Best. Family. Ever.

30 06 2010

No one is as lucky as I am when it comes to familes… except for maybe Jill and Scott and Mark, but that’s because they have the same one that I do! Perhaps THEY are the REALLY lucky ones, because I’M their sister?! 🙂

It was truly a Family-themed trip to Portland last week. There wasn’t any singular occasion that made this a Not To Be Missed weekend in Portland, but a multi-event, multi-city, uber-happy Zarosinski-Grbavac love-fest in the Pacific Northwest!

Event #1: Grbavac Late-Night Happy Hour – Ashdale Drive – Thursday, June 10

My flight left Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. and arrived in Portland at 9:30 p.m. I love flying West! Of course I checked in online (including the $23 checked bag fee… essentially airline piracy) and could drop my bag off at the curb without waiting on a single line! And we all know how I feel about waiting for things! I had a direct flight, which to me is a serious luxury. It took awhile to get off the plane (as usual) but as soon as I came down the escalator to the PDX baggage claim, I saw my bag coming around the carousel! Sweet! Dad and Jill picked me up and we went straight home where Mark and Scott and Isabella were waiting for us. It was SO GOOD to see and hug my brothers again! It’s been 2 years since I’ve seen Scott, and I couldn’t wait to spend the next 6 days catching up. We had cocktails and sat around the kitchen table chatting for a couple of hours, laughing and making our plans for Friday. It felt like a very late night for me, but I like to drop-kick my Circadian rhythms into West Coast time as soon as possible!

Event #2: Grba-Siblings Hiking Adventures – Columbia River Gorge – Friday, June 11

Friday plans included hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls and the Horsetail Falls trail and making handmade pizzas on the grill for dinner. But first, I needed a pair of hiking shoes. And to borrow some hike-worthy clothes. Obviously I was unprepared. We packed a nice picnic lunch and filled the water bottles and were on our way. The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful stretches of river-side highway in the US. Despite wishing for some whiter clouds in bluer skies, the weather could not have been better for us.

Over a month straight of rain makes for one raging waterfall! I don’t think I’ve ever seen it look like this before! Nor have I (or any of us) ever been to the top of the Falls. But today is the day! It’s not a long hike (probably 1.2 miles) but nearly 1.1 of those miles ascend at nearly a 45 degree angle.

Scott had to be in charge of the camera at this point. The observation platform dangles over the edge of The Falls, and I’m not really a fan of dangling over the edge of anything. The return trip down the now -45 degree angles was fairly frightening due to some painful knees and tired quads. Poor little ACLs!

A few preemptive bandaids and short drive farther out the Gorge later, we were back on the trails to see a few more Falls. First was Horsetail Falls – aptly named!

Next up, Ponytail Falls. I always feel a little bit Last-of-the-Mohicans when I get to walk behind a waterfall!

Finally we made our way to Triple Falls – also appropriately (if not very creatively) named.

Triple Siblings at Triple Falls!

This made a great snack spot for the remainder of our picnic lunch: string cheese, hardboiled eggs, and apples for everyone!

After a delicious dinner of homemade (even the dough, thanks to our amazing Mom!) pizzas on the grill that we ate outside on the new deck, the Siblings headed across the river to meet up with cousins and friends and 25-cent Skee Ball at East Burn. As if there wasn’t going to be enough family-bonding going on downstairs in the TapRoom, another Central Catholic family dynasty was amassing as well. By 11 p.m. or so, it looked like a Harrington-Rice vs. Zarosinski-Grbavac Mafia War Council. *side note: the Zarosinski-Grbavac faction emerged as the clear and decisive winner… They had cleared out by midnight… WE closed the bar down. Bam.

Event #3: Mark’s Graduation from OSU – Corvallis, OR – Saturday, June 12

Closing the bar down at 2:30 a.m. hurt a little bit more when the alarm clock rang the next morning to rouse us for our 8 a.m. departure for Corvaillis. *sigh. But knowing that Grandma and Papa and Dona and Katie and DeAnna and Mary Ann were all going to be there made it slightly easier to get up and going. The weather was PERFECT. Sunny and warm and breezy and simply fantastic!

After the ceremony, we high-tailed it back to Mark’s house in hopes of catching the end of the US World Cup game… we got there in time for the inspiring music and the slow-motion highlight reel. Draw, USA! We soon assembled at King Tin’s Chinese restaurant for a smorgasbord of rice and meat and veggies and delicious extravagance!

A quick stop at the Woodburn Outlets proved fruitful as I found a light-weight, rain-resistant, wind-breaker type jacket. I was in need of something to protect me (read: my hair) from the sudden summer storms of the South. And it’s bright lime green, which makes me smile every time I see it! Yay for Columbia Sportswear!

Event #4: Portland’s Saturday Market – Sunday, June 13

Portland’s Saturday Market actually runs Saturdays AND Sundays in its new location at the Pavillion on the Waterfront.

The Siblings met up with Cousin Katie to spend a relaxing sunny morning/afternoon perusing the booths and taking in the sights of The Market prior to making our way up to Vancouver for the Zarosinski Family Graduation(s) Party.

There just isn’t a nicer or more beautiful place on earth than Portland on a warm, sunny, summer-y day!

Stay tuned for more stories….

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Homecoming

8 06 2010

It is T-minus 44 hours until I’m leaving on a jet plane, heading home to Portland for a multi-event extended weekend – if you count Thursday to Wednesday as “extended weekend.

Any guesses as to the current completion level of my packing…

In my defense, there IS a suitcase on the floor… in the-opposite-of-my-defense, it’s still half-full of the remnants of last weekend’s trek to Charlotte. Tomorrow evening would not appear to rank high on the Fun Scale.

But ready or not (and I WILL be ready – just at the eleventh-hour as usual!) Thursday night will find me heading West. HOORAY!