Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

 I decided to go to the Memorial Day ceremonies at Vancouver Barracks again this year.  It was a very nice ceremony as usual with many military and reenactment groups participating. 
 In addition, Memorial Day was the official day for turning the Vancouver Barracks over to the National Park Service by the Army.  It marked the end of a 163 year military presence in Vancouver.  There were flag lowering and raising ceremonies and gift exchanges between the Army, the City of Vancouver, and the National Park Service.  The flags from the Army; the trading axes from the National Park Service.   
And the Soldiers' Bivouac on Monday as well.  It is always fun to see the Civil War era re-enactors in particular but the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII were represented as well. 

I have been so impressed with how Vancouver celebrates its military history ever since we moved here.  It is about the most patriotic place that I have ever been.  Proud that our community supports the military and veterans in such a big way. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ranger--May You Rest in Peace

Today was Ranger's last day with us.  He has been so sick since the beginning of the year.  I spent so much time trying to nurse him back to health--treating his wound and giving him antibiotics for four months.  Because bone infections are so hard to cure, we always knew there was a chance that he wouldn't make it despite all the effort we were making to keep him alive.  But we really did think that he was out of the woods.  A couple of days ago we were heartbroken to find that Ranger had an eye infection that had caused a really bad skin infection as well--just like when we started out on this adventure.  I tried to give Chris time to get used to the fact that it might be time to put him down.  So I gave him an extra day to spend with Ranger before we decided to go to the vet.  Both Chris and I had held out some hope that maybe we could just treat the eye and skin infections and maybe it wasn't anything to do with his abscess after all.  But the vet's first recommendation was to euthanize--didn't even try to convince us to try to treat the infections--unless we really felt strongly that we wanted to.  We had already resigned ourselves to the fact that today might be his last day but it is still hard to make that final decision.

He had given us a scare a few weeks ago when he ran away from home.  I carelessly had left his cage open in a hurry to get to work after feeding him.  When we discovered that he was gone at the end of the day, we were frantic to find him.  We looked all over our backyard, the neighbors backyard and around the neighborhood a bit.  Chris especially was beside himself with worry and grief.  He was sure that Ranger was already dead or soon would be--that a cat or dog had already gotten to him.  As I tried to calm him down, we sat on the porch and talked awhile.  I am so glad that God kept us outside and in the right place for us to see Ranger in the yard across the street.  He had a cat stalking him but it was the most beautiful sight to see that he was okay and we had a chance of catching him and getting him back in his own cage.  I'm hoping that Ranger enjoyed that day of adventure--but equally glad that we found him and that we could spend the last two weeks with him.

And we just celebrated his fifth birthday this weekend.  We always get carrot cake to celebrate his birthday.  I ate the last piece tonight.  Made me sad to think that this was the last birthday cake that we would have for him.

So there is a big hole in our hearts right now.  We will miss him very much but I am so glad that he isn't in pain anymore as I know he was.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Honor Society Induction

It is that time of the year when there is a lot going on to honor students.  Tonight was Christopher's night.  He has had such a successful first year at Clark College.  He has worked really hard and his grades have shown it.  He got a 4.0 both in his fall and winter quarters.  Winter quarter he made the Vice President's List and became eligible to be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa--an honor society for two year community colleges.  I was so glad that we got to be a part of his induction ceremony and so proud of what he has been able to accomplish this year. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Last Presidential Day Retreat

Bill, Chris and I flew up to Ellensburg yesterday to see Tom participate in his last Presidential Day Retreat and Award Ceremony.  Bill has been to all four; this was my third; and the first time that Chris was able to go to it.  Since he doesn't have classes on Fridays, he was able to attend as well.  I was so glad that he could go.  He has been working so hard on his homework and needed a break.  And there won't be much time for us to spend with Tom between now and when he leaves for Pensacola.  I think it was probably the first time he got to experience a military parade as well.

No awards this year but he was the acting Wing Commander for the event.  So he was the one issuing the orders to all the Air Force cadets participating.  He did a really good job.  The event was a little bit different this year.  Instead of having it next to the ROTC building, they held it at the football stadium.  It was actually a much better venue for it.  A lot less set up for them, cost less, and the cadets were actually able to sit during the award ceremony instead of stand for three hours in the hot sun.  They always have had so many have to fall out during the award ceremony and last year someone got hurt really badly when he fell straight backwards and hit his head on the blacktop.  It was a much better situation this year.  They also added a drill team presentation this year instead of singing the Army and Air Force songs. 

