[Packing. Let's not even discuss the five coolers we took with us.]

It was so hard missing out on Magone last year. Such a bummer. But we made up for it this year! A whole two years to look forward to a trip - the anticipation built and built until I thought I would burst. But burst I did when I realized that Hazel was going to be colder than she ever had been in her life.

It took a couple days but I devised a cold weather battle plan. I decided layers would be the best route.

It's been known to get so cold at night in Magone that it snows. Can you imagine sleeping in a canvas tent with no warmth except your own body heat and a massive pile of blankets? Nate and I have a small 4-man ten that we used for a couple years in Magone. The front flap wouldn't zip so we slept with the mesh closed, but still wide open to the elements. We were incredibly lucky to have Rick and Karen offered us the use of their big canvas tent.

We had room for all of our bags (and man alive did we have an incredible number of bags), Hazel's play pen, and our air mattress, with room to spare. We considered buying a little propane space heater, but decided against it for fear of dying from carbon monoxide or a fire. Nate and I slept with three sleeping bags and several layers of clothing; Hazel slept in her playpen with two blankets and a coat draped over her, and a thick quilt draped over the entire playpen. Each night I would put her in a onesie, leggings, two pairs of socks, long sleeved and footed pjs, a hat, and then stick her (in all of that) inside a fleece bodysuit.

We prayed a lot leading into the trip. I feared having her practically sleeping in the snow. She's 10 months old - she doesn't put off very much heat on her own!

We experienced a weather miracle in Magone. The first night was the coldest, getting down into the 30s, but after that the nightly temperature rose into the 50s and 60s. What a huge blessing! I still bundled Hazel each night for the most part, but she slept so much warmer. And it got so hot during the day that she actually spent a couple days in only her diaper. I don't remember that ever happening before in the 17 years I've been vacationing at Magone Lake.

Nate had the chance to go hunting with Doug and Dad...Oh yeah, the Batons were there this year. When we got in late on Sunday night, we were surprised to see Doug and Linda at Mom and Dad's campsite. All the stars aligned, apparently, and they were able to make the trip at the same time. They've been Magone buddies for many, many years.

So Nate borrowed camo from Doug and walked with Dad one evening and with Doug another night. He had a great time. He didn't carry a bow (no license) but he enjoyed the trails. Hazel wasn't sure what to think of his face paint. By the way, that was really fun to do to Nate, although I think I could have gone darker in some spots...

Another night we all trekked up to Lake Butte. Mom and Dad timed it for sunset, which was such a beautiful sight. I failed to take any fantastic photos of it - nothing on camera could compare with the glow, so I stopped trying. Each picture was a little disappointing. But here are some fun family pics!

We had such a good time. Every year we go, Nate and I make promises that we'll walk the lake at least once a day, and every year we miss the mark by a mile. This year we made it around a couple times. Rae Ann found us and Ergo at her favorite resale shop (in Ashton) so I played around with it at home while packing before the trip, and then Nate got a chance to use it at Magone.

I'd definitely say it wasn't his favorite thing. It works well for me, and Hazel doesn't seem to mind too much, but it fit kind of funny on Nate. (We recently scored a Kelty Kids backpack from my church blog, and he's in love with that carrier.)

The lake was just the same as the first time I ever laid eyes on it, I swear. Beavers still live there, deer still tromp through the campsites to get to the water, crawdads still meander along the river bottom. There's a dock now for small pontoon boats, and I'd say the duck population has skyrocketed, but it's all pretty much the same. I think that's what makes it so wonderful going back every year. It's been the same for me for so long now that I hope it's the same for Hazel as she grows up vacationing there.

Here are a few random shots from around camp. Hazel spent a good chunk of time being passed around between adults, but when that became tiresome, she played in her Kidco Pea Pod, which she loves. I tossed a bunch of toys in there with her and let her have at it. She can't roll far, so she generally just pushes against as many sides as she can reach all at once. The mesh keeps out bugs, so she was protected and I never worried about her while she was in it.

