One Monster after Another

Griffin’s first play:

Link to the movie: One Monster after another

Check out the costume that Kelle made and Denyce helped decorated.

Griffin the comedian

For a while now, Griffin has been reading by flashlight when he goes to bed. We often hear him talking about or laughing at the stories he’s reading. Fortunately, Tober goes to sleep fast and hard so he’s not bothered by this.

Griffin has been into joke books lately. So of course he has also been trying his hand at authoring some jokes. The other night when I went in to tell him lights out, he told me this little gem:

“What do you use to make cookies and is at a baseball game?”

That’s right: “A Batter”

Not bad, huh? We’re encouraging him to write them down, he already has a bunch.

Wallowa Lake Family vacation – Day 3 and 4

I sort of lost my momentum here. So to wrap up this thread I’m combining the last 2 days of the tip.

Note: I am continuing to be productive on my new commute, I’ve just been working on other things 😉

Day 3 – Hike up Hurricane Creek and a boat ride around the lake

We were going to bed early while here and consequently getting up early. This morning, we had breakfast in. Kug made bacon and eggs. We learned that the burners on our ancient stove did not heat exactly evenly, but the meal was still good.
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The owner of Trouthaven had mentioned a nice day-hike when we arrived, so I get the details from him. We ended up at Hurricane creek, a 15 minute drive from the lake. We saw other families there as well as some serious hikers and even a few backpackers. There was also a string of mules packing supplies up the mountain. The trail was a bit narrow in places and even had a section right along a steep hillside with a 100′ drop to the creek. We didn’t go a long way and ended up spending a while at a spot next to the creek where the boys played. They were captured by that age-old obsession of throwing rocks into the moving water. Even Tober got into the act.
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We followed that with lunch in town at the local brew pub – Embers. We sat outside and marveled at the number of yellowjackets that were in their dozen or so traps. The greek pizza was pretty good.

That afternoon, we decided to take the owner of the cabins up on his offer to let us borrow their boat. It’s a small fishing boat they call the African Queen (for it’s vague similarities to the boat in that movie). We motored around to the south end of the lake and back. It was a nice little trip and it gave us a chance to see some of the beautiful houses along the shore.
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For dinner, Kug mastered the idiosyncratic stove and made us fondu. It was excellent.

Day 4 – The trip home

We all woke up fairly early (again) on Tuesday. There wasn’t much left in the area that we wanted to do – that we could do in half a day. We had pretty much decided at this point that Wallowa Lake and the Joseph area wasn’t going to be the place we wanted to come back to for an annual retreat. This was one of the reasons we chose to come here – we’re looking for a place that we can return to every year with family and friends. It’s a nice area and the lake is a lot of fun, but it just didn’t capture us. If you have any suggestions for somewhere that would be a fun, family friendly place with outdoor recreational activities, let me know. We’ll probably be looking around the Sisters area for next year.

With the car packed, we stopped for breakfast in Joseph and had the best meal of our trip. There are several breakfast places along the main drag and we ended up parking the car and perusing menus. We chose the Old Town Cafe. We were surprised to see swedish pancakes on the menu – a favorite that Kug and her family often make. The boys got that and Kug and I shared the Old Town Breakfast: a scramble of roasted potatoes, eggs, cheese, bacon and green chilies. It was excellent. This sort of dish is my favorite breakfast and this was the best I’ve had. The Swedish pancakes were pretty good as well. I got an americano there as we were leaving and it turned out to be the best coffee I got in the area.

We figured we would find a place or two to stop along the way back, but we didn’t have any definite plans. Griff was campaigning hard for stopping at Multnomah falls, wanting to hike to the top. We made good time on the road and with a couple rest stops and snacks in the car, it was only mid-afternoon wen we got to the city of Hood River. We drove up the main street and found a place for lunch. After lunch we dropped Kug off at a yarn shop we saw on the way in and the boys and I found a playground.Img 6162 Edit

Griff got his wish and we did stop at the falls. It turned out to be a nice finish for a fun trip. We all got ice cream and admired the falls.

Wallowa Lake Family vacation – Day 2

Day 2 – Tram ride up Mt. Howard and exploring Joseph

Everybody woke up early on Sunday morning. We waited as long as we could before venturing out, hoping somewhere that sold coffee would be open. Joseph was definitely ‘awake’ when we got into town and we found a place to get me an americano and Kug a diet coke.

