Saturday, April 30, 2016

27-30, Not Pictured

I have exactly half an hour left in the month of April to compose and publish this post to properly conclude my little series. I didn't quite get all the images I wanted to collect - and some, like the window-screen shot above just don't do any of it justice. There are also places that have been photographed and mentioned in other posts but I didn't include here. And there is plenty I'm forgetting, I'm sure. 

Beneath the quiet hum of all my flower pictures and pithy words this month has been the frantic paddling of my little ducky feet as we go through the process of buying our first house, clear on the other side of the country. We will see it for real for the first time on the day we close. I'll share more about it once it's a done deal. This move will be very much of a homecoming for us, returning to the state we grew up in, yet haven't lived in in ten years. D's job will be the "easiest" of any tour we've done yet, and we will be getting used to a different style of work life for him. We are also anticipating staying put for at least the next five years, another unprecedented stretch of time in one place for us. 

The blessings are overflowing in the months ahead; I just need to remain focused on them and not be consumed by the stress of moving our household, having to leave school and friends and our home of the last 22 months, traveling back east, and pulling off this whole homeowner thing

I plan to spend the month of July napping. 

Thoughts are big and time is short, but I hope to pop in with some light and easy kiddo posts in the coming month while we get our schtuff together and prepare for the next big adventure. Wish us luck! 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

26, Typos

Oh, how embarrassing: that would be Dewy not Dewey in the title of my last post. Here's another picture, to make up for it. 

23, 24, 25 Rhododendrons and Dewey Mornings

Did I talk about the rhododendrons already? They are in full bloom right now and are far and away the whole town's favorite landscape plant. We've always had a big rhody at my parents' house, but I have never seen anything like these. They grow so big they can hardly be called shrubs, and are covered in blooms in every color imaginable. This was all on display at the mall last Saturday, with blooms on display for judging. This table above was only 1/4 of the whole spectrum. I was dazzled. 

Later that same day Amy and D returned from a day volunteering and brought me a clipping, which went right in my crowded kitchen window. 

I love sinks with a view, and the deep sill here features some of my favorite treasures and my few houseplants. With the swingset right outside there is always something interesting to watch, especially now that all 3 big kids spend more time playing outside without my immediate presence necessary. 

I warned you that I'd be overdoing the flowers in this series. But here it's the dewdrops that caught my eye. Or maybe it was an overnight rain, but these damp mornings have such a fresh quality out here. The air has a faintly pine smell from all that timber down by the water, the same smell that a walk in the woods by the ocean has. So clean and fresh, even in this little urban enclave. It's a unique air quality that will always remind me of Oregon. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

21 and 22, Regulars

This is not a good picture, and it isn't even my "usual" coffee drink, and frankly this particular one gave me such a case of her jitters that took the entire day to shake off, BUT it is here because of the fact that when I pulled up to the window the gal inside leans out and says "you want your usual?" And I just said "yes but make it iced this time, please". And that's the point where I know I've come to be a part of a town. Usually right in time to move. The thing I've learned about moving is that the hard part isn't leaving friends; those stay close in our hearts and Facebook pages. It is much more difficult to part with favorite routines, familiar cashiers, friendly (yet anonymous) faces that become part of our days. And don't even get me started on the kids' teachers, or my dear midwife who delivered Matthew. Sniff sniff. 

The best thing I've come to realize is that while these partings are hard, they only mean that there are new faces, places, and favorites yet to be met at the next home; I wouldn't have known any of them if we had just stayed in our little newlywed apartment ten years ago. 

One more picture, from Friday, on a related note: 

Dear husband patiently smiles while I take casual photos trying to capture the vibe of this little breakfast restaurant we go to from time to time. This has been as close as we get to a date out here - taking the smallest ones and going out to breakfast while the big kids are at school. It is lovely. This place is full of locals and local conversation, and has such a throw-back feel for me - a sense that I was at a place just like this many times before, somewhere. 

And that's the beauty of it all. There are some wildly different places throughout this great country but in each one there is a thread of the familiar and always a chance to feel at home. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

20, Kiddos

Okay, this doesn't quite go with my scenic blog theme for the month, but I didn't have any stand-out pictures for today so let's just check in with the kiddos for a change: 

Matthew has entered the stage where I can't get an in-focus picture of him because he just won't hold still. He's still small but I think he's just so athletic that he burns all his extra calories. He can roll and scoot all over his quilt and I can't exactly trust him to stay put any more. But he's smiley and happy and awesome and we all just love him to pieces. 

Over the weekend it was warm enough (according to the children) to fill up our tiny little pool for a bit of splashing. William and Caroline remain very good buddies these days and play very sweetly together when it's just them. 

Amy put her own hair up like Rey in the new Star Wars. She's been wearing her hair back more lately, at long last, and looks terribly grown up when she does. She's nearly done with third grade and pretty much dazzles me with her confidence and abilities now. Actually they all do that quite a bit, in their own right. Quite amazing to take a step back and think about where they all are these days. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

19, Timber

This picture falls under the heading of "photos taken from stop signs when I really shouldn't be taking pictures with my phone."  There are a number of views around town that impress me each and every time I behold them, and they are the images I wanted most to make part of this series. However, they are proving to be the ones most difficult to capture. Too much fooling around on my part and I get Caroline in the back seat saying, "Mommy, what are you do-ning?" 

