June 21, 2011

Morning Battles

5:20 a.m.

Five-twenty a.m.

FIVE. Twenty. A.m.

Nothing is up at this hour except the sun. And perhaps a few infernal birds.

Oh, and my son.

Grrrrrrreat. Not again.

The whispering begins almost immediately.

"I can't believe that boy. I'm so tired. Why can't he sleep longer? There's no way he got enough sleep last night. Now he's gonna be cranky and I'm gonna be tired all day."

I open my eyes sleepily to see Self-Pity perched on my nightstand. She grins at me in a rather unsettling way. I roll over and pretend I can't see her. But when I open my eyes again, I'm face to face with Resentment, who has slipped under the blankets and is now curled up where my husband should be. He has bad morning breath.

"Kids are so much work. It is too much to ask for a decent night's sleep? Why can't parenting be easier? Why does life have to be so complicated and difficult?"

Before I know it, these enemies have me whining and acting exactly like the four-year-old I'm mad at.

"Lord, help me."

It's my first prayer of the day. It won't be my last. But it makes my bedmates scowl.

"Lord, help me. I need You."

Jason leaves for work. Caleb munches on cereal and bananas, watching his new Scooby-Doo movie. I get my own breakfast and open my bible. Right there, on the page where my bookmark lays, God responds.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him,

for God is our refuge.

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong,

and that you, O Lord, are loving."

~ from Psalm 62, verses 1, 2, 8, 11, & 12.

I have enemies who watch with hungry eyes, who have no love for my family, and would cheer to see me become an angry, bitter person. Some days I even help them along with that goal.

But more and more I'm realizing that I don't face these enemies alone.

He fights with me. He fights for me. And He makes all the difference.

June 20, 2011

North Cascades - Final Day

Ta-daaaah! I promised I wouldn't leave you hanging! Here at last are the pictures and stories from our final day of vacation. :) Enjoy!

We leave Winthrop late Tuesday morning, around 11am. We ate breakfast at Three-Fingered Jack's in town (a splurge), and that gave us our late start. But we have Hwy. 20 under us, and a long trek back over the mountains to look forward to.

Our hiking book highlights several intriging hikes along our route. Cutthroat Lake, Cedar Falls, Lake Ann, Maple Ridge. Top on my list, though, is the Pacific Crest Trail. Spanning over 2600 miles, it runs the length of the west coast, from the Mexican border in California all to way to the Canadian border in Washington. Someday, I want to hike the whole thing. But today, I'll settle for simply stepping out on the trail itself. We're about to cross paths with it, right over Washington Pass.

But as we gain altitude, we begin to notice an unexpected addition to the scenery.

Snow. Lots and lots of snow. The higher we climb into the Cascades, the more we find. Caleb's thrilled. But we're not so sure. The roads are clear, but turn-offs are becoming hard to see. We watch carefully for Washington Pass, the first stop on the map.


Yeah. This is the parking lot at Washington Pass. Except its under four feet of white stuff.

Parking this way? I'm afraid not. Unless you own a snowmobile. Then feel free to park it anywhere.

The Liberty Bell Mountains, perfectly framed from our vantage point in the pass.

Rest stop? Hope you brought snowshoes! The restrooms might be a bit, um, under the weather.

Oh common. I know you're snickering, just a little. :)

Caleb runs here and there like a kid on Christmas morning. We're bundled up in jackets for the first time this trip.

Snow, huh? Who'da thunk it? Not us! It's June, after all! But then, we're just lowly Island-dwellers. What do we know of snow and mountains and spring thaw? (Apparently, not much).

We have to revise our plans. All those cool hikes we wanted to investigate? Nowhere to be found. Trail markers and sign posts are buried, as are the trails themselves. We were lucky to find the turn-off for Washington Pass at all. So we laugh, snap our pictures, throw a snowball or two, and then head back for the car.

Oh, and the Pacific Crest Trail? We did actually find it. Sort of.

It's buried, too.

Oh well. Now we know to come back in August after the snow's gone. And I'm sure we will. In fact, as we drive home, we begin to plan a return trip. Who knows? Maybe in a few years, we'll be back.

