Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Harney County Vacay: The Rest of the Story

Going back to the beginning, here... Before Brady headed to Idaho and shortly after our arrival, these four set up a target and had an impromptu BB gun shooting contest. I have no idea who won. And below, we were all thoroughly entertained by Meh Ling, the siamese cat. Brailey, however, the cat lover that she is, was completely besotted with her! She is a very amusing cat to watch, that's for sure.
And then we went camping, and THEN... After we were somewhat rested up from all that camping fun, we strolled from Grandma and Papa's house to visit my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Jim. The water tower behind the kids says "City of Hines" on it. It is so faded you can't really see it, anymore. But when I was a kid, I always knew my Aunt Sharon lived near this water tower.
Ta-daaaaaa! We had such a great time catching up with them, although our visit was over way too soon. But that was a bit of a theme on this trip - it was jam-packed and we still didn't get to see everyone I had hoped to see. So we will save those special folks for next time. We loved every second with Aunt Sharon and Uncle Jim, though. We always enjoy seeing them, any time we can! She gave me a copy of an old newspaper with my senior class in it, which my Grandma Bert had saved, along with an article on our school that ran in The Oregonian back in 1990! Can you imagine?! The kids loved looking at this stuff, and couldn't wait to show Brady when we got home. Thank you, Aunti!
The walk home from Aunt Sharon's was even fun. It was another beautiful day! No rain, so far, on this day.
On our drive over, between Bend and Burns, I was surprised to see the crested wheat still green on the side of the highway, and shared this with my B's, who then wanted to know what exactly "crested wheat" was. I told them a story about when I was a little girl and wanted a chicken, because I had been to my Aunt Delta's house, and she had chickens. I think I got to help her get the eggs or something, which was great fun for me, because my family didn't have chickens. My dad told me I could have one if I could get enough feed together for it. So one day at my Grandma and Grandpa's house, I spent most of the day pulling the seeds off of crested wheat stems, hoping it would be enough to feed a chicken. It wasn't. Thank goodness! Kudos to my dad for hatching that plan, rather than just saying "no." (Pun intended!) So on our walk home, look what we found - wah-lah! Crested wheat! The B's were very interested in this grass, after hearing my chicken food story. Ironically, I don't think a chicken would actually haven eaten it, but hey! I was a little kid, so what can we say, except that I tried, right? But it was fun for the kids to see the actual plant, up close and personal.
In front of my parents house.
Right after we made it home, my beloved Godmother, Aunt Renee, stopped by. This was such perfect timing, because the kids were going with Papa out to Uncle Shawn's place to help Lexi (my niece, Shawn's daughter) stack hay. I have told my B's many stories about Aunt Renee, so they were very interested in meeting her (although they actually have met her, they were very little and didn't remember it). While they went on their merry way with Papa, she, mom and I got to catch up with one another. The time when by too fast! I love my Godmother and miss her dearly!
While we were having fun visiting, the kids were having an exciting time of their own. Britt is actually driving the backhoe, in this picture! This is no big deal for a lot of folks, but it was huge for Britt. It was his first time! Brailey got to hang out with her cousin Lexi in the pickup. They had a wonderful time together! It has been several years since they saw each other, but they picked right up. It was a special time!
My parents have a bunch of quail they feed and water every day. Brailey loves feeding them! Aren't they cute little buggars?
We had tried to swim the night before, but they closed the pool due to thunderstorms and lightening. The weather cleared, though, and it was open on this night, and boy did Britt ever have fun! He did a mini workout, and had Papa timing his laps. Then he made a couple of new friends and played several games of basketball. It was such a joy to see him having fun in the water, without the pressure of performing. The best part of the pool, however, was a surprise visit from my Aunt Renee's daughter, my cousin Lani! She was on her way home from work and saw us headed to the pool, so she swung by. She is still as beautiful as ever - she has always been one of my idols, especially when I was growing up. It was so sweet of her to stop by, and I am so very glad she did! She's the sweetest! (You can see her picture on my Instagram/Facebook post - click here.)
Brailey swam for a bit, but it was kind of chilly, and she doesn't dig the water like Britt does, so it was a short-lived dip in the pool. 
