Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekend in Helen

This weekend was un-BEAR-ably fun!
(I'm'll find out why soon)
We rented a cabin with Dave, Susan and their boys in Helen, Georgia.
I was able to snap this picture while driving because all traffic in Helen, 24-7, 365, is Stop and Go.
Although we had to drive clear up a bumpy gravel road to get to our cabin, the views were Amazing.
Check out this view from the hot tub on the screened-in porch. 
or check out this YouTube video I just found of our cabin
(I'm totally rocking the background music)

drinks on the patio

Georgia Mountain Sunrise
(photo credit goes to Dave who got up for a 2-hour early morning run) 

Our main goal in Helen was to "tube the Hooch"
(float the Chattahoochee River)

This picture I took during one of our Stop and Go drives does not do justice to just how many people were floating the river.
(ka-billions, I tell ya)

I think we all had a great time.
It was hot but the water was cool and refreshing.
The water was shallow, the bed was rocky but we had our River Sticks to help navigate.

Matt and Tyler floated together and finished long before we did.
Luckily he was at the top and able to snap pictures of us slow-pokes.

Lauren and I

Dave, Susan, Ian and Eric

We also hiked up to Anna Ruby Falls.
the gang (minus photographer Susan)

the four of us

Our plans for the weekend were to go tubing and enjoy the neat little German town of Helen.
We did all that but I'm pretty sure the kids will remember this trip as the time they saw the BEAR!!

They were playing downstairs when the boys ran up and said they saw a bear.
At first we thought they were joking but instantly became curious.

Nope, they weren't joking!

 Matt got pictures of the bear from the the front porch about 5 feet away.  (All the pictures I took were through the basement windows.)  The previous renters left their garbage in the bungee corded garbage can outside.  This was no match for the mid-size black bear.  I watched as he stuck his head right in the garbage and pulled out a box of fried chicken (he ate it bones and all.)  I've never seen a wild bear before and was really impressed by his muscle tone, big teeth and the fact he didn't really care that we were all watching him.

The great company, great food and all the excitement truly made it an un-BEAR-ably fun weekend.

P.S. The encounter with the fearless bear reminded me of the Honey Badger mentioned in this video.
(not suitable for children or the workplace)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Damage Control

My Dad did all he could and I don't blame him.

Despite his best efforts, both of my brothers turned to the dark side 
and got their college degrees at Oregon State.
(Oregon State WHO?  I know!, right?)

I choke up just typing it.

(see below:  me looking awesome, brother Kevin with the stalwart face and baseball cap and Brian in the black shirt silently screaming SUPERSTAR)
such a perfect Oregon Duck family 
What went wrong with the boys??

Having a family of my own, I didn't worry too much about my brothers' bad decisions.
However, I should have been more careful because my SUPERSTAR brother Brian has bonded with my son and has him slightly brainwashed.

Brian and Tyler playing
(an obvious picture of Brian implementing his master Beaver plan)

I didn't realize how bad it was until we were on the plane home from Oregon to Georgia.
Right after take off Tyler told/yelled at me that he liked the Oregon Ducks the SAME as the Justin Beavers.
(He meant the Oregon State Beavers but I'll never tell him that.)
Enough people chuckled on the plane that...

...Damage Control starts immediately.

Go Ducks!

Wild West 2011: Oregon Edition

 The Oregon Edition of our Wild West vacation started off with an 8 hour drive from Boise to Eugene.
The first two hours were pretty with mountains hills, farms and vegetation.
We stopped for lunch at a park in Burns.

and stretched our legs

the next SIX hours looked like this
(the sky was pretty though) 
 The final two hours were beautiful again.
We took the McKenzie Pass
(which just opened that morning)

Of course we checked out the mountains and lava beds at the Dee Wright Observatory 

a patch of lingering SNOW! 

Once we arrived at Grammy and GG's house it seemed we were always off doing something fun.
The time flew by!

The Semi-Annual Family Get-Together

My Mom's Mom and my Dad's Dad 
(GG and Great Grandpa Bob)

Kevin (Uncle Monkey) winning the annual Horse Shoe Tournament

the camera can't see me!

Hillary and Lauren
(second cousins or something like that)

My two-month-old nephew Patrick. 
(I can't believe my brother (Kevin) is a Dad!)

I think he likes me!

Okay one last baby pic and then moving on...

Family Time at Grammy and GG's house
(GG recently sold her house and moved in with my Mom)

 showing GG and Mr. Buddy (white fluff ball) the iPAD

 special dinner 
(special because Grammy doesn't normally cook)

checkers on a chess board with Uncle Brian

Matt-Man (not unlike Super-man) completed some projects for Mom and GG
(their house looks FABULOUS by the way)

friendly yet fierce game of Risk on the iPad

Pass the Baby

feeding her cousin

and just one more Patrick picture
(he's such a good good baby!)

oh I lied, he's in this family pic too
(l-r:  Uncle Brian, Tyler, Me, GG, Grammy, Patrick, Matt, Lauren, Mili, Kevin and Mili's Mom)

(turning into an annual trip)

the crooked house

a couple of hotties chilling out

The Pacific Ocean
Lincoln City, Oregon

picture perfect day!

Uncle Brian and Tyler dug a DEEP hole and buried Grammy's beach ball with the intent that a child in China would also dig a deep hole and find the ball.  Kind of like a gift you know? 

Unfortunately, Grammy wasn't appreciative of their goodwill gesture and made them recover the ball.

Drift Creek Falls Trail
Lincoln City, Oregon

Matt, Lauren and I hiked a 3-mile round trip path to see the waterfall.
Lauren did great and did not complain once!

 The bridge was very modern yet still very high.
It took us a few minutes to get acclimated.

view from below
 What a fun hike!  Now that the kids are getting older I look forward to more great hiking experiences.

And just as our hike brought us back to where we started...

...the Wild West 2011 vacation ended as we caught our round-trip plane ride home.
Thanks for all the great memories!
We already miss you!
(sorry if that closing transition didn't quite work for you...this was a long long post and I was "tarred."