Last Sunday we took a detour from our usual Otter Rock/Devil's Punchbowl beach area and headed to Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City.  I don't think I had been there since I was little, and my husband said he hadn't either.  It was fun to explore some new roads getting there and back, and that was definitely rewarding as far as natural beauty goes.  In fact, I found the areas away from the beach more beautiful.  I'm not used to seeing tire tracks and cars and therefore so many people all over the beach, or having parked trucks blaring unpleasant music right on the beach.  (The at least seven VW Vanagons in the parking lot?  Love.)  It kind of took away the "natural" part of the equation for me.  So, while it was fun to see, next time we go there we would like to find some good hiking trails nearby and skip the busyness of the beach.  We had a nice lunch at the local pizza place and headed home on back roads, stopping here and there to enjoy the view.  

I don't know what this weekend holds for us yet, but it sounds like there is going to be plenty of sun, and that alone sounds pretty good. 



I fear sometimes that I paint an unrealistically rosy picture for you, and I have read so many posts lately about being "real" when blogging that I felt compelled to write this post.  

You may have noticed that I am a woman of few words; this is true in person as well.  I am not a person who finds it easy to share things, and I am uncomfortable sharing too much that is personal here at o notes.  This is a place where I choose to share little slices of life that bring me joy.  However, I certainly do not mean to give the impression that our life is one magical trail through the woods after another.  We push through struggles like everybody does.  I simply choose to keep those things close to me.

I can tell you, however, that there are many days I feel like an absolute failure as a parent.  On a daily basis I struggle with my sense of self-worth and self-confidence, as I always have.  I worry to biblical proportions about the happiness and well-being of family members.  I feel things too much and over-think everythingAnd of course there are the realities of daily living, and the worries and obstacles and sadness that we all face at times as adults.  

Sometimes I just want to let go of those things for a while and come here.  That is why I choose to make o notes a happy place.  While it may not be a complete picture of our life, it is a real picture of a part of our life.  

I truly admire and love reading the words of those that share the stories of their lives more freely; they let me know I'm not alone, and their strength gives me strength.  Perhaps in time I will feel so inclined to share more as well.  

But, for now, o notes is to remind me (and hopefully you, too) of the simple beauty and peace and adventure and love that is out there in the world, and that it can live in your heart and in your head with all those other things if you let it. 



We visited my husband's aunt Saturday at her beautiful Century Farm.  It was so good to see her, have a nice lunch together, and take a walk around.  Though my husband has been out to visit over the winter, it had been a few months since I had seen her.  She always makes us feel so welcome; I hope she knows and feels how much we love and appreciate her.

The sky was an almost impossible blue.  The oaks - I just never get over them.  There's one I call The Mother Tree because it somehow seems feminine, motherly, reaching out with her beautiful massive arms.  I close my eyes and wrap my little arms around her trunk every time we are there and feel her strength, her history.  Despite the sun, it still feels like winter - the pool was frozen over - but daffodil shoots are up and other shrubs are budding out.  I can feel the shift starting to occur.  The promise of another spring is palpable.  The cycle continues.

winter woods


Winter woods at Silver Falls.  The sun may have sown a seed of spring longing in my heart, but the muted, damp, cold loveliness of the woods in winter cannot be topped.



Our Sunday with Rain.  Wind joined us, too.  We traveled a shiny ribbon of road together to mingle with Trees and listen to River's concert.  We didn't stay long as The Boy has been ill, but it was just what we needed, to visit these friends.

...because I'm really missing my sister today (and every day), a few more photos from our trip to the coast at Christmastime. 

A palette of blues, beiges, greys, and greens at the coast Sunday.  It was unbelievably clear and warm.  We shed our coats, scarves and shoes, and let the sun warm our shoulders while the water numbed our toes.  A winter day's unexpected but most welcome gifts.

the first day


Our first day of the new year was spent in part at Detroit Lake.  Salem was wrapped in a thick fog, but we eventually found sun as we headed up and east.  We were hoping for a little bit of snow, like last year (seen here), but, alas, there was just a lot of squishy mud.  The lake is drained in the winter to allow for snowfall, so you can walk right down into the bed this time of year.  There are hundreds of tree stumps, most of which have amazing exposed roots.  Last year my husband carved a T for Thor into one of the stumps and piled up a bunch of rocks around it, so this year we found it and recarved the T.  He even found an old rowboat that had sunk and set it in the water for one last adventure.   

The day felt familiar, yet brand new.  We were together, outside, in the middle of the week.  It was slow, sunny, and sweet. 

I hope your first day was a good one, too.  I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to what this year brings.  I think there will be change and discovery and many good things!  Bring it, 2014. 
by mlekoshi