Tag Archives: vacation

Heat Wave

7 Aug

When a “Heat Advisory” for 80 degree weather is issued on a coast that rarely sees 70 you throw your to do list out of the window.  We did just that this weekend.  Living by the ocean really can be the best thing in the world and it’s even better when you wake up and have a day or two that feels like a vacation.

Our little beach town is so much different from the beaches I visited growing up.  The coastline is cut by dramatic cliffs, made only more so when the fog rolls in to wrap them up in a cloud of mystery.  But this weekend the wind slowed, the sun warmed, and the “bathing soup” came out for a glorious juxtaposition of the two kinds of beaches I love.

We pulled off 101 and made the short trek down to Moolack Beach eschewing the touristy crowds at our usual spots.  At this point allow me to make one strong recommendation for your bucket list.

Experience a beach that feels as if it’s all yours.

It’s paradise no matter the weather.

The one constant out here?  The Pacific waters where we are hover in the very crisp range of 50 and 55 degrees.  It’s wet suit mandatory kind of cold.  For me that means no water will be touching my toes.  Abigail, however, splashed until her little lips were quivering.

There was even more splashing when Olivia, Ollie, and Bella the beach dog showed up.

Thankfully this Coast Guard Helicopter was not going to rescue us or our potentially hypothermic daughter.

Thank you Coast Guard!

If that wasn’t enough of a treat, we took our weekend to hot fudge sundae proportions when a trip to the valley resulted in a get together with friends we are missing and new running shoes for me!

Wagon Rides, of course!

Guard dog, Ella.

Oh and we did some of this, too.

Is it Friday yet?



15 Jun

The last load of laundry is in the dryer.  The dust has been blown off of my shorts.  The list of  to do’s is slowly growing.  I should be crossing off some of those “do’s” but here I am telling you that we are headed home for a 10 day vacation in hot, humid, glorious Virginia.  We can’t wait to hug the necks of our family and friends we haven’t seen in awhile.  We can’t wait to drive on busy roads and feel the blast of air conditioning.  This time there’s even a new baby to snuggle.  Oh my, jiggity JIG!

I’m terrible at surprises so instead of sneaking a new book in her backpack for the plane we just read it over breakfast.

It’s still going in the backpack, every teacher knows the powerful benefits of rereading. *wink*

It’s just us girls traveling this time.  I know Ryan is going to miss us, but he’s not the only one.

“Miss them?  More like miss the dropped food.” Hank

Someone is feeling too big for her britches with her new backpack and her very own plane seat.

We’ll have the full report when we return – which hopefully will not involve airport sprinting and/or airplane tantrums…

Snuggle bunny always needs extra cuddling.  She’s a nervous flyer.

Father Knows Best

12 Jun

During our February trip to Paris we made a quick stop over in London. It was grey and cold, busy and gritty and totally wonderful. I need to go back.

London awesome-ness.

I’m not a big shopper while traveling. I would rather dine, sightsee, and experience — of course it’s always fun to have momentos, but it’s not my top priority. However as soon as it was certain we would be heading to London my heart was aflutter with the need to bring back a tiny, porcelin tea set for Abigail. We had such a limited time, less than 48 hours, but I knew it would become a family treasure with a story.

Tower of London.  “Tea set or off with your head!” 

Ryan is even less of a shopper than I am so upon hearing my desire to find the tea set he grumbled about it. The concierge recommended we try Hamley’s, a huge toy store much like FAO Schwarz. On the map it seemed that our hop on/hop off tour bus would pass right by it. Here’s the condensed version of what happened: Ryan did a lot of grumbling, I did a lot of getting upset and talking about the must-have tiny tea set. It was not our finest moment. Our friend, Jimmy, mediated with a very wise, “Ryan, if Sarah isn’t happy you aren’t going to be happy” mini lecture and we all stepped off the bus onto Regent Street. Two tea sets later, one for Abigail and one for baby to be Charlotte, we were strolling through Picadilly Circus while I held onto my Hamley’s bag victorious!

Dressed up guy in front of Hamley’s!  Happy kid to the right.

