Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears...

Cooper (Tiger); Grace (Bear); Tommy (Cat)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Trip To Mt. Baker with the cousins

We decided to put on our brave faces and headed up the mountain today to see the snow and maybe get Drew and Thomas up and riding the snow. I must admit I'm a bit afraid of the drive to Baker, as there is little roadway up near the top with lots of snow. With only a snow bank to stop you, I just cringe and barely breathe for a good section of the way up. Despite this, we had a great, quiet trip up the mountain, as Billy and Andrea graciously allowed Tommy to ride up in their big rig. Cooper and Elmo get a long quite well, and he was very content to just sit back and watch while we enjoyed the falling snow and beautiful scenery. Once at the top we bundled the kids up, rented gear and hit the tow rope area. I didn't have a choice for Cooper, so we slung his big booty up high on my back and carried on. With only a bit of fuss with the snow and cold, he fell asleep. John and Thomas played and finally found success on the tow rope, while Drew ended up fighting it out with the snowboard and getting up. We decided against lessons this time around, as both boys were hesitant about it from the start. After lunch in the lodge, we headed back down for the trek to our car. By this time it was snowing very hard, and the kids were content to play in the cars and warm up. Once back, Billy and Drew reported a lot of success with snowboarding this time around. What a great time it was and the kids were fabulous. The snow was falling pretty hard as we headed down, which made for a very beautiful drive back home. Even better was that once again Cooper was very content to sit back and be entertained by Elmo.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cooper Whipple should not be confused with his brother!

Cooper may share many things with his brother, but from his kinky, curly hair to his deep dark eyes, there are some definite differences with my little boy. First of all, he regularly smacks the back of his head throwing it back in an explosion of frustration about something or other. Even his brother has taken to the saying, "That's what happens, Cooper," when Cooper cries after smacking his head on something. I used to enjoy taking Thomas to the grocery store or the mall. Not Cooper. Just the other night, on a quick trip to the grocery store, Cooper threw items in three different aisles, and that was even after all the bribing treats he was offered. I tried again yesterday to get some shopping done on my one free day and made it through two stores before I was completely done with him. Today I attempted to get ONE thing...gloves for Thomas at REI before the snow hits, and we spent every moment dodging through the racks and chasing him down the aisles. Left without gloves-within minutes of walking through the doors. Cooper does not appreciate shopping! Cooper loves to dance, he loves to hang out in the bathroom playing with the faucet, enjoys playing with the eggs in the carton and dumping food all over the place. He loves to take him arms and wrap then around my neck tightly, holding on and saying, "Mama, mama" over and over. And he loves to be upstairs. It's so hard to keep him downstairs, and he becomes inconsolable when we won't let him go up to see "Bah-bah". He just begs and begs. He loves to watch animals on YouTube and wants to sit with grandpa to watch these videos. He loves to read books with grandma and take apart her kitchen. He's a picky eater and won't eat a lot of what we put in front of him unless it's ice cream or fried foods. He loves Elmo, and I got a kick out of watching his face light up as he held on to the talking Elmo at Target the other day. Maybe if Elmo had a little more to say we would have accomplished more at Target, but for $50, Elmo didn't do a good enough job and didn't come home with us either!
So...Cooper is a lot different than his brother and his temper goes a long ways to proving that. But what a sweet little boy we have as well. He loves to give kisses, loves to cuddle and snuggle up. It is so fun to watch Thomas and Cooper chasing each other around, and for every time we have to break them up, there are two other times when they are playing nicely with each other. Coop will not be left out, though, and senses when things are "up" and he may be left out of something. He's not talking much at this point, but has taken to pointing at things and loudly getting his wishes met. There is no doubt who is in control of our house at this point. Cooper has his foot firmly on the gas and we are just along to try to keep up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tommy's Surgery

