Monday, February 20, 2012

Redmond Family Reunion 2012

VIEW pictures from our weekend

Friday, February 17:
Smith Rocks State Park
This will be the second year that my sister Liz has gathered her family together at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond, Oregon for a week.  Rick and I are going over again this year for the long President’s Weekend, with Kady and Luke driving over from Newport to meet us.  We are all staying with Gretchen in one of the suites at the lodge.  Staying down in one of two condo units will be Liz and Dave, Grandma Mac, Doug and Tommy (who flew out from New York), Kirsten and Kaila (who flew out from Colorado), and Reinhart and Kate, Eric’s father and step-mother from Vancouver.  Shawn and Eric were not able to come. 
            Rick and I leave Baker City around 10 on Friday for a leisurely drive over to Redmond.  No one else will be arriving until later tonight.  The weather is partly sunny and the passes are fairly clear with only minimal snow.  All in all, a good trip over in just over 4 hours. 
Tucker helps us move the cushions
to make up the hide-a-bed. 
            We stop for a little Wal-Mart shopping in Redmond and then catch an early dinner at Panda Express!  Check in at Eagle Crest around 4:30 and then some relaxing quiet time watching TV, reading, etc. before Luke and Kady arrive at 9:15.  We visit with them until Gretchen and Tucker arrive shortly after 11:15.  Finally around midnight with sleeping arrangements worked out and furniture moved, we are all down for the night!! 

