Spring Break 2017 edition

Ezra’s spring break was this past week so we decided to head out with Velvet’s family and go to Green River, UT.  We didn’t have an auspicious start to the trip; Jesse was pulled over and ticketed twice within maybe a half hour for speeding.  It was completely ridiculous in the sense that he was in no way being unsafe.  The roads were nice and dry, fairly straight stretches of land.  We get to contact the county’s municipal buildings in no less than 5 but no more than 14 days.  It’s always nice to shell out tons of money and get points on your license, right?

After that it was smooth sailing, though.  We got to the motel that evening and hit up a taco truck for dinner.  The food was really basic but pretty tasty.  It was too late for our family to swim that night but Velvet’s girls got some time in.

And around then is where it went to hell that night for us.  See, Leo had been able to crawl out of his crib at home so we had swapped him out for the mattress, but he was still sleeping in his pack ‘n play at Brenda’s and we brought that crib with us.  He really doesn’t fit in it well at all and within moments had crawled out of it and was zooming around the motel room.  We put him back to bed many times and finally we decided Jesse would sleep with Ezra and Leo would sleep with me, except LEO DID NOT WANT TO SLEEP.  I was tired from the trip and a little emotionally exhausted from the speeding tickets and I just wanted to sleep!  In the end I had to physically restrain Leo to stay in the bed and he was just screaming bloody murder.  I felt bad for the folks with rooms near us because those walls were THIN!  Eventually Leopold fell asleep and I was able to doze off as well.  I say “doze” because that’s what it was.  I kept waking up thinking Leo was going to fall off the bed (which was high off the ground) and that kid is a mover.  He was all over the place.  I had to move him around many times that night.  I was NOT refreshed the next morning.

But morning eventually came and we met with Velvet’s team at the complimentary breakfast.  Which was all carbs.  It was pretty much the cheapest form of breakfast you could offer people for free.  But whatever, we ate and then were on our way.  Except maybe three minutes into the drive Velvet signalled us to pull over because her tire light had come on.  Turned out she had a nail in her tire and so we turned back around into town to find a repair shop.  And then we had to stop back at the motel after that for some more incidentals.  But after that, we were ON OUR WAY!

We took one wrong exit but the drive was very pretty so we didn’t mind.  We finally got to Little Wildhorse Canyon and started the trek.  It was a pretty easy hike for the most part with a couple areas requiring a bit of scrambling.  Because it was pretty early in the year there were still a couple places with water pooled up where we had to get creative in getting through those areas.  Ezra freaked out because he didn’t want to fall in (it also turned out later that he thought there were snakes hiding in the water) and at one point he did fall in and get one foot wet.  He was much more scared on the return trip because he knew what to expect.  I got cocky and then slipped in the water on the return.  Good times.

It was a little over five miles round trip and I think we were all glad to get back to the cars.  Jesse had had Leo in a hiking backpack all day and while Leo had a great time being carted around, Jesse’s back probably wasn’t too pleased.

We headed over to Goblin Valley to hike around some more, but once down into the goblins my feet heaved great protest and Jesse and I headed back up while Velvet and her girls took charge of our boys and let them run around some more.

We went back to the motel for some swimming and hot tubbing which the kids loved.  The tub could have been a bit hotter but it was probably a good temp for the kids.

We went to dinner at Tamarisk (we had tried to go the night before but it was too busy) and at first they were saying they couldn’t give us a high chair for Leo because he would have to sit in an aisle and it was a fire safety code violation.  Like it was the only point of exit from the dining area.  But eventually they found a table where they swapped out an adult chair.  Seriously they made a much bigger deal about it than was necessary.  They had fantastic fry bread and my halibut fish was great.  We finished off the night with a giant cinnamon roll and headed back for more swimming.  At least, the others did.  I got back to the room with Leo and crashed.

It wasn’t as difficult with Leo the second night but it still wasn’t fun.  I was able to get him to go to sleep in his crib and Ezra decided he wanted to sleep with me that night.  I have to say, that kid is a mover as well!  He was all over the place so I had to keep moving and scootching him around.  And then he would cuddle up next to me which was adorable except I was sleeping on less than a fourth of the bed and there was ALL this wide open space on the other side of Ez.  Finally, around 4am I got up and went to sleep with Jesse.  HE knows how to sleep vertically so I was able to get another 2.5 hours of sleep pretty uninterrupted.

