Red Top

Yesterday we went on a hike to Red Top Lookout.   Our goal was to get here:


It was about an hour’s drive from our house, but much of the drive was the climb up a winding dirt road to about 5,000 feet.  Once we got there, the hike was not even a mile long, but it was a steep climb up.

Red Top Lookout is a fire watch tower and is apparently staffed by volunteers in the summer.  They weren’t there yet, so I don’t know what the current status is of that.  When we got to the top, it was locked up.

There were wildflowers in abundance on this hike.


I also thought this orange moss was pretty cool.


This hike goes through a beautiful wooded forest for a little while.


Then it went up steeply along a rather slippery rocky slope.


There is a cute little outhouse located near the lookout.


The top is a little scary.  If you are afraid of heights, you might feel a little nervous.  If you are afraid of heights + a slippery steep rock-riddled slope then you might feel more nervous.  This is me B.F. (before fall).


Immediately after this, Davey and David started heading down while I was taking a few pictures.  Then I started heading down.  Well I slipped and landed on a sharp rock. Fortunately, I didn’t almost fall off the mountain or anything, but I fell hard. Ow.  I was ok (although today I am a little beat up and also have a bruised gluteus maximus).

After that, I went down very gingerly and slowly (probably too gingerly and slowly), but I made it!  The hike up was worth it for this amazing view.


It was a little cloudy.  We had a 360 degree view, and on a really clear day we would have seen Mt. Rainier and I think Mt. Adams.

This was a beautiful, short, fun, steep and slightly terrifying hike!

Heavener Runestone

On our way to Arkansas, we drove through the eastern Oklahoma town of Heavener.  As we passed through, I saw a sign that said “Heavener Runestone State Park”.  It was really hot and really humid, but we decided it might be fun to go see the runestone.  I am glad we did.

heavener5The park is a little overgrown, but it’s beautiful.  There were stone steps leading down to the runestone.  The steps rounded around several large caves.

heavener2The steps were a little treacherous.  Davey had one unfortunate little tumble and banged his knee, but we didn’t have him in the best shoes for walking.

heavener1There is a lot of speculation about the runestone.  It was once believed to be really old – as in Viking Norseman old – but now it seems more likely that a Scandinavian immigrant may have carved it in the 19th century.

heavener4heavener3I’d highly recommend exploring around this park.  Don’t wear flip flops and crocs like we did though!  I think it would be great fun to explore on a nice winter day or in the late fall.


Mama Pearl’s: 2015

After three years, we are back at Mama Pearl’s.  We love it here, and we love getting to spend more great time with family.

I have been taking some pictures of the beautiful scenery around here.  This is our view next door.  Davey used to look out the window and watch the cows in this pasture when he was about a year old.  glenwood1I like to walk Buster down this road.

glenwood3Davey is enjoying his time here as well.  Here he is playing outside yesterday evening.

glenwood4Today we went over to the Caddo River and played.  It’s a beautiful river that felt great on this hot and humid day.  We had a great time building rock sculptures.

glenwood5Davey built one which he named Wilbert.  Wilbert is actually the taller stack.  The rest of the structure is Wilbert’s protective barrier.

glenwood6I’m sitting outside right now as I write this, and I am really enjoying all the sounds.  I have missed the noisiness of the cicadas and crickets.  It’s good to be back.


We are having quite a time here in Oklahoma.  It’s been too long since we were home, and we are lucky to be able to spend a couple of weeks here this time.  We have spent lots of time with family and friends.  Last week, we dragged Davey from place to place for about 4 days in a row.  I finally realized that all these get togethers might not be quite as fun for him, although he had a great time with young friends at a couple of them.  He’s had a few “loki” (low-key) days now, and he is very happy to be spending time with his cousin.

I love to listen to him ask his cousin questions.  She is 10, and so he looks to her for wisdom in many things kid-related.  I wish I could think of a good example.  It’s cute to listen to.

Tonight, I was talking to him before he went to sleep.  This is when we have some of our best talks.  He was telling me about a friend who had fussed at him at school.  (He will tell me stories about things that happened months ago as if they had happened only yesterday.  It can be hard to keep up!)  Anyway, the friend said something to him that I thought was a little unkind, so I told him he should tell her (if it happened again) that he was doing the best that he could, and that she should mind her own business.  He said, “well, I can tell her that I am doing the best I can, but she will get TERRIFYINGLY CRAZY if I tell her to mind her own business”.

I had to write that down.  It definitely caught me off guard!  He can be quite dramatic.

So we are enjoying a few more days here in Oklahoma.  I get to see my grandparents every day which has been great.  Tomorrow, I am meeting friends whom I have known since elementary school – some since kindergarten.  I am looking forward to it. Friday David is having a mini-reunion of sorts with friends from his high school class.  It’s his 30 year class reunion this year.  Yikes.

10986518_10207152297226232_8258060080791044077_nIt’s definitely a trip to remember.




Driving Driving to Oklahoma

Today was the second day of what I have been calling “Our Drive Across America” even though really we are only going about halfway across.  I was thinking it might feel like a drive across America by the time we were done, but so far it’s been a lot of fun.

