Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Lighting

For the second year in a row Sky put up the Christmas lights on the house, he loves doing this. It is amazing how fast he is growning up!

Thanksgiving Cooking!

At the Sampson house everyone participates in helping with the Thanksgiving dinner. This year Alex and Skyler peeled the potatoes, Kyle made the jello salad, Melissa made two rum cakes, Steve carved the turkey and everything else Lisa's nice to have a family that is willing to jump in and help out.

Thanksgiving Morning

Every Thanksgiving morning Steve takes the kids to visit the Freemont Troll while Lisa get things going for the feast that evening. This has become a Sampson Family tradition. This year they all got up and went to Krispie Creams, than on to visit the Troll and they ended with stopping by the Ballard Locks.

Random Family Fun On Our Boat The Aquaholic

Summer 2008 ~ We were not able to spend us much time on our boat this year, but we still had lots of fun when we did. Most of the day trips were on Pudget Sound or Lake Washington.

Grand Coulee Dam Tour

Summer 2008 ~ While on vacatio at Banks Lake this summer, we went and toured the Grand Coulee Dam, this is something we have done on many occasions with Melissa and Kyle, but not with Alex and Skyler. This is always informational as is watching the laser show in the evening all about the Columbia River and the building of the dam.

Family Vacation At Banks Lake

Summer 2008 ~ One of our favorite family vacation stops is Banks Lake in Eastern Washington. This year we spent a week playing at the hotel, boating, swimming and tubing on the water at the lake. We even rented jet ski's for a day. As always this is a blast!

Trip To The San Juan Island

Summer 2008 ~ This year for Skyler's birthday he wanted to whale watch in the San Juan Islands...good thing we have a boat perfect for this. So we spent a weekend looking for whales, exploring the different islands and fishing. This trip was great but unfortunatly we saw no whales.

Still More Photo's Of The San Juan Island Trip

All The Boys Camping At The Ensign Ranch

Spring 2008 ~ For Alex's birthday this year he wanted to go camping at the Ensign Ranch, one of his favorite places to go. So we spent a weekend camping at the ranch, exploring, four wheeling and riding our bikes and dirt bikes. Fun as always...but very cold after all it was only May!

Hiking On A Beautiful Day At Carkeek Park

Early Spring 2008 ~ One day we woke up to a beautiful spring day after some nasty spring weather so we decided to hike at Carkeek park. We hiked ALL the trails and enjoyed a very pretty day!

Playing In The Snow At The Sultan Basin

Winter 2008 ~ Steve and the boys headed for the Sultan Basin to shoot guns one day this winter. The boys love to do this. In addition to shooting they found lots of snow to play in.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We haven't posted for awhile, so we thought we'd catch up with some pictures from recent holidays. Halloween came and went by so fast we hardly even had much of a chance to have as much fun with it as we wanted to. Then, Thanksgiving was upon us before we know it! We had a nice turkey dinner here and had Lisa's parents and her brother and his family over. There was plenty of food and desert to go around a couple times, and then some. The boys and I had a four day weekend. Lisa and Melissa had to work Black Friday, and then Saturday and Sunday too. Skyler and I put up the Christmas lights Saturday. Kyle and Alex were too busy with other activities to help. Sky climbed the ladder and he put the strings of lights on the hooks as I fed him the strings of lights and spotted him on the ladder from below. He sure felt like a big kid! Susan stopped by the house Saturday evening for a short visit on her way back from the coast where she had been with Wendy's family for Thanksgiving. Monday its back to school and work. Only another 31 days until Christmas!

Here's Sky on the ladder hanging Chistmas lights

Here is our annual turkey day family tradition of visiting the Fremont Troll. When I was little, my Dad used to take us to the Zoo and to feed the ducks at Green Lake every Thanksgiving morning to get us kids out of Mom's hair so she could prepare dinner in peace. Since they don't let you feed the ducks at Green Lake anymore, and admission to the zoo is a small fortune, visiting the troll every year somehow became a replacement tradition for our family. The kids get a kick out of this. This year it was a beautiful (but cold) sunny day, so we went to Gasworks Park after visiting the troll. All of this after going to Krispy Kremes for breakfast doughnuts.