Saturday, February 18:
            Tucker begins the “getting up” process and everyone soon follows – hard to sleep in for Luke or Kady when they are sleeping between the hide a bed couch and the kitchen counter….on the floor.  We are decided to take an outing this morning and the weather is cooperating magnificently!  Clear skies, but windy!  Another storm is supposed to be moving in, so this morning is the time to go.  Our destination is Smith Rocks State Park, just 5-6 miles north of Redmond. 
Rick found a "Tucker-size" cave!
            Luke and Kady, both of whom Tucker has attached himself to firmly already, travel with Gretchen, while Rick and I drive in our car.  We bundle everyone up to face the cold wind, but the sunshine is wonderful when we are in the wind protected areas! 
Our ultimate goal is the rock
 formation at
the base of the U:
Asterisk Pass
Ginger pops through a gap
returning from Asterisk Pass
            I haven’t been to Smith Rocks since my Live Learn and Teach grad class at Lewis and Clark College back in 1979!  Rick has never been here.  The rocks are gorgeous with their many shadows in the early morning sunshine.  All in all I take over 120 pictures in the next couple hours as we hike the trails along the northwest side of the Crooked River. We must pass nearly 10 groups of rock climbers in various locations, even though major portions of the park are closed to climbing right now due to a major Eagle Festival taking place next week. 
            Hiking with Tucker opens up all the world of nature through the eyes of a three year old!  We all have to climb inside a little cave, we spot giant heron tracks down by the water, we throw rocks into the Crooked River, and hurl a mullein spear.  We find pigeon feathers.  Tucker hikes with Rick in hand, Luke, and Kady.  We watch the climbers.  He moves flawlessly from one adult to another! 
Our group along the Crooked River at Smith Rocks
Rick & Tucker
            Toward the western end of the canyon, Rick heads down to the river with Tucker, while the rest of us continue up, eventually rock scrambling, to Asterisk Pass.  It is a fun little adventure.  We climb into the pass and gaze to the west – the clouds are hiding the Cascade peaks unfortunately.  We also find the wind blowing hard and cold up on the pass, so our stay is relatively short! 
            Back down to the river trail where Rick and Tucker have been throwing rocks into the water and watching the rippling circles emerge.  Tucker orchestrates a few group tosses to see all the circles at once!  A group picture in-between a large troop of Boy Scouts moving through on the trail, and then we head back up the river and canyon to the cars. 
            Grocery stop at Walmart for lunch goodies and then back to the condo room for lunch, naps, and relaxation for a few hours.  I play a few games of cribbage with Luke and Kady, everyone showers, and I attempt to defrost our soup for dinner which is still a solid brick when we take it out of the ice chest.  Uh oh!  Some time on low on the burner is in order.
     Around 3pm, Liz calls to say they have arrived and Gretchen and I head down to the lobby to greet them while they are checking in.  Dave has driven with Doug and Tommy in one Subaru, while Liz and Mom Mac in the other.  They couldn’t get five people AND all the stuff for the week into one car!  I run out to say hi to Mom and Doug waiting in the cars! 
Tucker points to the screen as he watches Jed draw. 
The shark is ready to gobble up the goldfish.  
Just before Liz called, we finally got connected with Jed up in the room.  Luke “talked” with Jed first. After I returned, the fun began.  Jed couldn’t get his Skype to work right so we couldn’t see him – he was Darth Vader cartoon on the screen.  But then he began to change his screen view to what we saw, and settled on a drawing program, from which he drew Tucker a stick man. Well, Jed didn’t realize that Tucker’s favorite game is to have people draw for him.  Then ensued an hour of Jed drawing, painting, and designing animated pictures at Tucker’s direction.  It was amazing to watch!  I made a video clip of the shark eating the goldfish!  We also had a volcano and a blue heron (both inspired from this morning’s walk at Smith Rocks.)  We told Jed he had a new calling in children’s entertainment if the professor deal didn’t work out!
  Finally time to head down to the condo and see everyone and get dinner started!  Liz and Dave have two side by side units near where they were last year – facing the river (can’t see it) on the east side of the golf course.  We saw a huge flock of Canada geese and a herd of elk grazing on the way down. 
A line-up of Liz's grandkids at dinner time:
Tommy, Tucker, & Kaila
Kirsty has arrived with Kaila and Laura.  Laura will be heading back down to Bend after dinner.  Condo 411 is the baby unit: Kirsty, Kaila, Doug, Tommy, and Liz and Dave are staying there.  Condo 412 is the entertainment and grandparent unit!  Mom Mac has the downstairs and Kate and Reinhart will be upstairs.  All noisy things will take place here, while the other is reserved for baby quiet times.  Hopefully a good plan for all! 
More soup, Dad, says Tommy
I get the soup on the stove (it finally defrosted enough to separate into two pots) and when I go to defrost the sausage, realize I grabbed the WRONG container from the freezer and I have MORE squash puree!  I am so mad at myself mostly because the soup would be better and has such good flavor with the sausage in it, but we eat it vegetarian!  Plenty of bread and salad to go with it, and then I have two types of cookies and apple/cranberry cake for dessert.  No one goes hungry, but they should go to bed bloated either! 
A happy Kaila
The little ones are getting a little cranky from their travel days, and Kirsty puts Kaila down around 7.  They had a very late night last night, arriving at the Bend airport around midnight!  We play with Tommy for awhile and then Doug takes him next door.  Must be game time!  A 5 round game of Dominoes fills the time until 9, a game which Luke wins soundly!  (Mom Mac, Dave, Gretchen & Tucker, Kady, Luke and I). 
Back up to the lodge when Gretchen heads to bed with Tucker, Rick crashes, and Kady, Luke, and I stay up for one game of cribbage. (Kady wins, Luke second, I….last L)   Even with that, I am in bed by 10:15!!  Early night, but everyone is tired. 
I will be up in the morning to take Liz and Mom to church for an 8:30 service.  We will be back before most anyone misses us! 

