Finding and creating adventures in everyday life.

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Blackett 2020 Year in Review

I know everyone is saying it, but What a Year, eh?!

There were triumphs and tragedies, peace and panic, rest and rage.

Like everyone, so many plans were canceled or changed. We “pivoted”, we figured things out, we worked on finding joy and staying thankful. Global, National, and Local issues were heavy on our mind and in our hearts.

Nature was key to staying strong – lots of walks, hikes, runs, bike rides. We began regular theme nights – Games with Gran, Archery, Game Night, Movie Night. Our Home Church with Mom and Dad has been amazing – worshipping, learning and discussing across the generations has been wonderful. We played over 150 board games as a family, that’s right, over 150!

We don’t know what the 2021 holds, but we’ll keep being flexible, finding joy, and playing games. We’re thankful for friends and family, for connections remote and in person. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead full of joy, peace, health and great adventures.

Here’s a brief month by month overview of what 2020 looked like for us.

Wintercamp for Jude, Piano Recital for Zane, Family Archery and Rock Climbing.

More family archery, Melissa did a 10K obstacle course in the mud, Pilot Butte Middle School Info night for 6th graders.

Colin went to a conference in Texas, family downhill skiing – the boys first time, got our own archery gear and a membership to a local range, the world shut down. Family hikes and bikes and walks abounded.

Getting used to remote life – work, school, family, play dates, piano lessons, hip hop lessons. Easter celebrations. Jude turned 13! Finding disinfecting supplies in the store became a triumph and a cause for tears.

We expanded our bubble to include Grandma and Grandpa and started having home church together. Zane had his final piano recital via Zoom. Watched the SpaceX launch, thunderstorms made for great entertainment, the hammocks came out, lots of walks, treasure hunts in the desert, Star Wars Day, Mother’s Day.

Did all the end of school years things virtually – spirit weeks, wax museum, Zane’s 5th grade graduation. The end of an era at Ensworth Elementary. Zane’s final hip hop recital, a family puzzle room, end of school year camping became a day trip, Colin played keys for a few local church virtual services. Father’s Day.

4th of July, fishing, exploring local caves. Zane turned 11!

Virtual VBS at Westside – Colin was the Storyteller and Melissa did the Science Station, all on video. Family trip to the coast and then to the Redwoods. House remodel begins with heaps of decluttering, moving office spaces around, reconfiguring rooms.

Back to School camping trip at Crescent Lake. Back to School! Both boys in middle school at Pilot Butte Middle School. Colin and Melissa both had birthdays with low key celebrations. Smoke and wildfires were always on our mind.

House remodel underway – interior painting, new flooring downstairs, new furniture and fixtures.
Zane started playing bass for Orchestra at Pilot Butte
Westside hosted an outdoor free pumpkin patch for the community.
Colin and Jude finally did their hike to celebrate Jude’s 13th birthday. 13 miles along the Deschutes River Trail included a bit of snow! The boys started Art Club at Pilot Butte
Westside hosted a drive through candy pick up. We weren’t going to dress up this year, but grabbed some costumes from past years at the last minute to help hand out candy. So glad we did. Enjoying our remodeled house tremendously.

The boys started Craft Club at Pilot Butte
Did our own school photos
Westside hosted another socially distanced outdoor event – treats, crafts, and a photo booth. Our family enjoys helping out and serving at events together.
Annual International Thanksgiving Meal – Hawaiian style.

Did our traditional Dad/Daughter shopping for Mom and lunch date. All online except for lunch!
Final bits of the remodel complete.
The 3 weeks between Thanksgiving Break and Winter break are the longest in the school calendar! The boys were super creative and generous for Christmas. Lovely, quiet celebration for Christmas. Rang in the New Year with our Bubble.

Peace out 2020! I don’t hate you, I’m thankful for you, but I’m not sad to see you go. Hello 2021!

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London – Day 2

London – Day 2 – July 11, 2019

Colin had a rough night with not a lot of sleep. Jet lag is tough!

We headed down to the mall, met up with G&B who were staying at the same hotel as us, had some Gregg’s and took care of some money stuff. We loved the location we picked to stay at. Stratford is well-connected transportation-wise and having the mall and shops close is so helpful.

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Greggs for the Win!

Our first stop was the Emirates Air Cable Car. Only a few pounds and we got to go on a cable car over the Thames. We had great views and it was a fun ride.

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High Up!

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View from the Cable Car

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Emirate’s Cable Car

After that we walked to Canning Town station and took the DLR to Island Gardens. We walked under the Thames through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. So many memories! I think it’s a fun way to cross the river.

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Cuppa Tea?

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Heading down into the Tunnel to walk underneath the Thames to the other side.

