John Day Fossil Beds National Monent

We are headed to family camp!  Maybe we should be more organized and have our meals planned but we like to celebrate small victories and not stress about the rest so we are celebrating getting on the road!  The first leg of our journey is a coming together. Chad, me and the kids with Stephanie and Cyrus and Suzanne, Jeremy and their kids.  We had decided on a meeting place of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument with a plan to head south from there.  The GPS said 4 hours 20 minutes.  We were up at 6:30AM taking showers, getting dressed and loading the car took a little while and some motivating YouTube Tetris music.  Finally deciding we would have to leave the kayaks behind seeing no way to fit everything.  Stephanie and I had seen a few blow up “kayak”s that hold two people and were on sale at Fred Meyers so she went and got two of them as well as a quick breakfast that the kids could eat at the shop while we hooked up the trailer.  We left the house at 8:30 thinking that was pretty good time.  We had a few hiccups hooking up the trailer and were still feeling like we were making good time leaving Salem at 9:30.  I put in our destination to google maps giving us a 2:30 ETA.  With lunch and traffic we were not making the kind of time we wanted to.  Heading first after following a sign to the painted hills section of the park we backtracked and were relieved to finally make it to the paleontology center at 4:00PM.  Stephanie and Jayson met us in the parking lot as Jayson headed back home to hold down the fort.   We also got to see a few faces from our past! George and Jerry Lunsford (high school teacher and youth pastor from our past lives in Cambridge Idaho) now they may regret making a special stop at the national monument, but we sure did enjoy catching up with them.

 John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is know for its vast range of fossils of both plants and animals as well as number of fossils that are still being found there.  All this is fun and interesting making me eager to learn the real truth behind the Grand Canyon,  the continental drift, and now 15,000 feet of fossil layers in the middle of eastern Oregon.  I am guessing that the answer to many of my questions will have to wait until the other side of the pearly gates as I do not buy into evolution and millions of years.  After the main visitor center we enjoyed the farm house for a little while before heading to John Day.

  We took up three whole booths at dinner.
 I was blown away how breath takingingly gorgeous the drive was!  We made it about half way to family camp whoo hoo!! California here we come!

Categories: Family Time, Fulltime, Homeschool, National Park, Oregon, Road Trip | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Ode to Life on a Farm and an FBC Bridal Shower!

One of my favorite parts of being raised on a dairy farm in rural Idaho was the sheer number of births I was exposed to. I know, really, none of you are suprised.  Our birth numbers were pretty impressive even compared to some birthcenters I have worked in.  Between the kittens, the puppies, the piglets, and the sheep not to mention the cows.  For this birth junkie I never had to look to far or for too long.  I loved feeling like I was helping wether it was drying of kittens whose moms didn’t lick them as clean as they should have, holding a lamp for my mom who would place the newborn piglets on dry straw closer to the heater who were being born on a cold winter morning, or sticking straw in the nose of a newborn calf to stimulate it to breathe when that function didn’t start as spontaneously as I thought it should have.  The truth be told I’m sure most of those animals would have been fine with out me and maybe a few would have even been better off 😉 I was young and just doing my part to make the world a better place.  I often feel like I was given a huge priceless gift that I could never give my kids even though I often wish I could.  Wednesday morning the kids got a small glimpse of at least this aspect of farm life when Cyrus’ kitty (a stray that he has been feeding) gave birth to a batch of kittens. I had woken up shortly after six and was getting dressed to take the dogs on a walk when a knock came at the door.  It was our neighbor who had just come home from work and noticed that White Blueberry (that’s what Cyrus named her) was having kittens.  I knocked on Stephanie’s door and relayed the news and soon all the kids were up and out to watch the birth of these new little kitten lives. Six little furry babies were born.  The first little white one born wet on the cold cement did not make it, but the other five with their tiny pink ears and high pitched mews are doing quite well.  They were moved to a comfy box in a safe from the kids and other animals location and the mother kitty seems to be fabulous in her new role.  I continued out to walk the dogs since there was already too many people for a birth mommies comfort so Hannah was our photographer.