Trick or Treat!


Lisa’s cat, Sadie, ended up getting out the night before she was scheduled to get "tutered" (fixed). She was in heat and I guess she was bound and determined to find a way to get out. Just our luck, wouldn't you know she'd get knocked up! So several weeks later we ended up with a litter of five kittens. The kids got a kick out of having kittens to play with. But as soon as they were old enough we found good homes for four of them. We ended up keeping one kitten because it had six toes on each front paw. It was so cute and freaky that we just had to keep him. We initially called him "Thumbs" because his extra appendages would stick out (like sore thumbs) when he walks. Then we called him "Darwin", and then finally settled on Hemmingway because Ernest Hemmingway had a lot of six toed cats. But I just call him Ernie.

Back to School!

After a busy but way too short summer, our kid's all went back to school. Melissa to NSCC, Kyle started his senior year at Shorewood HS, Alex forth grade and Skyler second grade at Echo Lake Elementary. As per tradition, we took back to school pictures the first morning. Everyone was eager to get back to school, especially mom & dad! Melissa and Kyle decided they were too old to have their pictures taken.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Summer with the Sampson's

How we spent our summer vacation…

We have been a little lazy when it comes to keeping our blog up to date. It’s been a busy summer and we’ve tried to make the most of it and we’ve kept pretty busy. Lisa has been working hard at Eddie Bauer getting her store whipped into shape and doing a great job. She is regularly praised by her corporate office for all of her efforts. I have been working equally hard at Heath Northwest. Our sales are improving and I added another salesperson to our staff.

Labor Day weekend we decided to take our boat up to the San Juan Islands. Lisa and Melissa had to work, so the boys and I headed out early Saturday morning for Anacortes where we launched the boat.

How we spent our summer vacation…

Once on the water we headed northwest on a heading through Thatcher’s Pass on a course to Jones Island, a small state park where we planned to spend the night. It took us about an hour to get there and once we arrived we were able to tie onto one of the anchoring buoys there. We made lunch and then took the dingy over to the beach and hiked around. Jones Island is really nice and offers some great hiking. We camped there back in 1996 and 1998 with our old boat. We went back to the boat in the afternoon and made dinner and Skyler and Alex fished off the back of the boat. Sky caught a flounder! I think this was his first fish he has ever caught on his own! He was thrilled and I think it’s made him a life long fisherman.

After it got dark we rolled our sleeping bags and down went to bed for the night. Sunday morning we awoke to the sound of light ripple on the water lapping on the hull of the boat. I got up and started preparations for breakfast, scrambled eggs, sausage and orange Juice while the boys slept in a little. It was a beautiful morning and the water was calm as glass. Skyler, Alex and I spent the rest of the morning hiking on the island and rock climbing along the beach.

Then at about noon we went back to the boat and made lunch. Right after lunch we untied the boat from the anchor buoy and headed over to Orcas Island to top off the fuel tank for our next waypoint, Sucia Island, then we made a heading northeast for about a 18 mile boat ride to Sucia . We arrived at Sucia Island in only about a half hour and began scouting for a place to anchor. We were surprised by how many boats were there. I’d say Sucia Island is probably one of the most popular islands in the San Juan Islands for camping. It’s also a state park. On this island there are a lot of camp sites, lots of hiking trails, and also fossils and caves. We circled the island and decided to anchor in Shallow Bay, on the northwest side of the island.

We rowed the dingy ashore and hiked a trail that took us to what was called China Caves, a sand stone rock formation with some really interesting erosion patterns. Most interesting though are the caves in the sandstone that were apparently eroded by wind, water and animals. Legend has it that smugglers bringing in illegal Chinese immigrants hid them in these caves from immigration officials in the late 1800’s, hence the name. We rock climbed on these rock formations and Alex and I went really far up the cliff, so far that he got a little spooked and was unable to get back down without some help from Dad.