Some things about the trip definitely changed from years previous, because of Hazel. We couldn't all go shooting (nothing to protect her little ears with, not to mention my fear of stray bullets), so Nate took off one afternoon with Mom and Dad to go shooting nearby. Usually we'd pack up for a day trip, drive for hours to find a lone field or canyon to shoot in, have lunch there, and then stay out until evening. Hazel kept me rooted at the campsite though, dependent on regular feedings and nap times.

Speaking of nap time...Hazel shocked Nate and I while on the trip. She slept like a rock the entire time. We'd put her down for a nap and most times she'd usually go right to sleep, not at all phased by our presence in camp as we made noise talking or cooking or doing dishes. At night, same thing. We'd put her to bed and she'd knock right out, and then not wake up at all when Nate and I would unzip the tent to climb in and get ready for bed. We finally stopped trying to be quiet toward the end of the trip. Why tip toe around when you don't have to? It was marvelous!

Nate is a very serious packer. We have our jobs as we get ready for trips: I prep and pack all the food, pull everything we need out of various closets and storage spaces, and I pack Hazel's and my bags. He loads the truck with everything I've gotten ready and packs his own bags. He has a loading system, trust me. He's so organized that he was able to fit an ungodly amount of stuff into his truck bed without needing to use the cab of the truck as overflow. I wish I had gotten a picture of the truck packed, but I didn't. Here's the bungy cord system he used to hold everything down, though.

We look forward to next year's trip already. Hazel will be older and more independent, so it will be even more fun to go on walks around the lake with her. She hit the ten month mark while we were on the trip, so that was exciting.

This was our first trip back after losing Nathaniel in 2007. We had just gotten home from Magone when I went to the midwife's office and we saw him dying. It was sort of odd to be back at Magone - that last trip came to mind often. September 25th was a tough day for me (the day he died in my belly), but we made it through okay. September 25th to October 2nd just sucks in general, so these next few days will be iffy for me.

Magone is just the start of my favorite season! What's ahead, you ask, besides rainy weather and cold feet? Changing leaves! Wind! Apple sauce and dehydrated pears! The pumpkin patch! Harvest festivals! Halloween! Thanksgiving! The birthdays of two special little girls, Stella and Hazel! AND THEN, AND THEN...I can barely contain myself...TREE KILLING! Shoot, I want to go watch "White Christmas" right this second. But no, no I'll be good and wait until after Thanksgiving.

[That's going to take some serious self-control, I'll tell you that right now.]


She Eats Food

I make nearly all of Hazel's food (she's done breastfeeding so she takes formula a couple times a day and every now and then I'm totally unprepared or lazy so she'll have a container of pre-made baby food).

I've really enjoyed pairing random fruits or veggies to find palatable concoctions. This summer I stopped at a nearby fruit stand often to find berries to go with apricots, apples, pears, bananas, or mangoes. I freeze her food in trays and then defrost the amount I want when it's mealtime.

My freezer is fairly stocked now, between her foods (in ice trays and freezer bags) and jam that I've made. I try to cook it all in batches but there are times when the fruit is just better made right before her meal (bananas, for instance).

This morning I prepped two pears to combine with cottage cheese. She had some for breakfast, and then surprised me by finishing off the rest at lunchtime. She ate an entire pear per meal, and that's not mentioning the yams, beef, and broccoli she also had at lunchtime!

Here is a list of the foods she's had so far in her short life:
Carrots (Maybe has an allergy...still trying to figure that out)
Sweet potatoes
Butternut squash (LOVES)
Acorn squash
Spaghetti squash
Marion berries
Cottage cheese
Egg yolk
Prune juice
Orange juice (way watered down - just trying to get some water in her system)

I know I'm missing some veggies, but I think I covered all the fruits. She likes most things; if she doesn't have a taste for something, she usually just lets it fall out of her mouth (like peas...and water - can't stand it). Cottage cheese was a different story the first time I tried that out on her. She spit and spat until she got every kernel from her mouth. Absolutely hated the stuff until I mixed it with fruit.

She's a good eater! She's finally figuring out how to use her fingers to pick food up off the table - and her grip is definitely improving, which has come with stregthening her right shoulder, wrist, and hand during physical therapy.

Speaking of all this food, I'm starving now.


Taking a break from the old for some, uh, not exactly new anymore...

