Sunday, September 17, 2017

Summer Bucket List ~ Portland, Oregon

St. Johns Bridge @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

It’s still technically summer, right?

We took a family drive up to Portland. Seeing everything interesting in Portland takes much more than a day, but we hit a few memorable locations.

After a morning of fighting and yelling and unpleasantness (yes, really), the above moment was the first bright spot. The kids yelled, “The Librarians!” when they realized that this is the exact spot that The Librarians was filmed. The stone base on the lower right is the entrance to their “Annex.”

In the distance you can see part of Forest Park (more about that in a minute).

St. Johns Bridge is a steel suspension bridge spanning the Willamette River. It was built between 1929 and 1931.

St. Johns Bridge Above @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSt. Johns Bridge Below @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After we crossed the bridge twice, we walked a small portion of a trail in Portland’s famous Forest Park. The 5,100 acres of this urban park (one of the largest in the nation) contain 70 miles of trails. We may have walked one mile. This is Leif Erikson Drive. [The boys have enjoyed the Wildwood series which takes place in Forest Park. One of these days, we’ll walk the 30 mile Wildwood Trail.]

Forest Park Portland @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After Forest Park, we spent a short hour at Powell’s Books, reportedly the largest new and used book store in the world.

Powell's Books Portland @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After Powell’s, Russ dropped me off for a visit with Mandi Ehman who was in town for a conference. I haven’t seen her in person since our trip to visit Susan Wise Bauer over 5 years ago! [Photo from Mandi’s phone.] I met two new friends as well!

Blog Friends @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Russ went fishing with the kids back near the St. Johns Bridge while I was socializing, then returned to pick me up.

The wildfire smoke was awful in Portland. It bothered me more on this trip than it had the whole month before. I’ve never been so glad to see a week of rain in the forecast.

We hit Fuddruckers for dinner on the way home, and I think that was (predictably) the highlight of the day for the kids.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

This may have been our tenth year attending (we first attended when Leif was a year old but we missed a year or two in between), so pictures become redundant. It’s strange to have the boys be so independent at the faire. It feels like home to them. Even Lola thinks nothing of talking to painted and tattooed strangers or helping strange magicians on stage. (This was her fifth year attending.)

The location is spectacular. It’s a huge field surrounded by forested hills in Oregon’s Coastal Range—no civilization in view, other than the event. Part of the faire takes place in the forest adjacent to the field. The weather this year was the best yet.

Kings Valley @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Just lovely.

Renaissance Faire Fun @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire Jousting @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Monday, September 11, 2017

First Day of School ~ 2017

First Day of School 2017 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We survived our first full day back to school. I even managed to snap a picture of all four kids before we headed to our Classical Conversations community this morning. (I actually snapped a bunch of pictures, but this is the only one that kind of turned out…)

This is our EIGHTH year with Classical Conversations.

Levi is in 10th grade, Challenge 2.
Luke is in 8th grade, Challenge B.
Leif is in 6th grade, Foundations and Essentials.
Lola is in 1st grade, Foundations.

Two middle schoolers and a high schooler. That is mind-boggling.

I’m tutoring Essentials for the third year.

We’ve been homeschooling for a decade.

First Day of CC @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Luke and Levi have actually been back in class for a couple weeks, but this is the first full normal week for them.

Lola had a rough day today. She was testing boundaries. Where is that line? What happens when I cross it? I’m hoping that she feels her questions were sufficiently answered and doesn’t need to ask them again next week.

Last week was packed with activities and appointments. Levi and I attended a day-long philosophy workshop at Gutenberg College on Friday. Saturday was our annual trek to the Renaissance Faire (pictures forthcoming).

I’m completely and utterly unprepared for this week of lessons at home.

But onward.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Home School Day at the Oregon Garden

Oregon Garden @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We met up with a bunch of friends and family (Shannon, Mom, Lindsay & Bob, Jessye, Rebecca, Danielle, and Cynthia plus all the kids) at the Oregon Garden for their annual Home School Day today. We said hello to several other friends as we wandered.

We’ve attended several in years past, but not recently. I realized Lola had only attended one year (poor youngest child).

The smoke in Oregon has been oppressive and Levi and Luke had their CC Challenge classes today, but I decided to get out of the house with Leif and Lola and see some beauty.