It was great relief mixed with anxiety and worry that we greeted today.  It has been months now that we have wondered how bad Tommy's hearing was.  Days and days of "what?" and "what did you say", days of loud tv, loud talking, repeated sentences and blank looks.  Tommy's teacher advised that he would often leave the group, table or activity when others joined him, and we wondered if the commotion, loud chatter and activity was just too much for ears that couldn't decipher anything.  On the playground she would call to him, but he would not respond unless she could catch his eye and talk directly to him.  If his back was to her, he could not hear her.  Finally, after all the worry, today was the day to get it addressed.  The day before we took him in for a tour of the surgery center, on the advice of the staff who thought it would be good to relieve his anxiety about it.  It somewhat backfired on us, as he was more worried and scared than before.  Grandpa met us there, which made it better, and like the great boy he is, he gathered his courage and walked back to the room.  I kept repeating the doctor's words over and over in my mind.  "It is a simple procedure."  I knew it would be no big deal, but when it is your child, and the doctor is saying to him, "I will be the one to put you to sleep and the one to wake you up", my heart lurched.  "You'd better believe you will be waking him up!" I thought, and tried to breathe again.  Getting him undressed was only successful after forcing the "sleepy juice" down his throat, and we had to chuckle when it finally started to work and he took on a loopy expression, big eyes and a dazed look came over him.  After that, he no longer fussed about the gown or the wagon ride.  As the nurse pulled him along, and the doctor walked beside the wagon to distract, we pulled away, hoping that our confidence was spot on.  Barely opening the new issue of People magazine, the doctor came back out.  "Wait, this is a new one!" I thought with a smile, but quickly put it down again.  It was that simple and that quick.  Walking towards the inner waiting room, we could hear screaming children that they warned us about.  Kids often wake up very unhappy, emotional and carrying on.  We paused to try to determine if we could hear Thomas, though I knew they would bring us back before he was fully awake.  When it was our turn to go back, we followed another set of parents on the walk back to the recovery rooms.  Seeing Tommy sleeping so peacefully was quite the sight.  He was so little, so still, so peaceful.  I touched him to assure myself, whispering to him that Mama was here, that we were with him.  Either my touch or the screaming child down the hall roused him, and he simply and gently woke up, looked around, cuddled up to my hand and flopped back down.  It was so easy, and I was so thankful that it was soon to be over.  He wasn't all that interested in the popcicle they offered him.  They don't know that Tommy has his own personal stash from Grandma that he can raid at his leisure.  After a bit of argument about the Lego that was his reward, he determined that the giant airplane Lego dad surprised him with was worth it, and we headed home.  Once there, Thomas was quite the entertainer as he struggled to walk on unsteady and loopy legs.  John had to guide him and hold him for a bit until the effects of the anesthesia had worn off.  A bit of an emotional ride passed quickly, and by afternoon he was good as new.  Two weeks from now we will take him back in to see if his hearing is restored.  I heard a few "whats" this afternoon, and I had to pause, but I will wait to see what these tests show, and pray that this procedure was all that was needed to have him hearing normally again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Whistler, B.C November 21st

