Monday, July 02, 2012

The Right Place At the Right Time

Last weekend we were having dinner with friends and they were telling us about their upcoming camping trip and then invited us to join them.  Talk about being in the right place and the right time. We were thinking ahead trying to visualize our calendar and couldn't think of anything already on the agenda, so we jumped at the opportunity.  When we got home that night, I saw that the weekend would end on Josh's birthday, what a way to celebrate!
Josh and Ellie at her Birthday Party!

As we woke up the next morning I told Ellie that we were going to a birthday party and she started crying, "But what about our camping trip?"  Girl was ready to go.  That's the thing about being a kid.  No need for plans, packing, getting ready.  They are ready at the announcement of a camping trip.  

All week, in my brain, I was planning the trip and thinking about what I would bring and how I would be all organized and such.  Then my true self appeared Friday morning and realized all that planning "in my head" had not transformed itself into reality and I was rushing around like a crazy person to hurry up and "get everything ready so we could hurry up and get going and have some family fun".  Ugh!  And so began the beginning of our list of what we would do next time to be more prepared for camping as to not be an utter freak-a-zoid prior to embracing the memorable moments we were preparing for. 

Books, directions, CHECK!
After the final trip of running back in to get one more thing and Mason saying, "Can't we just get going and stop having "one more thing" we should just be going by now!?!" He was right, and off we went. We did make one important stop around the corner for a special delivery to our friends. 

Josh's first batch of Strawberry Jam goodness!
Homemade Hummus and Strawberry Jam, CHEERS!
And then we were off...well, after stopping for gas and searching for Tiny Robot who had been dropped into the depths by Mason's seat. Our road trip mix had us dancing in our seats and we were on our way.  As we arrived at the campsite we were greeted by our friends and the fun began.  Josh and the kids started putting the borrowed metal detector to good use searching for buried treasure.  

Shovel to dig up found treasure?  Put it on the list.

After setting up the tents and such, we were off to check out the beach and the dunes.

Happy Campers!

The kids dug right in.
Casey found a crab skeleton
Josh and I had a good laugh at this photo.
When I rotated it so Mason was standing up Ellie looks like she is leaning.
What the heck is going on here?

Running/squealing with glee to and from the waves.

Climbing the dunes as the fog was rolling in
Erik scootin' down the dune

Mason takes a turn

Ellie too
We decided to head into town to find a restaurant for dinner that night as the fog got thicker at the shore. 
The kids rolled down the hill to the parking lot

As a kid there is no worry of getting too sandy. Instead they think: Why wouldn't you roll down the hill?  It takes a lot longer, but it is way more fun.

After dinner we called it a night as our firewood was too thick to get a good fire going and we were all pretty tired out. 

Hatchet for chopping wood?  Put it on the list.

The next morning would bring more fun. The chill in the air felt good and was accompanied by Josh's trip to the local store for a hatchet and then he made a nice fire that was roaring as we rolled out of the tent.

Erik was still loving the glow of his bracelets from the night before.
Ellie was helping me make my list

Friday morning before we left our house for this trip Ellie put her swimsuit on and was ready to hit the beach. She could not be persuaded to change out of it and she renamed herself "Beach Girl".  Don't be fooled by her fully clothed self from Friday photos.  That suit was on underneath. The chill in the air didn't stop her either, that's what robes and puppet gloves are for. 

After breakfast, we packed up for a day at the beach. 

Beach Girl gives the day a thumbs up!

So, off we go!

Taking a quick break

Ready for more
We set up our area and the kids dug right in again. Pedar was helping search for sand crabs and Ellie was instantly mesmerized.

Sand crab homes
Hunting for beach treasure

There is something special about feeling the sand between your toes.

The water was quite cold, but that didn't stop us.
 As the day went on we spoke of childhood family memories we had and embraced the ones that were presently in the making. I remember my family trips to my grandparents beach house in Lincoln City. Beach combing with my dad, collecting rocks and shells.  The ocean was always so magical to me.  The power of the waves, the sand, the search for what you might find. 

A woman I admire deeply told us to find things we love to do and do them in front of kids. To me this is how you teach your kids how to embrace life and truly live it to the fullest.  I thought of how my parents did this for me. My dad was always challenging us to taste new foods and body surf in the waves in Hawaii.  My mom showing me how to care about others and both of them embracing the importance of family and spending quality time. This was in abundance this weekend. 
Dads were building their friendship and playing like kids.