Sunday, February 19:
            Up at 6:45 to type on the computer for abit and then head out to the hall to do my bible study.  All is quiet in the room, and remains quiet.  I grab a little breakfast from the fdim of the night light in the kitchen, although I can hear Tucker talking softly with Gretchen in the bedroom.  Shortly before 8 I leave to pick up Mom and Liz and we go into Redmond to the Community Presby Church for worship.  Not sure I would bother another year – this is their contemporary worship and the style of the service is not one that I would like week after week.  If I lived in Redmond, I might have to commute down to the Bend church!  I would have to give the traditional service a chance first – I am more of a contemporary-traditional blend advocate. The best part of heading off to worship this morning was the opportunity to view all the Cascade mountains in the beautiful morning light - clear and white and cold!  
            Anyway, back to the resort around 10 and take Mom and Liz back down to the condos.  I leave the car there, and hitch a ride back up to the lodge with Gretchen.  Now we all have a good excuse to walk back down and the car will be available for driving home later at night! 
            Luke, Kady, and Rick are watching old Law & Order reruns on TVs – no one got moving too fast around here.  I think everyone needed a good night’s sleep! 
Kirsten and Kaila
            Around noon, Luke, Kady and I walk down to the condos. I forgot I had my camera in my pocket and never turned around to take a picture of the mountains, which are visible from the far side of the golf course pond. Kady and Luke walked with their bedding laundry wrapped around us so they could do a little laundry in the condo machines.  Probably not the best choice, as bedding is a little large for these small units, but they got it done! Rick opted for a little more R&R for the afternoon and walked down around 4pm. 
            Afternoon is a chaos of babies awake, babies crying, babies asleep, adults in and out, napping, and some good game playing.  I went down to the sports center with Luke and Kady and we played some ping pong.  They continued playing and went for a walk.  I played several rounds of Spite and Malice with Mom, a Qwerkle game was played after Luke & Kady returned, and eventually a round of Quiddler after Kate and Reinhart arrived!  There is no lack of someone willing to play a game with this crowd! 
Tucker and Tommy find play partners in Luke & Kady
            Rick and I took a walk down along the river right before dinner.  No snow unlike last year!  I forgot to bring my camera.  Maybe tomorrow morning – there is a possibility for some tonight. We headed down river to the resort boundary and then back up the East End Trail to the main road. 
            Kirsty and Gretchen are in charge of dinner and prepare an excellent chicken enchilada casserole.  It tastes like the one I remember Mom making, so pretty sure it is an adaptation of her recipe with the olives, etc. in it.  Was very good.  Also had salad, flourless chocolate cake and ice cream, and wine slushees for dessert! 
Tucker & Kaila play together
Silly Doug and son, Tommy
            After dinner we did not get pictures taken as children were put to bed relatively quickly.  Hope I got enough of everyone in candid shots.  I didn’t get a group picture of the little ones in their tie dye.  Will have to ask Liz for one if possible before Gretchen leaves tomorrow.  We DID play another round of Quiddler and then a game of Dominoes!  Quiddler for me was an all-time LOW score!  One hand I held 6 consonant cards, fortunately mostly 3 and 5 point letters, none of the really big ones, so only a 31 point loss.  The Dominoes game was a rotating clientele as young parents dropped out and others filled in! 
Quiddler game: Mom Mac, Luke & Kady
            Back up to the lodge room around 9:30 to find all quiet.  Gretchen had come up around 8:30 to put Tucker to bed.  Luke and I stayed up to 10:20 playing a couple short rounds of cribbage (he won both, but the second game I was only 1 point from winning, but he got to peg first and snatched my victory from me.) :(   
Monday, February 21:
           Up around 6:15 to blog on computer and then we all pack up for the return trips.  Luke and Kady need to be on their way by 9, as Luke has to work today at 1 at the Rec Center.  So….time to get people moving around here! 
Tucker and his buddy, Luke
            As usual, once we get going, we are in “time to hit the road” mode, and Rick has most of our gear out to the car by 7:45.  We leisurely grab some breakfast and help Luke and Kady finish packing up while visiting with Gretchen and Tucker.  We said all our goodbyes last night, so will not be heading back down to the condos. 
            Luke is sending some jackets and a TV stand home with us and taking his mini table tennis, plus the good paddles and a few other goodies, off to Newport.  All packed up, goodbyes to Gretchen and Tucker, and we part ways on Hwy 126 at 8:30 am, Luke and Kady to the west toward Sisters, and Rick and I to the east toward Prineville.  Gretchen will stay in the lodge one more day, and then head for home while Tucker spends the week with Grandma and Grandpa! 
Snow around Austin Junction
            A smooth trip home, although we run into more snow than we did heading over.  Light snow from John Day on, and considerably more snow going over Occhoco Summit as well.  We stop in John Day for a quick Subway sandwich to share and home by 1:30 pm.  Rick drove the whole way while I worked on finishing up some Christmas angels in needlepoint!  (Yes, I am already working on NEXT Christmas!)  Had the text from Luke and Kady at 12:40 announcing their safe arrival in Newport! We saw elk and deer coming home, as well as two bald eagles in a tree just opposite Salisbury Junction near Baker City. 
            A good weekend of family!  Always good to see Kirsty and Doug – the condos will be lively this week with all the little ones!  Hopefully some moms and dads will get caught up on some missing sleep!  And all the grandmas and grandpas – greats as well – won’t get too worn out!  

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