Oregon Garden Home School Day @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

On home school day, learning stations are set up throughout the garden: scavenger hunt, obstacle course, coloring projects, and lots of things to touch and look at. As always, we spent a great deal of time in the children’s garden as well. Rolling down the hobbit hill, crawling through the hobbit tunnel, playing on the pirate ship, watching the little train, digging in the sand pit, running through the bamboo path…

Oregon Garden Smoky View @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

No blue skies for us this year, but the smoke wasn’t as bad as it could have been and the temperature was perfect.

I spent more time talking and relaxing and less time taking pictures. We spent most of our time with Cynthia and her kids, but I have no pictures of us together.

Oregon Garden Butterfly Girls @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Garden Home School @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Garden Home School Day Activity @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lovely, lovely.

Oregon Garden Reflection @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summer Bucket List ~ A Day of Crabbing

A Day of Crabbing @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After an early morning at the balloon launch, we drove over to the coast with our best friends and spent the whole day crabbing for John’s birthday. (John and Russ have been best friends and Char and I have been best friends for almost 30 years. Now we live about two miles from each other, have kids the same ages, attend the same church, swim on the swim team together, and are homeschooling in the same community together. It doesn’t get better than that!)

65 crabs caught, 12 given away, 53 cooked and ready to eat.

Crabbing @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lots of playing on the beach. It was beautifully sunny, but the breeze was quite cool.

Crabbing (2) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Everyone took turns riding the the boat and getting the crabs. Luke was having a blast.

Crabbing (3) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Levi spent most of his time on the beach hanging out with McKinnon and Monet.

Crabbing (4) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Char worked hard to get the crabs ready to boil. She’s a crab master.

Crabbing (5) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesCrabbing (6) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Pot after pot after pot of crab legs.

Crabbing (7) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We had a bit of waiting for the men to finish with the crab pots in the evening, so Levi and McKinnon enjoyed a game of chess. Then we all went out for a late bowl of clam chowder at Mo’s.

Crabbing and Chess @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I love these people.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Summer Bucket List ~ Hot Air Balloon Launch

Hot Air Balloon Launch @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Every year, at our local Art and Air Festival, more than 30 balloons are launched right at dawn from the park field for three mornings in a row. Russ took the boys years ago, but Lola hadn’t ever experienced the launch.

Sunday morning, this family of not-morning-people (well, Russ is a morning person, but the rest of us…) woke up in the dark and packed into the truck to watch the sun rise and the balloons inflated.

Spectators are able to get up close and personal while the balloons are being filled. If you haven’t heard 30+ balloons all being filled at the same time, you can’t quite imagine the sound. Whooooooosh!

Hot Air Balloon Launch (3) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesHot Air Balloon Launch (6) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

While we were waiting, a man was blowing gigantic bubbles, and Leif and Lola were having a blast chasing them. (This was a teeny tiny leftover bubble).

Hot Air Balloon Launch (5) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesHot Air Balloon Launch (4) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesHot Air Balloon Launch (7) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesHot Air Balloon Launch (2) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And then we drove to the coast to go crabbing all day with our best friends, but that’s the next post…

Hot Air Balloon Launch (8) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Summer Bucket List ~ The Albany Historic Carousel

Carousel (4) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We have waited since Levi was little (they began planning and working on this project the year he was born) to see the finished carousel in Albany, and it just opened last week!

A vintage 1909 Dentzel Carousel Corporation mechanism was donated to the project and volunteers have spent more than a decade carving and painting the menagerie. Each animal takes 1,000 – 1,500 hours to carve! Another 400 – 700 hours to paint. And then they sit for six months to dry! Completing one animal costs between $5,000 – $10,000. The carousel will eventually hold 52 animals (and another 11 replacement and seasonal animals), but it opened with somewhere around 30. [See paintings and descriptions of the animals here.] We have visited the studio workshop several times over the years to see the animals in progress.

Carousel (3) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The building itself is beautiful. Light and open.

We met Shannon, Ben, Rilla, Sweden, Lindsay, Bob, Daphne, Baby Avonlea, Nana Debi, and my parents for our inaugural visit.

Carousel (5) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

So lovely.

Carousel (2) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Hope is a baby Masai giraffe, and at 7’6″ she is the tallest animal on the Carousel.

Albany Carousel @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Baby Avonlea was delighted to ride.

Carousel (6) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Watch a documentary about the carousel here.