Remember your first day back to school when your first assignment was to write a report on your summer vacation? Well, this is my report. It might be kind of long, so grab some lemonade and get comfortable.
On June 18 Aaron, Melissa and I left for Ashland, OR. Aaron began his master's program at Southern Oregon University. He was in class from 8 am-5 pm almost every day for nearly 3 weeks. It's an intensive summer program for 3 summers. One down- two to go!
While Aaron was working so hard in class all day, Melissa and I were hard at work watching movies, shopping, going for long walks in the park and sleeping. There were a few days that we were hotel-bound because of very poor air quality outside from the California fires. The smoke hung in the air like a cloud. On the 4th of July my friend Daleasha and her family came down from Eugene to hang out with us. We had so much fun with them. She brought us a lot of yummy treats and fireworks! Aaron had a concert that night that was followed by a fireworks show. Melissa and I were freezing as the temperature dropped to a bone-chilling 65 degrees. (Yeah, we have issues!) Both of us have very low body temperatures, so anything below 80 requires layers. Anyway we survived...
Aaron did have a couple of days off during his program. We were able to take time one day to visit Crater Lake. Crater Lake is amazingly beautiful as you can see from the pictures. If you ever are anywhere close to it, you should go!
Aaron finished his classes on July 8. So after 20 days at the Holiday Inn Express we packed up and headed north. We stopped at the Wild Animal Safari in Roseburg, OR and drove through the park a few times. It was really neat to see all the animals so close up. Unfortunately for the animals and for Aaron it was 106 degrees outside. Melissa and I were quite content. We are practically reptilian in our need for heat!
We continued our journey to Eugene where we dropped Melissa off in a Target parking lot. Her aunt met us there and we said goodbye to Melissa. Aaron and I spent a couple of days with Daleasha, Gene, Daisy and Nate in Eugene. (Did I mention that Daleasha is pregnant??) We had a blast with them at their house and the beach...which of course, was freezing cold!
After our brief visit in Eugene, we headed to John and Cyndi's for several relaxing days.
Cyndi had her baby on June 6. Noah Jeffrey is perfect and cute and smiley. We had so much fun watching him. Josh just loves his Ne-Ne (he can't quite say "Noah" yet!). Josh is a great little boy, and is quite possibly the cutest 19 month old boy I have seen since my last nephew was 19 months old! We had lots of fun play times. Josh loved riding on my lap in my wheelchair-- which melted my heart. John and Cyndi are great parents. They spend so much fun quality time with their boys. One of the best parts of our visit was being a part of Josh and Noah's dedication at their church. It was a sacred time. (We also marked our 3 year milestone with quadriplegia on July 17. Thankfully 7/17/08 was much happier than 7/17/05!)
Ok! On July 18 Aaron and I continued north to Seattle. We spent a couple of beautiful days in that beautiful city. We met up with some friends of mine from Greenville College days, Ramon and Cerise, and they took us around Pike Place one afternoon. We had a fantastic time!
On July 20, our 6 year wedding anniversary, Aaron and I embarked on yet another northward bound journey aboard the Star Princess. Our cruise up the inside passage in Alaska had begun. There are way too many things to write about, so here are a few highlights. Our room was awesome. It was actually big enough for all of our equipment- and we had a window looking out to sea! The ship was enormous and had great food. Our friends Nathan and Hannah were on the same cruise so we had tons of fun hanging with them. We saw whales, seals, puffins, salmon and bald eagles. Quite surprisingly we did not see any bears, moose or caribou. Very disappointing. But the whales were amazing and exciting to spot.
The scenery of Alaska was breathtaking. (I sound like I'm on the Travel Channel). We went through iceberg-y waters; we saw glaciers; islands filled with nothing but trees; and of course spectacular snow-covered mountains.
And yes, with all the icebergs, glaciers, snow and open water...I completely froze. I looked like a giant tan blob with a colorful hat, 2 eyes, and 4 wheels. But all I needed were my eyes to see all the beauty around me.
In the end, we were glad to be getting off the ship and begin the 1200 mile journey--heading south! You've probably never heard of anyone heading south for the summer, but I was ready to thaw out!
We stopped for one night at John and Cyndi's--Josh and Noah were very happy to see Aunty Kari and Uncle Aaron again. They are so cute!! (Have I mentioned that yet?)
We arrived home in Riverside on July 29 to 90 degree temperatures!! Unfortunately we were too late to experience the 5.4 earthquake that occurred earlier that day. But we were thankful everything was ok.
Well folks, I guess that's it. We were gone for 6 weeks. It was a long time to be gone; but as always we are thankful to God for his grace and mercy that allows us to have such adventures in spite of our day-to-day challenges.
Blessings to you all--hope you're having a great summer.
Much love, Kari