The drive home was uneventful.  We took a different route home and saw some new sites.  We hit some snowy areas at one point.  It was so great unpacking everything and being able to sleep in our own beds!  I could have used a few more hours of sleep but that’s a fairly normal desire these days.

And a happy new year!

Oh my, this past month has been absolutely delightful in many ways and not so much in others.  In December, I came down with a bad cold and took off about a week from work because I was so sick and tired.  I went back to work for about two days, and then it was time for my sabbatical!

Velvet took her sabbatical at the same time, so we all went to visit Mom and Jim at their new(ish) house for Christmas.  We drove down and let me tell you, I’m still not a fan of car trips.  We left at slightly different times than Velvet, so we met up with her clan that night at the same hotel.  We stayed at the Best Western and I’m not sure if it was specific to that hotel or all Best Westerns, but they had a very good breakfast spread the next morning.  None of this prepackaged bear claw crap.  Well, they did have that, too, but they also had eggs, sausage, bagels, toast, yogurt, cereal, fruit, breakfast burritos, and a waffle station.  I was impressed.

While we had a really good time at Mom’s, the sleeping accommodations left much to be desired!  (Mom, get a new mattress on that bed!)  The first night, Ezra was supposed to sleep on the floor next to our bed, but the room was too “spooky” for him to sleep on the floor, so he slept on the bed between Jesse and me.  The next night Jesse slept on the floor in the kitchen area and Ezra slept on the bed with me.  The third night Jesse and Jim pulled out the king mattress from the RV and Jesse and I slept on that while Ezra got the whole bed to himself.  To top it off, I was still fighting my cold so I was coughing all the time.

The drive home was pretty uneventful, we stayed at the same hotel on the way back.  Jesse was awesome, he drove the whole way, both ways.  We actually ended up coming home on the 24th so Velvet and the girls could spend Christmas day with Carl, who had to work over the holiday.  Jesse and I went over to his folks on Christmas day to celebrate and to pick up the dogs (Jesse’s friend had watched them and dropped them off the previous day).

We had a couple days at home to do laundry and unwind before we left for Dad and Dani’s to spend the new year.  We left around the same time as Velvet again, and we all met up to spend the night in Vegas.  Dad and Dani met us there at the casino, and some of Velvet’s friends who live in Henderson came for dinner and to hang out for awhile.  It was good seeing them.  I will say the Sunset Station casino has a very nice setup.  The have a kid place where you can drop off the kids while you gamble away their college funds.  The kid place has a large jungle gym tube system, a tv area, a section for iPads, and other stuff.  The kids all seemed like they had a good time; Ezra basically collapsed when we told him he had to leave and one of Velvet’s girls had to pick him up/drag him out the door.  I didn’t win anything but Jesse did pretty well.

The next day we headed out to Dad’s and when we got their I realized we had left our pillows at the casino, so I had to call and tell them we’d be back in a few days to pick them up.  They were pretty understanding.  I guess they have a 30-day hold policy for lost/found items.

We spent a nice couple days with Dad and Dani.  We opened Christmas gifts and went to the rec center.  Ezra loved being in the water but he wasn’t sure about the wave machine.  He actually went down the big tube slide with the girls but did NOT want to go down it again after that one time.  I went down the tube slide, too, and I think it was probably the first time in over 10 years I’d been on a water slide.  The last slide I’d ever been on ruined it for me.  It was one of those really tall slides where you basically lean back, cross ankles and arms, and it feels like when you go over the bend that you are hurtling into an abyss and you’re going to die.  And it gives you insane wedgies when you hit the water at the bottom.  But this slide at the rec center was pretty mellow and fun.

On New Years eve I truly debated going to bed about 15 mins before the ball dropped, but I kept telling myself, you’ve already made it this far!  We let Ezra stay up and that kid was bouncing off the walls, loopy sleepy.  Oh man, there was this really inappropriate moment that night, it was HILARIOUS.  And an older Ezra would never want me to tell it, but that’s the joy of being a parent, embarrassing your children.

