Thursday, July 31, 2008

I've Been Blog-Tagged!

First, I removed all my auto-notifiers before I post these photos to the blog...not sure I want all my relatives seeing my kitchen sink or toilet...If they come to the website to check it out, lucky them. :-) I'll put them back on the auto-notify after this is over...
So Candace blog tagged me. The idea is take pictures of all the following things, without cleaning up, wiping down, or hiding things first. I won't say I followed the rules entirely, but I didn't clean my house specifically for these photos. Does that count? Let's put it this way--if I had to photograph my kitchen sink in it's natural state, I wouldn't make this post.

So here goes:
1. The fridge. No big deal, really. Costco gets about 70% of our grocery budget--hence the mega size salsa, feta, garlic, Gogurt, etc., etc. What isn't from Costco, really?
2. My closet. I really like those solid color shirts from Target...
3. Self-portrait. Can I make this one smaller? No make-up--that's not part of the blog-tag rules, but I just wanted to get this done.
4. Favorite room. Right now, it's this one, since I just steam-cleaned the floor. Not sure really which room is my favorite in general--they all have their pluses and minuses.
5. Kitchen sink. It doesn't get cleaner than this. Focus on the pretty flowers in the window, not the dishes in the sink.
6. Laundry room.
7. Toilet.
8. What the kids were doing at that moment--CHORES. Yessss! Owen was playing--getting him to do chores at 4 years is more of a chore for me than him. Guyan, however, is mature enough to not complain and to do them quickly. So good.
9. Dream vacation. I'm not sure either, but I think I'd go with Candace on this one and say almost anywhere where I didn't have to worry about how much things cost. And it would be somewhere warm and with Sean. Depending on my general mood, and how well the kids were getting along, they may be with us, or at Grandma's. :-)
10. Favorite shoes. My Tevas would be in this picture too, if I could find them.

And there you go! Not too painful, really. Now I blog-tag Michelle and Nicole. Go for it, ladies!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just Around the Horseshoe Bend...

We went for another hike today, this time up toward Mt. Baker. There are quite a few hikes up there that I've had my eye on for a while--Lake Ann, Excelsior Pass, Bagley Lakes, Chain Lakes, etc., etc.--but they either are not too kid friendly, or are still covered with snow (or both!). So, in a compromise, we took a hike along the Horseshoe Bend Trail, just east of Glacier. I'm pretty sure this is the same one our friends, the Bergmans, took a hike on a couple weeks ago.

It was an overcast day, and the mist hung over the Nooksack the entire time. Very cool!

For much of hike, at least one of us was waiting for the rest of the group. We took Martha, my mom and dad's dog (she's on vacation at our house right now), and she's not exactly the best leash walker ever. And oh, the smells in the forest--so many scents, so little time! The boys were also unsure if they actually wanted to do the hike. They love being out in nature, they just dislike moving through it by hiking. I'm hoping that changes--maybe someday they'll complain I'm too slow. They'd have liked to have just stayed by the river making "awesome poses."

Or, they'd have been happy as clams just walking back and forth on this log, as in the video below. We spent about 20 minutes here, just after they'd been begging to go back to the car. When we said it was time to go back, they'd forgotten all that begging, and wanted to walk the log "just one more time, for a world record!" Boys.

That's about it for our hike today...hope everyone had a great weekend.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ferndale Pioneer Days Grand Parade

Ferndale had its annual Pioneer Days Grand Parade today. Guyan was in it, riding on the Cub Scout Pack 26 float. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get any good pictures of my own child, but the building in the back is over 100 years old...I focused on it for Pioneer Days, haha. You can see the float here--it was designed to conjure up the image of a pioneer schoolhouse. Use your was very good and won second place. And if you can find that little hand and the yellow Wolf hat in the middle…well, that’s Guyan. I also didn’t get any good pictures of Sean, who has fully committed to being Wolf Den Leader this next year. He’s even got the shirt…I know, I should get a picture of that! Next time...

Owen and I watched the parade, and did our best to gather up all the candy we could. Gotta love a good ol’ fashioned parade where children risk their lives for a Bit O’ Honey that their parent is just gonna pilfer from them anyway (who? me???).

After all that candy eating, where I should have been is with the Jazzercise ladies, working it all off. Maybe next year, when Owen’s five, he can sit on the sides and watch the parade while Mom, Dad and Guyan are all participating in it…heeheehee…I hope you all know I’m kidding.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Whistle Lake Hike

By the way--we got our new car!!! So exciting! It's a Prius, and with the cost of gas right now, I feel like the shackles have been removed, and we can actually drive somewhere to have an adventure...I've got to get some pictures of it to post...later...