Tommy in Whistler
We headed up for the weekend, hoping to spend some quality time in the pool and hot tubs.  The last time we were up at Whistler, Cooper was just a small little guy, so we were eager to give him a shot at Whistler!  Thomas thoroughly enjoyed the pool and hot tubs, impressing us with his diving ability and creativity in pool jumping.  It is great to see his confidence growing and pretty impressive to see the show he can put on doing tricks and cannon balls into the pool.  Cooper was not so thrilled with the hotel initially.  He was rather clingy and didn't seem to find as much enjoyment in his surroundings as we'd thought.  He soon warmed up, though, and quickly found himself launching into the pool just as fast as we could get in to position.  John and I would get in position in the pool and hot tub, and Cooper would make a mad dash back and forth, launching first into the pool, then the hot tub, then back again.  Again and again!  I prayed for a snow, and we were not disappointed.  On Friday  night it was a blizzard!  Wind and snow blew while we raced from the pool to the hot tub and back.  John and I were physically exhausted from all the effort.  Swimming in the pool with the snow blowing was quite the treat!  The snow stayed for the weekend, but nothing quite like Friday night's show.  On Saturday it was more cookies at the front desk, swimming and tubbing.  Somewhere in there we worried about the boys eating more than just front desk cookies, but they didn't seem to mind and the front desk didn't say anything about our eating habits.  We took a few breaks to go look around, but the boys were less than impressed with shopping and looking around, so we had to quickly make our way back to the pool.  Cooper was almost as happy playing in the bathroom.  At one point John had to barricade him out of the bathroom as he was incessant about the toilet bowl and flushing.  We paid a lot of money for him to play in the bathroom!  Thomas started running a fever Saturday night, so it was a long night of coughing, snoring and trying to find some sleep somewhere.  While others partied it up around me, I made a mad dash through the village- with Cooper in the stroller- trying to find cough syrup amongst the throngs of villagers hoopin' it up.  Somehow the night passed us by, and soon morning brought more swimming and tubbing.  By mid morning, though, we brought the boys up to the room to pack up from our swimming stay-cation!  They sat on the bed not moving, staring at the cartoon on the screen in our room.  "John, I think we exhausted them," I said.  They didn't budge.  Quiet...for a short while!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Earlier in the day, John worked with the Lawrence kids to take head shots for their school pictures. We joke that this is Tommy's school shot this year, complete with the dirtiest face he could possibly get! Since this is how Thomas typically looks after a day on the beach and up in the shop, it really is quite fitting we think!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Best Buddies!

You can just imagine them as old farts!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

33 Big Ones

Today is my birthday. On Tuesday of this week, my office mates surprised me with an awesome Thai luncheon. After a meeting with our supervisors, Rhonda said that I needed to wait for her to run out to meet with someone at the garden that we manage. I didn't really want to wait all that long, so I put a Weight Watchers Hot Pocket in the microwave to feed my growling stomach. Jim comes over and tells me he's really hungry and asks for a piece of my hot pocket. Surprised that he would ask, as it was a small pocket and Weight Watchers at that, I quickly cut him the bigger piece, knowing he had to be hungry to ask. Shortly after sharing with me, I walked into the lunch room to find all this Thai food and my co workers set up to eat lunch together. Although I missed Don being there to celebrate, hopefully we can send him a few pictures to let him know we were thinking of him.

Today, I woke up to hit the gym early for the day with my bestest buddy Jenny and off we went. Watching the Hawks lose was no way to spend a birthday morning, but it was a lot of fun to take a birthday nap after waking up early. Once we all woke up from our naps, we loaded up the cars for a trip out to McPhail's to get pumpkins. Cooper is at an age where he is running around with the other kids, and we had a great time feeding the animals, climbing on the farm equipment and riding the tractor out to the field of pumpkins. Taking a family picture proved easier for the Lawrences than us Whipples. It may be a while before the boys will actually cooperate enough to get a good one of us all.

That evening Rhonda joined in on the fun, coming over for dinner of Thai at the Lawrences. There we celebrated with Thai, presents and sprinkle cake. It is So fun to share a birthday with my main man, Isaac! What a treat it is to share this day with him! Jenny totally over did it and surprised me with a beautiful new coat to wear and Rhonda blessed me with a new heating pad (to replaced my nearly destroyed, ancient one I've been dealing with), a massage and the New Kids CD I asked her for. How cool is that! I was thrilled. It was a great day and a fabulous birthday. Lil made brownies and I took advantage of our extra tough workouts to enjoy not only the cake at Jenny's, but the brownies as well!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October 1st Lake Swimming!

Our theme of the summer was jumping, swimming and bbq's. It was a fabulous summer and to celebrate this beautiful weather we're having and our thankfulness for a period of great weather following a less than memorable August, we took up the opportunity to jump into the freezing waters of Lake Whatcom tonight. It was almost dark, but we did it in various stages. Thomas and Isaac went in first, then quickly followed Rhonda and Cynthia into the deep end. While we warmed up in the hot water buckets, Lance and John decided they too had to get in the fun and jumped in as well. After several weeks of chilly temps, the water has cooled off considerably. We will see how long we will continue to jump into the lake!

