Seaside Beach Trip, Feb 2010

Just like last year, Jack and I took off for the Oregon coast to get away and celebrate my birthday. This year it was Seaside, Oregon. This time it wasn’t just the two of us. We brought one the four-legged babies; Mia.

Pretty Mia

The weather couldn’t have been better. It was warm and near 60 degrees during the day and each night we were treated to beautiful sunsets.

Jack and Mia, Seaside

Like this one:
Sunset February 20, 2010 - Seaside, OR

And this one:
Tracie's 41st Birthday, Seaside Or, 2010 145

As always when the weather is nice on the Oregon Coast, the scenery was breathtaking.

Somewhere between Tillamook and Seaside

What was different was having a puppy tagging along. She required a bit of work, but she was mostly a ton of fun to have with us.

Mia taking a short break from all the digging and running around

We spent our first night relaxing in the hotel and getting rested up because the next day was spent walking around and shopping. Mia was with us the whole time and attracted a LOT of attention from the many people enjoying the coastal shopping opportunities that day. Seaside is pretty dog-friendly. Many shops allow the dogs inside and even put out bowls of water for the pups outside their doors. Many people stopped to pet her and she enjoyed every second of it.

For Mia’s first time out on the beach we kept her leashed and close to us. The second day we got brave and let her go off-leash to see what she’d do. To our delight she stayed close to us most of the time and came running every time we called her if she wandered too far.

I called her too me

She discovered the joys of digging.

Lots of digging to be done at the beach

Jack did too. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll probably pay for that this summer when we have no yard left.

We were thoroughly impressed with how well-behaved she was the entire weekend, especially being only 5.5 months old! She sure is a smart one!

Cute too!
Snuggly Mia

You can view the rest of the photos I uploaded here.

End of Summer

Today is the official first day of fall, and it’s going to be 90 degrees. *melt* But the end of summer for us was the first day of school:

Sissa and Mo, first day of school, September 2, 2009.

Sissa and Mo, first day of school, September 2, 2009.

Lil Miss & Cody on the first day of school, September 2, 2009.

Lil Miss & Cody on the first day of school, September 2, 2009.

For Kevin, you’ll have to use your imagination. I had to drive him to school the first day at the butt-crack of dawn and in my sleepy stupor I totally forgot to snap a picture. I suggested to him in the car on the way there that we could take one when he got home and he said “nah, that’s OK”. Then didn’t come home till 8:30 PM. Stinker.

The weekend after school started was Labor Day weekend. We had plans to go camping. Unfortunately we didn’t make those plans till about two weeks prior and every campground in the known world was booked solid. Then the weather forecast was looking pretty grim, so we decided to go Camping at Cathy’s. She lives in the wilderness and we could totally ignore her house and camp in her yard and it’s be like real camping. If the weather turned bad, we could camp on her living room floor. It was win-win.

Then Jack’s work decided to mess with us and declared everyone had to work through the holiday weekend and any scheduled paid time off between then and October 1st was canceled. I was spazzin’. (You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter or facebook.) There were tears, angry words, and disappointed children. Then… they said “oops, we lied, that’s next weekend”. Well, DUH. We all knew they’d be working the weekend AFTER Labor Day. That’s been planned for a long time. So the tears were for nothing…

Unfortunately the weather forecast just kept getting worse and by the day before we were to leave, the weather gurus said there would be lots of rain, high winds, and thunderstorms at Cathy’s house. We left the tents at home.

We drove up there in a rain storm, but even in the rain, the Columbia Gorge is beautiful. By the time we got to Cathy’s the rain had dissipated and the kids got to play with the cows.

Cathys House, Labor Day, 2009 030

Cathy's House, Labor Day, 2009 030

They had more fun feeding those cows. The cows weren’t complaining either. Every time they saw the kids come outside they’d saunter on over to the fence.

The weather was nowhere near as bad as the weather gurus said it’d be. There was no wind, no thunderstorms, and only occasional rain showers with sun breaks in between.

Rainbow at Cathys

Rainbow at Cathy's

We had a blast! We were lazy, watched movies, hung out on Cathy’s back deck looking at the incredible landscape, and visited my best friend in the world. A perfect ending to our summer. View the rest of the pictures here.

