Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ocean Shores

Shortly after our Orcas Island sprint we visited Ocean Shores, WA for the first time. I had heard quite a lot about the place. Not like a bunch of oohing and ahhing and, "you just have to visit," but just a lot of mentions of people we like to go there or grew up going there. So, I decided we should check it out with my mom and my sister's family for a little weekend getaway.

I grew up going to the Oregon coast. The beaches were not white and sparkly and the water was completely freezing, but all the same, we laid out in the sun (when it was showing itself), jumped around in the waves, and somehow didn't seem to mind the cold a bit. So, when I determined to venture out to the Washington coast, I didn't have fairytale allusions of what things should be like. However, what I discovered is that the Washington coast (a couple of hours north, at least) is sooo different from the Oregon coast ... either that, or my memory is so completely altered by time and pregnancies (you know, pregnancy brain??) that I am fully incapable of making an accurate comparison.

On a Friday afternoon we set out for the fairly brief car ride.

We arrived in the afternoon, but it was already super dark and foggy. All the same, we decided to get a quick glimpse of the beach, which was something of a disappointment, because actually seeing the beach--or at least the ocean--was quite a trick (even considering that we could drive straight out to the water). It was dark, windy, and downright nasty. After about twenty minutes of shivering with our hoodies pulled close (with the exception of a couple of kids who opted for getting soaking wet fully clothed) we headed back to the rental house.

Fortunately, the next day was clear so we tried the beach out again ...

The kids stripped down to their bathing suits,

And played in the sand, and even the water a little ...
While the grown ups attempted to stay warm.

With the exception of one grown up who opted for flying a kite (it was certainly windy enough).

Here he is.

He really quite enjoyed himself.

Then Brooks got into the fun! And they both enjoyed themselves quite a lot.

And then there's this kid, and he looks pretty full of enjoyment as well.

We didn't last long before moving our little group up from the water a ways in an effort not to die of hypothermia (okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit). There was a little less wind in our new spot and the sand was a smidgen warmer. Shockingly, there was a teen close by laying out in a tiny little bikini. Seriously??

This little kid is also enjoying himself. He decided to show his enjoyment by eating sand.

Okay, so here's the surprising confession ... I did not enjoy myself. How could I when I was much too busy being absolutely and completely frozen? That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the weekend. We did have fun hanging out, playing games, riding the six-seater bike, checking out the shops, etc., but to me the actual beach was very much not enjoyable. But who knows, maybe I'm just not a beach girl after all--at least not in the pacNW and not as a "grown up". I think next time, I'll suggest a lake instead;).

These next few pictures are really just a side note to the trip as a whole. After returning from the beach (or maybe from the shops ... can't really remember), we realized that we didn't have a key and no one else was back yet. We knew, however, that an upstairs door would be unlocked. I think before we had even suggested that he try it, Porter was already on his way up the side of the house. Of course, these pictures are not from that moment, but from his crazy parents asking him to re-enact the climb for the sake of picture taking.

And this last one, goes along with a somewhat lengthy story about why Kevin and I ended up buying a tent (maybe our fiftieth;), pillows, and sleeping bags, and sleeping outside for the weekend. Since I have too many blog entries to finish before Christmas, I won't go into details. I'll just say that it involved lots of black pet hair ... eeewww. Don't worry, the dead rat had nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Orcas Island

Ever since I heard of the San Juan Islands I have always wanted to visit! Life is busy, though, so even after having been in the Seattle area (on and off) for the past 12+ years, we had never made the trip. Until this summer that is.

Of course, like everything else in our life, we felt the need to make the excursion in Dueck fashion ... That is, the crazy whirlwind escapade where we plan nothing, know zero about ferry times and prices, and intend to fit 48hours worth of fun in half a day. Regardless, though, of the extremely long and crazy day, that ended in part where 9 of us (in two separate cars) went rushing like mad from a cute little Mexican restaurant, sped around most of Orcas Island (fingers and toes crossed the entire way), and managed to make it on the second-to-the-last ferry of the night (which would allow us to get home around midnight instead of 2:00am) just as the gate was coming down, the amazing views and adventurous time together as a family were well worth the rush!

Someday we will learn to do things nice and easy! But apparently not yet.

Adorable skinned-nosed baby and very handsome daddy;). Joseph, as always, was quite the trooper.

On the ferry. The best part of the ride was admiring all of the beautiful homes on the various Islands.

And looking for sea life ... Not that we managed to see much at all.

This was on the top of some local watch tower (seen in below picture). Would have made for a fun Christmas card pic except for the missing toddler asleep in the car (and watched over by Grandma:)?

Papa Dueck and kiddos at base of tower.

Outside of Rosario Resort and Spa. A luxury hotel that's been on the island for a hundred years.

With G-ma & G-pa, also on the grounds of the Rosario.

And grandma cuddling her little ones while we awaited a yummy dinner at Chiladas ... My dish of pork and plantains was beyond delish!

Until the next crazy adventure!