This isn’t a story about London or tea sets though. It’s really a story about Ryan. It was a couple of weeks after we returned home that Abigail made tea time a regular part of our evenings, but it was always with Daddy. He mentioned in passing one night after Abigail went to sleep that he was really happy we got it. “You’re really good at making things special,” he said, “She loves it.”

But the truth is. Ryan is really good at making things special, making Abigail feel special. As much as I would love to sit down for tea with Abigail, and we do occasionally, I’m happy to let it be theirs.

Ryan has always been a hands on dad. I never wanted to be the bossy wife correcting him if he did something differently than me. So what if he uses a few more wipes for every diaper change than I do or only lets her have 3 play dohs out at a time. It doesn’t matter if he wants to break her string cheese up into bites when I give it to her in strips. I don’t think she needs powdered sugar on top of french toast when she’s going to dip it in syrup but he loves to make it like his mom did. He does “Baby Drip Dry” after a bath and I let Abigail take off down the hallway, her hooded towel a billowing cape. Tomaytoes, tomahtoes.

I think Ryan looks to me sometimes for how to deal with certain things that come up; how to say no to a snack too close to dinner or how to read stories a little softer and a little calmer at bedtime. But I’m not sure he knows how much I look up to him.  As a mom who’s home all day amidst laundry and paperwork and kitchen duty it’s easy to lose perspective.

It’s the little things he does that help remind me of what really matters. The excited “hey you!” he says to her each afternoon when he walks through door. The undivided attention he gives her when they play often talking about important things, like strong foundations for block castles. The way he lets her stand on the kitchen counter, one hand at her back while she smells every spice we own, giving enthusiastic praise each time she identifies thyme or curry or cinnamon. The way he’s not too busy to let her have a few more minutes to collect pine cones or to run around the golf course.  His patience for chasing after her as she runs to the waves over and over again. I just love him and her, but what I never expected to love so much was the relationship between him and her.

The tea pot has a chip in it now. I won’t lie, I was a little devastated so I took it away. I put it on top of the refrigerator hoping she would forget about it for a while. The other day she told Ryan, “Tea Party, Daddy!” “Is that okay?” he asked me. “It has a chip in it. I don’t want it to get messed up.” I said. “That’s okay,” he said with his mega smile, “It’s just like Chip!” Unbeknownst to him teaching me another lesson: relax and enjoy.

She’s a lucky girl. And so am I. Happy Early Father’s Day, Ryan. XO

Bend/Redmond: A Love Story

2 Jun

Disclaimer:  If you are my mother, you will love the obnoxious amount of pictures.  If not, I apologize in advance.

We’d been looking forward to our Bend/Redmond getaway since Reisha had suggested that we join them a few months ago. I counted down the weeks until Memorial Day weekend like a kid rips off links from a paper chain announcing Christmas. We talked plans over wagon rides, BBQ’s, and Bravo TV until finally the weekend came.

Not packing a minute too soon and almost a minute too late we loaded up the van with the whole family, including Hank-a-rooni, and headed “Over the river and through the woods” to the high desert of central Oregon.

It took about a nanosecond for me to fall in love with the place. Seriously perfect.

“You’re a desert person, huh?” Ryan said to me.

“I think I just might be. 300 days of sunshine!”

After Ryan stopped laughing, “Newport do that to you?” Probably.

We ate at Diego’s Spirited Kitchen for dinner while Scott, Reisha, and Kaylyn headed to a concert. We went back the next day for lunch because one can never have too much tableside-prepared guacamole and pork carnitas tacos. (Reisha, Scott, and Kaylyn went back again after we left on Tuesday to complete a trifecta of fine Mexican meals.)

We hiked around Smith Rock Park, alternatingly carrying the girls in their packs, letting them walk, and laughing as the guys had to tough it out back up the trail. I didn’t even think about cougars or the introduction of rattlesnakes to the mix. The sky was blue, the mood and elevation at an all time high.

Rattlesnakes, schmattlesnakes…might have freaked out a little at this point.  It was okay.  We had a doctor with us.

We made the mistake of thinking we could check out some of the scenery along the Cascade Lakes Highway, but it turns out we would have needed a snowmobile. Whoops. The views of Mt. Bachelor were amazing regardless and every good trip needs a travel story involving flying sea bands, anxiety over a potential car sick toddler, and a round of Baby Beluga.

