Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category


July is almost gone

   Posted by: Mark

It really seems like we were watching fireworks just the other night, and now July is almost over. We’ve stayed busy, and have really been trying to get out and enjoy the outdoors and each other as a family. We made it to Seaside early this month just for a day, and the hot weather here was completely reversed out there (of course!). We have only ever been to the coast once or twice in ten years when it was warm enough not to have to wear long pants and a hoodie. We ate too much taffy and snacked on too many pistachios on the way home, but we sure did have a lot of fun.




We were able to reconnect with some old “Beaverton” friends from long ago this month, and as a side benefit we learned about the Salmon Creek Trail and how great it is for kids with bikes. So we loaded up the truck with bikes, a scooter, and a stroller, and enjoyed a five mile walk up the trail and back with the kids (and wow were they wiped out after that!).





I also had the privilege of helping out shooting two weddings this month, and despite my bad shoes at the first one and the heat at the second, had an unbelievably good time. I hope to post some pictures from both weddings on my business site soon, after I work out the permissions with Amy.

And just last night we took a little balsa glider and a Nerf football and visited Orchard Park. And what a fun time we had! Isaiah has an amazing arm, and Jeremiah was fully engaged running around in bare feet chasing a soccer ball. Timothy, Lindsey, and I took turns launching the plane, and Tami played catch with Isaiah. I’ve got to say that it sure is fun to tickle-tackle the kids when they catch (or not!) a football!

It’s been a good month to reflect on God’s incredible grace and goodness, and to enjoy some great time together as a family.


Night shooting

   Posted by: Mark

Dad called today to see if I was willing to take a chance on the weather and head down to the river in Portland for some night pictures. Though I was a bit skeptical that it would stay dry, I knew Dad was anxious to get out and shoot, and I was eager to spend some time with him and with the camera. Timothy came along too, and we had a great time, despite the nasty-cold wind that was blowing. It almost made me wish I actually believed in global warming. Almost.

We hit the Esplanade around 7:30p, but the sun wasn’t low enough until probably 8:30 or 9:00. But when the lights came on, and the sky darkened a bit, it was tough to get enough pictures. Every photographer within 200 miles has probably shot the exact same pictures we got tonight, but that’s doesn’t make it any less fun. Dad did a lot of panos, partly because he wanted to get back into editing (lots of stitching!), and partly because I had the 16mm and he had the 24mm (thanks AGAIN, Dad!). I did keep offering, but our hands were cold and useless enough that we didn’t feel like gambling on a lens swap.

Timothy, the poor kid, was cold most of the time, but he had his Heelies to keep him occupied. And once he started seeing how the pics were turning out, he was anxious to see the next shot. I suppose the promise of a warm car and hot fries helped a bit, too. And what boy ever tires of throwing stuff into the water?

Thank you, Dad, for getting us out of the house. We need to go again once it warms up a bit!

Here are two of the shots from tonight. The first is a 20 second exposure with a pan on the video tripod I brought. The second is just a straight-up 30 second exposure. Both were at f9 and ISO 100, and both have been hit with Noiseware and minor lens distortion fixes in Photoshop.




Leaping lizards!

   Posted by: Mark

Tami has been out of town for almost a whole week. We have never done a “split vacation” before, but this time we couldn’t see all of us flying back to Illinois, so Tami took Lindsey and JD. I took some time off of work, and to ease the boys’ pain of not being able to ride an airplane or see Grandma and PawPaw we stacked the days with boy stuff. Pizza, breakfast for dinner, movies, videos, and all sorts of other things. It’s been a lot of fun, but we sure are anxious to be reunited (Monday evening can’t come fast enough!). And split vacations are a stupid idea; even though we really have had fun it’s a bummer not all being together.

One of the fun places we went was JJ Jump here in Vancouver. Tami has taken the kids before, but I’ve never been. When the boys heard we might go there, that was about all I heard every day: “are we going to JJ Jump today?”

We finally went on Friday. It wasn’t all that busy there, with only three or four other moms with kids, so the boys had free reign. And they ran non-stop for over an hour. JJ Jump is an indoor play area with five or six of the huge inflatable play structures such as slides, obstacle courses, and a ball pit (I think?). Unlike many indoor play areas, this place was quite clean, even requiring use of hand sanitizer before playing! It wasn’t as loud as I would have expected a warehouse with six or more industrial inflation fans running. And the boys loved every second of it.

One of the funniest things, at least for me, was the music they had playing. It was all kid friendly, undoubtedly, but it cracked me up to hear “Ice Ice Baby” (Ice Age), “I Like to Move it Move it” (Madagascar), and others. “Cotton Eye Joe” and a version of the ABC Song with heavy techno beats were awesome. Next time we go I need to find out what they all were.

Lighting for pictures was three steps below horrible, so next time I need to break out an off-camera flash.




A new pursuit for T-man

   Posted by: Mark

Timothy started martial arts this week. The introduction package at the facility he is attending provided two one-on-one classes and the initial group lesson with a uniform and first belt. I have no doubt that the first two classes were focused as much on selling me as they were on keeping him excited, and his instructor did a great job. Timothy thoroughly enjoyed the classes, and I think he may have enjoyed walked around the stores after class in full uniform almost as much.

Our goal for him is to increase his confidence and discipline. He’s a really good boy (in our humble opinion), but tends to have a bit of a lazy streak, not unlike his father. We’re trusting that the goals and motivation associated with this sport will help overcome that, and that he’ll really enjoy himself. If the past two days have been any indication, he’s well on his way to learning some exciting and useful things.

