Yes, more vacation journal. For some of the photos, see Joe's blog.
On Day 4 of the Big Drive, we drove. Yes, that's right. Our destination, The Dalles, OR, to see some friends of ours, the J family. Unfortunately, the J Mom had to be out of town (smart lady?), so we had to content ourselves with the J Dad and the little Js. But although we missed Erica, we loved our visit all the same. It was especially relaxing for me because the guys did all the cooking: the kids played outside in the tree house and yard, and played dress up inside, and watched movies and played wii, and moslty got along great.
I took a couple of walks while we were there--Everything in The Dalles is hills. Big hills. I don't get much practice on hills around here...Reminded me of running cross country while attending the school formerly known as DMLC, in New Ulm, MN. One day a week our practice consisted of, "Do five hills." Yup, that was it. 12th Steet hill. Five times. But if you're familiar with New Ulm, join me in affirming that five hills is a great plenty for one day. As an aside here, I was not a great cross country runner. But when I did have opportunity to pass another runner, let it be known that it was always on the hills.
We attended church at Bethany in The Dalles. We took a walk on Monday along part of the River Front Trail. It was a long hot walk. The kids and some of the adults (I) waded in the Columbia River, against the advice of Pastor J. Let it be known that only one of us ended up with a strange skin condition during vacation. But we are not necessarily blaming the mighty Columbia.
Thank you to the J family for your hospitality.
On Tuesday morning, Day 7, we took off for points north. We spent our Seattle area stay at Gold Baisn campground in the Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. It was a great spot. Lots of Western Hemlock and Vine Maples The branchs hung with mosses. A soft layer of needles and moss and rotting timbers made up the camp site. It was really very beautiful. The Stillaguamish River ran alongside, so we had a few opportunities to swim and wade in the waters thereof. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to use the tubing equipment Uncle Mike lent us. Too bad. I'm sure it would have been great fun.
Rachel brought her soon to be husband, Nick out to the campground Tuesday evening to meet us. It was a treat, Rachel. Thank you for the special visit. I know you guys were plenty busy. Welcome to the family, Nick.
On Wednesday, we spent the morning and early afternoon just enjoying the campground. In the afternoon and evening, we went into Marysville for a little shoe shopping for a couple of kids, and then we headed South to see what cousins we could hook up with. Aren't cell phones great! We got ahold of Mike and Shawna and ended up having a delicious supper with them at Taster's Wok in Edmonds. It was a great visit. And thanks for picking up the tab. That gets to be quite a bit when considering the number of Abrahamson mouths to feed. I hope you know we didn't plan it that way.
Poor Cousin Taylor (5) had broken her foot a few days before and had just had it casted with the exhortation, "Absolutely no weight on it for two weeks." The night we had supper with them, she still needed to be carried, the injury being so new. But by Friday she was crawling around, playing and chasing with all the cousins. I hope your foot is on the mend, Taylor.
Sophie spent that night at Mike and Shawna's with Taylor and Nolan. What a treat! My kids have no cousins on Joe's side and my relatives are all so far away. It really is special for them to get to be with their cousins.
We found out later that we had just missed Sara and her kids Wednesday afternoon. They had hoped to catch us at the campground. Apparenly they met us at one of the intersections about 1/2 hour out from the campground. We were sorry to have missed them. The cell coverage was non-existent once we got into the foothills where the campground was. So even though we were all equipped with them and everyone had everyone else's numbers, we still did not have contact with anyone once we got past Granite Falls.
On Thursday, all the wedding excitement was in full swing. We were expecting Kathy and Joel and their family to join us at the campground that evening. And there was a Girls Night Out for Rachel and Nick's sisters and sisters-in-law and moms. Mike brought Sophie to the campground before he was expected at the coinciding Boy's Night Out. Thanks again, Mike.
Kathy and I ate a quick supper with the guys and kids and then we headed out with Louisa, Elsie and Cousin Iraina. We were to drop the girls off at Nick's house to join Cousins Christa, Ruth and Liz, were already watching the younger set of cousins. There was really a housefull. Sara's four kids, Dylan, Cameron, Mattie and Ethan; Shelly's Drake; Mike's Nolan and Taylor; and Lisa's Tim who really didn't need babysitting but wanted to enjoy the company of the cousins. Then they had Inge for awhile, also, since, duh, I couldn't very well take her along to the bar, now, could I. (no, I don't get out much.)
Kathy and I didn't stay long, but we had a fun quick hello. Kathy had a Diet Pepsi and I had a Scotch. Hmm. But thanks to Rolf and Dort P for teaching me how to order Scotch. :-) Then I didn't feel like quite such a bumpkin. Then we stocked up on camping foods at Safeway, and returned to pick up Inge. The girls were all staying with Lisa for the night. Poor Tim. He was quite outnumbered. But thank you Lisa for the extra cousin time.
On Friday, several of the Aunts and Grandma E got together at Nick's house to do the cooking for the rehearsal dinner and work on some last minute decorating items. I decided that with my crew, the hindrance would be perhaps more than any help I could give. But the Louisa and Elsie got to spend the day with Grandma and all the aunts and cousins. I think both girls would agree they had a great day.
Kathy and her family packed up in the early afternoon and headed to a hotel for the duration of the weekend. Thank you Kathy and Joel for spending that time with us. I know you must have been exhausted. (They had just returned a few days previously from their own family vacation to see Joel's family in WI.)
We all met up again at the rehearsal and dinner that night at Nick's parents' spread. They have a lovely home and yard and graciously provided many things to keep all the kids busy that evening and the day of the wedding. There was ping pong, a trampoline, volleyball and badmiton, and on Saturday, they had rented one of those blow up castles which kept the younger set busy all afternoon and evening.
Aimee had graciously provided Gluten Free pasta bake, bread, and cheesecake for Joe. Thanks you, Aimee!
On Saturday the festivities started at around 2:00 and went into the wee hours for those who chose to stay that long. We got everyone up and rolling and had breakfast and cleaned up. Then we started to focus on showers. We had planned to eat a cold lunch, but ran out of time. It always takes so long in a strange place and we didn't want to do any showering the day before and smell like smoke at the wedding. Campfire smoke is such a pervasive aroma in hair and clothes...
But we made it. Uncle Joel performed the ceremony, Cousins Christa, Ruth and Iver each had a variety of musical obligations. Aunt Kathy sang. Aunts Sarah and Emily were bridesmaids. Emily and Mitch had come from Scotland where they are studying in Edinburgh.
And Rachel and Nick were wed. Musn't forget that. It was, after all, the main attraction.
The reception was yet more visiting and more fun. Rachel and Nick had met when she was tending bar and he would come in for Karaoke, so in honor of that, they had Karaoke at the reception and many attendees took advantage of that, uh, popular cultural phenomenon. And they must really like the song, Big Green Tractor. I think I heard it at least three times. Nick and his family operate a heavy equipment construction/excavation company. I don't know if any of their tractors are green, however.
Oh, and it was Matt's 15th birthday that day, too. Happy Birthday, Matt! His dad bought him a skinning knife the next day. We have yet to have his "party." Once things settle down here and I have time to ask what he wants for his birthday dinner, I"ll get on it. He got kind of forgotten in all the visiting we were doing that day, but we love him all the same.
I have one more vacation journal to write. But I have a screaming baby presently.