So just before we left the library parking lot today I grabbed his picture. It hints at the rolliing mountains on the other side of the bay. You can see part of one of the giant ships that pull up here to load timber or wood chips to export to China. The lighting on the enormous piles of logs is poor, and this is only a fraction of the timber piles that line the water's edge on a daily basis. Maybe I'll go play journalist one of these days and drive into the lot for a better picture of it all. I know timber is a well-managed resource, but I can't help thinking: that's a lot of trees. Makes me think about just how vast this state really is. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

16, 17, 18, More Flowers

I could keep going with flower pictures - I must make sure to remember the tiny white, ordinary, daisy-type flowers that grow throughout the grass, the endless, exquisite Passion flowers on the back fence in late summer, and the camellia bush that pumps out heaps of large pink blooms all winter long. There's still a lot of April left; you can count on a few more horticultural observations on this curious climate of the PNW. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

15, Spring

There are about 6,548 other things on my mind tonight so I'll let today's photo speak for itself. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

14, Rosemary

I have not ceased to be amazed at what grows here, or on what a different scale familiar plants grow. The herb that can't survive a winter in the northeast, and barely survives the summer in the southeast grows like a hedge out here. This picture I took today in the little garden at the kids' school, where the rosemary tumbles over the stone wall, covered in little purple flowers. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

13, Downtown

Today's picture was taken almost a month ago, while waiting for lunch at one of our favorite downtown spots. On a nicer day there might be people at those tables. There is some impressive architecture around town, but most is a bit rundown. That sky? Pretty typical. In fairness, we have lots of nice, sunny days here, too, but if I ever had to name a paint color I'd pick that bright gray and call it "Oregon Sky." 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

11 and 12, Other People's Houses

There are two houses that I drive by every day that I just love. The one above showcases the best of the common house styles out here, the bungalow. It's just adorable. That's my car antenna slicing through the picture, as I tried not to look like a creepy person taking pictures while getting the kids out of the car. 

The next one is a tiny house on a street full of tiny houses - and NOT the trendy kind. It is the amazing lipstick-red rhododendron blooming in front of the slightly worn cornflower blue siding that makes this one worth looking at. Again, my stalker phone picture barely does it justice. 

Having lived only up and down the east coast, and admittedly in fairly affluent areas, the, um, appearance of neighborhoods out here was a bit of a culture shock. But there are plenty of gems tucked here and there and driving by my favorites always brightens my day. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

9 and 10, More at the Beach

Back to our favorite hiking spot at the ocean. These trees, and the fresh and clean quality of the air, aaahh. 

And this, a little evergreen sprig floating in a tide pool. Such a juxtaposition of forest and ocean. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

8, Snails

In the spring it is easy enough to find a snail on demand by just flipping over one or two of the large paver stones on the wall out back. The one demanding is usually Caroline. I'm just as fascinated, too, as I have never lived any place with snails as common as earthworms. I love their intricate and surprisingly fragile shells, and the funny way they stretch their faces out when they start moving.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

6, Fig, 7, Slide

In thinking ahead to the pictures I want to include in this month long project I fear I might be leaning too heavily on individual plant specimens but I must not let the fig tree in our backyard go unmentioned. I had never even eaten a fresh fig before, let alone picked one off my own tree. They are such funny little fruit on a funny little tree but anytime I am lucky enough to encounter them in the future figs will always make me think of here. 

I believe William took this picture, and I was about to delete it but instead I'm blogging it. Another thing we have all been grateful for about this house has been the large backyard and the huge wooden playground/swing set. My father-in-law reportedly scrubbed this whole slide clean when he and Don first got out to the house so it was ready for the kids. I think they all spend as much time running up it as sliding down. It's a very good slide. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

5, Fire

When we rented this house a big selling point was the wood-burning fireplace. D and I both grew up with fireplaces but hadn't yet had one in a house of our own. 

Almost two cords of wood later, we have loved it even more than we expected. It doesn't really get very cold here, but it is cold-ish for quite a lot of months, and quite damp at the same time. The light and warmth and family time that this little fireplace has provided will be one of our favorite memories of this house. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

4, Coffee

One small thing I will miss when we leave here is the extremely excellent coffee, made even more excellent by its wide availability from places like this - stand alone, drive-thru coffee shops where you roll up, turn off your car, and lean right up to the window (not a speaker) to place your order. Forgive me if I'm actually a dolt and places like this exist elsewhere in the country but this is the first and only place I've ever seen them. Coffee, especially my favorite latte-type drinks, is such a thing here that there is even a barista in the medical center. 

Incidentally, rainy mornings (like the one when I took this blurry picture while driving away) are made much friendlier by a little coffee stop. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

3, Green

To go with yesterday's front window view, here's one out the back. I'm sure you've seen our backyard in pictures here before, but this one, from about a month ago, captures the intense GREEN of the grass here. During the dry season, August and September, it all goes dormant and the yard is brown and thatchy. Once the rain begins in late October the color returns rapidly and this vivid green stays through the winter and grows like mad through spring and summer until it dries up again. 

Right now the deciduous trees and shrubs are leafing out again so the grass is no longer the only green in the yard. The seasons are subtle here, but still very much present. 

2, Rainbows

I have seen more rainbows in our 21 months out here than I have in all my previous years combined. Probably twice as many.  God's little reminder to smile through the rain, that He is always right there, all the time. 

This is also the view from our front window. Low, tiny, old-ish houses and windswept trees dominate residential areas around here. People walk past our house constantly, too, which was unsettling at first but I've come to accept as some part of the culture here. Not yuppy fitness walking, just people of all conditions getting where they need to go.  I admire them, especially when it's raining.   

Friday, April 1, 2016

Plans for April and 1, Ocean

For the month of April I'll be popping in daily with a picture of Oregon, something that I want to remember from our time here. 

First up, a view of the Pacific through the trees, on a turbulent day. 

I love this place for the way the forest drops right into the ocean, so different from everything I knew about the shore on the Atlantic side of the country.