Family, Friendship, Oregon

#MeganFINALLYGoestoOregon Part 2: The Cabin

Earlier this month, I traveled to Oregon for a much needed vacation and visit home.

As I shared in my Part 1 recap last week, my best friend Megan (from Kansas) tagged along so I could FINALLY share my home with her.

My previous post shared about the time we spent in my hometown of Hermiston, and today I’m sharing all about taking her up to my family’s cabin “The Diggins” (my happy place) near Sumpter, OR.

We did a lot of relaxing, went on walks, played with my pup Jack, took the kayaks out on Philips Lake and Megan kept up with her daily yoga pose challenge. We explored nearby Sumpter, where Megan learned all about gold mining, and had dinner at the historical Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City. We also hung out with my grandparents, who were also up for the weekend.

And of course, we took a LOT of pictures.











Megan, I am so happy that I finally got to share my home and my happy place with you. And if you weren’t considered part of the family before, you definitely are now.

And to The Diggins, thanks for always being exactly what I need.

Cheers!

Career/Professional, Photography, Travel Journal

Travel Journal: Estes Park, Colorado

Seeing as I leave later today for another quick work trip, I figured I better get my act together and get something about my trip to Colorado up here! Because trust me, my lack of timeliness is not a reflection on the trip.

Every two years, my organization hosts a world staff conference that brings together all of our 15 overseas offices, along with our two here in the U.S. Two years ago (really!?) we traveled to Antigua, Guatemala, and this year our conference was in Estes Park, Colorado! Even though I grew up in Oregon and lived in Kansas for eight years, I actually have never spent any significant time Colorado, aside from the airport of course and passing through on a long road trip. Our conference was hosted at the famous, historical Stanley Hotel, which might be familiar to some because it was the inspiration for Stephen King’s book, The Shining, and a few other movies were filmed there, including Dumb and Dumber.

I’ve said this a few times before, but I really do love the organization that I work for and being able to get together and connect with our staff from around the world helps remind me why my job is more than just an 8 to 5. My co-workers are very passionate about the wheat industry and the people in it. They are intelligent, kind, supportive and… hilarious. I am a better professional, and person because of them.

One fun addition to this trip was that my mom tagged along!

My organization also values family and unique experiences, so I was able to invite my mom along to join us in Estes Park. While I was in meetings she enjoyed a spa day and lots of time outside, which was great opportunity for her to just relax because she had just wrapped her own busy couple of weeks at work. After I wrapped up with my conference we stayed an extra few days for a mini mother-daughter vacay.

Though I did take a lot of photos during the conference, I’m not sharing any of them here because I don’t think its the right platform, but if you want to see those then head over to our Facebook page HERE.

It snowed in Estes Park a few days before we arrived, so I had to pull out a few winter pieces that I had already packed away for the summer. Thankfully, by the time we arrived most of it had melted and the weather didn’t end up being quite as cold as we expected.

I loved getting to introduce my mom to my co-workers and our wheat farmers!

View from the front porch of The Stanley Hotel.

The “downtown” main strip was adorable, full of t-shirt shops, candy stores and YEAR-ROUND CHRISTMAS STORES.

Mom made me go in one. If you know me personally, you know I’m the Grinch in my family and being in that store was just too much for me.

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On our first full day after the conference we hiked up to Gem Lake. A few of my co-workers did the hike earlier in the week and mentioned that even though the distance was pretty short, that the hike itself should not be underestimated. The walk from the hotel to the trail head was 1.7 miles and the hike itself was also 1.7 miles. The altitude was definitely a bit a challenge from time to time, even on the walk up to the trail head but after a while we both felt a bit more leveled out. The trail wasn’t too difficult to maneuver until the last quarter mile or so where it got more rocky. But it was all still a bit steeper and slower than we first thought. It wasn’t until AFTER the hike that we learned that the 1.7 miles climbs 1,000 ft, so that explained a lot. But it was so much fun to enjoy the views, chat and just spend that time with my mom.

She’s going to LOVE that shared that. #sorrynotsorry

Gem Lake… which is more like a pond 🙂

So growing up in Oregon, I know that you’re not really supposed to feed the wildlife, but we didn’t go up there planning too. Another hiker near us had her granola bar snatched right out of her hands by a squirrel and when she got up to leave she left of with a few nuts she had leftover, so by then we were already too entertained and curious about how close they would get to us.

They got REALLY close.

Even after we were out of nuts the two squirrels kept come back to us to double check. One even tried to gnaw on my mom’s phone!

This isn’t zoomed in. It was sitting on my backpack which was sitting right next to me.

 

“Paul Bunyan’s Boot”

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We returned back to Denver the day before our flights out and I was able to catch up (very) briefly with two of my best friends!

Kayla is one of my best friends from high school and lives in the Denver area for school right now.

This little one is no stranger to the blog. Baby Robin and her parents, Leah and Ryan just happened to be visiting family in the Denver area and made a little time for a visit!

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

Oregon in July | Part 4 | Wedding Day

Hey! We are to my final post about my trip home and the wedding.