More photos from our Anniversary Getaway

Whenever we travel to the Oregon coast, I’m always in awe of just how much there is to see and how gorgeous it is. Saturday and Sunday nights of our trip we were treated to a breathtaking sunset. Unfortunately I took about 50 pictures of it before I realized the lens on my camera was dirty so only a few turned out. The rest had spots on them. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Here’s a couple that did turn out:

Anniversary, Getaway, Seaside, 2009 052
So bright and orange it almost hurts the eyes!

Anniversary, Getaway, Seaside, Sunset
On this one I love how the sun looks more like the planet Jupiter than a sun.

Anniversary, Getaway, Seaside, 2009 114
This is where we stayed. Our room was the top far right room with the triangle windows above the three rectangle ones. We had a loft with a hot tub where we could look out those upper windows and view the ocean.

Here are more photos from our Anniversary Getaway.

Trout Lake 2009

Last weekend we crammed the kids and dogs into our minivan like sardines and took off for Cathy’s house in Trout Lake, WA. The kids pitched a tent in her front yard so it was like camping for them.

I’ve missed my Cathy-friend so it was awesome to see her. And the scenery. OMG the scenery. I took 439 pictures. I’ve uploaded 39 of them here: Cathy’s House, Trout Lake, WA Most of the mountains, grass, and animal pictures I took were views from Cathy’s back porch.

Here’s a small sample:

Cathy's House, Trout Lake 006

Cathy's House, Trout Lake 093

Cathy's House, Trout Lake 129

We discovered on this trip that we have really really outgrown our minivan. I haven’t mentioned it on here yet but we’re moving from fostering to adopting my niece. So our family has “officially” grown by one. (She’s legally free to be adopted now, we’re just awaiting the finalization … which could take a long time.)

Whenever we travel to family or a friend’s house, we try to bring food. At the very least some snacks and drinks so we’re not putting anyone out. We couldn’t even fit one small cooler in our van with the two dogs all the seats taken. In the past whenever we took *all* the kids, we’d rent a passenger van. We figured we were saving a lot of money by doing that. But we realized that it limits us way too much to depend on renting whenever we want to take the whole, or even just most, of our tribe anywhere.

R&D recently got a big SUV and that was also part of our inspiration to actually look into this. We’d love to be able to toss the kids, the dogs, and some gear and take off on a weekend here or there and not be limited by the miles, time, money, etc. that comes with renting a vehicle.

And I really want to be able to steal away to Cathy’s house any time it’s possible and not have to worry about which kids get to go with us.

Lincoln City Sunset

Jack and I are in Lincoln City this weekend, just the two of us, no kids. This is the first time we’ve gotten away alone in over a year. We were over due. Mother Nature must have known we needed some serenity in our lives because a beautiful sky, warm weather, and the bluest I’ve seen our ocean be in a long time greeted us when we arrived. She also treated us to one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen:

Sunset Lincoln City Feb 20, 2009

Thursday Thirteen 27 – Places I've been to

This is my first ‘themed’ Thursday Thirteen and the theme is:

In order to get ready for vacation time, we asked you to write about thirteen places youโ€™ve visited that youโ€™d recommend.

I saw this theme and knew it was perfect since in just a week we’ll be having our first weekend getaway alone in almost a year! Yay!! But then I wondered… have we been to thirteen places worth mentioning? ACK. So.. here goes.

Hanauma Bay

  1. Hawaii – Number one on my list without a doubt. It was everything I thought it would be and more.
  2. Seaside Oregon – This is where we honeymooned in 1999. It’s a busy little coastal town with lots of shops, arcades, and fun. It’s a great place to take the family.
  3. Mt. Hood – Apparently Mt. Hood is famous for the awesome skiing and snowboarding all over the US? I met a guy who lived in Tennessee who knew about Mt. Hood and flew here often for snowboarding. I don’t ski. Or snowboard. But I love taking my kids to play in the snow and inner tube down the newbie areas! ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Mount St. Helens

