Thursday, August 7, 2014

Oregon Odyssey (2014) | Cave Junction

It is always such a pleasure to spend time at my parent's place in southern Oregon. The girls have a ball with their cousins exploring the yard, dipping in grandma's fountain, playing at the river, and learning cool stuff from Papa. The weather is hot, the beer is cold and there's usually a patch of shade to relax in somewhere in the beautiful yard.
Papa and Geneva
Piper, Marissa, and Geneva in the fountain
Geneva and Greg toasting marshmallows
Chrissy with a Cosmo and a C-
Burning wood
Cousins and doggies
Geneva celebrated her 9th birthday with the most amazing scavenger hunt. My parents gave her a card with the first of 9 clues (all in the form of a poem!) to lead her to her treasure of golden chocolate coins (one was stuffed with birthday currency). It was so much fun to follow her around the property and see her working out the clues.
One clue was hiding under the stepping stone she made last year.
Later in the day we celebrated with ice cream cake AND… 
 … Grandma Gina and Papa Mike! Who drove up from California to see us for the afternoon. :)
The birthday celebration would not be complete without a little horseback riding. We headed down the road to Out'n'About Treehouse Treesort for one of the best trail rides I've ever been on. 
Southern Oregon is much drier and hotter than the rest of the state. Luckily, there's plenty of cool water at GMa and Papa's house. We spent many of our hot afternoons splashing around the river (that's more like a creek in the summertime) which runs through the back of their land. There's quite a bit to do down there: catch crawdads, skip rocks, float (or jump) on inner tubes, sip refreshments, collect beautiful and interesting looking pebbles (or one large salamander--if that's more your style)… Or you could spend all day giggling at Baxter's ears as he gallops in and out of the water while also trying to convince you that he's a lap-dog and not well on his way to being an enormous Doberman.  

Cheers to nature!
"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back." -Arthur Rubinstein
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Oregon Odyssey (2014) | Sunriver

I feel so incredibly fortunate to have celebrated our 5th annual trip to the Sunriver Resort near Bend, Oregon with this group of friends. Four families come together to laugh, play, catch up, relax, try new adventures, and make lifelong memories. The husbands (from left: Greg, Ben, Dave, and Rusty) all went to college together. In fact, Rusty and his wife, Staci, went to junior high, high school, and college with my husband! It was very thoughtful for these fellas to all choose such amazing women to marry because now I get to have them in my life too! We each have two kids and "poor" Luke is the only boy. 
After our family left California in 2008, we saw far less of this core group of friends. It wasn't long afterward that we began gathering as a group for this summertime getaway. Below is a picture of the kids from the first year we did the trip. It is a beautiful thing to be able to see these eight pick up right where they left off, summer after summer. Since moving across the country in 2013, the distance and energy to get to Sunriver has increased significantly; however, the happiness and goodness that the trip does for my heart is worth every effort!
One of the best things about Sunriver is its "bikeability." Now that the kids are a little older, biking around the resort as a group is something we spend a lot of time doing. This year we attempted the "Sunriver Bike Barn Instagram Challenge." We accomplished half of the list and were proud of that!
 The Fellas: Greg, Ben, Rusty, Dave
 Geneva and Natalie might as well have been sisters given the amount of time they spent together between their births (three weeks apart) and our Oregon move. I LOVE seeing them reunited every year.
 The Little Sisters: Piper and Norah
 For the first time ever, we rented the same house a second year in a row this time around (and it's already booked for next year too). We're told the house was the "gem of the resort" back in the late '70s. Go ahead and let your imagination run wild… Think: sunken bathtubs, wet bars, brass fixtures… It's amazingly funky and dated and awesome. With four master suites, a dorm-style room for the kids, the guest house/kid zone, tennis court, and breathtaking sunsets from the back porch (below), it couldn't be a better fit for our group.
 Here we are sneaking across the golf course on our way to Rhythm on the Range, an outdoor concert on the driving range. It's a fun tradition for our group.
 A fantastic surprise this year was learning that our great friends from Sacramento were going to be in Sunriver for the first time this year and that their vacation overlapped ours by 2 days! 
One of the big hits of the trip this year was the introduction of the domino game, Mexican Train. I couldn't count the number of matches we played. The greatest part is that kids and adults can play together and while there is a bit of skill involved, there's also a lot of luck--so anyone can win and everyone can have fun!
 This is a "Mommy Version" of Mexican train where you add several Bloody Marys to the action.
How cute are these guys in their RayBans? 
 … And these two in their aviators!
 Our house sits between two holes on the Meadows course. We started a tradition last year that when the dads get to the first fairway (at the front of the house), the kids all run out and deliver beer. Then they hop on the carts and ride around to the next hole (back of the house) where they typically run back for more beers to deliver. 
 But really it's not about the beer--it's about joining their dads for a moment in the sunshine and being a small part of something they love.
 Without any adult input (or maybe they would say, "interference") the kids put on a Talent Show for us every year. There are different acts that include standup, singing, dancing, gymnastics, and sketches. There are costume changes, lighting, music, and refreshments (Ok--so the "refreshments" this year consisted of Slim Jims cut into bite-sized pieces--But, still!). I think that even if you weren't one of their parents, you would have been very entertained!
 Another huge highlight of the trip is the terrific food. We do a lot of cooking at the house. Typically, each family takes on one big dinner and then we come up with snacks, and lunches as a group. Rusty leads the charge on breakfasts and does the heavy-lifting with any extra meal-planning. 
No trip is complete without a bike ride to Goody's in the Village for homemade ice cream.
 Here's the bunch lined up this year from youngest to oldest:
Norah, Molly, Piper, Luke, Geneva, Natalie, Cameryn, Emma
Below is a pic from our first year where they are lined up from oldest to youngest.
 The Crew
The Crew
"Time spent with friends is always time well spent."
*If you're interested in a trip down memory lane, here's a link to our first trip with this group in 2010.
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This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)