Category Archives: Travels & Adventure

Revelations on vacation

We are on our way to the sunshine island of Oahu.  In fact, we are currently sitting in the Bellingham airport waiting for our second plane.

Jason has, of course, befriended someone.  He’s an older gentlemen and they are swapping military stories.   Ian is taking advantage of all the racing spaces in this empty place for his cars and trains.  And Imogen is sleeping in the stroller (yes!).

And, as you can tell, I am taking advantage of the free wi-fi.

But back to the trip at hand.  As many of you know we’ve been anticipating it for a year now.  Which means I’ve had A LOT of time to imagine it.  Sometimes it is a pleasant dream.  And sometimes it’s a total nightmare.

But recently I have made some personal revelations, which I’d like to share.  This mainly for my own sake.  So, here goes.

This trip is NOT about:

  • Me FINALLY getting the vacation I deserve.  This is a lie.  Repeat, THIS IS A LIE.
  • Me (or my family) remaining rested and healthy.  If both of these things happen that will be wonderful, but I’m not going to hold my breath.  We are going to roll with the punches (figuratively speaking.  I really hope no one is punching anyone during this trip).
  • Me looking all tan and svelte on the beach.  Thankfully, I’ve got two cute kids to show for the battle scars my body has accrued over the last few years, so I’ve decided I’m okay with how I look.  Plus, my husband still thinks I’m hot.
  • ME, ME, ME (you can see a theme developing here).

This trip IS about:

  • God’s pure generosity.
  • Connecting with my husband.  A few days ago we decided that most mornings we’re going to try to get up and walk the beach together (thanks in advance, Mom, for the childcare).
  • Playing and exploring with my kids.  They will get to do big things like ride in an airplane, build sand castles, and stand in awe of the ocean.  What a privilege to get to be there with them!
  • Supporting and encouraging our friends, the Franci, who really need love right now.
  • Christmas!  I am trying not to forget this, even though we’re not at home this year.

Wish us luck.  Or rather, may the grace of God (and the prayers of many kind friends) be with us!

Snow adventures

It’s a bit odd to say that last weekend was all about snowbumming seeing as how there is no snow to be found here in Seattle.  In fact, it was about two weeks ago that I started feeling a bit silly wearing my furry boots out and about.  And I just noticed this morning that the trees down our street are blooming a vibrant shade of pink.  That’s supposed to happen the end of March.

We went to North Idaho because surely we would find snow there.  Nope.  No snow.  No flowers blooming, mind you, but still much warmer than usual and definitely no winter white.

As you can see we eventually found it.  But we had to drive several thousand feet up two different mountains to get to it.

The first trek was to Mt. Spokane for some skiing & snowboarding.  Shell is offering B1G1 lift tickets at select ski resorts and Mt. Spokane was one of them.  Cheap is very motivating, so away we went.

I was the lone skier, everyone else snowboarded. I was very impressed by Jason’s skills, seeing as how he said he wasn’t very good at all.  We cruised along at the same speed, which was very nice.

Then my hands turned to stinging burning blocks of ice.  That wasn’t so fun.  To me cold = misery.  But that was toward the end and as you can see, I recovered in time for this photo.

Our second adventure was snowshoeing at Lookout Pass. I love snowshoeing because it doesn’t require much skill and you can make it as easy or as rigorous as you want to.  Plus, Ian can go along now that we have a kid pack (thanks Tiff & Ash).

This was both Ian and Mother T’s first time snowshoeing and I think they were in agreement that it was a good experience.  Mom even said she wanted to go again sometime.  That means it was a major success.

We started out on the Hiawatha trail, which is the location of an old rail line, so it’s wide and flat.  As you’ll see, Jason is sharing with Ian everything he needs to know about snowshoeing.

You can surmise from the video that we ended up in the woods.  The Hiawatha got a bit boring so Jason took us off and uphill where we traipsed around for about an hour with a stop for snacks.  By the time we made it back to the trail the sun was shining and we were very pleased with our adventure.

Jordan brought his sled and after we got back to the car he and Jason wanted to take Ian for a little ride so they headed for the lodge and the bunny hill.  I don’t need to say much more than that, since the video captures it well.

Moments of elation very soon followed by the depths of despair.  Such is the life of a toddler.

When we weren’t out in the snow we were mainly sitting around eating and watching the Olympics.  We also got a chance to visit Chad & Keisha in their new home in Spokane which was so nice.

