Playing in the Sand

I don’t know why I dread sand. I always loved playing in it when I was a kid. I remember my dad made me a huge sandbox right behind our house that took a whole dumptruck load of sand to fill up. My brother and I played for hours in the sand either playing with trucks and tractors or cooking up a whole array of foods with sand as the primary ingredient.

Now though, I’m responsible to keep things clean, so it has changed my whole perspective on sand. I think it’s the thought of sand in the shoes, sand in the hair, sand in people’s ears, sand in the bedsheets at night, sand in the car, sand everywhere, that I don’t get too excited about. Last week, my sister-in-law decided we should take seven cousins to go play at a beach on the Oregon Coast. It was fun! I enjoyed taking pictures of the kids playing to their hearts content. It was good for the kids too, because they don’t care if there is sand in their hair or in their bed or wherever. They just get to be one with the sand and that’s what matters. (They all did have to take showers that night, because they had sand everywhere, in their hair, in their ears, you name it. I managed to only get it between my toes, but I probably didn’t have as much fun as they did. Although taking pictures is a favorite of mine, so maybe I did.)

JD Boy Buried

Some of the kids dug a deep hole. JD Boy wanted to show how deep the hole was. (You might notice that he has a splint on his left hand. He fractured his hand about a week ago while roller blading.)

Baby and Sand 2

Baby just loved throwing the sand. She just scooped up sand and threw it and repeated the process over and over. She was in sand heaven.

Baby and Sand 3

She also found it challenging to climb the sand hills. She always was asking me to pick her up and carry her, but instead, I stood there and took pictures of her struggling. She doesn’t look too bad for the struggle. It was good for her.

Zippy Jumping

The older girls enjoyed turning the sand dunes into a gymnasium. They jumped. They whirled. They flipped. They cartwheeled. They loved the soft landing.

Animals in Everglades National Park

Of course, birds are our favorite to see in new places, but we saw some very interesting animals too. Reptiles definitely ruled the day. We saw very few mammals. I’m not sure if we saw any mammals while we were in the Everglades National Park. We couldn’t even think of any squirrels that we saw there. Oh, I remember now, we saw some dolphins. We weren’t able to identify which kind though.

Here are a few pictures we caught. (Captions: Top-American Alligator; Middle-Congregation of Alligator Hatchlings; Bottom-American Crocodile)

American Alligator

Congregation of Allegators

American Croc

Here is our list from Everglades of non-bird animals that we saw (both reptiles and mammals.)

American Alligator (and a congregation of hatchlings)

American Crocodile

Florida soft-shell turtle (in pond)

Common Snapping Turtle

Unidentified Sea Turtle

Unidentified Dolphin

Birds in the Everglades National Park

We were very excited to take some time to visit the Everglades National Park. We left the rainy Pacific Northwest to soak up some much needed Vitamin D and whatever else we gain from real sunshine.

We saw so many things at the park, that we just can’t find in the Northwest that it was a real thrill. We went on a (long and slow) canoe trip in search of manatee and other mangrove swamp wildlife. We saw—drum roll—a Great Blue Heron and a Belted Kingfisher. I don’t know if you can hear a little disappointment in my voice—both of those birds live in the Northwest. And, besides that, we had already seen a Belted Kingfisher between every pair of telephone poles along the highway. Oh, well, it was nice to get some sun. (And actually, we rarely see the Kingfishers around here, so I rather like them.)

Okay, for real, we did see a lot, but most of it was just along the side of the road.

Here are a few pictures that we managed. As always, there are a few pictures we wish we would have gotten of exciting things we saw, such as the Rosette Spoonbill. But we got some pictures that we are pretty excited about too.

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron with his fish

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron watching intently for his next fish

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret checking his hairdo in the mirror.

Great Egret

Great Egret standing pretty

American White Ibis

White Ibis protecting her nest


Cormorant with swimmer’s hair.

All of these pictures were taken at Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park. And most of them were actually taken while we were waiting on the very slow process of getting through the ticket booth. It was an amazing stop that day. If you’re a birder, and in that area, I highly recommend the stop.

Last, but not least, I want to show our very special bird that we got to see on this trip. We were all hoping that we could see this bird on this trip. It is quite rare and, oh so pretty. Check out the feet on this guy. We saw it at the same location.

