Dog Days of Summer

It’s been at or near 100 degrees here for the past week. We don’t get many HOT days like this in Oregon. Maybe only one week every other year or so. I think it’s kind of nice…for a short period of time. But, we’ll take our 80s weather for most of the summer. We DO deserve it afterall. With 5-6 months of cloudy and drizzle. Followed by 2-3 months of rain. The green is lovely, but boy do we like it when summer finally arrives. And, you just can’t beat an Oregon summer day. Especially if you’re headed outside. Better yet to the beach!

We’ve had such a busy summer already. Lots of visitors have dropped by for a spell. First came Josh and Moira Vandermeer…good friends who used to live up in Summit County, Colorado. Moira worked at Starizon with Eric and I. They, too, have moved away from that area. But, like us, they get back for a visit every now and again. The V-clan were in Oregon visiting family, and we were lucky to have them over for dinner and reminiscing.

Next came my Uncle Tom and Aunt Diane who were on their way back home to Seattle. They stayed at Mom’s house for a few nights, and we enjoyed hearing about their adventures with my cousin Brian’s family down in California.

Then, on July 7th, Hunter turned four years old. Can you believe it? Us neither. Hunter decided this was the year for a Spider Man theme. And, since Eric and I both had to work the morning of his party (it being a Saturday), we took the easy way out and threw the kids party at the Silverton City Park. (Think built in jungle gym entertainment, less clean up, squealing kids…perfect party. Success.)

Hunter and his best buddy next door, Liam, joined the YMCA soccer club. Let’s just say not a lot of true “soccer” was played by Hunter…perhaps it’s just not his sport. He was much more interested in doing summersaults in the grass, watching birds, picking dandelions for me (“mommy…flowers”), etc. His uniform shirt really says it all…he picked the shirt that had the backwards 3 on it. And, he proceeded to live out the hilarity behind that choice for the month of July. Lots o’laughs.

In late July I finally gave in to Eric’s four-year hints and agreed to get a little fishing/crabbing boat. We bought a 14 foot 1967 Sears aluminum model. It’s pretty cute. Hunter decided we need to name it “Frenchy.” So, we hauled it for an overnight camping trip to the beach. It was the Nelson family’s official first camping trip, where we unveiled our 10-man tent (which we got for a wedding present six years ago!). After a comfortable experience in the spacious tent, we got up and took the boat on its maiden crabbing voyage. We put in on Alsea Bay in Waldport. I’ll admit a little anxiety was had – due to having both parents and both boys in a tiny soap dish. But…a few hours later. Awesome! We got 15 crab. And, for our first camping trip with a 4 year old and 15 month old, it went pretty well.

For our August adventures thusfar, we hooked up the boat again and headed east. My dad’s side of the family got together for a Kroupa family reunion – at least as many as could make it. We went to Wallowa Lake – which is right near the Idaho border. Can you say G O R G E O U S!? We rented a “resort house” (as described on the internet listing) so we could all stay in the same place. Well…”resort” leaves a lot to the imagination. But, it certainly was nice to have everyone together. There were about 20 of us – ranging in age from 9 months to…well…older (sorry Mom!). We spent three nights and four days hanging out and enjoying the sun. Some fished in the rivers, some fished in the lake, some swam in the lake, some played mini golf, some rode the tram to the top of the mountain, some picnicked, some played volleyball, some played horseshoes, ALL battled the mosquitoes. There were many laughs and memories shared of days gone by and lost loved ones. Grandma Madeleine and Grandpa Frank would have been proud…their spirit and love surrounded us.

Stacy, Robin and Madisyn followed us home from the lake. Driving across eastern and central Oregon the thermometer in the truck spiked at 105. Yikes! [Perhaps that hot weather followed us home, too!?] While Stacy and all were here, we must not have had enough time in the car on Monday. So, Tuesday morning we decided to drive further west to Newport beach. Eric, Stacy and Hunter went crabbing (caught 18!), while Robin, Madisyn, Mom, Maddox and I went to the aquarium. It was a fun, relaxing day. The nights thereafter were spent feasting on the fresh crab!

Despite the lengthy details of playing…Eric’s been busy this summer building up his new restaurant capabilities and training his inherited staff. There’s a lot of special events, small wine-paired dinners, medium-sized (50+) multi-course affairs, a catered wedding reception by the river, and lunches for Japanese businessmen. There’s also been a live TV segment touting the upcoming wine and food show at the Oregon State Fair (next Friday, August 24th). He also just hosted 60+ wine bloggers for a tour and dinner. One of them emailed him the next day saying that she had a “spirited discussion” about boullaibase with Julia Child on her TV show several years ago…and that Eric’s was “the best!”…she even requested the recipe, and says she’s going to include Eric in an upcoming story.

Ahh. My infamous chef hubby. SO proud. Perhaps he’ll win Top Chef or The Next Food Network Star yet! 🙂

Me? I’m enjoying my new responsibilities for Silverton Health. It’s fun “crunching numbers” and building charts, making presentations and sharing our patient feedback with staff, VPs and physicians. I also still oversee the farmers market for the organization. Although I’ll be happy when this market season is done (it’s my last hoorah). A few Fridays ago I canned the bounty of the garden by pickling cucumbers from a market vendor. Mom, a good friend (Cassie) from work and I made 90+ quarts of spicy dills, along with about 8 sweets. We also did 12 pints of dilly green beans. It was a long day, but the pickles make such great gifts!

Perhaps that’ll get YOU to consider a trip here…I’ll bribe you with a few quarts! 🙂

This past weekend, our good friends Matt, Kaylee and Madalyn came down from the Seattle area. Madalyn had a soccer tournament up in Portland this weekend. We enjoyed a nice dinner (crab!) on Thursday night. Then Friday morning, we met up with Mark Scott and his wife Patty for breakfast. They were heading through (from Bend, Oregon)…headed to the beach for their anniversary weekend. Mark is also a former Starizon connection. He’s also THE very reason Eric and I ended up here in Oregon…to come work for Wellspring.

Life is a continuous circle. Be sure to enjoy every turn! 🙂

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1 thought on “Dog Days of Summer

  1. THANKS those pics are great Eric and Jodi. Can’t wait for the pics from Iowa. It is so fun to see Stacy and his wife and beautiful little girl! Say Hello to your mom! It is hard to see all of these fires around. Thankful for the rain. Hope to see you soon. Love Layna

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