The combination of all these things made for a great mini-vacation.

See more photos here.

Annette Lake hike

Jason decided it was high time we went for a hike, since we’ve been saying we want to, the summer’s almost over, and our behinds still hadn’t made it up any mountains.

I use the past tense hadn’t instead of haven’t, because that is no longer the case.  We hiked up to Annette Lake this last Saturday.  The trail is located a few exits past North Bend and we’ve been there before snowshoeing, but only got a mile or so in.

I guess I just assumed we would be going on a light one or two hour trip since we have a 9 month old.  But no, that is not what we did.  We did a very strenuous uphill climb that took about 5 hours roundtrip.  Praise the Lord the weather has cooled down.  If it hadn’t, I would’ve turned around halfway through the hike and huffed and puffed down the mountain with that sweaty little body of Ian’s strapped to my back.

As it was, we still worked up quite the sweat, while also attempting to get eaten alive by biting flies and large mosquitoes.  The funny thing is, just the night before we were sitting outside and Jason said “You know, we’ve got it made here in Seattle.  Not many people can sit out on their deck at dusk and there not be bug in site to bother them.”

I am exaggerating about pretty much all of this so far.  The bugs were only bad when we stopped and don’t worry, I didn’t get stung by the nest of bees I sat down by to breastfeed.  The hike was strenuous, but it’s surprisingly more exhausting when you are whining and complaining that you are carrying the backpack which you are insisting is heavier than carrying the baby (and being right about it), while also holding a grudge against your husband for not forwarning you of a cliff climb and telling you it was fine to wear your running shoes instead of your sturdy, ankle-supportive hiking boots.

Anyway . . .

My humbling came in two parts.

The first time happened halfway up the mountain. We were stopped and I was trying to find a legitimate reason why we should turn around and go back.  Awful but true, I have been known to shroud my selfish motivations with excuses like “I think Ian’s getting tired or hungry or he’s upset” when usually it’s me that’s tired, upset, hungry or just plain about to have an emotional breakdown. 

While I was changing Ian’s diaper, a nice older lady and her husband caught up with us.  She was friendly and went on about how she had never been on the trail but the picture of the lake in her guidebook made it look absolutely beautiful.   Jason responded with something to the effect of “Well, we’re not sure if the little guy is going to last up to the top.”

The nice lady threw her hand back and said “Oh, he’ll be fine.  We strapped our kids to our backs and hiked all over the place and they were happy as a clam.  They don’t care.”

And she was right and I knew it. So we packed up and I prayed for an attitude adjustment.

The second part of my humbling came when we finally got to the top.  The lady was right, the lake was beautiful and all that work was very much worth it.  If I would’ve insisted we bail the three of us would’ve missed out on seeing an absolutely beautiful place.  The picture doesn’t do it justice at all. 

How many times do I do that, get bothered and quit?  Too many times to mention.  I don’t want to think about all the things I’ve missed out on.

BTW, Jason, being the nice person that he is, did not rub any of this in my face.  Though I would’ve if I were him.

We sat on the shore (next to the nice lady) and had snacks and enjoyed the view.  She was even was even kind enough to give me napkins to insert into a previously used wet diaper when Ian had a major poop and I didn’t have a clean diaper on hand to put on him.

The trek down the mountain was so much better having a full stomach, a better attitude and the hard work behind us.  We stopped at a waterful that Ian got very excited about.  He even dipped his little fingers in the freezing cold water and seemed to find it exhilarating.

Things got even better when we stopped at the DQ and had a large Blizzard of the Month (Girl Scout Thin Mint).  Jason even allowed me to devour the first half before telling me to slow down so he could have some.  What a nice husband I have.

You can see the rest of the photos here.

“Attacked” by an alligator

I’ve been taking an annual 4th of July trip to Minneapolis for about four or five years now, but it’s gotten quite exciting ever since the Haggards have been introduced into the family. 

When I say exciting I mean this: last year Jason almost burned Linda’s house down.  And this year we were attacked by an alligator.

When I mean attacked I mean that it was lazily floating along the shoreline in Linda’s pond and the police apprehended it with one of those dog-catcher thingies and duct taped its mouth shut.  It’s just that the Twin Cities Channel 5 news made it sound a bit more onorous than that when they featured it as the top story on the 10 o’clock news

Not only did the Channel 5 news station cover it, but Channel 4 the following day, too.  And the Star Tribune and the Eagan Examiner and Minnesota Public Radio and the Bemidji Pioneer and the Pioneer Press.

