*HaPpY BiRtHdAy KeLlY!!!*

Monday, June 23, 2008

Today was the day, 26 years ago that Kelly came into the world!....and I'm so glad he did! We started the morning with a cool song and (almost) dance from none other than His truly! Unfortunately, it's back to work for me, so we'll have to party like it's 1982 when I get home!
I love you Kelly, thanks for being such a wonderful husband, and I hope your 26th year is the best one yet!

Road Trip Math

4 Haskins (2 former), 3 Lansings and 2 Johnsons for a total of 7 family members crammed into one Ford Explorer loaded to the brim with blankets, pillows, over-packed bags, climbing gear and snacks stacked so high they would rival New York’s Skyscrapers. Tack on a total of 10 days and five states (Utah, Idaho, Oregon, California and Nevada) over 2100 miles and who knows how many hours and you have a one-of-a-kind recipe for fun.

I can’t even do the stories justice. Since our adventures in Prineville where we last left off, and also first began usage of our favorite word ‘obligatory’ (the word first took off in description of the obligatory climbing butt-shot, and has carried through), we have visited Cannon Beach, Oregon. Cannon Beach, located in Northern Oregon, is probably best known for most visible landmark: Haystack Rock. A prominent monolith located just off the beach that plays home to a blanket of seagulls. We spent hours walking up and down the coast, snapping photo after photo of the rock. We walked downtown and enjoyed dinner at some local restaurants, explored the quaint local shops and nearly passed out from all the ice cream (actually, I am pretty sure we did pass out from it once or twice). During our exploration we also discovered a new catch phrase for our trip, ‘mostly’. It seems that the work mentality along the beautiful Oregon coast is slightly more light heartened than our inland Utah, typically opening from “10am-5pm, Mostly”. We caught the ‘mostly’ days.

We topped off our Cannon Beach portion with a bonfire and s’mores, mmmm… mmmmm… good.  Travis, Adrienne, Gary, Shelli and I roasted ‘mallows and ate s’mores by the ocean until Gary and the girls decided they had had enough. Travis and I enjoyed a few more hours before calling it a night.  After the bonfire and a good nights sleep (mostly) we packed up and traversed the coast all the way down to Gold Beach (very Southern Oregon) stopping along the way for ‘feely rocks’. We learned the intricacies and anatomy of the perfect feely rock, the necessity of the hand to rock fit and the appropriate smoothness and texture by the expert herself Mrs. Pam Haskins. And after Shelli gathered close to a half ton of rocks we were done.

Gold Beach was nice, but short. We pulled in, found dinner, went to bed, got up and said ‘goodbye,’ waving in the distance as we closed in on the Majestic Redwoods and the Trees of Mystery. Travis turned us on to this little wonder where we had a conversation with a 50 foot tall Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. After strolling through the mammoth redwoods we backtracked our way back to Oregon and along the border to our present destination: Tulelake, California.

Tulelake is the hometown of our one and only Gary Haskins. Gary’s parents still live here in Tulelake making the population a strong 10 or so. Actually, it’s really like a thousand, but you get the picture, right? We spent yesterday eating delicious food, and then eating some more. Grandma Joan has fed us well. After eating again we checked out the Lava beds and went spelunking in the caves. It was an awesome experience. Some of the lava caves are absolutely endless, weaving in and out and over each other. Others are so untouched by the sun that they still house Ice even in the warm weather.  Still others house bats and other creatures. It is incredible to see how the lava has cut its way through the rock melting it away. You can still see the organic drips of rock that solidified into unbreakable little points that kept jabbing our kidneys and foreheads as we crawled our way through the narrow passageways.

Post-caves and more food here we are today. The girls took off this morning for a girl’s day out and the boys spent the day around the house being lazy. It’s felt good to be lazy.

It’s been a great vacation, one that will not soon be forgotten. Tomorrow we head back for the homestretch Tulelake, CA to Salt Lake City, UT. It’s a long one. No one has killed anyone yet, in fact, we all seem to be pretty good friends still. It will be good to be back home and in our own bed, but it will be sad to leave all of our wonderful family and all the fun sites we have seen. Our families have been great to us from Prineville to Tulelake and everything in between. I am thankful to have seen all we have seen; I feel like I have been able to soak up a wonderful portion of Shelli’s family history through the places we have visited and the amazing stories we have heard. I’m glad to have a place in all of this and it has been an exciting time.

Well, I am done for now, mostly. One more long day on the road and its back to the real world. Salt Lake City here we come…

Tyler having the time of his life in Prineville
Shelli and I after a day of climbing at Smith Rock just outside of Prineville. We were told it is one of the premier climbing locations in the world, it was pretty incredible.
No Comment.
Next Stop Cannon Beach, b-e-a-utifiul!
Shelli was excited to see Haystack Rock.
The views were pretty, but nothing compared to my beautiful wife.
Downtown Cannon Beach outside the shops. 
Cannon Beach Panoramic. 
Look ma, I can hold up Haystack Rock!
This Seagull thought he was hot stuff.
Found a few sand dollars on the beach. Unfortunately I left them at the beach. 
And then we started down the coast...
The Lansings on their way down to the beach
Beautiful Cannon Beach views before we leave.
Sad to say goodbye, but we had fun...
Bye,  bye.
The Girls having fun on the beach...
Still having fun...
Cute little Tyler enjoyed the Redwoods.
The Cathedral Trees at the Trees of Mystery.
Last Stop Tulelake, and the Lava beds. 

