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!

Friday, August 01, 2008