Thursday, July 18, 2013

goodbye to Oregon, hello to Washington!

Well, if you haven't heard, we have big news! We are moving to Lopez Island, Washington in 6 weeks for Dave's new job as co-principal at Lopez Island School, a k-12 school of about 230 kids. Before I get into that story, here's some pictures of the past month or so. 
We had a string of birthday parties to attend, convincing Julia that they happen every other day or so. Thankfully, she handled the idea that someone else gets to open the presents fairly gracefully. 
a visit to a lavender farm
Cherries came into season, and I made cherry jam. Ramone's universal pectin is the most wonderful invention ever. it uses calcium as the trigger for gelling, not sugar, so you can make sugar free jam, low sugar jam, honey jam, stevia jam, you name it. 
The mosier farmer's market started up for the summer, and Julia loves the pool of water that is set up for universal enjoyment. I've started baking bread to barter, with some good successes.  
another birthday!
We packed up for a trip to washington over the 4th of July holiday. Julia was very happy to see her grandparents again. 
another notch taller on the pantry wall
The beach cabin on Sammish Island was where we got to spend the 4th, and it couldn't have been lovelier weather. 
We caught baby crabs in the water, much to Julia's joy. 
We took a few hours to visit Julia's godmother, Bekah and they (and we) had a good time together for a quick afternoon. 
sunset at sammish island

Julia bonded with her cousins, here she's getting her nails painted by cousin Kaitlyn. a happening that left a deep impression on her!
and Cousin Josh let her hold a sparkler
Sammish Island has a lovely little parade, and Dave and his brothers have made it a tradition to come up with a float. 

They were the Dads Against Daughters Dating, pushing a wheelbarrow with a "body" in it, and roughing up their captured offender, a (very good natured) cousin Josh.  

Julia and Kaitlyn were the "daughters" and followed all princessed up from head to toe, wrapped in caution tape. The crowd loved it!
That night there was some fantastic fireworks. I tried to wake Julia to see some, but she was sooo tired she wouldn't even open her eyes for me. 
After the 4th, I left Julia with her dad, and took off with my friend Erin back to Hood River on a trip for young adult cancer survivors sponsored by First Descents and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. We got to stay at a lodge not 10 miles from my house! 
The trip was pretty amazing in a lot of ways. Trading stories and experiences with others in my demographic was pretty priceless. I signed up for some online support groups for ovarian cancer, but found that the majority of the conversation was not relevant to my experience, as I had such an unusual encounter with cancer. (young, caught early, didn't need chemo or radiation so far, ect.) Having my friend Erin also going through a cancer diagnosis within 6 months of me was fortunate for both of us as we could talk to each other, but having a room full of 19-39 year olds with equally amazing stories and experiences was unparallelled. 
and then, of course, there was the adventure part of the trip! Whitewater rafting the first day on the white salmon river and whitewater kayaking the second day on the klickitat river!  

Whitewater rafting was fun! we got soaked, but didn't fall in. The scenery was beautiful, the guides were excellent and I had a great time. We ended the day with the option to jump off a bridge into the water. After much internal debate I did it, but hated every second of it. I can confidently state that I will never ever go bungee diving or skydiving. 

our night at the lodge was full of good food and conversation, both casual and facilitated.  

and the second day was kayaking! I was super excited for this day, as I love to be in control of my own craft! We got all wetsuited up and got some instruction in proper river travel.  
We used sit-on-top kayaks, pretty easy to maneuver, and easy to get back on if you fall off, which we did, many times! In the series below, I am attempting to "surf" a rapid, by paddling up against the current and paddling to maintain position. You can see me fall in, and just imagine that scene repeated 6 or 7 times. it was super fun! 

going down the rapids themselves was thrilling, but I was never really scared, which was great, as I'm not too into sports involving adrenaline. 

all too soon, the trip was over, and Erin and I were zipping back north. I rolled in around 1 am, and was up again at 5, so that we could drive over to catch the 6 am ferry in Anacordis to Lopez Island. Dave's interview was to last from 7 am to 7 pm, and Julia and I had the day to check out the island and see if it was something up our alley. 

Julia was a huge fan of the ferry. 
moderately impressed by the beaches 

and thrilled with our picnic 
as well as thrilled with the preschool, the library, 
and the lake in the center of the island. We had a great day, but I tried not to fall in love, lest we not get the position. 
Back at the grandparents, Julia hung out with her cousin Sierra. We picked blackberries, marionberries, blueberries and raspberries to freeze. 
some cuddles with grandma Gini
some adventures in the forest behind Grandpa Dave's house 
and some long hours spent playing with Grandpa Dave's little deck fountain. Dave and I waited on pins and needles for 7 excruciating days, until they called with the job offer!!!! We are so excited to go, but also so very sad to say farewell to the good friends we have made this year. We are pretty thankful that the house purchase process was so delayed all this past year. It allowed us to pull out of the process about a month ago, when we decided that even if we were going to stay in mosier, that paying cancer bills had impacted our finances so severely, we were no longer in a good position to be purchasing. It was a terribly hard decision for me to agree to, as I really love this house and spent a whole year getting things set up just so and working hard on the garden. I do hope someone with a green thumb can move in right away after we move out so that the garden won't die from lack of watering. We've found a friend who will take the chickens and coop, so they will have a good home, but I'm so sad to see them go, especially little Silkie, who Julia and I are quite attached to.  Dave and I are working out a plan for him to head up to lopez in a few days to arrange housing and to start working, and for Julia and I to follow in the end of August. That will give me time to pack, to harvest and process some of the garden bounty, to visit my folks, and attend my cousin's wedding. I'm already knee deep in boxes and its only going to get worse!