Camping at Mt. Hood

Tyler and I joke that it's a good thing our friends do cool things otherwise we would never go anywhere. And the Pollocks! They are always up for a trip and Mt. Hood didn't disappoint. Our campsite was an Airbnb on some property in Carson, WA. The host lives in an RV at the top of the hill, and at the bottom of the hill by the creek, lies the campsite, a fire pit, a table and chairs, a porta potty, a sink with potable water, a shower in a tent, and firewood free for the taking. 

We ate hot dogs every night followed by s'mores. Rebecca and Will even cooked corn in their husks, in the campfire, that turned out delicious! We began day 1 on a hike around Mirror Lake, where once again I got sick of carrying a baby and Tyler ended up carrying two (and he's so hopeful I can do Shi Shi soon--insert laughing emoji here). We passed a mom who was helping her son fish with a little plastic fishing pole that reminded me of my Shamu fishing pole from years past. My dad would take my brother, sister, and I fishing, each with our little plastic fishing poles in the deserted lakes of Modoc County in northern California. I remember him spending looootttttssss of time untangling the string that knotted up inside the whale. 

At the U-Pick farm hung a ginormous swing. There are some photos of Annie and Tyler blurring by and they remind me of this paradoxical life that moves so fast, yet too slow. I recently found a video of Kate as a baby cracking up in her pack-n-play while a teenie-tiny-less-than-two-year-old Annie was repeatedly hopping over the edge of it tickling her. In the video they look so small. So small, even though it's only months ago! And while I still feel I am drowning in babies and crumbs and chunks of who knows what under the kitchen table, it seems those days were soooo long ago. I suddenly missed my baby, tiny girls: their short hair, their curls, their huge mouths in comparison to their little bodies, tantrums mostly about not wanting to be left in their beds at night, their teeny hands and arms wrapped so tightly around my neck. I wish I could go back in 15 minute increments that didn't involve diapers and dishes and laundry and nursing - but did involve sleep, lots of sleep. Seems like the grandparent life really is the best life. (A lady on the bus today told my fussy girls, "When you're my age you get to take naps all over again." I responded smiling, "Can't come soon enough." And then she said, "Then the doctor tells you, 'Just go take a nap' and you say, 'But I've been doing that for hours...'")

Speaking of babies growing up so fast and too slow all at the same time: I never want to forget Kate's waddle down our hallway: legs, thighs, bum jiggling, jiggling, jiggling, as she runs from anyone who will chase her. Sometimes she tries to run so fast she looks like she's on an elliptical, propelling her jiggling self forward with each step, laughing so hard she can't keep herself upright and she's tilted forward the entire time. My dad once said, regarding my life home with babies, "Not a care in the world." I think he's right.

When our Mirror Lake hike came to an end Tyler made multiple wrong turns to finally land us at the U-Pick cherry picking farm we had seen on the drive up. There is a system to cherry picking, I learned: sign away your life on the release form for a ladder. Wait for said ladder. After you meet the 12,693 requirements for being able to climb the ladder you can pick the cherries: beautiful, juicy, sweet Rainiers and Bings bursting at the seams. Will began the picking adventure since he was the one who signed the release form. He picked - making sure to keep stems on as advised - tossed to Tyler, who then handed to Annie, who in turn passed to Zoe, who happily put each one in the bucket. Then Kate would eat some. After we filled our 5 lb. bucket, and our bellies - and took loads of photos - we headed to the lavender farm.

The field was one giant air freshener wafting pure deliciousness through the air. I could have eaten everything lavender infused while sitting beside those thousands of lavender bushes. They should sell lavender-infused brownies with a side of lavender milkshakes. This pit stop was slow-moving and refreshing. We practically had the field to ourselves, as they had just closed the shop, except for an older lady standing in the middle of it painting - for good reason as there was a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood. Tyler and Annie had some daddy-daughter summersault time, and the photos are some of my favorites from the trip. Moving on from the lavender fields we stopped on the Columbia River to watch endless amounts of kite surfers!

