Sunday, July 27, 2014

Clatsop County Fair 2014

The Clatsop County Fair starts Tuesday!
 The first fair held in Clatsop County was is 1905 in conjunction with Regatta.
4-H began in the late 1800's

We have decorated our stalls with our club, Melville Livestock.

We have turned in all our paperwork and Jameson has received his show number.

Tomorrow, Monday, we will load Kody (Market and Showmanship) and Ruby (Breeding) and head out to the fairgrounds where they will live for the next week. 
Us too.

So many kids and their parents have put in countless hours to prepare for this week.
Feeding, bonding, washing, learning about breeds for their animals.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about 4-H and fair is that it's all about livestock. 
While livestock is a big part of it there is so much more.
Kids learn about growing food, canning and sewing.
There are Lego and Robotic clubs and fashion shows.

 There are shooting clubs where the kids learn gun safety and compete in trap shooting.
This event has started already and ribbons have been awarded.
Baylee here is the Junior Champion Sportsman for 2014.
Way to go Baylee!

Kids participate in giving back to their community with food drives.
There are camps and lock-ins.
Retreats and conferences.
Kids learn how to write letters and speak in front of people.
In 4h there is something for all age groups.
From kindergarten on.
Kids from K-3 can participate in clubs called Cloverbuds
They are able to show small pocket pets like chickens, rabbits and cavy's (guinea pigs)
Madalyn isn't showing in fair this year, but here she is with her hen Lucy.

The value of 4-H reaches far beyond raising animals to auction.

In 4-H you forge lifelong friendship as you watch livestock shows to learn how to show your animal.

Kids learn life skills, dedication and hardwork.
They learn how to budget and keep track of costs associated with raising animals.
They learn how to let go of animals they worked so hard to raise when they are sold at auction.
I am sure by Saturday night there will be some tearful exhausted kiddos.
There will also be some exhausted mommas and daddy's who will help clean up on Sunday put everything away and start preparing for next year.

Jameson is a 3rd generation county fair participant and the first to show goats.
His Papa Moo showed showed steers, heifers, pigs and dairy heifers.
His daddy showed steers, dairy heifers, beef heifers and lambs.
They are my three of my favorite 4-Her's .

So, come see all the precious kids at the fair.
Take a walk around the exhibit hall, livestock and horse barn.
Enjoy some of the fun entertainment from Maddox dancers and the talent show.
Eat your weight in corndogs, elephant ears and the pies baked my those church women.
Check out the Farmhouse Funk sale in the old dairy barn.
The always popular carnival will be there!
Stop and talk to the kids and ask them about their animals and projects.
They have prepared for and are waiting for your questions.

Fair opens Tuesday at 10 am.
Benny The Beaver  will be there on Friday
Beef BBQ hosted by 4-H and Clatsop County Livestock Association is Saturday from
Auction starts at 6:00 pm where you can see the kids all spiffed up proud to sell the animals they worked so hard raising.
Maybe you will even purchase one!
We are in the market for a pig to fill our freezer!
There is something fun for everyone!
Check out the CC Fair Facebook page to see what is on tap for the coming week!

Great luck to all the fair participants this year!

Blessed is me....

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Paulina Lake

Today we ended our 5 day camping trip to Paulina Lake.
We camped with 43 of our friends.
It was GLORIOUS and just what we needed.
We can't wait to go back!

This group is made up of a bunch of dudes (including Rachel) that The Farmer has been friends with since elementary school.
One friend, Phil, has been his best friend since their moms met in birthing class.
These friends are now raising kids who are also friends.
Here is Mad holding Phils son Amon.

This is a camping trip we look forward to all year long.
A reason to reconnect in real life and have real conversations.
In the last four years the group has expanded with new friends and more kids.
We love every inch of it.

We spend time chatting about the "good ole days"
Funny things our kids say and do
unplugging, for the most part, from technology
playing outside, getting dirty
and eating more than we will ever need to.

There is always an "auntie", "uncle"
or a "momma"
to make sure the kids are towing the line and getting what they need.
I love knowing that there are so many people our kids can count on and are loved by.
Our kids know it too.
There can never be too many people that love your kids.

I woke up and spent my mornings here in the quietest part of the day.
All alone.
I drank coffee and read an entire book.
I also spent a lot of time just thinking about how lucky we truly are.

We rode bikes.
The kids did laps throughout our camp spot.
Big kids always watched out for the little's and the little's tried to keep up with the big kids.
Early one morning some of the kids and I rode out of our camp and over to a horse camp.
The kids even got to pet a pony.

There was fishing.

Playing in the lake.
Jameson and Madalyn really took to kayaking.
I think kayak purchases are in our future.
I even went out of the lake even though I am afraid of the water.
I actually really loved it and can't wait to go again.