Geesh people.  An alligator in Minnesota is a bit unusual, but I certainly didn’t feel like my life was in jeopardy.  But, who knows about next year . . .

A Haggard canoeing catastrophe

When I got back from Coeur d’Alene last Wednesday I came home to not only one Haggard man but three. Justin and Jared, Jason’s brothers were in town for a visit, from Atlanta and Great Falls, Montana, respectively.

Most of the time we just hung out, ate and talked. But on Saturday, the brothers’ last full day in Seattle, Jason suggested we go canoeing at UW. Since it’s been especially hot and four people in a 450 square foot apartment makes things even hotter, I thought getting down to the water would be a refreshing break.

Justin and Jared were mildly (and that’s an exaggeration) interested in canoeing. But we went anyway. And, as you can tell from the title of the post, they were even less amused by the event when all was said and done.

Jason and I put our swimsuits on, filled up our backpack with towels, sunblock and other “essentials” and dragged Justin and Jared into the car. When we got to the UW waterfront stupid mistake #1 happened – we grabbed the backpack (which included our cell phones, wallets and dry towels) to bring with us on the boat.

At this point in telling the story I am asking myself “Who talks on their cell phone while maneuvering a long, skinny, cumbersome boat across a busy canal–especially when their pregnant and trying to maintain their already-impaired balance?” I don’t know. Certainly not me. So why did I bring my cell phone???

Needless to say, we hopped in our canoes no problem (backpack and all). But as we did, I realized I forgot to bring the camera. “Oh man! This would’ve been great for the blog!” I thought.

And so marks stupid mistake #2 – thinking that bringing my really nice camera into the boat was a good idea in the first place. In my common sense brainfart I mentally kicked myself for missing this photo opp.

In Jason & I’s canoe we (and when I say “we” I mean Jason) immediately came up with a military plan of action. He was to do the steering (of course) from the back and I was supposed to paddle as hard as I could. I whined about forgetting the camera about every time I had to switch arms from exhaustion.

The first thing we had to do was cross the busy canal without getting hit. Jason and I moved quickly. I remember looking back and seeing Jared & Justin behind us, somewhat half-heartedly paddling, all the while giant yachts approaching their boat. They didn’t seem to be concerned. Jason started yelling at them to keep moving and they picked up the pace.

Despite the mild drama, we were able to safely pass through the canal without getting hit by anything. We then passed under the 520 bridge and into a much calmer area. I started feeling a lot cooler so close to the water and enjoyed seeing all the ducks swimming around.

Within less than five minutes of canoe toodling, stupid mistake #3 happened. Jared had discovered the ducks as well and as I looked to my left I saw him start paddling hard, pulling him and Justin as fast as he could to try to hit a nice, cute little female mallard with their boat. She was swimming away with all her might, her wings almost out of the water as she went.

This continued for maybe three yards. Then Jared & Justin effortlessly tipped over and sunk into the water. In the thrill of trying to kill an innocent duck Jared had gotten reckless in his paddling and lost his balance. I don’t know what Justin was doing in the back, but he didn’t put up any fight in going down with his brother.

After the immediate shock (and relief that the duck was able to get away), I quietly chuckled to myself and thought “I’m glad that wasn’t me.” Stupid mistake #4 – thinking I was immune to involvement in, what was to be, a several-part disaster.

At first we couldn’t see Jared or Justin behind their capsized canoe. But as we got closer I spotted Justin bobbing in the water with his life vest on, his arm stuck straight up in the air holding his cell phone. This is probably the most intelligent decision made during the whole ordeal.

Jared was next to him with a goofy look on his face, forgetting entirely that his own phone still remained in his pocket, at least a foot under water.

As we pulled up to the scene of the accident I started to get a bit nervous. I wasn’t that concerned about getting wet, but I mentally started to tally how much replacement cell phones would cost. I decided that ours were NOT going to have the same fate as Justin & Jared’s. I was not in the “we’re all family, so let’s stick together” mood. In my mind it was every man for himself!

Jared & Jason were able to flip over the canoe and rid it of water. Jared quickly scrambled up into it before we could discuss what to do next. Jason wasn’t sure if Justin should also try to get in or just swim to nearby shore. Stupid mistake #5 – they decided to try getting him in the boat.

