The park was beautiful and we got lost in the Rose Garden trying to find the covered picnic area we had reserved. Wish I would have actually taken picture while we were in the Rose Garden, but Dave was carrying a heavy cooler and I can't imagine he would have been happy with me breaking out the camera at that point.
Before and after lunch, the kids played at the awesome playground. I'm sure the kids found this to be an awesome ending to their weekend. Again, I wish I would have gotten some pictures, but I was busy setting up and then cleaning up lunch, so I was limited in how many picture I could take. However, I did manage to get a few.
The sun was a little bright, thus the squinting. Fortunately, she's cute no matter what the look.
Lili was much more interested in being behind the camera instead of in front of the camera.
We were only at the park a couple of hours and then it was time for good-byes and a trip further south to visit family.
First stop - Keizer, OR
By mid afternoon we were at my aunt and uncle's house for a mini family reunion. I have two aunts and uncles in Oregon and most of their kids (12 in total between the two families), also live in Oregon. While I was only able to visit a handful of my cousins, I was able to meet some of their children I had never met before, plus some of their grandchildren. We did our best trying to catch up on the last 15-16 years, but a couple days just isn't enough time, especially when you have an extended family of that size. Still, it was a lot of fun seeing everyone and next time we hope to see all those we missed this time around.
After we left Keizer, we headed a tad bit further south to Salem, OR to spend the night at my cousin Tammy's home. Even though Tammy and I grew up living 2000 miles apart, we saw each other pretty much every summer and were joined at the hip during those visits. During the rest of the year we would write letters back and forth talking about all those things pre-teens and teenagers talk about. Unfortunately, we both allowed our lives to get in the way of staying in better contact, but seeing her is always a treat.
The next morning we made our way over the mountains to La Pine to visit with my other aunt and uncle. They have lived in La Pine for 20 years and I'm rather embarrassed to say that this was our first time visiting them in their home. We had an awesome visit and got to see another cousin's daughter and meet her two beautiful girls.
Our trip to La Pine was very short (over-night) and we had two more stops in Bend, OR before heading back to Tammy's house.
First stop was a visit with my good friend Katie. Dave, the boys and I used to go camping with Katie and her husband Cuyler when we all lived in Washington. This was also another case of two friends allowing life to get in the way of staying in better contact, but as is the case with good friends, it quickly felt like old times. Although we weren't able to see Cuyler or meet their son, we were able to meet her daughter and she was able to meet our girls.
After a short visit with Katie, we headed to the other side of Bend for a quick visit with a fellow Toukoul AP, Laura and her daughter Emme. Laura was on the planning committee for TAFRU, but in the end wasn't able to attend. I just had to stop and meet her and her beautiful daughter in person.
We made our way across the mountains again and spent our last night at Tammy's house. Tammy's daughter, Tina, was there and a few minutes after we arrived she introduced Lili to a fun little built-in cabinet full of Barbie dolls, clothes and furniture. Now, I don't want to get into a debate over Barbie. I just know that I loved playing with my Barbie dolls as a kid and would have been in kid heaven had I had a cabinet like the one Tammy had at her house. While I didn't intend on introducing Lili to Barbie's quite yet, she was obviously having a great time playing with them.
The next morning we left for the airport and as we drove up I-5 we decided that making trips out west to visit family and friends needed to happen more often then every 15-16 years.