Monday, January 28, 2013

A visit to Washington

Sometimes I do believe that there are a few screws loose my head. For that matter, I happen to think there are a few loose in Nathan's head too (oh yeah, I'm dragging you down too, Love!). This year not only did we drive three kids, under five, 12 hours to visit my parents after Christmas, we were crazy enough to continue another six hours (edit - 7 hours with wild munchkins) to visit my beautiful sister-in-law and her hubby in Washington. They recently moved up there and although it seemed crazy, it also seemed oddly logical to keep going and visit them when we were soooo close at my parents' house in Oregon. Besides which, the extra bit of driving earned us the bragging rights to being Auntie Kimmie and Uncle Dana's first house guests (nanny nanny boo boo!).

The first night there the boys spent the evening teaching Auntie Kim and Uncle Dana aaaaaaalll about what it's like to live with three little hooligans. The big boys were so excited to be there and lacked no energy in showing it!

Meet Sugar. Sweet Sugar had just come back from the boarding kennel where she had stayed while Kim and Dana were in California for their Christmas vacation. Collin loved Sugar (and for that matter, their Golden Retriever Jesse as well). Loved. And Sugar? Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words then this one pretty much sums up her thoughts. Poor Sugar wasn't so sure about the rugrat that kept chasing/squeezing/pulling/laying etc. on her. Sorry Sugar.

Kim and Dana's house is right on the bay. Right. on. it. As in, the water is just beyond a little knoll on the other side of the road from the house. As in, you can see the water from every room on the side of the house facing the bay. As in, when you step outside you can practically taste the salt in the air. It is gorgeous.

And as if we weren't impressed with the views from the house just on its own during the daylight hours, the sunrise the next morning was amazing. The pictures just don't show enough of the color.

See that fence in the bottom of this picture? That's Auntie Kim and Uncle Dana's fence. See that water in the center of the picture? That's the bay. Yep, it's that close.

So Nathan and Dana had already run out to the store during our first afternoon there and both came back informing me that they had found a place I should work. Actually Uncle Dana had found it and drove Nathan by to look. It's part of Auntie Kim and Uncle Dana's grand scheme to get us up to Washington with them:

The world's cutest bakery (conveniently for sale)! All the baking happens on this side...

...and all the eating of the baked goodies happens on this side. Too cute, right? And right up my love-to-bake-alley!

The town itself that they live in is really cute. Charming, really. From the main street, to the school, to the... public restrooms. Everyone made fun of me for taking a picture and thinking they were cute, but seriously, what town has restrooms (and public for that matter) that are this cute??! Kim and Dana's. That's which town.

The second day we were there we made the trip over to Port Angeles and spent the morning sight seeing. As its name implies it is a functioning port, so the boys had all sorts of fun checking out the ships and cranes and things that make it operational.

At the end of the wharf was an observation tower that we went out to explore.

Of course I had to stop everyone to snag a picture on the walk out and as you can see, my boys were oh-so-willing to oblige. Love the face I happened to catch on Uncle Dana as he made fun of the boys squawking about having to say "cheese" for me!

The observation tower. If you didn't know, I have a thing with heights. We don't get along. Even knowing full well that nothing could happen with a solid railing around us I still felt squeamish and had to hold the railing most of the time we walked around the top. 

The view from the tower turned out to be worth fighting my fear of heights though. It was fun to see everything from so high up. See those dark hills at the edge of the water (in line with the ship)? That's Canada!

Checking out the ships

I liked that you could see all the ships from the tower, but I also liked that you could see the town...

...and the operations that make the port work.

When we were all done with the tower, we headed over to a small play structure the boys had spotted on the way in. Aren't they just the cutest little Auntie Kimmie and Uncle Dana? :)

One last look at the crane the boys loved...

And of course, another (maybe slightly more successful) attempt at a picture on the way out

Over by the play structure was this awesome octopus, and can you believe it? I happened to catch The Hulk while trying to take a photo of it!!  (He's on the right in the green muck boots)

Such a fun trip and sooooo worth the extra bit of driving! Kimmie and Dana you live in a b-e-a-u-tiful place. We can hardly wait to visit again! Maybe a summer trip next time...