Greetings from OREGON!

Monday, June 16, 2008

We're almost halfway through our Haskins' family roadtrip vacation....complete with a packed Ford Explorer, 2100 miles of driving, and chili for dinner! Don't YOU wish you were here?  So far we have stayed in Ontario, Oregon at the hotel we renamed "Ghetto Inn", (I think you get the point), a two-day trip in Prineville, Oregon to see our Aunt Pat and Uncle Randi, and we just arrived at Cannon Beach today.  

In Prineville, we had the awesome opportunity to go to Smith Rocks....a world-renowned National Park known for it's great rock climbing.  Kelly and I scaled up the mountains, and even my brave dad gave it a go!  I'm happy to say that my dad belayed Kelly and trusts him to be a good husband to me because he came down the mountain safe and sound!  Phew!  My Aunt Pat treated us to delicious food, and even went out of her way to cook veggie version for me....thanks Aunt Pat!  We ended the day galloping away into the sunset on my Aunt and Uncle's new horse, Badger.  

Happy Fathers Day Travis and Dad!  We love you guys!  

After 6 hours of driving, and a stop at Mount Hood, we arrived here in Cannon Beach.  The weather is gray and cold, but nevertheless it is gorgeous here, and we are happy to be out of the car for a few days!  The water is a bit too nippy to take a dip, but we plan on seeing haystack rock tomorrow and seeing some of the other sights of this gorgeous area.  
Kelly and I hope you all are doing wonderful, and if you're a dad, that you had a great and blessed Father's Day!  

Shelli and Badger the Horse!  (He looks so excited to go for a ride!)

Cool Dudes Kelly and Ty getting ready for more fun times in the car!  Woohoo!

Kelly showing off his sweet climbing skills up Rope-de-Dope at Smith Rock, OR.

Trusting my life with dad belaying me!  He did awesome!

Dad's ascent up the mountain, in boots!  I'm impressed!  

live in the now

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nothing quite gauges your own age like an all-nighter. Nothing. There was a day when all-nighter recovery was a 2 hour deal. Then it took half-a-day, then you needed to take the entire day after off just to get back on your feet. And now... now after an entire night of no sleep and running around on a Sunday night, by Friday I'm about 95%. 

So, friends and family welcome to Monday morning coming in at about 25% coherent, 70% exhausted and 5% hungry, yet here I am, blogging away in my partially comatose state. I spent the duration of Sunday night jumping between movie after movie on the big screen, some brutally vicious glow-in-the-dark football, video games everywhere, all topped off with pizza and junk food. Shelli took part in a good portion of the night, but she decided on being the wise one and heading home early, in time for enough rest to get up for work today. We obviously know where the brains in the relationship are. 

The all-nighter capped off an awesome year of youth ministry where we witnessed some incredible growth in our youth. We are switching gears for the summer before we ramp up in the fall. While I welcome the small break, I have enjoyed everything God has done this year, and look forward to the fall. Our youth have grown up so much in the 3 years or so I have been volunteering, and now working, with them. We attended one of the graduations of our youth and it was surreal to remember her just after her freshman year of high school and now heading into her freshman year of college. In many ways I am forced to recall all the growing up that has gone on in my own life when I realize how much has gone on around me. I am getting older, whether I like it or not, or no matter how hard I try not to.

So Friday when I actually recover from this last week (more on that later), we are heading off with Shelli's family to visit more of her family. I am looking forward to the vacation. Shelli and I have both been working hard these days and it will be nice to get away from everything for a while. I look forward to actually seeing and visiting the places I have heard so much about as we tour through Central Oregon and Northern California. And we'll be able to enjoy the plush and spacious traveling accommodations of the Ford Explorer packing 6 adults and one little Tyler, isn't that exciting? If you hadn't picked up on my sarcasm by now, we going to be real cozy for many hours on the road. Despite the cozy conditions there is nothing but excitement in our household as the day we leave approaches.

And one last final thought for the day: The last week of exhaustion for Shelli and I has come in the wake f the emotional roller-coaster of buying our first home. We have been up one side and down the other and through just about every emotion you an think of on this, ranging from excitement to disappointment, back to excitement, with a harsh turn toward overwhelming and apprehensive, finally landing back on excitement. Landing on excitement, because we finally pu tin a offer this week. We are expecting a counter offer, but we are hopeful that we are finally done with the shopping process and on to the purchasing process. We'll try to keep you updated more as the process takes shape, but for now thats the story. 

Might I add thats its just one more thing to help me realize how much growing up has been going on around us and in our own lives. The days of classes, playing on the quad and grades have finally given way to 8 hour or more workdays, mortgages and 401K's . I suppose I must embrace the reality. 'Live in the now' as Wayne Campbell a la Wayne's World would put it.