On July 3rd, we drove to my parents' home in Utah, all in one day. It is a long trip, but we left at 3 am to arrive by dinner time and the kids did remarkably well. July 4th was the usual melee of parading, pyromanism, sweating and barbecuing. You know, the usual. I'll spare you my July 4th patriotism tribute/diatribe this year.
The next day we left for five wonderful days in Bear Lake. Plantboy has 8 siblings and every other year they do a family reunion. They take turns planning so that it is always some place different. It was our year to be in charge, and it has actually been a year in the planning to put it all together. (Read: stressful). We chose Bear Lake as a central-ish location rather than bringing everyone to us. All seemed to enjoy themselves and each day was fun and unique. I think it was a little bit harder to really enjoy myself because of the whole being in charge thing; the first day or two was especially stress-inducing.
My big kids were mostly very well-behaved, though the baby was a little bit harder. I think he was so sick of meeting new people and sleeping in a different bed nearly every night for a week that he was kind of a bearcat. Still, getting together with Plantboy's family (whom I really love), and doing all of our fun activities was wonderful. Here are a few pictures of some of the good times.
But I digress.
After Bear Lake, Plantboy had to return home for work. He flew; we stayed for a few extra days. During that second week I was much-consumed with caring for my little brood, but there was time for some great things too. I mentioned before my fabulous visit with Nem and Desmama: two women who would live in my ideal neighborhood. I was having a good hair day that day. I helped my mom watch my sister's kids overnight and it was fun to see the five little boy cousins interact. My dad said it was no better than herding cats to get them to do what you wanted, but it was fun. My sister and I scrapbooked until one o'clock in the morning one night, laughing our heads off over old episodes of "The Office." I was able to see my mother teach a Relief Society lesson. There was another family barbecue, everyone is living within an hour of my parents now except for us, and a trip to Pine View dam. The waterskiing was not quite as sublime as my morning at Bear Lake, but it was still so much fun. On our last full day we rode the Front Runner, just to give the kids a train ride. Here are pictures of my husbandless week:
Of course we had to get a picture in front of the breakdown train.
There is no such thing as fun if L-boy is doing sports. He takes this very seriously. Love the helmet.
I love this picture because it coincides almost exactly with this post from last year. It is fun to see the kids on the same set of rocks to note how they've grown: and that we've added one.
I'm not sure if this is called leading off the base or the potty dance.
My mom came back with me to help with the driving. On our return trip we divided the driving into two phases, which made it a little easier on the driving, but the hotel room was a bit confining and crazy. On day two of our driving we discoverd a fantastic outlet mall just over an hour from my house. Mom couldn't believe I'd never been there, but I reminded her that except to see movies, I'd only been to the mall close to my house once in the past year--the last time she visited. On day three, Plantboy took half the day off and mom babysat so we could have a day time date. Oh, and we ate these carrots for Sunday dinner. Aren't they beautiful?
But day four.
Oh, day four. The PERFECT day.
Our only plan was to rent a mini-van and head to Haceta Head Lighthouse. We only had a vague idea of how to get there and a memory of a visit from six years ago.
I think that the beach below the lighthouse is officially going to rank on my list of the five most awesome places I've been*. It was impossible not to feel absolute joy as we lay on the beach watching the kids play and having a great time. My mother and I laughed until we were giggling like school girls. During low-tide we found pools of anenomes and rocks covered with mussels. During high tide, the waves crashed their freezing blasts up to my knees reminding me why I love the ocean so much. The view from the lighthouse was charming and a stray sea lion came to sun herself on the rocks below us. I was enchanted by the purple and yellow flowers clinging to the roofs of moss covered caves created by the tides. I have no adequate words for how perfect this spot is. Just. Seventy. Minutes. From. Home.
We found a delightful ice cream shop on the way home which features a flavor called "A Taste of Oregon" which has blackberries and hazelnuts. My kids were great; the baby slept coming and going and I really have a love for the minivan. When we got home, everyone was exhausted so we watched this favorite movie from my childhood that my kids have only recently discovered. Dinner was simple and delicious--my favorite chicken salad on warm pita bread with fried red potatoes from Plantboy's garden.
The kids went to bed early. Plantboy and I did too. . . .
A perfect day.
Mother returned home on Monday. (Insert sigh here) It has taken me a few days to adjust to normal life, but I had a teacher once who said that the memories and anticipation of summer vacation were better than the actual event. I think there is something to that. I have a golden memory that will shine for a long, long time.
* The other four are in no particular order: Glacier National Park (Montana) in July, Delicate Arch (Moab, Utah) in February under a full moon, Three Sisters National Park (Katoomba, NSW, AUS) either lightly dusted with snow in August or under a full canopy of ferns in December--its a toss up, Snow Basin (Ogden, Utah) on a perfect, sunny, late winter day off work.