Monday, August 4, 2014

{Hubs and Spokes}

This summer has been unusually busy, but not so much for me. (I suppose that's just what it's like with two teenagers in the home.) I've felt rather like the hub of a wheel, with my husband and children representing the spokes, shooting out from time to time toward this camp or that adventure or another speaking engagement and then coming back to me, only for someone to head out again a few days later. It's been good and fun, just different.

Yesterday I got to step away from the hub and become a spoke. When I looked at this week's calendar, I realized that both Drew and Bethie would be gone for a few overlapping days. I quickly did the math and accurately noted that this would leave two children at home. I figured it would be pretty easy to find another home for them for 24 hours, giving Jamie and me a chance to finally celebrate our June anniversary. My parents were eager to help out, and by Sunday afternoon the house was eerily quiet. Even the dog sat hushed in the corner, wondering what had happened to the usual hum of activity.

I tend to get that spinning-of-wheels sensation when I suddenly have free time stretching temptingly before me. Wanting to make the most of my time, I agonize over how to best spend it, which can be counter-productive. But this time I knew exactly what I wanted to do as soon as Jamie suggested dinner and a walk. After we spent some time quietly reading (reading is an obvious choice when it comes to free time; I'm currently absorbed in Swallows and Amazons, a delightful summer read), I hopped online and did a quick bit of research.

I've enjoyed following a blog called Posie Gets Cozy for a few years now, and the author -- who lives in Portland -- often has great ideas for exploring the city. A number of times she's mentioned various restaurants and trails, and I always tuck the information away for a rainy day. Well, actually for a sunny day. A sunny day during which my husband and I can venture from the hub and become spokes.

So early in the evening we ventured. We had dinner first, enjoying fabulous Tex-Mex dining at Casa del Matador. We had never been there, so we knew it was a bit of a gamble, but it ended up being delicious and fun. (Not quiet and romantic, but fun.) Large windows in the restaurant open wide so that even though we were sitting at an indoor booth, it felt like we were dining on the patio. It was lovely and leisurely and it allowed us to visit and catch up on conversations that had been half started throughout the summer.

Following dinner we headed just a few miles west toward the Lower McCleay trail, which is part of the Willamette Heights to Balch Creek Canyon Loop. The moment we stepped into the old growth forests, my spirit quieted and I felt like I was being filled with life. The towering Douglas firs dripping with moss, the creek gurgling over the rocks, and the intoxicating smells of earth and leaves and cool, damp air blanketed me with peace. God knew just what this little spoke needed.

Romantic visitors have dubbed this former restroom "The Witch's House."

We hiked for about an hour and then headed home by way of Dairy Queen. Because we figured that Blizzards would be a perfect end to a perfect day. (We were right.)

Oh, and the kids? They had a wonderful time with Papa and Noni.

I never know what kinds of stories they'll come home with, but this afternoon when they walked through the door with freshly picked blueberries and new mushroom hats . . . .

From Elsa Beskow's "The Little Elves of Elf Nook"

I knew it was time well spent. For all of the Lawson spokes. 

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  1. Did your extremely talented mom make the kids' mushroom hats? They're adorable!

    1. Yes, Ann! I laughed so hard when they walked through the door. We've had the fabric for a few months, but I just never got them made. But I knew something magical would happen if it landed in Noni's hands!



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