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Several people we talked to mentioned the tram, so we wanted to check it out. We drove out to the south end of the lake where we found campgrounds, restaurants, shops and a number of family activity places – putt-putt golf, bumper boats, etc. We found the tram and decided to take the ride. The gondolas are small, just big enough for 4 adults. The trip up takes 15 minutes and you’re moving at a pretty good clip. It goes up 3700 vertical feet along 25 towers. At the top Griff noticed a couple kids with bags of seeds. We asked a waitress at the restaurant there and she said that it’s for feeding the squirrels – so we got a bag. Griff couldn’t wait to try out the seeds and we soon discovered that the chipmunks are very brave and greedy. The bigger ones had no fear of us and came right up to eat out of Griff’s hand. The smaller ones were only a bit hesitant. There are several lookout points a short walk away. We hiked up to the Royal Purple lookout and the critters just about mauled us. I sat down with a bit of seeds in my hand and I immediately had two of them in my lap. This was one of the highlights of Griff’s trip.
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We had lunch at the restaurant there, the Summit Grill. It was an amazingly long wait for our food which was nothing special. Afterwards we hiked up to the Highlands and Summit overlooks and then took the ride back down the mountain.
Img 5713 EditImg 5799 EditBy that afternoon, Kug was jonesing pretty bad for a book to read. She had only brought plant catalogs(!) We headed into town and hit the used bookstore. We had dinner at La Laguna, a Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating and a big water feature – an excellent combination for a peaceful meal with the boys. It was still light when we got back the the cabin, so we went for a walk down the trail along the ridge.

Wallowa Lake Family vacation – Day 1

Day 1 – The drive there and Trouthaven

We usually go to the Oregon coast for vacations. It’s close, we like it and we know various places to visit. This time Kug wanted to go somewhere else. I had heard about the Wallowa lake area as a good family vacation spot in Oregon from some research I had done and from a few friends. We also have the ulterior motive of finding a specific campground/resort that we could return to for an annual retreat with family and friends.

We ended up planning a bit on the late side so our choices were a bit limited by availability of cabin rentals. There were a lot of places listed online, so I ended up calling the City of Joseph chamber of commerce for advice. I checked out the places they suggested and decided on Trouthaven. It seemed like a nice family friendly place with nearby things to do and reasonable prices. They also had a cabin available for several days just before Griff starts kindergarten.

According to Google maps, the driving should have taken about 6.5 hours. We left at 9am, got coffee, made a couple rest stops and sat down for lunch. We arrived at 5pm. The boys we’re actually very good for the drive. Kug prepared a fantastic assortment of activities for them and I had the iPod loaded up with kids audio stories. We stopped in The Dalles for lunch and found a surprisingly good french style restaurant. While waiting for the food to arrive, Griff and I popped across the street into a thrift shop. We got lucky and found a couple nice board games for a few bucks each. I’m especially pleased at finding the 1979 SPI game Freedom in the Galaxy complete and only partially punched.
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It was still light when we got to Trouthaven and we were greeted by the owner. We were initially put off a bit by his promptly informing us of the rules for children that included ‘no running’. The cabin was cozy, but big enough for the 4 of us. It was definitely old, yet in very good condition. We had a chance to explore the resort a bit before dinner. It has swings, see-saws, a sandbox, a basketball hoop and a couple other outdoor activities. It overlooks the lake with a steep drop down to the shore. We checked out the one trail from the camp down to the water. The lake was pretty low and this exposed enough sand to to make walking easy. We also wandered down a walking trail that runs along the ridge.
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Most of the tourist lodging and activities are on the south end of the lake. While the west shore, where Trouthaven is located, is mostly residential. It may be the only place like it on that part of the lake. This is one of the reasons it appealed to me when I made the reservations. All of the other cabin rental options are on or near the Wallowa river that extends south from that end of the lake.

We were hoping for a couple other families with kids to be staying there as well and we got lucky. Griff spotted the kids quickly and we went to say hello. They were from Lake Oswego, a city near Sherwood. Unfortunately, they were leaving the next morning. We had dinner at the cabin and went to bed early.

father’s day art

One of several items that Griffin made for me this Father’s day:

fathers day art - griff

I especially like the fish on Griffin’s sleeves. He tells me that my bottom button looks that way because I chewed on it.

Live Long and Prosper

live long and prosper
Here’s to the new year, from Tober.

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