  5. Mount St. Helens – This isn’t a vacation spot (and the theme is just places you’ve visited and recommend). But if you’re ever in the Northwest you should visit this “history in the making”. It was an awesome and devastating event when it blew May 18, 1980 and still behaves like no other volcano.
  6. San Francisco – I loved loved loved this city. Of course I may have loved it so much because I was just visiting and could go home. I don’t think I’d love living there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But the night life was awesome and we had a blast when we visited 2002. Although, I hated the driving. Taxis were evil. Everyone drove like maniacs. Then again, maybe that was part of the excitement.
  7. Disneyland – Who wouldn’t recommend Disneyland?? I haven’t been since I was 11 years old but I vividly remember it.
  8. Yellowstone – Years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Montana and on the way we stopped at Yellowstone and camped and went fishing. It was a breathtaking beautiful place that I would definitely recommend. I even got to see Old Faithful!
  9. On the way to Montana, I got to spend a day at Craters of the Moon, Idaho This was an incredible place. It was a beautiful sunny day and looking out at the barren, desolate, and black land against the gorgeous blue sky was surreal. Well worth a visit.
  10. Astoria, Oregon – When we are visiting the Oregon coast (usually Seaside or Cannon Beach) and have the time, we often take the long and scenic way home up the coastline and through Astoria. Astoria is a bittersweet place. At one time a prosperous town… so full of history. Now a bit run down and in need of some TLC. With the historical homes and museums there’s plenty to see and do and still very much worth a visit. You also must stop by the Astoria Column and see if you can climb all the way to the top. I have. Once. ๐Ÿ™‚
  11. Pearl Harbor – Yes I realize this is in Hawaii but it’s worth mentioning on its own. I think it’s obvious at this point that Jack and I are drawn to historical places. And if you’re anything like us, visiting Pearl Harbor is a MUST!
  12. Kah-Nee-Tah – This can be a family trip or a couples get-away. We’ve done both and had equally as much fun. There’s a huge outdoor pool that is partially filled with natural hot springs, a water slide, horseback riding, rafting (we’ve done all of those), there’s also a casino for the grownups (where our addiction to Black Jack was born), a few nice restaurants, and places to just go for walks/hikes. Central Oregon is beautiful just about everywhere you go, though.
  13. Wallowa Lake, Oregon – We traveled to Wallowa Lake September 2006 to take my step dad to his final resting place. His family owns a cabin there and it was his favorite place to vacation. Even though it was an emotional weekend, we found out exactly why it was his favorite place. The mountains are breathtaking and there’s tons of fun stuff to do for everyone. We even witnessed a wedding in the works while we were there.
  14. Again, this isn’t a vacation spot but I’ve always loved the Oregon Zoo. I took it for granted growing up in Portland, Oregon and didn’t realize till I became an adult how awesome this zoo is. Apparently there’s not many that compare.

Well that wasn’t near as hard as I thought. Granted most of the places I’ve visited in my life time are local to the Northwest but that’s one of the many great things about the Northwest. There’s so much to see and do!! I forget that sometimes. I needed to not worry. I could easily come up with 13 more. ๐Ÿ™‚

More Thursday Thirteens: CrAzY Working Mom | Eve | Jenny | Chris | melanie

[tags]thursday,thirteen,thursday thirteen,tt13,places to visit,great northwest,northwest,Hawaii,Oregon Zoo,Oregon,San Francisco,Kah-Nee-Tah,Pearl Harbor,Yellowstone,Mount St. Helens,Mt. Hood[/tags]

Friday's Feast #1

I like memes that can be about anything, such as Thursday Thirteen. It helps on those days… or heck even weeks when you have nothing really spectacular to write about.

I know I’ve written twice today but I found a new meme called “Friday’s Feast“. It reminds me a bit of Friday Five. Remember that meme? Everyone did it and I looked forward to it each week. There have been knock offs since but it’s never quite been the same.

This one looks like it’s been going a while and is gaining popularity. I wasn’t sure what it’d be about with “feast” in the title. Cooking? Food? nutritional supplements? Turns out none of the above.

Here’s my first Friday’s Feast:

Appetizer
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you look forward to your birthday?
When I was a kid, 10 definitely. Now? um… 5. My birthdays never seem to be that spectacular. Except for the Hawaii Birthday. That was pretty awesome.

Soup
What is one word you donโ€™t like the sound, spelling, or meaning of?
It’s a naughty word I refuse to even type. It starts with a ‘c’. I hate that word so much I didn’t even want to give the first letter.

Salad
Do you wear sunglasses when youโ€™re outside? If so, what does your current pair look like?
Yes, always. My eyes are sensitive to the sun. Um, they aren’t anything special. Just a pair of normal sunglasses. Probably similar to the ones Arnold wore in Terminator. “I’ll be back.”

Main Course
If you were to write a book, to whom would you dedicate it?
Jackson. And my kids. Without a doubt.

Dessert
Name a beverage that you enjoy.
Diet Coke with Lime. My stomach hates it though.

Well that was fun. Maybe I’ll do this one again next Friday. ๐Ÿ™‚

[tags]meme, memes, Friday’s Feast[/tags]