Birds and the Bridge

One afternoon my mom and I took the boys and one of my mom’s friends to the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene.  It’s a neat place that rescues injured/sick birds and nurses them back to better health.  It is a small outdoor location that makes it perfect for little kids to run around and learn about different types of raptors.

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They had many types of hawks and owls,

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and my personal favorite was the Eagle.

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Jake made a friend, and they chatted their way through the center.

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It was a fun afternoon adventure!

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That evening, back at the ranch, Jake was happy to be back doing chores with grandpa and daddy.  And this year his favorite chore was picking up the horse poop.  Over the last two years, he has always “helped” grandpa pick up after the horses, but he really was just sitting in the cart dancing away to the country music on the radio and talking to grandpa.  This year, he actually wanted to do it “all by myself” which is a phrase we hear frequently these days…so consider yourself warned…if you are squeamish by the sight of horse poop, you can quickly scroll over this next batch of pictures to the second half of this post.

Jake looked forward to doing this every single day.  And anytime he saw horse poop he had to stop what he was doing and announce that we needed to pick it up.

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He did have his few trips and face plants into the piles,

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And he was mortified that I was taking pictures of him…

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Really mom?? Are you really taking pictures right now?

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Ugh!  I can’t believe it!

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Still taking pictures??!!

IMG_7311edWhatever, I’m going back to work…

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And this little guy, is still too young to be wielding his own pooper scooper…

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But he was watching closely, and taking notes.  I’m sure he will join them next year.

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All this talk of picking up horse poop makes this an appropriate spot to share this adorable photo of Dylan taking a bath in grandma’s bathtub.

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On our last day there, we had some more rain.  We had a few errands to run and shopping to do in town and we even drove 30 minutes out of our way to go back to Brewers Union for fish and chips for lunch.  And I love this picture of the boys/guys with the dark storm clouds in the background, cheering for the rain!

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And one thing that we never did and had been talking about doing since our first day there was visiting the Lowell covered bridge.  Other than walking through the bridge and reading about the history of it, there really isn’t much else to do, so the guys were not too excited about going.  But those kind of places are what make people like me, who are interested in photography, drool.  So the guys obliged and we headed over there.  I wish we had easy access to a place like this in San Diego to do photography sessions.

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As I said it had been raining off and on all day, of course right when we pulled up, the skies opened and it was POURING!  But we were there (the only ones for that matter) and we weren’t going to let some rain stop us. So we ran…all the way to the safety of the covered bridge and we were soaked!

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Once out of the downpour, we walked around and read about the history of the bridge, and looked out over the lake and watched the storm.

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Then it stopped, and the sun came out!

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Cheering for the sun!

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And we were able to have a much more leisurely walk back to the car.

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We always have so much fun visiting the “big ranch up in Oregon”!  And I love that every year we do some of the same things as well as some new things. I am looking forward to all the fun things we can do in the coming years as the boys get older!

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Around the ranch

The baby calves on the ranch were just couple months old and needed their medications and ear tags, etc…and the momma cows needed a check up as well, so we had a roundup!

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Friends and neighbors came over to help.

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Everybody had a job to do

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And this little cowboy was loving all the action

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When our other little cowboy woke up from his nap, he sat in the stroller and watched all the action while having a snack.

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Towards the end, Jake thought daddy was spending way too much time with the cows and convinced daddy to pick him up and get him closer.

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We heard a lot of MOOOOOing that day!

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Later that afternoon we got the horses out, and Dylan thought it was pretty fun.

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We ended our roundup day pretty much the same way we end every day when we are at the ranch…Playing marbles!  This is a game that has been in my family forever and I grew up playing this game all the time.  It’s fun, it’s competitive and the girls always win 🙂  After the dinner dishes are cleaned, kids bathed and in bed, the 4 of us sit at the game table and play the marble game all night long.

IMG_7220edThe next day the sun came out again and we just played/worked around the ranch.  The boys were moving tractor equipment to get it ready to cut & bale the hay, re-positioning electric fences, and Jake took over for daddy when he was taking the covers off the vents around the house.  He watched daddy do a few and then declared “I can do it ALL BY MYSELF!” and he did.  This kid likes to work his tools.

We also played…pushed toy tractors around

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Played with the giant ball

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Went for rides in the wagon

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And flew a kite

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After the kite got stuck in a really tall tree…we moved on to riding horses.

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There is always plenty to do and I love the experiences that our boys have while there.  I think I have one more post left…be back soon!

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Sunny to Rainy Days

After our very hot first day there, the next day was still warm, but much more pleasant to be outside.  So we played around the ranch.

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We sat out on the grass and played with a giant ball, and Dylan was practicing his walking skills back and forth between mom and grandma.

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We drove into town to do some shopping and for lunch at Track Town Pizza.

