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WELS Marriage Enrichment Weekend

Last weekend was a big one for Tyla and me. Mom flew out from Indiana and stayed with Elijah while Tyla and I headed to Hood River, OR for our church organization’s marriage enrichment weekend. This series comes to the Pacific Northwest every two years. When we heard about it a few months ago, we signed up to “force” ourselves to get there this year instead of putting it off again.

I had never been to Hood River. What a gorgeous area! The class was hosted at the Best Western right on the waterfront and our room overlooked the river. It’s not a big town but there were enough restaurants, shops and scenic sights to easily keep us entertained during our free time.

The Marriage Enrichment weekends consist of a variety of programs but ours was called “Simply Marriage.” It covered five topics:

Overcome frustration
Faith moves us from frustrated over God’s ways to curious about God’s ways. Become more curious and less frustrated with your spouse.
Appreciate incompatibility
We are all incompatible because we’re fallen. But incompatibility is grounds for marriage. Learn to put your spouse and his/her happiness ahead of your own; as Jesus has done for you.

Break patterns that destroy oneness
The two shall become one; but there’s an enemy. Learn how to break common patterns that war against your oneness:  escalation, invalidation, negative interpretation and withdrawal/avoidance.

Use words that work
Move from monologue to dialogue, learn how to initiate a behavior change request, cut the negativity and communicate appreciation.
Grow more intimate
Build your intimacy in ways that most couples can’t dream of: in your faith, in your friendship and in your sex and sensuality.

Those five sessions filled up an hour on Friday evening, 9-3 on Saturday and a couple hours on Sunday morning. The rest of the time was free for us to spend time together as a couple. We walked along the river, spent time in the hot tub, visited Multnomah Falls, and ate dinners at Solstice and Full Sail Brewing.

We didn’t have many expectations going into the weekend, but now we’re itching to go to the next one in two years! We met a bunch of great couples, learned a lot and enjoyed spending a weekend away together. It was obvious that the class has been offered many times because it went very smoothly.

These events are held all over the country so if you’re at all interested, check out the website to find one near you. Thank you Pastor Hunter for leading the class and we look forward to seeing you again in two years. Thank you Mom for coming all the way here to watch Elijah and thanks Dad for spending a weekend alone while she was here.

Indiana Trip Photos

We’ve been trying to go back to my parents’ place in Indiana every summer. It’s always a nice trip and this time we decided to stretch it out for a 10 day stay. We snuck in a lot of John Deere time (the Klug’s shop, John Deere Pavillion in Moline, and Dad and Mom’s mower), seeing both Grandpa Hinkle and Grandma Martens and catching up with other relatives out in western Illinois. We celebrated Tyla’s birthday while we were there with a trip to a high tech dairy farm. That trip was perfect timing because Tyla got to pet a calf that was born about 10 hours before we arrived.

It was warm and humid while we were there so we got plenty of pool time. This was the first year that Elijah could touch with his head above water in the shallow end. He is also getting more confident with his swimming. He had a blast jumping into the pool and showing us how he could swim around without floaties.

A huge thanks goes to Dad and Mom for having us invade their house for even longer than normal. That’s a ton of cooking, cleaning, driving and entertaining. Thanks!

San Juan Island

A couple weekends ago, Tyla, Elijah and I set off with Logan and Megan on an adventure to San Juan Island. The group of islands in the northern Puget Sound are collective called the San Juan Islands, but there is one individual island called San Juan Island. Since that’s a bit confusing, it’s often called Friday Harbor which is the main town on the island.

It’s a long ferry ride with on a few sailings per day, but thankfully you can make reservations. We snagged a reservation for both directions of our trip and that made life much easier. The boat was incredibly full with more walk-ons and bikers than I’ve ever seen before. The lady on the PA system said it was her biggest sailing this year.

Unloading took a while but we eventually made it off the boat and we headed to San Juan Island National Historic Park. If you listened to the Pig War episode of Omnibus or Stuff You Missed In History Class then you might recognize this island as the site of the famous Pig War between the British and the Americans. This end of the island is the American camp. We walked along the beach and up to the Cattle Point lighthouse.

Along the drive, I realized that we didn’t have a Discover Pass with us. That’s required to park in the state parks. Thankfully, you can now purchase them online and write your transaction number on a piece of paper to stick in your car while you wait for the physical copy to arrive in the mail. Kudos to the state park system for making that easier than it used to be!

Next we went up to Lime Kiln State Park to check out the other lighthouse on the island. Orcas pass by here fairly often, but we missed them that day. They were there around 6:30 in the morning. We walked along the shore and Elijah enjoyed crawling around on the rocks.

Then it was back across the island to Friday Harbor. Logan led us to San Juan Island Brewing for lunch and it ended up being a great choice. He and I both got flights of beer, there was a play area for Elijah and Tyla got to have oysters and clam chowder.

After lunch we parked the truck in the ferry line, walked around to find some ice cream, and then snagged a puzzle table on the ferry ride home. It was a long day and lots of traveling but it’s always fun to get up there and see the magnificent beauty.

Disneyland Montage

As I was putting together a montage video for Elijah’s 5th birthday (coming Friday!), I realized that we had enough clips from Disneyland to put together a short video. It will be interesting to see how much of this he remembers as he gets older, but I suspect that all the pictures and videos will help trigger the memories. If I was going to make the most awesome family trip video, I would have been a lot more rigorous about the shots we got, but for just winging it, I think this turned out pretty well!

And if you missed it, there’s a (long) post with lots more details about our trip.