Truth be told. We’ve had a lot thrown at us in the past couple of weeks and it was good to leave — to do something where there was nothing to think about except what kind of beer was the best at Deschutes or which pool would be the best for swimming.

Ryan, beyond proud.  Girl loves a growler…uh oh.

And as much as I love going home to see our family, I must admit I loved this, too. There weren’t time zones to cross and TSA approved ziplocs to worry about. The company was easy and enjoyable: shared excitment over locating illusive Amstel Lights, sweet sounds of toddler friends enjoying almost sleep overs, cooking thrown together meals prepared with meager condo supplies.

So it was good, really good — a breath of fresh air, if you will.

I can’t say the same for the air in the Market of Choice grocery store that Abigail chose as a great place for throwing up on the way home.

And our covered wagon, er, minivan, rolled on home to fevers and coughing and snot – and most importantly sweet dreams where the memories from a fantastic trip played on.

Yeah, I’d marry the place, but I’m already taken.

Leaping & Twirling

22 Apr

A lot of what I write about is based on my experiences of being a mother and surviving a big move. It gets pretty reflective sometimes because, as my dad says, I need to “give it away.” I write it, it’s out there, I move on for the time being.  Sometimes I take baby steps that make me feel like progress is never being made and other times I am leaping and twirling to new territory.

I did a little leaping and twirling this weekend. But before we explore that embarrassing mental image let me just put out a general disclaimer about our life here. We are happy. That’s the bottom line.

Sometimes I’m sad and emotional, sometimes I feel like Abigail is growing up unbelievably fast, lots of times I still call my girlfriends back home because I miss our easy friendships, and I still text my family “I miss you” messages on the regular. But everyone has their stuff to deal with, geography is just ours.

And our geography could be a lot worse.  I pedaled my bike along the water relishing in my total solitude thinking of absolutely nothing except.  I am not on vacation.  I live here.

We earn weekends like this one.  We endure months of total crap weather.  And when the sky clears and the air warms slightly you better believe Oregonians everywhere are out smiling and celebrating their good fortune.  

I rode my bike like a fool, smiling, stopping, backpedaling to snap photos.

If I would have been shouting it would have been something to the dorky effect of:

“Oh hello stinky fish cleaning station.  I love that I have a public fish de-gutting spot in my town!”

Or “I am afraid of cougars and I don’t care who knows it! But they won’t keep me from enjoying this trail!”

Or “Why yes I do know the answer to that!  Thank you, jetty, for changing the shoreline so I can ride my bike on land and not underwater.”

I’m not going to lie to you.  Our life is pretty incredible here.

I love that this morning when the guys went golfing, I got to have an impromptu play date at the beach.  I love that Hank’s floof smells like salty sea air long after we leave.  I love unrolling my jeans and having sand pour out onto freshly vacuumed floors.  Yes.  We are happy.  And I like to give that away, too.

Hope you had a great weekend!  I’m off to leap, twirl, ride my bike, and maybe even shout a little.


18 Mar

I don’t know how many generations we’d be – this special friendship between the women in two families.  It doesn’t really matter though.  More generations wouldn’t it make it any more fantastic than it already is.

There’s my mom with her nieces, Kathy & Becky, the best example I’ve ever had of friendship between women.  It’s supportive, honest when needed, and always kind and loving.  When I personally faced a rough friendship patch early in my teens it was Becky who picked up my bruised soul, bandaged my wings, and helped me fly again.  Becky and Kathy both have daughters that my sisters and I watched grow up, love to pieces, and are now at the point where every time I see them they are less like kids and more like friends.

Last week, two people in this friendship family tree came out to see us, which resulted in a double whammy of happiness.  My sister and Becky’s baby, Laura, flew out.

We curled up on the couch when it was rainy and talked girl talk.

We ate around our table family style.

We played in rain and snow.  So much snow.  So much rain.

We chased a very spoiled toddler.

And I got to see our beautiful Oregon coast in my very favorite way – through the eyes of a newbie.

And when they were gone I wasn’t the only one in tears.  Abigail cried too.  “Ehmy!  Waura!”

We cried big, fat alligator tears together and we were sad.  But I was happy, too.  Another generation, another blessed girl was being taken by the arms of many down a beautiful road of friendship.