Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Beard Whisperers

 Brandon made his musical debut as the bass player for Eugene's newest sensation, The Beard Whisperers.  Jake, Seth, Ryan and Logan were out of luck when Ricky moved away, taking his bass guitar with him and like any self-respecting garage band scrambled to find someone to take his place before their show.  Lucky for us Brandon not only has a a bass, but he also comes with an uncanny ability to grow facial hair, and two weeks later, here he is, in a band.  He was worried that his limited ability to play the aforementioned bass would be a problem, but I assured him that the bass player's most important role is to provide eye-candy for the girls and he rocked at that job.  He worked hard to learn his part and the show took place on Friday night.

The Beard Whisperers in action.  Photo stolen without permission from Michelle's blog because she is a much better photographer than I am.  Hopefully she considers theft a compliment.
The crowd that gathered in Jake and Annie's backyard on what was luckily a beautiful evening was treated by a talented group of guys who love music.  We spanned the generations from oldies to babies and everyone, especially the kids, had a blast.
The guys in the band are super fun, and they have really cool wives that I like to hang out with so I feel like I've hit the jackpot.  I always knew that I should be the incredibly hot wife of a rock star.

Rocky and Mac, official groupies
 The audience was the best because it was made up of such great friends.

Marcelle's guitar cake

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Short Short Story

Rocky enjoying some pea soup in what Brandon refers to as our outdoor European cafe
We have a new neighbor who is from India and I was trying to think of some kind of treat that I could take over to welcome her.  I asked Rocky if she had any ideas and this is what she said,
"We could make some surprise green beans and we could knock on her door and say, SURPRISE!  Green beans!!"
I liked the idea but in the end we went with some Voodoo Donuts.
The end.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us

 What better way is there to share your anniversary than to be on a trip to Camp Baker with the ward youth and staying in a tent with your own two beautiful girls?  There is no better way.
This time due to pillows and a new air mattress everyone slept well.  Especially Rocky.  She basically had to be peeled out of her bed.
Daisy on the other hand was an early riser and tried to make a quick escape.

I am a lucky lady to have six years with this stud and many more to come.

 I don't know who liked the sand toys more, my kids or the deacons.
 Rocky on the sand dunes practicing her posing.
I wish that I had taken more pictures of the youth jumping off the dunes because it was a blast.

Long Beach

After crossing the beautiful Astoria bridge we found ourselves in Washington and headed up to Long Beach where we were pleasantly greeted by cranberry bogs.  They weren't flooded, I guess that happens in October, but it was really fun to see how they grow.

 We also stumbled upon Marsh's Free Museum which is one of the most interesting places I've ever seen.  It is home to Jake the Alligator Man as well as several other must-see curiosities.  I was going to take some pictures, but I think that it is something that you have to see with your own eyes.  I am, however, a willing tour guide for anyone who is interested in making the trek out here for a visit.
 And if you do take me up on the invitation to visit our tour will sadly not include the Hungry Harbor where we unfortunately stopped for lunch.  The sign led me to believe it would have a pirate theme and decent coastal food, but in the end turned out to be false on both counts.  I was seduced by the skull with the fork and knife crossbones and failed to even think twice about entering an eating establishment with the name of Hungry Harbor. 
 Our next destination Cape Disappointment ended up being much less disappointing than our lunch had been.  We went out there to see the lighthouse.  When we got out of the car Rocky insisted that we tie her jacket around her waist like the old people we had been seeing at all our stops.  (Apparently the middle of September is prime time for touring oldies.)  When we tied it on she was so proud of how cool she looked.
 The lighthouse was beautiful and I after my experience with the Astoria Column I was only a little disappointed that the stairs were temporarily closed. 
 I took this picture because I felt like it was important to document.  Although you pretty much have to drag Rocky screaming into any type of indoor bathroom she thinks that it is absolutely imperative that any time she sees a Port-o-Potty that she must use it, which is pleasant for the lucky parent that gets to accompany her.  I didn't take a picture of all the outdoor potties that she used because I didn't really want to relive the moments, but this one was okay because Brandon took her. 
 And for those of you who are still hungry for more Goonies...here is Haystack Rock that was used as a key landmark in finding One-Eyed-Willie's treasure.
 As you can see two of the four of us were very enthusiastic about seeing it in person.  Maybe after they have actually seen Goonies they will have a change of heart.
 Rocky didn't cheer up again until we took her to her favorite Oregon destination...again...the Tillamook Cheese Factory (or fabrica which she always says because it is one of the words that she always says in Spanish.)
 Daisy had her chance to use her word "cheese" over and over while they sampled the different varieties and then of course we had to get some ice cream.  Now that I think about it the fabrica is one of my favorite places in Oregon too.
 Since we ended up not camping that night we had dinner on the way home.  This spot was surrounded by the ocean and was as beautiful as it was cold.  Luckily we had hot soup to warm us up.  We heated on our little stove that Rocky refers to as "the microwave". 
 And we finished with, s'mores.  Since there were no sticks to be found Brandon found some screwdrivers that filled in after being sterilized.
 Then we drove home and put our kids in their beds so that we could get a good nights sleep.
The end.


Since we have moved here we have always wanted to head up to the northernmost tip of the Oregon Coast to Astoria and since it was the last week of freedom for Brandon before he started his PhD we figured we had better take the chance.  On the way out there the weather was looking pretty overcast and for the first time of the year it felt like the fall had taken over.  This was a good thing for us because while the air conditioning in the car is out of order the heat is working fine.  The drive was pretty uneventful except that we did stop at Burgerville and Rocky ate french fries, which seems to be the only thing she remembers about the trip.  That and the gummy worms that we bought to snack on.  Next time I think it is important to take my kids on a trip just remind me that they will be just as happy going  to the local 7-11, maybe even happier.