"Always keep your eye on the ocean."

There is something about those waves that just makes you smile.
 The night before our trip we headed to Target for last minute supplies and new sleeping bags. Mason and Ellie found some must have "surf boards", a.k.a. little kick boards. I never got a photo of Josh helping Mason "surf", but it will be burned in my memory for sure. It would have looked similar to these with a tiny batman board under his feet. They even got a round of applause from the skimboarder who was hanging in the sand with his girlfriend.
I love these two boys!

Ellie and Casey worked for hours together digging, caring for sand crabs, and becoming best buds.
One of their big ones, so proud!
Sand castles were plentiful

Countless trips to and from the water. 
"Do things you love in front of kids..."  The kids watched carefully as the dads dug tunnels and such, and were silently challenged to push their designs to the next level.
 We reached the time of day where you are so covered in sand that not being sandy seems odd. You began to embrace the beach spa treatment. You start to dig and love it so much you just can't imagine not being sandy.  In fact each time I pick up a bag I am reminded as tiny grains of sand spill out onto me. That day I discovered how each section of that beach had such variety of sands.  No wonder you could dig there all day and never get tired of it.

Erik taking a break for our picnic lunch

Digging more holes.

Definitely not afraid of getting TOO SANDY.


If all kids could dig in the sand like this...
 Mamas embraced some snuggle time and showed the importance of letting go and time-warping away the day. Reading and letting your imagination take you away from the worries of the work week. 

 Or imagining you are Beach Girl who surfs the big waves. 

"Ellie are you cold?" I asked.
"No, I am a surfer. Surfers never get cold!" she chattered through her blue lips.

A bit of salty sand in her mouth after that last wave.

Daddies were digging for treasures.  Josh was in search of the perfect sand dollar and after several attempts and a big splash...

He found one!

Pedar came running over to Nora at our picnic with a huge grin and genuine excitement to share his new discoveries/theories about the sand crabs.  You could see as he shared and smiled that he was talking to his best friend. 

Moments later, Casey came running up the sand to share a baby sand crab with Ellie.  ("Find things you love to do and do them in front of kids...")
There is no question that these two are in love.  
Time warp we did...we spent the day at the beach and it was glorious.  The sky was grey and the fog was rolling in, but glorious it was indeed.

Back at our camp after a shower and new swimsuit, Beach Girl and Beach Boys hung out at the fire...
Root beers all around!


Roasting some dogs

Shower + Glass of Wine = Happy Parents

Jiffy Pop! We must be camping.

After a hard day's work they couldn't eat it fast enough.

The mist rolling in didn't stop us from s'mores.

We love that Auntie Nora!
 The next morning we woke up to wish Josh a Happy Birthday!  Songs were sung and Mason was thrilled to finally dig his surprise card out of his suitcase and surprise Daddy with his tape measure and handwritten card.  Adorable!

Getting a little crazy with our morning coffee.
 Coffee spoon and Tea Kettle?  Put them on the list. 

I love this tent
 We left the campsite, but the adventure continued in Petaluma or as Ellie called it Luma.

Checking out the snails and pondering whether or not they are eating that tree.

Stopping and the luxurious Baker Creek Seed Bank for Daddy's Birthday!

And lunch, Cheers!

Jen and Nora stopped off at The Red Umbrella to do a bit of consignment shop shopping!  Here's Nora sportin' her sassy new shoes.  I know, I am not a photographer, but believe me they were hot.
Some of my new clothes

Heading home..."Uma, has it!"

Car entertainment..."Mommy look, I am playing my bow."

Ellie crashed out and I was sportin' my new shirt!
I am grateful for Nora and Pedar and their sense of adventure.  I thought of how it is easy to fill your days with family time at home, but a weekend getaway now and then is SO invigorating too. I love that they reminded me that there is nature all around us to explore and therefore nearby excursions are a must in our future. 

If you have hung in there to the end of this post you must be feeling the family time love.  Go out and make some memories, dig in the sand, share with your friends, pop some Jiffy Pop, lose yourself in the joy of getting TOO SANDY.