Luckily many relatives like Uncle John were there to help us with the kids:
Heikki's family rents a house in the Black Butte area (near Hoodoo ski resort and Sisters, Oregon) every year for New Year's. It is a beautiful area in the mountains with very tall gorgeous trees (except where the forest fires went through...that really bothered Markku to see that). This is a picture of just the Laukkanen family. There were probably at least twice as many total guests at one point or another. We got to see Mikko and Joanna and their 2 kids who came all the way from London, Kaisa and John who are about to have their own first child, Liisa and Johan who came from New York/San Francisco via Sweden I believe (lots of travelling there, never know who is where when), mummo and Bill, Jesse (John's brother) and then all the extended family and friends as well (who are not pictured here):
So on our very last day in the mountains we decided it was a good day to try Markku skiing. The age limit was 4 yrs old, and so I did what any parent would do-I lied and made up his birthday. sure enough everything fine....until they asked him how old he is! And he says "3" and shows 3 fingers! They said they were worried at first (I had already dropped him off) but he did really well and was able to learn to ski! We got great video that I am clueless as to how to download it (I have tried on You tube and it keeps saying there is an error after a forever long period of time) so you will have to look at still pictures until I can figure it out (or a loving relative who has a video of it can do it for me!-that would be you John!)
We went on a day trip to the Oregon coast and went through a nature preserve. We were looking for deer and such, but only found this type of John DEERE heavy equipment, which made Markku oh so happy. He has a John Deere video he got for Christmas and sings the songs to me everyday "John Deere, make them nice and strong, John Deere".
Here is another picuture at the refuge showing the Columbia river and the low clouds against the mountains: It is so pretty there.