We ate ridiculous amounts of food.
There is never a shortage and this year we had a seafood feast!

There is a great trail around the lake that is beautiful.
Quiet and serene.
A perfect place to clear your mind.

We hiked up to Paulina Plunge which is a naturally occurring rock water slide.
It was a fun time for all!
Here is The Farmer with is tough hat on headed down one slide.
Notice the tan lines!
and here is Mad going down the other slide.
She didn't love going under water.

Next time I will be better prepared with more drinking water, some snacks for the kiddos and better shoes.
I might even get brave and go!

Friday night after dinner we surprised the kids with a pinata!
It was a hit for sure!
They whacked and whacked from youngest to oldest until candy flew all over the ground.
Maybe next year we can have an adult one!

 Last night was our last sleep and Michael took us up to Paulina Peak.
While the drive up the side of the mountain was terrifying for me the view was impeccable.
I can't even describe how beautiful it was. 

The view went for miles and miles and only got more breathtaking the longer you looked at it.

There was of course smores and campfire.
Laughing until all hours of the night and early morning.

These are the memories our kids are going to have when they look back on their lives.
I would take 1 camping trip with these people over 100 trips around the world.
I hear the kids say things like
"Michael picked me up and turned me upside down"
"When can we go camping again"
"Bailee is really nice"
This is what I want our kids to look back on and remember.
Time is valuable and for the last 5 days 43 people gave us their time.
There is no better gift.

On the drive home I couldn't stop thinking about how much I love these people.
These dudes, plus Rachel, are The Farmers wolf pack.
They are the people he can count on when he is at the peak of life and walking in the darkest days.
They will never be too busy to take his call.
They love him.
They love us.

They have been together through 
life, death, marriage, celebration and defeat.
Some don't talk often, but can pick up right where they left off.
They are the friends that come along once in a lifetime.
They are our family and we couldn't feel more grateful than we do today for getting to share in their lives.

The countdown to Pauline 2015 is on!

Blessed is me...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another Fun Friday

Today we tried our hand at geocaching.
Jameson wasn't a huge fan and would have rather gone to Bruce's Candy Kitchen to see Grammie Julie!
We found a few, but our favorite was up at the Astor Column.
The kids were excited to sign the log book on their find and to leave a couple treasures in the box.

 While we were at the column the kids rolled their way down the big hill!

Then they wanted to hike down the Cathedral Trail which we were totally unprepared for

except Ryan. He has tennis shoes on. 
Me, well I'm in cowboy boots.

The kids loved the trail and I can't believe I've never been on it! 
It is beautiful!
The kids looked for Sasquatch.
Ryan tried some "squatch calls" as he called them and banging sticks, but we didn't have any luck.

We stopped at Peter Pan Market for some lunch.

Then headed over to Fred Meyer to bless two unsuspecting shoppers. 
I wasn't going to write about this portion of our trip because 
I don't want it to be about "look at us and what we did!!" it isn't about that, 
but I think it needs some words because a lesson was learned today.
By me and the kids.

I gave the kids a choice we could give 1 person a set amount of cash or we could split the money and give it to two people.
They decided on two.
The first amount went to an elderly couple who asked if the money was real.
The second to a mom pushing a cart with a baby.
The kids walked over to her and said
"excuse me we wanted to give you this for your groceries today"
Her face dropped as did her hand that was holding a calculator.
She glanced at me and asked if we were serious.
It appeared that she keeping track of what she was buying.
She almost instantly grabbed them and hugged them.
She was elated.
I told her to have a great day and we went on our way.

The kids then went to look around the store to see if anyone found their love notes and were happy to find that they were gone.
I hope whomever found them was happy they did.
In the truck the kids asked why the lady hugged them and "acted funny".
I got to share with them that sometimes people don't have enough money to buy food after all the bills are paid (if all the bills get paid).
I don't know if this was the case with her, but you just never know.
Our kids are lucky.
For them the thought of not having enough food as never entered their minds.
They have never started or ended their day with an empty tummy.
I pray they never do.
Sometimes we get caught up in the haves and have nots; myself included.
We need to remember there are people in our own backyards who are fighting legitimate struggles.
Our job is to reach and and help when we can
even if it is just a tiny bit. 
We headed home and wrapped up the day with some slip and sliding!
Giggles and shrieks all around.

After Ryan went home with his Momma I told the kids they needed a little quiet time on their beds reading, coloring or whatever else they wanted to do that was quiet.
They both chose naps
Fun Friday can be tiring I guess!

The kids are excited about what is on tap for our next adventure and I am too!
I hope when they are all grown up they look back on our Fun Friday's as some of their best days.
I know for me they have turned out to be much more than expected.

Blessed is me..