On the wedding day I did not pull out my nice camera because I was either busy, or just enjoying the day. Josh and Sonia also hired a great professional photographer, and while I manage to take a good picture every now and then, I have no problem getting out of the way of the professionals and letting them do their thing.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE
View Part 2 about our “Girl’s Day at the Salon” HERE
View Part 3 about the “Wedding Rehearsal” HERE

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The day started out early, but gorgeous.

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frog in flower

That is a little frog there hanging out in the daisy. We found him when we first woke up and let him chill out until we finally needed the flowers back.

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I woke up about 5:30 to start getting myself ready because I did hair for Sonia, all three of the bridesmaids and both of the flower girls. Sonia has really long hair, but it is both very fine and thin, so she decided to use extensions. This was my first time working with extensions, but after a little trial and error, I got the hang of it. It was amazing how much of a difference it made and how well her real hair blended with them.

Note to other newbies… fake hair does not curl normally. You have to cool down each piece for it to hold its shape.

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Taylor had fine, wispy bangs, and we wanted both of the girls’ hair to match so I did one of the tiniest (and probably most difficult) little french braids I’ve ever done, which meant that I needed her to hold REALLY still. Taylor’s favorite candy are tootsie rolls, so we told her that if she held really still and never took her eyes off of it, that she could have it.

PEOPLE, SHE NEVER MOVED.
It was hysterical. Even when I scooped her up to better position her for the hot curling iron, she still never took her eyes off it.

I just wish I could apply that level of concentration to anything at 25.

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We let the little girls pack their own flower pails and Taylor was convinced that we couldn’t leave any petals unused.

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Sisters.

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Excited to have a new aunt/sister.

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I posted this picture of Josh and I to Instagram with this overly cheesy caption:

“You may technically be my uncle, but growing up as your sidekick with you as my big brother you influenced everything from my taste in movies to my humor and so much about how I approach life. I am so happy that you found Sonia and that she’s so much cooler than you.”

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Aside for a short rain during dinner, it was such a beautiful day, and such a fun wedding. I am so happy that Sonia is a part of our family now and that I was able to be home for so long to help celebrate.

And before I go I have to share a few of the professional photos that were on Facebook. To my North Dakota friends, definitely check out Erin at Soulshine Photography. She did an amazing job! I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures!!

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Photo by Soulshine Photography
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Photo by Soulshine Photography
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Photo by Soulshine Photography
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Photo by Soulshine Photography

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

Oregon in July | Part 3 | Wedding Rehearsal

Friends, I am SO EXCITED to share this post with you.

I was a little disappointed at how shaky my hands must have been that day, because there are a quite a few pictures that could have been much clearer. But as you can see I had a LOT of trouble trying to narrow down what I was going to share.

But I just love weddings, our cabin and so many of these people so much, and it really was such a beautiful evening and so much fun.

I mentioned in my first post about this trip that I got a new phone and so I wasn’t connected to my work email anymore. With the exception of a few Snapchats and quick social media shares, I shut out a lot of the outside world. And I am so glad I did, because I was able to soak in these memories.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE
View Part 2 about “Girl’s Day at the Salon” HERE

i do sign with namemark

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Brandt was Josh’s high school cross country coach and mentor, and now they have become friends and fellow coaches.

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dancing with namemark

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Their idea, not mine 🙂

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Josh's hand with namemark

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Nothing beats my Daddy’s cooking.

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josh with namemark

Taylor with namemark

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The cook (Dad) finally got a moment to relax.

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Sonia’s Uncle Johannes came in from Germany to walk her down the isle.

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The guy (Josh’s friend Bryce) who was going to be officiating was not going to arrive until the actual wedding day, so my Grampy stepped in for the rehearsal. He might have had a bit too much fun with it.

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Josh and his groomsmen.

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Josh and Jay with namemark

My uncles Josh and Jay, and two of my favorite guys.

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The bridesmaids and flower girls.

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The Ego Men… can you tell they are related?

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Sonia’s family are so much fun!

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He is so weird. The rest of us are sort of wondering why she said yes 🙂

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Brian is Josh’s best friend from high school and his older sister Amy became friends with Sonia because they work together. And those are Amy’s little girls, Taylor and Elaina.

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After the rehearsal my Mom and Grammy were back to prep. Owning a flower shop comes in handy sometimes…

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My Mama doing her thing.

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Sonia and her Mom.

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Thanks for taking a look! I will be back soon with a final post about the wedding day. And for those of you wondering… yes, I will be posting a Facebook album with pictures from all of my trip posts soon.

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

Oregon in July | Part 1 | Home & Wedding Prep

At the beginning of July, I went home to Oregon for a much anticipated vacation and family wedding. I mentioned in my last post that May through July was busy beyond reason in so many ways, and though this trip also added to the chaos, it was a great mental break and just the dose of home that I needed. On the day I rolled into town, I headed to U.S. Cellular for an upgrade on my phone, which meant my work email was no longer connected until I could hand it over to the IT guy at work. I was so thankful that my boss was perfectly fine with me completely checking out for a full week.

