Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Where we've been and where we are

Ok, four blog posts in 2013 is pretty sad.  Especially since I have plenty of things to blog about.

Let me 'splain.  No there is too much.  Let me sum up.
  • We lived in Oregon.  
  • We moved to Montana.

Hmm, it is as I long suspected - summing up does not make interesting reading.

Unfortunately, if I put everything I want to say into one post it will be more of a novella.  So I think I'll do this in at least two posts (which will probably still both be long...).

Part 1: Where we've been and Part 2: Where we are.

Part 1:

Where we've been - Geographically

We spent 11 months in the lovely but wet state of Oregon.  It was nice.  When the sun shone it was very nice and there are good things to remember, especially from the sunny summer.

Geographical Place #1: Mt Rainier

Oregon and Washington are peppered with volcanoes. You'll just be driving along a highway, minding your own business when someone will gasp because suddenly, over everything else, there looms a silent volcano.

But we all know that it's the silent ones you have to watch.

They are simultaneously mesmerizingly beautiful and incredibly creepy.  Because you know they're just biding their time until they become this...

Geographical Place #2: Mt. St. Helens

This volcano is noticeably less beautiful than the last, eh?  That's because one sunny spring day 30 years ago it blew up and destroyed everything around it.  And they tell you that while you're standing at the base of it.  Things like, "The point where you are standing was incinerated 2.3 seconds after the main eruption.  Here are a bunch of creepy informational posters about all the people we know who died because the mountain suddenly killed them."

Thankfully the semi-morbid nature of the information was balanced by the fact that there was a plate on the floor attached to a seismograph that the children were supposed to stomp on.  "As hard as I can?!?"  Yes honey, stomp away.  Watch the needle move.  Or just stomp, because we all know stomping is more fun than watching needles.

Geographical Place #3: The Pacific Ocean
We did get to go to the beach quite a few times.

Dalton had fun in the waves.

In the ice cold waves.

I tried, but the ocean water was freezing the blood in my feet and then trying to send blood ice cubes back up my legs into the rest of my body.  I'm married to a doctor and I've watched enough TV to know that once that ice-blood reached my heart I was going to die.  I had to go back onto dry land.  For the good of my children.

Thankfully Belle and Liam wanted nothing to do with the water and someone had to supervise them.

Belle was in love with her swimsuit.  You'll notice that she's the only one not fully clothed.  I guess Belle's blood is unfreezable.

Liam often found deep sand pits that other beach-goers had dug.  Yes, I know his eyes are closed.  It's challenging to photograph a hyper 2-year-old at the beach.  This was the only picture out of 46 of them that even showed his face.  Picture big brown eyes and there ya have it.

And look!  Even a picture of Jason and me.  Unheard of, I know.  That bright light above me is my halo.  Those things just don't photograph clearly.

Three tiny children...one big world.

Where we've been - Educationally

Educational Subject #1: Botany

We homeschool, so what do we do when summer gets a little boring?  Scour Pinterest for science experiments, pick the easiest one that requires minimal preparation, uses things from around the house and ends up with a pretty result.

Like dying white carnations by putting them in colored water.  How cheery are these?
image credit
These are some other family's carnations after a little time in the colored water.  People claimed to see colors starting within a half hour.  Hooray for quick gratification!

Listen up, kids, it's school time.  Flowers drink by sucking water up through their stems like straws!  Yes! Just like straws!

We bought carnations, made a gazillion different cups of colored water and waited expectantly.

And waited...

And waited...


And here you go!

What?  Can't see the colors?  Allow me to zoom in...

There!  Yes, there!  Blue!  Please tell me you can see the blue.  (Confession time.  That blue is seen by zooming in AND adjusting the color saturation in Photoshop.  But c'mon, I can't leave this as a total science fail.)

If we're handing out awards to the most colorful flower the real winner is the short one that actually fell under the yellow water.  Yes it's soggy but at least it's not white any longer.

So now my kids probably do not believe that flowers drink through their stems.  They clearly get water into themselves by being dunked.

Educational Subject #2: Zoology 

We went to the Wildlife Safari which is an enormous drive-thru-zoo.  It's like a 2 hour road trip through the African, Asian and American wildlands.

The highlight was getting to be this close to a lion.
(See the car window in the picture?  I think Jason could have reached out and touched her, although he declined my dare to do so.)  Those are some serious creatures.  She looked so beautiful.  But we kept saying how if she looked straight at us and snarled, we'd have floored it.

There were also bears in ponds...

..and giraffes on roads.

But the real danger in the place is this fellow.  

I'm not kidding.  The lions brooded, the bears lolled, the cheetahs paced, the tigers looked regal.

This peacock?  It walked up to our car, circled us, then chased and attacked us.  Smashed its deceptively delicate-looking head right into the taillight of my new minivan and cracked it.  Punk.  We actually had to drive away from it faster than the 10 mph we were supposed to be driving before it would leave us alone.   I would have plucked out his fancy tail feathers and made the kids turn them into quills as an art project if I'd known he'd damaged my car.  Or just tossed him to the lion.

Ok, that wraps up our summer.  Thanks for readin--OH NO, WAIT!  I forgot one thing.

Where we've been - Metaphysically

The house we lived in in Oregon was never homey.  Never.  We just didn't like it.  It was echo-y and cold and hollow and the whole time we were there we just felt sort of disgruntled with it.

Our second to last day there we were having dinner with the neighbors and they referenced, "Well, you know...with what happened in your house..."

Um, no.  We don't know.  What happened in our house?  Our house that looked like someone was fixing it up then at some point just whipped off the rest of the work and left it as is?

Turns out the owner's son was living there and fixing up the house...

...before he killed himself in it.

Really neighbors?  We lived there for almost a year and NONE of you brought up what was probably the most shocking thing to happen on the block since...I don't know...since Lewis and Clark came through?

So, if you don't believe in bad juju magumbo you can just be surprised that NONE of our chatty neighbors referenced this event.

But if our lives do leave echos in the places we live, then you can hope that the (painfully) noisy laughs and squeals and hollers of our children which happily echoed through the house for 11 months redeemed it a little so that the next residents might find it more homey.

Tune in next time for Part 2: Where we are.