We’ve been following a relaxed potty training schedule with Ezra.  Basically he just goes without pants and a diaper when we’re home because he’s really good about taking himself to the bathroom that way.  Well, NYE he was running about without any bottoms, like usual, being all crazy from food and sleepiness.  He turns to us and says something and I was pretty sure I misheard him so I asked him to repeat himself.  He goes, “There’s a carrot in my butt!” and turns around and we see he had clenched a baby carrot between his cheeks.  It was so unexpected and just to hear him say that, we started cracking up.  He’s laughing, and I’m laughing, and I had tears running down my face and couldn’t catch my breath for the longest time.  I went into the other room to tell Jesse about it and just broke down all over the place; it took awhile for me to relay the whole story to him, and by the end I couldn’t talk because I was crying and laughing so hard.  Good, unexpected, times.

We did eventually make it to see the ball drop and made all the appropriate shouting and noise makers.  We put down Ez to sleep a couple minutes later and despite all his protestations, he was OUT in about 5 minutes.  We all drove home the next morning, with a little side trip back to the casino to pick up our pillows.

For that trip we had boarded the dogs at Diggity Dog Resort and I think they have a pretty good setup there.  They said by the end of the trip both our dogs were playing with other dogs and not just cowering in their kennel, so that’s good.  It would be beneficial to take the dogs there probably a couple times a month to retain social growth for them.  We are fairly bad dog parents in that we don’t socialize them too well with unknown dogs.  You can see Benny enjoyed coming home.

It's a hard life being a dog

It’s a hard life being a dog


After we got home we relaxed for a couple days and then I had a prenatal appointment so Velvet and Carl watched Ez for us that morning.  It was great because they also brought over their unneeded bunk bed and set it up in Ezra’s room while we were gone.  We’d just had Ez sleeping on his crib mattress on the floor but had decided it was time to get him an actual bed and they had this bed they weren’t really using, so it all worked out.  He really likes the new bed and I think it will be long enough between now and when the baby gets moved into the crib (we use a bassinet/cosleeper for the first couple months) that there shouldn’t be any leftover possessive feelings toward the crib.

new bunk bed

new bunk bed

Jesse and I were supposed to get our hunter safety certification so we can go hunting, but the prior couple days my cold had come back stronger than ever and I had been relegated to sleeping upright on the couch so on the morning of the class I decided to skip the class and go to InstaCare to see why I couldn’t kick this cold.  I had been taking elderberry syrup, and the honey/lemon/ginger mix, and huge quantities of vitamin C but it just wasn’t getting any better.  Turns out the cold turned into bronchitis which may have turned into walking pneumonia.   While I could have waited out the next month or two for my body to resolve the illness itself, I opted to go with the antibiotic route.  Within a few days I started feeling better.  While I really think homeopathic remedies work for most situations, sometimes you just need modern medicine.  I ended up taking my hunter safety class one week later and I passed.  Maybe not with flying colors, but I passed enough to get certified and really that’s all I was looking for.

Our chickens had stopped laying near the end of last year and then we got rid of maybe six of them so there has been more food in the yard and not as much competition.  Yesterday morning we heard the egg song and when Jesse went out to check the nestboxes they were full!  Not sure if it’s the less competition, or they were done molting, or if the days being slightly lighter for longer is the reason (or maybe it’s all of the above) but we are happy to have eggs once again.

first eggs of 2015

first eggs of 2015

I bought some eggs from the store a couple weeks ago for a baking recipe but we are now homegrown egg snobs and very reticent to use store-bought eggs to just fry up or scramble and eat.  Yay for homegrown food!  Except we do need to get more chicken feed…

The baby is doing well, he’s moving quite a bit these days and Jesse was able to kind of feel him kicking the other night.  I’m 24 weeks now so the end is somewhat in sight.  I’m a little nervous about the whole birth process since I’m trying to go natural this time and really don’t want to end up with another C-section again.  *sigh*  I guess time will tell, huh?

We recently bought a kitchen island because we have this space between the two tall kitchen cupboards that wasn’t being well utilized.  We went to Ikea with one stand in mind and ended up buying a different one that fit the space much better.

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Now we have more space than I know what to do with.  Still trying to figure out what to do with the drawers but I’m sure we’ll think of something.

Catch-up post part 1 – Sweet, sweet vacation

You know how you mean to do something, but then time gets away from you and then suddenly it’s a month later and that thing you meant to do still hasn’t been done?  Yeah, that’s this blog and me.  Over the next few days/weeks, I will attempt to catch up on all the happenings around here.  Most likely I will forget to include information, but you’ll never know about it, will you? Here we go!

Ahh….That relaxing time when you don’t have to follow any set schedules.  I have just come back from about a three-week vacation, and it was delightful!  The first week I just hung out at the house, getting ready for the main vacation, the second week was the main vacation, and the final week was recouping from all the vacationing.  Having all that time off made it very difficult to get back to the real world of working.

Our main vacation was with Dad’s side of the family, up a mountainside in Blanding, UT.  There were about 20+ of us there for the week.  It was kind of a job in and of itself in order to get to the lodge, but it was well worth it.  The lodge was situated next to its own pond, and there were trees all around us.

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Deer around the lodge were either very stupid or totally used to people being around because you could get fairly close to them, speaking in a loud voice and they would just stand there and look at you before they resumed eating.

Some of us vacationers even heard a bear rumbling in the distance on a couple different occasions.  Bears freak me out, FYI.  They are one of the main reasons I don’t like to go camping.  I have this fear that a bear will come into the campsite and just ravage everything and kill everyone.  A few years back I was camping and I went out to use the *ahem* facilities and totally froze in fear at what I thought was a mama bear and two cubs coming toward me in the distance.  I finished up right quick and dove back into the tent (because bears cannot penetrate nylon, right?) and spent the rest of the night quaking in fear.  In the morning hours I was relieved to find out that the scary bear trio was in reality three bushes.  Stupid night vision.

Anyway, I’m glad I did not see any bears.

Some folks did some fishing, but as it was strictly catch and release, there was not too much fun to be had in that.  The kids loved the paddle boats and swimming was a good time until it was discovered there were leeches in the pond.  That curbed me of my desire to go back in, but the kids still went swimming some more.

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A few of us decided to go to Four Corners Monument.  That’s the exact point where four states all touch.  In all honesty, I was pretty disappointed.  First, you had to pay $5 for each person in the car.  You heard me, $5 PER PERSON.  I can see $5 per car, but per person?!  You park in a dusty parking area, the sun is beating down on you, and you walk to the site.  Surrounding the area are four lines of open-air buildings where the Navajo people have set up items and food for sale.  You have to wait in line to see the monument, which is a seal on the ground.  We probably only waited maybe a half-hour , but under the blazing sun it sure felt longer.  Poor Ezra was sitting on the ground making sure he was sitting in my shadow to try and get cooler.  We finally made it to the seal and took some photos, and then I was ready to get back in the car.  It was frickin’ hot outside!  I guess I’m glad I made the trek there, but it’s definitely not something I want to do again.  If I remember correctly, it was the 4th of July, so maybe it’s not usually that busy.  Don’t go there on holidays.

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We were lucky that our area didn’t have any fire warnings, so we were able to shoot off fireworks on July 4th.  Once we got back to the lodge and it became dusk, we started with the sparklers.  The kids all loved the sparklers, and Ezra was entranced.  The California crew brought some neat large fireworks that we ooh’d and ahh’d over.

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Ezra had so much fun playing with his cousins, and his cousins were all amazing with him.  They took charge of him, and played games with him, included him in a lot of there shenanigans, it was great!  Seriously some fantastic kids, I’m glad I’m related to them.

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It was a sad day for all when it came time to pack up and leave, but hopefully we will be able to see everyone again next year for the annual gathering.

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We have baby bunnies! And, oh, Thanksgiving happened, too.

