We’re on vacation. I really like the sound of that. I’m sitting on a couch in the living room of our rented townhouse on the beach on the Oregon coast, watching the fog slowly lighten as the sun begins to come up and listening to the waves roll in, as Li and Deb sleep off the effects of 800+ miles in the car.

Eastern Oregon
Eastern Oregon @ 65mph: I had forgotten how pretty this part of the state can be...

This is our first real vacation since we got Li, and she traveled far better than we might have hoped: she did great in the car and although she took quite a bit longer to fall asleep, it lacked much of the drama of our “travels” the past few years. We stopped briefly in Boise to leave a huge bag of peaches for Deb’s folks and then made it as far as Ontario. We left Ontario after breakfast; I was reminded again of how pretty eastern Oregon (after Ontario) actually is. The rain started at The Dalles — intermittent rain, thankfully — but let up long enough for us just to get misted on at Multnomah Falls (pix coming). Heavy rain and heavy traffic through Portland (where “heavy” probably really means “light”, but you have to consider the source), and steady rain all the way to “home” on the coast.

Li saw and felt the Pacific Ocean yesterday evening for the first time. After a day and a half in the car, we grabbed a bite for dinner, found what passes for a grocery store in a tiny Oregon coast town, and then Li and I headed down to the water. It had rained all afternoon as we drove and was actually still raining when we arrived, but by the time we were done with dinner the rain had stopped and the fog had started rolling in… but we were determined we were going to the beach. Early evening, fog, surf, seagulls, and the two of us… and she laughed and giggled and ran from the waves and laughed when they caught us and washed the sand from under her feet as they slid back out.

“How big is it, Dad?” “Really big, Li; it goes all the way to China.” “Wow…”

Happy Birthday, Li!

Li's first outing on skis (Jan 2011)
Li's first outing on skis... just ahead of her 4th birthday (Jan 2011)

Today marks birthday #4 for Li, and we’re coming up on three full years with our little girl… who’s not so little these days! This has been a pretty amazing year, marked with changes galore in her life, including

  • she kicked of this year by gaining a new big brother in Mathias, our exchange student from Denmark
  • she started preschool right after Ian left for OU for college — and while she loves preschool, she’s not crazy about losing her brother (and she’s going to miss him terribly when he leaves for school in ten days)
  • she’s finally figuring out the sleep thing — early November she must have finally decided it was OK to sleep through the night in her bed in her room… and she has since ditched the crib/day bed for a “real” bed (all of which brought much rejoicing for all of us!)
  • she got out on skis for the first time in her life — just squeaked under the wire on that one, as Li and I got our for a bit of skiing in the tracks set around Tautphaus Park just yesterday

Snow Day

Another first for Li: her first snow-day for school… they called last night to let us know they were cancelling pre-school for today based on the weather. She’s going to crushed… and she didn’t sleep well last night. I think she sensed the pending disturbance in The Force: the anguish of a thousand (OK, eight, actually) pre-schoolers finding out they don’t get to go to their Thanksgiving Feast.

Turned a corner…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written much here, but I felt like this was worth writing about. For day-to-day stuff, I’ve found it simpler — despite all of Facebook’s shortcomings and things I dislike about it — to put stuff there…

Li and Monkey on her new bed
Li and sleep: no longer mutually exclusive

Li has definitely turned a corner with respect to sleep: she’s coming closer to sleeping through the night on a regular basis and she’s spending the whole night in her own room. For most of the past year or so, she’s started the night in her room in her bed but has come in and slept on the floor in our room next to our bed at some point during the middle of the night. Prior to that, it was likely to be some combination of time in her bed, time on our floor, and time in our bed. Starting a couple weeks ago, she just started spending the night in her room — sort of all of a sudden — as in the whole night. Two weeks in, and it is rare that she wakes up and fusses.

She’s sleeping; we’re sleeping. It feels odd. It feels great. It is two and a half years of prayers answered all of a sudden…

Busy, busy, busy…

Life has been pretty hectic of late… in no particular order…

  • Ian heads off to school early Wednesday morning, leaving a huge hole in our home and our hearts. Deb is flying down with him. Li and I will get three full days together…
  • Ian survived getting his wisdom teeth extracted last week in pretty good shape; he’s pretty much back to normal at this point and enjoying being able to eat something other than fruit smoothies and jell-o again.
  • Fall soccer has started back up; I’m taking on my last season as the boys head coach for one of the local junior high schools. First three tryout sessions are behind us, with the final tryout session and the start of real training ahead this week — made all the more interesting by the fact that one of the local HS football teams has taken over our training field, so now we’re back to fighting for space with the lacrosse club and grid kid football programs.
  • With the start of fall soccer, summer soccer (getting to play, rather than coach) has wrapped up for both Deb and me.
  • Work has been pretty hectic, as well, with an office move a couple weeks ago introducing some interesting wrinkles. I will post a picture or two of our new digs one of these days. For the first time in over 20 years, I have a spot in the cubicle maze with… a window!
  • We’re headed out looking for huckleberries today (assuming any of these lazy late-sleepers ever manage to drag themselves out of bed before noon). This is a good two weeks behind when we normally go, but the cool wet spring we “enjoyed” has everything — including our garden — way behind. Now we need the typical eastern Idaho early frost to also be a couple weeks late so our garden and peach tree have a fair chance at producing.
  • Li will start preschool in September. Let’s see: one starting college, one starting preschool… interesting timing God has for us.
  • I’ve done a bit of reading this past month or so: re-read John Irving’s most excellent A Prayer for Owen Meany and just finished C. J. Box’s Blue Heaven (not bad).