Mid morning after all the new additions were settled, we accompanied Stephanie to a church play date at Bush park it was fun to see some old friends.  After that I made my way out to get the groceries to make an appetizer for a bridal shower.  Our house is close to Target and Lindsey was registered there so I though possibly I could get away with one stop shopping.  I kind of had to since Stephanie had a Dr. appointment and I needed to watch the kids.  I was pleased to find jalapeños, cream cheese and bacon.  It all the suddenly became way less convenient when despite the customer service representatives best efforts we were unable to access the registry.  She suggested I just pick out something I like and get a gift receipt.   I looked at a few things then decided I would get a date night gift card to P.F. Changs and some cute refrigerator magnets.  Date nights are so important anytime but especially in the first years of marriage when you go quite suddenly from the novelty of dating and special effort to spend time together to being together with out effort needed to be spent.  It is easy to feel like all the romance has gone from your relationship.  Feeling pretty good about my purchase…this traveling thing has made me an anti-stuff person that may have been a factor.  The cream cheese stuffed bacon wrapped jalapeños took longer to make than I thought and I found myself running a bit behind schedule.  Since Chad does all of our cooking I am a bit out of practice.  I seeded and viened the jalapeños, Caleb filled the halves with cream cheese and Hannah wrapped them with bacon.  The first batch we baked at 400 degrees for 20 min.  Then put them back in for another 10….it wasn’t supposed to take that long per Chad.  The second batch we turned the oven to broil since the problem with the first batch was that the bacon didn’t get as crispy as I wanted it to.  The second batch came out crispy and perfect in about 8 min. So much better than the first batch and soon enough that I was only going to be fashionably late.  A tad underdressed and in my brother-in-laws older truck I headed out excited to spend even more time with my FBC family.  It is amazing what can go through your  head in 28 minutes.  I went from the top of the world happy to be part of this celebration of a fellow nurse that I couldn’t be more proud of and her stands on maintaining a God honoring relationship better that Chad and I had been at protecting eachother from the temptations that come when you love and are so physically attracted to your amazing soon to husband.  As I got closer I worried about what people would think of my non traditional gift better suited for the actual wedding than the shower.  What about my car, I was so glad to have the chance to use my brother-in-laws truck since Chad had ours in Portland as he was attending a class.  All the sudden it was front and center in my mind that it didn’t compare to the world’s view of a successful person and maybe even quite the opposite…were my appetizers good enough.  Good grief.  Serious rain on my parade.  Such an upfront attack of fear about what these people that I love and I know love me would think of me.  By the time I arrived I was feeling self conscious but willing to take the risk.  Nothing worth doing is with out risk and the rest of my life is about not letting fear stop me from doing what I feel like we are called to do why would this be different?  The appetizers were quickly well recieved and I guess it would have been fine even if they hadn’t.  Of course the self conscious feeling was never completely shaken.  I hadn’t planned on staying late but it was fun to sit around the fire and listen to those around me.  I don’t drink and was a lot more up tight than everyone else but it was fun to just sit and listen and not have to talk about myself.  I was asked for my marriage advice and let’s face it I organize my thoughts way better on paper than in verbose elegance.  Thank you Lindsey for loving me just the way I am.  Everytime I spend time with you I come away with a new drive to always do my best and love others until it hurts.  Maybe someday I will be as thoughtful of a gift giver it’s not my love language I guess I just need more practice.

Categories: Family Time, Homeschool, Oregon | Tags: , | 2 Comments

First Night Shift, Bay Front and Dinner at Mundos! 

It has been a while since I have had to stay up all night.  No big deal right!? Not so I was having to fight pretty hard to keep my eyes open between 5 and 6 AM.  All in all my second shift at Samaritan Pacific Comunity Hospital went well it may take me a few nights to get the whole night shift routine down pat.  The thing about the nurse that I worked with last night even though it was slow (we did have patients) she used the time she worked, the whole time, on things that bettered the unit and the hospital.  After our routine checks and restocking we ran over test scenarios of how to admit the patients and paperwork/ epic/obix admissions. Then we scrubbed the couches and she worked on continuing education.  I have worked quite a few places now and often when you are on a unit who has a lot of down time there is a lot of FaceBook and YouTube going on.  I love how she continued to find ways to use the time she was getting paid for to do good for her employer.

Chad took the kids to Yaquina Bay lighthouse while I took a three hour nap this morning.  They loved it and came away with the history lesson of: in 1870s kids were not to talk at all during meals and to eat everything on their plate.  This light house was in use a very short time since it ended up being a poorly visible area.  The Yaquina Head lighthouse replaced it in a better location and is still in use today. The kids checked that out earlier this week when we were here.  After a bologna sandwich and the first watermelon from my dad’s garden for lunch (So delicious by the way! Thanks dad!) we headed out to walk the bay front shops.