This year, we decided to spend Thanksgiving in Vegas with Jesse’s family, and then move on to my Dad’s for the next couple days before coming home.  We were able to get Jesse’s awesome niece to come and watch over the animals, especially the rabbits.  Why especially, you ask?  Because our maybe-pregnant doe was set to give birth while we were away.  Also, one of the bucks goes through water like he’s never going to drink it again and we don’t have an auto top-off system for where they are currently housed.

The drive to Vegas was fairly uneventful.  We caravanned with my sister for a ways and then lost track of her but met back up at the casino later on.  We decided to go to the buffet for dinner, and some of Velvet’s friends from town joined us.  The company was great, the buffet…not so much.  Seriously, there is a lack of great buffets it seems.

We decided to play bingo later on because we wanted to win the big bucks.  We left all the kids together like a mini slumber party and went down to play.  None of us won anything, but it was still fun.  We played the slots awhile after that and after I was down $30 decided I’d had enough.  We collected the kiddo and conked out for the night.

The next day we had a few hours to kill because we didn’t have our reservation until 1pm.  The restaurant was actually a Mexican food place but every dining place there allowed the patrons a choice of a turkey dinner.  I’m not too sure which of the restaurants actually cooked the turkey dinner, but I know they served it at all locations.  Anyway, the funny thing is that not one of us ordered the Thanksgiving turkey dinner!  Everyone ordered something Mexican, and it was quite tasty.

After lunch we all said our goodbyes and headed out to Dad’s house in Lake Havasu.  It’s not a far drive from Vegas so we made pretty good time.  There was a small roadside stand with raw honey for sale, and you all know how I love to A) support local industry and farmer’s markets and B) buy raw honey from different locations, so we purchased a small jar of honey.

At the house, we decided that we would celebrate Thanksgiving the next day, so we just snacked it up and hung out, then went to bed.

Friday morning was a leisurely affair.

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Friday afternoon was beautiful and the girls and Ezra swam a few times.

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Lunch was supposed to happen around 1pm but ended up being closer to 4pm.  It was delicious!  Dad learned how to brine a turkey this year, and I swear by brining.

Ready to be cooked

Ready to be cooked

delicious end result

delicious end result

I’m looking forward to when all the turkeys are reduced in price so we can snap up a couple and freeze them for later.

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Saturday comes and I get a call from Jesse’s niece that our rabbit had pulled a bunch of fur.  She was going to have babies, and soon!  Finally I thought to ask if she had lifted the fur to see if there were already babies underneath.  Revelation!  There were kits in there!  She wasn’t sure how many there were, maybe 4-6, and they were squirmy and squeaky and they jumped around a lot.

I knew that would happen!  When we went on vacation this summer, our chickens began laying eggs while we were gone, and this same niece was the one who found the first eggs!  She is good luck when it comes to the reproduction of our animal stock:)

Of course, on Sunday I was very eager to get home so I could see the new arrivals for myself and figure out how many we had.  The trip back home seemed much longer than the one to Vegas.  To start out, there was an accident on the I15 and they shut down both lanes for about 45 minutes.  Jesse’s folks and brother were able to take a different route and bypassed all the backed-up cars, but we decided to just ride it out.  We met up with Velvet and kids for lunch, and then lost track of them after that.  We finally made it home around 9pm and I checked on the kits.  It looked like there were eight of them, four light and four dark.  They looked only somewhat thin, but I was freaking out about it.  I checked the next morning and they did not have full bellies, so I decided to bring mama and babies in.  We put mama on her back and placed the kits on her teats.  Rabbits kind of go into a trance when they’re on their backs.  She did really well, all things considered, but it didn’t seem like any milk was being expressed.

Checked the buns this morning and during my routine saw mama had jumped in the box with the babies.  She was in there for several minutes before she got out again, and I saw that many of the kits had round bellies.  I bought kitten milk replacement just in case and tried it just now but the kits didn’t seem overly interested in eating, just snoozing, so I figure she must be taking care of them.  We took each one out and took photos today and I saw this darkish shape pressed against the side and at first I thought it was a stick but quickly realized it was a dead kit.  And really, why would there have been a stick in there?  Seems to have been dead for quite some time, so my original kit count was off by one; she had nine, not eight.  But now she has just the eight.  All in all I think my fears were unfounded and she seems to be doing well for a first-time mother.  As an aside, handling the dead kit was totally disgusting.  I will spare you the photo we took of it.