Jason: “Here, I’ll hold on to your canoe and Jared, you try to keep it in balance, too. Elisabeth, lean to the right of our boat to offset the weight.”

“But wait, that doesn’t seem right. That’s not offsetting the weight, that’s adding to it. I should lean to the left. I DON’T WANT US TO GO DOWN, TOO!” I said.

“Elisabeth, it’s right, just trust me! You’re not going to get wet.”

Stupid mistake #6 – Jason having enough confidence in himself to make that kind of promise to his wife.

At first there was a glimmer of hope–Justin scrambled up about halfway into the canoe. Maybe stupid mistake #5 wasn’t so stupid after all.

But then stupid mistake #7 happened, which completely trumped stupid mistake #5. Either Jason had told me to lean the wrong way or in my directional dylesxia (I get left and right mixed up), I picked the wrong side to put my weight on.

That coupled with Justin giving way back into the water, and we all proceeded to go down in flames (or I guess splashes would be a better word).

Something inside of me thought that if I just kept sitting inside the boat (as it tipped over, filled with water, and began to capsize) that somehow I would escape the situation (stupid mistake #8). With one hand I was holding onto the side and with the other I was trying to keep the already soaking wet backpack dry. My leg must’ve hit the side of the boat because the next day I discovered a big bruise all the way down my calf.

Finally Jason had to say “Elisabeth, just let go! You’re already in the water!”

At that point, I did let go–of the boat and the backpack. But I held onto my anger and the tears that were start to welling up as a result. “The CELL PHONES! All that MONEY!” I kept thinking. I started having flashbacks to that time (or maybe it was times) in high school that I hit something with my car and was awaiting my dad’s arrival on the scene (and lecture) about how much money it was all going to cost us. Like father like daughter.

In my mental chaos I started scurrying around, trying to grab the flip flops, hat, sunglasses, paddles and life vests that were floating around us, mostly because it made me feel like I was in control of the situation (like mother like daughter).

But, as I swam to get a paddle and saw Justin aimlessly bobbing in the water, having given up on his cell phone after the second full immersion, I started to laugh out loud. That was God’s grace to me and the anger started to dissipate. What was done was done and, well, it was pretty funny.

Several other canoes of young people came by and offered their condolences and their help. They were nice enough not to laugh (to our faces). They even offered to take our stuff to keep it as dry as possible. It was pointless, but I gladly handed it all over.

Justin continued to bob around, that is, until he spotted a hook on the back of one of the the nice people’s canoes and hitched a ride to the shore.

Jared, trying to be resourceful, hobbled into his half-full-of-water canoe. I’m not sure that he even had paddles at that point, but at least he felt like he was doing something.

As much as Jason is the man for any mission, it took him a while to figure out what to do. I informed him that there was no way in hell I was going to get my ever-increasing belly up over the side of a canoe. I also mentioned that it was doubtful I would let him live down the fact that he had attributed to a pregnant woman falling out of a boat.

So, we started swimming to the nearby shore. Or, in other words, maneuvering through muddy, seaweed-infested waters. Jason towed our canoe back with him. Our backpack and other stuff were there waiting there for us. At least they didn’t get all mucky and gross.

We emptied the canoes, got inside and paddled back to the docks. When I sarcastically asked “Does anyone want to keep canoeing around for a while?” I did not receive an answer.

As you can see, there are no photographs to document the event. On the way back I realized the camera was safe and sound at home, and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. Cell phones are one thing, the digital camera is entirely another! I thanked God for my forgetfulness while also being quite humbled by my part in the whole ordeal.

Though a part of me (the stupid part), wishes I would’ve had the camera to document the Haggard boat summersion adventure (as if it would’ve remained dry). Or, had some supernatural power to hover over the situation just to give you the amusing visuals.

But then I come to my senses and realize that if you know any of us Haggards, my words and your imagination will be more than enough to reenact the story with a chuckle.

As for the cell phones . . .

Jason dried them out using alcohol and then left them in the oven (turned off, of course. We’re not that stupid). The combination of the alcohol and the warm pilot light in the gas oven resurrected Jared’s phone, though he lost the back to it somewhere in the scuffle. His contract is up to get a new phone anyway.