We are leisurely travelers.  For example, we made our first stop in Vantage, Washington.  It’s about 30 minutes from our house.  I’d been wanting to stop at the scenic overlook to see the Wild Horses Monument though.  So we did.


It’s just beautiful.  This scenic stop also overlooks the Columbia River.


I love the Columbia River.  We took the opportunity to take Buster for a little stroll too since we’d stopped.


We drove across eastern Washington on I-90 to Spokane.  We had not made this drive before.  It’s pretty flat and desolate, but it was fun because I kept seeing these!


Dust devils everywhere in the fields!  We have driven through a lot of areas similar to this in other parts of the country, but I’d never seen so many dust devils.

We stopped at a rest area outside of Spokane before we went into Idaho.  We like to stop at rest areas, and there are a lot of beautiful ones in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  The facilities were almost all spotless.  Some even have fenced in areas for dogs to run leash free.


I didn’t take any pictures, but our drive across I-90 through part of the Idaho panhandle was amazing.  We drove by Couer d’Alene Lake, and it’s just incredible.  It’s a beautiful mountain lake, and we can’t wait to go back there some day.

We spent the night last night in Butte, Montana.  We left pretty early this morning and headed to Rock Springs, Wyoming which is where we are tonight. We drove through some beautiful country today.

For the past two days we listened to the entire first Harry Potter book on cd.  Jim Dale reads it and he is an amazing reader.  Davey wanted to listen practically all day long both days.  Jim Dale is so entertaining to listen to, and the story is so good that I think we could happily listen to it again.  We might!

Today we also drove through Spencer, Idaho.  There are opal mines there, and you can pay to dig for opals.  I don’t know if they brought this rock in or if this is the mine?  There were some people digging here though.  I thought this was interesting!

opal-mineAnother highlight of the day were the “square” ice cream cones we had in Swan Valley, Wyoming.  Swan Valley is another beautiful area not too far from Jackson.  We stopped for a little break and saw people pouring out of this little convenience store with their square ice cream cones.  It was definitely some good ice cream!  (Well Davey wasn’t thrilled.  He claimed that his was too “vanilla-ey”  and he didn’t like his much.  David and I, however, were very satisfied customers!)IMG_0061

Tonight we experienced a nice noisy thunderstorm, and it poured down rain.  Buster was not happy.  Poor nervous dog.  He hadn’t really experienced thunder much before.   He’s been enjoying the trip for the most part though.  He’s always just happy to be with us.

Buster3Somehow David and I both accidentally wore Eskimo Joe’s t-shirts today.  So when we checked in to the hotel tonight, we encountered a group of people who were traveling together on their Goldwing motorcycles.  They were from Sand Springs, Oklahoma which is only about 20 minutes from where David and I grew up!  Small world.  The Eskimo Joe’s shirts almost always bring out fellow Oklahomans!

Now it’s time for rest before we head out again tomorrow.


Whidbey Island: Double Bluff Beach

On Saturday after the taekwando tournament, we did a little exploring on Whidbey Island.

I had done a little research and found a beach that looked nice.  It’s called Double Bluff Beach.



A great beach for a little boy to play.  There were these huts constructed with driftwood.



And so many sticks with which to pretend and do battles.




He was non stop.



All Davey really needs for total entertainment is a beach with sticks, sand, and rocks.  The shells and small tide pools though were definitely a great addition to that as well.



We walked a ways down the beach seeing what we could see and finding little things.  Davey pretended all the way there and back.



After we were done, David helped Davey with his shoes.  He had so much sand in his shoes that I don’t know how he could walk.


Davey loves to ride on the ferry (we do too), so we drove down to Clinton and took the ferry to Mukilteo.


We finished the trip off with fried fish and then ice cream for dessert at Ivar’s.

We have to get back to the beach soon!


Umtanum Creek Canyon

This past weekend was just a beautiful weekend to get out.  So on Saturday, Davey, Buster and I went looking for some nearby places to explore.

Several people had told me about Umtanum Creek Recreation Area which is only about 12 miles outside of Ellensburg.  We hadn’t made it there yet, and I don’t know why!  It was beautiful!  I wish I’d taken my camera, but I just had my phone with me so I took only a few pictures.

There was a great suspension bridge that we got to cross.  We were both a little hesitant at first because it was kind of wobbling back and forth.  We bravely crossed though!


There are lots of places there for a little boy to have a lot of fun.  He picked up sticks to use as a wand or sometimes as a sword.  He threw lots of rocks.  I think he was mostly a mage though, and I was a hunter.  We got up on a neat lookout, and I fended off the incoming trolls with my bow while he tended to the enemies approaching from the river.

davey-under-bridgeWe were having such a good time that we wanted David to come join us.  He brought us some lunch, and then we went exploring some more.


There were lots of people out and about.  Many people were finding scenic spots to take photos (and there were plenty of scenic spots to choose from).  There were lots of dogs too which Buster thoroughly enjoyed.