So anyway, on to the adventures! On Sunday we went down to the Anacortes area to go on a hike. We have a book listing the best hikes in Washington for families. One of the hikes in the book is around Whistle Lake in the Anacortes Community Forest Lands ( Great hike! There are TONS of trails in the forest, and much of it has very little elevation gain--good for small legs. There are also some hills to climb, so there's something for everyone.

When we first got there, I spotted a snake slithering along the water's edge. Sean, bravely :-), caught it so the boys could touch it and look at it up close. Such a good dad...I was the good mom, took pictures, and stayed away from the snake.

From there, we hiked on until we found a little spot to sit and enjoy our Cheetos (a highlight of the hike from the boys' point of view, I'm sure). We watched some people across the lake jumping off cliffs into the water. Young fools, they must be...

So we trekked on around the lake, and heard some commotion...more people jumping off cliffs. Most appeared to be about college age, and they were having a grand time. Sean started saying it looked like fun, the water was pretty comfortable, etc., etc., and I could just tell he wanted to do it. After watching about 5-10 people jump, and seeing no blood gushing from the jumpers (only a couple belly-flop/body slap splashes), I gave him what he needed--"why don't you try, honey?" He was on top of the cliff in less than 5 minutes. See him in the picture below? He's in the navy shorts, about a third the way down to the water. Crazy man, but I love 'im.

So after this, we started heading back to the car. Of course in a place like this, there should be geocaches all over the place! Not quite so...there were a few, but none close around the lake. We had a "travelling coin" that we needed to drop off, so we were thinking we'd try to find one on the way back. Unfortunately, the batteries died on the GPS, so it made it difficult--BUT I DID IT ANYWAY!!! At 0.19 miles from the cache, the batteries died, but using the description and a hint of the location of the cache, I found it at the top of a hill named Sugar Cube. Awesome. I am so good...of course I have no pictures of the success, since I forgot to bring the camera with me (the batteries were dying on it too), but I promise--I did it!

And finally, on the way home, we took a picture of this house, which I figured my mom would appreciate...

Great day! Anacortes, with Washington Park, and now the forest lands, will definitely be a spot for repeat adventures for the Cools.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cub Scout Pack 26 Parade Float Preparation

This past Saturday was the day to build the Cub Scouts' float for the Ferndale Pioneer Days parade. I usually work on Saturday mornings, so Owen and I went off to work while Guyan and Sean went to build the float. There were a handful of scouts there and their families--apparently the scouts had a good time building for a while. By the time Owen and I arrived, the scouts were all off playing in the woods, and the parents had taken over the building and painting.
We all had a great time--Owen had boundless energy (he is four, after all!).

The theme this year was "Pioneer Women" can imagine the reaction the Cub Scout Committee Members had when we found that out! Didn't think the scouts would go for dressing up in drag... We decided on building the float as a schoolhouse, with one of the scout moms (not me, thank goodness!) as the teacher. It turned out pretty good! My mom and dad lent us the trailer--quite a transformation, don't you think, Dad? These are pictures of the float not quite finished. Stay tuned for pictures of the final product after the parade next weekend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Picture from our Summer Vacation

Yay! The problem with posting pictures fixed itself (Lord knows it had nothing to do with me!). So here goes!

Like I said, we stopped a lot for geocaches for the DeLorme Challenge in Washington. This is at a Pioneer Cemetery in Union 51, I believe...

On the way down to Tumalo, Owen spent some quality time making wishes at the rest area. I just love this picture and couldn't resist.

This was a really cool place in Oregon--the Peter Skene Ogden Viewpoint on Highway 97, north of Redmond. The cliffs are about 300 feet high (or is it yards? I dunno--I'm bad with measurements), and go STRAIGHT DOWN. We were standing on an old highway bridge and took this picture.

This is when Owen wasn't feeling well. Can you tell? Dory was having quiet time on her own cot, too, and thankfully didn't catch whatever Owen had (she also didn't drink the reservoir water).

Just Mom and Owen chillin'. I think the ibuprofen was working...

Sean and my dad were being funny here...or so they thought, at least.

When the Cool-Black cousins get together, there's bound to be ice cream involved. This was on our day trip to Sisters, location of the best quilt shop ever (

So cute...ahhhh.

