Longest Day Celebration

I love the longest day of the year! We celebrated with our traditional stay-outside-till-it-gets-dark party. We had rosemary lemonade and I made tiny loaves of bread, and then we made little open-face sandwiches with various spreads. Everything was good!
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June Sky

We've had such pretty evenings the last little while. The other night the setting sun had beams. We rode our bikes to follow the last of the sunset. It was changing every minute!
The sky overhead, above the gold clouds, was a bright cerulean color. Or did Sam call it cyan? He's the resident Color Expert. Anyway, it was so striking, above the oranges in the horizon.
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Tom McCall Nature Preserve

This was another stop as we drove home from Oregon---I had read that the wildflowers were beautiful in the Spring, so we stopped to eat our lunch and go on a little hike. We didn't get to do the whole hike (around a "permanent pond," as I kept pointing out to Sam on the hike map---I don't know why I found that phrase so funny) but what we saw was SO lovely. There were a few yellow and white flowers still out, but mostly it was huge sweeping fields full of blue.
I think these are called "Bachelor's Buttons" or cornflowers. Daisy had to hold one still for me while I took a picture, because there was a constant wind making them wave back and forth with the grass!
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Bonneville Dam, Multnomah Falls

To break up the drive a bit on our way home, we stopped at Bonneville Dam. We do love a good dam in this family, and we seek them out whenever possible. This dam is quite interesting because of the changes made in it over the years. We went on a tour of the powerhouse and enjoyed it immensely!
Huge generators (turbines are below, with the orange stripe)
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Cedar Wetlands

Right in Rockaway Beach, there's an old-growth Cedar Wetlands Preserve with one of the biggest cedar trees in Oregon in it. We had some little difficulty finding the trail (the instructions I found online were out of date, but I luckily also stumbled on this post which gave the real location of the trailhead: you take Washington Street (right off the 101) toward the mountains (away from the ocean) and turn left on Island Street. At the end of Island Street is the little trailhead. It's right in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but once you duck around the first tree, it's like you stepped into the middle of the wilderness. It's so beautiful! It's more of a walk than a hike, although there are some slippery spots (it's a wetlands, after all!). Soon you come to the huge cedar tree, which has a nice boardwalk around it.
I was afraid that after seeing the huge redwoods, all other trees would look small and unimpressive, but not so! This tree was so cool and knobby. And the whole forest was dripping with green plant life. I just never get tired of it. (Nor of saying that I don't get tired of it, apparently.)
Near the trailhead
Nothing to do with the cedar wetlands; just a street sign we saw in the area
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Tide Pools

We drove up to Cannon Beach one morning to see the tide pools. Sam and I had been to Haystack Rock before on another trip, but never at low tide, and it was interesting how different everything seemed! My mom said she used to spend a week in a little cottage near here every year when she was a little girl.
I hadn't realized how rocky it was---SO many little secret places for crabs and starfish and mussels to hide!

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Steam Train to Garibaldi

I was excited to see there was a steam train that ran through Rockaway Beach, because the kids have always wanted to see a working steam locomotive! I wanted them to ride it so much that I specifically made sure we were staying through a weekend because the train only runs on Saturdays and Sundays (this time of year, anyway). It's a pretty short train ride, it just goes down the coast for a few miles and then back up, about an hour and a half total. But it's beautiful and even if it hadn't been, we were riding a train! Automatic fun.
We made sure to get there early so we could look the train over and see all the pistons and cylinders up close. We heard the train whistle from our cottage as the train came by, and I've never seen the kids get their shoes on and ready to go so fast! They were so excited.
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Good food near Tillamook and Rockaway Beach