I have WAY TOO MANY pictures from my phone, Snapchat and my nice camera to share, so I am going to break the trip down into three blog posts. ENJOY!

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Seriously, though, one of everything from the Taco Truck is on menu for my “last meal.”

Both of my sister’s cats unexpectedly had kittens. It is well known that I am not a fan of cats, but they are adorable when they are little.

That would be my Mom you hear in the background. We were way too entertained by the kittens.

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Aside from the wedding, the highlight of my trip was that I finally met Wesley Ray! Baby Wes belongs to my best friend from high school, Richole, and he was just a day over 4 months when I met him. He is such a sweet, easy-tempered baby and has such beautiful, curious eyes like his mama. I was overjoyed to see how happy he makes my best friend and unfortunately its things like this that makes living so far away hard. I almost want to cry just thinking that he will be 9 months old before I see him again.

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The pictures in this post are a tad bit out of order, but it makes sense to group them together the way I did. I landed in Oregon on Saturday, July 2 and we headed up to the cabin the next day for a little wedding prep before heading back to Hermiston so my parents could work and I could visit with Richole and Baby Wes.

Regardless, I was perfectly happy to spend as much time up at “The Diggins” as I could since I only usually get to go about once a year.

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When Josh (my uncle who is more like a brother) and Sonia finally decided that they were going to get married up at the cabin I was so excited. I kept joking that I was going to be vicariously living through them because while I would love to get married there someday myself, I could never narrow down a guest list that small. #italktoomuch #invitationsforeveryone

There were many little projects to do for setup and decorations so my Grammy and Grampy put everyone to work. Notice though, how Josh and Sonia are nowhere to be seen in any of these pictures… #ahem.

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Grampy, Uncle Joe and Dad.

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Archway for the ceremony.

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Grammy staining benches.

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Up at the cabin we have named all of the buildings. The garage-turned large kitchen is labeled the “Cook Shack.” The shop that is converted into extra sleeping rooms and a playroom/common area is called the “Bunk House.” The shed is the “Jail House.” You get the picture. So when we put up the archway, my Uncle Joe joked that we should call it the “Gallows.” At some point, my Dad disappears and returns with some rope and starts making nooses and prepping some wood for my Grammy to use to make a sign. If you are wondering how my Dad knows how to make a legit noose, you are NOT alone. Let’s just say there’s a story about an intense game of ‘cowboys and indians’ from my Dad’s childhood. #wildwildwest

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daddys hands with namemark

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grammy painting with namemark

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Oh, did I mention that I celebrated my favorite holiday, while also at my favorite place? Because I did, and minus the fact that we did not do fireworks, it was great. #Merica

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Since it was a holiday weekend, we were able to catch the flea market in Sumpter, the nearby little gold mining town. There is a LOT of junk at things like this, but there are also many treasures to find, especially if you are into the whole shabby chic/rustic/vintage decor trend.

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In particular, we were in search for some old bottles for wedding table decorations.

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Sumpter, OR

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I just moved at the beginning of the summer and purged many things before I did, so I have been really focusing on not buying too many new things or decorations. However, I made an exception when I found this gem. It is hard to read in the picture, but the little tag says “Bourbon” and it pumps the perfect amount for a shot. It will go perfectly on my cabinet where I keep all of different drinking glasses, accessories and you know… the actual booze.

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I had a fun afternoon browsing with just my Grammy and my Mom. There are so many qualities that I know I get from them, including our sassy attitudes. #igotitfrommymama

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I am convinced we should leave the light up year-round.

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That is it for today! My next two posts will cover the rest of the prep and the rehearsal, and then of course the wedding day. Excited to share!

Cheers!

Thoughts and Lessons Learned

Be Still.

I will forever be perplexed by how so many great and wonderful things in life can coexist with things that are hard and confusing.
I realize that is what part of what grace is, but on the day-to-day, I often have to tell myself out loud to slow down and breath.

I have been really missing this view lately.
I always think of these words when I think about “my mountains.”

‘The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still’ -Exodus 14:14

Sumpter Valley.

Sumpter Valley.

My very favorite view.

Yesterday, spring started to show itself again so I decided to end my day with a long run and a few other views that have won me over.
It is not the same, but I certainly do not take for granted where I live.
I know there are many people who will not ever get to travel to our nation’s capital. Or they will, maybe once as a tourist, but will never take the time to relax and enjoy a lazy evening on the Mall. They will not become familiar with it like it is their own backyard.

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And like the mountains do for me, I know a lot of people look upon these views for strength and steadiness.
I guess what I am saying is that it is important to remember that it is indeed possible to “only to be still” anywhere I am.

It is a frame of mind, not a place.

Travel Journal

Travel Journal: Lake Tahoe in Pictures

This past week, I was in Lake Tahoe, NV (specifically Incline Village) for a work fall board meeting.
The schedule was full, so I was only able to sneak away to the lake for a short visit.
I’m a mountain girl at heart, so the view definitely made me a bit more home sick for my own Blue Mountains.
But I sure am thankful for the travel my work takes me on, and for little, beautiful moments like these.

me

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Cheers.