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Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Don’t mind the leaks.

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Greenwich Foot Tunnel

When we got to Greenwich, we went to the Noodle House we used to go to and had a great lunch. Noodles, of course, and Jude got a big bowl of ramen. It was all super tasty and everyone was very satisfied.

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The noodles were as good as we remember!

We wandered through the market after refilling our water bottles at a local store that refills them. This was an interesting thing for us – finding places to refill water throughout the day and finding toilets! Also, the boys did not like London water! We are a bit spoiled here in Bend with our lovely mountain river water. London water doesn’t taste super good. The boys almost wouldn’t drink it at all, but within a day or so they had adjusted and were drinking plenty. I love the Greenwich Market – lots of vintage stalls and interesting homemade items. It was here that we had our first experience of losing one of the boys while in London. It wouldn’t be the last. Eeeek! Becky bought some lemon drops and lemon sherbet candies at an old fashions candy store – these sustained us at many times throughout the next week!

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Greenwich Market

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Sweet Shop

We headed to Greenwich Park – it’s a lovely park with lots of space and trees and hills and, it turns out, art. We found a Henry Moore sculpture while taking the scenic route to the Observatory. The Observatory was crowded and the actual Prime Meridian Line was not accessible due to work being done, but I love that hill and the view of London and the buildings at the base of the hill.

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The Union Jack atop the Greenwich Observatory.

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Greenwich Meantime.

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Overlooking the City

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London Town

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Henry Moore’s Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge

We wandered down the hill to the collonades between the Maritime Museum and Queen’s House. It was a hot and sunny day so it was lovely to take some time to sit on the benches in the shade and rest and chat. Zane wanted to do a bunch of running – go figure. Colin, on the other hand, was struggling from his lack of sleep the night before.

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The Blacketts in the Colonnade

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Colonnade Companions

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Resting in the breezy colonnade.

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Greenwich Grins

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Where does he get his energy?

We carried on and decided to check out the National Maritime Museum. It wasn’t on the plan, but we went in on a whim and it turned out to be a great museum. There was all sorts of ship stuff. The figureheads and ship badges were especially fun.

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National Maritime Museum

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That’s a big propeller.

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Representing New Zealand

Mastheads – Note the Sylvester Stallone masthead in the top right corner. Most of the female mastheads seem to be having wardrobe malfunctions.

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Ship Badges, the Boys got create their own, there were cats involved.

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Amazing Stained Glass Room

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British Bulldog

We left in search of a fast food joint to have a cold drink and a rest for Colin. We walked past the Naval College on the way – amazing buildings.

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Naval College

Colin revived enough for us to go to Canary Wharf in search of the Traffic Light Tree. After a bit of a walk, we found it. Sadly, the lights weren’t working, but it was fun to see it. I love going through different areas of London – Canary Wharf is very business and posh.

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Testing his balance skills on the DLR

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Canary Wharf Wall Walker

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The Traffic Light Tree

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On the DLR

We got a bus to take us back to Stratford, it was the boys first double decker bus. It was great to see some of the Isle of Dogs – I lived there for over a year. The bus took us through more of the true East End neighborhoods. It was good to see more of what we were used to.

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Bus Riding Buddies

When we got to Stratford, Colin took the boys back to the hotel and G&B introduced me to Lidl which is an amazing supermarket – super cheap! I got stuff for us to have a little picnic in our room. Colin headed to bed and I took the boys down to the playground outside the hotel which conveniently has a pub right next to it with outdoor seating. I sat with a drink, writing in our journal while the boys played. I have to say, that little playground (and the pub next to it) were a regular fixture in our lives and so good for the boys. They created a workout course that they did repeatedly (they were not playing, they were working out). They interacted with kids from all over the world and it made me so happy.

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Playground/Pub Combo is a great idea!

20,007 steps

8.34 miles

Middle of the night thoughts (it’s my turn to have a rough night):

I still love London. I was worried that I wouldn’t feel the same about it anymore.

I love it though. I love the crowds on the streets, the diversity of people – colors, religions, socio-economics, languages. I love that there are pockets of quiet and peace to be found in parks and pubs and museums and galleries. I love that more people take more care with their clothes and that there is a lot of diversity in fashion. I love that there is real style going on.

I love that there is the unexpected all around. I don’t “love” the smell and the grime, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be London without it.

I love the West End with its poshness and variety. I love the East End with the people and shops and grit. I love the business districts with the people in business suits and fancier clothes.

I love the ancient and ornate buildings and the modern, innovative architecture and the random 60s and 70s ugliness thrown in.

I love the public transportation system in London. I think it’s the best in the world. The Underground, the buses, the Docklands Light Rail, the trains – connectedness and ease of use. I love that each line on the Tube has its own personality and quirks.