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

Here is our bird list from the Everglades

Purple Gullinule Northern Mockingbird
Pied-billed Grebe Glossy Ibis
Green Heron Cormorant
Black-crowned Night Heron Rosette spoonbill
American Crow Black vulture
Little Blue Heron Turkey vulture
Anhinga Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret Great Egret
Great Egret White Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron Blue-winged Teal
Belted Kingfisher Green-winged Teal
Tri-color Heron Common Grebe
White Ibis American Coot
Common Gallinule Fish Crow
Cardinal Osprey

Mt. Rainier

This should have been posted awhile ago, but we all need to be reminded at this time of year, what the wildflowers looked like this summer, right?
These are from a trip that we took to Mt. Rainier in August.

G'tums at Mt. Rainier
A rose among wildflowers!

I love the great outdoors!“I love the great outdoors!”

The CrewThe Crew

Trail through Paradise to Mt. RainierThe trail

Mt. Rainier is getting shorterThe Mountain — well, a little bit of it, anyway

Wildflowers at Paradise at Rainier National Park
The wildflowers

Western Anemone at Mt. Rainier
Western Anemone

Magenta Paintbrush
Magenta Paintbrush

Alpine Aster
Alpine Aster

Wildflowers - Lupine, Broadleaf Arnica
Lupine and Broadleaf Arnica

Rosey Spirea
Rosey Spirea

Baby looking to see what's over there
“What do I see?”


Nice Lighting
I don’t know what this is, but I just thought the lighting was neat.

Talk about a eye-candy. We definitely got it that day. The colors were in every hue, kind of like the inside of a gum-ball machine, oh wait, it was way better than that.

Mt. Shuksan

We’ve been exploring in the mountains again! For a long time, my husband and I have wanted to visit Mt. Shuksan. My grandparents had a six foot painting of Mt. Shuksan hanging in their living room the whole time I was growing up, and when I learned that this same mountain was within driving distance, I wanted to see it for real. A couple of days ago, we were finally able to make the trip. My parents also were able to go with us, so my mom was also able to see in real life the painting that she had enjoyed in her parents’ home for a long time.

Here is my favorite picture. Now you might see why I so badly wanted to go. Is that stunning or is that stunning? This actually is the same perspective that my grandparents’ painting was.

Mt. Shuksan

I have several pictures of Mt. Shuksan, taken from two different little lakes that reflected it’s image. So if you’d enjoy seeing the rest, here is the link. I think, it’s worth your time to check the rest of them out, personally.

While we were there, we enjoyed a picnic and this was the view from our picnic table. The autumn colors are just exquisite, I think.

Fall Colors

We also went on a hike called the Chain Lakes Trail. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the hike, because we had an appointment in the evening. I guess this means we’ll just have to go back. (I can’t wait!) The fall colors along the trail were in all of their glory. Here are few shots from the trail. (The mountain in the first picture is Mt. Baker.)

Mt Baker from Chain Lakes Trail

Autumn on Chain Lakes Trail

And last but not least, is a picture of our three tireless hikers.

The three speedy hikers on Chain Lakes Trail

There are so many more beautiful photos on my Mt. Shuksan flickr set. If you have a minute to take a visit, you’ll enjoy them. I promise. If you live within any sort of driving distance of the North Cascades, I highly recommend a visit to Mt. Shuksan. I’ve heard it said that it is the best kept secret in Washington State.

Pictures from Alaska

I don’t often get to go places with just my husband. This summer, the two of us actually got to take a trip together–just the two of us. It was the first time to do that since our first child was born (over twelve years ago). We were very lucky to be able to make a trip to Alaska together. I do hope that I can take my kids up there someday too, because it was one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.

These are just some (lots of) random photos from our trip. It was stunningly beautiful. The camera just doesn’t do justice of showing what my eyes soaked in every day there. But it’s a pretty good shot at it.

The first several are from Denali National Park.

My photographer (my husband)

Denali National Park

Moose in Denali


Dahl's Sheep

View from Polychrome Peak

View from Polychrome Peak

Wonder Lake

Mt. McKinley
Mt. McKinley (Denali)

These last ones are from Kenai Peninsula.

Kenai Peninsula

Poppies on Kenai Peninsula

Salmon on Kenai Peninsula

I hope I can go back again someday. I sure feel very privileged to have been able to make this trip and at a time when the weather couldn’t have been nicer!