Friday, January 25, 2013

A tour of Lala and Poppi's farm

I've been procrastinating on writing about the rest of our trip to Oregon only because there were so many pictures to sort through. I still have more to post from our visit to Auntie Kim and Uncle Dana's house in Washington that was part of this trip, but that will be for another post.

My parents moved out to a beautiful piece of property a few months ago and our visit at Christmas was the first time we were able to see it. In talking with my parents about their new house in the months before we came up though, the boys started calling it "Lala and Poppi's Farm" and it seems to have stuck. Anyway, we drove in at night and really couldn't see much, but when we woke up, we woke to this:

....gorgeous green all around us! (The pictures really don't do the color any justice). We just don't have open green fields like this in our neck of the woods...not without a lot of water anyway!

The boys wasted no time in heading out to explore the next morning. The neighbor next door runs horses and mules on his property and the fence line is shared with my parents, so the first day we were there my Dad asked the boys if they'd like to go out to feed the horses. The boys asked what we would feed them and well, funny you should ask sweet babies because Lala and Poppi's house conveniently has its own small apple orchard....

The apples are definitely out of season by Christmastime, but the tops of the trees still have fruit so my Dad brought a tool out to pick the apples down.

He'd knock them down, the boys would pick them up and collect them in the bucket.

Then, out we went!

These guys were so friendly! (Me thinks my parents have been out here a time or two doing exactly what the boys were doing....)

Right next to the horse pasture is this amazing barn and I'd be lying through my teeth if I told you I wasn't the slightest bit jealous of it! Country roots die hard and I'm telling you, there is just something about a barn...

The barn has a traditional hay loft that the boys got to go up and explore with Daddy and Poppi

Auntie Kell has moved out of my parents house when they moved, but we managed to rope her back home most of the time we were visiting :)

On the other side of the property is the river. My dad can actually kayak to work if he so chooses these days. Supposedly it's a 10 minute float to his office. Rough life they lead, right?

The leafy part at the bottom of the picture is the top of a small hill at the edge of the property that leads down to the river. 

Kai is one happy little puppy to be back on some land again!

Kai-bert getting some lovin'

Tanner spent our outside time warm and bundled up in the Ergo pack. Thank goodness for the Ergo! That's really what this picture is about, but can we just pause for a moment to talk about my love of muck boots? It was great to finally have a legitimate excuse to wear them again! (Something tells me that if I were to dawn a pair as I walked my kids to the park, my neighbors might give me a leery look or two)

Poppi taught the boys how to throw rocks into the river. They grabbed little rocks...

...Poppi grabbed enormous rocks!

They also couldn't resist the mud. Never mind that the highs during the day were in the low 30's and the water was cold!

I love that the trees stay green even with no leaves because of the moss and ivy that grow all over them.

Down the property a little further is my parents' beach. Because they've only lived in the house through the winter, they're not sure exactly how big the beach will be come summertime. Even if it stayed the same size as when we saw it, there will be plenty of sand to play in.

So standing on this platform, which is the top of the stairs down to the beach, if I turned around, this is what you would see:

The white in the center of this picture is their house, so the river really isn't far.

At the top of the hill right next to the stair platform is this fun little tidbit....a fire pit! Can't wait to come use it in the summer!

In the front between the river and the house is this awesome field the boys deemed their soccer field.

There's also a long, paved driveway in that loops near the house. Lala and Poppi have pint sized bikes and the boys were in heaven being able to ride without being told to stop or turn back.. 

Although Collin can semi-ride by himself, he was much more into coercing someone else to push...

...or tote him around.

And when the big guys got tired of both of those options, they started tying twine to Collin's pedal to help him make the pedaling rotation.

The people who lived in the house before my parents had small kids (or grandkids) that they built a clubhouse for. It needs some new paint and a few of the floorboards fixed, but the boys still had fun exploring the areas they were allowed to.

The clubhouse also has a sandbox beneath it.

And if all that fun wasn't enough, there is also a jacuzzi where the boys spent plenty of time swimming and playing with Poppi and Lala :)

Do I even need to mention how exhausted the boys were after this trip?? This was maybe five minutes or so into our drive home...