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Yesterday while I was messing around with the hutches I decided to try breeding the blue rex doe with the chocolate rex buck again.  I put her in there and BAM!  Bred.  I saw about four fall offs and I left her in there with him while I was out and about so I’m sure he got her more than just the times I saw.  She appeared pretty prosaic about it.  Looking at my calendar, that puts her due date around January 2nd, and a rebreeding scheduled for the first doe around January 14th.  I put the other white doe in with the Cali buck yesterday, and she still wasn’t having any of it.  Jesse has a couple weeks off soon for winter break, so we will probably butcher her then.  In the meantime, I’ve put apple cider vinegar in all the water bottles because it’s supposed to boost health as well as increase libidos.  So, if she will breed in the next week or so, she will get a stay of execution.  And really, I’d rather she did breed because she has great body conformation, she’s like a meat brick.

Oregon vacation and then some

We recently went on our annual trip to the Oregon coast to visit family.  There is a resort in Florence called Mercer Lake Resort that our family has been attending since 1951.  There are a number of cabins, fairly shabby, that we stay in.  The resort has a swimming area, benches on the dock for fishing, and boating, and…  It’s a nice little establishment, but we’ve been talking the past couple years about trying out some difference locations.  My grandma recently passed, and she was the last of the old guard.  A lot of us kids have grown up to have kids of our own, and vacation time is precious.  (Also, my husband thinks it’s weird to go to the same place year after year and would like to try out new places).  So, we think this was probably the last year we would attend, and I’m so happy that so many family members showed up!

When we started our trip, our Cali rabbit had recently succumbed to the heat, and we were a bit worried about the other rabbits.  We were getting temps of 105 degrees, so Jesse put in a mister and a fan, and placed a tarp over the rabbit hutch.  We were also able to set up automatically watering for the yard and the animals, which we were happy about because we knew it’d make things easier on Jesse’s niece when she came over every couple days to check on the place.  Of course, the county had been working on the water lines for a week or two before we left, and the water pressure switching back and forth ended up popping the head off the mister, so when our niece came over, the rabbit poo pans were flooded and the food had been soaked.  Good times.

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

Our first destination on our vacation was to Moses Lake, WA to visit my mom.  She and her husband had recently purchased a house and she wanted to show it off to us.  I think we made pretty good time, about 9-10 hours straight through.  Ezra did great, only getting fussy near the end when he should have been sleeping.  He wanted to hold my hand the last half-hour or so, which I found pretty adorable.

We didn’t do anything special for the 4th of July.  In fact, I went to bed pretty early that night.  While I do like fireworks, if you’ve seen a show once, you’ve seen them all.  We went to visit mom’s workplace and then went swimming later on that day.  We were able to spend a couple days with her which I loved and I know she loved getting to spend time with Ezra.  He grows so quickly!

Along the drive we started stopping off at farmer’s markets and the like to get fresh berries and to try out some raw honey.  I wanted to get a lot of variety of honey and then compare them all.  One of the places we stopped was a blueberry farm, Pan-American Berry Growers in Mossyrock, WA, had the best blueberries!  Incidentally, they ended up being my favorite raw honey as well.

PanAmerican Berry Growers

PanAmerican Berry Growers

Letting Ezra air out before getting back in the care

Letting Ezra air out before getting back in the care

PanAmerican Berry Growers

PanAmerican Berry Growers

We then moseyed around to Tillamook and stayed at the Mar Clair Inn. It was very basic accommodations for us; we didn’t really need the pool/hot tub amenities, and the continental breakfast the next morning left something to be desired.  But, it was clean, had a hot shower, and a fairly comfortable bed.  The thing the really made the Mar Clair Inn stand out to me was their relationship with the Pacific Restaurant, right next door.  It was a wee bit of a restaurant, with not many booths available, but the food was great!  And if you mentioned you were staying at the Mar Clair, you got free dessert.  Now, Jesse and I went back and forth about what to get, but finally decided on the turtle cheesecake.  I figured this would be some piddly cheesecake slice, one of the pre-fab things with the (minimal) caramel and nuts swirled in.  Oh, how wrong I was.  This cheesecake was a thing of beauty.  I am sad to this day that I didn’t take a photo of it, but honestly the thought didn’t even cross my mind at the time, because all I was thinking was, “Holy cheesecake!”