Words by Cooper at 17 months old

Ma-Ma, Da-Da, moo-rh (more), I--see (Isaac) ba-ba (bottle) and he goes to the dishwasher to pull it out, Bah(Grandpa) Up, Ah-ple (apple) Cheesh (cheese) Off, Jush (juice),

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Day to Remember

The alarm clock didn't have to go off this morning, as I woke up to the sweet smile on the face of Thomas as he attempted to crawl into bed with me shortly before 5 am. I cuddled with him for a few minutes, then pulled myself out of the warm covers to stumble to the coffee pot. As caffeine coursed through my veins to rev me up, I quickly dressed and ran out the door, only to hear the faint cries of Cooper as he stirred back inside. I ran back in, made a bottle, quickly realizing that I didn't have keys and my IPod was dead. I briefly considered heading back to bed in defeat. Instead, I dialed Jenny up as light began to show itself above the mountains. "Jenny," I whispered. "Yeah?" she whispered back. We were both trying desperately to keep our children asleep before we escaped. "I can't find my keys and I'm late to pick you up. I have to get Coop his bottle." "Do you want me to pick you up?" she whispered. "Uh, yeah, I already had my coffee so I can't go back to bed." She showed up minutes later. Already late and pressed for time, we decided to walk the neighborhood hills instead of driving all the way to the gym. Later, as parent helper, I dripped sweat from running around keeping 14 preschoolers in check. They almost completely devoured a whole Costco box of GoGurts and a half pack of Costco string cheese. Cooper did fabulous as a pre-preschooler, playing nicely with the different centers Teacher Kathy has set up throughout the room. It was such a fabulous blessing, though, when Jenny showed up to pick him up, allowing me to focus on just Thomas and the other children for the next two hours of class. Jenny and I debated, but she agreed to go hang out with Cooper to get him an actual nap in his crib as opposed to his car seat, while I would pick up Isaac at 11:30 and keep him with me in class until Tommy let out at 12. I raced home with the boys, after struggling to get the car door open. Thomas helped me load stuff out of class, but tipped the coffee pump pot over while in the hallway, completely jamming up the hall with parents and a billion children trying to leave. Thankfully, Joan grabbed the two garbage bags out of my hand, I put down the two large and overstuffed bags I was heaving out, and Thomas quickly soaked up the old coffee. When I finally got into my driveway, I was exhausted, and the day was only half over. Jenny raced out to pick up Madeline at 12:30 and we agreed that we'd meet up later to enjoy the summer- like weather. For the rest of the afternoon we played outside. Outside in the hot buckets. Outside on the Firs Beach. Outside on our beach swimming and making sand castles. Outside with the Allens. Thomas played most of the afternoon with little Julia, content to roam the shoreline for treasures and the brushes for hidden blackberries to make into "soup". Cooper and I followed them around, wrestling on the grass together and wading in the water. At one point, Tommy told me he had to pee. Not wanting to go inside and break our outside streak, I told him to go over to our beach and pee in the bushes. Of course, he was looking at the Firs port-a-potty while he asked, so I knew what his real intent was. "Tommy, it's stinky and dirty in there. Don't go in." "But mom, I just want to go in, I will be real quick." "No, Thomas, it's so dirty, don't go in." "I'll be real quick." And he was off, pulling open the door and heading in. I just sat on the lawn with Stephanie, a smirk on my face. As fast as he went in, he was racing out, a horrified look of disgust on his face. "That is So gross!" he exclaimed, heading quickly for the girls waiting for him. "That was So, so, so, so stinky!" That was so disgusting!"
"Thomas, do you still have to go pee?" I asked, trying not to remind him yet again that sometimes moms are smarter than little boys.
"No way! That place is SO gross!"
By afternoon, I'd had a chance to chat with both Stephanie and Lil, who had returned from their trip to Wheaton with stories to share. Jenny finally made her way back down after soccer practice, and Isaac joined in on the hot bucket fun. Cooper loved on Jenny, and then Stephanie made her way over with Johanna. Realizing it had been a long while since snack and even longer since lunch, we all hustled our separate ways for the evening. John made his way home with a load of groceries. Perfect! Just perfect! I finally had a chance to hit the shower for the day. I had a chance to think about our day together. Sitting there, I realized that yet again my house was a mess. Looking around me in the bathroom, I could see that Cooper had attacked the cupboards again and had items thrown all about. The toilet paper rolls had been pulled out of the garbage and sunscreen was smeared on the the mirror. There was sand all over the floor, and finally, I looked at the dirty and sandy towels littering the floor. Smack in middle lay a big, fat stick. I had to smile with it all. Boys and their sticks! Messes all around, and yet I could only smile. What an absolutely perfect day with my boys!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Winds of Change with Us Whipps

