Oregon Part 1: Patterson Family Reunion

There's a state I love almost as much as Oregon, and that's where this vacation started: Idaho.  

To get to Idaho, however, we had to survive the flightS.  Two.  I'd asked experienced mamas for advice on making the flying experience as painless as possible for Camden.  Not to mention I didn't want to be on the receiving end of a planeful of glares.  You know how it goes.  Someone walks onto a plane with a baby who's not in a drug induced coma and every person on the airplane groans in unison.  I know.  I'm guilty of it.  

My my, how the tables have turned.

Before I even sat in my seat in the back of the plane, I apologized to the woman sitting beside the window.  "I hope he's good during the flight," I said.  

"Don't be sorry, he's going to be an angel," she said, and she babbled at him to get him to smile.  Turns out she was flying back home from seeing her brand new grandson.  And then the woman across the isle occasionally made faces at Camden, evoking giggles.  The man in front of us complimented us on his "haircut."  {I swear we've never cut a hair on this mohawked baby's head}.  And the stewardess was trying to arrange a marriage between our baby and her niece.  

Good job, Ell.  Way to expect the worst out of people.  I couldn't have been more wrong.

And the new grandma was right.  Camden was basically an angel.  He may have whined a little bit here and there, but he slept in Roy's arms for a good chunk, watched a movie on the iPad, and had great fun exploring the tray table.  Not even a trace of a meltdown, even though I kept snatching his toys away whenever they touched something I deemed to be "riddled with germs and viruses."  


We landed in Boise, got picked up by Kirsten and Kelsey, and drove to the Givens Hot Springs Campground for the Patterson Family Reunion.  It was a perfect location, with a big expanse of shady grass where people pulled camping chairs into big social circles to visit and catch up.  


The grandparents and the aunts swept Camden away and I pretty much didn't see him for hours.  That kid is loved.



{Maybe a little too much sometimes...}


He warmed up to his grandparents immediately, like he knew exactly who they were.



After lots of chatting, a dip in the hot springs, and a big dinner, we celebrated Grandpa Meldrum's 90th birthday with some cake.  And some reminiscing.  I loved hearing the stories and favorite memories people have with Grandpa Meldrum.  A lot of them involved his reckless driving and his liberal use of his hunting knife for all situations.  Gotta love that generation.



Most of the rest of the family were staying the night right there in their tents and campers, which looked like a great time.  However, we weren't sure Camden was ready for the camping scene.  So we took a scenic drive to Ontario with Roy's Aunt Genie and Uncle Dennis to their home.  Idaho farmland bled into Oregon farmland so flawlessly I didn't even know we'd crossed into another state.

After a night at Aunt Genie's, Roy's parents and sisters drove out to pick us up.  Well, to pick Camden up.  Roy, Kirsten and I had a race to train for, so we opted to run.  No, not all the way to the coast, just to Grandpa Meldrum's.  No trip is made to Ontario without a trip to Grandpa Meldrum's.  And it's a beautiful run, too.  His place is pretty much the epitome of a grandparent's home, nestled in the middle of a network of fields of hay and onions and corn with water canals, old sheds and towering raspberry bushes.  Roy has great childhood memories there.



We relaxed from our run in the grass, explored the garden, peeked in the old sheds that are loaded with antique treasures, and then hung out with Grandpa Meldrum for a little bit once he got home from the campsite.  
We had one more stop before we headed to the coast, and that was Aunt Ruth and Uncle Lowell's farm.  I'd never really been to a farm, though I've seen them from a distance.  So to get up close and learn how things worked was actually a blast.


Uncle Lowell took Roy and I around the farm in his huge truck, which he whipped over ditches and along precarious edges of canals like he could do it all in his sleep.  And before we left, he made sure I got a chance to drive a tractor.  Those things are way more technological than I ever imagined.  Inside it's all computer screens and buttons and levers... I only felt safe inching along at like a mile per hour.  I felt like I was going to crush anything that came within a 40 foot radius of me.  But hey-I did it!  I told Roy we should spend a summer with Ruth and Lowell working for them.  Then I'd become a pro at that tractor.



Next stop: Grandma and Grandpa's house!











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