In the meantime, we're looking forward to our own beds tonight and a bathroom with a real shower.

Vacation is good, but home is always best. :)

June 16, 2011

Sun in the Sand

My lips taste salty. And feeling is just now coming back to my toes. We've been to the beach this afternoon (and everywhere else today, for that matter).

The beach, Pacific Northwest-style. Where the water is 50 degrees and we only get wet up to our calves. But that doesn't stop us from having fun.

Splash! Squeal! Squelch!

Sand and water, water and sand. Friends who come to join in our cold, wet dance.

Here comes a wave, run! Duck! Ooooohhh, it gotcha! Here's a towel. Don't lose your flip-flops to the tide! :)

We're enjoying the firstfruits of summer vacation this week. Today alone we've gone hiking and shopping, played at McGolden Arches and the beach. Tuesday we were at the lake. Yesterday we went to the Dollar Store to spend birthday money from Grammie. :)

And Saturday we have a fabulous Half-Birthday Pirate Party planned for a certain four and a half year old. :)

Yep. Life is good. Summer is good. I'm lovin' the 16+ hours of daylight we get right now. Luxuriating in the sunshine, soaking up the good stuff.

Tomorrow I'll try to finish up our vacation pictures and stories, since I left y'all hanging with just one day left to go. :) Sorry about that.

Until tomorrow, then?

June 13, 2011

7 Years Ago . . .

Seven years ago {yesterday} . . .

two best friends spoke vows and started on a journey.
They had no idea where that journey would take them. But it was an adventure. And they would face it together.

Seven years later, the journey is still an adventure. And we're still traveling it together. :)

Happy Anniversary, my love!

June 9, 2011


Sorry for the interesting layout goofs the last couple of days. Blogger is giving me fits. Please bear with me as I try to sort the html issues out. Thank you!

{Wenatchee. Lincoln Rock State Park. Day Three}

We are eager to be out of the desert. Have I mentioned we're not big desert fans? We break camp around 9:30am, the earliest we'll ever leave a cabin this trip, and head up North 97. We decide to skip a side trip to Lake Chelan in favor of greener landscapes and cooler temperatures. The scenery out the window goes from this . . .

. . . to this . . .

. . . to this in just a few hours. They call the Methow Valley "horse country" and I believe it. What I'm not quite prepared for, though, is how the Valley will charm its way into my heart and make me never want to leave.

We also pass the mighty Columbia River . . .

. . . and the muddy Methow as well. In fact, the Methow River keeps us company the last leg of our drive, weaving under the road several times only to pop out again to the left or the right of the highway. It's swollen with snow melt, but unlike Deception Falls, this river doesn't feel dangerous. In fact, I'd say it's probably pretty friendly when the rage of spring thaw subsides.

When we do finally arrive at Pearrygin Lake State Park, another river of an unexpected kind greets us:

Most of the tent sites and picnic areas are flooded. In what the park ranger calls "a legendary event", a local creek has overrun its banks and left an unbelievable trail of mud, rocks, and debris as it forges new channels to the lake below.

This is the road leading into and out of the park. Driving through it was an adventure!

Lucky for us, the cabins are untouched and still available. But the flood continues to flow, not fifty feet away, and the ranger visits several times throughout our stay to keep an eye on things. But more on that later . . .

We settle in and admire the views from the cabin door.

Pearrygin Lake, with north Cascades in the background.

Lovely, no?

Then we drive down the road to explore Winthrop.

Wooden sidewalks. Three-Fingered Jack's Saloon. Homemade ice cream.

What's not to love?

Pull up a saddle?

Don't mind if I do!

Caleb, too. He's practicing to be a cowboy.

The air is warm, but not hot. The pine trees, dust, and Methow River (which flows through the town) all the give the air a subtley spicy, earthly smell. I love it.


I dig the whole sexy cowgirl look. It's not my look, but it could be.

Oh yes, it could. :)

Tired and a bit hot, we head back to the cabin to cool off in the lake.

Which turns into a water fight. Of course.

Caleb takes the most hits. But then, he doesn't complain much.

Then we decide to have another look at the muddy flood.