This cheesecake deserves its own paragraph.  The crust was this great graham cookie base, nice crunch and a good amount of sweetness.  Then came the cheesecake, oh the cheesecake!  Several inches tall, quite wide, creamy sweet goodness.  Thick (real!) caramel was drizzled over the top and oozed down the sides.  Simple, sugar flake crunchy crystals, and whole pecans topped off this wonder.  *sigh*  I would go back for a slice of that cheesecake.  Oh, and the dinner food was well worth the price as well.  But still.  The cheesecake!

We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory and that was pretty neat.  The last time we were there the factory wasn’t really doing all that much, and this time there was a bit of movement and workers down on the floor.  The cheese curds were fabulous and the ice cream was great, too.

Aww, milk.

Aww, milk.

We continued down the Highway 101 on the coast line.  It was a sunny day with just a couple clouds in the sky.  We stopped at a beach and let Ezra run around for awhile, but decided to move on fairly quickly.

Ezra's first time on the beach - Oregon coast

Ezra’s first time on the beach – Oregon coast

We showed up at Mercer Lake and within a half hour other family started to arrive.  I think at one point we had 31 people there, maybe more.  Lots of cousins for Ezra to play with, and I was thankful to be able to spend time with much of my extended family.

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Bubble-blowing fun was had by all

Bubble-blowing fun was had by all

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He was almost this dirty the entire time

He was almost this dirty the entire time

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It's an Ezra rocket!

It’s an Ezra rocket!

Our family

Our family

Playing peekaboo - He was able to get his entire body in this cupboard.

Playing peekaboo – He was able to get his entire body in this cupboard.

We spent a week at the lake and left on a Sunday.  We decided to make the trip in one day again, which was about 14 hours.  I am here to tell you, those extra couple hours make that trip LAST FOREVER!  I was never so happy to be home as when we pulled into the drive in the wee morning hours.

We put Ezra down for bed, and we walked the backyard which was like a jungle compared to when we left it.  The lettuce was huge and uneatable, the weeds were taller than my head, the squash was roaming all over the place.  One of our chickens had started laying while we were gone, and she’s been giving us one egg a day ever since.  I’m excited for the others to begin as well.

It’s so different harvesting your own food, as compared to what you get at a market.  At a market, I’m looking to make sure there are not bruises or bug holes, nothing like that.  We harvested our peaches when we got back, and several of them had bug holes in them.  Completely grossed me out at first and I wanted to give all those to the chickens, but then realized that would only leave us maybe 3 peaches.  I’m having to come to terms that not all produce will be perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s inedible.  For example, I can cut out bruises and worm holes and be left with a great piece of produce!  Kind of a difficult realization for me.  And yes, we did give the chickens some peaches.

First peach harvest, ever.

First peach harvest, ever.

We’ve also just started letting the chickens out during the day.  We first clipped their wings so they couldn’t achieve flight (they were none too pleased with that process) and I was paranoid that first night so we herded them back into the coop house, but every night after that we just wait until dark and so far they have all come back to roost, so that’s one thing less to worry about.

Our cats don’t seem to want to eat them, so that’s good.  Joline rushed them and right when got up to them she put on the breaks and wheeled around the group.  It was pretty funny.  Those chickens, though, have gotten bold, and have dug out all my lovely purple tiny flowers in the flower bed.  The soil is much more loose that our hard-packed backyard earth, and it looks like they ate the heads off the flowers, and then scratched around until the remains were laying in a wilted heap on our brick walkway.  Thanks, ladies.

A friend noticed the heart shape on the ground - makes sense, Ezra loves our kitties.

A friend noticed the heart shape on the ground – makes sense, Ezra loves our kitties.