We will definitely be heading back to this beautiful spot!


Sunday Lake Outlaws

Today Davey, Buster and I headed over to our little local lake.


Buster did some serious “busting” through the water.  He got me soaking wet with his jumping around.   Davey tried leading him around in the water.  No easy feat for a little guy.



We had a little picnic of Nilla Wafers and strawberries, and we chatted.  Davey has become very very into Pokemon, and he enjoys explaining how it all works.



Buster learned about Pokemon as well.



I had brought some acrylic paint along because I thought Davey might want to paint some rocks.  He told me that we could not do that.  “Mama, you are an outlaw!”  (I’ve discussed the possibility of yarn bombing with him as well, and I get the same response.)

He watched me paint a rock first.  I get very intricate and fancy in my painting.



He decided it might not be too “illegal”, and he decided to paint too.



We went to work on several rocks.



I enjoyed it. I think Davey liked it too.  He particularly enjoyed the placement of the rocks.  We wanted to leave them for someone to just happen to find. I placed them like this.



Davey was not satisfied with my arrangement.  He went to work.



He thought this was much better.

We splashed around with Buster, painted rocks, and experimented with what floats and what doesn’t float.  He also enjoyed watching another dog swim out and fetch stick after stick.

I took several pictures.  He told me several times that I should not put them on facebook. My blog is ok though, he said.  I am not sure that I mentioned to him that I have the blog set up to share the link with facebook.  I think he’s ok with it though.  For now.


Geocaching and a Little Boy

We are full on into summer, and it’s great, but I’ve also been trying to find new activities for us to try out.

We used to letterbox in Colorado, and it was a lot of fun.  We tried to find a letterbox in the Japanese garden on campus the other day, but it was nowhere to be found.  We followed the clues really closely, but I think the box may have been moved.

I thought it would be fun to try geocaching.  I got an app for my phone and immediately had the information for several geocache sites in town.  I guess once upon a time, you had to look at the coordinates, use a compass and actually navigate to the site?  Now, I follow the line, and stay within the “cone” on the line to guide us to the site.  Pretty easy, except that once you are within 20-30 feet, you have to search carefully to find it.  People log their finds though and often leave clues, so when I had trouble, I looked at the log.  I was surprised by how popular geocaching is.  Both spots I went to had been found numerous times in the last few weeks, including by people traveling from other parts of the country.  I had thought it was popular, but wow!

I went by myself first to kinda scope it out.  The first one was by the closed down bowling alley, and I couldn’t find it to save my life, so I thought I’d try it again later.

One of the best things about geocaching is that it takes you to new places.  I found the second one next to Mercer Creek.  It was a beautiful grassy shaded area.



I spotted the geocache and then went home to get Davey (it was pretty hot already and so I thought I would make it easier on him.  I parked a little ways away so we’d have to follow the path to the geocache).


Geocaches are neat because there are little trinkets in there.  Very fun for a little boy.  You take a trinket, but then you have to leave one as well.  Davey had fun deciding.  He finally chose a little plastic hand clappy flappy thing, we signed the log, and then he carefully put it back where we found it.  (We left a CWU keychain behind.)



He was inspired, and he wanted to help me find the cache that I wasn’t able to find.

Here was the problem for us though.


We were pretty sure it was buried in that short cedar/evergreen shrubby stuff.  It was hot out.  There were spiderwebs – so I assumed spiders in there.  Cedar is scratchy and we are allergic.  On the plus side, I was not worried that there would be a copperhead in there waiting for me.  We looked around for awhile, but one of the clues suggested that we’d have to be willing to look low and get dirty.  We weren’t willing so we decided to come back another time.  More specifically, Davey suggested that David come with us and find it as he is a “warrior” and bigger and it would be easier for him.  Maybe we will try that although David loves spiders about as much as Davey and I do.

Then yesterday, a little boy showed up at our house.



Where did he come from?

littleboy1He got a haircut and he just looks like such a big kid now.

He’s just a little guy though.  I got a new attachment for the hose, and he played and played and played with it.



He’s little for awhile longer.


Evening Walk on the Yakima

A couple of evenings ago, we went down to the Yakima to look for driftwood for Flappy the betta’s tank.  There is a really beautiful trail that goes along the river for about a mile.  We’d discovered it right after we moved here last summer, but we’d not been back yet.  We had especially not gone back in the evening.  This is my favorite part of the day, and the light was wonderful.

I love to take pictures of Davey and David walking together.



I also love to take pictures of just Davey walking along.  He’s almost always pretending about something.



He did get upset with me at some point.  I am trying to remember why, but I can’t for the life of me remember.  So I took some pictures of him irritated at me.  I guess maybe I shouldn’t do that.  I’m fast though.


And not 5 seconds later, he’s starting to come out of it anyway.  He’s not one to stay mad.

Another Daddy Davey/ father son study.  Love how they are both looking to the side.  They look so similar in their poses.



I have to go walk down there again soon.  It is so pretty and peaceful.



Ok one more of Davey and David hand in hand.  I can not resist.