To those who would challenge the truthfulness of this post's title, I reply: hey, what else could I call it? If it was your granddaughter's photos you were sharing, I'd expect you to say the same thing.
Anyway, I managed to limit myself to 18. Not 18 dozen photos. Just 18. That took will power.
A friend and I had labored long and hard to get a tree house ready for Evelyn's first visit as a three year old to Oregon. He built. I stained. The walkway over two sloping tree trunks is pretty steep, but Evelyn handled it just fine, with the held of some nicely natural-looking mats I found at Home Depot.
I sort of figured that a pink princess camp chair waiting in a corner of the tree house, along with a gift bag, would be a winner. It was. Glad I didn't pick the alternative gender choice, a blue Buzz Lightyear chair. We've come a long way, baby, but girls are still girls and boys are still boys.
Next day I thought it'd be fun to take Evelyn to a few expensive houses featured on the Salem Tour of Homes. If was a builder, I know I'd just love to have little kids running around the brand new fancy house that I'm trying to sell. Evelyn proved that this closet bar is strong enough to hold lots of clothes.
One Tour of Homes bedroom was decorated in a child fantasy fashion. Naturally I had to see if Evelyn could channel her inner Knight. Absolutely. (Don't worry about the camera angle; most of my vital organs are still functioning.)
Another day, it was off to Russ and Delana Beaton's charming homestead in far rural east Salem. Here Russ is showing one of the flock to an uncertain Evelyn while Dad (Patrick) holds her.
The Beaton's goats made for more wide-eyed (and mouthed) surprise. I'm with you, Evelyn. Goats look weird to me also.
I was glad Evelyn saw our tree house before she set foot in the Beaton's own grandchild plaything -- a marvelous Harry Potter'ish castle. Wow. When I was a kid I nailed two boards up in a tree all by myself. That was my playhouse. I want do-overs! (If reincarnation is real, maybe I'll get my chance.)
Couldn't pass up a trip to Salem's world famous (almost) Enchanted Forest. My daughter, Celeste, loved the place when she was little. Here she is holding her own daughter at the beginning of her first visit. Evelyn was a bit fussy at this point, but warmed up to Enchanted Forest quickly.
Enchanted Forest makes great use of a wooded Oregon hillside. It's got to be one of the most natural looking amusement parks anywhere. Hugely charming.
Well, two out of three smiles on an Enchanted Forest walkway isn't bad. Spending a few days photographing Evelyn made me realize that whatever child photographers are paid to get a good shot, it isn't enough.
The kiddie bumper car boats were Evelyn's favorite ride. I kept having to walk over to the booth for another couple of tickets. I can see demolition derby driver as a possible future career.
Ah, one photo with no Evelyn. Celeste and Patrick held my camera while Laurel and I went on the log ride. Cool day that it was, we weenied out and put on optional plastic coverings. You can see that Laurel was concerned about getting her hair wet a lot more than I was. The last drop was scary, but we 60-somethings made it through just fine (and barely damp).
The Enchanted Forest kiddie train was another Evelyn favorite. This ride she got to sit in the very front and drive the engine. Just like Michael Jordan, when she's concentrating, she sticks her tongue out.
I enjoyed being reminded of the Tricks Parents Play. Evelyn wasn't wild about having her wet hair combed by her mom, so Celeste had Wolfie the White Wolf do it instead.(Laurel still has some of the puppets she used when she did child counseling.)
Salem's Riverfront Carousel is another must on every Evelyn visit. We got the horse she wanted. Biggest, baddest, blackest. With a purple saddle.
Then it was off to the Riverfront splash pool. I was pleased to read on the rules board that kids Evelyn's age had to be accompanied by an adult. That day the water features functioned irritatingly intermittently, so most of the time I was looking around (along with Evelyn), muttering "Where's the water... where's the water."
Capping off the day, we went to the playground near the Bush Park Art Museum. Evelyn was into this simple well-used toy.