Photos of our family were taken by Rebecca Pollock, and Tyler even picked up my camera at the Lavender Farm and took some photos of Kate playing with the sign, sitting in the lavender, and eating a big fistful of dirt!

Camping at Ohanapecosh

At the last minute our friends found a highly coveted spot at the Ohanapecosh Campground in the Mt. Rainier National Park (which to our celebration was someone else's cancellation). Tyler and Steve were chatting on the bus the day before their departure, so we got lucky and were able to tag along with them! They packed amazing food - chorizo and eggs and tortillas for breakfast - and Tyler and Steve packed their fly fishing poles. For some reason I did not pack us to sleep near snow and glaciers so we were a bit under packed, still it was one of the best camping trips we have taken to date! I found some freshly cut cherry wood - that was hard to light and had us worried, until it finally caught fire and burned long and hot! -  and we packed two huge bags of it. The girls slept the entire ride down which left Tyler and I free to talk and listen and laugh together. After arriving after dark, Tyler put all his skills to work setting up our tent.

This specific campground is the start and finish points for multiple hikes of all skill levels, and of course, everywhere you look is breathtaking. We mostly laid low, sitting by the campfire eating s'mores, doing short hikes, stuffing ourselves with delicious camp food, and exploring the raging river that runs through the campground. Annie peed her pants while taking a nap in the car on the way to Paradise, so in our lack of preparation she was left with a swimsuit to wear - which she loved every minute of, as did the people standing by taking pictures of her playing in glacier water (I still don't know what to say to those people; sometimes I just stand in front of them...) Tyler only packed one shirt and of course Kate's poopy diaper leaked on it so he ended up in one of my extras (which makes him look like macho man in one of the photos).

While the swimsuits were strategically packed so we could enjoy the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs, we later learned they "aren't the swimming kind" per the lady at the Visitor's Center. With a laugh we walked the 20 minute, and .01 mile, hike through the hot springs - that were more like trickles of water running down the side of the rock. Tyler and Steve took out their fly fishing poles one evening, and their only excuse for not catching any fish is: this river doesn't have many. Oh, and the ones it does house are really small. (Insert laughing emoji here.)

Hiking with these two littles is kinda hilarious. While Annie runs ahead saying, "Mom, mom, run! Mom, run! Running! Mom, run! Dis like Annie!" Kate waddles behind swinging her arms across her whole body while her bum dramatically moves back and forth. And to top it all off says, "I too heavy. I too heavy." When she is done, she turns around and walks the other direction, despite all of our hollering for her to come back. She sneakily stares us down and when we continue forward she starts all over: running, swinging arms, waddling bum, "I too heavy. I too heavy" and we can't do anything but crack up and playfully roll our eyes. I don't know how Kate sees every single teeny tiny bug on our path but she screams, "Bicho!" ("bug" in Spanish) and wants to stop, squat, stare, then says, "I touching? I touching?" asking if she can touch it. She squeals and squeals while it scampers for its life. 

Right now Annie is a creative dancer. She was swinging her shirt all around while kicking her feet up sideways and dancing to the banjo music in the campground. Lately while walking she raises her hands up in the air and I feel a rush of this-is-my-daughter-and-she-will-be-whoever-she-wants-to-be. The most important thing I need her to know if life is that I love her. A close second to that is my desire to infuse confidence into her - I wish I could fill her with so much confidence that she would not notice when others aren't being kind, and that she would have the ability to love them, and more importantly love herself, regardless of their insecurities and treatment of the world. 

This weekend was a much needed break from all of lifes' demands, and we took full advantage of our time together. The last two photos are of: 1. the view from the sunroof on the way home. We were racing past thick, white clouds as well as views of Mt. Rainier I didn't even know existed from the road. And, 2. Annie and Kate had to take 2 baths when we came home they were so filthy. 

Thank you to Steve, Karen, and William for the getaway (and getting some photos of me with my babes!)