Jul 272015
 

We’ve had a house guest for the last few days and over the weekend I had a bit of a stomach bug. Not sure if I ate some that didn’t agree with me or what, but I took it a little easy. Honestly after having a busy few weeks it was nice to relax and watch some Netflix and decompress. I started watching “Bosch” on Amazon Prime. If you have Prime, I highly recommend it! It’s REALLY good! The books are great, too, if you haven’t read those.

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So Sunday came and I met a friend for a walk. She recently had a baby and it was a pleasure seeing the little one! We got in a nice walk–around 3 miles or so. Then Michael and I went out for a hike after lunch. We needed something near the city because we were racing the forecast of rain.

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We went out to Powell Butte Park in SE Portland. It’s a quick, easy drive and a nice little park in the city. If you’re looking for a hike to do on the east side of town, this is a good one. The last time I was there it was under construction but now it’s mostly done and the trails are really nice! It’s a huge park with sweeping views of the city, the countryside and various mountains.

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It’s not a really strenuous hike, but there were a few parts of the trail that got my blood pumping. There are mountain bike trails and we saw evidence of horses, too. The clouds were looking ominous, but it seemed to be off in the distance.

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Part of the path is paved. Then it turns into gravel. Then the trail goes downhill and into the woods. There were tons of mountain bike trails with hills and stuff. We hiked through the woods and it was nice. Not too crowded out there.

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We came out of the woods and started hiking back up the hill. We saw the dark clouds and could see the rain far off in the distance but it still looked far enough way. We hiked around the summit and looped around the whole park.

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There was a viewpoint with markers showing what each mountain was off in the distance.

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I was starting to get tired and a little sore. (I did a lot of weights Saturday and was a bit sore from that in addition to walking earlier in the day.) We saw the dark clouds moving even closer and then we heard thunder! Thankfully Bella didn’t seem to notice or hear it, so that was good. We picked up the pace and headed back down the trails to the parking lot. Then we saw this guy:

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We’d heard rustling in the hillside above us and then we looked up and saw the deer! Wow! Again, Bella was oblivious–which was good. She didn’t bark at the deer and freak it out. Bella was too preoccupied by smelling something in the bushes. LOL

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Back at the car. We did just under 4 miles. I burned 431 calories. It was a good little hike for a quickie exercise when pressed for time. I was happy with my numbers. Michael’s were a little lower than he wanted.

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As Michael was driving out of the parking lot the rain started. We’d just missed it! Then it started to downpour and it rained for most of the drive home.

Dinner was jalapeno poppers (fresh from our garden) and steak topped with caramelized onions. I made us side salads with romaine and spinach and fresh roma tomatoes from the garden. Dessert was some vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries and some chocolate on top.

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Those poppers, by the way, were borderline nuclear hot. We are definitely having a HOT jalapeno summer!

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Jul 222015
 

I left off on my last post about the scavenger hunt! It’s a huge part of our family reunion. My uncle Mike has done it for 30+ years and he does a great job! I asked him this weekend how long it takes him and he said about 3 months to make it. That’s so amazing.

It’s evolved over the years and gets bigger and better every time. In the earlier years it was mostly having to find things–worms, ladybugs, spiders, pennies from a certain year, etc. Then he added trivia questions (which is fun). Then he started adding competition based games–like relay races and stuff. Like I said, it’s different every year.

The teams were boys vs. girls. We were Team G3 (Girls 3). It was me, my aunt Linda, my mom, my aunt Maureen, cousins Lea and Melina and Mia and Noa and Di.

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This year the stuff we had to find was hard to figure out at first. He gave us a list of like 6 things we had to find. Except no one knew the words. At first we thought it was a word scramble–unscramble the letters and then you know the words for the items you have to find. It took us a bit to figure out that it was actually just words in other languages–German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, etc. Once we figured that out we could find the items (lady bugs, spider, etc).

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There was a race where you had to run from the starting line to the end of the garden where there were buckets of water balloons in soapy water (which were really hard to hold on to) then run back and tag the next person in your team.

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Then there was the bowling competition. That is always fun! And of course we’re all quoting The Big Lebowski as we play. MARK IT ZERO! Next up was a really funny game! One team member had to run from the starting line to the end of the driveway, fill a skillet with water, then run back and pour the water into a bucket. The team with the most water in the bucket at the end wins that competition. Except–it’s really hard to run with water in a skillet and NOT spill it. AND people from other teams were throwing tennis balls and water balloons at the runner to get them to spill the water (hence the helmet). Here is a video. See below:

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Hahaha! It gets pretty competitive. Next up was throwing a giant rubber boot. The team that throws it furthest gets the points. It is surprisingly hard to throw the boot. Try it sometime. It doesn’t go very far.

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Then the grand finale: there was trivia questions involving the family history (like what year did the family reunion start? 1981. What is Grammy’s birth date? How did the barn burn down? It was a nut drier. Etc…)

Then each team had one final task. The boy teams had to find a girl’s swimsuit, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lipstick, a towel and flipflops and then put it on and run back to the judges to get your points. The girls had to get a baseball cap, board shorts, sunscreen and boy flipflops. Check out my uncle who was enjoying it way too much. :)

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And the winning team:

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Our team won! Go G3!!! Girls rule. :) And of course there is a trophy:

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It was so much fun. It was a REALLY hot day, though, nearly 100 degrees, and we were all melting in the sun. A few times I had to go into the house to cool off for a few moments because I was feeling light headed.

After the scavenger hunt we all went down to the river to cool off! I could NOT wait!

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The water felt FANTASTIC in 100 degrees.

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After swimming and cooling off it was time for the potluck dinner. It’s so good. Everyone brings two dishes and there’s so much tasty food. I went a teeny bit overboard. But…..I had to have sweated off and burned off some of those calories during the scavenger hunt, right?? Potluck:

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A few different kind of salads and casseroles, a piece of fried chicken, some meatballs, and my aunt Maureen made grilled cheese sandwiches on the spot which was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten. LOL So good.

Saturday night there was another bonfire and s’mores and just hanging out. It was so much fun. In the past we used to sit around the campfire and sing and several people brought their guitars. I’m a little sad that we didn’t do that this year. It was almost my favorite part of the weekend. (This is the reason I know ALL THE WORDS to “American Pie”.)

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Sunday morning we woke up and my aunt and uncle made pancakes. It’s pretty much the only time of the year I eat pancakes and they are amazing.

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It was so good to see everyone! And to spend time with my grandma. She was doing great! And she looks great for 93 years old.

We packed up the campsite, hung out a bit and then made the rounds to say goodbye to everyone. Then it was time to hit the road. We had to get home to pick up Bella.

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My cousin Kristin hitched a ride to Portland with us, which was nice. We got to spend some time together, hang out, chat. We all were super excited to shower and get clean clothes after camping all weekend and then we went out to lunch at Laughing Planet. We all were craving vegetables. 😉 We dropped Kristin off at her friend’s house and then went back to the house (where we discovered our AC broke over the weekend and it was HAWT).

What a wonderful weekend. Going back to “reality” and work on Monday was so hard. I could have used one more day to decompress before going back to reality…

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