Friday, March 27, 2015

Trees and blooms

It was such a beautiful day yesterday that Jeff and I went to the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge for a stroll.

As we approached the trail, we saw something that looked like a tiny helicopter, alternately hovering about thirty feet in the air and then dive-bombing some flowering currant bushes. 
What is it? I cried.
A hummingbird, said he.
And he was right. It was an astounding sight, as the tiny bird was darting around so quickly that we couldn't really get a good fix on it. Jeff managed to get a couple of good photos when it hovered to feed from the flowers. 
It was so beautiful, and when it turned towards us, its ruby throat was brilliant.
And then it flitted away.

The trees were in fine form, all covered in fluffy moss and with the sun shining through.

I love trees, and mossy trees are my favourites.

The springtime wild flowers are busting out all over.
Yellow violets.

Trillium in several shades.

This old stump, covered in thick moss and ferns, had a lovely slab of fungus attached to the top of the hollow.

This wee chipmunk was very shy and I had to surreptitiously zoom in to get a picture.

Not sure of the identity of these leaves, but we saw them in several shades of green and purple, and I liked them.

The air was full of beating geese wings and their honking cries. I wondered which goose decided when it was time for his particular flock to circle the skies. There must have been hundreds, if not thousands, of them on the refuge. 

 Bright yellow Oregon grape flowers.

And as we approached the beginning of the trail again, we saw the back end of this fat squirrel.

I just looked at Jeff's pictures of the outing and had to steal a few.

If you are local and haven't visited yet, do it! This is the best time of year, in my opinion, and it is free. There is a visitor's centre and frequent weekend activities.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sunday pics

 I tried to take a photo of the kids every Sunday they were here, while they were all spiffed up and looking their best. There are only six. I think I forgot one week, and once they were sick and stayed home.
This was the first week, all dressed up in their warm coats.

Elsie's outfit is vintage. The sweater was knitted for me by my aunty and the kilt was worn by my girls.

This was taken after church and Elsie is wearing a badge that she got in her class.

The last Sunday we had Bethany's kids for the weekend while mom and dad went on a getaway. Then Jon brought his boys over on Sunday night and they stayed over as well. There were fifteen people sleeping in my little house, but it was lovely. Lucky for us that church starts at 11:30 this year.

I love looking at these smiling faces.

Happy Days

Annie and her North Carolina crew spent nine weeks with us, beginning the week of Thanksgiving. Annie needed surgery and Edwin was deployed, so it seemed like a good plan for them to stay with us so that we could help out and (score!) get some good bonding time with the three littles. Annie found a wonderful surgeon to do a disc replacement in her neck, which was another bonus.

I picked some of my favourite photos of the good times.

For some reason, the day they arrived Victoria decided to put herself in time out. We laughed and laughed...and this was the last time that this corner looked so good until they went home!

The weather was still autumn-y for a little while so we went for some walks/scooter rides.

And then winter arrived and we still went for walks but not as many because it was too cold and wet. 

Not long after their arrival, Elsie started nagging asking if I had an umbrella she could use. I said yes, but it wasn't raining yet. Then I found her some free rain boots and it rained and she was outside all on her own and having a terrific time in the gigantic puddle that surrounds our shed when we have downpours.

And she stomped in puddles until she was wet from top to toe.

And then later I found Gabe some used boots and he was happy.

And Toria was happy all the time, except for two o'clock in the morning when she liked to wake up and yell for Mommy, only I would have to get up and talk her back to sleep because Mommy couldn't pick her up.
Fun times. 
I miss them terribly.

Luckily, Jeff was off work for three weeks over Christmas or I wouldn't have survived. Annie had her surgery the Monday before Christmas and then stayed with a friend until Christmas Eve. Jeff and I often looked at each other during those few days and asked each other, "How does she do it?" Those kidlets are adorable, but they start at 6:30 a.m. and don't stop until they go to bed.

One cold day, Papa and I took them to a couple of parks. It was a little colder than I anticipated, so we were all freezing but we had a good time.

Annie went back to her friend on the evening of Christmas day and then came home a couple of days later. On Sunday we went out to the Ranch. We woke up the next morning to a good covering of snow and some very cold temperatures.

The kids were excited to play in the snow, but it was so cold that they would only last for about thirty minutes and then they would all be crying.

Toria was so bundled up she could hardly walk!

Annie's recovery went well and we took this photo for her doctor.

We were all very excited for Edwin to get home and then fly out to us. 
Annie prepared some posters for his homecoming.

 She met him at the airport and they spent the night in Portland.

And these kids...

...were so happy to see him the next day.

Sitting in boxes, watching TV.

One afternoon, I took the girls for ice creams at Jac's.

Miss Elsie.

Madelyn and Toria adore pomegranates.

Daniel is twelve now, so some of the family members went to the temple together while I watched the littles.

Gabe's birthday was a couple of weeks before his daddy got here, so he had two parties. He liked his snazzy new outfit. He is a funny kid; he gets himself dressed as soon as he wakes up every morning, shoes and all.

Annie and Edwin took the kids on a couple of outings, to the Japanese Gardens and to Gilbert House in Salem.

Cousins. I love this photo, they all look so gleeful. 
Gleeful is good.

Jenny took these photos at Gabe's second party.

And before we knew it, it was time for them to go home.
So we all got up at an unearthly hour of the morning and drove to the airport.
And sadly said goodbye.

People have asked me how I did it, because it was, quite frankly, exhausting. For most of the nine weeks, Jeff and I had the main responsibility for the care of these three darlings, in addition to carrying on with the rest of our lives.
Sometimes, like in the middle of the night when Toria was awake for the umpteenth time, or Gabe was having a whiny day, or the messes and noise seemed to be never-ending,  I would long for some peace. But every time I walked into the house after being gone I would hear three little voices yelling "Nanaaaaaa!!!!" and my heart was full, and their hugs and smiles were treasures to tuck away in my memory.
And after they left, every time I walked into the house I heard faint echoes: