Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Our Pacific Northwest Bucket List

One of the good things about living a semi-nomadic life through Bob's employer is that we never really know when the call is going to come that will send our family on its way to our next location. This is a good thing because the thought is always in the back of our mind that this could be our last spring, summer, winter, etc...It helps to keep us focused on the things that we would like to do here before we leave. In that light, here are the trips that we have planned/booked through the rest of the summer:


Seattle (The Needle; Pike's Place Market)


Bend, OR (Camping)


Olympia National Park (Camping)
Ruby Beach
Mt. Rainier (Camping)


Redwood National Forest (Camping)


Mt. St Helen's (Camping)


Mt Hood (Camping)

We will be taking various day trips to the coast and we plan on camping in a couple of other places as well, but we haven't gotten those trips locked in yet. Plus, we will be taking a trip back east in August to visit with family and friends.  We are going to have a very busy, but unforgettable spring/summer/fall. I am very much looking forward to it. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

The 50,000 Feet View

I had someone comment on my last blog that perhaps life wasn't as gloomy as I made it out to be. That perhaps I have a bit more to be grateful for than I was seeing. I took those comments to heart because I know that they come from a person who challenges me and encourages me and I value what she has to say even if at first her comments didn't sit well in my belly.

I thought about her words over and over again because I knew that deep down she was right. I even asked Bob what his thoughts were because I was beginning to feel that maybe I don't portray the gratitude that I feel that I do for things in my life. Maybe my perspective on how grateful of a person I appear to be is skewed. Maybe I sound like a whiny privileged white chick who has nothing to be kvetching about in real life. I despise those kinds of people, but yet when I took a look at the words I have been writing on this space I feel that maybe that is the part of me I have been portraying. I believe 100% that we don't like in others what we see in ourselves. And I know that privileged white people can sometimes bother me when they talk about their "problems" and this is only because I despise when I, a privileged white person, try to pass off my issues as being real as compared to seriously real issues like poverty and discrimination.

In different words I asked Bob if I was becoming this type of person. And he was honest with me, and told me that lately I have been coming off as ungrateful. And although those words stung and shocked me a little bit there is a truth in them I cannot deny.

Bob gave a great analogy (maybe this is not the right word, but its all I have for now) that I will carry with me for a really long time and will come back to time and again when I get off course with my petty grievances. He told me to look at my life as though I was 50,000 feet above it. Imagine the scope and big picture I would be able to see from that height. All of the things that I am making a big deal of right now - wouldn't be a big deal if I took a wider lens with which to look at my life through. All of the stuff that seems so big and hard right now would seem like nothing in the long run, so why I am making things harder and more difficult than they need to be?

I thought this was great advice. I am thankful that 'A' posted her comment because it got me thinking and I am thankful for my husband's wisdom because it got me thinking even more.

So, I owe you all an apology for whining and bitching about the stuff I have been "struggling" with because if I had taken the 50,000 ft view this stuff wouldn't have ever made its way to this space. Which leads me to some changes that I am going to make in this space. For years I have treated this blog like a partial journal. I have shared with you all of my thoughts and feelings on so many of my issues. And for the most part, this has been okay. In all of this time I have also kept a legitimate journal as well, but I wrote the bulk of what I am thinking and feeling here. I am no longer going to treat this space like a journal. It isn't really necessary for me to share so much of my private life with the whole world; nor as my children get older, is it something that they would care for me to do either. Truth be told, Bob has never been a fan of my oversharing, but has allowed me (mostly) free reign because he knows how much I enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you. I know that he would much rather allow me to spend the money on the extra journals I will need as I fill them up with the words that would normally be written here than to have me expose so much of myself to both those I know and do not know who read these words.

That being said - I am not going to stop blogging. I have too many loved ones in too many different parts of the country that use this space to catch up with what we are doing and where we are at. I have decided to use this space to share our adventures and to update you on the kiddos, Bob, and myself in a non-invasive way. I think that this will be a good use of this blog and I think it will satisfy the needs to those who read these posts along with my family's need for privacy and my need to not overshare my thoughts. I have never been good at filtering myself. Nor have I ever been good at not sharing with you all exactly what I am feeling at any given moment. This has not always served me well.

I have known for some time that I wanted to change the way I used this space. I just didn't know how I wanted to do so. Now I know. And I am grateful for that.

Thank you for reading these words even when I sounded pompous and ridiculous. Thank you for knowing when to reign me in. Onward and upwards!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hard Times

Times are hard right now for us all and I struggle with posting anything in this space because I just don't know what to say or what to share anymore.

I can say that I cannot wait to move away from here, but I am also petrified to move again because I don't want to ever experience another move that is as hard for our family as this one has been.

I am so thankful for Las Cruces because it was the best gift I have ever been given, but it also set the bar pretty high and I am afraid everything else will always fall short and this scares me to death.

Everything seems murky right now. We are all doing the best that we can to try and make the most of this experience. I  know there are lessons to learn and gifts to be received here, but I just cannot find them and I don't feel like I have the energy to expend in looking for them anymore. I feel like I have spent the last 7 months constantly searching for things to love about this place. The effort this is taking is exhausting.  Please don't worry about us as it is through the darkest of times that the most growth is had. I know for a fact that we will all be okay, and in the end this whole experience will be seen as a blessing, but for right now it only feels like a curse.