On the road we passed a truck that was hauling logs and immediately after passed another one hauling bricks to which Rocky commented, "Well, there they go to build the houses for the piggies."

Luckily for us when we got to the beach the day had turned into a perfectly beautiful afternoon and we hung out with the shipwreck and played in the sand.  
 Brandon tested out his new skinboard, which turned out to look like a lot of fun and a good way to seriously injure yourself.

Even though  the girls play in the sand almost every day at our apartment complex, this was a whole new experience.

 It is even better when it is a little wet and sticks to your whole body.
 Next we headed to the old Battery Russell Fort.  During WWII the Japanese actually fired at the Oregon Coast trying to find this place.  I guess the huge guns that used to be there would shoot about 6 miles and were put there to protect the border.  Now it is an abandoned concrete shelter that is really cool to explore and, in a few of the back rooms, as Rocky said in her spooky voice is, "REEEALLLY SCAAARY!"    We were there in the day and it was well lit and innocent looking, but even I had to admit that it would be a perfect location to shoot some horror film about teenagers who, upon taking a trip to the beach stumbled upon the old abandoned fort and decided to spend a night being hunted by soldier ghosts...either that or at least the inspiration for an episode of Scooby Doo.

 Another thing that rocks about Astoria is the Column.  We got there just as the sun was starting to set and I guess Rocky was anxious not to miss it because she ran...and I do mean ran, up the spiral staircase to the top.  It was bad enough to walk up there myself because it was so high, but it was horrifying that she kept stumbling as she hopped from stair to stair.  I've talked with other moms so I know that I'm not the only one that gets images of my children being involved in horrible accidents and I just kept fretting that she would fall through the guardrails.  She was just fine of course, but by the time we got to the top I was almost in tears.  Brandon took both girls down himself and let me have a moment at the top to enjoy the sunset and calm down.  It really was such a beautiful view.  While I was up there I contemplated the fact that I was now officially an old worry wart and tried to figure out the exact moment when I started to cling to irrational fears.  This may have been it.
 Everyone was excited to sleep in the tent...at least for about the first 15 minutes.  Unfortunately the air mattress had a pretty steady leak and the girls (Daisy) didn't appreciate it.  Also, I had forgotten the pillows so the four of us had two pillow pets to share around.  We did the only fair thing...waited until they were asleep and then stole their little dog and duck for ourselves.  Daisy kept waking up and climbing over to share her duck with me and after Rocky raised a formal protest in the middle of the night Brandon just ended up using his jacket.  Needless to say there wasn't a lot of sleeping going on.  We had originally planned to camp for two nights but ended up deciding that one night of torture was enough.
 We waited uncomfortably until the sun was high enough that we could justify it as morning and started our day.
We had a warm oatmeal breakfast and packed up so that we could get to the most important part of the trip.

The entire city of Astoria is beautiful.  The streets are lined with historic homes and steep hills.  The neighborhood, however is mostly known for the filming of one movie that forever changed film history.
I was excited to see the Goonies House but for Brandon it was truly a Pilgrimage, and it wasn't complete until he and Rocky did the Truffle Shuffle out front.

 From the top of the hill at the Goonies House you could hear the symphony of barking from the Sea Lions below at the pier so we headed down to further investigate.

And this ends phase one of the Astoria trip.  Next post:  Washington.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Little Update about the Little Girl

 Daisy is officially 18 months!  At her doctor's appointment she was 40th % for height and 30% for weight and just as healthy as can be. 
She is talking more and more and seems to be picking up new words every day.  She says mama and dada of course, and it was no surprise to those of us that know her that her next few words were foods...cheese and banana.  She will also say "shoes" which makes perfect sense because her favorite thing to do is to sit by the door and try on all the shoes in the basket.  When she gets sick of trying them on she will pick one and walk around the house with one shoe on and the other foot bare.  She also is always wearing my pink beanie 5 or 6 necklaces, and she drags her blanket around everywhere she can, often having a meltdown when we tell her she can't take it outside.  It is okay with me though because when she has a tantrum it is the cutest thing you've ever seen.  She will throw herself on the ground, dramatically and kick her feet and for some reason it is completely hilarious.  I guess I should amend that last statement because it isn't that funny when she does it during Sacrament Meeting. 
She is a ham and loves to make people laugh, especially her dad.  When she is hungry she gets grumpy but when you give her something to eat she gets so excited that she dances...I mean, she literally dances and she does it almost every time we eat.  She is serious about her food and when I am trying to cook dinner she will stand behind me and pull on the pockets of my pants until I give her a piece of whatever I'm trying to prepare.  I guess that kind of tasting along the way will help her when she is a chef, but it isn't that easy for me to try to keep my pants up and cook at the same time.  
It is a little tricky to get good pictures of her because she kind of hides when she sees the camera.  I have to think of ways to surprise her.
She is a kid who is happy, loving, and completely adorable.  I love her little chubby cheeks and huge smile and the way she will snuggle when she gets tired.  Sometimes I get so caught up in writing about all the things that we are doing that I forget to take the time to write about who my little Daisy is.  She is a treasure and I consider myself lucky every time I hear her little voice call Mama.