The water isn't deep, but boy it's cold! Caleb walks through it with his water shoes, but Mommy braves it barefoot and Daddy soon follows suit.

We're blown away by the amount of water. And the amount of mud.

This poor picnic table! It never stood a chance!

The gate in the background used to open out onto a path. Now it's a stream. Once again, we find ourselves witnessing the pervasive and relentless power of water. Seems to be a theme on this trip.

We find a spot where the mud has dried. Caleb decides he likes the feel of the dried clay-sand-mud and plops himself down to play.

But Mommy and Daddy prefer the semi-wet stuff.

It's pillowy soft under my feet and smells faintly of wet concrete. It oozes and massages as I rub my toes in it. Ahhhhhh!


Squishy squish squish!

Clay and silt, mixed in perfect proportion to create a most delicious mud!

I beg Jason to let me bring some home, but he says no. :)

The sun sets on a happy family. We've gone west together, explored together, played in the mud together.

I call that a good day. And of the four we spend on the Loop, today is by far my favorite.

June 8, 2011

Steven's Pass, Leavenworth, and Wenatchee

{Day Two. 10:33 am. Driving along Highway 2. Climbing into the mountains.}

Still stinging from the disappointment of not seeing Wallace Falls yesterday, I help Jason keep a sharp eye out for a certain sign along the road.

It comes up so fast, we accidentally miss it the first time. Jason has to pull off on a gravel service road and execute a tight three-point turn to get us back on the highway and over to the little turnout we've been watching for: Deception Falls.

Caleb's been in the car for an hour and he's ready to run. We walk down a little path that meanders through some trees and abruptly spills us out in front of the falls.

My mouth drops open.

This is no elegant sheet of water, falling gracefully down to a quiet pool below.

This is an angry, violent river, riled and provoked by snowmelt from the mountains. White water crashes down with unbelievable speed, exploding with awesome force against the riverbank, the rocks, and itself. An icy spray spirals upward, misting us and making us wish for our jackets. An odd thought after the heat of the foothills.

And the roar! Conversation is impossible. There is nothing but the water. It's all I can see and hear and smell and feel. Its ferocity demands my attention and I stand spellbound, getting wet and cold.

{From the footbridge, looking upstream}

{From the overlook under Hwy. 2, looking downstream to the footbridge}

{Deception Falls}

Leavenworth is quaint and quiet after the spectacle in the mountains. We eat waffles for lunch in the Waffle Haus and enjoy the town's Bavarian charm as we wander through fudge shops, toy stores, and my personal favorite, the Kris Kringle Christmas Shoppe.

Accordian music drifts from the gazebo in the town square, which is perfectly framed against the Cascades like a scene from Sound of Music.

Jason and I agree this would be a fun anniversary spot to come back to, and after a quick trip to the Bavarian-styled Starbucks, we head out for Wenatchee and our second camp site.

Wenatchee. Brown, hot, dusty Wenatchee.

{Pinecones in the Park}

We don't arrive at Lincoln Rock State Park until mid-afternoon, by which time I'm cranky from the heat. In the 80s, at least. And as dry as the desert I grew up in.

Still, the cabin has an air conditioner and a separate sleeping room, so life isn't all bad.

And we share our camp site with this cute little critter. (At least, we do until Caleb discovers his hole and proceeds to dump every rock he can find down it. :( Poor little rodent. I hope he has insurance.)

We had planned to swim in Lake Entiat, right by the cabin, but the water is so frigid, we have to rethink our plan. Caleb cools off instead at the water pipe nearby.

We make popcorn after dinner and Caleb falls asleep between us on the futon while we watch Psych. Later, I stargaze and watch cars drive along the far side of the lake. The smell and feel of the air remind me of my childhood home in the desert, and East County San Diego, which we left for the rich green of the Pacific Northwest. Only it isn't green here. In spite of the lake and the Wenatchee River flowing nearby, the land itself is very dry.

I enjoy the cool, dry air and it's comforting familiarity. But Jason and I are not fans of the deserty landscape, nor the heat. Come morning, we're anxious to be off for higher altitudes and greener pastures.