Activities Galore in Gig Harbor

Max & Elisha Kayaking

Yesterday we all piled into the van and headed down to the harbor so that the kids could get together with some friends and have an hour of kayaking in the harbor.  Elisha was hesitant, at first, but then he was up for the adventure.  He still has not shaken off the images from “Soul Surfer” and the shark attack the main character endured.  I had no intention of showing Elisha that movie-especially before we were to embark on a Pacific northwest adventure…but he snuck a peek at that movie on an evening he should have been snug in his bed, and the images of that fated shark attack are burned in his brain.  He was becoming convinced that a kayak adventure could turn quite bloody on the harbor  called “Gig”.  I loved the way my sister in law, laura, calmly gave him the nautical facts about the safe harbor they live near, and left the decision up to him.I have come to really appreciate my sister in laws calmness.  She is steady, and in the midst of lots of bustling activity with four children (pre-teens and teens) two golden retrievers, and a menagerie of other animals.  Elisha is in the mix of all this, and is loving every second.  He will love visiting Uncle Matt in San Francisco, but will go through cousin withdraw, for sure.

July 11th in Gig Harbor, Washington

We are enjoying everyday as we are here with my brother’s family.  Each day has adventures for Elisha.  His older cousin, Zach, hangs out with a group of 9-12 year old boys.  Elisha is loving the freedom to roam in the safety of his cousin’s care, bike riding, and adventures in the adjacent woodlands.  Gig Harbor is a safe environment where kids can hang out in groups in cul-de-sacs, and backyards.  Elisha plays hard everyday.


Well, I have been sleeping in, and then going for walks, eating well, have lots of quiet meditative time.  I am so content here-just absorbing the different setting.

We leave for San Francisco on Monday for another leg of the trip…Another brother-Another place to explore.


Back From Family Camp

We, meaning, my brother Tim, his wife, Laura, Lucas, Max, Zach, Sarah, Elisha and I headed for Yelm, Washington on July 4th for cascades family camp.  The weekend was filled with much activity, breathtaking beauty, worship services, a 5K walk, days at Elbow Lake, swimming, canoeing, and just enjoying the scenery.  Family camp is also about making new connections with people, and re-connecting with ones from previous years… Since this was Elisha and my second year, it was so nice to see familiar faces in campers.  I felt the refreshing of God in my soul daily.  The days were long and filled with activities for kids during worship times-which were daily morning and evening…

My time spent there with my brother and his family was glorious.

I meditated on some deep issues in my life, and had quiet communion with my Maker amongst the evergreens.

Tim's Family and Mine the day we left Family Camp

View from Timber Lodge

Tim, Laura and boys for swim across the lake race!

Singing Kids Camp Songs


July 4th Let Family Camp Begin!

The Batanian household in Gig harbor is bustling with activity this morning as many kids and three adults plan to leave for the Cascades for 5 days!  It is a glorious day in Gig Harbor, and the Tim B kids thought that Gramma and Grampa B arrived secretly last evening and ushered in the good weather.

It looks like 70 and sunny is in the 5 day forecast!

This part of the trip I have long awaited for since February when I booked my and Elisha’s time at the Family camp in the Cascades.  This is turning into a yearly event for us.

Bikes are being loaded in trailer for family camp

July 4th Breakfast Self serve..


We leave for family camp in three hours!

July 1st in Washington State

Unusual Woodpecker

It is a quiet morning in Gig Harbor.   Elisha left for a day of sightseeing with uncles, aunties, and cousins.  I stayed behind to attend a worship service, count my blessings, and have a day of stillness.  I am fatigued, but not beyond repair.  I sensed a day of walking the city of Seattle might compromise my level of tiredness.  I am trying to avoid being grouchy, at all, towards Elisha.  The time here at my brother’s home before we all go to family camp is so sweet.

There is much to do, see, and feel here.

I feel a sense of belonging because of the relationships.  My brother’s family are all kind hearted, witty, funny, and generous as he is…

I am soaking in the beauty of the great northwest.  It is big country out here, and the ever presence of the tall abounding evergreens startles me in moments.  The mountain ranges in constant view remind me of the scripture of how the psalmist looked to the hills to where his help comes from-the Lord.

So, this whole journey since our arrival at SFO with the rolling hills of central California to the northern states of Oregon & Washington with their mountain ranges…I am reminded.  ”My help comes from the Lord”

In this non-chemo treatment mode I am in, the reminder is timely.

The waiting can be stressful, but I am taking my oncologist’s advice in my last check up on June 6th…”Live in the moment this summer.  Live in the moment.”

Good advice cancer or not.


Rainy Day in Gig Harbor

It is this light spraying rain that comes in the mornings in this area.

I took a brisk walk in it this morning.  It felt great.

I am continuing to walk everyday. That feels great.

I am determined to walk off the poundage. This is a good thing.

This is the Saturday before family camp in Yelm, Washington.

I am excited about getting up there in the Cascade Mountains.

I am anticipating it on last year’s experience.

I am sure it will be all that it was last year and perhaps more.

Olympics (Mountain view from Tim’s home)

A Picture is worth a thousand words…


I have been snapping photos along the way of our journey…

Here are just a few that tell the very beginning of our “Great Western” excursion!
I noticed this Gerber Daisy had bloomed, on the day we left Malden for our summer vacation.

Getting going takes time

Getting over the bridge
Heading West!

Elisha is a good passenger
Ipads help travel boredom!

Road to Little Falls, NY

My old buddy "Buddy"

Farmer’s Market, Little Falls, NY

At the Erie Canal

TT and Elisha

We Love Little Falls!

Lock # 17


Teri & MM In Little Falls, NY

Cousin Kitty & MM

Fast Friends in Edinboro, PA

At the lake with Kitty Alward

Kitty, Buck & Cassandra

On the road again...destination Oregon, OHIO


My Grampa!

Heading West to SFO

On June 19th we left for our “Great Western Excursion” It began with flying to

San Francisco, California!

Dylan Hotel SFO June 19th Very Late at Night!

Took the BART to the city of San Francisco

Found Greyhound in San Fran

On the road to Santa Maria

We arrived to Santa Maria, CA

Lompoc Festival Ferris Wheel!



In neighborhood in Orcutt

At Farmer's Festival Avila Beach

Avila Beach

Californian Kitty!



Sunset on Avila Beach

Morro Bay, CA

Morro Bay, CA was a very special excursion we took with Mary & Rob Saunders on the Saturday after we arrived.

Morro Bay Rock

Sweet Friend, Mary...

Windy day at Morro BaySea Otters of Morro Bay

Conversation with a seagull

Mary & Rob & Elisha after a day in the sand, wind, and ROCK of Morro Bay!A San Luis Obispo Train StationON the Coast Light to Tacoma, WA

Getting Ready to continue on our Great Western Excursion

On Coast Light Heading for Tacoma, WA

Heading north up the Californian Tracks

Rolling on the tracks for 27 hours

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Approaching Portland, Oregon

Weary Traveler

Nearing our destination

Ready to Disembark!

Two Minutes to seeing Uncle Tim!

At Uncle Tim's with Sylvester

Elisha, Uncle Tim, and Alessandro