And then there were three....

Elder Michael Blanding

Elder Michael Blanding

August 13, 2014 Elder Michael Blanding left my arms and entered the MTC. 

Doing it the second time didn't lessen the pain of letting your little boy go. It still hurt. It still grips you. But on the other side you know it is for the best and there would be no other reason I would want to say such a good bye to than to a mission. 

Coming home that night was kind of a shock. When we sat around the table for breakfast the next morning there was a lot of empty chairs and a lot of space between children. Not sure if taking a leaf out is a good thing. I'd like to pretend that they are all coming home tomorrow. This mommy heart is aching. 

The serious side of Elder Michael Blanding

The serious side of Elder Michael Blanding

Jumping for joy!

Jumping for joy!

Last Supper: COUSINS!!

Last Supper: COUSINS!!

Elder Michael Blanding

Elder Michael Blanding

Doreen & Elder Michael Blanding

Doreen & Elder Michael Blanding

Men in black.

Men in black.

The last hug!

The last hug!

Camping in a Rainforest

Doreen took the kids and they went camping in the Olympic National Park. They grabbed a spot in the lovely camp ground "Heart O' the Hills" and it was kind of scary going without reservations but they did it. And the spot wasn't too shabby. It is really nice to only put up one tent (see the other article "Then there were Three") but also kind of lonesome. The campsite was put together and dinner was served.  

Doreen loves campfire cooking and learned from the best (thanks Mom and Dad). There was tinfoil dinners and s'more the first night. Then Dutch Oven Chili and Cornbread with Triple Chocolate Cake (made in a Dutch Oven) the second night.  Since we don't eat all the chocolate cake we have left overs for breakfast with fluffy scrambled eggs for breakfast! YUM!! Then the last night Matt makes his Sloppy Joes in the Dutch Oven. And of course we have s'more for dessert. The kids decided to cut the campout short so we didn't have our last meal--pizzas. But I'm sure they would have been wonderful too!  The food was to die for!!!

The views were to die for as well. When we rolled into camp there was a thick layer of fog/mist in the air and we thought--oh, this is NOT going to be a dry camp. But by morning there was hardly a sky in the cloud and it stayed that way until we got home. In fact Doreen's arms (where she rolled her sleeves up) got a little touch of the sun on one of the hikes. Even the evening sky was cloud free and the stars were numberless and bright!  The weather was perfect.

But, no camping is complete without some injury and Doreen was the one who supplied it this time. Within five minutes of pulling into the site, Doreen was flat on her back after stepping on a wet downed log and twisted her ankle pretty badly. In fact had she been in town she might have gone to urgent care and would have defiantly iced it and then grabbed the crutches.  In stead she went on a four mile hike with the kids after camp was set up and before dinner.  Chris loaned her his walking stick and all was right. She babied it the rest of the weekend and besides being a bit slower than normal it was like nothing was wrong.

Steve had to work (he had already taken too many days off for a wedding, taking Mike to the MTC, Ragnar, and this and that) but he did ride over and join the family Friday night.  Having his bike over on the Peninsula was a treat for the kids. They all got turns riding on the back on some incredible roads. 

The highlight of the trip was going to the most northwest corner of the lower 48 states. Doreen had always wanted to do that and now she has! 

Chris, Steve, Matt, Jessie and Doreen at the most NW corner of the lower 48! 

Chris, Steve, Matt, Jessie and Doreen at the most NW corner of the lower 48! 

Got to get a selfie while there too!

Got to get a selfie while there too!

What Matt, Jessie and Chris on both sides of this photo? On Hurricane Ridge Hike.

What Matt, Jessie and Chris on both sides of this photo?
On Hurricane Ridge Hike.

Doreen's lovely ankle. There is an ankle bone somewhere--there is!

Doreen's lovely ankle. There is an ankle bone somewhere--there is!

The ferry ride over to the Peninsula. A little foggy. 

The ferry ride over to the Peninsula. A little foggy. 

A few other noteworthy events:

Leda (Doreen's niece) got married and Doreen fulfilled her promise to Nadine to be there for her daughter's wedding. "One down and three more to go!"

We left the kids home for almost an entire week and no one had to go to the hospital and no one texted us with bad news! WHEW!!

Matt turned 17 and Jessie turned 14! Where did the time go? Matt is already getting ready for his mission (although a bit slowly since he has a year) and Jessie is going to be a Freshman!! 

Doreen and Jessie started their last year of soccer!  The team is totally different so it will be interesting to see how this year shapes up. Lots of good players went to play for the high school. 

Chris got his braces on--poor kid couldn't eat for a week--or so he said.

Leda and Doreen

Leda and Doreen

Doreen telling John (Leda's husband) that she will come after him if he doesn't treat Leda like a Queen! 

Doreen telling John (Leda's husband) that she will come after him if he doesn't treat Leda like a Queen!