I am heading to the east coast in a few days to visit with my extended family. I am so excited that I feel like a child at Christmas time. I will be traveling alone and I am desperately hoping that this visit will allow me to clear my head and get some clarity and a sharpened focus on getting my family through what I pray to God is the last few months of living in the Pacific Northwest.

These dogs are not supposed to be on the couch. See how well they listen? It's a good thing they are loved so much - it allows them to get out of trouble rather easily. 

Part of our Valentine's Day decorations. 

A decoration Sarah made. 

Superbowl snacks!

Thank you pinterest! Homemade Superbowl brownies and peanut butter bars.

And another pinterest creation. 

Our  snack "stadium".

Sunset last night. 

I love how puffy these clouds were. It's funny because I feel like I post a lot of pictures that gives the illusion that it is sunny here more than it actually is. Just about every single day is cloudy, but some days (I would day 2-3 days a week) the clouds will give way to blue sky for about 30-45 minutes. I am always so excited by this that I grab my camera and snap away. And then just as soon as the sky opens up for a minute it closes right back up. It is a crazy experience and unlike anything I have ever been through in my whole life. 

This blue sky is what I cling to when it appears. It really give me hope. This sliver of blue sky is most likely all we will have today. The rest of the sky looks gray like in the picture below.  

I have learned here that there are different shades of gray clouds. I have found that I can handle light gray clouds, but medium (like the ones in this picture) or dark gray clouds are very hard to mentally get my brain around day in and day out. Summer here is absolutely beautiful, but I have to get to May before the gray skies clear up. If I can make it through this winter I swear I will consider myself a superhero. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

What We Did This Past Week - In Pictures

Another beautiful sunset. Even if I only get to see a portion of them because of where our unit is located I am still thankful I get to see them at all. Some units don't have any views of the sunrise or the sunset. I couldn't imagine that. 

The last of the sun hitting the clouds.

Just about time for dinner....

Andy and Bob started hiking together in New Mexico and have kept it up here. They will pick a trail that they both want to see that no one else really wants to do because it is so hard, plan out a day, and then spend it hiking.  Look how big that fallen tree trunk is. That is amazing. Those trees that you see in the background are the size of normal trees that you would see in most other parts of the country. The old growth trees here are unimaginably huge. They are amazing and breathtaking to see in person. 

A blanket of clouds rolling in in the distance. 

Andy left his initials in the wood of this sign at the summit. 

This mountain is pretty steep and so what started out on dry land ended up in the snow. Some previous hikers built this snow man on top of the mountain. 

As you can see below...no snow...

Those brown bald patches are mostly logged land. It is so ugly, but when I think about the alternative being plastic products in most cases I can put up with the ugly I suppose. It is helpful that in Oregon for every tree logged a new one has to be planted in its place. 

One of my favorite things about this winter here is that even though the sky is gray just about all.the.time. the moss is growing in abundance which gives the forest a sort of light that is not found in the summer. The moss brightens up the darkness of the forest and gives the illusion of not being so gray and overcast. This is a blessing. 

Taking a break on the way down...

Sarah taking pictures in the van while we were traveling to the beach for a day of fun last week. 

My sacred place...

I love when the light filters through the trees. A rare partially sunny day was all that I needed to see in the forecast to know that I needed to head to the ocean while I still can. 




Josh was mesmerized by this tree root that was creating a small pool of water. It was pretty cool.

Doesn't this look like a hand? The tree roots here are awesome. 

Trying to scare Andy and Sarah who are coming up the trail behind him. 

Waiting for the waves to recede so she can race out to the waters edge before the next wave can catch her. I love this picture for some reason. 

Oh, my wild woman. Climbing rocks and making waves. Always. 

That pool of water from above makes its way down to the shore and then empties into the Pacific Ocean. 

As the tide recedes it becomes possible to walk around this rock where a whole variety of surprises await. There are small caves and rocks to explore. Low tide at this beach is the absolute best. 

Waiting for the right opportunity to sneak around the side of this rock.

Chasing the waves...

Clouds are rolling in...

Racing each other to see who can get to the water first.

When I get stressed out because of how damn expensive it is to live here and I wonder why on earth we said 'yes' to this lateral opportunity on a single family income with four children I think of places like this. And I remember that we won't be here forever. And money will not be tight forever. I try to think about the things I will miss when we are gone and I try to make sure that I am making the most of my opportunity here to explore all of the natural surroundings that I can. I truly feel in my gut that I will never live this close to the Pacific Ocean again and so I want to make sure that I am taking the opportunity to be here as much as life will allow me to so that I know that I made the most of this opportunity that I could. 

It is true that the Oregon Coast is not really swimmable. The water is way too cold and the air temperature never really feels overly hot to cause one to put up with the freezing temperatures of the water - not even in the peak of summer time, BUT is is breathtaking and captivating none-the-less.  

A sunrise...

That kid in the blue cleats, black pants, and white jersey on? That's my Josh. This is his opening game of the season with his new team. They won 5-2 with Josh scoring 3 of those goals. He looked amazing on the field. Soccer season is back. Life is good.