There was a family with kids ages 8-13ish who had crab pots in the bay just off of the pier.  Hannah and Eve were quite curious the kid explained the whole process and showed them their catch so far.  We stayed and watched for a while.  We loved watching them pull up the pots and throw the crabs that were too little back.  Eve acted as if she was just part of their family getting in and helping touching the crab ropes and pot. It was great!The thermostat said that it was 77 degrees but it felt hotter than that the sun beat down and Myra panted away.  After the bay front we met Grandma and Grandpa Owens at a park and walked to the beach to cool off in the breeze coming off of the water.  I was still tired and enjoyed a beach nap in the soft cool sand with the cool beach wind.  Caleb made his own kite and Hannah tried for a bit to fly a kite we had just bought from one of the bay front shops it was just too windy for kites today. 

   At dinner time we packed up and walked along some of the shops near the beach until we found a unique little restaurant that looked like a good place to eat dinner.
 Dinner was great! Myra and I took a walk out on the bay bridge and now it is time to get a little rest before these next three days of day shift.

   Good night!

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Seaman Day Pictures

 This photo was taken just as the park opened. Many more Newfs came and went over the days time. (the news artical written about the event!
Pictures sent by the ranger in charge of hosting Seaman’s Day.

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Kae’au Transfer Station (dump)

When I was a kid we did not have garbage services no big fancy truck came by the house and emptied our cans and carried away the waste.  We had burn barrels for some of the trash, yard debris was composted and or fed to the animals, and occasionally some of the bigger things had to be taken to the dump.  It cost money to take things to the dump and is kids would occasionally come home with new treasures we had found there.  As an adult I have become accustomed to garbage services.  It is quite nice to have our refuse picked up curb side weekly and our recycle too.  Here in Hawaii (on the big island in our neighborhood at least) there is no garbage services.  When our landlord first told us that we would have to take our own garbage to the dump I was thinking that it sure could add up quick but was pleasantly surprised when we descovered that it was free.  (Still I am not a fan of putting full trash bags in the trunk of the car to drive the distance to the dump…..stinky….and if a bag should rip or break 🙊)  Once a week or so we have a couple of bags that need to be taken to the dump.  They have paper bins, glass bins, newspaper, plastic, and any items that may be useful to another person are sorted and often times free or for a small price are available to be reused.  


      Last Tuesday Hannah got this leather purse for $1 and has since washed it well and takes it everywhere it has replaced the one she got for Christmas that has already had its strap broken off.  Caleb got a nice name brand one strap backpack for $2 (the only pic I have of it below) everything else they have found has been free (wallets and books).   



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Redeeming Sunday

After what I would call “hell week” I didn’t think too mutch could redeem the week and make it an over all good week.  God has a sence of humor!  Even though I couldn’t make the disc golf date that Chad had made with a couple from church it had been good and they were up for joining us for lunch after church.  We found out that it was their routine to go out for lunch while doing their laundry for the week at the laundry mat next door.  A lot of people here live off the grid if not completely at least partially.  The house we are staying in is mostly off the grid.  Most of the appliances are gas and our water is rain water that is caught in a catchment which looks like anything from a large round above ground swimming pool to a shorter metal silo.  It catches the rain water, it goes through two filters one UV and I don’t remember what the other one is.  It is drinkable out of the tap and actually taste pretty good.  It rains so much that we do not really need to be too cautious about how much water we use.  Here is a picture of our catchment.  


All that to say that our new friends live completely off the grid.  They have paid for their lot in cash and paid as they went building their own house with help from friends over the last year and a half.  They have not yet put in a washer and dryer and they have a guaranteed date time each Sunday so no rush.  After lunch they invited us up to see their place and it was SO COOL! We are totally amazed and jealous 😀.  Thank you Jesse and Isabel you guys are awesome! 

Like our house it was up a dirt road though it had a lot less pot holes it had bumps from  the hard lava rock underneath the gravel.  A lot of the houses here are build up off the ground I’m not sure why that is but I like the look especially on some of the ones that are way high up.  Jesse and Isabel’s place is in between and very cute.  


They have two solar panels and two batteries for electricity with a generator for backup (they have only needed it when running power tools otherwise the solar panels and batteries are sufficient to keep the house all powered up). And for just the two of them they have a much smaller than ours catchment.  

 We also loved the landscaping and Jesse’s hydroponics experiment where he is co-growing taro and tilapia.  

           After a short tour they asked if we would like to stay and roast marshmallows so we all pitched in to get the fire started.  The wood was damp due to humidity so it took a while.  

             The kids started playing in the mud while the adults (guys) took turns blowing on the fire to keep it alive.   

           When the fire came alive the kids took turns roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa while we sipped on tea.  Eve decided she knew something that was even better than roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate separate and that was eating them together.  Before we could intervene she had dipped hers in and stuck the whole thing in her mouth.  Hannah had to try it out too it must have been good because they were pretty pleased with it.  

