|Part of my River family.|
|Clarno Unit Palisades|
Newberry National Volcanic Monument with our good friends Mike and Stephanie and their son Kevin. The campground is nestled into the Deschutes River and it was bliss teaching Gabi to fish. She didn’t catch anything but demonstrated the patience, focus, and techniques of a natural fisherman. At the monument, we hiked the Lava River Cave which is the longest lava tube in Oregon. We saw the Big Obsidian Flow and several other landmarks.
On the way home, we visited Dee Wright Observatory which sits on a huge lava flow. My last visit there was on an elementary school field trip. This visit was one of those rare instances where the visit was even cooler than I remembered. The view from the top is spectacular. We also stopped at Proxy Falls. The hike was longer than I expected and the girls just weren’t up for it, so I finished it solo. I’m glad I did. It was beautiful and serene and I could feel Dad’s presence the whole time.
Despite all the wonders we saw, we left much unexplored and can’t wait to return. The Cascades were born in fire and lava and so much of that is still exposed showing us this quiet period is just a lull. The mountains are napping but still very much alive. I love this state.
She decided not to play any sports this year, but after much coaxing, she tried an all-comers track meet during the summer. She was signed up for the 100-meter dash and 400-meter run, but only completed one after finding the starting gun to be too scary. Charley and I both enjoyed sports all throughout our childhoods and have always looked forward to cheering on our kids as they played. My biggest struggle being a parent is allowing her to be who God made her to be and not who I want her to be.
Of the things she does enjoy, she goes at them full force. Her current passion is for writing. Her class participated in NaNoWriMo and she wrote over 150 pages. She is still working on this story and is well over 200 pages. For Christmas, she asked for a typewriter. Thanks to her Oma and Opa, she got her great-grandfather’s. I love hearing the keys plink-plink as she writes. She is also passionate about art. My challenge is keeping her supplied with paper and pens. She also spends a lot of time creating funny and entertaining animations on her iPad using an app called FrameCast. She also plays a lot of Minecraft and AnimalJam. (Too much.)
This fall Danielle saved her money and bought a pet rat and all the stuff. His name is Xerxes and he’s adorable. Danielle has been doing a wonderful job of taking care of him and everybody in the house dotes on him, but he loves her best. He’s always climbing down from our shoulders to get back to her.
Gabi is also passionate about art, and our refrigerator and walls are covered in her drawings of kitty cats, some with wings, some with unicorn horns, and all are beautiful and happy. Gabi also loves Minecraft and Animal Jam (too much) and she and Danielle are not above hugging each other and pleading for more “screen time” using sisterly love against my rules. It usually works too. For Christmas, she also got a pet rat and the stuff. His name is Cricket and he’s pretty dang cute too.
I am also continuing to train at TNT Martial Arts. This year I earned a Green Belt II. I'm also running, biking, and strength training in hopes to try another triathlon this year with Lina and Amber. Knock on wood that I stay injury free. It doesn’t take much anymore. But mostly, while the kids are at school, I have been spending my time writing. I’m working on a story that I hope will become a Middle Reader novel. It feels like writing is the talent I was given, so I’m going to develop it and see where it goes. It takes a lot of faith to make writing a priority and invest this much time not knowing if it will ever help my family financially.
Hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!
Amy, Charley, Gabrielle, and Danielle
|Birthday fun with two wonderful women.|
|Oysterville girls with berry fingers.|
|At Tillamook Forestry Center. Miss you pops.|
|Proxy Falls magic|
|Garden in the fall.|
|Rain Chain doing it's thing.|
|Gabi teeing-off on one. ;)|
|and two more...|
|Dani and Uncle Reed|
|Smoked Turkey—so yummy!|
|Charley and Opa|