felt about being surrounded by the ones we love (and who love us back!) on such a thankful day :)

More & more thanks

Even more pictures because we love our family and must show them off :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

We visit!

One immense benefit of our Oregon road trip was the opportunity to meet with our old, sweet friend Amanda. The three of us went to high school together, and she and I were both on the dance team for a year, which means we are bonded for life by embarrasing memories of prancing around in silly outfits. We hadn't seen each other for ages & ages, and though we've been keeping up with one another through our blogs, it was such a TREAT to have real, live time together. AND we were able to meet her three charming kiddos - so fun for us! Thank you again, A! If all goes according to plan, we'll see you next year :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A whole lotta water

Did you know that Multnomah Falls is one of 77 waterfalls along the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge? Or that at 620 feet, it's the 4th highest falls in the whole country? And that the spray can soak you to the skin if you stand in one place for too long?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beautimous Oregon

We began our trek on Thursday by stopping in Vancouver, Jan Michael's childhood stomping grounds. We drove through his old neighborhood and past his house, and even over the bridge that his family stood on to watch Mt. St. Helens spew ash into the air so many years ago. The best part was a stop at Fircrest Elementary, where we were given a quick tour - everything was exactly as he remembered it, and we even learned that his 3rd grade teacher is still there! Jan has such happy memories of growing up in Vancouver, and he tells stories of that time so vividly that I feel like I was there, so this was a really lovely way to begin our little trip.

After passing through Portland, we veered off the freeway and onto the Columbia River scenic highway. I am so, so glad we had the extra time to meander our way along the gorge. You should drive it if you haven't yet - it's well worth it! One place with spectacular views is Crown Point State Park, but the pictures here don't do the actual views justice. It's so amazing to be able to see for miles & miles and to be surrounded by such color & grandeur. God's creation is a breathtaking thing, that's for sure.

Our next stop was Latourell Falls. Apparently there's a way to hike back behind the waterfall if the day is hot and you'd like to cool off, but it's a tad too chilly in the middle of November for that sort of business.

These moss-covered walls ran all along the highway, and were so NEAT. Interesting that the camera focused on it instead of us - it knew the most important part to capture!

If you're a wimpy, emotional girl, the beauty of it all is enough to make you a little teary :)

After Latourell, there are three others waterfalls - Shepherd's Dell, Bridal Veil and Wahkeena. All are beautiful, and had the day been warmer, we probably would have stopped and prowled around. But, we were just this side of freezing, and were also anxious to get to Multnomah Falls, so instead we drove slowly by, oohing and ahhing all the while.

Monday, November 17, 2008


This is the very last picture we took, but the most important, because visiting Jan's cousin & his family was the very reason for our trip south. The last time we stayed with Gary & Merrilee was 1995, I think; Tiffany and Jennifer were just tiny things, and Mikayla hadn't been born yet. (And no Molly the dog, either!) We're thankful they agreed to our invasion, and we'd like to make it an annual event - family is precious!

Gary is an avid outdoorsman who has written several books and many, many articles for magazines & newspapers. He has hunted and fished all over the world - please check out his company website at and see what he's about :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We've just returned from a really wonderful trip to Oregon, and have oodles of memories to share. For now, though, we're so tired that we can only muster enough energy to post one picture. And maybe eat a bowl of ice cream. But that's it. More coming soon!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

We live in a pit.

But not for long! The end of our latest painting adventure is in sight, at which point we will heave great sighs of relief. We owe a huge debt of gratitude (and dinner, too, once we've cleaned up this mess) to the following dearest family and friends, without whom our newly painted house would not be possible:

1. Brent & Danny, who helped clear our living room of cumbersome furniture
2. Gentry & Elaine, who have loaned us the scaffolding you see below, which has kept me from having to scamper up & down, up & down a ladder 500 times
3. Troy & Beth, who graciously delivered the scaffolding to us, and who also stopped at Home Depot on the way to pick up the lumber that is on it
4. Dave & Beth, who have loaned us the very tall ladder that is leaning against the scaffolding, which I have used to reach the many places that are so narrow only a skinny ladder will fit
5. Tonya, who has not only listened to me hem and haw about colors & complain about how long this is taking for the past 2 months, but who came last Thursday & painted along the trim in the living room and did a perfect job

Already we are able to see such a difference in how clean and bright everything looks, and we love it. Hooray for being able to have our own little house to fix and spruce up and make our own!

If anyone thinks they might like to paint a room in their house brown, we have about 10 different samples you're welcome to try. I am, as it turns out, really lousy at choosing the right color the first time (or the fifth or the ninth...)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Good-bye to Grandma

Jan Michael's Grandma Phyllis passed away on October 24th, and on Friday we gathered to celebrate her life and her faithful service to God. Just a few snapshots of our time together...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween...

from a swashbuckler

and his wench :)