        Grandma Brown, whose face is this? Eve has to get this from someone.  

   Hannah made “Lava Marshmallows”  

  It started to rain so we moved the shelter from over the hydroponics pond to by the fire pit.  



Isabel made quesadillas for dinner, we hung out in the house and helped her while the boys kept the fire going.  


What a blast!  We came home late but with full hearts.  I have made friends at work and Chad has made friends with neighbors and at church, but this is the first time in the last year that we could just relax and hangout and enjoy the company of new couple friends.    

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Pacing Beads

A little while ago now our landlord gave the kids a bag of beads and miscellaneous craft stuff.   That same day a little earlier Chad had said that he would like to buy some beads to make pacing beads with the kids for keeping track of large distances while hiking.  It was perfect despite maybe the color (the guys didn’t dig purple).  It was fun to watch them work together on this project.   

       There are nine beads on the bottom and three on the top.  There is a chart on line but we will use Caleb for an example.  Each of the bottom beads represent a tenth of a kilometer (59 steps of your right leg) or a tenth of a mile (99 steps of your right leg) when you have taken the allotted number of steps you slide a bead down until all nine are down the and yet the next number of allotted steps you slide one of the top beads down and all the bottom beads up and in this way you can pace out how many kilometers or miles you are hiking. 

After there project was finished they had quite a time of playing with the remaining beads.  

   I keep finding projects all around the house.

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Our one year traveling anniversary

As I look at the pictures from one year ago today I can feel all the emotions that I felt that day.  Our car was all loaded up with everything we thought we might need having really no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.  Had we just made the biggest mistake of our lives and now be jobless far away from home with three precious little lives dependent on us?  I doubt you guys will believe me when I say it has been a hard year.  It has been totally worth it, but has required so so much more than waking up and showing up.  We have by no means finished a race or completely accomplished a goal, but we have completed our rookie year.  As many other travel nurses as there are out there who travel with their families maybe it isn’t that great of a feat, but I feel like I did when Suzanne and I cross the finish line of our century (100 mile bike ride) together.  Tears well up just thinking about it.  





Categories: Family Time, Fulltime, Heart, Homeschool, Travel Nursing, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pana’ewa Zoo

it was my first time to the Rainforest Zion here in Hilo, the kids had gone before and were really excited to show me all of the animals.  I have to say I enjoyed the veggitation as much or more than the animals.  I did love the anteater.  I don’t think I had ever seen one before.  


A cow print frog!!! Just my style!  




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Reflections on our first year

No, it hasn’t been exactly a year because Easter changes days each year, but last year Easter (4/20) was our last day at home.  We soaked up every second of our family time.  At church we tried to catch people that we had not yet said goodbye to for that last hug.  So many unknowns and fear of failure.  So much excitement for the adventure and eagerness to be obedient to the call. 

Our first assignment brought us to New Mexico and the Navajo Indian reservation.  This assignment was our favorite for the number of national parks, variety of landscapes, and loads of cool history.  The work was good too, I enjoyed working with the midwives and what I could glean about Navajo Nation history and tradition.  

Our second assignment was Neenah/Appleton Wisconsin.  It was our favorite for the rich green color in every direction, the beautiful Great Lakes, so many new clinical experiences, two hospitals, GYN surgeries, having a NICU, high risk antepartum, and the time spent with family we would have otherwise never seen. 

Thanksgiving brought us home to a family reunion and turkey dinner with our third assignment just south of our home in Southern California where the nurses had big hearts and amazing team work.  We saw a few awesome national parks, and a few theme parks (Lego land and Disney!!!!) but mostly this was our favorite assignment because we were able to take advantage of every spare minute to spend time with our California family.  

Knowing that we wanted to be close to home come summer and didn’t want to go way out east for only three months we decided to go with the kids pick of Hawaii.  Initially hesitant because of rumors of inadequate pay to cover bills and the cost of living for one person let alone a family.  I am sure that travel companies has a lot to do with it that and this is my recruiters home town.  God has provided every step of the way where there was an open door.  We are now one month into our assignment in Hilo Hawaii.  The first month is the hardest as the learning curve is straight up.  It has been a cultural experience, geographical (way out here in the middle of the pacific), geological (hey we live on a volcano), climate, food, plants, animals, ok so much is new and we are learning as much as we can. This has been our favorite assignment because of the awesome beaches, coconuts, and our little vacation home in the jungle.  Frogs and geckos chirp us to sleep each night with the pounding of the rain and the chirping birds wake us up each morning. 

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