Rosario Beach

Rosario Beach is one of my favorite spots in the world. (If you’ve followed my blog or Facebook long, you already knew that.) We recently made an unplanned trip there. We just zipped over there, because we had tried to see something not far away that didn’t work out.

We did all the usual stuff that we like to do there. We went searching for those perfectly round smooth stones to use as skipping rocks. Then we had a try to see who get manage the most skips. Those of us that are beginners spent more time practicing and honing our skill, so that we won’t stay beginners forever.

G'tums Skipping Rocks

My boys think they are monkeys that have been moved to the wrong continent. They love climbing. At Rosario there is this one specific root that they always climb. It started when I was pregnant with G’tums. I have many pictures of them at different ages climbing that root. Someday I’m going to compare the series to show how they’ve grown compared to the root. This time it was in church clothes, no less.

G'tums Climbing the Root Rosario JD Climbing Rosario

We climbed rocks.

G'tums Rock Climbing

Climbed stumps.


Ran down trails.

JD Boy (age 9) climbing

Sat down for a break.

Zippy (age 12)

Went tide-pooling in search of the coolest hermit crab in the neighborhood.

Tidepooling Rosario

Gave Grandpa a thorough lesson in nature study.

Grandpa and Baby Rosario

Hollered for the fun of it.

Toothless Grin - Gtums (age 6)

And visited with family that had come to visit.

Three Bumps on a Log

Rosario beach is always a fun place to go. This trip was no exception!

Saguaro Cactus

There are two things that I have wanted to see for a long, long time. I guess when you live in a rainforest, or nearly a rainforest, you long to learn about the desert. Anyway, for a long, long time, I have wanted to see a Roadrunner and I have wanted to see Saguaro Cactus. When we went on our trip several weeks ago, I finally got to check both of these things off my list. I was quite excited about that.

This little Roadrunner came right up to beg scraps from us while we ate a picnic lunch. We were so excited, that we stopped eating for awhile just to look at him. I mean you just don’t see one of these guys in the Pacific Northwest.

Road Runner

Just a few feet from where we ate our picnic lunch, we saw these special Saguaros. These aren’t just plain ole’ Saguaros, they are crowned Saguaros. There are only like 200 of them in the world. I don’t know if that’s the exact right number, but it’s something like that.

Crowned Saguaro in Sabino Canyon

And then a shot of some just plain ole’ Saguaros. They just look so neat, I think.

Sabino Canyon

I enjoyed my visit very much to the Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon and the whole Tucson area in general. I was so thrilled to finally see the giant cacti and the famous Roadrunner. But I’m going to be terribly honest, I was very happy to come home and see the towering trees around my house. I guess rain does bring blessings to our home. And besides, it was cloudy the whole time we were in Tucson, so now I’m wondering if the rumors about the sun always shining there are true or not!

The Garden in May

My brother moved in with us last year and one of the very special blessings that we have gained from that is that he is just amazing with the garden. The garden is his best friend, I think. The boys, especially, enjoy learning from him about the garden. I love eating the produce that they bring in. We have eaten some of the best lettuce imaginable from our garden. Unfortunately, we already ate that kind up. Next year, we will definitely plant more. And the greens have been wonderful. We covered our grow beds during the winter, so we were able to start picking greens a couple of months ago. And we have had a fairly steady stream of greens since then. JD Boy never liked greens until he tasted garden greens. Now he only eats garden greens–he turns up his nose at store-bought greens. Fortunately, he’s been able to eat quite a few greens already this year. And so have I, and I’ve loved every bite!

Here is a nice shot that Zippy took of the greens. Makes me want to eat them right now!

Our Garden

And here is a shot she took of some of the lettuce. Salad, here we come!

Our Garden

Now, I just can’t wait for the rest to come on!!

Here is another quote from Adventist Home, since that is fresh in my mind right now.
“The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a figure of the development of character. . . . As parents and teachers try to teach these lessons, the work should be made practical. Let the children themselves prepare the soil and sow the seed. As they work, the parent or teacher can explain the garden of the heart, with the good or bad seed sown there, and that as the garden must be prepared for the natural seed, so the heart must be prepared for the seed of truth. . . . No one settles upon a raw piece of land with the expectation that it will at once yield a harvest. Diligent, persevering labor must be put forth in the preparation of the soil, the sowing of the seed, and the culture of the crop. So it must be in the spiritual sowing.” Adventist Home, 145-146