Oh My Goodness! I can't believe it's already fall. My favorite time of year! Full of exciting haunted adventures, and the best food the year has to offer. My mouth is already watering imagining the Buttery Fire Roasted Corn on the cob! Between Back to school shopping, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, life is sweet.
As a young girl I remember visiting Wheeler Farm in Utah for hayrides, a haunted corn maze, and of course the endless search for the perfect pumpkin. Since Elijah was born I made sure each year to make a trip or two each October to a pumpkin patch. Last year we went to Sauvie Island, which was a big hit! We took a hayride to search and pluck the pumpkins, we took silly photos as a family, we ate fresh corn on the cob and carmel corn it was all dreamy. The place we went also had a large store full of various decorative gourds, fresh veggies, and my favorite: Pumkin Butter Jam! If you haven't been before, or haven't been for a while, I highly reccommend you make visiting a pumpkin patch a #1 priority this fall! It can be an almost spiritual experience if you go near sunset. There is something so magical and awe inspiring about vast areas filled with crops grown with tiny seeds and a lot of faith. Creation is so cool!
As the summer is ending, I thought it might be nice before I get all wrapped up in fall activities to sum up what's been filling our last days of summer. Some of the things filling the free time we've had together includes trips to the zoo, playing at the park, swimming in the backyard and camping.
Getting a family zoo membership has been such a great choice for us. I keep thinking Elijah will get bored of seeing the same animals over and over, but he really seems to enjoy it all. His favorite animal is probably the huge seals. We've been in that cool watery blue room for nearly 30 minutes on some occasions. Which is a really long time for capturing the attention of a two year old ! I think Elijah and I also have more fun when we bring someone with us. Part of our membership includes an extra person for free each time. One day we brought Iverson Poff with us & we all had a blast ! Rode the train, played in the petting zoo, and laughed our way through the park. It was awesome.
On other free days, we have enjoyed the great outdoors in our own backyard. We got a small cheap pool, and momma got to work on her tan while baby got to splish-splash around in the water. I tried to get us out there around lunch time so we could have a little picnic first, then enjoy some ice cold water in the super duper hot sun. The pool is just big enough for me to lay on a floaty mat and Elijah still has room to play. It was nice to finally have a summer when we didn't have some kind of big backyard makeover project to work on so we could actually just sit out there and enjoy what's there.
On some of our more recent days off together we went camping as a family with Ryan's parents. I've never been to a lot of places in Oregon and decided earlier this summer I'd like to visit some new places. So I reserved a campsite in the Cove at the Palisades campground located in central Oregon about 10 miles away from Madras. A few days before we left I found out there was a big grass fire happening that direction (Warm Springs Reservation Fire) even closing main roads due to fire and smoke. We watched the news carefully and it seemed everything would work out fine. Parts of what we drove through reminded me of the volcanic lava fields we drove through on Kona in Hawaii. Black on one side, and grassy on the other. We also saw and smelled smoke from off in the distance.
The campground was as beautiful and deserty as I had hoped it would be. Unfortunately the campsites were much closer together than I had imagined them to be. Even though I knew it would be more deserty, I kinda thought there would be more bushes and shrubbery around where the tents go. It was just one juniper tree surrounded by 20 feet of dusty dirt and rocks next to the next tree. It was however as close as I had hoped to the lake. From our campsite it took us about 10-15 minutes to walk down to Lake Billy Chinook. It was a beautiful place full of excitement. Grass, trees, several picnic tables, swimming only areas, speed boats and sea-doos whizzing by in the distance, restrooms, and even a volleyball net area. The only small downside was the dog wasn't allowed to be in the swimming area, but we still managed to let Mercedes get wet in the boat-area. My biggest regret? Not bringing a floaty mat or innertube :-( oh well now I know for next time. Ryan's dad did bring his little kayak which we got to take a little paddle in. It was very wobbly (apparently it's more for river rapids than lakes). We all had a good time, and the weather was hot, but the campground had a nice breeze flowing through it even during the hottest parts of the day. Good times had by all.
And now the time has come to say Sayonara to Summer, but it's alright because soon we will feel the fun of Fall ! Hoping you all had a wonderful fun filled summer. I know our family did, and we are anxiously awaiting the sweets-and-trick-or-treats of Fall. We wish you a fun, happy, fall season!