Only three weeks until graduation and less than two months until he has to leave for Pensacola.  So lots of discussions about plans for the next two months--what needs to be accomplished, etc.  It is going to go by so quickly.  Such an exciting time for him.  And so proud of him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

So happy to be able to spend Mother's Day with Christopher.  It is getting to the point that this may be one of the last times I will have any of my guys home for Mother's Day so I wanted to enjoy it while I could.  Bill and I went to the first service at church with Beverly this morning.  Then I hung out at home and talked to Tom and June while Chris went to church and Bill went hiking. 

Then we went to brunch at Tommy O's for a Hawaiian breakfast menu.  Beverly and the boys went there a few years ago for brunch while I was in Wisconsin so I wanted to give it a try this year.  It was very good and nice not to have to cook it myself. 

It was a gorgeous day which made this Mother's Day even better.  Hope everyone had a nice day!

Friday, May 11, 2012


One of Tom's friends posted flickerball pictures today so I just had to scrap them.  He has been playing with the ROTC gang for the past four years.  It has been a big part of his ROTC life at college so I wanted to include it in his college album.  The pictures weren't very good quality--I'm sure taken on a phone.  But I found them to be pretty amazing.  I never knew that Tom could jump that high.  And no wonder he broke his hand playing it a couple of years ago jumping and running toward the wall like that. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ranger the Runaway Bunny-Part Two

These are pictures of Ranger from the night we picked him up almost five years ago.  When he was a baby--he almost ran away and it reminded me of the Runaway Bunny story.  I caught him by the hindleg just as he was trying to make his escape.  This is a layout I did a few years ago to remind me of that story.

Today, he really gave us a scare.  Somehow I didn't get his cage locked as it should have been.  I got home and noticed the cage was unlocked but I figured Chris had him out playing with him.  So I didn't even mention it until Chris came out for dinner and I asked him where Ranger was.  He was gone.  Chris was beside himself--as was I.  How could I have been so careless as to not make sure the cage was locked?  We looked all over our back and front yard but couldn't find him.  I even started walking around the neighborhood a little bit in the hope that I would find him but Chris was sure he was dead already.  He was inconsolable.  As I was trying to calm Chris down on our front porch, I just happened to look across the street and see him in our neighbor's yard with a cat stalking him.  I was so relieved and Chris ran across to try to catch him.  It took a bit of doing but I finally managed to grab him out of the bushes.

I am so thankful that we didn't go inside and that God revealed him to us in that way.  Ranger has had a really rough year already and I spent so much time and effort trying to nurse him back to health.  I think he has finally gotten better and then to lose him right now was just devastating.  I wonder what kind of adventures he had today and if it was worth it to him for giving us such a scare.  But so happy we have found him and that he is safe back in his own cage and back in our lives and hearts. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Day in the Gorge

Bill and I drove out to the gorge to do some hiking today.  Unfortunately, Chris couldn't join us because he had too much homework to do.  We drove to Hood River to the Twin Tunnels Trail--or as Bill calls it, the Mosier Tunnels Trail.  It is one of his favorite places to hike.  And it is a fairly easy trail compared to the other gorge hikes that he loves so I felt it was one that I could manage--at least a certain portion of it.  He did the whole nine miles but since I am not much of a hiker--I managed to hike about five and a half miles.  So I didn't get to see the tunnels but I did get to the point that I could take a picture of Coyote Wall on the Washington side of the river. I really enjoyed taking my time and taking pictures along the way.  I enjoyed seeing the wildflowers and all the signs of spring.

Just as we arrived, a biker reported that he had seen a cougar on the trail.  Luckily we didn't see it but I was definitely keeping an eye out for it.  I did come across a deer carcass right next to the trail--probably killed by a cougar.  Bought to mind that even popular hiking trails can be dangerous places.
Ironically, we saw a deer crossing Mill Plain in front of us just as we were getting started with our day.  I couldn't help but think that we probably wouldn't see any deer on our hike in the gorge but we certainly saw one right in town.  I don't think I had ever seen a deer in town before--although I have seen coyotes and I have heard of cougars and bears making their way into the city. We did see one more deer today as we were driving on Highway 14 to Stevenson after our hike.  It was on a steep hillside next to the road.  But luckily it was heading up the hill and didn't come down to the road. 

A hiking trip to the gorge always ends up with lunch at the Big River Grill in Stevenson.  Today was no exception.  We enjoyed a late lunch before heading home from our day in nature.