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We’ve always visited my parents in Oregon during the summer when it is hot, and all the grass is dead and brown.  One year we went up in the fall which was pretty since all the leaves were starting to change colors and we went to a fun pumpkin patch.  But we always hear them talk about how pretty it is during the spring when everything is blooming, the grass is green and the hay fields are thriving.  So that is why we decided to go in the springtime this year.  And obviously the reason everything is blooming and green is because there are lots of rainy days.  Being from Southern California, rainy days are so much fun!  So it made for an exciting morning when we woke up to cool temperatures and grey skies warning us of the coming thunderstorm.  After breakfast, Jake and daddy sat out on the porch watching it rain…

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They were looking for lightning and counting until the thunder hit.  The thunder was close and LOUD!

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And Jake loved it, but the dog, Jane…not so much…in fact after a particularly loud thunder which rattled the windows in the house, she bolted to the safety of her crate in the mud room.

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After the big storm passed, we had a consistent drizzle for the rest of the day, so it was a good day to visit some neighbors and friends.  First we went to Bob’s house so he could show Jake his train village he built in his basement.

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He let Jake sit in the controller’s chair and Jake loved watching the train going around and around and over the bridges and through the tunnels.

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The view of my parents ranch from Bob’s driveway

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Then we went to Vicky and Roscoe’s house to meet their miniature donkey’s

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When we got there Jake took one look at the donkey, then turned around and saw all of Roscoe’s tractors and farm equipment and said WOW!  You have a lot of cool stuff!  Clearly, he is a motorhead and has no interest in animals.  Dylan on the other hand thought they were pretty fun!

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Then the boys started exploring the tractors

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And the toys, and they have a lot of them!

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IMG_7107edThat evening the rain let up a bit so Jake was thrilled to be able to go out and do the chores.

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And of course drive his tractor around in the barn.

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These Southern California people love rainy days!

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Fish Hatchery

Three days after Dylan’s birthday we hopped on a 6:30am flight to visit Grandma and Grandpa at what Jake calls  “the BIG ranch up in Oregon”.  We really missed not taking this annual trip last year since we were still in the middle of our move/remodel/newborn baby/etc…Since we left the house so early, we pretty much scooped the boys out of bed and put them in the car, so they were cozy in their pajamas during our flight from San Diego to Seattle.  And we think that because it was so early in the morning, they were still kind of half asleep while taking in everything around them, which made for an easy flight.  Jake was so excited to be on an airplane and kept talking about the jets, and asking what every single picture and symbol meant.  So when he saw the seatbelt light and the no smoking light overhead, he asked what they were.  We explained the seatbelt light and just dismissed the no smoking light.  But anyone who has ever been around a persistent three year old knows that he wasn’t going to let us just dismiss it…instead of launching into a discussion about what smoking is, how bad it is for you, etc… Justin came up with a great idea and told him that it means no yelling or talking loudly on the airplane. Since the light is on the entire flight, Jake kept telling us that there was no yelling or talking loudly on the airplane...Hey, it worked! And the funny thing is now whenever he sees a no smoking sign anywhere (and for some reason our Target has them everywhere, I never noticed them until Jake started pointing them out), he tells me that it means no yelling or screaming! One day we will have to tell him what it really means, but for now, I’ll take no yelling or talking loudly! I just had a thought…maybe I should put no smoking signs all over the house and in the car!!

Ok, back to our trip, of course the second we landed in Seattle, Dylan promptly fell asleep. And he stayed asleep while we got off the plane and made our way through the airport to find a restaurant for breakfast.  We found the perfect spot by the windows so Jake could watch the airplanes.

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After breakfast and changing the boys out of their PJ’s, we found a quiet corner where they could run around and burn some energy before the last leg of our trip. After his little catnap, this guy was ready to go!

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It was a bit of a challenge to keep Dylan in my lap and quiet during the flights, but all in all, the boys did great. And we were so happy to see grandma and grandpa when we arrived!

The next day was pretty hot, so we decided it would be a good day to start our adventures by driving into the mountains and visiting the fish hatchery.  But first we had to stop for lunch at the local pub, Brewers Union.

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Aside from it having bad lighting inside for taking pictures, this was such a great place! Not only do they have really good fish and chips…

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But it was very kid friendly.  They had all kinds of toys for them to play with, including a kid sized pool table.

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I can remember my mom doing this same thing to me, teaching me how to shoot pool.

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When our food arrived we had to corral the monkey’s to eat.

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Jake stuck with the grilled cheese sandwich

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And this guy was being a cheeseball while eating his sweet potato fries

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With full tummies, we made our way to the fish hatchery.

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First, we got some fish food to feed some really big, over 50 year old, sturgeons.

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The boys loved seeing the fish jump out of the water to get the food

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We walked around the rows of fish, where you can see them as teeny tiny little babies and each row they were a little bigger and bigger.

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It was fun watching the little fish swimming against the current and jumping into the water pouring in the channels.

IMG_6947edThere were other things to do at the hatchery as well.  They had some small animals and birds to look at.

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And Jake and Daddy’s favorite was the miniature golf!

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Our last stop was the tiny museum.  After looking around we sat down and enjoyed the cool AC blowing while the boys chased each other and the fish around in the big tank.

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It was a great way to start off our vacation!

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