Sam and I went to Portland (without kids) several years ago, and while in the area we drove out to Tillamook to see the cheese factory and get ice cream. The ice cream was so spectacular that we've talked about it ever since, so of course we were excited to come back with the kids. We had the opportunity to taste a lot more flavors this time (16, in fact, since we visited the ice cream shop on two different days) and they were, without exception, totally delicious.
Everywhere we went, there were huge swaths of wild daisies and buttercups growing along the roadsides. They were so pretty, and I always wanted to stop for a closer look, but as we were usually driving on highway, we couldn't. Finally we saw this little hillside near a restaurant we stopped at, so of course Daisy and I went over to enjoy them!
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Rockaway Beach

After we went to Portland, we stayed in Rockaway Beach for a few days at this totally adorable cottage. As people who have never done vacation-house rentals before, I think we were super lucky in the ones we found---they both seemed like the most perfect places we could have chosen! This one was right at the beach. It was so charming, with its yard full of flowers and its lovely, pale blue walls and sweet details like drinking glasses with tiny cut-glass fish on them (SO cute!!).
Abe on the patio
Malachi conducting music on the porch (Abe used to do the same at his age)
Junie with calla liles (I love calla lilies! In fact, Junie was almost named Calla)
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Forest Flowers

There were so many wildflowers everywhere we went on this trip! I think most of these pictures are from the redwood forests. I'm always so amazed by wildflowers. I can't believe that no one planted them! Miraculous. :)
Love the clover-ish leaves on this tree trunk
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Portland

Ah Portland, land of my fathers. Or at least my mothers. Or at least my mother, singular (lest there should be confusion). I can still remember my mom telling me about these bubbling downtown drinking fountains when I was little (I thought they sounded like the coolest thing ever, and told all my friends about them). It was nice to see my own boys taking advantage of them, making three generations of bubble-fountain-drinkers!
New cable-stayed bridge, still under construction

In Portland it rained, as it should. We spent the wet morning in OMSI (the science museum) and had a great time.
Abe, lifting boxes with a crane onto the container ship
You wouldn't believe how hard it was to build this thing. It took about 6 of us to finally get it done.
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Oregon Garden and the Gordon House

In Silverton, Oregon, there is a nice botanical garden, with a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright, called the Gordon House, on the property. The house was moved from its original location to rest here in these beautiful oak groves. I really wanted to take the tour, but I ended up staying out with the little ones while some of the boys went on it. It sounded really interesting---lots of little architectural details to point out, and tidbits about FLW's life.
The setting couldn't have been more beautiful, and I thought it fit the look of the house so nicely
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Iris Gardens

Near Salem there is an iris farm with huge fields of iris, which were in full-bloom this time of year. They also have a gorgeous display garden, presumably so you won't go tramping around their fields trying to see the flowers. :) I love seeing how much variety there can be in just one kind (species? subspecies?) of flower! I do wish they had organized all the beds according to color, though, because it was hard to see and appreciate the subtle differences without the colors right next to each other. Schreiner's Iris Gardens, are you reading this?? :)

If you think there are too many pictures here, just thank your lucky stars I didn't find out about the peony farm until we were too far away to go to it. Next time!
So delicate; I love how softly it fades into lavender

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Hazelnuts

We stayed in the most amazing place near Silverton, Oregon! I've never stayed in vacation rental houses before, but with so many of us, it made more sense than a hotel a lot of the time. I was surprised to find prices comparable to a hotel, and often much cheaper than getting two rooms! Plus, I had not anticipated the benefits of having a place to cook, really cook (not just heat up Quaker Oats with coffee-pot water as we do in hotels) and to let the baby cry or the kids play without worrying about making too much noise the whole time! It was wonderful. This house was on a hazelnut farm (orchard? I think she called it an orchard) with 40 acres of hazelnut trees and a huge pasture with tall grass and pine trees. It was gorgeous.
The property was a kid's paradise. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, Abe was up this tree. :) And the owner was super laid-back and nice---she said the kids could climb trees and explore wherever they wanted.
They made forts and played Spy and had all sorts of adventures. It made me wish to be a kid again so I could join them!
Rhododendrons along the driveway
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