There is a lot going on internally at our home, a lot of discussion, a lot of emotion, a lot of turmoil over decisions that will need to be made around the first of the year. One month ago I was told that due to budget cuts, my position with either change or be cut entirely. Now it is a matter of setting up for the future. We have it perfect right now. John and I switch around our schedules to be at home with the boys as much as possible, with only a small amount of Tuesday and Thursday overlapping with care from grandparents and a babysitter that comes to the home. This has been a tremendous blessing, being able to keep the boys together with us as much as possible and out of daycare. We refuse to allow Cooper to have any other care different than what Thomas had, but that may prove to be very difficult if not impossible to maintain should I lose this job or need to quit entirely. And should they force me to work full time, then I will certainly need to leave to continue to make the boys our priority. Financially, we will suffer greatly, and we will need to search out affordable healthcare (is there such a thing?). I have to believe, though, that should John and I continue to make our boys the priority, God will continue to provide for us, no matter how scary this situation looks at this point and no matter how out of control it seems. Does this mean a new direction is in line? Does this mean more schooling? At what point will this happen? Do I wait until Cooper starts preschool, or begin the process now? How does it all fit together? How will we make it all work out? And what is God's point in all of this? I remember thinking that we had it so perfect just a short month ago. I was happy with my job, my career. I wasn't looking for grad school, a new career, a new direction. The boys were happy, John and I were happy with the molding of our jobs and our family time. I joke that I am waiting for the divine memo from up above to hit my desk and map it all out for me. I'm good at attacking and making it happen. Right now I'm still waiting for the directions.....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tommy's interests..do not confuse him with a baby!

Today he wanted to ride up the hill in the double stroller, but in sight of children up the road, he yanked himself out and started to walk up the hill. As he was heading up the hill, he said to me, "I don't want to look like a baby." " I don't want them to think I'm a baby." Obviously he thinks he looks like a baby in the stroller. He so wants to be the big boy these days. He's jumping off the lifeguard chair, which is pretty incredible to see. I did not imagine a four year old doing such a brave stunt. I myself have yet to jump from the big chair over at The Firs and probably won't in this lifetime. He is swimming in the deep end but we still stay right with him as he's still needing to get stronger. He loves to dive into the water, both in the lake and in the hot water buckets that we have as hot tubs for the kids. Last night he strapped on John's water bottle belt and took off for his "marathon". John thinks he went up and around Punkie's house and then back down, all the while running like his dad. He's really into Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and his face lit up when I told him I would buy him an Indiana Jones shirt to wear. He is quite proud of dressing himself. It is so cute to see him come out with his shorts on backwards with the zipper in back. Yesterday while at the park he insisted on going into the restroom by himself, and I heard him yelp in surprise when he turned on the air dryer and it was super loud. He then laughed and said out loud, "That was SO awesome." I could hear him giggle just a bit as he came out the door. We are just now starting to curtail Tommy's use of his dubbies. I'm wondering if some of his drama and baby behavior goes along with sucking these things. I truly appreciate my dear friends and family for not openly criticizing us for allowing him to use these and more importantly for not making it an issue to him when they see him with them. I know it's not such a great thing, but when I think about it, everyone around us has been so wonderful to us in regards to this. Hopefully we can begin to work on it and wean them away. We'll let Cooper take over the dubbie fixation. After all, Cooper has already discovered the joys of a hand dubbie.

