Studio711.com – Ben Martens

Family

Ipsut Falls Bike Hike

We get a couple local newspapers and every once in a while I flip through them. A recent article called “Where’s Sara? Bike & Hike Carbon River Road” in Northshore News caught me eye. You can read the article for the full description but basically there’s a road into Mt. Rainier National Park on the northwest side that was washed out in 2006. There was a campground at the end of the road so it’s still popular with bikers and hikers.

There are a lot of things to explore off of the road, but I thought that just making it to the end and back (12 miles roundtrip) would be a big challenge for Elijah. So a couple weekends ago, all three of us set off on the adventure to give it a shot!

The road gets progressively less road-like over the length and there are a few spots where the river has totally washed the road away but it’s never difficult to see where the trail picks up on the other side. The ride out to the campground ended up being pretty tough but we all made it. We locked our bikes up and took a short hike to Ipsut Falls. It was a gorgeous place for lunch and we had the whole place to ourselves aside from about 5 minutes of overlap with another family.

The ride back was significantly easier! Since we were following the river downstream, the road had a slight downward slope that let us coast a large portion of the way.

I was really proud of Tyla and Elijah for powering through and getting all the way to the payoff at the end! Hopefully we can go back some day and explore some more of the sights off of the road.

God is Here

Rewind to March 2020. We had just entered lockdown. As a church leader, I was scrambling to figure out how to do services online. We didn’t know what was happening (like we have any idea now!) I remember sitting down as a family and watching a video from Time of Grace called “God’s Got This!”

During that, Pastor Mike talked about reminding ourselves that God is here. He’s right here with us guiding us and protecting us, whether there’s a pandemic or not. After that video, we sat down as a family and made “God is here” signs. We taped those signs to the wall in our kitchen and they stayed up until very recently.

As we took those signs down, I decided to make a more permanent version. I used the cedar circle leftover from the fire pit project. I drew some words, cut them out of 1/4 MDF on my CNC, painted them, and glued them on.

Indiana 2021

We’re back from our first trip since COVID hit! We flew out to Indiana for a week in the sun at Dad and Mom’s house. It was a little weird being in the middle of so many people in the airport but I’m glad we went when we did. I think we have a long way to go before we’re really “post pandemic”.

On our first day, we drove up to the Grand Rapids, MI area to see Luke, Rachel, and David’s new home. After that we spent most of our days swimming in the pool or in the yard playing croquet. The temps were in the mid to upper 80s with plenty of humidity (the dew point was 74 one day!) so the water felt great!

I took my drone along on the trip and had fun exploring the area around the house. It was neat to grow up thinking about what it would be like to fly around our house and then actual get to do it.

As always, a big thanks goes to Dad and Mom for hosting us all. It’s a lot of work having that many people in your house!

I hadn’t planned to make a video, but then I thought about how much we enjoy looking back at the older ones so I collected everyone’s footage and put something quick together. It’s not anything super special right now, but I’m sure I’ll be glad I did it down the road.

Bay View State Park Camping

As Tyla and I struggled with what to get Elijah for his birthday, he was regularly asking us if we could go camping. We have a couple trips planned this summer, but then we had the idea to go camping for his birthday. Mid-June can be cold and wet but then we hit on the idea of renting a cabin at a state park. There are quite a few options but we ended up at Bay View State Park. You can check my Instagram account for more photos, but I wanted to share a little more about the trip here.

When we pulled into the park, I said, “UH OH! Elijah! I didn’t pack the tent!” Then we turned the corner and saw the cabins. He got a kick out of that, and the cabin was fantastic! It’s about a 12×12 room plus a covered front porch with a swing. It rained a lot for the first evening, night and and most of the next day. We were very thankful for the dry area! It was just the right size for the three of us (one more kid would have been fine too.) The cabin had power, lights, and a heater. We didn’t see it listed before went, but it also had a fridge/freezer and microwave. We didn’t make use of those since we hadn’t planned to have them available. We ate our meals on the front porch when it was rainy and we were able to play some card games there too.

The park itself isn’t huge but it wasn’t very full and we generally had the shore area to ourselves. We spent a lot of time throwing rocks into the water and exploring at low tide.

We drove a mile or two down the road to Padilla Bay Shoreline Trail. As I parked at the south end of the trail, I noticed fresh glass by our spot… and the spot where the next car would be, and the spot after that… and all ~5 spots in the parking area. We got back in the truck and parked on the north end of the trail which was in a more populated area. Elijah was able to ride his bike and we walked the ~2 miles down to the barn along the trail. If you’ve been in our house, you may remember the barn photo that’s above the half-wall in our living room. I took that photo about 8.5 years ago when Tyla and I visited her family who was camping at the park. Tyla was pregnant at the time so it was fun to go back with Elijah and take a family picture in front of it.

I kept thinking about how perfect the cabin rental was this weekend. We might have canceled the trip due to weather if we had planned to use a tent. It didn’t take us long to start searching to see what other parks have cabins and yurts available for rental. I think this might be something we explore more in the future.

Christmas Card

Whether this is your first time seeing our card or your second, we hope you had a blessed Christmas! Things were obviously a lot different for us this year, but we found that we enjoyed a lot of the changes. With kittens in the house, we didn’t put up as many decorations which means less work when it comes time to taking them down. And with the global pandemic raging, we skipped all the parties, trips, visits, etc. I’m not saying we won’t enjoy doing them in the future, but it sure was relaxing to just enjoy the holiday season. When you strip away all the traditions and fluff around the holiday, we’re left with more time to focus the birth of our Savior and our eagerness for his second coming to take us to heaven.

2020 Ornament

Every year we add a new ornament to the tree to commemorate something big from the year like a family vacation. But what kind of ornament would we get from 2020? We thought about one of the funny ones like “Our First Pandemic“, but we wanted to remember the good stuff about the year. This called for a custom ornament. To the CNC machine!

This year’s ornament has two photos that we snapped on random family adventures. The top one is Rasar State Park which we loved because it was beautiful and we could carve out our own piece of riverfront without anyone else around. The bottom picture is from a rainy hike at Saint Edward Park. We did a lot of rain hikes because we knew nobody else would be crazy enough to hike in that weather! The ornament also has the outline of two cats near the top for the new additions to our household.

You can see our past ornaments in these posts: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2008-2010

Happy Birthday To Me

This is it. The big 4-0. I wasn’t going to post anything because what do you say at this point, but then I remembered when my dad turned 40. He had a birthday right around the same time as Pastor Hintz and they were born in the same year. Dad helped plan a surprise party for Pastor at our house and then when Pastor arrived, it was a double surprise because while he wasn’t looking, a sign was put up that said “Happy birthday Pastor and Dallon“. Kudos to my mom and Mrs. Hintz who I assume were the masterminds behind that idea.

Christmas 2019 In Indiana

This year we made the trek back to my parents house in Indiana for Christmas. While we didn’t get to enjoy sledding and playing the snow, we did enjoy easier travel with unusually warm weather.

We had a nice time playing lots of games, doing a puzzle, taking walks through the woods, hunting for golf balls on the golf course, lunch at the Studebaker brewery, buying treats at the South Bend Chocolate company, canoeing and taking a tour of the Oliver mansion with my grade school teacher.

As always, my parents deserve a huge thank you for putting up with six extra people in their house. They always make us feel welcome … and full. Yum!