Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I admit that I LOVE summer! The lack of schedule, the relaxation, the not having to get up early. *yawn* Yet things are slowly shifting and changing. This year it isn't so relaxing. I am having to get up early (albeit 8am! LOL). I do have a schedule. And I don't have much time "off". So it's been a busy time already.

We got out of school late this year, on June 17th. Had to make up all those snowy days right before Christmas break. I did actually have a little time off right away, time to decompress and take a few relaxing breaths. It was great. The next week we went on a trip to Newport. I hadn't been back in a while and we were really looking forward to it. We stayed in a yurt at Beverly Beach and it was fabulous! I love not lugging around a tent, I love having heat and lights but still hanging outside and having campfires. It was the best of both worlds.

The first day we drove down to Newport and quickly met up with Darla. She is my late best friends mother and is raising her oldest daughter, Jayde. This was also her visitation weekend with Kim's other daughter, Kaitlyn. So we planned to meet. We haven't seen each other since about a year after Kim died. It was Chase's 6th birthday party and Darla brought Jayde up for it. That was nearly 7 years ago. So this visit was long overdue.

The kids all played in the cold Pacific while Brian and Darla chatted. I was busy with the camera! LOL
My fave lighthouse... Yaquina Head. I grew up just a few miles from here.

I caught Carissa complete with her 2 missing teeth, leaving her with the two big front teeth and nothing next to them! LOL Here are all the kids playing in the water. And one of Kim's two daughters. Darla had to get Kaitlyn home but she and Jayde came to the campsite later that day to hang out with us and share BBQ and s'mores. Jayde (the oldest) reminds me so much of Kim. Seeing the girls made me miss her and lament how much she's missing, but at the same time it gave me hope. It is her tie to this world, her only known blood relatives (she was adopted). To see those girls and know that they are a piece of her made me happy.

The next day we took the kids to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. We had a great time looking around, seeing all the sealife, touching the anemones, watching the seals. But the best part was their special exhibit, Oddwater. They had some of the most unique sealife. It was amazing! Chase's faves were the lionfish. The kids also though it was fun to hang out in the bubble of this tank full of huge, flat silver fish.

Fish faces were a big hit this trip. LOL Here's a shot of all the kids that I like, taken near an outside exhibit at the aquarium.

After leaving the aquarium we headed back to the campground and out on to the beach. In typical Oregon fashion, it was windy and cold. But we zipped up our hoddies and braved it anyways. We all worked together to build a sandcastle (yes, I put down the camera long enough to help! LOL) After the sandcastle building they decided to build a huge moat down to the ocean, hoping that the waves would push water up their moat and fill the area around the castle. That didn't happen, but they did build the moat.

This is just a random shot of Chase I took and liked. Definitely captures that line between child and teenager that he's walking right now.

Here's another picture that captures that line ... him stuffing his face with marshmallows! How mature are we now? LOL We made s'mores each night, which is our favorite part of camping. We love it! On our last night we let the kids loose on the leftover marshmallows. And just for the record, a 12year old boy can stuff 6 full-size marshmallows in his mouth and can still giggle, laugh and say "6 Chubby Bunny". Then he can proceed to down them all without spitting any out. Amazing! LOL

Oh, and the rest of us did manage to have some s'mores too, despite Chase's run on the marshmallows. ;)

One of our days we walked the bayfront in Newport. Across the street from Mariner Square, which both Brian and I worked while teenagers, there is a little dock you can walk out on. I harrased a stranger into taking pictures of our family with the bridge behind. A little fancy shmancy with the Photoshop and here's what we've got:

*sigh* I love my family!
Well, our final day of the trip was finally here and we left the yurt early to drive up the coast. We stopped first in Depoe Bay and nearly turned back to the car, since most shops were still closed that early. But we decided to walk back on the other side of the road, the one overlooking the ocean. It was then that I noticed a little spray of water. Then another. Then another. I realized that it was whales! We spent a good hour watching grey whales spout right outside the mouth of Depoe Bay. I got some great pictures, including this one. But more than that we all came away feeling so awed by these massive animals. I grew up at the beach and don't remember seeing them so seeing whales now, 15 years after I moved away, was a wonderful experience.
After the whales we headed to factory stores in Lincoln City to look for some school shopping deals. We picked up a few things, including some shirts at his favorite store, Quiksilver. Tristan also found an ADORABLE hat there and Carissa got a skirt and shirt from Gymboree. Then we loaded up in the car and returned home. It was a great trip!