Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Travels ~ A Fountain

As adults I think we can sometimes over-complicate life. We look for something new and exciting; trying to make our lives a little more fulfilling. Maybe all we really need is a water fountain:

Water fountains are plain enough, but this one held childhood memories for me and will now hold memories for my children. What a beautiful thing a water fountain can be.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Travels ~ A Hidden Gem

We took a day to travel to my childhood hometown: Goldendale. A true gem, this small town isn't the first place on a tourist's radar. But it was my childhood home, a place full of more than just memories. A place to relish in the spectacular views of Mt. Adams.

 A place to reflect on my smallness next to the Columbia River Gorge.

A town set up in the hills, past hundreds of windmills and lots of rolling fields.

 Not much had changed with the town itself (except everything seemed much smaller). The downtown signs were the same, the library was exactly how I remembered it, complete with the "stadium" seating outside where I spent hours running and jumping from one level to the next.

 My childhood home was the same...although the trees were larger, and the yard was much smaller.

 Maryhill Museum and the Columbia River brought me back to summers long ago. As a child, I had the Museum memorized (as I visited on countless field trips). It is more than a small town museum now. With new additions, a real parking lot, a viewing deck, fences all over the place, and a lot more people. I missed the old museum, but I delighted (as a tourist) in the new museum and so did the kids.

The Columbia River held new surprises: rocks. The smooth rocks that I took for granted as a child were a delight to my own children. We brought back a huge bag of rocks because they were all so intrigued by the smooth, round stones.  My children splashed and played, we enjoyed the views and took many photos (as tourists do), and I realized that I did not truly embrace what I had while living there. I did not take advantage of the beauty that was available to me. I took a moment. I took it all in.

 Sometimes we have to look at our world through tourist eyes in order to truly see it. Sometimes a gem is hidden in plain sight. 

Summer Travels ~ Is it Home?

It had been 2 1/2 years since we visited our home state (Washington) and all the family that still resides there. We knew this when we planned our trip out West. What we didn't realize was how much changes in 2 1/2 years and yet there is still so many things that remain constant. Initially I planned on blogging our trip in one post: here is what we did, here is who we saw, here are the photos. But, there was so much more to our trip than that. There was so much more for me. I couldn't possibly fit it all into one post (well, I could...but then you would be glued to your computer for hours reading about our adventures). So, I have a summer travels series to share with you. I hope to share our love for our family, our love for the Pacific Northwest, our love for returning home, and maybe even some travel tips....for traveling all the way across the country with 4 children.

 I flew out early with my 4 kiddos (Daddy couldn't take a full 3 weeks off work). My children are veteran fliers (if I can coin that phrase). They have all flown multiple times, but I still have pre-flight anxiety. Will they freak out on take off? Will they constantly kick the person in front of them? What if something happens and the oxygen masks drop down? And what if they spill their drink? Well, it is inevitable: one of my kids always spills their drink. But I am prepared with extra napkins and extra clothes in the carry on (if the spill is big enough). The flight was uneventful and exhausting. We were all tired but overcome with excitement when we landed in Portland, Oregon (and that is pronounced ORGAN for you East Coasters).

Pulling into my sister's condo, I shifted into vacation mode...late night dinners, late to bed, sleeping in, laying around until noon, getting up early to get to the mountains, swimming all afternoon, eating ice cream....I love this short term rhythm of life.

 Me and my wonderful sister

I love the change of pace, the change of scenery, the change of culture. From our small Maine town, to the city life, to the retired life of my parents, to the Idaho life (I will explain more about this in another post). It was our vacation and it was our time to enjoy it all.

This is what it was ~ vacation. On previous trips, I felt like I was going home. This time, I knew I wasn't home. This "overflowing with beauty" culture was no longer my home. With every new exploration, I felt as though I was looking through tourist eyes and not local eyes. I did miss my quiet Maine home, a place to breath, a place to retreat from hurrying and people. Yet, as a vacationer, I was able to appreciate the joys of being a tourist...oohing and aaahing over every new thing. Exclaiming, along with the children, "Look at that!"

Our trip out West was truly a gift. The family time, the friend time, the sight seeing time. All of this was more than we could imagine. As I browse through the photos, I remember. I remember being there and just being present. Enjoying each moment as it came and loving it all.