Justin’s phone works, but only if you plug it in. Which he did in the airport when he missed his flight the next day (another story)–though he couldn’t call any of us to come get him. He does have insurance and can get it replaced for a minimal fee.

Jason’s phone works, but doesn’t vibrate. And I can call people with mine, but the screen is dark. So, if I don’t know the phone number of someone I can’t call them. And I certainly don’t know who is calling me when it rings or if I’ve received any voicemails.

Thankfully, Mom & Dad Haggard and Dad Krohn are sending us their old phones.

So, despite all the stupid mistakes we made, God provided anyway –both bruised egos and replacement cell phones.

Coeur d’Alene boating trip

[Edit: I forgot to add links to all the photos I took.  See bolded below in the original text].

As promised, careful records of our boating weekend in Coeur d’Alene.

The following video covers our days on Lake Coeur d’Alene and Lake Pend Orielle (or Pond O’Reilly as Jason calls it). Both days the weather started out questionable but by the time we were ready to get in the water the sun was out and the temp was warm.

When we weren’t boating, we were grilling, watching the Olympics, and dancing with Lizzie (Mom). Here are pictures.

Gary, Penny, Christian, and Jason all left on Sunday, which left the girls (Mom, Caroline and I) to have fun. We did our Coeur d’Alene and Spokane shopping rounds, watched movies and just generally relaxed.

When we were brainstorming activities Caroline had the great idea of finding one of those paint-your-own-pottery shops. So while Mom was getting her hair cut on Tuesday, Caroline and I spent several hours painting the bud vases we had picked out.

I thought this was the most fun, relaxing thing we did. Mom and Caroline were patient with me, as I took the longest time on my project (3.5 hours!).

Later on Tuesday we visited Joy’s barn. Joy is Mom’s friend who loves horses and has lots of them, including two foals. Here’s Caroline with one of them:

And the rest of our girl time photos.

I ended my Coeur d’Alene visit with a good night’s sleep and an easy hour flight back to Seattle!

Minnesota memories

Jason and I got back on Monday from a 4th of July trip to Minnesota. Our time was spent either making memories, looking back on old ones, or getting excited about future ones.

Jason’s parents, Bill & Becky, met us in Minneapolis at my dad’s place on Thursday. The next morning Jason and I got up and walked/ran around Lake of the Isles. Then we went over to Linda’s to celebrate the 4th and Dad’s birthday with food, family, and a baby shower.

The Haggards, of course, brought an entertaining presence to the Krohn family gathering–especially when Jason flung the birthday cake across the living room floor, sparkly candle and all.

Thankfully, everyone (and the white carpet) survived. And the cake stayed relatively in tact. I’m still beating myself over the head for not video taping the whole ordeal.

That evening we came home pretty wiped out, but Jason, Bill, Becky & I stayed up late talking about marriage and parenthood. They shared what they learned from their experiences and encouraged us in the Lord of the joys of loving one another and our little munchkin. I was very blessed by this conversation. It made me think about all the memories we will all make.

That night (or maybe it was the night before?) I felt Baby H kick for the first time! Very exciting.

On Saturday we went over to St. Paul and toured Victoria Crossing and the old mansions along Summit Ave. Then Jason and I drove over to Wayzata, where I grew up. It was a really special experience to show him a place that holds so many memories for me.

Here’s a brief synopsis of our time there from Jason:

We finished the evening off in Minneapolis with dinner at Cafe Lurcat, a walk through the sculpture garden, and Sebastian Joe’s for ice cream. We thought we were wrapping up the evening, but instead we proceeded to get lost on the way home for about an hour and half.

God had something in mind with our little driving adventure–we stumbled across the church I grew up going to, Mount Olivet. I had no idea where it was or that we were even in close vicinity to it.

So we stopped and looked around in the dark and I told him about my experiences there. I was amazed to think about how God knows every moment and how they all connect, from the beginning of our lives until the end.

On Sunday we went to Bethlehem Baptist for church and then Jason and I visited my Aunt Karen and her lovely brood of animals. She took us to Highland Grill for lunch and then we sat around and chatted for a bit.

We ended that day out to dinner with Dad & Linda at Spill the Wine where we stuffed ourselves with calamari, potato gnocchi, and strawberry shortcake, among other things.

The trip was a total blessing–so much so that I didn’t want to come home! Praise God for celebrations, family, good food, beautiful weather and many memories (past, present and future).

See the rest of the pictures here.