Cooper tantrums

Different personality shining through. Whereas I dealt with one tantrum that I remember from Tommy, (he learned really quickly that throwing yourself down on the ground hurts!) Cooper is learning the art rather quickly. Just tonight he was upset about who knows what, only to begin to beat the toy that was frustrating him, get up on his feet, stomp around, throw his arms up in the air, flail around, pound the toy again, then throw himself to the ground and kick his legs. WOW!

Yesterday, he was pulling at me try to get me to haul him up to the computer. When I told him I was busy, he used both fists to grab at all the paperwork on the desk and sent them flying.

When he didn't get to go up the stairs when he wanted, he raced down the hallway, crying and carrying on all the way, stopping to beat at the wall with his tiny fists, then laid down on the ground and rolled around. He was somewhat comforted when he realized it was fun to scoot around on his belly down the hall.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

1st Day of 4 Day Preschool-Teacher Kathy

We spent a little time during the summer talking to Thomas about his eventual return to preschool with all his friends. It was not the thought of school that worried us, but the comments about never going back to school if he couldn't have Teacher Dana. However, Thomas has shown no problem readily moving on to his new classroom, and seemed quite pleased to be back with his friends. He was eager to show Teacher Kathy his Star Wars Lego catalog, with all the legos he plans to ask Santa about, and talks about her when school is mentioned. I have to chuckle each day when I ask him how school went. "Good." What did you do? "Nothing." Hmmmm....

It is quite a joy to know that he goes there four days a week, three hours a day, and seems to enjoy each and every day without fuss or tears. Now it's just figuring out how to adjust to three hours with Cooper as the only child. So much to do, so much free time to just spend with him now!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Leavenworth Vacation with Culbersons and Hutchisons

The Culberson's invited us up to their home to spend the weekend for some quality time in the sun. It was desperately needed as the cold and rain of the week began to get on our nerves. It's unbelievable that the weather is already both a focus and a source of bitterness, so we eagerly hit the road to find the sun and heat.
Fred and Connie Culberson could not have been more welcoming to us, and it was such a beautiful relief to have our own space in their amazing garage apartment/loft. I had been worried about the space issue, having both Thomas and Cooper sick throughout the week. At one point John and I were trying to figure out whether we would be able to go or not, as we had not slept much in 11 straight nights. Both boys continued to be really sick throughout the week and both needed a trip to the doctor, but we agreed that Thursday night would lead to our decision. If Cooper could make it through the night, we would head out. Of course, he pulled it off, the first night in many, many nights that he wasn't up fussing, crying, throwing up and coughing, and we only hoped that the space we would have would work out with sickly children.
It couldn't have worked out better. We had a beautiful place to ourselves, and both Fred and Connie and Scott and Michelle were so wonderful to us. We met up with Erica, Brad and the girls for some time down on the river, and quickly determined that with the potential for weather issues to creep up on Sunday, we should take full advantage of the hot weather for our tubing adventures down the river. I kept Cooper back with me, as we weren't sure that a 15 month old should attempt tubing down a river, and we'd let John scout it out for us. Turns out that we decided to take him on Sunday anyway. Friday night we had a wonderful dinner with the Culbersons and then headed out for the Leavenworth fire station. Erica's sister and husband had arranged for us to tour the fire station. How amazing it was to not only tour the station and clamor all over the fire trucks, but we were all invited on two separate rides through the town. You can imagine how amazing it was for both the kids and us adults to get to ride in the engine through town. Cooper slept okay with only one crying episode to deal with, but John had it rough with Thomas, who cried repeatedly throughout the night, and when not crying he was snoring like mad. John was exhausted Saturday morning but pulled through. He was also suffering from a sore throat, and lost another four pounds on this trip. Today I got to join in on the tubing fun. It was a blast to sit back and cruise along the river. Thomas had his own tube, but spent the majority of the ride snuggled up with me enjoying the hot sun. It was so beautiful to float along the river, so relaxing and refreshing. The kids played so well together, and the giant "hot bucket" (the hot tub) was a huge hit with all the kids after playing in the freezing waters of the Wenatchee River. This evening we had Erica and Brad pick up food and bring it over, and after a bit, the kids went down and the adults were able to enjoy some adult time chatting and enjoying each other's company for the evening. Sunday morning was beautiful and hot again, so we headed out to a farm to ride the cow train and play in the hot sun. By mid afternoon, though, the clouds broke over the mountains and the rain came in. We wanted to stretch it out as long as we could, having the report from up in Bellingham that it had been pouring rain all day. It was with sad hearts and a bit of depression that we packed up the car for home. It truly poured and stormed for the entire ride home. We were so very thankful for the wonderful opportunity to spend time with great friends in a truly spectacular home.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ocean Shores Vacation and Eric Church 2008