Next week he starts forms with the rest of the white belts. I’m sure there will be more pictures and posts as he progresses!





Pumpkins and apples

   Posted by: Mark

This past Saturday we headed into the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River, where we drove a bit of the Hood River Fruit Loop. The weather was beautiful, especially for this time of year. We stopped at Rasmussen Farms to get some pumpkins and apple cider, and then to Draper Girls Country Farm to pick some apples.

I have to praise the Draper Girls for their wonderful staff. When we arrived they had just closed the apple picking for the day, since it was about 5:30 in the evening. I mentioned that wasn’t a big deal, since we would likely be out in the area again in a few weeks, to which the lady answered that there probably wouldn’t be any more apples by then. She then let us go out and pick some apples even though they had closed up for the day! The kids were so excited, and we ended up with about 25 pounds of fresh apples, with a side of muddy shoes and sticky smiles.










Scouting with APP

   Posted by: Mark

This past weekend my sister (of Amy Pearson Photography fame) suggested that our families meet up at a potential photo shoot site. What we found was all you could ask for if grunge/industrial is your thing. I absolutely loved it, and the kids enjoyed searching for “treasure” along the tracks.








Mt. Adams 2008

   Posted by: Mark

Last Wednesday morning Chad and I left for the Cold Springs campground just outside Trout Lake. Our plan was to hike to Lunch Counter and set camp by about 5:00p, then summit Mt. Adams with lighter packs and do the full descent on Thursday.

Our packs were heavy, with Chad’s at about 55 pounds and mine around 45 or 50 pounds. I had six liters of water and the tent poles and spikes, and he had seven liters of water and the tent. Oh, and he had a metal fork, while mine was plastic. The weather was much more cool than we expected, and we didn’t end up using but about half of our water. Man, I wish I’d known that before we reached Lunch Counter. The ascent was tough for me, being so out of shape, but we made it in about six hours, knowing we didn’t need to rush.

Just before we broke the treeline (8100 feet?), we ran into a couple with a teenage son who were coming back down. They told us Lunch Counter was terrible, with winds approaching 75mph, and they had decided not to attempt a summit. We continued, with the wind ever increasing as we rose and broke various ridges. Numerous times we had to quickly throw our poles out to the side to keep from falling over as wind gusts caught our packs.

We met a few other groups climbing, all of them planning to spend the night around Lunch Counter and then to summit in the morning. We crossed the only ice field in our path just below Lunch Counter, but didn’t need to use crampons since it was soft from the afternoon sun.

After starting at Cold Springs campground at 11:00a at 5600ft, we reached the very top of Lunch Counter at 5:15p and 9500ft. The wind was unbelievable, but the rock shelters were sufficient to allow us to pitch the tent. We ate some hot dinner and then turned in at about 7:30p.

The night was noisy and restless, with the wind snapping and howling non-stop. It didn’t freeze, but it was chilly, and the noise helped insure we achieved little more than catnaps for an hour or two at a time all night. By 6:00a we were tired and a bit frustrated, but were blessed with one of the most amazing sunrises either of us had ever seen.

It was pretty easy to decide not to attempt a summit, since the wind was difficult to stand in, and we couldn’t see even half way up Piker’s Peak (11,600ft). We munched down some Clif bars, packed the tent, inventoried lost items (just the tent stuff-sack, which I didn’t get pushed deep enough into my bag to hide it from the wind overnight), and headed back down the mountain.

On our way down, we encoutered at least two of the groups that we’d seen the day before, and both groups decided the summit attempt was not worth the risk. We ran into numerous other groups headed up, one of which was attempting to summit for the third time this year after having been turned back twice already because of the weather. Another group had been up two weeks prior and was unable to summit because of the weather.

While we did feel a bit better that no one was attempting to summit, we were still a bit disappointed. Compounding the disappointment was the fact that our only opportunity to glissade, just below Lunch Counter, was lost because of the incredibly painful, pants-shredding patches of ice.

Regardless, the scenery was fabulous, and the opportunity to spend time away from work and responsibility for a couple of days with a Christian brother as encouraging and uplifting as Chad was a true blessing. And thanks, Chad, for slowing up your descent enough to let me feel like I could almost keep up.

Here are some of the pictures I captured with our little Panasonic (no way I was bringing the 40d). You can view the entire set on Flickr (with captions).

Mt. Adams 1

Mt. Adams 4

Mt. Adams 11

Mt. Adams 12

Mt. Adams 13

Mt. Adams 14

Mt. Adams 16

Mt. Adams 17

Mt. Adams 22

Mt. Adams 23


Seattle for less than 24 hours

   Posted by: Mark

Tami and I had a chance to get away for about 24 hours, and ran up to Seattle (thanks, Mom, for taking JD and T!). Most of our time was at the Pike Place Market, since we love the colors, food, variety, and people. Here are some pictures from the trip (click here for more):





This past Saturday we stopped by Fort Vancouver to check out the Soldiers’ Bivouac and the 1860’s vintage baseball game. It was a beautiful day, and the folks from 1st Oregon Volunteers and other area groups did a fabulous job. The ladies dresses were more than enough to keep Lindsey talking, and we pushed her to ask one of the younger girls about her dress (this particular girl had received hers as a hand-me-down from the organization, but they provide extensive assistance for any members who would like to make their own). And Timothy and Isaiah remained enthralled with the muskets and cannons.