After hiking on the island for another hour or so we went back to the boat for dinner. When we got back to the boat we were a little surprised to find that we had drug our anchor a ways getting really close to another boat anchored close by. We pull up anchor and moved over to another spot in the bay where I dropped two anchors to make sure we’d stay put for the night. The sunset from Shallow bay was spectacular!

I had checked the tide charts and thought we’d be fine in the 14 feet or so of water that the depth finder said we had under the boat. But I woke up at about 3:30 in the morning, about 45 minutes before low tide, only to find that we only had 5 feet of water under the boat! I could see the bottom very clearly. Our anchors held tight, but we were getting really close to the bottom. Kyle woke up and came out to see what was going on and we both sat up until absolute low tide to make sure we didn’t hit bottom. At the lowest point we only had 4 feet of depth! I guess that’s why they call it Shallow Bay. Duh! Kyle and I went back to sleep and slept until about 7:30 when we all got up and made breakfast. We wanted to get back to Anacortes early before every one else in their rush to get back home from the holiday weekend, so we pulled up our anchors and set our course south for home. The water was like glass and perfect for cruising at speed I was able to even go full throttle for a while which got us back to Skyline Marina in Anacortes in short order where we had their hoist take our boat out of the water and set it on it’s trailer and headed for home, only about an hour and a half drive. Traffic was light and we were able to get away for the Labor Day weekend and back home without hassling with any of the holiday traffic. Everyone had a good time and it was really nice for dad to be able to spend some quality time with his boys!

Lisa, Alex, Skyler and I loaded up the racecar on the trailer and headed south to Portland to race at Portland International Raceway. Read more on my racing blog….

August 4th – 11th.

On August 4th Lisa and I took a trip to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary. Rick and Marie offered us the use of their time share there at the Sol Mar Suites, and it was a spectacular week! Lisa and I spent our time there walking on the beach, sitting poolside sunbathing and swimming, exploring around town, shopping, eating at some of the restaurants around town, sleeping a lot, getting tatoos (henna), jet skiing, etc. We took a sunset cruise that was awesome! We jet skied right through the “Los Archos” rock formations right at the tip of Baja. That was incredible! One day we just stayed in bed all day and didn’t get up until it was time for dinner. We’ve had a tough year and we felt like we deserved the rest. Our hotel was right on the beach on the Pacific side. We could walk down the beach a short way and hike over the boulders to a secluded and pristine beach they call Lovers Beach that’s normally only accessible by boat. But for the determined, the hike over the boulders made it all the more rewarding experience.

We took lots of pictures of the beautiful scenery there. The beaches were spectacular and awe inspiring. The weather the whole time was very hot. As we landed in Cabo the pilot came on the intercom and said the temperature was 100 degrees! It stayed in the upper 90’s for our entire stay, but our hotel room had great air conditioning that made the heat much more bearable. We haven’t had many vacations without the kids tagging along and this one was very special for us and time that we both needed together to recharge our batteries and refresh our marriage. Of course the time went by much too quickly and soon it was time to catch our shuttle back to the airport Saturday morning for our flight back home where, unfortunately, we had to contend with Mexican airport official disorganization. But after 11 hours in the airport and in the air we finally made it home safely.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer fun!

After outgrowing our last boat and selling it last year, we finally replaced it this summer with bigger and better boat. We've been searching for a decent used boat that we could fit all six of us all year. A couple weeks ago I found one listed on Craig's List that was for sale in Electric City, WA, (Grand Cooley Dam). After exchanging e-mails with the seller and speaking with him on the phone, I decided to make the drive over to check it out. It actually worked out pretty well because I needed to go to the city of Moses Lake for a project I have going on at work, and Electric City is only about one hour north of Moses Lake. So Friday morning I took Alex and Skyler with me and we drove to Moses Lake to take care of the business I needed to do there, and then after lunch we drove up to Electric City to look at the boat.