My last few posts have been pictures from several months ago, and, no worries, I have many more where those came from. But I want to take a quick break to post some pictures we had done of Hazel at 8 months. Can you believe it, it's already been two months since these were taken!

It took me so long to post them because I figured most people who look at this blog are a friend on Facebook, but that's not quite true. Sitemeter tells me otherwise. So I'm hear to spread the love of Mae Wright Photography. She's fantastic!

Meghan did so well with Hazel (and Nate, who I think was honestly a little nervous about having someone in our house taking pictures of us). She was so professional and even got the pictures back to us about a week sooner than we expected. If you're in the Portland area, take advantage of her talent!

I'm so excited to have Meghan back over for another photo shoot. I'm not quite sure when that's going to happen, but Hazel is growing and changing every stinking day, so I should probably call her fairly soon. Yes, I'll go do that now. Excuse me.


Breitenbush Camping

Well, I'm packing us up today (yeah, that's right, I'm doing it now) to head to Magone for ten days. Blogging is part of my departure preparations, don'tcha know. I finally had an opportunity to upload the pictures of our trip to Breitenbush with Nate's family. Our joint camera card was full, so I took a couple pictures on another card, which maxed out at three photos. I was so bummed. Okay, so here are the three pictures I took.

We stayed in a campsite across from Rick, Karen, Ricky, and Stephen. Our site was suited for twelve people, three tents, and three cars. It was huge, but very private. Hazel did well, for the most part. She didn't go back down for her usual morning nap which generally takes place immediately after she wakes up around 7am and then has a bottle. At home, she'll sleep from 7:30 to 9:30am, or even as late as 10am. Not camping, though - there was no chance once the sun came up.

I kept a thick comforter over her play pen to keep it dark and help her get some extra sleep, but I wanted her to breath, too, so I had a corner pulled back to let fresh air in. On our second morning I woke up to her quiet chatter as she watched me through the mesh side of the play pen. As soon as I opened my eyes, she squealed.

We were only able to stay a couple days at Breitenbush. Nate and I had intended to leave the house Friday around 5pm, in time to set up camp and make dinner with his family, but we didn't leave our driveway until 9pm. We had camp set up and were in bed by 1:30am Saturday morning. Hazel slept horribly that first night, crying at any noise, which was really lame because Nate decided to snore that night. He never snores. Ever. Nate also forgot he was sleeping on an air mattress, so I either had him in my space or I was falling of the bed with his quick movements.

Saturday was fun. We didn't do too much, though. We were up and about by 7am; Stephen was the first to rise from the other site, and he came wandering over at about 10:30am. Karen and Rick got up sometime after 11am, and Ricky might have slept all day if we'd let him! Stephen and I set Hazel on him to finally wake him up around noon.

We took off on Sunday by about 12:30pm, so the trip was short but it was good practice for Magone. I can hardly wait to get to the lake! It's been two years since the last time we were there - bed rest fouled up last year's plans. I'm nervous about keeping Hazel warm, though. It's been known to snow during the night up at Magone. Hazel's suitcase is bursting with all of my clothing options for her. She'll be sleeping in two layers and a thick swaddler at night, plus two pairs of socks, a hat, and gloves. Changing a diaper during the night will be interesting, I'll just say that. Wish me luck!


Mt. View Orchards, Parkland, OR

For the last few years, Nate and I have joined Mom and Dad on their annual trip to Hood River for apples and pears. I love Fall. And I especially love apple season. I love dehydrating pears and making applesauce - it's a key element to my Fall traditions.

Over Labor Day weekend, we wanted to do something new with Hazel, so we decided to drive to Hood River. We left just in time for Hazel to take a nap on the drive there, which of course she didn't. We found the orchard Mom and Dad like, and we found they had peaches and pears. Wahoo! I loaded up a couple bags for Hazel's baby food supply.

The anticipation of our next trip is almost unbearable - we go again in just a few weeks for apples and Cascade pears. I'm so excited, I just can't stand it! After apple season, it's time for the pumpkin patch, and then harvest decor, and then wassil and pumpkin spiced candles, and then November with Hazel's birthday, Thanksgiving, Tree Killing...and then December! It's just too much excitement!