Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Vegas - Part 2

 Vegas continued on course as a wonderful vacation as we headed out into the desert to sightsee one day.  Between the gorgeous red hills, the mountain goats, the bees nest hills, the mountain goats, and the petroglyphs it was cooler than we expected.  Well, it wasn't exactly "cool" because we would have stuck around and explored a lot more if it wasn't getting so dang hot out there.  But regardless we had a good time!

Peter and I snuck away from the house for one more date.  We have always wanted to try a Gordon Ramsey restaurant and Hell's Kitchen seemed to have all the famous Ramsey items that we wanted to try.  It was a fun experience and the food was pretty good and what we would expect from anything Gordon would put his name on. 

I had heard of this place that made massive cotton candy and I knew I had a couple kids who LOVE cotton candy.  Grandpa and Grandma made sure the kids dreams of this giant cotton candy came true!

Otherwise the rest of the trip consisted of time in the pool or game room and just lots of relaxing.  It really felt like a pretty perfect trip and just what we were looking for and needed. After a year and a half without a trip, I came home so rejuvenated and ready to conquer another month or so of life.  Fortunately we will be headed back to the desert here soon for more sunshine and relaxing! But it was another trip with great memories made!




Thursday, October 15, 2020

Vegas Part 1

We finally got away on a real vacation this year!  Whew, what a year and what a journey to get on this trip though.  Originally we had booked a trip to Hawaii in May and that got cancelled, so we booked an all inclusive in Florida for September and then about a month before the trip that flight got cancelled.  So we were yet again without a plan. So we started brainstorming a staycation idea, but that didn't sound very fun because I really wanted to find someplace warm to vacation this fall. So we decided to look up someplace that was a short and easy flight that was not likely to get cancelled.  And there we saw flights to Las Vegas.  Hmm, interesting idea.  But I wasn't sure at the idea of it for a "family vacation" as I don't consider it the most family friendly place.  But we brainstormed the idea of just renting a house, away from the strip with a pool and thought this would be absolutely perfect to relax during COVID and let the kids play!  Peter's parents jumped on board and before we knew it we had a great trip all planned out.

This trip would be Ayla's first flight and I had some concerns with her being 10 months old but considering we were looking at 6 hour flights with her for the other trips, I felt confident we could get her through a 2 hour flight. Don't let her smile fool you, it was a long hard 2 hour flight down ;) 


But it was well worth it when we felt that warm sun and saw the pool we got to enjoy for the next week!

We didn't spend a lot of time on the strip, but we did spend a little bit of time there at strategic locations, trying to minimize the amount of time we were walking around.  But it was unbelievable how empty the strip was! 

And much to our delight, with the help of grandparents Peter and I were able to go out on a couple of fabulous dates together! We definitely haven't gotten out enough together so the time was much appreciated and the dinner was fabulous! 

More pictures to come later but we definitely had a great time together as a family relaxing and playing together!


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Weirdest Week

I don't usually post about the little things happening but this is an event that I want to remember so I decided to put it in writing. As soon as we got home from Eagle Crest we were hearing reports that we were going to have a wind storm and smoke was going to roll in. It isn't all that strange for wild fire smoke to roll in from California in the late summer so we didn't think much of it. As the storm got closer we were hearing that it would very uncharacteristic for this time of year so we did a little bit of work like cleaning up the toys and anything that could blow around in the yard but still didn't stress too much.  As the evening on Labor Day hit, the winds really started to pick up and we realized that this was feeling like a pretty wild storm.  

We are used to decent wind storms in the winter, we've had a tree in our yard fall before. I always worry about our 200 year old tree and with it still being full of leaves this time of year. Putting 4K of work into it last fall was really hard to swallow at the time but I was so grateful that we had that work done with this storm that came through. I really think the severity of it surprised all of us and the tree limbs and trees down everywhere was pretty crazy. We still have to replace Peter's windshield because of a tree limb we weren't worried about and this storm! 

This picture was a 24 hour difference in Portland of the smoke that blew in with this crazy storm!

So needless to say it was a really long night. Why do windstorms always seem to hit at night?  I've never heard the wind and trees like that before in the 7 years we've lived in this house.  Power went out which made it even more quiet so we could hear everything going on outside.  We had kids who weren't sleeping good. It was a long night!  And typically that would be the worst of it, but not the case here!  

The wind continued on for the next day and fires were popping up everywhere in Oregon, wiping out entire cities in one night.  It was unreal and like something we've never experienced here before.  Like I said, we've experienced smoke filled skies before, but nothing like this.  The sky was all shades of eeriness.  

It was weird enough to see and hear of so many towns in the state being evacuated because of the fires.  And we saw utter destruction in a few cities which was heartbreaking.  Then the oddest thing happened with a fire on the hill nearest our town.  The picture below was taken from my parents deck. 

 I remember waking up on Wednesday morning and thinking it must only be around 7 because it was still dark outside. But I looked over at the clock and it was 9:00!  The sky was still so dark because the smoke was so thick. It was a very strange feeling and pretty unreal. We had to keep the kids inside for about 10 days total because the smoke was so thick, but I let Eli out for a brief moment to snap a picture.  The air quality was some of the worst in the entire world and was at times beyond their scale to even calculate unhealthy air quality.  Sports were cancelled and if covid didn't have us sticking at home long enough to begin with, now we REALLY had cabin fever as the kids couldn't even go outside.  It was just a very strange time!  

The saddest part of it all was seeing a much loved town get wiped out in one night.  In fact we had just driven through this town a couple days before on our way home from Eagle Crest and it was just unreal to think it was gone. The people had no idea it was even coming as what started as a small fire traveled thousands of miles in that one night with the high winds. They were suddenly awoken in the night and told they had to leave now, no time to collect anything and many traveling out of town with flames all around the road.  

We were very grateful for great fire crews around us that had to work really hard to put out these fires as fire crews were stretched thin. This isn't the best picture but we took the kids to my parents house to let them watch the planes fight the fire on the mountain. The little dot in the sky is the plane getting ready to make a drop. But look at that awful air - yuck!

The air felt like it took forever to clear and we are usually so fortunate in Oregon with wonderful fresh air to breathe. But this was a very strange event. It took from Monday the 7th all the way to Friday the 18th to get the smoke to go away. That also meant that Oregon rain had to come through and wipe it out, but we are Oregonians and love the rain, or at least I do :) I am thankful that this is all behind us now, but it was a very strange 10ish days for us up here in Oregon.  I'm so thankful for the firefighters who worked so hard to put out all of these fires. It was definitely a historic event that I hope Oregon doesn't experience again!