I love that I still know it. 20 years later and I would still feel confident wandering around town on my own.

I love that I can be walking with the crowds towards Trafalgar Square and know that if I wanted, I could turn right and walk up stairs into the National Gallery and be in front of The Execution of Lady Jane or a Van Gogh in a few minutes.

I love that this city continues to change and evolve and grow and yet there are things that are unchanging and constant.

I love that the Evening Standard is still free. I love that people leave newspapers on the Underground for other people to read.

I love the escalators and poems on the underground and the advertisements on trains and in stations. I love the breeze in an underground platform when a train is approaching. I love that they still say “Mind the Gap”.

I love that we saw a rat by the spot we got engaged. I love the Thames and walking over, under and beside it.

I love the cheap and the posh. I love the ache in my feet and legs from all the walking that is a part of life in London.

I love the overwhelming amount of choices when it comes to food. The smells and flavours, the old favourites and new options, all the international possibilities. I love the choices on the supermarket shelves. The mix of British and foreign.

I imagined, though I didn’t know for sure, that at the end of two weeks I’ll be ready for home, but that might be more to do with comfort and convenience. There were certainly things that I already missed and appreciated about Bend. Clean, fresh tasting water from the tap, availability of water and toilets. The fresh air and mountains and forests. Getting around quickly.

But I needed not have feared that my love of London had died. It was strong and sure.

The boys were doing so well. Good attitudes in the face of a physically demanding schedule, constant change and new things.

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Thankful Thursday – New Beginnings

I love Mondays and January 1sts and September school starts. I love new beginnings. I know that a lot of people don’t like or believe in New Year’s Resolutions, but I like the idea of looking back on the year that has gone by and making plans and setting goals for the year ahead.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to look back, to look forward and to help direct my own life. To be able to think about the things that I am passionate about, to look at areas that can be improved, to celebrate victories.


Bright Starts and New Beginnings

I made a list of goals at the beginning of 2016 and it’s cool to be able to look back and see that I achieved some of those goals. I didn’t complete them all, but I made progress and that’s what is important.

Not everyone has the chance to plan and dream, many people have to simply survive. I am thankful for the opportunity and don’t take it lightly as the New Year begins.

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2016 Photo a Day – Days 31-37

Day 31 – Working on low light photos. And Family. It’s the best.

Day 31 2016

Day 31 2016

Day 32 – A self portrait. I am fascinated with eye colors. They are hard to capture. I’ll be working on getting the rest of my family’s eyes too.

Day 32 2016

Day 32 2016

Day 33 – The beautiful mountains of Central Oregon on a sunny morning.

Day 33 2016

Day 33 2016

Day 34 – Bubble bath time.

Day 34 2016

Day 34 2016

Day 35 – The dojo ladies are going to go on a Pride and Prejudice and Zombies outing so I figured I better get the book finished!

Day 35 2016

Day 35 2016

Day 36 – Watching a movie with the family and Checkers wants to make sure that he gets some attention too.

Day 36 2016

Day 36 2016

Day 37 – Power Grid. We own over 200 games. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to go through and play them all as a family – rating them as we go to decide which ones we love and want to keep and which ones it’s time to let go of. Zane won this game. Jude second. Mom and Dad not so much…

Day 37 2016

Day 37 2016

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2016 Photo a Day – Days 10-17

Day 10 – Sitting at home and I looked over and saw a beautiful beam of light coming through the window.

Day 10 2016

Day 10 2016

Day 11 – Colin reading to Zane.

Day 11 2016

Day 11 2016

Day 12 – Terrible parent moment. We gave the boys gi bags for Christmas to hold their gis and karate supplies. We included water bottles from the dojo – part way through January and Jude asks why there is paper in his water bottle.

Day 12 2016

Day 12 2016

Day 13 – I made Turkey Pot Shepherd’s Pies – my own recipe. Yummo!

Day 13 2016

Day 13 2016

Day 14 – We had a lovely snowy afternoon. Giant, beautiful, fluffy snowflakes. I loved the bud on this tree surrounded by snow. I am so thankful for seasons.

Day 14 2016

Day 14 2016

Day 15 – Just a shot of my Jude. He needs a haircut.

Day 15 2016

Day 15 2016

Day 16 – Beautiful Ivy. I love this girl and her family. It’s a joy to see her grow.

Day 16 2016

Day 16 2016

Day 17 – We have some favorite building sets in our home. Trio Blocks are one of them. It amazes me to see the things that the boys create. When it’s time to pack it all up they always beg to keep their creations for a while so they end up on top of the box.

Day 17 2016

Day 17 2016