We headed off for Ocean Shores with Rhonda in tow. After playing a bit of Mission Impossible and High Speed Merge onto I-5, the Whipples and Hutchesons were off for the coast of somewhere beautiful. We didn't stop until we got there, and thankfully the kids did a fine job of hanging in there for the ride. Somewhat concerning, though, were the clouds and low fog that hovered overhead. What started out as a fine, beautiful, sunny day dissolved over the depressed towns of Aberdeen and Hoquium. The temps dropped as did our hopes for some serious sun worshipping. Once there we discovered our hotel was less than we were hoping for, but our rooms were big enough and connected, so it allowed for fun family time with the kids. Traveling into the town of Ocean Shores, we found that our options for dining were Subway and McDonalds. We chose both. We hit the pool, played on the beach, hit the pool, tried to dodge the plumes of smoke wafting from the casino, and hit the pool again. That night, Rhonda and I ran away to watch Eric Church play at the Elma Fairgrounds. Talk about Small Town USA. It was a blast hanging out with Rhonda, trying to find her a cowboy to flirt with, trying to find some decent fair food and trying to be nice as we people watched. Rhonda put up a good fight, but I thought more than twice about stopping at some roadside bar for a lookie-see on our way home. Not on my watch, Rhonda! On day two we managed to find a great, greasy fish shack called Sandcastles, raced our cars on a beach (go figure! where are the environmentalists on this one!) played on the beach, and again and again called on the pool for entertainment. Tonight we tried to dodge the smoke again, opting to take our fast food from the bistro into the main lobby. Nothing about this hotel was ideal for a family. After another round of swimming, the kids finally gave in to exhaustion and hit the beds. The guys hit the lounge for wings. I hit the hay, barely able to keep my eyes from crossing. Too much fun!
Day Three we hit the pool, loaded up our considerable gear, then headed out for a grand adventure up the coast. We stopped at the new town of Seabrook, marveled at how lost in time the coast is, traveled to the rainforest to hike through the trees, hugged a giant tree, and dined at the Quinault Lodge. Parting ways, the Whipples and Rhonda headed north through the Olympics and the Hutchisons opted to take the lesser of the long ways home. On and on we traveled, up and over the top of the peninsula. It was one very long drive as we raced the clock to beat the last ferry out of Port Townsend. The boys kept it together for the most part, but we were definitely feeling sorry for them as the hours went. We hit the 10:15 ferry after yet another pit stop at McDonalds. We finally arrived at 12:30 am, completely and thoroughly exhausted from our grand adventure!