Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crater Lake

I've been wanting to take the kids to Crater Lake for a few years now, and we finally made it. We spent a lovely day exploring this exquisite National Park, our second this year. (We went to the Grand Canyon in January. These places are so beautiful makes me want to buy an National Parks Pass and hit the road.) Erik and I visited Crater Lake ten years ago when I was pregnant with Peregrine. Seeing how it's only a few hours away, it was high time we made another trip that direction!
We took a seven mile detour away from the lake to view The Pinnacles.  These were formed when gasses from the volcano escaped through fumaroles and pushed up through layers of ash. The hot gasses cemented the ash into these incredible formations. This picture doesn't do justice to how big these are! You can see a little river snaking it's way along the bottom of the canyon.
These pinnacles reminded me of sand castles. They were probably 30 or 40 feet high.
The blue, blue waters of the lake. We threw in some educational commentary on why water appears blue and why this lake in particular is so clear. 
The white bark pines grow all around the rim of the lake. Raphael was the first to spot a Clark's Nutcracker, the bird that is responsible for the spread of these trees. Their cones don't open without the help of the birds, who eat some seeds and cache some for later. The trees tend to grow in clusters, evidence of forgotten stashes of seeds. 
Even though it was late July, there were still large patches of snow on the ground. The kids happily played in the snow for a while, and I enjoyed seeing many kinds of wildflowers growing on the slopes of the volcano.
We stopped at several viewpoints around the rim of the crater. In retrospect, I wish we'd taken more time to let the kids run around and explore some of the trails. There is also a great Junior Ranger Program offered by the National Parks that they would have enjoyed participating in if we'd planned our route a little better. Note for next time: Stop in at the Visitor Center first so they can pick up the Junior Ranger materials to enjoy throughout the day. There is a "Scavenger Hunt" activity that puts them on the lookout for certain animals, plants, etc., adding to the educational, uh, er, I mean fun aspect of visiting the park.
Another vista along the road leading out to the Pinnacles. Quite dramatic.
This was toward the end of the day on the East Rim. You can see the great orange "Pumice Castle" on the steep slope leading down to the lake. It was interesting to see the different strata and rock formations around the lake. One note for next time: drive clockwise around the lake. This way you'll be on the inner side of the road and not next to the steep drop-offs on the outer side! (We went counter clock-wise and the road in places is a bit narrow and lacking in guardrails.)
Here we are at Crater Lake. So thankful we were able to visit this amazing place. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Keeping On

   Summer days go by all too quickly. I can hardly believe it's mid-August already. Here in Oregon, we're finally hitting the 90s and it actually feels like summer. I'm ignoring the back to school sales and telling myself that the few trees that are already turning are flukes. Those geese flying overhead must have it all wrong because, seriously, it feels like summer just started. Fall is my favorite season, but let's not rush into things. I want to linger in these summer days, watching the kids run in the sprinkler and eat popsicles on the deck. I want to see their bare legs and sun-kissed shoulders a little longer, and smell their grubby little heads after long hours of playing outside. 

    Here are a few updates to recent news from our home:

  • The sale of our home fell through. We actually have now had two offers that have fallen through.  In the first situation the buyers just sort of disappeared, and in the second we were actually pending sale and ran into some issues and they pulled out. We were pretty disappointed but feel ourselves being buoyed up in great loving arms. We find it strange, and so does our realtor and everyone else, that we've had so many "close calls", but no sale. We know though that there is a bigger picture and we don't see the whole thing. So we wait, and try to keep our home reasonably clean and ready to show at an hour's notice. (Ha!) We are resigned to the fact that we will not be going to South America this fall. We're continuing to cross things off our lists and prepare to launch when the house sells, trusting that God will shed light on our path as we move forward.
  • We've had a couple great weeks with Peregrine. I am so, so encouraged! There has been much more peace in our home as he has been more calm and able to cope with things. We have been blessed to find a couple different practitioners who have been helping us to balance some physical things in his body. One is Dr. John Green from The Evergreen Center in the Portland area. He specializes in working with kids on the autism spectrum and did a lot of lab work on Peregrine. We learned that he has very high mercury levels, a big zinc/copper imbalance, and that his adrenal glands are stressed, causing low cortisol levels. We've had him on a number of supplements to help bring him into better health. We've also taken him to a chiropractor and nutrition consultant who I believe is helping. (In fact, we were in an appointment with her when the news of the house came to us, and I thought that perhaps God was keeping us here a little longer because we need this woman's help right now.) The difference has been remarkable. A few days ago he ate something that sent him into sobbing, raging, inconsolable behavior for about 24 hours. I can't pinpoint what it was, but it sure made me glad that it's now the exception and not the norm! Hopefully we can figure out what the trigger is. Overall, I feel very encouraged and thankful. It feels like puzzle pieces are coming together and that God is giving us the answers we need to move forward in more peace and harmony. 
    Thanks to all who have been praying for our family. We feel so, so blessed at how much support and love we are continually shown by those who know us and even those who don't!