Another cute picture of Owen at the park in Sisters.

When we went to the river to take a dip, the rest of us adults were fine letting Sean wrangle the children (they had life vests on!).

And Sean taught Guyan how to make a "kazoo" out of grass (you know what I'm talking about, right? I don't know how else to describe it).

And this is how you could find my dad--sitting and reading--about 90% of the time. Of course. Three books in six days.

At the Lava Visitor's Center, the nature ranger was impressed with my cousin Nathan's knowledge--which Nathan had no problem sharing :-)

Here's almost the whole gang on the nature walk at the Lava Visitor's Center--Sean, my aunt Cindy's husband Dave (aka Dave A), my dad, Cindy, Diana, and the kids, Owen, Guyan, and my cousins Nathan and Lindsey.

Guyan also helped the ranger describe something about the lava rocks.

We took a walk in the Lave Tube Cave--it went for about a mile! Owen was okay with it at first, but preferred to be carried.

Group photo of the cave dwellers--back row: Dave A., my mom, my dad, front row: Nathan, Lindsey, Guyan, me, Sean and Owen.

Cheering on the Bellingham Bells minor league baseball team on the Fourth of July in Bend. Great fun, and our team beat 'em bad!

On our way home, we stopped to see Sean's sister Traci, her daughters Tanisha and Justine, and his mom Linda, who was visiting from Medford. Tanisha's baby X'zaijah turned 1 year old on the 4th of July, and was busy showing us all how quick she can move know that she's walking (but of course I didn't get a picture of that. Good one, Melinda).

And finally, Traci, Sean and Tanisha.

Phew! All done. Hopefully these post without a problem, and you get to enjoy our pictures!


Sean, Melinda/Mindy, Guyan and Owen

Summer Vacation

We got back from our summer vacation on Saturday, and this being Wednesday, it's probably high time that I made a post for the blog. At least I'm not obsessing and spending way too much time on it....I'm doing that with quilting and sewing. Thanks Mom. Bet you never thought that would happen when I weaseled my way out of home ec in the eighth grade. :-)

We spent our vacation in Wenatchee, WA (one night) and Tumalo near Bend, OR (five nights). Our family was there, plus my mom and dad, my niece Dory, my aunt Cindy and her family, and Cindy's friend Deena and her daughter...did I get everyone? Oh yes--Diana, a longtime friend of my parents, also joined us. Oh and Deke and Debby stopped by....Now I think I got everyone. There was a lot of people, but things went pretty smoothly. No chipmucks harvested my hair this time for their nests (very traumatic experience four years ago at this same campground).

So what'd we do? On the first day, we traveled to Wenatchee to see the Apple Run Car Show. The ride over was great--we used a technique that Sean's friend (father of five kids) uses to ensure sibling harmony on long rides. Pay the kids a quarter for every 20 minutes (or whatever length of time would hold their interest and effort) of good behavior. And when they want you to buy some little trinket souvenir or candy, they have their own money! It worked fabulously! Owen didn't earn his quarter a couple times, but slept for at least a few hours--I was tempted to pay him double during the naps.

We also made a few stops on the trip to find geocaches in the different map pages of the DeLorme maps of Washington. It's a challenge that we've been doing with geocaching (, and hope to complete in the next couple years. That way, we can say we've been all over our state and seen it all.

When we arrived in Wenatchee it was SO HOT. Probably around 100 degrees. Or maybe since we were coming from the naturally air-conditioned northwest Washington, it was really only 90 degrees, but we were so *sensitive*. Sean looked around at the car show, but the boys and I just sat on our duffs for a few hours. Too hot to move. That night, we stayed at Lincoln Rock State Park, and we all took a dip in the reservoir there. COLD. Just ask Sean who tried to swim in it. We think Owen drank some...because a couple days later in Tumalo, Owen had a high fever and was hallucinating at nighttime. Thankfully, ibuprofen worked great to keep his fever down, and it passed in about 24 hours.

While we were in Bend (and Owen was healthy), we visited the city's pool (awesome!), went in the river, went to the small town of Sisters to visit the best-stocked quilt shop EVER, visted the Lava Tube Cave and Visitor's Center just south of Bend, and cheered on the Bellingham Bells at a 4th of July baseball game. A great time was had by all...I would show you in pictures, but for some UNKWNOWN REASON the pictures won't post. Hopefully I can fix that and post pictures, but until then, just take my word for it.

Love, Melinda