It's ironic that after months of searching for a boat that suited our needs and our budget that the one we bought was in Electric City. Electric City is on Banks Lake, our family's all time favorite cheap vacation get away spots. I had gotten pretty jaded after looking at so many used boats I was wondering if we would ever find one that I felt was in good enough condition. We checked out the boat and liked what we saw. Alex and Sky really liked it, so much so that Alex said right in front of the guy selling it that he was sure we were going to buy this boat. So much for poker faced negotiations! I should have told them ahead of time to play it cool and let Dad do all the talking. I just said, "we'll see" if everything checks out".

We water tested the boat on Lake Roosevelt, the lake just above the Grand Cooley Dam. There had been a thunder and lightening storm that passed through just as we were towing the boat to the lake, and a lightening strike had started a brush fire along the road to the lake and the State Patrol closed it down stopping us from getting to the lake. The fire was very close and I was getting a little nervous that we might get caught in it, so I decided to get out of the truck and run up a small hill side next to the road for a better look. When I reached the top of the hill I was shocked at what I saw, there were huge flames only about 100 yards from us, and the wind was blowing our direction! I ran back to the truck thinking I was going to run the road block rather than risk getting caught in the fire. Just as I was pulling out of line, the state patrolman opened the road back up for us to escape. That was cutting it a little too close for comfort!

We finally reached the lake and launched the boat. It seemed to run very well and handled the water great. After about a 45 minute test ride, we loaded the boat back up and returned to the seller's house to negotiate the deal. Alex kept saying "I know we're going to buy this boat, Dad", as I tried my best to remain objective and focused about the impending transaction and tried not to let the boy’s enthusiasm sway my decision. A deal was finally reached for substantially less than the asking price and soon we were loading up the boat and trailer onto our truck. The boat's name is "Aquaholic". Cute, but we're thinking of changing it to something else.

We drove right to Banks Lake and launched our new boat for its maiden voyage. After spending a couple hours on the water in our new boat, it started getting dark, so we headed back to shore. We had decided to spend the night on our boat moored at the dock of the little marina there. It was a very hot and humid night, but it was great sleeping on the boat together with Alex and Sky, and they thoroughly enjoyed it!

Saturday morning we awoke with the sunrise and headed back out after gassing up the boat. We drove the boat down the lake to one of our favorite beaches at Steamboat Rock State Park and played in the water there for a while before exploring more of the lake. We decided we better get on our way home and loaded the boat back on the trailer and headed for home at about noon. It was a fun trip, just Dad, Alex and Sky and some quality time together, something they'll always remember.

Last Wednesday after work, I took Kyle and his friends Andy and Charles, along with Alex and Skyler out on the boat at Lake Washington for a couple of hours. We stopped the boat off of Seward Park and the boys swam for awhile. They hadn't planned on swimming and ended up having to swim in their skivvies.

Friday after work Lisa and I loaded up the boat and launched at Magnusson Park. This was Lisa's first time on the boat. We drove down to Andrews Bay at Seward Park and anchored there for the night. The weather had been rainy all day and it continued into the evening, but in Andrew’s bay it was very calm, and with the temperature about 70 degrees, we decided to go swimming. Saturday morning we awoke and the weather was beautiful. We had breakfast on the boat and then drove around the lake before heading back to the ramp and going home at about noon.

We're planning to make a trip up to the San Juan Island for a weekend soon and also explore more Washington waterways before summer is over. Like they say, Life is pretty dry without a boat!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's day

Saturday we took flowers to Mom and Grandma Sours grave for Mother's Day. It was a beautiful sunny day for a visit to their grave site to pay our respects. We thought it would be nice to take a couple pictures and post them here in case any family might want to see them. It doesn't seem like it's been almost three years since Mom's passing. We sure miss Mom & Dad.

Sunday, Melissa and I made dinner. We BBQ'd chicken and salmon and had Lisa's Mom and Dad over to join us. It was a pretty relaxing day and a great dinner, if I do say so myself.