Once we made it home, we used the microwave to have our s'mores that we weren't able to have on our camping trip. Britt was trying to do a photo bomb here, but it turned out the other way around, with Brailey in the background. Funny!
The next day, they were delighted and excited at the opportunity to go back out to Uncle Shawn's place to help Papa and Lexi move the backhoe from one location to another. And this time, even Brailey got to drive! Britt's finger accidentally photo-bombed this picture (speaking of photo-bombs!), but you can still see how thrilled she was.
Britt's turn... Papa let them drive the whole way there, which was extremely exciting for them. Super cool! 
And this time, they got a picture of the three cousins. We are only missing Lanie, who lives in Nevada. This is definitely a special picture and my dad was really happy to have all three of them together. He did a nice job taking this picture! I guess it was quite the ordeal, because it was on a cell phone and he kept holding the "button" on the screen down too long - I can only imagine how funny it must have been. But it worked!
And then, we anxiously awaited Brady's arrival. His Miss Rodeo pageant was finally over, and he was coming back to Burns. We couldn't WAIT to see him to tell him all about our adventures! He brought back a present we got my dad for Father's Day and his birthday, which we had to put together. Brady had to bring it from Ontario, because it wouldn't fit in our loaded down SUV on our trip from Eugene - we had too much stuff. It worked out perfectly, though!
And here it 'tis - it is called a "tete-a-tete!" And it is perfect for morning coffee on the patio.
Brady also brought my dad this bottle of Snake River Stampede whiskey.
Brady was whipped from his exhausting time as a judge, and so we decided to stay an extra day. And THEN, my dad decided we should go fishing one more time! So Bray and Grandma made a special dessert, we packed a cooler with hot dogs, and off we went!
This time, we had POWER BAIT, which I bought from my friend Denny at his store. It was so fun to see him and my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Steeves (you can also see their picture in the Instagram/Facebook post - click here). Brailey is holding the special bait, complete with glitter in it, in great anticipation!
It was fun, but sadly, we still didn't catch any fish! Even with power bait. But on our walk back to the pickup, some folks told us the "hot spot" to go, and also that the spot we were in wasn't a good one. So, we tried one more time...
And we still didn't catch any fish! It was a bummer, but we had a great time trying. So we had a hot dog roast, which, come to find out, with all the rain, we COULD have had a fire when we were camping! We COULD have had s'mores and roasted hot dogs! But we didn't know it until we came back home. So we made up for it on this impromptu trip!
And on our way home, we saw five bucks! The three biggest are in this picture. I cropped it, but they were too fast to get a good picture of. Plus the light wasn't good. But trust me - they were monsters!
And all too soon, we had to leave, and headed HOME-home, back to Eugene. We swung by Pilot Butte in Bend (Central Oregon) on a whim, which is a little butte that I've always wanted to take the kids up. We extended our vacation fun a little longer.
And that's the end of our mini vacay fun! I didn't even cover half the details, and there are people I love that I saw, but didn't get pictures with. Next time, I am going to make sure I take pictures of EVERYONE! We saw my dear friend Debbie Bentz and her beautiful family at mass. We went out for a great breakfast before camping after mass. We stopped by to see my old friend Monte Simmons at his insurance agency, and he treated us to the great and shocking sight of a massive scar on his back (which also included quite a bit of crack!) from a car accident when he was nineteen and went through the windshield - it was so nice to see him! We hit the Big R and Rite Aid a few times, where we saw another acquaintance. We rented a great movie and stayed up late one night watching it. We did so many things! My parents treated us like royalty (ironic, considering Brady was judging a royal pageant!), and my mom wore herself out cooking for us and taking care of all the things a host does. She is amazing! And such a GOOD COOK. Camping, by the way, is hard work! It was such a joy to see how happy my dad was to set up camp and to help his grandkids fish and to teach them how to drive a backhoe. And me, I am so spoiled by my parents! They are always so good to us. This was the first time I felt truly comfortable in my hometown since I left over fifteen years ago. I've got some scars from a different life, but I've come to understand there are a few folks who believe in me, and I couldn't be more grateful for their love and support. It was a fabulous vacation, full of love, lots of laughter, more activity than you can imagine, and the very best of times! And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.

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